Friday, February 02, 2007

"Open Ended"

I mentioned a few days ago (in the long, rambling post that I don't expect anyone to have read) that I didn't really like Morrowind. Not when I first played it.

I plan on going back to it. Not right now, maybe not even for a while, since I'm currently playing Oblivion when I'm not busy with homework or Game Mastering. But eventually, because I keep thinking that I'd probably really like it.

My reaction to Morrowind was mostly a matter of timing. I'd just started playing Dungeons and Dragons, a game that had struck me with this overwhelming sense of rightness. I'd always wanted to play a game like D&D, even if I hadn't known about it. It was awesome.

Now, a couple of my D&D friends were serious gamers. They played Morrowind, and they talked about it a lot. It sounded cool, so I borrowed it from one of them. And I played it. And honestly, I wasn't that impressed.

Yeah, it was cool. And it was fun. But I was focusing on what it wasn't. It wasn't open-ended. You couldn't "do anything." Everyone was talking about how it was totally free-form, and you could play it however you wanted, but I was a newly converted tabletop gamer, and there is no mere computer game that can touch a tabletop game for open-endedness.

The thing is, "open ended" really isn't the point. I don't play video games because they're open ended. I don't play D&D because it's open ended. It's nice when games are somewhat open ended, when there are a lots of things to see and explore and do. But it's not a requirement, and it's not the main reason I play games.

I play games for their stories. I play games for the hero kick. I play games to be someone else. I play games because they're fun.

I don't play them because I can do anything I could think of, or even everything I can do in the real world. Because that's not the point. The point is that I can do things I normally can't, and that they're fun and interesting things.

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