Here’s a Subversive Game Design Concept that might have some legs —
RPG game systems are built on a conceptual foundation of colonization without consequence. Systems that enable players to explore, exploit, refine, industrialize, and extract value from the world, either natural or social, are often the basis for our crafting systems & tech trees.
So what experiments could we propose for RPG game systems that simulate a different approach to resource & social engagement?
- What types of games already exist with systems we can learn from?
- What are ways to reframe existing colonization simulation systems to make seeking balance fun?
- Who are the players who would be drawn to games where there are there fun ways to explore while pursuing balance and fairness?
- Do some types of game systems support and enhance that pursuit?
- How will players simmered in western value systems perceive or understand these systems, if we can even propose them?
- Your question here!
Bradley Campbell and Jason Manning have written an interesting paper based on Black’s theories of conflict that postulates that we’re in a period where our dominant moral culture is being subsumed by a new one, after having subsumed itself a previous dominant culture.
The paper: microaggression_and_moral_cultures-pre-pub-version
The Atlantic’s Article about it which is rather shorter.
The three cultures they list are:
- Honor Culture: Conflict may prompt people to engage in a duel or physical fight. Largely, but not completely, already subsumed by:
- Dignity Culture: Conflict prescribe direct but non-violent actions. Currently being challenged by:
- Victimhood Culture: Feature conflict tactics in which the aggrieved actively seek the support of third parties as well as those that focus on oppression.
While I’m not entirely sold on the idea, I often explore models of the world by thinking about ways game mechanics can help me understand them — & I suspect many of you have similar processes.
I’d like to examine what mechanics play to which cultures so that we can come away with a concrete list of examples upon which to base new game models, should they be called for in a future where our dominant conflict culture changes substantially.