Archive for May 3rd, 2006

Final Bits of Push Text (3 of 4)

2006 May 3

Planning Volume 2

Next time, Gadget. Next time.

This is an invitation. God willing, the next issue of Push will be two or three times thicker than this one. And that requires the help of people like you, people who care about what roleplaying might be becoming.

Push is primarily looking for the following:

1) articles describing newly emerging or less well known varieties of play and design (which also includes, at least for the time being, just about any variety of roleplaying disconnected from traditional or indie Anglo-American tabletop roleplaying),

2) articles describing new opportunities for play and design within existing roleplaying traditions (since there are always opportunities to do what we already do differently),

3) complete and playable short-form games that demonstrate new play possibilities (especially those written as if roleplaying evolved from something other than historical and fantasy miniatures wargaming),

4) something else that pushes the boundaries of roleplaying while remaining fun, informative, and not overly academic,

5) you. We want you. Enlighten us; surprise us; delight us. Tell us something we don’t know. Make us want to play right now. We are your peers and your audience. We are hungry. Feed us.

Push is not an academic journal, though we have a fair number of graduate students and PhD candidates among our contributors and commentators. If you want to write a paper about Foucault and roleplaying, I definitely want to read it, but unless you can make it accessible and exciting to people who are more interested in fun stories than discourse analysis, it belongs in a publication other than Push. We have a different mission and a different intended audience.

Likewise, Push is specifically intended to be a progressive publication, interested in pushing boundaries and speculating about the future of roleplaying. We are appreciative of the roleplaying’s heritage, but this journal is about looking forward and the content reflects that. Draft your proposals accordingly.

That said, write about what excites you. What are you most looking forward to? What can you see hints of in the play experiences you’ve had recently? What is roleplaying in the process of becoming? There is no correct answer to any of these questions. There is no single answer either. Roleplaying is blossoming in many different directions at once and in the process of becoming things we can’t even currently imagine.

How awesome is that?

Final Bits of Push Text (2 of 4)

2006 May 3

This Volume

Aside from Clio’s cover and this introduction, Push Volume One contains the following:

Emily Care Boss, in Collaborative Roleplaying: Reframing the Game, provides an overview of games which seek to distribute control of the play experience more evenly among the players involved and speculates on the future of this type of play.

John H. Kim, in Immersive Story Methods for Tabletop Roleplaying, describes his own experiences planning an on-going game in which each player’s character was the protagonist of their own story and offers advice on how others can do the same.

Shreyas Sampat’s game, Mridangam, draws on the vocabulary of classical Indian dance, handling all out-of-character negotiations and narrative structuring through the silent exchange of gestures between players.

Eero Tuovinen, in Against the Geek, Choice, expresses his concerns about the rampant Americanization of Finnish tabletop roleplaying and explains how his small publishing operation is working against the current trend.

Finally, there’s me, Jonathan Walton, and my game, Waiting for the Queen/Tea at Midnight, which is inspired by early computer games of the “get lamp” variety and strictly limits character choices while not limiting expressions of character.

The end notes feature hat other journals dub a “Call for Papers,” encouraging clever, witty folks like you to propose content for Volume Two. The next book will indubitably be twice as exciting as this one, featuring many new friends with bold new ideas.

A Diversity of Perspectives

I hope the practice of inviting less familiar faces to participate in Push continues in subsequent volumes, so that our circle of comrades will never become too comfortable and the Push community will continue to grow in size and the diversity of backgrounds. Additionally, I hope that Push will quickly expand its focus beyond the boundaries of tabletop roleplaying to examine how other communities are roleplaying. That will, of course, require people doing other kinds of roleplaying to come write for Push, so one of my major tasks before the next volume is to begin tracking likely candidates down.

I Cast Magic Missile on Mo

Push had been in the works for a year and a half when Moyra Turkington, now one of our Guest Contributors, published a blog article which categorized different kinds of player interactions as “Push” or “Pull.” That wouldn’t have been a problem except that Mo, being a very intelligent gal, said some really great things and the terms actually began to catch on. This, again, wouldn’t have been a problem except that I’m personally much more interested in exploring Pull-oriented play techniques, which renders the title of this journal completely antithetical. Sigh.

But instead of hating Mo forever or changing the title of this journal back to the one I originally proposed (“Magic Missile”), I decided to get over it. So if you see mention of “Push/Pull,” whether in these pages or elsewhere, don’t be confused. Push was here first. Mo is the imposter.

Feeling Groovy

2006 May 3

I sent the semi-final Push PDF off to the contributors (Emily, John, Shreyas, Eero) tonight, reading for proofing, basic compatibility checking, and, eventually, special guest commentary.

It’s finally gonna happen.