Friday, September 30, 2011

Your Somewhat Weekly Gaming Digest - September 30th, 2011

This Somewhat Weekly starts off with a conversation churning through game critics' barracks started by Michael Abbott's "Game's Aren't Clocks". Kate Cox takes Abbott's core issue and explores what he most likely wanted to avoid; "What are games? How can we define them?" "Win, Lose, or Fail" isn't there to be catchy, but to set up the dilemma this particular discourse has in defining what games are. Cox makes an interesting claim to center the concept of a game around success and failure states specifically, where others would muddle around in rules and game mechanics. I was glad to lend a hand in complicating her stance, which she deftly used to strengthen her argument to a point I find it hard to disagree (and I'm the first one out the room or in the middle of a brawl when it comes to definitions of any sort).

Line Hollis then joins in with another angle, looking at the player to help define the experience going on. In "Players are Planners," Hollis picks up on the player-determined aspect of Cox's article and runs with it in another direction entirely, defining a game by how a person interacts with it. The crux comes down to the capacity of an object to be malleable and allow the participant to change it and detect their changes. This will send the discourse bucking as game mechanics are the tools to mediate and prompt a player to plan, but this isn't the argument most ludologists would make. Definitely worth a read.

Speaking of definitions, Fraser Elliot wrote up a good piece on the somewhat known game in development, Spy Party. I'm including it because I hope for a reimagining of what multiplayer is and can do in games. The details are best explained in the article, but my optimism hopes for a more diversified multiplayer experience that doesn't rely on war tactical knowledge and aiming skill with a mouse or controller. We all have more skills than how to kill someone digitally, so I hope others take the cue from Spy Party and start creating more of those games!

Moving on to some game-specific criticism, The Border House has a great article up now by Denis Farr taking a critical look at 'ally' politics in Half-Life 2. "Anti-anticitizen One" frames the player's experience and Gordon Freeman's role as the ally to the socially oppressed, creating a great metaphor about a subject difficult to explain. Farr focuses on the story's aspects one may look over, away from "Gordon saving the world" to "Gordon helping Eli and Alyx save their world." Being a silent protagonist and MIA for so long, the world of Half-Life 2 isn't really Gordon's, though he gets the most credit and recognition for the success at the end. I suggest playing the game again with Farr's interpretation in mind, it's powerful.

While Gordon's hero status is spread to the rest of the cast, Alex Raymond tosses Dragon Age 2's Hawke's hero status altogether. "A fate that we deserve: Choice, Triumph, and All That Remains" taps into how the game removes the typical privileges a player has, like always saving the day, to create depth to the character drama. Many players are upset they cannot choose an option that will stop disaster, but this design decision is effective in shaking the core of player, making them feel something for the characters and events of the game because they weren't based on arbitrary decisions made by the player. Previously a strong critic of of Dragon Age 2, Raymond's perspective showed me how much I overlooked and took for granted; another piece to read before another replay.

There are many attempts to explain away Catherine's... problematic representation of gender and relationship, but I particularly liked David Carlton's personal blurb on feeling separated from Vincent and viewing the dissonance as an attempt to do the opposite of what most storytelling mediums want to do. Carlton describes in "catherine" a critique specifically aimed at Vincent that doesn't involve the player establishing empathy, which feels more honest than other critic's defenses of Catherine.

We'll look at some reactions that continue to happen in relation to Catherine that definitely fail to rationalize the gender politics to wrap up this weekly. Emily Short writes up a good summary of gender issues others have written about, but with a personal edge that makes it feel a little more real in "Analysis: Atlus' Catherine and Gender Stereotypes." It's a good read for those who haven't looked into the problems in the game, but I want to focus on the comments to the article, that I congratulate Short for suffering and handling well. In short, my reaction finds Catherine more of a trip-up than a success, because when the vast majority of games have critical gender issues, another game that uses gender stereotypes but doesn't do anything progressive with them fails to be a satire and tongue-in-cheek. Catherine would be more successful if video games didn't have its issues with gender, because the farce would be genuine and not rely on the tropes of a misogynist, heterocentric culture.

And that's about it; until next time, happy gaming!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Ludonarrative Resonance

How does all this fit into a game?

Games and narratives seem to have a contentious relationship within gaming discourse; what is a game and should we read them as a narrative? What is a narrative and when does it belong in a game? Thankfully, I don’t care about these questions, as they are disguised methods of drawing lines in the sand. The how’s are much more interesting: How are narratives important to games? How does narrative fit into game design? How do games communicate narratives? How narrative originates from the game design is a rather abstract concept; in fact, most games that zero-in on ludonarrative game mechanics are thrown into the “art game” category, though all games could successfully strive for ludonarrative resonance.

Any familiarity with design will be helpful in understanding a vague statement such as “narrative grows from the design and echoes the game mechanics,” which would be in a defense of narrative in games. The elements of game design work in the same way elements of other mediums do; good design arises when elements echo their alignment to the surface aesthetic received by the viewer. Take the opening stanza to “The Raven:”

"Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore

While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
" 'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door

     Only this, and nothing more." (Edgar Allen Poe)

Poe didn’t just throw together words to tell the reader what was happening, but chose words that reflected the aesthetic of what was going on. For example, he used multiple gerunds to simulate the action within the story; all those rappings and tappings (as well as a napping and nothing) form a rhythm that would have the reader easily imagine the acoustics of someone knocking on a door, or window as we come to find. As well, in good Poe fashion, words that conjure feelings of the macabre and supernatural appear to set a tone without directly saying, “this is a supernatural event!” Without diving into elements like meter, the placement of every word, especially in relation to one another, makes up the design and is incredibly important to the aesthetic of the poem. This all may seem esoteric concerning games; however, artists of their particular field and the enthusiasts who consume it often are sensitive to these elements and interactions, extracting more meaning and enjoyment from a well-designed piece. This could easily apply to game designers and gamers, who are already aware of game design just by the amount of games they play.

How does this relate to games and narratives? Imagine narrative as the aforementioned repetition, diction, or meter for game design; it can strengthen and give meaning to what the player directly experiences. It gets trickier to understand with games because they add in the dimension of interactivity, and players experience the game design strongest through interaction. Let’s start with how we receive narrative in games currently; in Rules of Play by Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman, a perspective on how narrative appears in a game divides it into embedded narrative and emergent narrative. Embedded narrative is how we commonly think of narrative in games, immutable and shown to the player without their control. This often appears as cut-scenes, dialogue, encyclopedic entries, to give context to the player. This is comparable to exposition in fiction, as it is relied on to give meaning to the actions and conflicts the player will encounter. We can often use literary critical analysis to dissect embedded narrative because there is little unique to it other than being appropriated by a video game (though, this does factor into the interpretation). There is a heavy emphasis on the embedded as anything narrative tends to occur near the end of production. Emergent might be familiar as it is a common buzzword the game media and developers use to put focus on unintended, player-driven content. Narrative rarely acts in this manner because it needs narrative design to happen early in development, or happen at all. Emergent narrative acts similarly to a reader going over the ‘rappings’ and ‘tappings’ of Poe’s poem, as the connection between the rhythm and diction is implicit and is figured out by the reader rather than informed directly from the surface narrative.

Using the perspective of embedded vs. emergent narratives, I will attempt to show ludonarrative resonance, when the emergent qualities echo and strengthen the embedded narrative (or the overall design). My current stance assumes most games do not exploit emergent narrative to strengthen its design, and that a stronger focus on emergent narrative will result in a sturdier outcome. The intent isn’t to diminish the function of embedded narratives, but show that all we are doing is relying on the embedded when the emergent can add a considerable amount of depth. In fact, Jason Rohrer’s Passage flips this around and has the player drawing from the emergent narrative to extract meaning from their experience. Games like this are often tagged as ‘art games’ as the minimalist style allows mechanics to shine without much artifice piled on top. As such, Passage will give you a feel of an ‘art game,’ however I think it is an attempt to have the player engaged on a cerebral level that doesn’t involved being ‘addictive’ or ‘entertaining’ as these terms are conventionally used. That being said, spoilers for the game are up ahead, and seeing that the game will only take minutes of your time (you can play through two or three times in about ten or so), play it and see if you caught what I’m observing in relation to emergent narrative.

The characters and path of Passage.

Passage needs emergent narrative to make any sense; the embedded narrative is scant at best. You have control of a man who can travel across the screen (mostly right) and around objects. Eventually, he meets a woman to fall in love with, and she travels in front of him the rest of the way. There are some treasure-chests further on and the characters visibly age as the past and future of the path ripple on the sides of the screen. After a certain amount of time (possibly measured by steps), his partner dies and then he does, with the title “Passage” fading in on the screen. Just from this description, a player would miss large chunks of the game relating to the passage of one’s life that rests in the emergent gameplay. The player comes to understand what the game is commenting on when they realize they are unable to navigate the map easily because of their partner, missing treasures that they would easily be able to get themselves if they went solo. This feeling is strengthened on subsequent playthroughs when the player realizes they only have a certain amount of time until both characters die, and that the clear, unobstructed path at the top of the screen yields no treasures or entertainment, just a march to their deaths. There can be multiple interpretations of this game, however very little of the meaning comes from the embedded narrative. Passage is also a good example about how the narrative can be a part of the overall art direction, as players receive narrative elements by the changing landscape and the shift of a preview of the path to the reflection.

This isn’t to say Passage is the pinnacle of gaming or did everything right. Rather, it is doing something more games could; this is particularly pertinent to RPGs as they explore opportunities to engage the player with the narrative. As this game displays, complete player freedom and authorship isn’t necessary for an emergent narrative to work, or are limitless dialogue options or character customization. Linking this to a previous article, “An Apology for RPGs,” figuring out how to create meaningful gameplay when engaging the player with the emergent narrative would reconnect digital RPGs with involving the player with the narrative. Emergent narrative can appear in battles, exploring, dialogue, and many more instances than I can imagine up here. In addition, taking away the reigns from the embedded narrative and relegating it to context will thin out a lot of the unnecessary exposition and other weak storytelling attempts at instilling any sort of feeling in the player. Using the emergent narrative takes advantage of the digital medium by having the player parse through the feelings that arises through their experience with the game, rather than a few lines of text or voice acting telling them the moral of the story.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Your Somewhat Weekly Gaming Digest: September 14th, 2011

A lot of focus on the macro of gaming is stewing about in this weekly. To start off, Peter Skerrit enumerates some gritty aspects of the evolution of the gaming industry in "A generation of disappointment." It outlines many anxieties of the gaming community feels, especially concerned with the methods larger game companies use to secure money from players. I am party to many of the points brought up, especially the diminishing of single-player experiences and the full pricing of games despite having pre-launch and Day 1 DLC for sale. This isn't a rabid, misanthropic rant thankfully, which is why I recommend it for a read and ponderance. If that's a word.

Also commenting on the nature and culture of the gaming industry, Line Hollis draws an interesting argument by using a narrative perspective to tackle the "problem" of players not finishing games. "Ending v. Resolution" uses conflict to describe how a player stays submerged within a game, and how games often fail to provide true conflict. This reminded me of my time with Catherine; while the game definitely inflict pain on you for your failures, there's an implicit assumption of the game that you're eventually going to succeed and win. The narrative of the game clearly shows this as the NPCs and character dialogue are optimistic of Vincent's chances, and the rest of the game's features hinge on his narrative success. From this perspective, there is little outside puzzle-solving that could keep the player hooked to the game, which is problematic in this particular case.

It's possible that I'm already going to be partial to everything that comes out of a blog called Ludonarratology, but Sparky Clarkson's "The Crying Game" had a particular point that really struck me. Clarkson argues against the claim of a game's mechanics being unable to make a player cry, and easily picks it apart as a claim made from (how I'd interpret it) an assumption that this isn't a medium made to be emotional. The article shows that it isn't the lack of potential for mechanics to shake someone's feelings but that the current conventions of gaming that block genuine tension in a player's emotions. As Clarkson points out, a player isn't going to be torn up about a character's death because of their decision because it's easy enough to save before hand or try the game and make one different choice to save them. I would add in that the process of a game would have to start off wanting to be an emotional trip from the start of the design rather than something to add on later, which gives a hollow feeling in the end.

Michael Abbott broaches the ever contentious issue of game reviewing, taking a seemingly radical position of dismantling "Gameplay" as the focus of game reviews. I teeter back and forth on this one; I like the idea of changing game reviews from something quantitative and trying to sell the game to a buyer, and I'd like to move reviewing from assessing worth and quality to something else. "Games aren't clocks" highlights how the community might be restrained in the way it thinks about video games by its name; if we can only think of this medium as games in the digital format, how can we assess it outside of the means of entertainment value?

While we're on the threshold of the "games as art" feeling, Brady Nash responds to G. Christopher Williams' article "Why video games might not be art" with "Reader Response Theory and Video Games." Just seeing the title crystallized a lot of the unsettled thoughts I had about Williams' article, especially about the idea of art being defined as something that is experienced without the audience members' interference. I felt the article had excluded a lot of Postmodern theory in favor of everything before it, and Nash does a good job using Reader Response as a counter point.

Taking a much needed examination of the 'New Game+' feature of many games, Nick Dinicola discusses the dissonance created by this second mode of olde in "Cyclical Stories in Video Games." The article resonated with the empty feeling running through a somewhat enhanced game when you are experiencing pretty much all the same content. Most games fail to keep narrative integrity with New Game+ by not supporting its existence in the original playthrough. This echos what I mentioned in "Creation vs Destruction in Bastion's Narrative" concerning the problematic relationship of the player's final choice in the game and the availability of New Game+ afterwards.

To tie things up, I wanted to throw in a little bit of FYI for those interested. "What is a Narrative Designer" caught my eye in my feed because I had the same exact question upon seeing it as I never heard of one. Stephen Dinehart, possibly involved with the generation of this title in game production, outlines the function and expectations of a Narrative Designer, and better yet, lets it be known that the role exists! It shows that an attitude shift is in progress to include art at the beginning of production to tie into the starting game design. I am particularly interested because it is something I see myself doing, and wanted to let others know such an option exists for those who love narratives in games.

Until next time, happy gaming!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

An Apology for RPGs

My original subtitle for this article was “and for myself,” but it also could be “I’m not sorry for anything.” You choose.

Look at all of this choice and flexi- waitaminute.
I’ve been rather grouchy with gaming lately. This new console generation hasn’t produced anything to wow me and I butterfly from one Steam sale to the next, forgetting the vast majority of games in my library. Probably because I grew into a gamer through RPGs, specifically J-RPGs, and the climate for said genre is rather… underwhelming. There has been a lot of talk about RPGs lately, particularly tugs about the definition of RPGs and the possible death of the genre. The existential panic that will begin (if not happening already) to clamor is represented by Greg Zeschuk’s (VP of BioWare) comment regarding trying to figure out what RPGs are currently. This is somewhat alarming as BioWare is oft synonymous with RPGs, but their rhetoric surrounding Mass Effect 3 sounds as if they are distancing themselves from their roots. From what I can tell, it sounds like the company feels it is abandoning a rotting ship and embracing a broader appeal.

After Final Fantasy XIII finally had me throw down my controller (read: set down with furious care [those are expensive!]) fed-up with what game designers felt were good RPGs to be charging so much money for, I knew something was wrong. This shouldn’t be happening twenty years after Final Fantasy IV. I broke off my sixteen-year relationship with Square, having pre-ordered every Final Fantasy on faith that they would be amazing. While the latest Final Fantasy was decent, I felt a company who has weighed in so much to this genre shouldn’t be producing decent games, but epic ones. Games touting their mastery of narrative, like Heavy Rain, shouldn’t think gamers are simple enough to fall for multiple endings that aren’t significantly different from one another. I noticed that the same tricks and conventions appeared repeatedly, with innovation ignored for convention humping. There has to be more to RPGs than this; my favorite genre can’t really be dying… right?

I'm glad there are games to role-play being a sex object, totally
new and fresh! 

So what is an RPG? Are-pee-Jee? Whichever.

Let me start my adventure with a large caveat: I place little value differences in definitions when it comes to concepts and genres. Definitions, to me, are useful purely for communication and not end-all Truth finding. In the end, where we decide to draw the line is completely arbitrary; you might have a convincing argument, but that doesn’t mean much in the face of Truth. I’m not looking for Truth. I seek new ideas, enlightenment, to uncover a path. Just see this as the “Where have you been?” to the “Where are you going?” Pretend I didn’t make that analogy, it’s completely inappropriate.

It would be too easy to sound off everyone else’s opinion on the matter, only to subvert them with a witticism or two afterwards; however people tend to fall into a typical ‘ludology vs narratology’-like arrangement. This frames RPGs either in their mechanic traditions (character progression, turn-based combat, stats) or as stories (complex plot, role-playing, detailed world), both extremes being problematic. These are more conventions of the genre rather than what makes them a unique way of playing a game. As Zeschuk noted, and the Mass Effect series exemplifies, as genres are appropriating more RPG elements, RPGs become flat as they have little more to offer on their own.

The worst part is, you know you'll get the same answer
and still spend a minute thinking which to choose.

Trying to take a holistic approach, I look back to Dungeons & Dragons and subsequent tabletop adventures to be the progenitor of what we consider RPGs. What makes these games both stylistically and formally distinct are their attempt to create a system where players can interact with a narrative. The rules show how players can determine something qualitative via a quantitative method, with primary focus on building a character through statistics and direct, extemporaneous acting within this game-story world. This is where I find that tingle inside me when I go to play an RPG; it has found a way for me to interact with a narrative. When we look to the start of digital RPGs, we see these conventions carry over: manage stats of a character that interacts with unseen formulas, traverse through dungeons, go on loosely related quests. Digital RPGs made it so the player didn’t need a DM nor had to remember formulas, which is definitely convenient and breakthrough use of technology. However, it didn’t add anymore to what RPGs have been doing; in actuality, these games took away methods of interacting with the narrative. So I’m going to say something a little naughty.

RPGs have been dead this entire time.

Digital ones, at least. Tabletop has continued to grow (more people [including myself] should be interested in it!) and shape how players can interact with narratives; some have pitched the idea of a DM, stats, or too many equations over all, which digital RPGs rely on. RPGs on computers haven’t done anything tabletop ones didn’t already cover, which is a huge problem. I take that back, digital RPGs have supplied us with rich visual and sonic worlds. I don’t take back the ‘huge problem’ part though. These qualities are bittersweet for RPGs, as the demand for a better audio/visual experience conflicts with the method digital RPGs enact a narrative. These games have yet to solve the issues of borrowing heavily from novels and movies while addressing the particular needs of narrative in an interactive medium. Computers may have made RPGs more convenient, but they haven’t used their unique qualities to create an experience tabletop cannot. This isn’t to say tabletop is inherently a better medium, or that I want computers to faze them out, but rather to have a genre that does more than substitute a role-playing group. There are a couple of evolutions that make it seem like current digital RPGs do allow you to interact with the narrative; choices in decisions and who your character is. These are but a fraction of the places interactivity and narratives intersect, and are rather topical. Choices often feel insignificant or unharmonious with the story, and characters can either be blank avatars or poorly planned and in need of a restart.

You're doing it wrong.

So, what’s the solution? Find out what computers can do players cannot, and work them in as mainstays to the genre. Instead of using their computational power for convenience, use it for the impossible. Create webs of cause and effect a DM wouldn’t be able to keep track of and associate all player actions with something other than statistics. Manifest audio/visual perceptions words are unable to create, and link them to the player’s progression. There is so much more, and this article isn’t about listing them off. Rather, it is a call to start thinking and implementing.

What is and isn’t an RPG is beside the point, it’s how a game appropriates the cultural understanding of what an RPG is. Video games have been using character progression through stats and experience points, a strong sense of story, and tactical strategy to draw what they can from the genre, but the heart isn’t there. What we really have are action games, interactive fiction, and shooters that use the tropes developed from tabletop RPGs. There is very little role-playing to be had; rather, you are given an extremely limited amount of ‘roles’ to ‘choose’ from.

So let’s do something, anything. Experiment and idea-dump. Take a favorite from the genre and make it so it does what RPGs are great at: letting players be a part of narrative impossible in their own realty. Create a world that tells a player “You matter, and I can’t exist without you.” Level 5’s Georama, not enough. BioWare’s dialogue trees and wheels, not enough. Square’s Active Time Battle, not enough. Bethesda’s character creation, not enough. No more multiple endings in a weak attempt to add on reply value. No more illusion of choice.

And no more freakin’ Tolkien and Star Trek!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Your Somewhat Weekly Gaming Digest: September 3rd, 2011

Let me start off this somewhat weekly with a shout-out to Line Hollis’ reflection on the game engine she’s working on in “Mouthwash: Viewpoints.” I recommend looking back into her blog to see her prior Mouthwash posts, but this article broaches the topic of digital knowledge, and the complications with such a concept. Troubleshooting through the problem of characters possessing opinions and effectively understanding which information aligns with and refutes others’ arguments begs the question of depth and importance of in-game conversation. Hollis’ work implies an unexplored land of interaction with and between characters, breaking past the artifice of interaction in dialogue trees towards organic, impromptu conversations.

Very much related is a piece that is part of a series on uses for mapping dialogue trees. Rob Newcomb uses formal logic to generate spontaneous dialogue in “Argument Maps for Unscripted Conversation” that would enable a character to accept or disagree another’s reasoning, and give their own rebuttal.  Maybe this is on the game design collective unconscious’ mind? How conversation is generated and delivered to the players always seems to be changing, and I wonder if Hollis and Newcomb are riding the next wave to come!

Now on to a topic that has me particularly worked up, the wilting and possible death of RPGs. Dylan Woodbury’s “RPG Storytelling - The Unmet Potential” is a good summary of the general unrest about RPGs that isn’t from pandering AAA game developers. What I like about Woodbury’s article is both highlighting what’s wrong and having optimism for innovation in the genre. I am interested in more input, as the conversation seems to (as with most contentious topics) ping-pong between extreme views: RPGs are a tradition never to be abandoned or stale stories that aren’t actually games and are forgettable. Woodbury makes a good point that progress is an element distinct to RPGs that has yet to be properly exploited; instead, it is a convention (leveling your character and abilities) that is adopted by other growing genres.

Rampant Coyote from Rampant Games offers a more pragmatic look at “Why the RPG Genre is Losing its Distinctiveness.”  I felt this was an honest look at the results of the pitfalls Woodbury outlined; what is fun and interesting, and how can RPGs answer to the rubric Rampant Coyote presented. It also pulls games from BioWare into question, as you can ask if they really have been making RPGs all along. Is Mass Effect really an RPG? After realizing this question, I decided no, Mass Effect isn’t an RPG, or really a hybrid RPG. I don’t really think there’s such thing as a “hybrid RPG,” because they just appropriate conventions from RPGs. However, I could go on forever about this; I definitely plan to enter this conversation, so stay tuned for that article!

Instead, let’s talk a little about BioWare’s other RPG. While !Finished’s Alex Raymond elucidates the complicated representation of Dragon Age: Origins’ religion, the Chantry, in "And I'm through with believing."  The article is precise on how it is so easy to be an atheist or otherwise skeptic of organized religion and play a game that features a society so heavily invested in one. It pulls up an interesting thought-bubble about religion in games, which I haven’t researched but would like to now; classic RPGs seem to have a heavy investment in religions, however there seems to be a large critique of religion in video games as a whole. The Final Fantasy series is notorious for recycling the story of the oppressed rebels against the corrupt empire, and a religious group is said corrupt empire in Tactics and X (you could argue this for XIII as well).

At The Border House, Quinnae breaks down the wall of “realism” and “maturity” in some games in “I’m Being So Sincere Right Now: Gaming as Hyperreality.” The article is particularly engaging because it analyzes the buzz-wording of “mature;” does mature really mean engaging for older audiences, or just showcasing racy, late-night images? Quinnae effortlessly assembles a dissection of how privilege infiltrates games trying to portray reality and mature topics, and is a must-read for skeptics of how the perspective of middle/upper-class heterosexual men are ingrained in how we reference reality in games.

And just in case it seems like I’m favoring RPG/story-heavy games (which I will shamelessly admit to), here is a spot-on critique of multiple-ending games and their incongruencies (I might have just made up that word). In “Thematic Confusion in the Branching Narratives of Video Games,” Nick Dinicola rather simply points out how games that boast choice and different endings actually degrade the story and game overall by having endings that make no sense existing in the same game. While I’ll leave being convinced to you and the article, I feel like it explains why so many multiple-ending games give very little motivation to view them all through the gameplay. Instead of seeing endings that vary significantly and logically from one another, games usually give endings with minute yet extreme differences between one another. Add that in the pile of criticisms RPGs have to work on!

Until next time, happy gaming!