Of Strings and Trauma Simulators

There’s a trend in nerd culture or fandom to attribute moral failings to the things we don’t like. It’s not enough for something to be not our cup of tea, or bad, it must also be harmful, destructive, problematic, etc. And to be sure, there is a great deal of harmful, destructive, and problematic stuff in fan culture and media. I bring it up only because that is what I don’t, in this case, want to do for some of the games (or types of games) I talk about generally here. I don’t think these games are morally corrosive or even necessarily bad. I’ve enjoyed a few, in specific circumstances. They just, generally, lie firmly on the “not my cup of tea” end of the spectrum, and I’d like to talk about why.

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Mutants in the Night – Other Worlds

I’m not a big fan of post-apocalyptic fiction. Or the apocalypse either, for that matter. In my mind, it’s usually portrayed as wish-fulfillment of the worst sort. Everything has gone to hell, things are awful, but hey, you made it through unscathed. And look at all the zombies, raiders, or insert-other-here, just begging for a violent comeuppance. There are the occasional vague gestures towards to how “terrible” things are, and how bad you should feel for enjoying this consequence-free land of violence and pain, but it always rings a bit hollow to me. At least Day of the Dead was honest about it.

For it’s part, Mutants in the Night harkens back to the sentiment and message of Night of the Living Dead more than Mad Max. Your protagonist might be trapped by zombies, but at the end of the day, it’s racist cops that eventually put you in the ground.

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About “Other Worlds”

Hello there! Let’s talk about Other Worlds. Other Worlds is a writing series I’m going to try doing more of on this blog. My aim will be to offer critique and analysis of indie tabletop RPGs that I don’t see getting a lot of attention. Now, there’s new TTRPGs every day, so analyzing them all would be literally impossible. So instead, I’m going to try to go in-depth on games that have ideas or mechanics that are personally interesting to me.

This is NOT intended to be a review series, and the goal with these essays isn’t to convince you to buy / not buy a given product. Instead, I’ll be trying to focus on what games do well and what interesting ideas they bring to the table. I’ll be focused on what’s in the text of the games, not what I think “should” have been written in or expanded on.

Anyways, that’s what’s up. Hope you enjoy!