I’ve been fascinated with Michael Abbot’s class playing Fallout, and he’s posted reflections on a class where students shared autobiographies of their Fallout characters. It highlights the power that really drives RPGs, in a way that game developers have been trying to express for a long time. We struggle because so much of the RPG experience has been a single player experience. Here it is shared, which gives it some new level of meaning.
It reminds me of the Sims machinima – how players would make movies of their Sims to express their character’s identity, but many RPG PCs are even more personal then the Sims. It seems like there is a new model in here for RPGs – some new way of highlighting and expressing these personalities through sharing them with the world. I recall struggling on Star Wars: Force Unleashed with how to design meaningful moral choices; few games have ever done meaningful good/evil well. Maybe the solution is to give a choice on making choices visible – not so much for who the player themselves is, but for displaying the depth of what the player has discovered and created.
A new mechanic perhaps? Social networking for role-players, so to speak.