in the Shadow of Greatness


May 20, 2005

20x20: games that won't let go

The 20' By 20' Room: Ghosts of Games Past

Everybody should have a game (from the past) they love. What's yours?

In Blog, Jvstin Style: Ghosts of Games Past, the choice is Karen Groves' Thy Kingdom Come. I agree it was a startlingly wonderful slant on Amber. I do miss the chemistry of that game, even though it was chemistry that brought it down.

And I could list 'To Live and Die in Texorami' as the game I really wish I were playing. Then again, it's not completely impossible that I'll get another shot at it. Cons just don't seem to be in my future at the moment.

But my real nostalgia right now is a game that I thought I was over. Somehow I've been back on the web pages re-reading old posts and realizing that I did some of my best work ever.

A Grand Affair.

Started from an innovative premise: that experienced players could handle major Elder NPCs from day one to allow the game to run without deep GM investment, and that a game covering ten days of intense events in Amber would both rev up and limit the game commitment. 'Grand Affair' was a game that staggered and leapt through two 'death blows' as if the entirety was too vigorous to die. In some ways, it seemed stronger each time it picked itself up from a blow.

But like some mythic leviathan with a secret doom, along came a third mortal wound to end the tale.

In some ways GA isn't dead. I met some wonderful writers and gamers and found out things about my own perspective on gaming that I'll cherish. I can unexpectedly still get compliments about the many characters I created for that game. I've seen a couple games around the web take up creative influences from GA as well. No finer immortality than passing on the myth.

There is a part of my heart that tells me that there will never be as liberating and creative a gaming experience as 'A Grand Affair'. But I expect the things that made it so wonderful, as with the other games listed above, is that I learned important things and carried them forward.

Here's a toast to the next amazing game. Cheers!

Filed under : Amber, Meme at 20.05.2005