Tengo algunos juegos favoritos, ¡pero sopórtenme por un momento!
|Hace juegos excelentes, nos da una entrevista maravillosa |
y además nos recomienda juegos independientes... ¡Muchas gracias Vincent!
Eres uno de los mayores diseñadores independientes de juegos de rol en la actualidad, y sin dudas la escena del pasatiempo nunca volverá a ser la misma después de tus creaciones. Pero, ¿cómo comenzó todo? ¿Cómo decidiste ser un diseñador de juegos?
He sido un diseñador de juegos desde mi infancia. Nunca tomé ninguna decisión al respecto, que yo sepa. He estado diseñando juegos de rol desde que jugué Zork en, digamos, 1981.
El diseño de los juegos de rol ha evolucionado tanto que sin dudas ya ha ganado valor como una forma de arte. Y como tal, cada autor tiene sus propias técnicas, sus propios rituales y sus propios estilos, que hacen cada creación especial. ¿Cómo describirías tu estilo? ¿Qué pasa por tu mente durante el proceso creativo?
Mi esposa Meguey dice que la única cosa que me hace más miserable que escribir es no escribir. Estoy semi-bromeando, pero en verdad realmente sufro todo el proceso de crear cosas. Es mucho trabajo, solitario, te aísla y te frustra. Tienes un momento de hermosa intuición, y luego el proceso de expresarla es una larga picadora de compromiso sobre compromiso. Sería más fácil quedarse en cama.
Apocalypse World, una de tus mayores creaciones, está actualmente dando forma a incontables juegos independientes. Desde Dungeon World a Night Witches, pasando por tremulus y Ghost Lines, hemos visto al motor de Apocalypse World adaptarse a las más variadas atmósferas. ¿Por qué crees que esto ha pasado? ¿Cuáles crees que son sus límites?
Apocalypse World ofrece un marco claro y de fácil adaptación para analizar casualmente un género y expresar tu análisis en un juego con piezas bien separadas. Puedes ver una secuencia de acción en una película, o leer una secuencia de investigación en un libro, o imaginar una secuencia de gato-y-ratón en tu cabeza, y entonces Apocalypse World provee una forma de organizar y diseñar lo que viste sucediendo y lo que pensaste al respecto. Supongo que es por eso que se ha difundido de la forma en que lo hizo, y por lo que la gente se ha adaptado de forma tan amplia.
Apocalypse World: Dark Age es un juego que Meguey y yo estamos creando juntos. Ha terminado con su primera ronda de pruebas públicas oficiales, y no resultó bien. Algunas personas aman el potencial que ven en él (como yo), pero para demasiados, era un juego enloquecedor que realmente no les agradó. Así que tenemos que rediseñarlo. Nuestra tarea ahora es decidir si lo aligeramos o lo redoblamos. Sé cuál de esas opciones elegiría yo, pero con suerte Meguey va a lograr hacerme entrar en razón.
I do have some favorite games, but bear with me!
When you design games, the whole question of "favorite games" gets complicated and funny. My relationship with games isn't just as a player and fan anymore. I have a professional relationship with games, which means that sometimes I have to work politely and effectively with a game even though I secretly hate its guts. I have an editorial relationship with games, which means that sometimes I have to dispassionately dissect them and watch them bleed, even though my heart cries out with love for them. I have an artistic relationship with them, which means that sometimes I have to trust them and follow them where they lead me, even though I DON'T trust them and I SHOULDN'T follow them and I know that they'll just abandon me when the whim takes them. Which they do. I have a creative relationship with games, which means that sometimes I have to give them life even though I've stitched them together from the abandoned parts of criminals, miscreants, and the dead.
My favorite roleplaying games right now are Dulce et Decorum by Troels Ken Pedersen, Beloved by Ben Lehman, and Steal Away Jordan by Julia Bond Ellingboe. Ask me again tomorrow and maybe it'll be a different list!
You are one of the largest independent developers RPGs today, and undoubtedly the hobby scene will never be the same after your creations. But how did it all begin? How did you decide to be a game designer?
I've been a game designer since my childhood. I never had any choice about it, that I could tell. I've been designing roleplaying games since I played Zork in like 1981.
In the 90s I designed a bunch of games appropriate for the day and my age (that is, my 20s). I designed a game like Blue Planet, a game like Cyberpunk, a game like Talislanta. All sprawling things, all a hundred pages long before I gave up in despair at the thought of finding publishers for them. In those days, I don't know, but it never seemed like publishing a game was a thing you could do. You found a publisher, if you were lucky, and goodness knows you never made a cent from it.
Right around the turn of the millennium I decided that screw it, I'd make short, punchy little games that I could publish off the copy machine at work and share with my friends. I made a game called the Cheap & Cheesy Fantasy Game (because C&C comes before D&D in the phone book, you see). I made one about Quantum Leap-style time travel. And in 2001 I made the game that would launch this whole absurd endeavor: kill puppies for satan.
In 2002 I happened upon the Forge, which was a webforum dedicated to independently published rpgs, and with the support of my new friends there I was able to kick off a modest con circuit. kill puppies for satan sold surprisingly well, and bankrolled my next game, Dogs in the Vineyard, which sold shockingly well, so it could bankroll the game after, and that's how it's been from then on.
RPG design has evolved so much that it has undoubtedly gained value as a form of art. And as such, every author has its own techniques, its own rituals and its own styles, which make every creation special. How would you describe your style? What goes through your mind during the creative process?
My wife Meguey says that the only thing that makes me more miserable than writing, is not writing. I half-jokingly but really kind of actually resent the whole process of creating things. It's hard work, lonely, isolating, frustrating. You have a moment of beautiful insight, and then the process of expressing it is one long grind of compromise upon compromise. It would be easier to stay in bed.
Sometimes when I'm working on a game I'll come downstairs, interrupt what Meguey is doing, insist that she roll some dice in this arcane way, without explanation, then storm off again, muttering to myself. It's not civil behavior.
Apocalypse World, one of your greatest creations, is currently shaping countless independent games. From Dungeon World to Night Witches, through tremulus and Ghost Lines, we have seen the Apocalypse World engine adapt to the most varied atmospheres. Why do you think this has happened? What do you think are its limits?
Apocalypse World provides a clear and easily-adapted framework for casually analyzing genre and expressing your analysis in single-size game parts. You can watch an action sequence in a movie, or read an investigation sequence in a book, or imagine a cat-and-mouse sequence in your own head, and then Apocalypse World provides a way for you to organize and design what you saw happening and what you think of it. My guess is that this is why it has caught on like it has, and why people have adapted it so widely.
At the same time, Apocalypse World has an undeniable starting point, genre-wise, which is the sex-and-violence ensemble drama genre. I think that the further designers go from that genre, the more fundamentally they have to redesign Apocalypse World to meet their needs. You can see a little bit of what I mean in my game Murderous Ghosts. Murderous Ghosts is a game in the _you're that guy in the first 20 minutes of the horror movie who gets totally murdered by ghosts_ genre. I had to strip Apocalypse World down to its bones and rebuild it completely differently to make it work for Murderous Ghosts.
I think that ultimately the rpg creative world is going to fully metabolize Apocalypse World, and we'll see it spread unrecognizably thin through the makeup of future games. This is what always happens! It happened to D&D, to Champions, to Call of Cthulhu, to every game any designer ever played.
We know you have some ideas up your sleeve, like Apocalypse World: Dark Age. What is the status of this project? What other things do you see in your future as a game designer?
Apocalypse World:Dark Age is a game Meguey and I are creating together. It's finished with its first round of official public playtesting, and it didn't playtest well. A few people love the potential they see in it (like I do), but for too many, it was a maddening game they didn't really like. So we have to redesign it. Our task now is to decide whether to lighten up or double down. I know which _I'd_ choose, but hopefully Meguey will be able to talk sense into me.
Meanwhile Meguey and I both have other projects going. I'm always working on, I don't know, 5-10 different games. One of the ones I'm working on most eagerly right now is like the Dark Age's mirror image, a low-prep and freewheeling fantasy adventure game. It's coming together fast and easy and I'm going to go public with it for a first look soon.
Come to think of it, there's a lot of the Cheap & Cheesy in this game. Huh! Who knew.