Ok so I am going thru some of my older gaming stuff yesterday, and I stumble upon Gamma World. Gamma World was one of my favorite games, next to D D; of course, and I was amazed at how much I still remembered about the game. When I was at a game store a while back I looked at the new Gamma World rules and I was appalled. It was a game that did not deserve to be called Gamma World. Then I started thinking about gaming in general. Whatever happened to the simple games that we used to play? The games today are a result of unimaginative players/ game masters that need rules for every single thing spelled out for them.
When you think about it gaming has evolved around the same lines as our Federal Government. In the beginning it was up to the individual to take care of themselves. Now the Federal Government is taking care of everyone in one form or another. Now back to the evolution of gaming. When D D; was first created it was a framework of rules. Within this framework you could conceivably create anything you wanted. The neat thing about this is what you created was different from what everyone else created. Now there are more rules for every situation. Now I am not saying that a game should be complete anarchy, unless you are playing Paranoia, but I think the magic of gaming was being able to come to a rules resolution on your own. Now more time is spent pouring thru manuals trying to extract every modifier that we can to get the best possible outcome. Need to barter with a local merchant? A old fashioned charisma check isn’t good enough anymore. Now you have to have the skill, which is charisma based anyway, and lookup every modifier to get the correct outcome.
The Game Master has been boiled down to running monsters and handing out treasures. No longer is he a judge of the rules. We now have a skill system to tell us what we can and can not do. No longer can he say “Make this check.”, or “Roll for this.”. Now he has a strict framework that he must work within. The rules have taken the fun out of gaming.
I am going to finish before I start sounding like an old man on a park bench griping about the state of things today. I just remember a day when gaming was simpler and, as a result, more fun.