Every once in a while, I go back to the Indie Megamix Mixtape. It’s a rather large collection of tiny indie RPGs inspired by songs and created to raise money for creators in need. I have intentionally treated every game as a single entity and taken my time to look at them. In fact, I think this is the first time I’ve looked at the collection this year.
Friday, November 20, 2020
Bleed in RPGs needs purpose
The Sound of Silence is a game for two-players.
You define a relationship between the two characters and a fight. Then you privately decide how you feel about the fight. Then you sit back to back and try to resolve things.
There’s a fine line in a lot of indie games between RPG/Storytelling and therapy techniques, particularly in short forms like game poems. The Sound of Silence might actually completely cross that line. And I’m not sure that’s a good thing.
A concept I have spent too much time thinking about is bleed. That’s when real feelings bleed over into game play.
When I first came across the idea (which was in a discussion about Wraith: the Oblivion, by the way), I didn’t like it. It struck me as both emotionally dangerous and getting in the way of the whole escapist point of RPGs.
Since then, I have quite changed my tune. Bleed can be not just powerful but useful. Games like Polaris and My Life With Master are two good examples of that. Although I say that with the caveat of Emily Care Boss’s guideline that everyone needs to be safe and protected.
But I can’t help but feel that The Sound of Silence is bleed for the sake of bleed and that just seems unnecessary.