Editor's Note: Playing a Role

Playing a Role

Russ Pitts surmises that, not only games, but all of life is roleplaying and that we should remember why it's important.

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Roleplaying? I love it. I do it all the time. When I ring friends, they never hear the same accent twice.

But I do agree. When I feel I have to act "mature" that's the first thing that stops. No more runnung around headbanging to the horrible pop music in the mall, no more pretending to be in "ze salon" when I do my hair. And when I do try to "grow up" I lose myself. Because I don't enjoy Felicity the mature girl. She is boring, anxious and obsessive.

I'm so lucky to have a partner and friends who understand and encourage me. I think sometimes I am the person who expresses what everyone else wishes they could. I have strong friends and equally strong enemies, but I don't think anyone thinks I am boring... unless I'm pretending to be so...

Thanks for the note, Russ. You've given me a new appreciation for my character-playing tendencies!

For my first silly hat I choose the sombrero, then maybe a cork hat?

I'm already wearing a pageboy cap...I'll go steal my co-workers baseball cap next.

I agree completely with what you said about playing roles. It helps you figure out who you are. When I was little, my friend and I would play Power Rangers in my backyard. When we would have spare ribs for dinner, my brothers and I would pretend we were the T-Rexs from The Lost World. I've had a vivid, active imagination my whole life, and I've played every role I can think of, either by myself or with friends. Sometimes they're people I don't like, and that's mainly what helps me figure who I am and who I want to be. I've been involved in theater since the age of 12, so I play pretend on a regular basis. It's helped me really know myself by showing me who I'm not. I'm never going to be your typical girl who loves shopping because playing Sharpay in High School Musical was so foreign to me. I know that I'm a tomboy because playing Anybodys in West Side Story was a breeze. I get a lot of crap for my theater interests, but I know that it's done me so much good.

It's good to hear a good defense of roleplaying. Thanks :)

One of the best Ed. Notes I've read in a while...
I totally Agree with some of the article, like always playing a role when I'm around others. But when I'm on my own, I still play like I'm a kid. I'm 18 let I have played with Lego in the last few months. Some may call me childish, but I prefer to think of it as free. Of course I wouldn't admit this to anyone I know, Just strangers on the Internet.

Also, a few weeks/months ago, I went for a big walk across the mountains with some food, some iPod speakers and my Airsoft gun and I pretended I was in some kind of Mad Max esk world where I was like a lone wanderer just tyring to survive.

Admitidly... A large amount of drugs may have something to do with my ability to connect with my inner child but hey, at least I can.

Pretty much summarises my own feelings on childlike behaviour. One with fewer restrictions as opposed to 'this thing grownups should never ever do because REAL men know how to TAKE the pain.' Yeech.

Granted no restrictions is not always a good idea. But I wish people would see it moreso like what was written here rather than this macho-BS that I keep encountering from other men (and even women) who still go around in their lives yammering how people that know how to cut loose in front of a videogame are far more childish than say...all the alcoholic arses who cut loose at a party by getting into fights or being an attention-seeker.

Both of it is childish behaviour in my eyes with our restrictions set aside. Yet the latter is more accepted because...alcohol is this thing everybody does and it's fun to lose control and hurt others as opposed to let loose in the hopes of drawing other people in with your fun? Ah well...nice one regardless.

It's a great post, but I think people make fun of role-playing because of some genuine faults with current RPGs. Mostly that they are built around letting the player vicariously live out a shallow fantasy. While we do learn something about ourselves when we play role-playing games, the enlightenment we derive from the experience is usually not something we think about much nor does it have a profound effect on our day to day lives. The real reason we play these games is the chance to be famous, talented, intelligent, a psychotic crowbar wielding physics post-doc, so on and so forth. But then we come back to reality and the only place the game leaves a lasting effect is on our social lives.

This isn't a commentary on the people who play RPGs as everyone is entitled to their own fantasies. This is more a commentary on the people who capitalize on the fantasies, that is, the game creators. Instead of creating yet another rip off of JRR Tolken to make money (or fulfill their own fantasies) they should use Bogost's idea of procedural rhetoric and challenge the gamer to think about their world and reality the same way good books, movies and other art forms do.

Image a game where the player's heroic warrior could be slowly convinced into demonizing the enemy until the warrior is committing horrible acts against them before calling them out on it. Or an elf who struggles against the backwater and rural stereotype humans place on him, then draw parallels to prejudices in modern society.

A gamer could then use the role-playing to viscerally experience and come away with something. This has been done before (Bioware usually does a good job) but it's rarely the focus or even intentional.

PS: My apologies for the pretentiousness of the post.

I do like my Western rpg's....

But you're right- dressing up was always so much fun as a kid I continued to do it as an adult.

In college I dressed up and pretended to be a Medieval Irish spearman in a Reenacting group, and then later, I dressed up as an ex-SAS mercenary for Airsoft games with my other, equally nutty friends :P

Great editor's note, Mr. Pitts!

Just another part of the Curse of Grayface. Strive to speak in a funny accent whenever possible!

Because I tend to get apathetic when I'm working, I realized I was unconsciously imitating the mannerisms of whoever I talked to when I answered the phone (since I was supressing my own). Now I do it consciously.

Who didn't play cops and robbers? Cowboys and ... natives? Doctor and ...

...sexy nurse? I don't think children play that one, Russ.

I gotta say that this was a terrific piece. It was great to see a justification for roleplaying. When I'm working on a story, I often say the dialogue out loud to see how it sounds. Being able to put yourself into a cast of characters is a great, and challenging, feat...as anyone who's ever tried to do so can attest. Thank you for this.

A fabulous editors note Russ. :) I couldn't agree more! I love my still active imagination. It's such a wonderful asset in today's world.


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