It’s official: I’ve had an RPG published by MIT Press.
My author copy of Second Person: Role-Playing and Story in Games and Playable Media (ed. Pat Harrigan and Noah Wardrip-Fruin) arrived today, and it’s a goodie. Four hundred pages of essays and discussions on all aspects of interactive narrative, story-telling and character in games and games design, written by a veritable B to Z of industry notables, from Ian Bogost to Eric Zimmerman.
In between there’s the likes of George R. R. Martin, Kim Newman, Jordan Mechner, Chris Crawford and Steve Meretzkyâ€”and old muckers of mine like Greg Costikyan, John Tynes, Jonathan Tweet, Ken Hite and Rebecca Borgstrom. (In fact, harking back to the last post, there’s two Diana Jones winners in here, and five members of the DJA committee. Go us.)
I have two pieces in Second Person: a paper on a design methodology for games that create stories as part of their gameplay (e.g. Dark Cults, Once Upon a Time, The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen), and an abridged but playable reprint of the latter game. In fact there’s three RPGs in the book: Greg Costikyan’s Bestial Acts is also included, alongside John Tynes’ Puppetland which I had the honour of publishing as a New Style game, back in the Hogshead days. In fact John, Greg and I wrote the first three of the five New Style games. Excuse me if I grin like a Cheshire cat.
Before I saw the book IÂ was a little afraid that its tone would be as dry as First Person (MIT, 2004) which is hard work for those of us who’ve been out of academia for twenty years, and that my piece would make me look like a yokel as a result. I’ve only dipped and skimmed so far, but it all looks accessible for those of us who don’t speak fluent academe, and with really meaty thought-provoking content. I seem to have more pages overall than anyone else in the bookâ€”it’s not just Munchausen‘s fault, my paper is one of the longest tooâ€”and I’m not yet convinced that I’ve avoided yokel status. But Second Person will still be taking pride of place on my Shelf of Smug for some time to come.
Second Person is probably the definitive work on the development and state of the art in narratology (plus some guff about games that make stories). If you take games seriously thenÂ you should at least check out the book’s website which… uh, doesn’t seem to be up yet. Okay, then you should definitely drop $40 on this handsome 400-page hardback. Amazon.co.uk has it for Â£20.50.
(ListÂ ofÂ contributorsÂ here;Â introduction as downloadableÂ PDF here.)