January 8th, 2007

Tea-drinker par excellence

Is this why you play D&D?

Overjustification Effect

Description
This occurs where I attribute my behavior more to a conspicuous extrinsic motivator than to intrinsic reasons. This effect is less when rewards are given for performance success rather than simply completing tasks, but can still be significant.

Research
Greene, Sternberg and Lepper (1976) played mathematical games with schoolchildren, which the children seemed to enjoy. After a while, they started giving rewards for success. When they took away the rewards, the children quickly gave up playing the games. [Also those children who were not rewarded gave up the game less quickly].

The explanation was that the children had decided that they were playing for the reward, not for the fun.

Example
I play a roleplaying game which does not lead to particularly good play sessions. I do it only because I have been trapped into collecting experience points.

Perhaps this is why I don't play much d20 if I can help it.
Guerilla Roleplayer

What is most important to you in Call of Cthulhu

So I did another poll about what is attractive to players of the game. Once again I asked people to shoe-horn their responses into one category. Here are the results:

What is most important to you in a game of Call of Cthulhu?
17% (8%-31%) The player character
41% (27%-57%) The mystery
30% (18%-46%) The fear
4% (1%-15%) The action
0% (0%-6%) The climax of the game
6% (1%-18%) How it relates to the Mythos
Total Votes : 46

In the thread, some indicated that they read "fear" to cover the general atmosphere of the game, which is fair enough. I had asked for interpretations to be rather loose. I was surprised that anyone put the relation of the game to the Mythos as their answer. I would have bet on more people being interested in an exciting climax to the game than that.

So it seems that most players are interested in plot, atmosphere - or how the plot is delivered - comes second, and player characters, or the medium through which players interact with the plot comes third. Of course it is possible to have atmosphere and good player characters without plot as such but I'm giving plot the larger interpretation of what happens in the game rather than what was planned to happen in the game.

Action is very low. Players are more interested in the build up than any climactic or racy scenes. All in all this sounds much more like MR James than HPL who never seemed to shy away much from action or climax.
Give me rock or give me death

Pan's Labyrinth

We saw this tonight. It's now Paula's favourite film and I consider it excellent too. The whole look is very grimy and dark with occasional light patches, at the end of the tunnel as it were. The story is romantic, a fairy tale embedded in the Spanish revolution, but refreshingly unsentimental and easily Del Toro's best since Chronos.

It would be good if he were given this latitude with Hellboy 2 but I don't expect the studio to be that brave.