Friday, 21 August 2015

An elaborate idea that'll never go anywhere.

I often say that random systems are more fun. I may mean that they are more fun for the GM. Let me give you an example that does not strictly relate to role-playing games.

I was talking to fellow blogger Happyfett, with whom I write for Bad Movie Marathon, about limitations in filmmaking. Specifically, I was saying that it was easy to admire the pluck, creativity and ingenuity of low-budget filmmakers, even when the movies they produced were not any good. For example, I watched the special features of the Asylum Sherlock Holmes film, and it was clear that the people making the film were youngsters working on a project with no resources and no time, frantically improvising, dragooning local residents and their dogs into the movie and just generally doing their best. They were so clearly enjoying themselves that it was hard to remember what a punch in the eye their piece-of-shit movie was. 

That's why we enjoy reading about Roger Corman (his book, How I Made A Hundred Movies In Hollywood and never lost a dime, is a lot of fun) even though we would generally prefer not to watch a Roger Corman film, at least not without a few drinks.

And it's fun because of the limitations -- but deciding what limitations are is seldom fun. Thus the appeal of randomness for the person making the decisions; I'm never (well, seldom) surprised by my own choices, but I can be as surprised by anyone else by the roll of a die or the turn of a card.

Which is why I think being a B-movie mogul would be a fun card game, computer game or even live megagame.

I realise that's kind of already Deadwood, but that's themed around cowboys and acting. I want to play the hack whose job it is to bring this stinker in under budget and kind-of good.  

I have no idea about mechanics other than that I want time to be a gamble -- the longer you spend making it, the better it'll be but the more likely the kids will get tired of whatever trend you're exploiting -- and that I would like the title to be selected at random, possibly by flipping over cards. (Flip) "I was a ..." (Flip) "... teenage ..." (Flip) "... motorcycle ..." (Flip) "... crocodile."

If it were a live game, you could have people as directors, producers, even stars, journalists, agents, stuff like that. People could write scripts in real time, even rehearse and perform scenes (you'd have to say that the actual film is only about 10 minutes long). Maybe screenwriters get given random stock footage, props and producers' obsessions ("It's gotta have a buffalo! The kids, they love the buffalos!") from which to cobble together their plots. There could be popcorn and the whole thing could end with a screening of some dreadful old movie.

You'd need some kind of additional plot in there, of course -- communists, aliens, gangsters, etc. But I think the idea's got merit, particularly as a con game. In theory you could even treat con attendees as filmgoers and have people try to "sell" their movies to them, but I'm always wary about involving other people at cons in live games. It feels rude.

Anyway, since I'm not likely ever to make a mobile game or a brightly-coloured £35 card game ... ah, who am I foolin', I'm never gonna make a megagame either. So there you have it. Just thinking aloud again. 

1 comment:

  1. I envisage a mechanic where you turn the trend cards up in a line, and they have a tolerance number, and once that number of films have been made using them, bam! they get replaced and your werewolf Robin Hood picture is looking a little silly now everyone's into robots and the Korean War.