We’ve discussed, from several angles and across a number of posts, the “being there” of RPGs, whether computer or live. Yet I feel my best involvement, my greatest sense of “being there”, hasn’t come from RPGs at all.

One reason is that creating an alternate persona already puts me step away from “reality”. Typically, the character is faster, stronger, healthier, and more agile than me. Also, the character has skills, whether physical or magical, that I don’t possess.

Of course, there is still emotional involvement in creation and playing. For instance, I can only play a character that expresses something of myself in some way.

And I certainly care about what happens to that character over the course of a game. So it’s not as though I were disconnected from the experience.

However, where I have had the most involving feeling, that sense of “being there”, has been in certain adventure games. The ones that make few or no assumptions about you.

Zork is a good example. It was easy to believe that I had somehow stumbled onto the “Great Underground Empire”, and that I, personally, was running around solving all the puzzles.

It was much the same in Barrow Hill, which also made no assumptions about the player, except that he or she is driving across the British countryside and has an accident.

On the other hand, a game such as Scratches or Nancy Drew has me one step back. The main character in these games is not me. They’re just people I manipulate through a story (however good or bad), and through whom I solve the puzzles.

That doesn’t mean I think a game with a “feature character” is necessarily bad. Some have been quite enjoyable. Yet there is always that feeling of apartness to them.

So, while RPGs can be fun and give an opportunity to “role-play”, only in particular adventure games do I feel that’s really me there. Not a make-believe character. In the end, egoist that I am, I just gotta be me ;)miniscorp