Second Person: Role-Playing and Story in Games and Playable Media

Critical Writing
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Abstract (in English): 

Game designers, authors, artists, and scholars discuss how roles are played and how stories are created in role-playing games, board games, computer games, interactive fictions, massively multiplayer games, improvisational theater, and other "playable media."

Games and other playable forms, from interactive fictions to improvisational theater, involve role playing and story—something played and something told. In Second Person, game designers, authors, artists, and scholars examine the different ways in which these two elements work together in tabletop role-playing games (RPGs), computer games, board games, card games, electronic literature, political simulations, locative media, massively multiplayer games, and other forms that invite and structure play.

Second Person—so called because in these games and playable media it is "you" who plays the roles, "you" for whom the story is being told—first considers tabletop games ranging from Dungeons & Dragons and other RPGs with an explicit social component to Kim Newman's Choose Your Own Adventure-style novel Life's Lottery and its more traditional author-reader interaction. Contributors then examine computer-based playable structures that are designed for solo interaction—for the singular "you"—including the mainstream hit Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and the genre-defining independent production Façade. Finally, contributors look at the intersection of the social spaces of play and the real world, considering, among other topics, the virtual communities of such Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs) as World of Warcraft and the political uses of digital gaming and role-playing techniques (as in The Howard Dean for Iowa Game, the first U.S. presidential campaign game).

In engaging essays that range in tone from the informal to the technical, these writers offer a variety of approaches for the examination of an emerging field that includes works as diverse as George R.R. Martin's Wild Cards series and the classic Infocom game Planetfall. Appendixes contain three fully-playable tabletop RPGs that demonstrate some of the variations possible in the form.

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Pull Quotes: 

"Selling US Wars is a collection of essays by renowned experts from around the world. It examines the excuses for war - nuclear weapons, terrorism, "failed states," drugs, humanitarian intervention, and democracy - and analyzes the pretexts for the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as Washington's aggressive policies in Colombia, Palestine, and Iran. It gets behind the subterfuges to expose how Washington's spin-doctors worked to present its wars as humane, lawful, and necessary to keep Americans safe - and why the campaigns sometimes succeeded."--BOOK JACKET

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second person cover

Contents (Critical Writing):

Title Author
Creating a Meaning-Machine: The Deck of Stories Called Life in the Garden Eric Zimmerman
Deikto: A Language For Interactive Storytelling Chris Crawford
Design Decisions and Concepts in Licensed Collectible Card Games Eric Lang, Pat Harrigan
Enlightening Interactive Fiction: Andrew Plotkin's Shade Jeremy Douglass
Fretting the Player Character Nick Montfort
From the Basement to the Basic Set: The Early Years of Dungeons & Dragons Erik Mona
Games, Storytelling, and Breaking the String Greg Costikyan
GRIOT's Tales of Haints and Seraphs: A Computational Narrative Generation System D. Fox Harrell
INTRODUCTION of "Second Person: Role-Playing and Story in Games and Playable Media" Pat Harrigan, Noah Wardrip-Fruin
Making Games That Makes Stories James Wallis
My Life with Master: The Architecture of Protagonism Paul Czege
Narrative Structure and Creative Tension in Call of Cthulhu Kenneth Hite
On "The Haunted House" Keith Herber
On And Then There Were None Lee Sheldon
On Character Creation Everway Jonathan Tweet
On Juvenate Marie-Laure Ryan
On Life's Lottery Kim Newman
On Mystery of the Abbey Bruno Faidutti
On Savoire-Faire Emily Short
On Soft Cinema: Mission to Earth Lev Manovich
On Solitaire Helen Thorington
On The Archer's Flight Mark Keavney
On The Breakup Conversation Robert Zubek
On the Wild Cards Series George R. R. Martin
On Twelve Easy Lessons to Better Time Travel Mark C. Marino
One Story, Many Media Kevin Wilson
Pax, Writing, and Change Stuart Moulthrop
RE: Authoring Magritte: The Brotherhood of the Bent Billiard Talan Memmott
Structure and Meaning in Role-Playing Game Design Rebecca Borgstrom
The book's "Second Person" the 1st chapter's "Tabletop System" description of (p. 1-5)
The Creation of Floyd the Robot in Planetfall Steve Meretzky
The Sands of Time Jordan Mechner
Writing Façade: A Case Study in Procedural Authorship Michael Mateas

Contents (Creative Works):

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12 Easy Lessons to Better Time Travel Mark C. Marino

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Mark Marino