It Is Still Forbidden

It Is Forbidden is still a powerful little game engine, and continues to surprise me. I had a request to run it at GX last weekend and someone beautifully suggested that our “bones” as I call them be game conventions. I’ve always said the game works in any setting, so I was mad keen to try it – and it worked like a charm. I had to scale it back to the “softer” option in the rules, where the rounds are Annoy, Insult and Injury, as Death seemed a little extreme, but otherwise, it worked great.

The Residents were the Computer Game Convention. The con was bountiful because it had heaps of corporate sponsorship but was harsh because of a lack of outlets. The Newcomers were the Boardgamers, who were happy to see that the con had a much more diverse clientele than boardgames have on their own. But the con was harsh because it was so very loud and busy.

The videogamers were strange because they dressed in funny clothes that took great effort, whereas the boardgamers barely remembered to pull their pants up to their nipples and put on their crocs. The boardgamers were strange because they looked people in the eye.

The videogame tribe were represented by the Vulnerable, a young boy dropped off for convention babysitting, and the Storyteller who passed on the lore, aka a web journalist who reviewed local cons. The boardgame tribe in our story were represented by the Provider, he who brings the games, and the High Priest, he who makes sure the tournaments run and the rules are followed.

In round one, the boardgamers set up in the wrong space, hogging all the powerboards, which was very annoying. Meanwhile the videogamers pushed past everyone in the table areas.

In round two, things got worse. The youtubers making hilarious con videos videotaped everyone and the boardgamers found that extremely intimidating because of the aforementioned lack of fashion. The videogamers meanwhile were running dance dance revolution right next to the seating area, and the boardgamers made them turn down the volume, which is not cool.

On the last day, tempers were high. Videogamers had promised their fans that they’d be able to try the hottest new VR tech, but it was so popular it dragged people away from tournaments they had promised to run or attend, so again, the board gamers took matters into their own hands and pulled people out of the line. Later, board gamers were busy putting things back into boxes so everyone’s games were intact and pristine but that meant they weren’t at the closing ceremony, which the videogamers took as a huge diss. And after all the insults, this would not stand. Punches were thrown and a melee broke out.

In the end, the journalist ended up going to the hospital with a broken jaw. The reviews on kotaku were damning – everyone knew this new con couldn’t control its staff or its fans. But the two tribes came together to talk peace. In the end, peace demanded separation: the con would try again next year, but with an iron curtain cast between the two hobbies, separated in two different building, each with their own sign up and their own rules. Coexistence only through segregation –  a sad, sad day for the gamers.

The Rules of The Videogamers were:

  • Thou Shalt Not Monopolise The Sacred Power Outlets They Must Be Shared With All
  • Thou Shalt Not Ever Turn Down A Gamer’s Volume Lest You Harsh His Intensity
  • Thou Shalt Never Ever Miss the Closing Ceremony For It Is Where We Show Our Brotherhood

As we can see this culture values sharing of resources and ritual, and has a strong sense of tribal honour that each individual inherits. To be gamer is to be loud and proud.

The Rules of the Boardgamers were:

  • Thou Shalt Not Violate Our Sacred Temples Where We Sit In Our Chairs And Quietly Concentrate
  • Thou Shalt Not Take Images of Our People For To Pimp Thine Image is To Shirk Ones True Nerdity
  • Thou Shalt Honour Thy Tournaments And Have No Obligations Before Them

This is a culture with strong rules of obedience and order, and a sense of aesceticism. To be gamer is to be honourable and pure.

Copies of It Is Forbidden are once again available as another pledge drive for Steve’s further education.

 

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