I recently posted the following question/comment to both a Facebook RPG group (7,422 members) and a Google+ RPG group (5,474 members), to see if there would be any substantial difference in the quantity and quality of the resulting conversation. This was not a “troll” post, in so far as 1) the post accurately described my opinion, and 2) I was careful not to denigrate the games or the people who wrote them (in fact, I complimented the games, and those compliments are sincere). However, I did choose this topic because I hoped that it would spark a conversation, and I did deliberately phrase my initial post in a manner intended to elicit a polarized response. So take that for what it’s worth.
So… transhumanist games. On the one hand, Eclipse Phase and Nova Praxis look like well-made games with interesting settings. The skill and the creativity of the authors are admirable. On the other hand, a core premise of these games is that people will willingly — even routinely — commit suicide in the process of having some sort of copy of themselves made. I just can’t fathom any sane person ever doing that.
Even if you could have a duplicate of yourself made, why would the real you bother killing yourself? I can’t think of anyone other than a “suicide bomber” — someone willing to die for a cause — who would be willing to undertake such a thing. It’s madness. The closest comparison I can think of is Paranoia, but as crazy as Paranoia is, it doesn’t feature people routinely dying on purpose in order to activate their next clone.
As the conversations progressed, I kept my contributions to each conversation as similar as possible, in order to keep the experiment as unbiased as possible.
The Google+ post received 10 responses (excluding mine), from 4 people. The first response began with the sentence, “This is a lack of imagination on your part.” That generally sums up the tone of the responses on Google+: adversarial, and not focused on gaming at all.
The Facebook post received 41 responses (excluding mine), from 16 people. The first response began with the sentence, “People aren’t always logical.” This generally sums up the tone of the responses on Facebook: conversational, and focused on the characters in the setting. The Facebook conversation also branched out into the themes and genres of the games I referred to in my initial post, particularly Eclipse Phase, which I was reminded was a horror game.
Draw your own conclusions.
P.S. As a result of the conversation on Facebook, my own attitude toward playing these “transhumanist” games (particularly Eclipse Phase) has definitely changed. I can see myself actually playing in them now.