Saturday Morning Gaming: Art Theory and Vampires
I think that Bob Ross is one of the greatest Artists of all time.
That is not me being ironic or edgy or something. Bob Ross has inspired thousands of people to go out and purchase canvas, brushes, and paints, and try to paint a beautiful landscape. As he says “maybe it’s not something that will end up in a museum, but it will be something that you will be proud to put up in your living room.”
Good art is not only a creation in its own right, it inspires others to go out and do likewise. Make a painting. You can do it. No, this isn’t something that only “special” people can do. This is something that YOU can do. All you need is a handful of the right tools and the right encouragement and a little bit of time.
See, check this out:
Don’t YOU want to create something now? You know what? You can. It’ll just take the paints he mentioned, the tools he mentioned, and a little bit of time. You know what? Soon, you’ll have something that you’ll be proud to put up in your living room. You know what? YOU made that.
Anyway, one of the analogies to this is that the best games inspire you to play games with others. A million years ago, I picked up a copy of Vampire: The Masquerade BLOODLINES and it was AMAZING. Holy cow. It was great.
It was SO good that I went out and I talked to my friends about it. And we talked about playing tabletop games. And one of my friends said that he had played Vampire: The Masquerade before and so we sat down and we played that. The game ended but the gaming continued and we played and played and played and, get this, every other Saturday Night is an evening dedicated to sitting with friends and playing some tabletop games and rolling dice and telling stories and laughing until we are too tired to sit up straight.
And this is all due to a simple video game set in a simple universe with vampires that have simple rules that I could explain in a time period shorter than 15 minutes.
Well, the game that inspired this simple video game has a new game available for you to play. It’s called: Vampire The Masquerade: Coteries of New York. I’ve only spent a handful of minutes with it but, so far, I’d say that it’s about as difficult as a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book. Easy enough for someone who has never played a video game before… but difficult for someone who knows how difficult making choices can be.
It’s a game that understands the difference between Brujah, Ventrue, and Toreador but is okay if you only know the archetypes of “rebel”, “Assistant to the Deputy Administrative Assistant to the District Attorney of the County”, and “Artist”. If you want to play someone who throws bottles at peaceful protestors hoping that they’ll do a better job protesting in the future, play Brujah. If you’re playing a corporate aspirant who resents how their cleaning lady spends more time relaxing in their luxury apartment than they do, play Ventrue. If you want to play someone who knows how the game is played but, goodness, it’s so BORING to play against people who care about the scores of social status rather than the things that the scores use to calculate themselves, play Toreador.
And, there you are. Do you like dark versions of the Choose Your Own Adventure books (seriously, it won’t mind taking a break and letting you think about the choices before you… at one point, I got up to use the bathroom without pausing and the game didn’t care)? Do you find Vampire Society and Vampire Sociology vaguely interesting? Do you want to play a game that might inspire you to seek out other people that like playing games?
Then you should pick up Vampire: The Masquerade – Coteries of New York. And if it moves you, you NEED to pick up Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines. And if you still can’t get enough, start talking to people and asking them about if they’ve ever heard about D&D and whether they’d be interested in playing.
At that point: You’ve got them.
So… What are you playing?