Second Person

February 6, 2007

It’s a magical world when you can buy a reprint of James Wallis’ Baron Munchausen in the Harvard Bookstore. That is to say, thanks to Nathan’s reminder, I picked up a copy of Second Person today.

I admit to being slightly disappointed that the book doesn’t blow me away, though I haven’t gotten a chance to delve thoroughly into it yet. It’s neat to see references to the indie roleplaying movement in a print publication put out by MIT Press (and people outside of roleplaying ackowledging that we’ve been making narrative games longer than just about anyone in the electronic games world) but, overall, the contents do not seem super exciting.

Rebecca Borgstrom’s article is sweet. Paul Czege has a short one-pager on developing My Life With Master. There are a few others that look interesting. In addition to Munchausen, it reprints John Tynes Puppetland and Greg Costikyan’s Bestial Acts, which are bizarre choices if they’re trying to be representative of roleplaying. It’s like starting a course on opera with Einstein on the Beach. The layout of the book is also rather awkward in a few places.

All of which is to say, I was struck by how favorably Push compares to Second Person, which I wasn’t expecting at all. I was expecting to lament over how my poor indie journal could never compare with the power of MIT Press and the hardcore list of contributors that they had recruited. But, in reality, when I look at the list of people working on Push 2, I think we’re pretty strong indeed.

Not that I’m going to get MIT to publish Push 2 or anything. And I don’t know if I should be happy that my journal represents some of the best work in this field. That doesn’t say a lot for the field in general, maybe. But I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that, in my opinion, Push 2 is going to be better than Second Person, at least when it comes to talking about roleplaying and what’s going on in our field, community, hobby, etc. Maybe Second Person has different goals in mind, which is cool, and maybe I’m talking out of my ass because I haven’t had a chance to read through the book yet, but that’s my initial impression.

So, uh, yay for us, I guess.

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