Netflyer Oxford University Role Playing Games Society
Netflyer 31


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The End

GO PRO? NO! Paul Mason's Imazine 23 (available free at his website, see below) offers an interesting perspective on what would seem an uncontroversial issue.
Of course, we all want to be game designers, and the only obstacle is that game design jobs are not easy to get. Paul suggests that the sensible RPG fan would walk away from any design job on offer. Why?
Designing games is a great way to hate them. Nothing can be played in innocence-it all becomes tax-deductible research. You'll have to compromise all your best ideas if you fancy selling your games. And let's face it, you wouldn't actually want to be Mark Rein*Hagen to be Mark Rein*Hagen. (What exactly does the gaping black hole represent?)
And, of course, it goes without saying that you'll not sell your games, and if you do sell your games you won't make much money. (Greg Costikyan claims to have earned an average of $5000 per game design sold. That means you could be a successful designer-Costikyan is, by any standards-and sell a game every nine months, and still not earn enough to pay taxes.) So why not just find yourself a job you enjoy, and at the same time make your enjoyment of game playing all the more assured?

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I'LL TRY TO BREAK SOME KIND OF RECORD by writing an Internet piece without making any reference to Californian beach sports. My readers deserve better than that, eh?
MOTHER OF ALL SITES is at www.rpg.net - too much on this site to summarise it, but you may wish to take a look at the extensive gallery, including some lovely pictures by Larry Elmore. There is a fanzine directory which is worth a trawl, too.
INTELLIGENT WWW MATERIAL SHOCK! To find out what game designers do when they become tired of churning out populist games, go and look at www.tcp-ip.or.jp/~panurge. This is Paul Mason's site and it has two major attractions. Imazine is a fanzine which boasts excellent contributors, a crisp format and a stated purpose "to encourage intelligent discussion and the spread of information concerning rolegaming". Highly recommended. Alternatively, you could download, absolutely free, Outlaws of the Water Margin: the last word in Chinese role playing games.
LAST WORD ON GAME DESIGN is Greg Costikyan's (Paranoia, Toon) article, "I have no words and I must design", at www.crossover.com/~costik /greg. Plenty of other goodies here, too, including designer's notes on Costikyan's latest computer game, satirical articles on writing pulp fantasy, cynical comments on the gaming industry, and why Diplomacy is the author's favourite game.
SOME PONCING ON ROLE-PLAYING AS LITERATURE, but not as bad as you might think. Some of you might even enjoy this discussion of what constitutes the "text" of a game: www.recappub.com/games.html.

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SPEAKING OF INTERNET RESOURCES, what, if anything, should we do with the RPGSoc web-pages? John Reynolds got us off to a great start, but these days the pages are getting a little stale and are hardly worth a visit. We must be able to better than that! Could we get Nightflyer online and reduce our photocopying costs? Is there any chance of actually getting some games up on the site? RPGSoc used to be a trend-setter when it came to online resources, but we have been resting on our laurels.

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NIGHTFLYER'S NOT REALLY SO HARD to edit, you know. When I joined RPGSoc, Andrew Lee was producing and distributing well presented Nightflyers, regular as clockwork. I look forward to Corinne's revival of the tradition. We all want to help her out in any way we can. How would we go about doing this?
It's becoming less necessary to request submissions in electronic format, but just in case: submissions in electronic format, please! Using very pretty fonts with your article is fairly redundant, because it is likely to be adapted to house style; however, some simple formatting does give the editor a good idea of what's going on.
What about the articles themselves? Contrary to popular belief, articles have been refused for publication-this is usually on the grounds of content rather than quality, since Nightflyer has no delusions of competence. But that doesn't mean that the editors don't care. There is a tendency for articles to perpetrate polysyllabic and polyverbal obfuscation. We like brevity. Cuts down photocopying costs, and almost always makes for better articles, too...

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Hello to all the new society members. You'll like it here. RPGSoc will soon become your constant companion You will welcome its warm embrace. Join usssss....
And, lastly but just as importantly: goodbye to the departing throng. We'll miss you.
Tim Harford


Postscript - I hope that you have enjoyed Issue 31 of Nightflyer. If you would like to contribute an article to a future issue, offer compliments or criticism, please contact the Editor, Corinne Berg at Linacre College, Oxford, email address corinne.berg@english.ox.ac.uk.