I played an Agent once. We kidnapped someone. Yep, we grabbed him as he was coming out of a bar and tossed him into the back of my car. Well, Autumn grabbed and tossed; I drove, wearing sunglasses driving at night, and was smug about it. Perhaps not the safest of things, but it was necessary to uphold the charade.
Let me rewind. Our friend Greg was turning 30, and as we are wont to do, we made a big deal of this. So, weeks of scheming, bickering and nailing down details ensued, producing a plan, a new mailing list at work (“Matrix”) and the most convoluted party entrance ever.
The cast included:
- A Deep-voiced Phone Caller on a “mailed” cell phone instructing Greg to run from the
- Agent outside his apartment door
- And meet Two Strangers at a nearby bar. These strangers would tell him he’s in danger, But they were too late to save him from the Two Agents waiting outside
- To kidnap him for questioning by Agent Smith.
- Luckily, Greg got away with the aid of a Mysterious Caller who told him about
- The Two People waiting for him downstairs in the getaway car.
Yes, 15 different things could have gone awry to make this one large cluster … mess. Yes, it was likely a bit excessive. But it really set the mood. Greg was surprised and had a blast being carted all over southern Durham. And the rest of us all really got into the mood for the theme of the evening – blue and red shots, net nicknames, and, of course, lots and lots of black clothing and sunglasses. The Matrix party was good, but it was the roleplay at the beginning that really made it great.
Roleplay, as it did with the party, sets a stage. But not only that, it draws its participants fully into a world, creating an experience unlike any other. This roleplay can take place in real life, but it can also take place in virtual worlds and games. Indeed it’s an entire subsection of games as a whole.
And the importance of roleplay as a genre and as a game mechanic/play option leads us to this week’s issue of The Escapist. Greg Tito discusses psychology experiments and how they might apply to how we choose to play games. Leigh Alexander explores the out-of-game roleplay based upon Final Fantasy VII. Nova Barlow shares with us how her inner roleplayer died. Russ Pitts dips a toe into the unusual waters of Sociolotron and the roleplay there. And Erin Hoffman is still searching for a true heroine with whom she can identify. Find these stories and more in this week’s issue of The Escapist.