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Learning to Write Through a RPG Game

Jul 18, 2008
For a long time people have been afraid of what are known as "Role Playing Games" as there are some negative biases around those who play them. However, that is because most people are thinking of the old D&D type, or the newer World of Warcraft and similar games. But what about a game that can improve your writing skills, and enable you to be creative and also think critically? Such games do exist. They are not the click and play style, but rather more like a short story that is interactive. Known mostly as post by post, some variants have developed to be a bit more interactive.

Take for consideration http://mafia-station.com's MSRP III game. In this game you are launched into a world of crime without anything but the clothes on your back. You must basically write your way up the ladder, while avoiding being killed. When you have written something and post it, you then submit it to the staff for what is called judgment. You can play for fun, or you can play with goals in mind for improvement. What happens next is that the staff will read it, and will give an analysis over it, whether or not you are playing for fun or for goals. They will point out any spelling and/or grammar mistakes you may have made (which do not count against you, but are for you to do better) and then they will give you an analysis of whether what you posted is possible.

As an example, you write up how you started to earn a little money in this mafia-world and started doing small things, and actually writing out what you did just as any short story would. If it all flies well, your character is actually rewarded with whatever it is your goal was, be it some game cash, or some item. That can then be put in your "Bio" or biography post, and can be used later if you can carry it with you. However, let's say you made a few mistakes - the judgment will likely point those out, and then three things may happen. The first and most common is a simple closed judgment, the second is an opportunity to post an additional addendum to fix what was missed, and the third would be a counter.

A counter means that the judge will actually write a story of their own countering what you wrote, and presenting you with a situation that you must find a way out of, or a way to benefit for you. This enables further creativity upon the player's part, and also adds to the critical thinking aspect of the game itself. Most veterans of the game can attest to writing better than they did before they began playing, and it takes very little time to do compared to a game such as World of Warcraft in which you spend hours in a virtual world without engaging your imagination.

A further aspect of the game is player to player interaction, whether that is negative and combative to positive and cooperative. If you join a syndicate or family, you are joining more players and will likely get to intertwine your story with theirs, and participate in what they are doing too. However, there can also be situations where other players will want to (if they have a solid and valid reason) attack you, or even try to kill you. If that happens you get a full 48 hours to write up what is called a 'counter', where what you do is write your own story, based upon a hole in theirs, or just starting from a point during theirs to launch off of, and fight back. If yours is of superior quality and logically sound, you will survive and it is likely that they will not. However if yours is less than theirs, you'll be pushing up daisies and need to make a new player account.

Every person on this site is also welcome to other aspects too, such as the out of game forums and the arcade, in case you don't feel like writing. Every player gets one out of game account, and two in game player accounts (which gives you a backup just in case the unforeseeable happens to one). In the end, the entire point is to have fun while bettering your writing skills and to use that often neglected aspect of the human mind: imagination.
About the Author
Jacob is a member of mafia roleplaying game and has been writing there for many years. He has watched as he went from a crummy writer to someone who really found his niche and really enjoys the things he writes.
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