Thursday, August 15, 2013

I have seen the future, and it involves web cams / No sexy dancing rule

I've not been able to make my regular face to face gaming group for a few months now, so to combat my gaming cold turkey I've switched to the methadone of remote gaming via Google Hangouts
I bought this little webcam because it reminds me of the
scrub bot from WALL-E and the tech from Portal 2

This is no bad thing. I've heard a lot of protestations from fellow gamers along the lines of "I like to play face to face. I like the personal interaction. It wouldn't be the same. etc etc etc"
To be honest, I don't think that it's had an effect on the game or my enjoyment. Here's what I've noticed is missing:

  • I can't fist bump with the other players when they/I do something awesome
  • I can't steal or share dice and pencils
  • I can't send someone else to the bar for me
  • I can't smell the other players
  • The fifteen minute walk to the pub we play at
Other than that, it's all there. The trash talk, the annoying digressions, the jokes, the referral to the rules when something weird happens (although that's slightly easier, as we've all got electronic access and don't have to physically share the same copy. I other news, my book doesn't have grease stains or beer marks on it either). 
So, what are the benefits?

  • We can all read the books independently (see above)
  • There are less external distractions, because we're in dedicated rooms with headphones on
  • Note passing is quicker and more secure, thanks to instant messaging.
  • Being able to copy and paste stuff can be incredibly useful
  • As a GM I can vary the media I use. For example, in an investigative game, I might need to prepare handouts with newspaper clippings or photographs or maps etc. In an electronic game I can send a link across, share my screen, copy text, edit shared documents and pull something off the internet and share it in seconds. We can use video, audio, anything we can share.
  • It's really convenient. My PC is on my bedroom. I can start play with a mug of coffee, snacks and whatever next to me, get more whenever I want without interrupting play that much
  • I can use my own bathroom. 
It's worth pointing out that I don't play games that require miniatures or boards or other physical paraphernalia, so I don't know how these games would play out.