Not Just A Game
From Tapestries MUCK
It's Just A Game: The Myth Explained
Or why solitaire is just a game, and checkers is not.
Any time you have involved more than one person, the activity stops being "just" a game, and starts becoming social interaction. Other terms have been used to describe such things, for example, soccer is considered a sport, not a game. Sports have teams, which thrive on unity and spirit... hardly words that you would associate with "just a game." The terms "a good loser" and "a poor winner" are another example of the social interaction that mixes directly with the game. After all, how can you be a "poor winner" if, in fact, winning is the only point of the game?
So what is the point of the game? The most obvious answer is "to win", but again, how does that explain a "good loser?" The truth is a lot more nebulous, ill defined, and rarely stated. It is for everyone to have fun playing the game. That is how those terms can be associated with the game. Those terms speak not about the skill used to position the pieces on the board, but rather, the skill with which the winner or loser interacted with the other players.
A Muck, in many ways, is the pure essence of this level of the play. It has less defined rules, giving the players the freedom to interact in a wide variety of ways. They can roleplay fantastic things they never could do real life, they could discuss the real life that others are busy ignoring, they could create their own "what if" scenario. There are few limits to what can be done.
But, it comes at a price. A traditional game has boundaries and limits to make the social interactions easier, to set clear expectations about how the game will be played, and what will be fun for everyone. Much of that simply does not exist on a Muck. You often have to make up the rules as you go along, and carefully work with the other players you are with to make certain they are rules that people can have fun with.
The difficulty of this grows worse when you are dealing with the subject matters that are presented on Tapestries MUCK. Sexuality has been shunned for a few hundred years, leading to people being insecure and nervous about what they are trying to express, making finding a common ground to interact with each other something that requires a particular amount of care.
Considering the challenges that this presents, the willingness to try deserves a certain amount of respect, no matter how good or bad the attempt turns out to be. Remember, your fellow players, even the ones you never learn the names of, are sharing an intimate part of themselves with you. Their fantasies, their desires... their feelings.