Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Misery Index Kickstarter is Live, Getting Jimmies Rustled

The newest controversy to hit the world of RPGs has arrived! And just in time if you ask me. Things were getting pretty boring and pedantic among those who think that games are the most important things in the world.

The Misery Index is a collection of "terrible games about terrible realities." Basically they are story games that combine genre settings (vampires, near-future cyberpunk, heroic fantasy, etc.) with disturbing and transgressive themes (racial violence, poverty, sexual assault, etc.). Naturally, there are more than a few people who think that these games are vile and will set back the human race hundreds of years. Others believe that they are either brilliant satire or smart examinations of themes that should be addressed. And others still don't give a shit either way, but those people don't post on forums or blogs, so you'd never know they existed.

I have no real interest in story games in general, so I'm probably not the intended audience for these games or the resulting controversy. However, if I had to play a story game and Fiasco wasn't an option, I'd probably try out one of these games. The reason being that unlike other popular story games about unsavory subjects, these actually look like fun. Yes, they require a good helping of dark humor and the genre trappings help hide the bitterness of the themes, but most "socially aware" story games come off as depressing death marches through the darkness of the human condition with the intention to somehow make the players better people by acting out the pain of those less fortunate then themselves. Pity should not be a core game mechanic.

I wish the creators of The Misery Index the best of luck with their campaign and I look forward to seeing some quality hyperbole and self-righteous nonsense in the realm of RPG punditry.

For a taste of what the Misery Index has in store, watch the above pitch video. You will experience extreme sensations of fremdscham. You will be miserable. Your character will die every time you pause or look away from the video. This is an incredibly hard game, but it does get much easier once you get to the Parent's Shed encounter.

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