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Fantasy and Common Sense

Posted by Axum Wednesday September 17 2008 at 12:19AM
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I thought this post was more blog material than it was thread material, so i decided to put it up in my blog!


So this was brought up in another post, and i am glad that there are others like me who have been noticing this alot. It is present in the real world, and likewise in many of the gaming worlds in which we like to indulge in.

The first thing i am going to talk about is the idea behind Fantasy. Because this is the setting in which most of the MMO's we play are set in. What is fantasy? A "Fantasy World" is one in which magic can exist. Usually portrayed by the bending, and use of natures elements. In all fantasy there is some type of evil, some form of struggle that is going on between the world's inhabitants.

Fantasy worlds have different societies.

Things within them should not be identical to the world as we know it.

And we put ourselves into these different "Worlds" and "Societies" for different reasons. But, for the most part we all enjoy being in an alternate world from our own.

That being said....

How can fantasy exist, when you do not let reality cease to exist......

Fantasy, can only be truly perceived and enjoyed when you let go of all things as you know them. Even if you don't like role playing, how can you enjoy a world when you are too busy complaining that you can't make your avatar black (no racism intended)? Or that all the people look the same?

What if in that world, there is no such thing as black people?

What if in that world, there is no such thing as individuality?

How would that change things as we know them? If you could only begin to project what life would be like without individuality, then you are truly opening yourself to fantasy.


A lot of you may be wondering, "What does this have to do with common sense?"

Before you can place yourself into a different world, and be able to comprehend and rationally understand society within the world, and how it works. You must first be able to understand things in reality. If you do not have the "common sense" or "common knowledge" of society, then how would you possibly be able to recreate that under different circumstances in a different world?

You can't.

The world (or at least what i get to see of it) is beginning to forget the most basic of things which we all should know and understand. And this, is flowing over into the fantasy worlds, the escapes, in which we enjoy.

This is where it ceases to be an escape,

but becomes no more than our society in a different setting.

A line needs to be drawn........

Although we may not all like to role play, we must try to grasp the way the lore, and the way the world works.

This in and of itself can make your experiences much more enjoyable in games of all sorts.

Drolletje writes:


A very nice read. I'll try to remember it when I'm in a fantasy world again.

Wed Sep 17 2008 2:46AM Report
Kingblade writes:

Yes. Enjoyed reading it myself, thanks.

Wed Sep 17 2008 5:10AM Report
HuxleySeven writes:

 Fantasy is subjective. When we play ‘fantasy’ games, we are playing the developers fantasy not necessarily our own.
What if my idea of a fantasy game was to be a black man? Or to have individuality? I don’t think complaining that the constraints of the developers fantasy not matching my own is not immersing myself. Neither do I think it is necessarily a positive thing either. I think this is a separate issue to the one you are discussing here.
Although an understanding of the ‘normal’ world around you allows you to differentiate between real life and fantasy, I don’t agree that it can only be understood completely if you have ‘common sense’ or ‘common knowledge’.
“Before you can place yourself into a different world, and be able to comprehend and rationally understand society within the world, and how it works. You must first be able to understand things in reality. If you do not have the "common sense" or "common knowledge" of society, then how would you possibly be able to recreate that under different circumstances in a different world?”
If society works differently in a game, is knowing how it works in real life going to help? I know how my own society works, but when I spent time in Egypt and Japan it didn’t help me one bit. It was so alien, with so few commonalities that my ‘common sense’ was no use to me. This didn’t in detract from my visit, in fact it enriched it, as it allowed me to immerse myself in the culture and almost start afresh with my views of society and life in general.
Escapism is a different beast altogether. In whatever form you want it to take, it has to be complete to be effective. I think your points lean more towards escapism than the mechanics of fantasy. It works best when you truly forget who and where you are in real life and immerse yourself in another world. This is the thing that makes your experience much more enjoyable in games of all sorts…


Wed Sep 17 2008 7:40AM Report
Axum writes:


To: Huxley

Although we may be playing the deveolper's fantasy world, we must, for the time being, think about the lore behind that world. If your idea of a fantasy game does not fit theirs, then clearly the game is not for you.


I do apologize for my tendancies to go all over the place once i start a rant, so i am going to try to answer the rest of your questions the best i can.


In regard to the "common sense, common knowledge in reality".

If one can not understand things in the world they live in, each and every waking moment of their life. Then how will they be able to jump into a new one? And like i stated before, "Recreate the common sense under different circumstances."

Although the games have different societies. They do not start you as a child. So you, must use your life experiences, and mix them with the worlds lore, to create an idea of what your childhood might have been like. That is the main reason you can not totally forget real life.


I can see how some of my points were somewhat leading up to that, but i also feel as if people are beginning to forget the basics. Not just in games, but everyone. In a game, i want the ability to retain my personality, but apply it to another character. That is when i find this the most enjoyable.

Wed Sep 17 2008 7:57AM Report
UncertaintyP writes:

Easily the most pointless blog post ever

Wed Sep 17 2008 8:26AM Report
Resin213 writes:

 When entering a fantasy setting in any medium, game, movie, book-the viewer/participant is suspending their disbeleif. It is usually to only a certain point-Harry Potter does not have laser guns, Mary Poppins' cartoon penguins don't show up in middle earth, and Jason and the Argonauts never fought Dark elves. Consistancy in an established level of disbelief is important, when this is broken the story becomes a lampoon which is fine if it is intentional but sad when it is not.

This is a seperate issue from creating stories that are compelling and make sense in any given fantasy world. What is compelling in real life, hard choices, struggles against others, nature, or oneself are going to be compelling in a story.


Wed Sep 17 2008 11:26AM Report
zapyourit writes:

UncertaintyP: You just left the most pointless comment on a blog post ever. If you don't like it, don't read it. Free will is a wondrous thing, ain't it? Try to have some respect. If you can't, don't come and read it. Simple.


Huxley: Bryan makes a good point about fantasy worlds. The truth of it is that we really do need to conform our own experiences and fantasy to the producer/creator/designer/etc. If you can't do that, you should write a game of your fantasy and see how that goes. If you want to play a black man in a world with no black men or want to be an individual in a world where individuality is shunned, well, your pretty much on the map at the top of S. Creek and you don't have a paddle.

Common sense and common knowledge, on the other hand, are extremely subjective. You can't just throw those terms out there and expect everyone to know what you mean because they won't. Some people will have an entirely different view of the topic than you will. Some will have neither common sense nor knowledge. I agree with the point being made, but not everyone's common's will be applicable to the same game. That's why we have so many: if something doesn't fit, go somewhere else. Simple as that.


Bryan: Thanks for writing the post. It actually does shed some light on the truth of where we are at currently. People are buying into everything they hear and I think that games are suffering. We do need to come back to a commonality, but I think that that commonality will just need to be the simple basics. If games can get the basics down pat with no problems, no matter how crap the other features may be, it will probably be worth playing over 90% of the current games out there.

Take care and keep writing.


Thu Sep 18 2008 5:33PM Report
silverranger writes:

Where do you go to play one of the fantasy and commen sense games?

Sat Feb 07 2009 6:16PM Report writes:
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