If you’re an active Internet user at all, you’ve probably heard the word “role-play” tossed around a few times, especially with the explosion of Youtube sensations such as Greatest Freak Out Ever—where a teenage boy aptly freaks out after his mom cancels his World of Warcraft account—and the articles about SecondLife as the cause for a couple’s divorce plastered all over Time and CNN.
Role-playing games have become increasingly prevalent with the globalization of the Worldwide Web, allowing players from all over the world to connect and come together to create their own space. The Big MMORPG List (massively multiplayer online role playing game) is a directory of RPGs and boasts over 350 MMORPGs available for players to join, and the number is still growing.
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In my last travelogue, I knew that I wanted to write about journal-based role-play games, but I wasn’t entirely sure where I wanted to go with it. Right now, I think I’m decided on writing about why people role-play at all, since many of you seemed interested in that aspect. For those of you who still have no idea what I’m talking about when I say “journal-based role-playing,” here’s a refresher: Read the rest of this entry »

I am a role player. There, I admitted it. The term role player brings with it a lot of negative connotations: nerdy, acne-infested teenage boys, sexual fetishes, Dungeons & Dragons, the socially awkward. The type of role playing that I, along with thousands of other people, participate in is completely different though—well, maybe except for the socially awkward part. I’m talking about journal-based role playing games (RPGs). No fancy platforms with 3D graphics or CD-ROMs that will set you back thirty bucks, just journaling websites like the ever-popular Livejournal, the one million strong InsaneJournal, and new-comer Scribbld. On each of these websites, you can find an RPG community journal that will connect you to all sorts of games—from Las Vegas-based to college-centered. This type of role playing is more commonly referred to as played-by (PB). PB is like casting for a great script you wrote—you come up with this great, original character, then pick a “face” (usually a celebrity) that would best portray the character. The game relies heavily on creative writing, and many of the players take their characters seriously by doing research, much as a writer would do upon penning a novel. For a more in-depth explanation, read this recently published article about how role play communities are established.
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