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Showing posts from February, 2023

A new look at the early history of "railroading" and non-anglophone RPG design

Two and a half years ago, when I was still getting reoriented to what was going on with table-top role-playing games, I wrote a post on the history of the concepts of "sandboxes" and "railroads" in RPGs. My conclusions were that (1) gamers have been talking about these ideas for a very long time, but (2) the specific term "sandbox," for a world open to player characters to explore without a predetermined end-point, was an import from video game design in the late '90s, and (3) the idea of "railroading" came from the Forge gaming forum of the early 2000s. What motivated me to look into this was that I could not think of any instance in which these terms had been used back when I used to play, up to the mid-'90s, but gamers had been discussing both of these with great intensity in more recent years. They had even become quite dogmatic about it (and they still are). That's the kind of thing that calls for historical checks. It turns out