The Scene is a Role Playing Game...

A Guy Who Plays The Role Of The Prophet of Hugi

If modern human life is a role playing game, the Scene will consequently also be one, as it is a part of some human beings' lives.

The first hypothesis (that is: "human life is a role playing game") is backed up by the fact that human beings have to adapt themselves to some sort of society, no matter whether they live in Papua New Guinea or Canada. They take on various jobs throughout their lives. Usually, in the European-North American civilization, they start out being a student at school and later perhaps at university, then they become a dishwasher, a teacher, an engineer or a politician. Although professions are mainly determined by tasks, there are certain attributes connected to every single profession. Sure, some qualities are requirements for particular jobs. You are not likely to be a successful politician in a democratic system if you have no charisma and cannot convince other people of your ideas. But there are also certain attributes connected with certain professions in the people's head that do not always apply, like: sportsmen never booze, physicians can feel into other people, and so on. All of these attributes together give the character profile of "the" politician, "the" policeman, "the" medical doctor, etc. But these profiles are often not more than stereotypes. They are the ideal features, but in reality not everybody who belongs to a particular group of profession shares them. There may be some exceptions, natural-born talents so to speak, but I believe them to be relatively rare. Most people play the role of a hairstylist, a judge, a professor or whatever.

The words "role" and "play" have already appeared. The missing link is now: What makes human life a game? The answer is pretty simple. Games are an integral part of life. They are based on special set of rules, and there are always winners and losers. The same applies to life as a whole in both animal and human societies. So we can also put it the other way round: life is a game. Sure, it is a game that can have a deadly end for its players. But has anybody ever claimed that games were always harmless? Just think of the martial games in the ancient Roman colosseum, the Spanish bullfight or the original version of chess, which was played with real men as chess pieces. The word "game" does not implicite that it is something for children. The saying "Don't be sad, it's just a game!" to comfort people who have lost a game is hence a bit hypocritical. In fact every challenge in life is a kind of game. Trading at a stock exchange, for instance, is also a game, and it is definitely risky for its players.

Adok/Hugi - 07 Jul 2000

Wow...! So this was quite a logical argumentation why life in human society is a role-playing game. That is, not the biological life itself, but life in the sense of interaction. Still I must say: I have missed my point. If I were to explain the meaning of life, or at least a hypothesis of what it could be, I'd have to explain why societies and states are formed (to ensure better survival) and so on. My ranting so far would be only a small chapter of a long story. And then, I actually wanted to explain why the scene is a RPG. My conclusion that the scene must be a RPG if life is an RPG, as the scene is a part of life, is logical, but far-fetched. The correlations between the demoscene and traditional RPGs, be they card-, book- or computer-based, are even more obvious.

In the scene, as in a RPG, you can decide what role you want to play yourself: an arrogant elitecoder? a graphics god? a lame leecher? Sure, it has to do with your abilities - not everybody can draw a raindeer or a coaxcable out of his mind. But many skills can be learned.

Communication in the scene is mainly done in a digital way. There are many parties, but you usually go just to a few in a year. Most sceners you've never seen face to face. In the online media, diskmags or letters, you can conceal your real identity and take on new ones. First of all, you pick a handle. It makes a difference if you take your real name as your handle, such as Jogeir or Chris Dragan, standard words such as Magic or strange strings such as $volkraq. The more technical your handle looks, the colder you appear to be to someone who has never read anything of you or talked to you before; the more mystical your handle, the more mystical your personality as well. In your messages and articles you can be ruder or more friendly, more optimistic or more pessimistic, more openminded or more conservative than you usually are. You can give your group its own corporate identity. You can call it a demogroup, a software company, a movie-making team, a Royal Family - although in fact you're just a few friends... or not even that, it's you and a few other handles behind which there may be real persons or which might even just be made up.

I love this role-playing aspect of the scene (and the whole Internet, by the way), it makes the entire thing more than just studying technical details, writing lines of code and handling programs.

Adok/Hugi - 02 Aug 2000