Old Games Need Never Die
Do you have any hand-drawn maps, background fiction, or filled-in character sheets from games in days gone by? Turns out, it may belong in a museum!
Just the other day I was creating a character for a roleplaying game a friend of mine I’ve known since college will be running. In an e-mail exchange he mentioned he still had a character sheet that I’d used in a game that happened 15 years ago.
That’s a very special sort of nostalgia, one that may only be rivaled by finding poetry or fiction you wrote as an adolescent, and I immediately smiled remembering even the many awkward missteps I made being so new to roleplaying.
In one of those synchronistic moments, the very next morning I learned of The Play Generated Map & Document Archive on the Ken And Robin Talk About Stuff (hosted by fiction and gaming luminaries slash raconteurs Kenneth Hite and Robin Laws) podcast.
The purpose of the archive is best described in its mission statement:
PlaGMaDA’s mission is to preserve, present, and interpret play generated cultural artifacts, namely manuscripts and drawings created to communicate a shared imaginative space. The Archive will solicit, collect, describe, and publicly display these documents so as to demonstrate their relevance, presenting them as both a historical record of a revolutionary period of experimental play and as aesthetic objects in their own right. By fostering discussion and educating the public, it is hoped that the folkways which generate these documents can be encouraged and preserved for future generations.
While I am not sure of the value to those outside the hobby, at least currently, as someone engaged with it in my personal as well as professional life I must say that I wish them luck. I’m even going to look through some old folders I found during a recent move, hopefully finding something I can donate.
If you’re at all interested in helping them out, please take a look at the Participate page and let your friends (especially those who no longer play) know about the project.
For those curious about the copyright of things like characters, character sheets, or story materials generated playing a game someone else has a copyright on (because intellectual property is something many people online tend to be interested in or concerned about), I plan on a future post that will cover that. In the meantime, just consider that more than a few fantasy and science fiction series, like have openly credited characters or setting elements to roleplaying games played in by the authors.