At a convention better than seventeen years ago, a friend and I sat in on a game of GURPS, a role playing game. Most RPG's occupy a genre; Dungeons & Dragons : fantasy, Star Wars, Traveller, Star Trek and Alternity : space opera, Shadowrun : cyberpunk, and etc. GURPS isn't a playable universe so much as it is a system, a ruleset like D20 D6 or CODA. With GURPS, you can blend genres generically, blend games of incompatible rules systems, or make games out of properties yet to be licensed to a game publisher. It's something, at it's best is very special, and very relevant, it's a distilled blank slate.
Words and phrases can boomerang around a little. In psychology a blank slate, is the idea that who you are is not set at birth, that you can become anything; tabula rasa. We throw it into french, and apply it to politics, we get carte blanche, you have absolute freedom of authority, dictatorial power essentially. It sounds innocent and pure when applying it to a baby, but powerful when applied to authority. What was that word you just read twice? Authority.
The scenario of the GURPS session was 'a trip to the lake'. After all of these years, I still can't imagine why anyone would want to imagine, for recreation, packing up a truck and going to a house by a lake. If you're thinking that plenty of people do this, yes they do, in actuality. Role playing games should serve for the participants to imagine something they can't do. If you're rolling a D20 to see how well you mowed the lawn, you're more than welcome to mow mine. In that game, there was no UFO at the bottom of the lake, no serial killer of the GM's design (my friend had a different thought on that, to the protests of; "You're ruining our fun!"), no zombie apocalypse, not even monolith monsters. The GM had carte blanche, and failed to author anything that couldn't be accomplished by any group of people over 21 with at least one credit card and a drivers license between them.
Every film, novel, and comic book as well as every other artistic achievement, everything that is authored, has potential which is only limited by the author itself.
But the genres that take greater advantage of that, that require more imagination, thought, whimsy, or acceptance on the part of the viewer remain outside the mainstream of critical acceptance or regard for their artistic merits.
Our political discourse, and in many media outlets creativity, fantasy, imagination, and curiosity are continually challenged, ostracized and scorned. Antithetical to the negative rhetoric of our increasingly ignorantly judgmental society, is the popularity of the big Hollywood blockbuster, which is always said to have begun in 1975*
*Ignoring 1937, 1939, 1956, 1959, 1965, and 1973!
- The Man Who Would Be King
- The Land That Time Forgot
- Terror of Mechagodzilla
- The Rocky Horror Picture Show
- Monty Python and the Holy Grail
- Escape to Witch Mountain
- The Apple Dumpling Gang
- A Boy and his Dog
- Barry Lyndon
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
- The Eiger Sanction
- The Hindenburg
- Death Race 2000
- Dog Day Afternoon
I need to see more movies from 1975.