Then I tuned in to the Grand Theft Auto V role-playing server earlier today, the first thing I saw was a hostage. Kyle Pred, a cadet with the Los Santos police, spoke to a gangster about killing a random hostage in a bank. The gangster, Speedy, shouted questions at Pred. "How many dots are there on two dice?" He asked through the closed door. "21 times two, so 42," Pred answered correctly. The situation went on for a minute before Speedy was fed up with the game and brought the hostage outside with his two men. The police let them get into their vehicle; a cheerful chase followed, which ended a short time later when Speedy could get away on foot. (He immediately bothered another gang with his submachine gun.)
In games with scripts, many of your actions play a role, just like in life: you act according to your character (in both meanings of the word). Role games, on the other hand, break the format explicitly – you define your character, and you inventing the world that has made them possible.
On NoPixel, the custom Grand Theft Auto V server where I happened on Pred and Speedy, the two are mixed; the world already exists, a more grainy copy of the one we live in, but the characters were fully invented by their players. In practice, the result plays out as something that resembles a drama that is immediately written while players encounter each other. It is also Grand Theft Auto, which means that what you're looking at is a noir: police versus gangsters, and then everyone else caught in the crossfire. (The popularity has also been propelled Grand Theft Auto V to the top of the Twitch cards.)
The NoPixel role-playing universe has a constellation of websites and city services with which you can actually communicate. There are journalists in this world, and they write articles about his developments. Thousands of people watch the Twitch channels on which this live soap is broadcast – about 5,500 people watched only the hostage negotiations on Kyle's channel – and there is a fan wiki that keeps everything up.
NoPixel & # 39; s GTA role play is somewhat contradictory to the playing experience Grand Theft Auto; In the story mode of the game you generally play a morally gray criminal who usually uses violence to achieve his goals. But the most important thing about NoPixel's strict rules – which people follow, on pain of banning the 32-person server – is that you must value your life and that of others; if a gun is aimed at you in the game, you must act accordingly – you must decide whether you fight or flee. The NoPixel rules make it possible for a character to die forever, which means GTA& # 39; S noir-ish conflicts for real stakes.
Everyone in NoPixel has invested heavily in their role play. Watching it at the same time was like listening to a group of people, playing a role play on the table and watching Law and order, except that I could switch between the gangs and the police.
What was more disturbing, however, was how playing through real rules in the game made the regular outbursts of violence harder. Officer Kyle Pred used agent Lingo. Officer Kyle Pred stopped his cruiser at every traffic light. Officer Kyle Pred didn't shoot Speedy when he and his gang got into their car and drove away; he didn't even take a shot after the gang's car was totalized and Speedy had left on foot.
The strangest thing about watching a police show where the police are obliged to appreciate the lives of others is how humane they seem to be in contrast to their real colleagues. What would life be, I wonder, if the police had to stop to think about the consequences before they even made a fully justified admission?