Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Twin Suns Entertainment and the Fourth Generation of RPGs

In 1993, Mike Pondsmith of R. Talsorian Games provided an answer regarding what he thought the "Future of Gaming" would be.  Pondsmith is a designer who has often been ahead of his time conceptually, and this was no exception.

His answer to the question was interesting.  It wasn't a "new game that would change the future of RPGs!" or "The greatest roleplaying game ever!"  Those are marketing-speak used to promote existing games -- some of them quite good -- but they aren't the future of gaming.

According to Pondsmith, "a revolution in roleplaying games is coming.  It's sneaking up on us on little flat feet, but it's coming."  What was this revolution going to be?  It was going to be what Pondsmith termed the 4th Generation game. 

First Generation Games were the original games that descended from wargames.

Second Generation Games were more systems based and about sophisticated mechanics. 

The Third Generation was about genre.

Each of these generations provided the community with excellent games.

But the Fourth Generation wasn't about design, mechanics, or genre, it was about POPULAR CULTURE.

Fourth Generation games would "generate crossmarketing" be "recognized as legitimate media" and would become a part of the general cultural background.  They would be games designed to do this, either through the use of public education or expanding media. 

Pondsmith provided more criteria, and I will blog about 4th Generation Games here on my Cinerati blog soon, but it is an inspiring read.  And I think that Pondsmith was spot on in his analysis, just DECADES ahead of his time.

We can already see designers and companies attempting to move into the Fourth Generation. 

These games are all evidence that the revolution is happening.
Role Playing Games are finding their way back into popular culture, and without the need of scandal to fuel the surge.

My partners and I created Twin Suns Entertainment to be a part of this Revolution.  It is our goal to work with the other companies to expand gaming communities and to promote the hobby by making the best games we can make.

Join us as we attempt to join the companies named above -- and others -- in creating the Fourth Generation of role playing games.

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