question about Graham Nelson's Player's Bill of Rights

ok, so i like to read as much as i can about IF (and being unemployed really gives me the time to do so), and all nite tonite i’ve been reading Jimmy Maher’s Let’s Tell A Story Together.
(first, as a english major, i need to say that it is horribly in need of a editor, and yes, i know i barely capitalize and generally abuse grammar, but english majors are allowed to do that :wink: )
so anyway, i had always heard of Graham Nelson’s Player’s Bill of Rights but never really got around to reading it. i guess i just assumed to know what kind of shit it involves. so anyway, in Maher’s well-researched, but despicably written essay, he quotes the entire bill of rights.

so my question is, what the hell does #5 mean? it states:
Not To Have The Game Closed Off Without Warning

and i’ve been up for 27 hours now, so maybe im not thinking too clearly, but can anyone explain what this particular line means??

drive safely,

It means you shouldn’t be able to get the game into an unwinnable condition without realizing that you might be doing so.

For instance: suppose in the first room of the game is a cottage with a light switch in it. If you leave the cottage and go adventuring without turning the light switch on, nothing obviously bad happens at once… but three hundred turns later you’re stumbling back through the dark woods and you can only make it back to the cottage and win if you turned the light switch on all that time ago. If not, you have to restart and replay all that intervening stuff in order to finish.

This is equivalent to what the zarfian cruelty scale calls a “cruel” rating: it’s possible to do something that shuts off progress in the game and there is no indication of the fact at the time. These days this is typically regarded as poor design, so it’s not that common, but it used to happen all the time in older games.

I’m neither an English major nor a native English speaker, but my guess is that he means the player has the right to be aware if (and when) the game has come to an unsolvable point, and ideally she should have been somehow warned before reaching that point.

(but Emily has explained it alot better while I was typing :smiley: )

awesome, thanks, em!
i knew that that was poor design, i just didnt know that that sentence was referring to such.

Jimmy is an English major too, so I think he ought to be allowed to get with it as well. :slight_smile:

dammit, victor, once again you got me with your legal mumbo-jumbo!

ok, fair enough, but seriously, if you’re gonna release a huge, well-researched dissertation like that, cmon get a proof-reader!!

my eyes hurt from rolling so much while reading it.

and then there’s the whole “she” thing. now, yes, it’s old-school to always refer to “the player” as a “he”, and some authors will mix it up a bit by alternating the he/she usage, but in 99% of his examples, he referred to the PC as “she”.

now, im NOT a misogynist by any means, but since our language lacks a genderless word for that situation, it is customary and traditional to use “he”, with allowances to alternate to “she” once in awhile out of political-correct fairness, but im sorry, reading that EVERY single PC in EVERY single work of IF as a “she” just got plain weird.

and the typos were uncountable.

again, we’re all human, im no perfect guy, and my style of purposeful abuse of the language is apparent, but i wouldnt release a large dissertation like that in the state it was in, especially since its been out for, what, 6 years? and never edited?

on a positive note, i had a great time reading it, i stayed up all nite to do so, and his research was thorough and well-documented. it was definitely a treat to read and my nit-pickings are just that.


Ah yes, my old friend, “customary and traditional.” Like “traditional marriage”!

no, never mentioned marriage, talkin language here, lol.

and if youre trying to make a point as if im too conservative in my thinking, u may want to check out my blog wherein youll find im gay and engaged. i was discussing how authors write in english thru the ages, and my views on marriage arent quite “traditional” (especially since im 20 years older than my fiance’ lol) :laughing:

Yep, I’ve read your blog. My point was that tradition is not, in and of itself, a good reason for anything.

yeah, i agree with u, if tradition gets stale. but being an avid and voracious reader, to see the use of “she” in 99% of the examples was obviously disconcerting in the fact of how unusual it was. so yeah, we NEED certain traditions (like spelling “ask” and not “aks” despite how some ppl might pronounce it)

and, again, of course, i am guilty of breaking tradition by being too lazy to hit the SHIFT key when typing, so as i said, im not perfect in this regard. i was just speaking about how authors usually write in english.


AND actually, having traditions is not only necessary but useful for authors who want to stand out by breaking the tradition.

see House Of Leaves for a great example of that!

Well, think of it this way. What would be fair would be to use “she” and “he” equally often. If everyone who cared about this issue used “she” every time they remembered, then “she” would be used – what? five percent of the time? one percent?

So it makes sense to use “she” all the time, if you care.

(As for tradition: what tove said. It may take you aback a little to see “she” used generically, but if that makes readers think about gender issues at all it’s a good thing. Maybe it gets weird for women to see the player always referred to as “he.”)

hi matt, yes, agreed, i feel for women who have to put up with this old-school tradition, but, im sorry, thats just the way it really is. a reader should not be “put-off” by such an unusual thing as the constant referring of a generic person as “she”. again, its simply because the general NORM in the english language is to use “he” because we lack a genderless pronoun. its just the formula we use.

and again, i think its awesome to mix it up. i read my old DnD manuals while on the shitter and they ALWAYS mixed the pronouns up, basically tit-for-tat. it made clear, concise, fair usage in all their examples.

to only use “he” is the norm and acceptable.

to mix it up is acceptable.

but, im sorry, its just weird to ONLY use “she”. its just not done. and again, this has nothing to do with anyone’s damn genitals. im simply talking language and how we’ve been taught to read it for many generations.

a reader should be able to focus on the point of the writing and not be distracted by such unorthodox usages. (and numerous typos, again)

sorry this turned into this discussion, people.

Yes it is. I mean, Jimmy Maher does it, I do it, other people do it, ergo it’s done.

I agree that we’ve gotten way off topic, so I’ll make this my last post.

ok, what about this? u ever see the box cover of Planetfall or Infidel? they are DUDES on the cover, and, in the case of Infidel, the PC is specifically male, yet that dissertation STILL refers to the PC as SHE. ok? its not ok. its not the norm.

sure you and all those other clowns may do it, but lots of ppl smoke crack too. its not the correct thing to do.

trust me, i know our language and its usage pretty frickin well.

my last post as well.

thanks for the lively discussion all!