Conflict Is Not Mandatory

You don't need conflicts. You read that correctly, I really did say that you don't need conflicts. Conflicts are not mandatory, are not a must-have ingredient for a successful game or even for a successful story. Conflict is a nice and a very useful tool in order to create enjoyment, interest and to be one with the character, but it is not the only one, or the most important one, or a success guarantee.
Think for example about a nice in-character conversation between a PC and an NPC. Does it have to hold a conflict in order to be interesting? No, I'm serious, does it? I don't think so. I once GMed a game in which for three hours the characters were just gossiping about people not present. No conflict was there, just a conversation about what did this person and what did that one. When I wrote this game for my friends, I thought to myself: "If we have to have conflicts in order to create interest, why do our conversations seem so enjoyable, so interesting, so "worth-our-time?" It went a blast. I was asked to GM this game again.
But this is an extreme kind of game, not much similar, or even close, to what we refer to when we normally talk about RPGs. Things like Dungeons and Dragons, Vampire, PTA. But then I started to read the GENder theory, which is kinda interesting yet kinda flawed. Anyway, the E stands for exploration. It means that one plays in order to explore, in order to be, someone else. And that got me thinking: "In order to feel like [insert a name here], do I need to be in a conflict?" I don't think so, otherwise I wouldn't enjoy play SIMS.
And it all circulates back to what I've said in the beginning: Conflict is not mandatory. It is useful, but not mandatory.


No comments:

Post a Comment