A lot of talk about Twixt seems based on the assumption that Twixt purposefully broke “social rules” of play. Now, admittedly, the paper uses Garfinkel’s “breaching experiments” as an analogy to try to frame and explain the consequences of Twixt’s play inside RV. It’s just an analogy, though, as I mentioned here under the heading “Playing as ‘stress.'”
In the big picture, here’s what happened: Twixt played the game in RV. Twixt was harassed. I wrote a paper about that harassment.
Why? Because that harassment is as interesting to me as anyone else. It’s an interesting thing. And the “Garfinkeling breaching experiment” analogy helped me contextualize and understand — and, I believe, explain in part — why that harassment took place.
Now, that claim — that Twixt played the game in RV — has been turned into this: “You can ‘play the game’ and do all sorts of things that aren’t explicitly prohibited by the game rules and still be a jerk. Therefore, even though you ‘officially’ played the game, you were still a jerk.”
Well, I don’t think so. Unless maybe calling me a jerk over and and over again makes me a jerk.
I’m slowly revealing, I hope, in this blog, the true nature and context of Twixt’s play — which was not only play by the game rules, but also play in the spirit of the game rules.
But maybe I should also make a couple of comments about play by and in the spirit of the “social rules,” too. And I would have already, if I knew what those social rules were exactly. Was it just that Twixt shouldn’t drone/tp into NPCs? Was that the whole ball of wax? Just those two simple things — easily avoided, easily countered, and not really (if you know how play works inside RV) much of a threat at all?
I still don’t for sure what these social rules were, but let me try to explain them anyway.
Maybe the most important “social rule” Twixt “broke” (if you want to call it that) was not to obey the instructions of his opponents to NOT play the game. So, in other words, if a Twixt opponent said “Don’t attack me,” Twixt might very well, depending on the circumstances, have attacked that opponent anyway. (There is no spawn killing in RV btw; the game design prevents it.)
Large group of vills and heroes fighting…Vill1 and Vill2 stand among them.
Vill1: plz dont attack me in not here for pvp!
TWIXT DEFEATS Vill2
Vill2: twixt still aint change
The Unknown Toon: if your in this zone your here for pvp
And it wasn’t just ‘The Unknown Toon’ who, like Twixt, played in disregard of the “social rules.” Many other players besides Twixt chose to “break” this particular rule of “Don’t attack unless I say it’s ok.” So, if more than one player was doing something, that sort of looks like a kind of social rule, doesn’t it?
Similarly, if there was a game goal to accomplish — take a pillbox inside RV, for instance — and there were two characters, a hero and a villain, colluding to switch ownership of that pillbox back and forth in order to obtain a pillbox “badge” (and therein avoid all risk normally associated with achieving that badge), Twixt very well might, depending on the circumstance, have killed the vill to make sure the pillbox stayed under hero control.
One player — Prime Opp A — is using two characters to manipulate a pillbox.
Prime Opp A: please dont be gay and attack him
Prime Opp A: its pretty lame to attack an afk’er
Twixt: hoho, plz dont sit in my pillbox then
So, that sort of thing, basically — not doing something that someone asked Twixt to do — must be what people are referring to when they say Twixt “broke the social rules.”
Meanwhile, there are a whole bunch of other “social rules” that Twixt obeyed. Rules like not harassing others through obscenities, stalking, and such; being a good, learned game opponent; participating energetically in game play; not gossiping, not rumor-mongering, or otherwise telling lies about your fellow players; not using exploits, not cheating, not spoil-sporting — those kind of rules.
So, which “social rules” — and whose social rules — are we really talking about here?