Friday, 7 August 2015

MSG™

A game for professionals. 


Billed as a game of negotiation, conscience and corporate irresponsibility, it's had its resolution mechanic very lightly tweaked, had some fiction and art replaced, been lightly cleaned up and updated and had a few jokes of dubious taste and negligible funniness removed (hence "Deoffensified"). 

It's still very much a thing of its pre-2010 time. You can sum it up as my "Naomi Klein was right and Naomi Klein was wrong" future (as in, she was right, brands are conquering the world, and she was wrong, people weren't able to do anything about it). It's only futuristic and comedic because otherwise it'd be too horrible to write, frankly. 

It got some good notices. Greg Costikyan who way back wrote the fondly remembered original Star Wars rpg really liked it. The reviewer in the Knights of the Dinner Table magazine was creeped out by it. And Ed Grabaniowski at io9.com was lovely about it, heading his review "Kill Mickey Mouse in a strange game of corporate brand slavery" and supplying it with the glorious descriptor "stuffed to the gills with black, black humour." 

It didn't set the world alight. It wasn't going to, to be honest, it was too awkward, too opinionated. But I broke even on it, and that was all right. 

In some ways it's still more valid than ever. I mean we live in a world where people who organise consumer boycotts wouldn't dream of buying a phone that wasn't made by Apple.

In fact, Apple is a perfect example of the sort of company the game is about. Ethical? Their Chinese plant treats its workers so badly, it literally drives them to suicide. In order to solve the problem of workers jumping off the roof, you know what they did? They put up nets.

But Apple is #1 on the Ethical Companies List app. Which is the Ethical Companies List app that was approved by Apple so it could be available on iTunes. 

That is the Company from MSG™ right there.

I wanted it to come back. More importantly, it's a tester. By getting myself set up as a publisher on DriveThruRPG, which is, if you know anything about role-playing games in the 2010s, the main place to get them, it means I have fewer hoops to jump through to make Chariot happen, and all the goofs I might have made in proofing and organising I've already made and fixed. It's made me confident that I can get Chariot's production right... and it's expanded my brand.

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