What is LitRPG?

Discussion in 'All Things LitRPG' started by Edwin McRae, Nov 10, 2018.

  1. Edwin McRae

    Edwin McRae Level 7 (Cutpurse) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Just stumbled across this video. Has anyone else seen it?


    While I generally agree with the creator's three pillars of LitRPG definition, I think he's missed one vital element. The RPG part. He states that the character must be inside a game and virtual world, but that means Westworld is LitRPG which is most definitely isn't. While it has quests, it has no other RPG game mechanics. Mechanically, it's more like a Frictional Games walking simulator than it is like a BioWare game.

    Still, maybe I'm being too narrow with my own definition. Keen to hear what others think. :)
     
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  2. Windfall

    Windfall Level 17 (Theurgist) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Interesting video. Thanks for posting!

    I'll write down the 'three pillars' here for folks who don't want to watch the whole thing:

    1. The story contains a defined game system
    2. Takes place predominantly within a virtual world
    3. Characters know they're in a game


    I kinda don't agree... but more on that later.
     
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  3. Edwin McRae

    Edwin McRae Level 7 (Cutpurse) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Thanks for that, Windfall! Yeah, the more I think about it, the more I "kinda don't agree" too. For me Number One is a no brainer. If there ain't no game system then it ain't LitRPG. But Number Two is far too limiting and would exclude AR LitRPG books like Dan Sugralinov's "Level Up" books. As for Number Three, that only applies to the gamer protagonist. What about the NPC characters who just treat the game system as a natural part of their world?
     
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  4. Paul Bellow

    Paul Bellow Forum Game Master Staff Member Shop Owner LitRPG Author Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    That's it! I'VE HAD ENOUGH! You two are BANNED for questioning the official definition of LitRPG! Heresy!

    Just kidding.

    Forgot for a moment we're not those other groups. ;)

    I think it's going to come down to Aleron Kong getting the real trademark in another 4 years then being able to define it how he wants...unless more people step up soon.
     
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  5. LWFlouisa

    LWFlouisa Level 9 (Burgler) Roleplaying LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Here is my issue, if these were the rules than my work would without a doubt be LitRPG.

    The problem comes in to whether LitRPGs should be 'crunchy': have detailed statistics. As a game developers, the games I program that my novellas draw from, don't really use statistics.

    It also diverges from Roguelikes in this respect: the bulk of what is procedurally generated is Locked Door puzzles. But generally there are not random encounters like there are in a traditional LitRPG or Roguelike. But there are boss fights after you unlock a door. There are different complete game chunks of different level shapes.

    The action, in this case, is replaced with a greater emphasis on puzzle solving.

    Things that don't diverge from Roguelikes: Permadeath.

    In fact the stakes are even higher than in normal roguelikes, as in the books it's Permadeath+ mode, this means what ever happens to you in game, also effects you in the real world you escape from to play this game.

    If you die in the game, you die in the real world the book establishes.

    But the web serial now is about a girl playing my programmed game called Nihilist, which I'll eventually be adding more features to.
     
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  6. Paul Bellow

    Paul Bellow Forum Game Master Staff Member Shop Owner LitRPG Author Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    Easy fix? Soft LitRPG (fewer/no stats) and Hard LitRPG (lotsa stats).

    Problem solved! ;)
     
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  7. Windfall

    Windfall Level 17 (Theurgist) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    I think this bit is vital. I think one major defining flavor of LitRPG is that characters grow stronger as they progress through the story. I also think there's something about explicit (arbitrary) rules that give LitRPG that flavor.

    Ready Player One, at least to me, is a 'fringe' title (not meant in a negative way, of course). It's more "sci-fi that features a virtual reality that happens to feature a treasure-hunt game", if you know what I mean. GameLit would fit, I guess.

    And this is why there's a major overlap between readers of wuxia/xianxia and LitRPGs, even when wuxia/xianxia aren't exactly games.

    Thoughts are still distilling around the subject and I'm still trying to come up with better definitions for all the 'flavors' we get, so... more later as the thoughts surface :p
     
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  8. Paul Bellow

    Paul Bellow Forum Game Master Staff Member Shop Owner LitRPG Author Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    Good thing he leveled up his "Drive in Reverse" skill! :p
     
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  9. Edwin McRae

    Edwin McRae Level 7 (Cutpurse) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    I agree, Ready Player One almost isn't LitRPG for me. Definitely Gamelit, but I think RD1 had more in common with Tad Williams' "Otherland" than it does with...ahem...who's that guy that wrote that "Hack" novel? :rolleyes:
     
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  10. Windfall

    Windfall Level 17 (Theurgist) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    That part made me soooo mad! (Oh, wait a minute -- I mean just about every other part of the movie too) :p
     
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  11. Edwin McRae

    Edwin McRae Level 7 (Cutpurse) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Aaaaaarrgghh! Can't believe they swapped the "Joust" scene from the book for that ridiculous Mario Karts debacle. :-(
     
  12. nightwriter

    nightwriter Level 6 (Footpad) Citizen

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    Would it work in the movie though? I have read and reread RPO few times before watching the movie and I agree that its completely different thing but realistically, would the original story work? RPO is not a Nobel prize for literature material, but it still too complex for todays movies...
     
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  13. Edwin McRae

    Edwin McRae Level 7 (Cutpurse) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Totally agree, Nightwriter. It would've made a fantastic TV series rather than a mediocre film.
     
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  14. nightwriter

    nightwriter Level 6 (Footpad) Citizen

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    Lot of people around me seem to think that.
     
  15. dag0net

    dag0net Level 5 (Veteran) Citizen

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    Stuff like the RPO movie makes me want to join the Taliban.
    When adult means pornographic and art means impenetrable, you gotta know only extreme measures are going to stop the market dividing into porn and children's entertainment with little in between.


    ::borngrumpy: & defunct, damn NATO! =)
     
  16. LWFlouisa

    LWFlouisa Level 9 (Burgler) Roleplaying LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Do you mean .hack by any chance? I've been wondering if they had a novelization.

    Also would Dragonball series count as Wuxia? Since Wuxia was brought up.

    One reason I use the term LitRoguelike specfically (I place no claims on owning the label):



    There are also things like Hacklikes, and I'm hoping eventually: Nihilistlikes. In either case, Roguelike I consider a subset of RPG rather than a completely seperate genre.

    Admittingly he kind of lost me when he started swatting at knats between Roguelike and Roguelite.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2018
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  17. GameMasterPhoenix

    GameMasterPhoenix Level 8 (Thug) Beta Reader Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    This is practically the entire reason why I decided the join this forum. After reading the first couple of Chaos Seeds books, I looked around for more information about the author since he seemed to have one of best-selling series on Amazon. I figured I could use him as an example for how to succeed in self-publishing a LitRPG series. When I took a look at his website, however, it set off all kinds of warning bells(who names himself the Father of anything?), and then I learned about the trademarking issue. He'd have to try pretty hard to convince me that he's not trying to single handedly seize control the LitRPG market while it's still in its infancy, and apparently he's a doctor so he has money for litigation. Scary stuff. After I saw all that, I realized that I was missing a lot of context and I eventually ended up here.

    But I'm getting off topic. As for the video, it reminded me of high school discussions along the lines of "what is art?" I also thought it was pretty funny that he used Starcraft to help him prove his points since it's an RTS game, not an RPG. The problem, as I see it, is finding a definition for LitRPG that is both sufficiently broad enough to handle everything in the genre but also specific enough to exclude other genres. I think the video's author fails the first of these goals. Saying LitRPG must take place in a virtual world, for instance? Are we going to exclude all of the stories in which a character wakes up in a game-like world that is their new reality? Or stories that introduce gaming elements into the real world? That doesn't seem right. And why do characters have to know they're in the game? That could make for an interesting bit of dramatic irony. Really, the only "pillar" I agree with is the first: the story must have blatant gaming elements such as leveling up, etc. Without that, it's GameLit or some other genre. In fact, I wonder if the first pillar might be as specific as we can get? Otherwise, I can see everyone running into problems with the second goal I mentioned above: not creating a definition that is so specific that it excludes a lot of stories.

    I swear all my posts won't be that long, lol.
     
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  18. Windfall

    Windfall Level 17 (Theurgist) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Please do long posts. I love long posts. So I won't be the only one.
     
  19. Windfall

    Windfall Level 17 (Theurgist) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    I can see certain elements of wuxia in it, but I wouldn't really classify it as wuxia.
     
  20. Paul Bellow

    Paul Bellow Forum Game Master Staff Member Shop Owner LitRPG Author Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    I noticed the "definition" at the LitRPG subreddit today...We're not the only ones who say they don't have to have stats or abide by Aleron Kong's definition of the genre.
    litrpgdefinition.JPG
     
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