Something to Muse Over: Online Message Board RPGing, a thing of the past?

Where have all the Original RPGers gone?

This is something my oldest friends, the ones who were suffering, aspiring writers stuck in teenaged high school bodies, like to discuss when we all get together, which is roughly twice a year.

When these friends and I were in high school we used to participate in online Role-Playing Games that had original themes and were entirely based on message board interactions. This time in high school I am referring to isn’t that long ago. I was in high school from 2000 to 2004. So it’s not like technology has advanced so far that message board based RPGing is something of the distant past. 2004 is less than ten years ago y’all, where is everyone?

Two of my friends still go in search of these sorts of RPGs on a fairly regular basis. When they find them, they do happy dances and create character profiles and submit applications. Sometimes they hear back right away, sometimes days or weeks later, sometimes not at all.

If by chance the moderators respond right away, my friends will start posting and creating plots with other characters. Within a few weeks, one time a couple of months, the posts became fewer and fewer until the RPG was no longer active—another RPG ghost town.

Being a Communication major, I learned in my Concepts in New Media course about how the internet has changed from 1.0 to 2.0. Communicating between online personas is no longer non-linear, everything is instant. With this in mind, is it our own impatience, our need for things yesterday that prevents us from posting regularly on message boards? Do we suddenly lose interest because there aren’t any talking images or flashing texts to keep our attention?

Personally, I think it is a combination of the changing internet interactions and what our brains are used to. Message boards are not capable of giving us the instant satisfaction that we are used to.

So what’s next? I would like to see the RPGs of yesterday, today, but done over. I want to see them capable of keeping up with what not only what we are currently used to; but able to be adapted to whatever else the powers that be dream up.

What about you? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.


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