Defining Role-Playing Games as Language-Games
Arjoranta, J. (2011). Defining Role-Playing Games as Language-Games. International Journal of Role-Playing, 1 (2), 3-17. Retrieved from http://www.ijrp.subcultures.nl/wp-content/issue2/IJRPissue2-Article1.pdf
Published inInternational Journal of Role-Playing
© Author, International Journal of Role-Playing and Utrecht School of the Arts
Finding a definition of role-playing games that is both representative and unambiguous is not simple. The differences among tabletop roleplaying games, live-action role-playing and digital role-playing games are remarkable, yet they are all considered role-playing games. Hitchens and Drachen (2009) have proposed a definition of roleplaying games comprising of all these types in an attempt to find a definition that could be “commonly accepted”. This paper expands upon this definition, exploring its strengths and weaknesses, its relation to digital games and finally suggests an alternative approach. This alternative approach is based on Wittgenstein’s works on the nature of language, and the hermeneutic tradition’s conception of truth. This should be understood as a continuation of the discussion on defining roleplaying games, not as an attempt to end the discussion in some conclusive way. Some general remarks on the problems of exclusive definitions are also presented.