Wherefore Art Thou, Sci-Fi?

That video games use what was once futuristic science-fiction technology to simulate young worlds of magic and elves never fails to befuddle me. It's not that I have any particular gripe to levy at the over-populated spawn of Tolkien, and certainly I've participated in as many adventures into dragon infested dungeons as the next nerd, but I wouldn't mind seeing a few more derelict spaceships, many-sunned alien landscapes and antiseptic futuristic control rooms in the gaming canon. Why has science-fiction been relegated to second or third chair in the most technologically advanced entertainment medium available?

Science fiction at its best is far more than shooting aliens with guns of increasing unlikelihood, but that's all we've been getting the past few years. It has become a sub-section of the genre that encompasses games like Ghost Recon and Battlefield, an action gaming conceit that permits the development of the unreal. This, while fantasy gaming surges through epic role-playing games, MMOs, immersive strategy games and every corner of the industry where consumers put cash to counter. But I'm encouraged by the potential of several upcoming titles to free gaming's red-headed stepchild from the creatively bereft shackles by which it has been bound. From the hype-overload of Bioshock – of which, we have certainly drank if not actually prepared the drug-laced Kool-Aid – to Mass Effect and Tabula Rasa, it's good to see that Sci-Fi is getting some overdue attention.

I understand that fantasy gaming is easy, because magic offers developers and story-writers the freedom to do virtually anything. No creature or plot-point is off-limits with the omnipotence of magic to craft and shape worlds of daring impossibility, but what seems missed in the process is that the conceit of hyper-advanced technology offers the same design latitudes. Sci-fi is no less prepared to visualize the fantastic, and that developers haven't taken as broad advantage of that signifies that something ain't quite right here in River City. At a functional level, sci-fi and fantasy aren't particularly different, in that magic or technology can both be employed to open wide the doors of unrestrained creativity.

So why is it that fantasy has become the realm of the imaginative and sci-fi the realm of the derivative? Why are there compelling fantasy worlds with varied populations, while sci-fi seems to be limited to shooting Borg rip-offs in dull hallways with plasma rifles, plasma cannons, plasma guns and plasma swords?

The number of really good sci-fi games released in the last few years is pretty thin, and can mostly be defined by the offerings of Bungie, Relic and one or two others. The rest of the sci-fi gaming genre is just mediocre shooters that take the trappings of science fiction so you can shoot helmeted alien guards with futuristic machine guns, and Star Wars games.

There's nothing fundamentally wrong with Star Wars games, mind you, or to a lesser extent Star Trek, but the two franchises represent a disproportionate chunk of the genre over the last ten or fifteen years. They so dominate the idea of sci-fi gaming that even if games don't have the franchise license, they continue to exist within the conceits and clichés defined by Lucas and Roddenberry.

It might be easy enough to levy the same complaints at fantasy for doing the same with Tokien and Gygax, but there are a few important differences. First, Tolkien's world is far more imaginative and creative, but more importantly, until recently, it was not a visualized and concrete world to the masses. Middle-Earth existed only like an abstract idea of a world, still open to the imagination of those who read and those who borrowed from it. Star Wars, arguably the Lord of the Rings of sci-fi, is a hard edged world of finite imagination, we all know how it works and worse what it looks like. As to Gygax and D&D, well that was more a foundation for a game than a dogmatic definition. D&D demanded your creativity to work, and provided a framework of original story telling. Fantasy paragons were painted in broad brush-strokes, while sci-fi was a finely imagined portrait.

In short, we were taught from the start to tell our own fantasy stories while we learned to watch others tell us the stories of sci-fi.

That's not to say that plenty of games didn't break the mold of Star Wars, but that it was far easier to fall back on the conceits of existing franchises rather than fully realizing worlds. There were visual and ideological icons of sci-fi coming from these franchises that were mostly inescapable, and they cropped up all the time. And, of course, half the damn sci-fi games just dropped the pretense and slapped the franchise name right on the box.

But, what that's left us with is a few key games that broke the mold by being entirely different, and a bunch of customers who kind of got tired of sci-fi because it the rest of it all seemed the same. With another round of years revolving around Lucas and his middling prequels there wasn't room for much else, and when it was gone there was a hole in the ground where games like Deus Ex, Fallout, Freespace 2, Wing Commander and Synidcate used to be.

But, this is an unusual article, because it ends with concrete enthusiasm for what the gaming industry has got in store for us. Someone must have noticed the hole in the ground, because the next few years have a slew of games coming to our eager eyes with fresh IPs and loads of potential. Too Human, Bioshock, Mass Effect, Fallout 3, Crysis, Tabula Rasa and others seem to be ushering a new era of science fiction gaming.

After ten years of elves and magic, I could use a bit of a change.

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Totally agree - there is not enough sci-fi in gaming. I hardly count all the FPSes out there - they just aren't deep enough an experience for me. Wing Commander is one high point for me. I imagine System Shock is another, but I haven't played it.

EDIT: took out my confusion so as to not have a poopy first post for Ely's new article.

The rest of the sci-fi gaming genre is just mediocre shooters that take the trappings of science fiction so you can shoot helmeted alien guards with futuristic machine guns, and Star Wars games

A major part of the genre of SF is using the trappings of science fiction for what amount to military or western genre action-based plots. So these do pretty much reflect the SF world. Bringing so-called "hard" science fiction to a game could be a good idea, but the potential audience is smaller and the fans tend to be hard-core sticklers for accuracy in the details. It's a tough audience.

But if there was a new type of game that had an SF feel, I'd try it out. I suggest a version of Guitar Hero where you play a plasma guitar in the cantina from Star Wars? Derivative, FTW!

Did anyone else finish Bioforge? It was a sci-fi action adventure I really enjoyed back in the day. Honestly I enjoy Sci-fi games, but I think Outcast, is a good example of a personal barrier I have to overcome with some of them. A really good sci-fi game can honestly be 'too' alien or distant for me and I dont build an attachment to the game environs.

Fantasy on the other hand, with its dragons, elves, dwarves etc always pull from a pretty well established tapestry of myth that makes it more accessible.

I've finished my fair share of sci-fi games though, and am looking forward to Bioshock.

Point well taken. Tolkien/D&D is to fantasy as Star Wars/Star Trek is to sci fi: Wonderfully original creations that've become a lodestone around the neck of all content creators since. It's becoming tougher and tougher to mine new territory in the creatively strip-mined genre of a past that never was, but there's still plenty of space to grow in our make-believe future.

I'd love to see more games that don't fit into the the Fantasy-Sci Fi continuum at all. Basing one one China Mieville's New Crobuzon, John DeChancie's Castle series or Glen Cook's Garrett P.I. novels would be hotness incarnate.

I agree with this. In gaming in general, there's simply not enough SciFi. Wing Commander was good, so was System Shock. However, I find that there's quite a handful in the RTS genre. Command & Conquer, Starcraft and the Dawn of War games are all pretty much outstanding.

Still, there needs to be more. Stuff I'd like to see are another MMO similar to the original incarnations of Star Wars Galaxies, or even a single player along those lines. Tabula Rasa seems like it might fit the bill, and I'm very anxiously awaiting that.

I like Gears, and I own the VHS of the Hobbit animated movie, which was my introduction to Tolkien.

I'm just sayin'. I'll post more intelligent stuff later. Promise!

Part of the problem is the popular image of science fiction. Writers worked very hard to get rid of the "skiffie" label, by pushing SF instead, but a lot of folks didn't buy it. For quite a few years as the film industry took off again in the 70's, you could not give away tickets to an SF film. Then when it became popular, it was usually tied in with horror, or stuck with the usual "let's explore Mars" themes. The stand-outs were popular because they differed, in retrospect, but they still did not catch the public's fancy.

What did work was the revival of erudite hard science fiction in series such as Babylon 5, as well as the Star Trek revivals. But even then, the market for SF books has been shrinking for decades, is my understanding.

For me, I think the lack of a good, popular visual media niche has really hurt SF gaming, outside of the franchises. I mean, can you imagine an mmorpg based on Peter F Hamilton's Reality Dysfunction world? That would be great...if anyone could afford the licensing. Or if more than .000001% of the population had read it. But hey, who do you have to pay to do the Great Elf Wars? To tell the dramatic story of the love of the bow-wielding Frietash for his kidnapped lady Brogmir under the spreading leaves of the carnivorous but benevolent Bloodelms, servants of the 7th Circle Vivimancers?

I think a lot of this lies in the fact that most SF authors hand-craft their environments. There are a few genre-wide ideas that can be used for games (and have been); ring and sphere worlds, asteroid mining, lasers/blasters, fancy computers implanted in people, hacking, world-wide disasters. But if you want to set your game in the Foundation series, you need to contact Asimov's estate. And no one will buy a game about the Societe Anonyme run by the Starter, Sari Heldon. I can tell you that right now. But tell a story about a broken sword that needs to be reforged, with both good and bad buys mobilized to search for it, with elves and dwarves and trolls and dragons and a huge volcano to melt it in at the end, and you don't have to pay a cent to Tolkien's people.

Fantasy is *easier*. Everyone knows what a sword is. We go back to primitive societies and imagine we understand them better than far-future stuff. That's wrong, but hey, it *feels* right.

Thing is, I think the suggestions that SF can't do exactly the same as fantasy is an example of the problem. We get stuck in the roles of what we perceive SF must be, which is to say to fall back on the existing conceits.

My point: you can tell the story of forging an ancient sword with SF trappings just as easily, and that SF has become ponderous means that there are all kinds of stories being missed. I think that's what makes Fallout, Deus Ex, System Shock and others so great is that they realize that good storytelling and game elements are, in fact, _easy_ to implement in the Sci-fi mode.

It's not quite as easy as replace elves with gurglitz from Krompto XI, ancient sword with Heavy-Particle Time Accelerator, and forge with the harnassed power of a super-nova, but it's not that far off either.

But if you want to set your game in the Foundation series, you need to contact Asimov's estate. And no one will buy a game about the Societe Anonyme run by the Starter, Sari Heldon. I can tell you that right now. But tell a story about a broken sword that needs to be reforged, with both good and bad buys mobilized to search for it, with elves and dwarves and trolls and dragons and a huge volcano to melt it in at the end, and you don't have to pay a cent to Tolkien's people.

Fantasy is *easier*. Everyone knows what a sword is. We go back to primitive societies and imagine we understand them better than far-future stuff. That's wrong, but hey, it *feels* right.

Very well put. Alpha Centauri's tech tree != MoO2's tree != EVE's skill progression, but they are all a means to the same end of getting new and better stuff. The variance in the way magic is implemented from fantasy game to fantasy game doesn't seem to swing as wildly. So while every fantasy game may have a fireball, not every SF game will have a Graviton Beam. Not saying that's good, but just that it helps keep Fantasy more familiar.

Robear wrote:

Fantasy is *easier*. Everyone knows what a sword is. We go back to primitive societies and imagine we understand them better than far-future stuff. That's wrong, but hey, it *feels* right. :-)

I agree completely. Sci-fi is difficult. Not because the worlds are hard to build but ultimately the general populous just doesn't "get it". Everyone understands near-futuristic worlds. Everyone understands "ye olde" worlds because their concepts are well established.

Science is hard. People - the general public - are unsure and wary of science. They don't understand it. Apply that to a world and you frustrate your audience by a thousand-fold.
The easiest way to make a popular sci-fi game is to put it in a war setting and include lots of big explosions and ugly enemies.... que Gears of war, Half Life 2, Resistance:FoM.... etc.

Let's face it. People don't like to think and fantasy allows that. Sci-fi makes them question themselves. Makes them question their knowledge and humanity. It asks questions rather than reinforcing stereotypes (in general).

I've created two worlds. One for a sci-fi FPS and one for a fantasy MMOG. Both were as difficult to produce as i'm a scientist and have my pulse on the "buzzer" so to speak. If i wasn't then the science would be flawed or impossible; completely unrealistic and unfortunately, by definition, science revolves around the "real" which means that people need to be able to link the technology to what is known. In a lot of bad sci-fi it just doesn't happen.... and frankly, even in good sci-fi, it goes so far beyond the knowledge of the common person that they don't understand it. As i said earlier, the most successful sci-fi has been the stuff that addresses the technology least and the human element/condition most.

Elysium wrote:

Thing is, I think the suggestions that SF can't do exactly the same as fantasy is an example of the problem. We get stuck in the roles of what we perceive SF must be, which is to say to fall back on the existing conceits.

I'd bet that the folks with the chutzpah to do SF instead of fantasy are the same kind of folks that understand that we don't need more of the BS that gets tossed from the fantasy chuck wagon these days. If you're going to set a game in the Blade Runner universe, you're using more of your head already than most fantasy game designers.

Sci-Fi is in the doldrums because Science is Hard!

My cousin and I are working on a Fallout-esque RPG in our spare time. Our main goals are:

~ Based on a universe loosely based on "Second Variety"
~ Stories/character/universe will also borrow heavily from Robert Sheckley
~ No "kill 10 rats" quests. If we do for some reason have rats (radiation?) they will be HUGE, have cybernetic implants, and you would not be explicitly asked to kill them. They'll simply be in your way.

It could be an evolutionary process. Fantasy - Sci-Fantasy / Horror - Sci Fi - Hard Science Fiction... but I think science fiction takes a little more work to make entertaining in a unique way. Killing goblins is easier to model and make fun in an instant gratification kind of way, but doing some of the mundane chores of running a spaceship might not be so. Also I notice that there is a trend in science fiction and maybe all adventure style games, to use a pre-created person as opposed to someone you have modified from a char gen system. Although that could be me, since Halo / Gears are very popular.

I'd bet that the folks with the chutzpah to do SF instead of fantasy are the same kind of folks that understand that we don't need more of the BS that gets tossed from the fantasy chuck wagon these days.

It's the telling of the story, not the plot that matters. After all, what is LotR if not just a rip-off of the holy grail story (note: I realize that's an incredible oversimplification). You guys are ascribing the kind of traits to sci-fi games that 1) make them not sell and 2) make no one want to do them. Do you hear yourselves? People aren't smart enough for sci-fi. We're the only ones who really get it. It's more difficult than these crap game designers are capable of. It's just too hard. Are your general sense of cynicism and defeatism in some kind of race that I need to know about?

I'm being tongue-in-cheek there, so take it easy.

_And_, you're forgetting that there looks to be some really strong SF stuff on the horizon, which is what I'm pretty excited about! Making SF some sort of unattainable and difficult thing is ridiculous. It's no more difficult to explain to someone the rules of any given world than it is to explain why a given sword matters, or for that matter why you as a anti-terrorism commando need to go to Argentina. It just takes the effort of creating an engaging environment.

I mean, put me on a giant spaceship falling into a black hole in an RPG setting and you've already got enough to keep a ton of people engaged.

My point: you can tell the story of forging an ancient sword with SF trappings just as easily, and that SF has become ponderous means that there are all kinds of stories being missed. I think that's what makes Fallout, Deus Ex, System Shock and others so great is that they realize that good storytelling and game elements are, in fact, _easy_ to implement in the Sci-fi mode.

Well, yes. But what I'm saying is that if you want something that people are *familiar* with, you are more likely to have to license it in the SF world than in the fantasy one.

I think that's why we don't see the Steven Erikson concepts of Hold-based magic and rips in reality leading to colonization of a planet by multiple races, mediated by the Ascension of mortals to god status. Most of you are going "WTF is Hold-based magic?" at this point. If someone wants to do magic, why do that? Likewise, it's a lot easier to do a good story based around a generic crazy-computer-runs-isolated-space-station, than to try to replicate a complicated hard SF world a la Vernor Vinge.

Note also that Fallout is already familiar to us from films and other novels, some not even considered SF (Nevil Shute's "On the Beach" comes to mind.) Deus Ex is simply classic noir in a cyberpunk setting. The three examples you picked are essentially archetypes, and I'm arguing there are more and more recognizable archetypes in fantasy than in SF.

That said, they are all good games. I'd add Neuromancer to that list. But that's a rarity, a classic built on a licensed property. And the only Devo-soundtrack game I'm aware of.

Regardless, great post.

The three examples you picked are essentially archetypes, and I'm arguing there are more and more recognizable archetypes in fantasy than in SF.

Archetypes are archetypes. It doesn't matter if they're wearing chain mail or deflector shields.

I think you keep falling back on existing franchises with established worlds, and it would be no easier to incorporate hard existing SF than it would be to put some random Fantasy book. The problems are immediate and obvious, but they aren't any more troublesome for Sci-Fi by its nature, I don't think. Obviously a LOTR faithful game is going to be more approachable than something from a Stephen Baxter novel. We know as much about how SF works (computers, lasers, FTL drives, black holes, time travel etc. etc) as we do Fantasy (the stuff we've already talked about).

Oh, and I agree, great discussion.

(edited to expand on thought)

Likewise, it's a lot easier to do a good story based around a generic crazy-computer-runs-isolated-space-station, than to try to replicate a complicated hard SF world a la Vernor Vinge.

I would so snatch up an adventure game based in the Fire Upon the Deep universe. The zones of thought were a fascinating idea.

Many nights in Azeroth where spent lamenting in my part that we where playing a fantasy MMO instead of a scifi MMO (and no, that BC dimensional ship stuff doesn't cut it). X Com, Syndicate, Tie Fighter and company germinated my gaming seed, and I've always wanted to shed this terra firma for astral home (although I'd settle for a pre Bioshock Rapture). Thus I'm sad that fantasy is the norm for games, and not sci-fi. Here's hoping the promise of the future is not unwarranted.

By the way, doesn't "Where For Art thou, Sci-fi" translate to "why is Scifi" more so than "where is Scifi"? My Shakespeare is rusty.

Elysium wrote:

Do you hear yourselves? People aren't smart enough for sci-fi. We're the only ones who really get it. It's more difficult than these crap game designers are capable of. It's just too hard. Are your general sense of cynicism and defeatism in some kind of race that I need to know about?

I know it sounds ridiculous but it's true. After studying science at degree level for 8 years i am as familiar as i need to be to see the general public's reaction and understanding of science. It's not that people aren't smart enough for sci-fi - no one said that (and i'm not being offended here ) - it's just that real sci-fi, not the watered down stuff like i said in my post, takes consideration and thought. No current fantasy setting that i'm familiar with makes you think half as much as sci-fi.

_And_, you're forgetting that there looks to be some really strong SF stuff on the horizon, which is what I'm pretty excited about!

But if you look at that list it's exactly what i said in my post. It's simplified, there is no emphasis on the science it's all gobble-de-gook that's never explained.... in fact there is an effort not to explain it. You have shields? They may as well be magic and not technology-based. A rifle? Everyone understands guns.

Let me break down the list you gave before:

Too Human Internet Vikings
Bioshock Art deco mutants
Mass Effect "Jack Bauer in space" - 24
Fallout 3 Near future post apocalyptic world
Crysis Near future against aliens
Tabula Rasa Actually this is the only one i'm unfamiliar with so i can't comment on this

Is there a game there that really is science fiction? Or is it just fiction dressed up in fancy clothes?

Think back to when the War of the Worlds was serialised on American radio. The mass panics people had because they couldn't comprehend the situation. Society has come a long way since then in their understanding and acceptance of science and technology but we're still a long way off of a general understanding and trust of these two concepts.

Making SF some sort of unattainable and difficult thing is ridiculous.

But it's not the science people that make it unattainable. When trying to converse with non-scientific people (general public) you are met with a blank wall of people who do not want to comprehend. Why do you think that science and tech degree graduates are decreasing as time goes on? They're making the courses easier to pass every year to try and compensate for this and it comes down to the fact that the general populace are force fed propaganda (said in an extreme way, reality is less dramatic ) and don't like to think. In the UK there was a surge in people taking Psychology and "forensic science" due to the popularity of those TV shows. Science isn't popular. People like tech and science "to work"... they don't want to understand it. PC building is an easy comparison here.

It's no more difficult to explain to someone the rules of any given world than it is to explain why a given sword matters, or for that matter why you as a anti-terrorism commando need to go to Argentina. It just takes the effort of creating an engaging environment.

Actually, i'd disagree here. It is patently difficult to explain the fundamentals of science - to explain expansion in volume of a gas means loss in temperature - compared to swinging a sword, even with magical powers. We all have folklore as part of our society. Fantasy is based in folklore and therefore we all have common ground in that source, we all read children's stories: Wizard of Oz, magicians, fairies....

I mean, put me on a giant spaceship falling into a black hole in an RPG setting and you've already got enough to keep a ton of people engaged.

Yeah, like i said, it's all about looking at the explosions and the human condition or the interaction of humans with technolgy/the unknown. Event horizon is a good example of this. It's not real sci-fi, it's the mills and boon of sci-fi.... no one attempts to explain anything.

professorvonbeardzine wrote:

It could be an evolutionary process. Fantasy - Sci-Fantasy / Horror - Sci Fi - Hard Science Fiction... but I think science fiction takes a little more work to make entertaining in a unique way. Killing goblins is easier to model and make fun in an instant gratification kind of way, but doing some of the mundane chores of running a spaceship might not be so.

I don't think we need to worry about MMO players getting bored with mundane repetition.

Elysium wrote:

_And_, you're forgetting that there looks to be some really strong SF stuff on the horizon, which is what I'm pretty excited about! Making SF some sort of unattainable and difficult thing is ridiculous. It's no more difficult to explain to someone the rules of any given world than it is to explain why a given sword matters, or for that matter why you as a anti-terrorism commando need to go to Argentina. It just takes the effort of creating an engaging environment.

I mean, put me on a giant spaceship falling into a black hole in an RPG setting and you've already got enough to keep a ton of people engaged.

The point I failed to make is that fantasy is the status quo. In breaking from the status quo, most designers are showing that they're not comfortable just mimicking other games. Therefore, they're probably going to be less inclined to make this silly World of Starcraft ripoff idea.

booty wrote:

By the way, doesn't "Where For Art thou, Sci-fi" translate to "why is Scifi" more so than "where is Scifi"? My Shakespeare is rusty.

That's actually what I deleted from my first post, but I wasn't sure what he was going for. "Wherefore" does indeed mean "why", but it seems like Elysium was trying to say "Where is all the Sci-Fi?", and making a sort of pun out of it by paraphrasing Juliet.

If you ever see R&J, you'll know if the actress knows what the heck she's even saying by whether she puts the emphasis on the word "art" or some other word, preferably "Romeo". Chances are that if she does the former, she thinks she's asking where he is, because "Where ARE you, Romeo?" makes a lot more sense than "Why ARE you Romeo?" If she puts the emphasis on "Romeo", then it sounds like "Why are you ROMEO", which is much more the point that she is making - why couldn't you have been someone else, ie not a Montague.

Yeah, I care too much.

Irongut wrote:

Did anyone else finish Bioforge?

An OSI title where you played what could, loosely, be described as a sci-fi version of Frankenstein's monster? (emotional/mental instability included) Hmm, I just Wiki-ed up and, much as memory had it, the game was one-step-ahead for 1995. Damn, how I miss Origin as a developer/publisher.

In case someone with the power to change things is reading:

Couldn't agree more. Love me some sci-fi.

Wishlist:

1. Bring back f'n Earth & Beyond
2. Starcraft movie/series. Yes, all game movies up to this point have been crap, but Blizzard has a the talent and $$ to make it work. The market in Korea alone would cover the costs.
3. New Shadowrun RPG. SNES version rocked wolfman nards (yes, wolfman has nards).

Fedaykin98 wrote:
booty wrote:

By the way, doesn't "Where For Art thou, Sci-fi" translate to "why is Scifi" more so than "where is Scifi"? My Shakespeare is rusty.

That's actually what I deleted from my first post, but I wasn't sure what he was going for. "Wherefore" does indeed mean "why", but it seems like Elysium was trying to say "Where is all the Sci-Fi?", and making a sort of pun out of it by paraphrasing Juliet.

If you ever see R&J, you'll know if the actress knows what the heck she's even saying by whether she puts the emphasis on the word "art" or some other word, preferably "Romeo". Chances are that if she does the former, she thinks she's asking where he is, because "Where ARE you, Romeo?" makes a lot more sense than "Why ARE you Romeo?" If she puts the emphasis on "Romeo", then it sounds like "Why are you ROMEO", which is much more the point that she is making - why couldn't you have been someone else, ie not a Montague.

Yeah, I care too much.

I think it derives from "where are you headed." Thus it's more a question of the purpose of Romeo or sci-fi.

Yes, I put up Wherefore Art Thou incorrectly and used it wrong. Frankly, that more than anything else distresses me.

Elysium wrote:

Yes, I put up Wherefore Art Thou incorrectly and used it wrong. Frankly, that more than anything else distresses me.

And that distresses me.

Fedaykin98 wrote:
booty wrote:

By the way, doesn't "Where For Art thou, Sci-fi" translate to "why is Scifi" more so than "where is Scifi"? My Shakespeare is rusty.

That's actually what I deleted from my first post, but I wasn't sure what he was going for. "Wherefore" does indeed mean "why", but it seems like Elysium was trying to say "Where is all the Sci-Fi?", and making a sort of pun out of it by paraphrasing Juliet.

If you ever see R&J, you'll know if the actress knows what the heck she's even saying by whether she puts the emphasis on the word "art" or some other word, preferably "Romeo". Chances are that if she does the former, she thinks she's asking where he is, because "Where ARE you, Romeo?" makes a lot more sense than "Why ARE you Romeo?" If she puts the emphasis on "Romeo", then it sounds like "Why are you ROMEO", which is much more the point that she is making - why couldn't you have been someone else, ie not a Montague.

Yeah, I care too much.

I was about to post much the same thing, but you all beat me to it. And I, too, care too much (to not rub it in Elysium's face that he used to phrase incorrectly).

dhelor wrote:
Fedaykin98 wrote:

Yeah, I care too much.

I, too, care too much (to not rub it in Elysium's face that he used to phrase incorrectly). :D

wherefore art thou such NERDS?

I agree with Elysium, anyway-- "genre" is essentially a setting choice, and making an SF RPG isn't any different than making a FRPG when it comes down to it.

Is KOTOR really any different than any traditional FRPG? Could it have sold without the Star Wars license? Maybe, maybe not... but I think the point is that NO ONE EVEN TRIES IT.

Rather than licensing a particular novel for a SF RPG, maybe developers should take a page from the D&D games and license an existing pen and paper RPG rule-set. Star Frontiers, Gamma world, Fading Suns... Blue Planet, Traveller, etc., etc., etc. already provide a context for adventures in futuristic worlds... surely a decent RPG or FPS or tactical ship combat game could be made from these ideas?

If we're talking wishlists, then mine begins and ends with StarControl.

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