This is RPG-ology #33: Flirting, for August 2020.
There was a Game Ideas Unlimited article of this title that addressed these ideas (not, it should be noted, romance). That article appears to have been lost, and this is an attempt to address the ideas afresh.
We roleplay for many different reasons. Ron Edwards has identified three fundamental motivations, ways in which gamers enjoy games, identified as gamism, narrativism, and simulationism, and described at Places to Go, People to Be in the article Theory 101: Creative Agenda. It is the third of those, simulationism, which is of interest in this article.
What characterizes simulationism is the love of learning, of exploring what something is like; it is in some ways the broadest. We explore places, from Narnia to Saturn 5 to post-apocalyptic earth to Toontown. We explore milieus, from medieval Asia and Europe to the wild west to outer space. We explore professions, real and unreal, from gunslinger and swordfighter to wizard and starship engineer. We even explore what it’s like to face death.
Yet I think one of the most interesting, subtle, and overlooked things that we explore is our own identities. Read more