Yesterday I posted about how RPG culture is remix culture. Today I want to talk more about why I consider DoubleZero to be more of a remix than a clone. It’s a distinction that’s important to my design choices. The difference matters not just to this project, but practically everything that I’ve done up to this point.
More of a Remix Than a Clone
The point of a retroclone RPG is to recreate what an older game system did, the same way that it did it. There may be a few refinements to fix some kludgy mechanics, or to incorporate popular house rules, but for the most part it functions identically to the original. Because intellectual property law states that you cannot copyright an idea, only the unique expression of an idea, all you really need to do is rewrite and rephrase the original text. That’s not meant to be derogatory or dismissive of people that have created some truly superb, kick-ass retro-clones. I’m just trying to establish some baseline definitions for the purpose of discussion.
I’ve stated before that my goal isn’t to recreate the British Secret Agent Game verbatim, but to create a game that does what it did. To do that, I’m pulling ideas from everywhere. Yes, it would likely be less work to create a straight-up clone. That’s not the game that I want to write. A retro-clone couldn’t, by definition, be a reflection of my own thoughts, values, and ideas. It would be locked into the perspectives of the original creators.
The Black Box Movement
The aesthetics of the Black Box Movement inform my design choices as well. That alone makes DoubleZero more of a remix. I’m working hard to get core book down to a concise 96 pages. A lot of that means eliminating oh so many tables. Both the British Secret Agent game and GORE™/BRP lean heavily on tables. In turn, that means constructing the rules in a way that doesn’t require as many references. Even though I’m not folding things into the mix, the way that I’m recombining the existing ingredients keeps this from being a straight-up clone.
About Dancing Lights Press
Dancing Lights Press publishes creative aids and story games that embrace a minimalist aesthetic in design and presentation. The spotlight belongs on the creativity of the players as they converse and collaborate on plot, worldbuilding, and character development. Roleplaying is an activity, not a book. Our titles are merely part of the delivery system.