GNS- Thoughts on Disambiguation

Back in my GNS explaination thread on, someone observed that if the most misused words associated with a theory are the ones in the theory’s name, there’s something wrong.

The problem of course, is that Gamist/Narrativist/Simulationist are all adjectives and while meant to define only play, end up defining lots of different stuff.

It’s of course too late to do anything about this, given the terms’ sheer saturation in theory-culture.  But I thought: what if there was a way to adapt the words to a context where the usage is clearer?

So here’s my random idea: Instead of *-ism, you have *-play.

Gamism, is therefore GamePlay.  Narrativism is NarPlay (I’d prefer DramaPlay, but people know what Narrativism and Nar are.)  Simulationism is SimPlay.

And people’s creative-agenda preferences?  *-player.  GamePlayer, NarPlayer, SimPlayer (because people aren’t gamists, narrativists or simulationists!)

A games innate leaning towards one creative-agenda or another?  *-playability.  GamePlayabiliyt, NarPlayability, SimPlayability.

I imagine most people who knew about GNS who saw these phrases without previous context would know what I was talking about (someone with no GNS experience would probably still be clueless, but that’s not the point), making it better than pulling out entirely new words out of nowhere.

What do you think?


4 thoughts on “GNS- Thoughts on Disambiguation

  1. Rahvin says:

    I think one can define terms Gamist, Narratavist, and Simulationist only by comparing them to each other, a style of definition that exists outside the normal universe of conventional definition.

    Thus, these words allow us to be able to take sides on issues and particular arguments without having to go to all the work of figuring out what issues we’re arguring about.

    You know, like the words “Democrat” and “Republican”.

  2. Rahvin says:

    For some reason, your definitions seem to imply a system of sub-classification of games/gamers rather than classification. DramaPlay and SimPlay, don’t sound mutually exclusive at all, just like you’re talking about another aspect of play. I’m not sure if that was your intent or not.

    “What’s your GamePlay?”
    “Huh. What about DramaPlay?”
    “Oooh, 7. Lots of DramaPlay.”
    “What about SimPlay?”
    “Umm… none. Think I need that?”
    “Not really.”

  3. Rahvin says:

    But I’m sure whatever you decide will be right because you’re a Gamist, and we can’t let those danged Simulationists keep their majority in the Forge. 🙂

    Willow for 2007!!!

  4. Tim says:

    I agree with Rahvin in that your terms might create more schisms between gamers who classify themselves or others as one type of -player. It may just be better to point people to Vincent Baker’s web page ( ) and tell them to scroll down to “Aside: GNS”.

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