Lately, as my geekness climbs to new levels, I've been perusing several different RPG blogs—some regularly, some not. One of my irregular visits netted me a post from someone venting on how some game masters are 'doing it wrong'—they allow their players to play characters that aren't average people. They allow more than one character to survive an adventure. They don't provide proper challenges to their players ("proper" being challenges that ensure that few of the characters ever survive). To 'coddle' players like this is to miss the point of the game—they say.
That is just ridiculous.
The object of a roleplaying game is enjoyment. Pure and simple. People find enjoyment in different ways. Some people love killer dungeons—matching their wits against the deck that the GM has stacked against them. Others enjoy cinematic-type games concentrating on story and drama. Others enjoy a mix of the two. Is any one better than the other? No. Is any one right and the other wrong? Hell no. Game rules are just a common starting ground for RPGs. Imagination and personal tastes take it from there, making each campaign unique to the people playing it.
I guess that's one of the reasons I never got into any gamer associations (like the RPGA). They seem to be trying to frame games as a competitive sport. And if you do that, then in order to be 'ranked' you DO have to abide by the same rules everyone else does. And in a game of imagination, that seems (to me) to defeat the purpose.
So in short, I feel that there is only one wrong way to play any game: And that is to not have fun doing it. And to say otherwise makes you come off as a pompous doof—since when do your standards, likes and dislikes apply to everyone? They don't—and p.s., you make us other geeks look bad when you talk like that.
p.s. No. That's not me in the picture above. I would never wear those ears with that cape. I would wear different ears.