So there's like this dad who reads all the parenting blogs and buys one of those high-end stainless-steel carriage-style shock-absorbent strollers so there'll be no long-term invisible spinal damage and only buys black-and-white toys for the first three months so the kid's eyesight develops right and the dad pays close and critical attention to everything that comes out of his kid's mouth and works with the kid to like explore the kid's emerging maturity. He is all about being a dad. This dad is a Good And Responsible Dad.
Then there's this other dad that is just a guy like most parents and does whatever and leaves the kid pretty much alone aside from going "Hey be awesome kid" once in a while and spends half the time in his garage making some extensive bizarre thing that has nothing at all to do with parenting but makes the kid go "Wow, dad, whatcha doin' in here?" and the rest of the time like flying helicopters and saving the world from nuclear terror and drinking whisky on the roof with Santigold and her sister. This dad may not be that Responsible. He is, however, an Awesome Dad.
Now imagine these dads are post-apocalyptic RPGs...
Which kinda bugs me because I think the author of Apocalypse World seems like he has some very good ideas and has an Awesome Dad in him somewhere (certainly more of the awesome dad than RIFTS has of the responsible dad), but he is surrounded by all these other parents who are going "You're giving him lentils? That's so smart. That's so important at this age. Hell even I need a few lentils now and again." And he's going "Yeah, lentils, for sure, I have some ideas about lentils. I'll invent a GM move called Be Aware Of The Possibility That You Could Eat Lentils, then people who GM will know that they could always eat lentils if they wanted to".
And what about the kids? What do they think? Nobody really knows. I doubt the author of Apocalypse World really knows, he just knows that all these people (game designers--personal friends in many cases, I suspect) are saying "Well if I was a kid I know I certainly would appreciate all these lentils..."
Meanwhile Awesome Dad's kid is just like "How can I be like you dad?" and Awesome Dad is just like "Fuck if I know (blows a flying manta ray out of the sky) you'll figure it out I bet" and the kid's like "One day I'm gonna figure out how, Awesome Dad..." and Awesome Dad's like "Cool, here, lick some lead paint..." "Aww, Dad, really?" "Whatever I don't care...SUCK IT MANTA TYRANT!!"
The pictures in Apocalypse World are low-rent Tim Bradstreet imitations which add nothing to the setting content but they impeccably Reinforce The Themes of the game and are embedded in impeccably readable graphic design. They Communicate.
The pictures in RIFTS range from amazing to awkward to bugfuck insane to fascinatingly wrong to Why Would You Ever Show Anyone That? but they are never dull and add details to a world all its own and some are by Larry Mcdougall and some are by Newton Ewell and they are embedded in graphic design that does not give a fuck about graphic design. They Are Just Fucking There Being Rad.
When I read Apocalypse World I get the feeling the author cares a lot about me and making my game work.
When I read RIFTS I get the feeling the author cares a lot about RIFTS and is only telling me because he can't control the overflow of his own enthusiasm.
RIFTS, of course, is a gorgeously inspiring, magnificently fat game and a ton of fun once you saw off the dumb bits (like every other game).
I'm supposed to play Apocalypse World for the first time next week. I looked through the books for a character name I could live with (like many engaged and eager dads, and like its child, Dungeon World, Apocalypse World names your toys for you) and found two in there: Barbecue and Lizard.
Barbecue is a Hardholder which seems pretty dull, so I'm being Lizard, who is a Hocus.
We will see...
EDIT AFTER TALKING TO THE APOC WORLD DESIGNER WITH THE END OF THAT CONVERSATION:
(on Google +)
Zak Smith10:54 AM (edited)Edit