Announcing the return of The Blogs of the Round Table

Hello Dearly Devoted Critical-Distance Readers!

So the most attentive amongst you may remember that I teased a ‘new thing’ that would be starting in January here at Critical Distance – well, it’s January and I can now announce that we are officially re-launching ‘The Blogs of the Round Table’.

For those who might not have been around for as long as the rest of us, The Blogs of the Round Table was a great monthly program run by Corvus Elrod. Corvus would provide a theme upon which to write a blog post, everyone else would go off and have a think about it and write something based on the theme for that month. The responses were incredibly varied and diverse, working more as an inspiration and motivation to post than anything else.

One of the best things about The Blogs of the Round Table (or the BoRT) was that we all got to read each others writing, which often inspired our own responses and conversation pieces, encouraging a real sense of being an open and inclusive community full of life and lively discussion. Progressively throughout the month, Corvus would compile all the entries in a big ongoing post that linked to all the posts and kept similar discussions together. It really was a pretty excellent idea, but as Corvus got increasingly busy with other projects (particular the successful ‘Bhaloidam’ storytelling game) the Blogs of the Round Table eventually tapered off.

But no more! It’s back with a vengeance, and it’s our pleasure to be hosting the initiative right here at Critical Distance. Corvus has even done us the honour of providing our first monthly theme.

So what now? Well, if you want to be involved in the Blogs of the Round Table, read Corvus’ outline of the theme below, have a think about what you’d like to say on the topic, then write! Post the final piece on your blog, or a friends blog, heck we’ll even take Google Plus posts, and then let us know about it by emailing or tweeting to us @critdistance making sure to use the #BoRT hashtag. From there, depending on how many pieces people write and what our team of tireless editor’s workload is like, we’ll collect them into a post with links to all the pieces, which we’ll update throughout the month. Easy! The other alternative is to just read, enjoy and comment on the excellent work the fantastic community produces.

One last thing before we reveal this month’s theme – we’ll be periodically inviting some of our favourite writers, thinkers, and whoever else we enjoy to pick a theme for a month. But for January 2011, the theme Corvus has been kind enough to kick us off with is Being Other:

Games, like most media, have the ability to let us explore what it’s like to be someone other than ourselves. While this experience may only encompass a character’s external circumstances–exploring alien worlds, serving with a military elite, casting spells and swinging broadswords–it’s most powerful when it allow us to identify with a character who is fundamentally different than ourselves–a different gender, sexuality, race, class, or religion. This official re-launch of the Blogs of the Round Table asks you to talk about a game experience that allowed you to experience being other than you are and how that impacted you–for better or for worse. Conversely, discuss why games haven’t provided this experience for you and why.

So get cracking, the flood-gates are now open. There’s no limit to how many posts you can write on the theme in a month, and no min-max word limit – all we ask is that you include a link to the main monthly theme post (link back to this post for this first one) and, of course, that you let us know you’ve written it. The comments on this post are also open for questions.