The Magic Circle of Reverence

In the previous Knights of Pen and Paper log, I mentioned how this mobile game is a sort of metagame in itself. My definition of metagame is similar to metatheatre where a game comments on itself or other cultural phenomena. I also brought up the Magic Circle, but there is an element of reverence that … Continue reading The Magic Circle of Reverence

In the previous Knights of Pen and Paper log, I mentioned how this mobile game is a sort of metagame in itself. My definition of metagame is similar to metatheatre where a game comments on itself or other cultural phenomena. I also brought up the Magic Circle, but there is an element of reverence that I should discuss that explores how Knights of Pen and Paper is a metagame. The question I answer to the best of my ability is this: how does the Magic Circle and reverence combine in Knights of Pen and Paper to make a mobile metagame?

An understanding of the Magic Circle is necessary to see how this applies in Knights of Pen and Paper. The Magic Circle, as we discussed in class, comes from Johan Huizinga and his discussion of play and playgrounds (magic circles). With regard to this game, the Magic Circle is something similar to a sacred ground or ritual that gamers partake in while playing games, especially tabletop games. I thought the game would aim for a realistic story, but it seems broken as the Game Master and other characters make comments that point to the recognition of imaginary and real realms.

So how does reverence come into play? As Ian Bogost talks about reverence in his chapter “Reverance” in How to Do Things with Vidoegames, he explains how a videogame uses a church in a setting for Resistance: Fall of Man. Though people were outraged at the thought of using a real church as a setting, Bogost argues that the game shows people the significance of the church. In Knight of Pen and Paper, the game occasionally pokes fun at lame monsters or overused settings, but there is praise in its many jokes. With the little items that can be bought to customize the room, the buffs (upgrades) respond to cultural gags for those who identify as nerds.

Knights of Pen and Paper is undoubtedly a metagame. Not only does it break the Magic Circle, but it also breaks the Fourth Wall (basically the threshold separating performers and audience). And by making jokes about Dungeons and Dragons and other nerdy stereotypes, the game comments on its rules and other cultural topics. This form of metagaming expands itself to an audience that might be learning about tabletop games or to those who are veterans from the days before videogames.