Tuesday, January 11, 2011

CyberGeneration 3.0 - Let's Talk About ...

One of the things that I loved and loathed about CyberGeneration was the Slang that came in the book. Each yogang had their own slang and their own way of speaking, which I thought was great. Then I read further and saw that they really tried to define it in the book, which I thought wasn't so great. Yes, I know that it didn't say that this was all the slang that they used, but there's something about a list in a roleplaying game that stymies the imagination ... or at least my imagination.

Language evolves, and it's one of the things that can create a level of distance between the reader and the work they are reading. It's what causes that stereotype to happen, "Kids these days and their butchering of the language" and all that. I mean, A Clockwork Orange isn't nearly as interesting a book if it isn't written in Nadsat.

That being said, we kind of made fun of the slang in the 2.0 book. What kind of outrageous line could we come up with using the slang from a single yogang. I can't really remember much, the term "Chrome Plunger Beast Man" came into play, but they were all pretty out there and they all felt really ridiculous. I don't know anyone who didn't giggle a little bit when reading them.

The other problem I had is that the way the book was structured, it made it sound like all yogangs of the same type used the same slang. That's patently absurd. I use words that were common place up in Northern Ontario, and the people in Toronto and Nova Scotia all look at me as if I've grown another head. And for those people who I subtly reference, yes "huck" is a word that means throwing stuff out ... where I come from. So there!

Back to the game, when people feel that it's superfluous or ridiculous it's something that needs fixing. Originally I wasn't going to include any slang stuff in the yogang sections, because I felt that anything I had in the months / years I've been planning a new edition didn't address any of the problems that I saw. Then, just recently I got to thinking. What if we let the players define what slang? Give them some direction, I mean tell them that Glitterkids like to use movie / gossip / tabloid lingo in their slang. Quotes from those places will start to pop up, but it will be relevant to them rather than something imposed on from the outside.

I think this helps a lot because you can get people who create their own slang, and then they might be more inclined to use it. One group of Glitterkids might end up calling an upstart a Hepburn, but another group might use it as a complement but they might actually use it rather than have me tell them what it means and then laugh at how silly my mind is.

Not that I have a problem with my silly mind, it's just I'd rather put stuff that's going to be used in a book.

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