I recently discovered that gamers who aren't game designers are exceedingly lame. And I realized that the reason I'm not a gamer is simply because I'm not that lame, and because all the games ever made, all the games anyone could make, will always be lame.
There are damned few games where you get to alter the game world. The only ones I know are Minecraft, Second Life and the old MOOs (I consider Second Life a 3D MOO). And of course, the Reality MMORPG (that one's manual is really inadequate by the way).
In World of Warcraft, you don't get to change the outcome of anything at all. Things move around randomly, events happen, and you don't have any say in them. Only an unreachable deity (the Content Programmer) has any say in it at all.
In Dragon Age, Neverwinter Nights and other computer role-playing games, you get a choice of a tiny number (usually 3 or less) "endings" which are barely distinguishable. You win and become evil, you win and become good, you lose and die, so on. There isn't any possible way to get off these plot rails you're stuck on.
And aren't you happy with 3 or 4 destinations? Like I said, I'm not that lame. And although in Minecraft and possibly Dungeon Keeper, you get to craft worlds, you only get to do so on a very superficial level. Like a freaking engineer! I look down on engineers, I don't want to emulate them!
So anyways, how did I learn all this? Well, I read a couple of self-insert fics about computer games. It took me a while to figure out their authors were uncreative hacks who were novelizing the games. Cause yeah, I don't play computer games, I just read about them. And then I started wondering what the fuck was wrong with these people.
And I realized! They're cattle and insects. They don't think of anything beyond their own self-aggrandizement. The "sandbox" in Elder Scrolls where you get to acquire power, prestige (social status), and fortune (wealth) is all they could ever want.
None of them ever want to REMAKE the world, putting down railways and signal towers to keep the Tamriel Empire together. None of them want to build aqueducts, public baths and radically improve coal mining to heat the baths in Athkatla.
I suppose Civilization and Railroad Tycoon let you do that to a small degree. But they were crap, because you got bogged down in repetitive micro-management pretty damned quick. And they were over-simplistic. What you could build was exceedingly limited. The plot rails may have been conceptual but they were still there.
My favourite genre of fiction has always been crossovers with reality. And the first question that always comes to mind is what the trade opportunities would be. I think this rant kinda shows that. Healing potions for steam engines, hmm. Steam engines are nearly always possible so long as something resembling human life lives.