I’m not that old. I’m telling you that mainly because it means that I’m not one of those retro gamers who had their fingers in all the pies when PCs were just figuring out what acne was and what the hell they should do about it. So when I say that I recently went and played a few rounds of Paranoia with a few friends, you’ll understand that this is a little wierd. Mainly because Paranoia is batshit crazy, but also because it’s purely words. Maybe that’s not wierd, but whatever.
Paranoia is a basic concept; you live in a dystopia where everything is governed by the Friend Computer, and everyone has a mutant power, all of which are outlawed, and everyone is a member of a secret society, all of which are outlawed. The basis of the game is to backstab everyone and everything to push forward your agenda. I know, it sounds batshit crazy, but I told you so.
So in the first game we played I was a member of the Frankenstien Destroyers, who I can only guess are all about killing clones. But then I have no idea because it doesn’t tell you. I also had the power to dissolve matter with my mind. I’m telling you this because the end of the game resulted in my melting my friend’s faces (and one penis) off so that I could destroy ‘Life’. All this is just to illustrate the point that Paranoia is hilarious, and all the more fun because of it.
There’s something about pretending to be an utterly undesirable person that’s rather enjoyable. I know that everyone else in my group is trying to get me killed, and I’m trying to do the same, and it’s rather enjoyable to see what people’s reactions are. Everything seems a little more honest, because we all know when someone is lying mainly because they are being hella suspiscious. I’m not really sure what point I’m trying to make here, but I think it’s that Paranoia is great fun.
Today’s session was crazier than usual, mainly because I had the ability to morph my shape rather than just dissolve matter this time. So I went from a puddle to a giant rabbit out of Watership down to a 70s Cop Car to a Wellington Boot in the space of about half an hour. That should demonstrate just how varied it gets. The beauty of it all is that there are no rules. All you need is about four people, the clients, and a good sense of humour. I recommend you try it sometime.