Monday, March 21, 2011
42 Years of Life On The Street
Trying to write a Sesame Street RPG is a little like trying to stat Jesus.
Sesame Street isn't just a TV show. It isn't merely a pop culture icon or an IP. It's an institution. It's family.
When trying to put together my thoughts and ideas for a Sesame Street variant on my Muppets RPG idea I get the feeling I'm in over my head. I really see a potential here that isn't just your typical game night with the gang. At the same time, it's that too.
What I advocate with a Sesame Street RPG is pretty ambitious. What if you could use a role playing game to teach your kids stuff while interacting with them via a family game night. What if your love of Dungeons and Dragons and your kid's love of Cookie Monster could be combined to communicate ideas. What if the potential for fun and the potential for understanding were the same thing.
I believe it could happen. In truth, I think it should be easy.
You see, I grew up on that street. I didn't live in a big house in a California suburb like the Brady Bunch or a nice home like Mr. Rogers had. I lived where Mr. Kotter lived. My Dad worked where Barney Miller worked. My neighborhood looked like Ernie and Burt's.
I grew up on that street. I learned to count there. I learned to spell there. I learn what an Aardvark was, what was near and what was far and that there's nothing that women can't be.
I grew up on that street. I went back from time to time. The familiar places and faces made me smile and the missing faces, subtle changes and strangers made me sad but I was still glad to meet them. After a time they weren't strange to me anymore.
I grew up on that street. My nephew, who's growing up in a brighter, cleaner place, knows the names and faces I know because the old neighborhood has improved. It too is cleaner. It too is brighter. Yet in the ways that count it's the same old street.
Is your favorite comic book hero that way? Is he the same old hero but still new and cool. Your favorite movie? Is Star Wars this way? Is Star Trek? How about D&D? Is D&D this way?
Sesame Street is. Sesame Street is that way. It will always be that way.
So here is what I will be doing...
Over the next week you'll see the Sesame Street variant rules for my Muppets RPG. To be honest, most of them are less complex, slightly simplified versions of what you've seen already. A lot is simply omitted. At the same time there are some key differences that need to be explained or expanded on.
After that, get ready for some ideas that will knock your socks off. Crazy as this sounds, and yes I know it sounds crazy, I can actually see people running this more easily and more often than the Muppet Show version of the game. I've got some variations on the variation that might just wow you.
At week's end we'll wrap it up with Henson's other productions and how it all relates. Expect Fraggle Rock, Labyrinth and The Storyteller and of course, the unexpected.
Fat Blue: (Angrily) "Do you think you can bring me a meal without dropping it on the floor?"
Grover: "Where there is life, there is hope."
Cookie Monster: "Cookie Monster thief, not liar."
Here's A Sesame Street News Flash!
"I Grew Up on That Street" was a poem I wrote in High School that got me a high grade in a Creative Writing English class. What's written above is not the original which is long gone but it is very similar in tone and style. I think the assignment was, 'Write a poem about something from your childhood that stays with you to this day.'
I highly recommend checking out this article from an issue of TIME Magazine dated November 16th, 1970, about a year after Sesame Street went on the air.
Sesame Street Report Card