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View Poll Results: Do You Use Pen(cil) & Paper When Gaming?
Often 10 43.48%
Seldom 7 30.43%
Never 6 26.09%
Voters: 23. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 2011-12-23, 13:21   Link #1
Skane
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Singapore
Age: 31
Smile RE: For Want Of A Notepad

And by notepad, I don't mean the Windows program thingy. Curiosity struck me as I used an eraser to rub away some outdated penciled records in my gaming notepad. How many people actually still bother to use pen(cil) and paper when they game?

I use it a lot, because it is far, far easier to just glance at a notepad than to navigate the sub-menus in a game. Especially if it is data that I wish to regularly use. In Imperialism, I used it to keep track of my economy for example, because it would have been nightmarish to navigate each single building just to reference the data, so I consolidated the data onto one page in a notepad, and updated it as necessary.

When I was making custom AI scripts for my own use for the IE-Engine games, I used TONNES of paper to keep track of the thousands of sub-routines I needed to use and reference. I also used it to keep track of certain item locations, puzzle solutions, certain game bonuses, etc... because to access a website for each individual component would have been extremely troublesome. I literally had a "Tome of Knowledge" for the Baldur's Gate series (bought a hardcover just for the game), with the pages all musty and discoloured from constant usage.

Even for Sims 3, I have a notepad for keeping track of the various painting values, the sell cost of the vegetables, etc...

So my question to you all is, do you?

Cheers.
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Old 2011-12-23, 16:40   Link #2
Random32
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Join Date: Apr 2010
I don't see why I would want to use a physical pencil and paper to take notes about games. There is Notepad (the Windows program) for that. Excel is also useful if you have organized data to input.
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Old 2011-12-23, 16:51   Link #3
Ithekro
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Republic of California
Age: 36
There are plenty of games where you can't effectively window the game so you can use one of those other methods.

I've used pen and paper to write down things I need to look up later, either quest notes, or crafting items. Other times it is writing down something someone else needs for their character that I either need to get, or I need to look up what I need to get for them to make it later on.

I've also used it to write up the missing parts of an Achievement so a I can look up where some things are later. I've started doing this less since I got a phone that has Internet access (and a better OS), as I can use it to sometimes look stuff up while the main computer is still in game.
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Old 2011-12-23, 16:54   Link #4
Sumeragi
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Join Date: Nov 2010
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I use them a lot for taking all sorts of notes (while gaming, that is).
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Old 2011-12-23, 17:01   Link #5
Daniel E.
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Monterrey N.L. Mexico
In general, I don't like to read FAQs to figure out things in my games.

I am always making notes about the things I play, often so I can use them on a second playthrough. I have several notebooks, all filled with passwords, quick maps, puzzles and riddles solutions, etc, etc.

Been doing this since forever and even now I still take notes whenever I feel I may forget about something.
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Old 2011-12-23, 18:16   Link #6
DonQuigleone
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Age: 25
I've got this little thing called a memory. I've only really found it a problem when I put a game down for several months.

I answered Never. That said, there was one time when I played Planescape where I basically had to (Modron cube).
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Old 2011-12-23, 18:35   Link #7
Fahd
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Cambridge, UK
Age: 30
Okay, this is a first... I checked the wrong option . I should've voted for seldom rather than never :/ . Ithekro basically said what I wanted to, except that most of the games I've played usually have a semi-decent in-built recording method (i.e. a journal). So usually I'm only writing things down if it's not something that would be recorded in the game, e.g. a command I need to type in the game's console to get around a bug, or a rough outline of a walk through, if it's very long and detailed and I wouldn't remember it without alt-tabbing a lot.

I suppose if I had two monitors I wouldn't need to write anything down as I could keep a web-page open on one monitor and the game on another.

Last edited by Fahd; 2011-12-26 at 08:48.
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Old 2011-12-23, 18:39   Link #8
Random32
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Most games have windowed mode. If not, fullscreen on one monitor and that leaves the other monitors free for usage in note taking. Worst case scenario I always have my phone.
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Old 2011-12-23, 19:16   Link #9
Endless Soul
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Join Date: May 2011
Location: Diagonally parked in a parallel universe.
Age: 46
Yes, I do use a pencil and notepad when gaming. It probably stems from my pencil/notepad usage at work.
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Old 2011-12-23, 19:24   Link #10
Ithekro
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Join Date: Feb 2008
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One assumes everyone uses the same setup. I've not come into the age of using two monitors yet. Only in the last year have I gotten a phone that can reliably go to just about any website and multiple sites at once. Before that it was only one site at a time, and certain ones could not display some types of pictures and certainly no Flash based items (Old Windows Mobile OS).

For example I couldn't use WoWHead effectively a few years ago on my phone because the maps would not display. And I certainly could not watch Youtube on thast phone. I can now, but not then.
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Old 2011-12-23, 19:42   Link #11
Random32
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Yeah. Sorry about my assumption. I'm aware that not everyone has multiple monitors, I often am forced to deal with having only one monitor. I forgot that not everyone uses a smartphone though.
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Old 2011-12-23, 19:48   Link #12
SaintessHeart
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Age: 25
I had an OCD for notepad and scraps of paper for all the games I play, be it compiter or board games. Kinda gets yoi back to the flow afyer the previous night's savegame.
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Old 2011-12-25, 22:50   Link #13
RandySyler
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Join Date: Dec 2010
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I use pen and paper to follow my Civilization 4 games often. Especially with a lot of civs on the map (as I always play), it gets hard to keep track of trade routes to other nations, alliances, etc. and having it on pen and paper makes it an easy reference. But for other games, I never need to use a notepad.
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Old 2011-12-25, 23:38   Link #14
Vexx
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: On the whole, I'd rather be in Kyoto ...
Age: 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by DonQuigleone View Post
I've got this little thing called a memory. I've only really found it a problem when I put a game down for several months.

I answered Never. That said, there was one time when I played Planescape where I basically had to (Modron cube).
Heh, I dare you to play something like EQ2 with only your memory ... thousands of recipes, every class with hundreds of variations, complex mazes, puzzles, etc.

Anyway, I'm prone to using sticky notes a lot if I'm immersed in a particular game.

Last edited by Vexx; 2011-12-26 at 02:13.
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Old 2011-12-26, 00:57   Link #15
sa547
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Philippines
Age: 37
Until I get a Wacom tablet or a clone of it to jot down particulars, for now I'm okay using a pen and a pad to keep track of anything on the games I play (i.e. the list of cars I should be stealing in San Andreas), rather than performing some fancy keystroke.

Besides, even if you have excellent memory retention (unless you have very good genetics that you have a form of photographic memory), chances are you can still forget something, which is why a physical note is helpful.
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Old 2011-12-26, 02:31   Link #16
TinyRedLeaf
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Singapore
Age: 39
An interesting topic, and it's even more interesting to learn that some people here do actually take pen-and-paper notes while playing games. I have always thought that I'm the only person who does that!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel E. View Post
In general, I don't like to read FAQs to figure out things in my games.

I am always making notes about the things I play, often so I can use them on a second playthrough. I have several notebooks, all filled with passwords, quick maps, puzzles and riddles solutions, etc, etc.

Been doing this since forever and even now I still take notes whenever I feel I may forget about something.
I go even further than that. I've been writing entire journals of my gameplay experience since the early days of strategy games like Koei's venerable Romance of the Three Kingdoms and Nobunaga's Ambition. It wasn't until recently that I became consciously aware that I was actually writing stories based on what my characters/avatars/in-game personae do. In a way, I'm writing fan-fiction on the fly.

Like Vexx, it's my way of becoming totally immersed in a game. Particularly for computer role-playing games, it can be a very lengthy process of me first trying to imagine who my character is — his or her back story, the motivations that drive him or her in the game world, what he or she wants to achieve — before I even begin to play the game. I once told a friend that I see RPGs as a form of player-driven storytelling, not unlike the Choose Your Own Adventure storybooks of the 1980s that have long since gone out of fashion.

She chided I was probably the only person who approaches games in that fashion. I believed her, and so decided that it's not worth bringing up this little obsession in public, because no one would really understand. Or worse, some may even find it creepy or weird.

Spoiler for an example of my character-creation process:

And it is an obsession that sometimes makes the gaming much more of a chore than it needs to be. And I almost never go back to these notes once I'm done with the game, which makes the process seem even more pointless.

Yet, when all is finally done and dusted, I'm left with the sheaf of notes that is the evidence of my having experienced the game and not just played it. I may not refer to it ever again, but it pleases me that a character I had envisioned and "lived through" for a while continues to exist in some physical form, independent of my memories and imagination.

That, to me, is what makes a role-playing experience complete. I don't know if I could play such games differently, even if I tried.
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Old 2011-12-26, 03:03   Link #17
Vexx
Obey the Darkly Cute ...
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: On the whole, I'd rather be in Kyoto ...
Age: 56
You take it a bit farther than I do... but every character I create, whether for D&D, an RPG, or the latest MMO has a backstory and *reasons* for the choices they do. I do admit I have some favorite templates I re-use if it fits into the world (like a necromancer "doll maker" who was an alley waif with her only friends made from salvaged parts - her "dolls") or the "glee, candy, and gore - disturbed dark faerie" (that one only works when grim faeries are part of the world).

My assassin in Skyrim doesn't actively do evil... but she'd never join the Companions or go for the "greater good"... and she'd slaughter the whole village if that got the job done with no witnesses. OTOH, my archer is always trying to find the least-energy solution that is most altruistic (win-win).

<shrug> I work out their personalities and then the storyline choices are driven by that. A game annoys me when it tries to force me to do something my character wouldn't do.
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Old 2011-12-26, 03:55   Link #18
sa547
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Philippines
Age: 37
Now I remember something else entirely: for an MMO that I played for five years, I also used a notepad to jot down character build requirements, needed equipment, and map areas where I could get the most experience while getting the least amount of damage from enemies.
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Old 2011-12-26, 04:02   Link #19
TinyRedLeaf
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Singapore
Age: 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
My assassin in Skyrim doesn't actively do evil... but she'd never join the Companions or go for the "greater good"... and she'd slaughter the whole village if that got the job done with no witnesses. OTOH, my archer is always trying to find the least-energy solution that is most altruistic (win-win).
I work along the same lines. Sevrin tries his best to be a loyal Imperial citizen, but soon finds that living up to his House's words — "There will be justice" — is more difficult than he imagined.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
<shrug> I work out their personalities and then the storyline choices are driven by that. A game annoys me when it tries to force me to do something my character wouldn't do.
Heh, I experienced much the same frustration with Skyrim. At its best, the main plotline is amazing but, in many other parts, I find the story weak at times, and highly implausible in other moments. There is much to be said about epic sandbox-type games like The Elder Scrolls but, as a player, I prefer RPGs with linear progression, such as Dragon Age: Origins, for example, which provided plenty of flexibility despite having quests that were closely related to the main story.

With Skyrim, I often feel like I'm playing a single-player MMORPG, with a context that is so wide-open that it no longer feels compelling, let alone immersive. Ironic, isn't it? The tyranny of too much choice.
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Old 2011-12-26, 04:32   Link #20
Kafriel
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Athens (GMT+2)
Age: 25
I remember using a notepad for KHBBS, because there were so many synthesis recipes, and in MGSPW to mark which memory files I had - without it, I would have never gotten 100%. Having a notepad can be very useful in RPGs, if you're making elemental lists or target marks (if a bestiary is not provided), and I remember it was useful as hell in Riviera, had to finish the game six times. Memory doesn't help remember each and every choice for every branch of every map in the game! So yeah, still pretty useful.
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