Yesterday, the Border Gateway Protocol’s for Facebook’s network vanished. As a result, it was no longer announcing its presence to the internet, and DNS look-ups failed.
The technical glitch, which remains unexplained at posting, resulted in Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp being down. Small businesses which relied on the platform for eCommerce or communicating with clients and staff struggled.
Also yesterday, You Are The Facebook Janitor made my new RPG radar. Published by The Original Cockatrice, the 2-page RPG was sold via Itch.io and is a Name Your Own Price title.
I had to work out how much I wanted to pay for it. The system suggested $3. The image was of a cleaning sign, and the only description was;
A 2 Page Crawler about running through the Facebook Rat Maze
I’d been stung recently by making the suggested cost of “Name Your Own Price” RPG at Itch recently, so I paid $1.
I probably shouldn’t have. Firstly, You Are The Facebook Janitor isn’t good timing. The whole RPG was written and uploaded for (and during) the Facebook outage.
Secondly, it’s not two pages. There’s a cover, which doesn’t count, and one page of large text.
The rules don’t make sense, either. You roll 1d6 for mechanics. All damage is 1d6 too, but enemies don’t roll for damage, and neither do you. Who, then, rolls for damage?
The damage rules account for 75% of the page if you include the 6 enemies (big bots, soylent ooze, spider bots, etc), which have Hit Points, Damage and words, which are probably skills that might be commentary.
The last quarter is the story, in which you (is this is a solo game?) says Facebook is down, the engineers are locked out, the building is overrun by bots and oozes (but not why), and you have to decide whether you turn Facebook on or off forever.
Time for a rethink
I want to support indie RPGs. I like the Pay What You Want/Name Your Own Price model and encourage people not to treat that as “free”.
However, the idea of naming your own price before getting a game relies on faith and trust. You have to trust that the industry isn’t trying to rip you off.
On one level, I have praise for You Are The Facebook Janitor as The Original Cockatrice saw a good idea and made it happen.
On the other, I would have much prefered to have seen the game without having to guess a price. Show me your novelty idea, and then let me decided how much to pay for it after checking it out.
Yes, I think it’s pretty fair to say that the whole RPG was likely to be a joke, but the level of effort that went into the joke is inscrutable.
Itch.io may start to worry, and rightly so.
Play a Facebook parody RPG, but you don’t need this one if you’ve any quick system.
Roll for insight. What does your success tell you about this article?