GreenTongue
 member, 1079 posts
 Game Archaeologist
Fri 7 Jan 2022
at 16:23
What Does Space Opera Mean To You?
What does "Space Opera" mean to you and what do you feel are good game and media examples?

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An opera is a theatrical piece that tells a story totally through the music. It consists of recitatives which provide the narrative plot line and elaborate chorus singing, along with duets and arias,
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From what I have heard, the term "Space Opera" has little to do with actual opera. It was originally a disparaging term derived from "Horse Opera", aka Westerns. It's taken on its own meaning since, but broadly involves action and adventure involving ships and planets instead of horses and frontier towns.

This would imply the series "Firefly" is "Space Opera"?
I'm pretty sure most people consider "Star Wars" to be.

What really stands out to me is the Character Focus over the setting. It really seems to me that it would favor the "Narrative" games with their scene focus over the more traditional blow-by-blow style.
A requirement for Larger Than Life characters and Evocative Scenes.
That the day to day mundane life is fast forwarded through to the next Scene.
Part of why locations matter more than a realistic alien ecology or planet tectonics.

Would a series like "Killjoys" be considered "Space Opera"?
SunRuanEr
 subscriber, 431 posts
Fri 7 Jan 2022
at 16:34
What Does Space Opera Mean To You?
I think that if you subscribe to the notion that "Firefly" is Space Opera, then you have to define "Killjoys" as Space Opera also.
GreenTongue
 member, 1080 posts
 Game Archaeologist
Fri 7 Jan 2022
at 16:50
What Does Space Opera Mean To You?
In reply to SunRuanEr (msg # 2):

Well, "action and adventure involving ships and planets instead of horses and frontier towns" sure sounds like "Firefly to me.
Now if that is a perfect description of "Space Opera" or not is debatable.
evileeyore
 member, 626 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
 Joined 20150819
Fri 7 Jan 2022
at 18:25
What Does Space Opera Mean To You?
GreenTongue:
What does "Space Opera" mean to you and what do you feel are good game and media examples?

For me "Space Opera" has a scope, scale, and focus that a lot of Sci-Fi leaves off.

Scope:  While Space Opera often features a good amount of "galactic conflict", it's actually the individual conflict that matters most.  The journey the hero takes, their arc, rather then the "Red vs Blue" nature of the backdrop conflict.  The original Original Star Wars and the Prequels, both score well here, the Sequels flop, Firefly was all about this, as was Killjoys (though I think they missed a few marks) and Dark Matter was steeping in it.

Scale:  Vast, like westerns, time is spent between planets, between cities, time in the 'wilderness' to ficus on the characters rather than the plot or 'cinematics'.  Scale-wise the original 3 Star Wars movies fall into Space Opera for me, the Prequels not quite as much, and the Sequels not at all.  Star Trek can (but often doesn't), Firefly did, but Killjoys not very much.  Dark Matter was actually very good here, despite near-instantaneous travel, it still felt like places were remote, distant, cut off.

Focus:  Here I'm not sure I'm using a good term, but for me Space opera focuses less on the 'technology' than on the personal, the mythical/mystical/psychological features.  Again Star Wars, all three trilogies lodge here firmly, as does Firefly and Dark Matter (kinda with DM), but Killjoys goes back and forth, some times it's softer "sci-fi", some times it's harder.

For me Killjoys was more "Cyberpunk in Space" than Space Opera... Dark Matter kinda fits that as well (so does Firefly), but then Cyberpunk is very Western in it's themes, so it stands to reason that Space Westerns would feel rather more Cyberpunky than Soap Operatic).  I actually classify both Firefly and Dark Matter as Space Westerns, Killjoy as SpacePunk, and Star Trek as SciFi).

This message had punctuation tweaked by the user at 23:39, Fri 07 Jan.

donsr
 member, 2480 posts
Fri 7 Jan 2022
at 18:46
What Does Space Opera Mean To You?
the term came from  the same type of term used  for 'Horse Operas ' which were cowboy movies or series.

 westerns began to  fade  as scifi picked up...hacks  called them Space Operas to try to diminish the Genre, Much like they did with Fantasy  wher you would hear critics  say " we've seen this before"

 of course, right  after that came  out of thier mouths , they would have glowing reviews  of  'social comentary', Cops shoes, and slob humor  movies.

 The industry, took that, and embraced that with Starwars, star trek, Lord of the rings  ect ect...now the genres are  entertwined, and can face  most contenders... there is  still a very large prejudice against  scifi ( including  MCU ) and Fantasy  Movies  where the academy comes in..( yet  chick flicks,and  drama reap Oscars  and such)
GreenTongue
 member, 1081 posts
 Game Archaeologist
Fri 7 Jan 2022
at 19:02
What Does Space Opera Mean To You?
I actually classify both Firefly and Dark Matter as Space Westerns, Killjoy as SpacePunk, and Star Trek as SciFi).

Those sound pretty accurate, I totally "spaced" on the SpacePunk aspect. ;)

I also need to look into Dark Matter it sounds like.

Westerns, even Space Westerns don't seem to get as much love as you would think considering how ubiquitous they were for such a long time.

Opera on the other hand, while having been around for a long time seems to be far more Hit or Miss. My guess its the foreign language aspect but there should be no reason they couldn't be in English/American.

Obviously Star Wars was a Hit.