I'd like to share some thoughts about Simulationism (the Creative Agenda as per Forge theory).
My little pet theory - which may be nothing new as it's been a long time since the Forge days - is that this creative agenda is attractive - among other things! - because it is 'safe', i.e. it is unlikely to upset you, challenge you, or make you vulnerable.
I like to think about Simulationism as Celebrationism, i.e. the point of play is to celebrate a particular subject matter, e.g. a setting (like a Superhero universe), a genre (like wuxia), a simulation (of ballistics, for instance) and so on. I'm not quite sure about it, but I think the creative vision of one participant (an auteur GM) also qualifies. Nothing new, really, and even the term celebrationism was floated at the Forge.
On the Safety of various Creative Agendas
Gamism requires stepping up and thus entails the chance of losing. Narrativism requires artistic/creative contribution and entails the chance of rejection. Celebrationism is safe by comparison: as long as you buy into the source material, you are going to do fine, socially.
Another player might out-geek you (knowing more about the MCU etc.) but that does neither sting as much as losing a character nor stress out as much as the need to improvise a cool contribution now.
I speak of experience here because I was another insecure loner as a teen, and the lack of (open) competition in my early roleplaying was a major draw for me. It was 'us' (the players) against the (game) world -- and as a cherry on top, we always won, too. This was due to illusionism, of course.
One major motivation behind illusionism is a desire for safety -- on both sides of the screen. For a GM, improvisation may seem daunting and using illusionist techniques to stay within the prepared content is one way to avoid it. For players, illusionism allows them to be covertly shielded from failure, particularly character death.
I think this desire for safety is part of a *social* agenda, not a creative one, which just happens to align well with Simulationism (which in turn works well with Illusionism, or at least better than Nar or Gam).
A social agenda pursues a social desire (e.g. hooking up with a cute co-player) and could be pursued via activities other than playing an RPG (e.g. hiking).
A common social agenda is being accepted, making friends, hanging out with other people. This is particularly important if none of these things come easy to you. A Simulationist game offers a comparatively safe venue to pursue this social agenda.
A quick observation about 'safe' entertainmentâ€¦
The desire for 'safe' entertainment (i.e. unlikely to upset you or challenge you) is about as mainstream as you can get: The vast majority of Hollywood movies play it safe and audiences like it that way -- they want to turn off their brains and just enjoy the ride (hence franchises and movie stars -- you know exactly what you'll get with a James Bond movie or a Dwayne Johnson vehicle). Horror is arguably different in this respect.
â€¦and some closing remarks on being insecure:
(1) While insecure people may be drawn to Simulationism, this does not mean the reverse is true, i.e. players who like Simulationism are not automatically insecure. It is a creative agenda, after all, and can be just as challenging creatively as the other agendas.
(2) Insecure people's desire to connect with others, fit in etc., in a safe environment is perfectly legitimate. I formed many lasting friendships through gaming.
(3) Tons of people are insecure (often at some points or in some parts of their lives). It's normal. This post is not intended to deride anyone (nor Simulationism, illusionism, or mainstream Hollywood flicks).