Stealing this thread from Twitter since it's interesting and maybe even insightful to see where others have come from, and how they got to where they are today. Please post your own journey.
My journey went:
system doesn't matter
applying RPG theory to other mediums
oh system CAN matter
experiments in narrativism
hybrids & minimalist systems
The "big pivot" for me came in the 90s while working RPG theory into LARPS, theater, computer games, and online spaces. The use of different mediums forced me to abstractify and simplify my systems, and the need for simplicity & affect drove my decisions in a decisively narrativist direction. Although I'd been "narrativist' for years, it was during this period I began to literally mechanize narrative elements within my systems (as opposed to merely "dancing narratively on top of the system" as I had been doing previously).