What it is not
A "diceless" system
The Window tries to combine the freeform roleplaying paradigm
with the narrative advantages that dice provide.
A physics engine
If you are the type of person who prefers a system to have rules
for any contingency presentable by Newton, then the Window is
not what you are looking for.
An equipment depot
You'll notice that no information has been included on the guns,
armor, ammo, clothes, vehicles, knives, explosives, or camping
equipment Window characters can own. If you describe your character
by the stuff he carries, you're probably describing him wrong
in the first place.
A combat system
Combat in the Window is relegated to the status of just another
scene, without a whole chapter of complex rules to manage it.
In most stories, combat is nothing more than a fast and exciting
byline to a larger plot, and it can be handled using the same
simple rules used for everything else. (Every hour spent rolling
dice and doing arithmetic could be spent actually roleplaying!)
A beginner's system
If you have never roleplayed before, then most of what you're
reading right now probably doesn't make much sense. (Let us first
say that roleplaying is NOT inherently satanic and that letting
your kids do it has a better chance of swelling their creativity
than encouraging them to drink blood.) Though it's quite possible
that a beginner could gather some friends and use the Window to
run a wonderful game, it's more likely that the lack of structure
will be confusing and the story will disintegrate. If you want
to get into roleplaying (I certainly encourage it), you'd do better
to make a trip to your local gaming store and pick up a 2nd generation
system like GURPS, Champions, Palladium, AD&D, or the like, which
all include brief tutorials for starting players.
A new idea
The concepts which form the foundations of the Window have been
thought before, by many people, in many places. In the mid eighties
there was a thrust in the UK roleplaying 'zines about the sorts
of freeform roleplaying the Window espouses, but they were never
really realized. Before that, there were almost certainly visionaries
quietly practicing this sort of progressive storytelling in closets
and smoky backrooms, using AD&D or whatever homegrown systems
they hacked together from week to week. Many believe that anyone
who roleplays for long enough will naturally develop these ideas
on their own.
The difference is that the Window is practical and available right here and right now. It has been playtested,
redesigned, and playtested again dozens of times by people from
all over the world. As roleplaying continues to evolve, the Window
will evolve with it.