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Author Topic: emote like a good jrpg already!  (Read 11846 times)
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dhex
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« on: July 26, 2010, 01:45:18 PM »

http://secondpersonshooter.com/2010/07/23/western-rpgs-are-about-emotional-alienation/

she says this like it's a bad thing.
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dhex
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« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2010, 01:48:13 PM »

more seriously...final fantasy 7?

if there's one thing the west can start to get right in games, it's shooting melodrama right in the face. (critical hit, x2 dmg)
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loopback
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« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2010, 06:20:25 PM »

I think there's room for an RPG that is heavily into the melodrama, but there's even more room for the RPG which is not excessively melodramatic.

in Dragon Age: Origins, there are plenty of opportunities for melodrama, but there are also lots of places for the emotional content to get created as a result of individual player choice. Building up relationships between yourself and various members of your party, deciding you want to help this one, that one is a pain in your ass, etc, creates a real 'role playing game' versus 'theatrical simulation'. There are a couple of points of melodrama as big pivots for the plot, but I found them generally much less interesting than the little things that would go on in the course of the game.

When you have melodrama, you have fixed-point events that can only go one way or another. there's no room for subtlety. And that can make for a great gaming experience, but it's far from the only flavor at the table.
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dhex
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« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2010, 09:17:08 PM »

i think she's juts plain missing the point. what she likes most about "rpgs" is what's worst about them.

it's like me writing about anime, or the kkk writing about hip hop. wrong address.

bioware is basically a jrpg company at this point, at least in terms of formula. execution-wise is better, and i did like dragon age in large part for the reason you mentioned.

plus the whole carry-over thing between games, gimmick though it is, is at least a handwaving gesture towards choices and consequences i.e. the whole fucking point of playing crpgs in the first place.

i'm sure her and the codex will have a beautiful 96 hours together. Smiley
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loopback
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« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2010, 11:15:55 PM »

I was thinking about this some more on my way home tonight. Last night I watched a VERY melodramatic movie from oldschool hollywood days, called "The Petrified Forest". It was an adaptation of a stage play, and it was super ultra melodramatic. but it made for a great experience as someone watching it, because I got to be heavily invested in the choices the characters were making.

Now if that is a game experience, it CAN work, but the problem is you are either stuck on rails without being able to really affect the game, or the developers have to do a pure binary tree (Bioware comes to mind, especially Jade Empire and Old Republic, where the whole game comes down to ONE choice at ONE point, and all other role-playing is thrown out the window), which is just a fancy hat for being on rails.

I think the real answer is to stop calling Final Fantasy type games "JRPGs" and call them Adventure games, which is really what they are.  Oh I long for the days when there were both "RPG" and "Adventure" categories in the software stores.
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dhex
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« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2010, 11:35:51 AM »

well, in one section she's basically saying "since these aren't actual experiences or moral choices with actual life consequences..." which now that i think of it is really puzzling.

Quote
Western RPGs are about exploring a world without consequences. We love it best when the game plays at having consequences, when it pretends  to keep stock of morality. Since we know we’re not really going to jail for anything, we experiment. We observe as the ripples our actions scatter. It doesn’t matter, since games aren’t real life, and we know the difference, right?

ok, well, i think what she's driving at is that since none of this is real, we should have more melodrama. (as if the market isn't 99% melodrama, at least the parts that aren't wow) why is melodrama the default template?

then again, i think the most heartening trend in the last 10 years in wrpg design is the emergence of "evil" that's not just "evil mwa ha ha ha" but "self-interested"; and a tacit recognition that the good path tends to be another take on self-interested, because of the rewards involved.

melodrama is ok for shooters, though i tend to like a blend (like crysis) in that while the end point is fixed, how you get there isn't. a wee bit of the emergent amid the SMASH DEATH KILL.
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dhex
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« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2010, 03:46:42 PM »

fair enough:

Quote
Because the system notifies me via e-mail every time a comment is made on this blog, and because I don’t want to change that system, I’ve made the decision to close comments on this particular post– I simply don’t have the time or energy to continue monitoring them.

for future reference:
http://xkcd.com/386/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eristic

Nevertheless, I gave you all a good run. It is, frankly, more than was ever required of me.

(while i can certainly understand that meeting the codex is kinda, uh, fucked and all, it's still sorta weird to toss in that last line.)
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dmauro
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« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2010, 05:30:42 PM »

Well I guess she didn't like what you had to say.
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dhex
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« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2010, 09:02:21 AM »

i didn't think it was very inflammatory. i figure the codex pile on (they're dickheads) was what prompted that.
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loopback
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« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2010, 03:01:06 PM »

So I continued thinking about this, and I think the hyper-emotive Adventure that is not an RPG (aka, JRPGs) is the 'way of the future' currently due to the changes in display.

What made me think of this was a discussion of Cutscene vs. in-game and boxart vs. in-game on another forum. One example used was the boxart in an old Broderbund game (Deadly Tower) alongside the in-game graphics. And I had a minor moment of Remembering. Specifically, remembering when the Box Art really mattered. For games like Temple of Aphsai or the early Ultimas (first 4): that art was the kickstart to my imagination, and changed the way I viewed the graphics of the time. The gameplay was representation of my imagination, and so the 'stone faced' main character was ok, because I was layering tons of emoting and meaning and importance onto the game.  My internal landscape of The Bard's Tale or Wizardry was dramatically different than someone else's.

With Final Fantasy n+1, the graphics are sufficiently good that you are 'watching a movie', and in that case, having a blank protagonist to project your world onto doesn't work quite as well for a lot of people. It is in the proverbial uncanny valley, not of graphical quality, but in that place between make-believe-games where you have it all in your head, and the cinema, where it is all given to you on a platter.

So my hypothesis is that at some point in the future, as graphics top-out, and the experiential aspect becomes ascendent again, we'll see the 'blank protagonist' return to the fore, because people will find their internal landscape becomes the place where they're really playing the game, rather than watching the pixels on a screen exclusively.

It is also possible I may be overthinking this a hair.
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dhex
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« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2010, 11:07:20 AM »

Quote
It is also possible I may be overthinking this a hair.

no, i'm feeling you on this. olde tyme box art was a huge (if generally misleading) gateway into the experience of the game itself.

i think the tipping point was ff7, if only because it was such a tremendous success. melodrama became the key to giving "normal people" a reason to grind in single player games, and that's something that hasn't left us yet. in fact, i might go one step further and say that grinding is the only avenue for the expression of individualization in that style of game because the story aspects are generally, if not completely, locked down. the progression that's player determined involves breeding animals or outfit collection and other stuff that from a traditional wrpg perspective, is window dressing.
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loopback
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« Reply #11 on: August 02, 2010, 02:50:12 PM »

That idea (grinding as sole expression of individuality & character) leads in to the world of the MMO as well, where the grind is the entire point of the game. Everquest, World of Warcraft, etc, all specialize in making the grind be the thing that really differentiates you from the other people who otherwise would look and act identically to your character.

and that particular Skinner Box is remarkably powerful (Says the guy who is still playing WoW due to the social connections, even though I don't enjoy the game-as-a-game all that much these days), and doesn't even have the melodrama or clear story arc that the JRPG usually does.

Dhex, have you ever played any of the earlier final fantasies? I'm thinking those had quite a bit of the melodrama & grinding, but they were played (I think) for the grinding, not for the drama. In fact, the whole nostalgia of those games for me was in going back and playing them again and doing all the crazy grindy shit that I never bothered with when I played it originally back in the day. (killing a million of those pink slime things to get the pink tail..i think i spent a week of bus rides to work just killing them over and over and over again.)

This has me thinking that the real issue is less about the melodrama, and more about the introduction of grinding into Adventure/RPGs as a method of immersion.
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loopback
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« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2010, 12:30:39 AM »

also totally in line with this discussion, my friend just got back from DefCon and brought me a copy of Get Lamp. You need to see this, Dhex. The part where they are interviewing blind players of Infocom adventures goes straight to what we've been talking about.
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dhex
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« Reply #13 on: August 03, 2010, 03:44:52 PM »

how oddly appropriate:
http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2010/08/03/japanese-gamers-vs/
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