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7636  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Persona 4 on: July 20, 2008, 11:48:40 PM
I like to know about gameplay details before going into these things. All those most review sites aren't very good at explaining those beyond a "CARS GO VROOM" level of detail.
7637  Media / Single-Player RPGs / RPGs as coming of age on: July 20, 2008, 11:42:55 PM
Okay, some RPGs I've really been enjoying recently. Maybe enough to get favorite status.

- Star Ocean 2
- SaGa Frontier 2
- Ultima 6
- Chrono Cross
- Metal Saga

I guess SMT:N and Persona 3 are viable too though I'ven't played them as much recently.


I can't really describe my feelings towards chrono cross and trigger accurately so here's some lines from a song and a few pictures that do it for me. I think ultimately that maybe the plotholes here aren't really plotholes and that the games were ultimately riddles that nobody was supposed to solve (and maybe that more than anything is why CT is so remembered. It's a series of curveballs and voodoo math equations with voodoo unmath logic. It's not a closed hard-shell briefcase like FFVI) but i digress:

http://www.walterwick.com/books_pics/ispy_pics/beach_spread.jpg

http://www.walterwick.com/books_pics/ispy_pics/Mys_ghost_spread.jpg

I think that's also how I feel about legend of mana, although that's partially because all of the locations literally look like stuff from an i spy book.

And the lyrics in particular are from any iron and wine song:

http://www.songmeanings.net/lyric.php?lid=3530822107858630326

In particular a few verses-

"
Like stubborn boys across the road
We'll keep everything:
Grandma's gun and the black bear claw
That took her dog "

This reminds me of that intro -- a scene with a cluttered desk and an old journal, but also the whole cluttered and rustic (New neologism via misspelling: Clustic) look the game has, all of the cities being like that, and those weirdlittle key items you're always always picking up. And then some of the plot relevant things like the pendant and the way the tesseract basically keeps everything.

" In our days we will live
Like our ghosts will live:"

Not going to spoiler this out but take a guess what it reminds me of.

So yeah maybe I think of Chrono Cross' story as a bizarre, surrealist piece of southern gothic*. I think FFVII's a near-brilliant piece of parody and lampshading that manages to subvert all sorts of FF tropes, and I really have no idea WHAT the hell the quasi-sequels are supposed to mean. My best guess is giving a particular portion of the fanbase a handjob.

chrono trigger's just weird though. As I mentioned a few days ago I was wondering about that one line, where it's talking about how that line about people remember things where they're near death and how it kind of shades the entire game in a different light. recontextualizes it or whatevo. So I start to wonder, what IS the line between getting different meaning out of something when you revisit it later on and just reading too far into it?

i also tend to associate games with whatever was going on at the time when I first played them. as such, I won't be explaining why tales of symphonia's meaningful to me 'cause that's really damn personal. i got chrono trigger on vacation when i was 10 at the first funcoland i'd ever been to (at the american mall) and I tend to associate the game with that week-long vacation out west. so, things like badlands and mount rushmore and late-night driving and the smell of coffee, and weird restaurants and malls in places that didn't have population densities. the night that i got home and booted the thing up, watched it NOT start, blew on it, tried again, and watched it actually work; then started a new game and heard those seagulls flying over the millenial fair was I guess my favorite gaming moment and made me really feel what summer was and sometimes I wonder if everything gaming related I've done since then is just trying to relive that.

i guess what's funny to me is that for all the cries that it's not a true sequel, chrono cross is really the only game for me that ever came close or maybe did it again.

also, i wonder how close dragon quest 7 is to what a purely horii led ct would've been. i really, really wish that game had been translated properly. i actually LIKE the writing even THROUGH the... let's say bizarre translationeering, which is WHY I want to see what it would've been like if given the same sort of attention DQ8's translation had.

No denying the time-warp video's pretty identical to CT's blue warm gate swirleymajig.

* Maybe just gothic and not southern gothic since I'm not really sure why Kato would have any reason to be DOING that but not quite gothic because it's... different. I mean it has a lot of the traits but not the cultural  connections, which are pretty important (even if Porre's cultural rape of El Nido is SORT OF analgous).

Has any RPG ever had a severely mentally handicapped main character? That'd kick the Faulkner quotient way up.

And I'm talking Benji, not Vardaman. He doesn't count. All six year olds are retarded. I never actually READ the sound and the fury though. Never doing english homework is apparently how I graduated with a 3.9 GPA and entered college with a full semester completed. Then again, my friends that actually put effort into this stuff are now at Harvard and Yale (The poor nerds).


(Also this post IS entirely serious even if only marginally coherent. I was in a car for like, eight hours yesterday so that's my excuse).
7638  Media / Single-Player RPGs / RPGs you're embarassed to own. on: July 20, 2008, 10:28:29 PM
I actually am moderately embarassed about some of the more anime-ish. I know, I know. All JRPGs are sort of anime-ish. There's varying degreesof it. I guess I mean stuff that looks VERY strictly anime, and very strictly MODERN anime. Stuff like Rogue Galaxy, I guess. It makes me feel incredibly... I don't know. A little weeabooish. A little "don't I have something better to do than watch old Pokemon movies?"ish.

As I've said before, I actually like unlimited saga. it's one of a very few console RPGs that's fast and episodic enough for my limitted attention span.
7639  Media / Single-Player RPGs / RPGs you're embarassed to own. on: July 20, 2008, 01:13:45 PM
Ultima 2. This wasn't by choice, mind, as it was in the UC with everything else (Except for the Underworld and Worlds of Aventure games which were actually good).

It's not so much that it's BAD, because none of the first three ultimas were that great. It's just that it's easily the retardedest game in the Ultima series. I can't really EXPLAIN why. Just go look at some city maps and read about it. 90% of the game doesn't really serve a purpose, basically.
7640  Media / Single-Player RPGs / RPGs you're embarassed to own. on: July 20, 2008, 01:38:59 AM
Kak ni stranno, ya govorit' russkij yazyk. Nemnogo. Ne khoroshoj igr po russkij. Not RPGs, in any case.

See, that's something I'd actually be embarassed to own. I haven't really dived into it completely and there ARE plenty of tasteful easter European RPGs (Germany, former slavic nations, etc), and I'm TOTALLY all for sexual content in games, but some of these developers in Europe just take it too. goddamn. far.

I think japanese dating sims are a bit weird. Especially the more sexual they get. Eventually they get a bit... I don't know, pathetic. European dating sims... okay, let me rephrase that, as The Guild is really the only one that I can imagine qualifying and that's... not getting discussed here, but some of these things are just really, really WTF. Albion, for instance, goes into the sexuality of the Iskai WAY too detailedly (although tastefully) but there's this one quest where you basically have to get magical viagra for one of the tribal kings on the human continent and I like the game but that was a little bit too much.

Sexuality in American-made games is mostly just "Hey look a monster sprite with NIPPLES. Hooray!" I mean, sure, it's nipples, but it's fairly tame because the game's not going on for paragraphs about the great variety of nipples, nor is there a character generation phase where you get to pick your character's nipples.

Said game probably doesn't exist but if it ever does, it's going to come from either Russia or Germany. Mark my words.

and THAT would be the most supremely embarassing game to own*.

* Not including Barby's Magical Horse World.
7641  Media / Single-Player RPGs / RPGs as coming of age on: July 20, 2008, 12:01:27 AM
Format: Year I played it - Game - release year - Age - Reason

1996 - Secret of Evermore - 8 - First RPG.
1997? - FFL2 - 9 - Second RPG. I still like this one a damn lot though. I was playing it today, even. I can't remember why at the time. Atmosphere, music, general style. Something.
1998? - Earthbound - 199? - 10 - At the time, the comedy and over (I stopped writing for awhile here so no idea what I was going for). I like the writing and locations, now.
1999 - Chrono Trigger - 1995 - 11 - I was really into Akira Toriyama at the time. The music was also a big part of that, along with the way it seemed to break a lot of conventions (this was also my like, third RPG so I'm not sure which conventions I was used to for it to break. I think). Also all of the little things like Dreamstone and coming up with plot theories etcetcetc. Looking back, what I like about CT the most doesn't seem to actually be in CT. I guess I misremembered things which kind of sucks.
2000 - Lunar: TSSC - ? - 12 - This was pretty brief and I went back to prefering CT, really.
2001 - Legend of Mana - 2000 - Who gives a rat's ass. All y'all certainly don't and I don't either.
2006 - Ultima 7 - 1992 - 18 - The trees lean funny!!! and it's the interactivist RPG ever I guess. It reminds me of Toronto. It makes me happy.

I was in Chicago for two days, though, and haven't really played videogames in that time, so I sort of forgot what games I've BEEN playing and as an extension of that, what game I currently enjoy playing the most. My attention span's not really good enough for gaming and I tend to forget my opinions if I stop thinking about them for more than a couple of hours.
7642  Media / Single-Player RPGs / RPGs you're embarassed to own. on: July 19, 2008, 11:52:05 PM
All of them, really. Let's note some things.

- I own something like 800 games. Most of them are RPGs. Most of them were also bought for incredibly cheap (less than a dollar) at various flea markets.
- I've spent *hundreds* of hours gaming, although I've only beat like 11 games ever. Hourage is the salient point here.
- My main hobby during my childhood and adolescence and later teenage years was gaming.

Let's note some additional things, and most of these are things I could've done INSTEAD of gaming:

- I'm twenty.
- I'm monolingual.
- I've never had a girlfriend.
- I haven't written a novel.
- I haven't painted in years.
- I can't play any musical instruments or write music.
- I seem to have some sort of aptitude for horticultural thingums.
- My only other hobby is wandering around housing developments for hours on end, looking for ice cream parlors, convenience stores, and places where the light looks differently so viewed through the leaves of a bradford pear or maybe a ginkgo it turns yellower than it does and I can stand, back to the clinic, watching it and airplanes fly across the surface of an afternoon moon.
- I HAVE managed to maintain a 3.8 GPA somehow.
- I don't really remember what any of my dreams were or if I had any to begin with. I'm not really career oriented. Career oriented people seem really miserable. So do the janitors I work with too, I guess.

I should probably be reading novels or something since I'm well aware that RPGs have crappy writing by default, and if I'm just going to be consuming art/pop culture/whatever I should be going for the good stuff; then again, Asimov's Foundation's considered a classic and I thought it was just a mess of infodumps and ungrammatical sentences. So really what the hell is good writing anyway.

I guess I should just be playing games for fun, but I don't know what that is either. Stimulation might be a better goal but everything's potential stimulating.

It's not so much that I feel like gaming's been such a distraction that makes me feel embarassed about gaming, but the way I've been replacing meaningful experiences with gaming. Well, let me rephrase that. I don't tend to have meaningful experiences here and I use RPGs and games in general to fill the gap. Sort of like how most people watch TV, because their own lives are so unintersting that they need to watch somebody else's.

I can map out my first elementary school in my head, and now that I'm working there and it smells exactly the same, ... some other things. And I can also map out the entirety of Swampville in my head, or at least the parts of it I've been too, but it all turns into a samey mass of samey looking bungalows and samey looking streets with crappy sidewalks and names that I can't pronounce.

I hate Daggerfall for the dungeons but moreso for the cities. The fans drone on about how they're big and how there's so many of them, but they all remind me of the charmless subdivisions (and they all tend to have an overabundance of yews in the, hacked into meatball and cube shapes, although nobody that lives in these places ever has the good sense to water their plants, so said yews are always sickly and brown).

It's all pretty dry though, unless it's flooded, and cold most of the year. And flat, too. People say you feel small when you stand beside the ocean, which is true, but the ocean might have giant squids in it. Van Wert has a highway and a Wal Mart. This is why I hate world maps. There's never been a world map in any RPG - ever - the capture the feeling of really being alone out in nature. Actually, only one GAME ever did this right, and that was Shadow of the Colossus.

I think my favorite thing about RPGs that DO have worldmaps, though, is the vehicles. You get your vehicle and there are places to... fly it to, typically. It's nice in games where you can just take off and keep going -- and I love Aquanaut's Holiday, too, by the way -- till you see something and want to stop. The bypass up to chicago's boring, although here, it's worse, as even if I had a car, there wouldn't be anywhere to drive to -- just two Walmarts (till they put up a third), a rapidly declining mall, and endless foggy cornfields.

Although I'm a weird one as I have no interest in dying of alcohol poisoning by age 19 although it's a little late for that now.

---edit---

On a more serious note, Star Fox Adventure. Not really much of an RPG, though, I guess. Anyway I actually liked it and could get past the flaws but jesus christ do I feel like a furfag.
7643  Media / Single-Player RPGs / IGN on Star Ocean 4 - No ridiculous plot twist on: July 17, 2008, 02:01:20 AM
SO3's was beyond ridiculous yes
7644  Media / Single-Player RPGs / IGN on Star Ocean 4 - No ridiculous plot twist on: July 17, 2008, 12:20:56 AM
IGN said the same thing about FFXII. FF Mc
Code:
I'm Basch and I have an evil twil brother!
XII.

ry looks like.
7645  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Stupid RPG conventions/cliches you can't get past. on: July 16, 2008, 08:23:42 PM
Rocket Slime's story is actually an incredibly relevant parable of the dangers of wartime, such as overmilitarization leading to a mutually assured destruction scenario through preposterously large superweapons; additionally it touches on how science and the scientists that create science are subverted for the ar machine. Most importantly, perhaps, it shows how ultimately even innocent citizens get sucked up into the war effort -- first they're innocent bystanders that get kidnapped and wrongfully imprisoned, but soon become soldiers themselves. This reveals the dangerous "with us or against us" mentality inherent to slime society -- and perhaps our own society.

And Rocket smiles happily as he launches himself out of a cannon -- a strangely Strangelovian manuevre.
7646  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Stupid RPG conventions/cliches you can't get past. on: July 16, 2008, 05:22:14 PM
Quote
And no doubt if just about anyone else had said the exact same thing neither of you would have said that, much less both of you at the same time


No, you're pretty much just full of shit :(


---edit---

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychogeography

This sort of explains my ideas about nonlinearity in games. I think.

First, let me say that I don't *care* if a game actually lets you roleplay or not. That's SORT OF fun to do but in a lot of instances not that important. A limitted sort of roleplaying like in Fallout is pretty cool, though.  (alternatively the "Do it if you feel like it or don't if you don't" style like in Morrowind can be fun but I can't imagine this actually being something I'd want to see constantly. also worth noting that Morrowind roleplaying is really weird, and depending on how you mod it, the game changes drastically to fit what you're trying to do. You'd have to be involved with the modding scene heavily I guess).

Also, while I DO like games that are genuinely nonlinear, I'm not talking about those exclusively. I think multi-linear stories, like in Chrono Cross, Star Ocean 2 (Story changes a bit based on the characters you take. Not so much you getting to pick your main), the fairy plotline in legend of mana, or whatever else because I'm seriously having a hard time thinking of things right now, is a really good choice. You CAN give the player freedom and replayability, but at the same time, you also keep the story tight and flowing.

Linear and non-linear are sort of poorly defined in some ways, though. Given that RPGs are almost always based around the quest structure, uh, pretty much everything other than the UnReal World isn't non-linear. The quest generally represents a linear or multi-linear order of events, even if you can do the quests in any order you see fit. Or in the case of Morrowind, you have a lot of sidequests, but individual guild questlines and the like represent rather linear gameplay progressiony things.

In any case, when I say non-linear, I'm mostly talking about the gameplay. Except I still can't explain it. Damn.

Anyway, psychogeography! It's the derive thing or whatever I'm talking about. Let's use dragon quest 8 as an example, because it's actually a really linear game, except it works. Anyway, I always feel compelled to explore the terrain in that game. Partially because there's some damn cool views in it, and partially because there's treasure. But what makes it fun isn't so much GETTING the treasure but the potential to find it. Some weird valleys lead to interesting things, so you tend to get sidetracked. Except it's not really getting sidetracked since none of the treasure's essential and it's not even going to be present in a lot of cases. In my case, I think I'm just exploring everything because I can.

Alternatively, all the minor caves hidden in Twilight Princess.

It's not so much the ability to explore but the ability to get lost is what I'm saying. I think. Maybe.
7647  Media / Single-Player RPGs / "Countdown Site" = Chrono Trigger DS? remake, new on: July 15, 2008, 11:38:20 PM
I hated FFIV, so I'm not to sure about FFIVDS :/

---edit---

Also I kinda wish they'd rewrite that scene from CT where

Code:
you revive Crono, because the entire thing was just handled sort of poorly. I don't have a problem with the Time Egg amounting to deus ex machina on a pretty blatant and massive scale. I AM annoyed that what WAS a fairly well done scene -- Crono getting killed -- was completely diminished by the fact that you replace him with a doll you won at the carnival.

What the fuck? Seriously.


---edit2---

Additionaly though there ARE some things in Trigger that sort of change the meaning of the story like

Code:
the entire Entity bit there. Not so much because of stupid ZOMG THE ENTITY IS THE PLAYER bollocks (And I can't think of any way anyone would even come to that conclusion unless they're incapable of parsing sentences. It's something they don't under) but because "Well, the Entity is near-death and wants us to see its memories" is NOT the same thing as "Well, the Entity wanted us to save it".
7648  Media / Single-Player RPGs / "Countdown Site" = Chrono Trigger DS? remake, new on: July 15, 2008, 10:14:07 PM
FFIVA is like, 25 dollars used, around thesein here parts.
7649  Media / Single-Player RPGs / "Countdown Site" = Chrono Trigger DS? remake, new on: July 15, 2008, 09:44:08 PM
I wonder if some of the things in the chrono games that are considered plotholes (as in, stuff that's not explained. Not blatant internal inconsistencies like Marle dissappearing in that 600 plot arc)  were actually Kato and/or the other writers intentionally leaving stuff up to interpretation for the players.

I'm reading some translation of the Ultimania guide on gamefaqs and it's not... it's a bit akward, translation wise, but assuming it's close enough... Well, basically, with both games it's sort of annoying because there's stuff I THINK they're doing, storywise, but I'm not sure if I'm just reading too far into it or reading it wrong altogether.

I also get the impression that Kato's writing style involves writing the basic plot through, going back and looking for unintentional connections and meanings, and then writing those into it. Which seems like how the gurus of time work. *BALLS*.
7650  Media / Single-Player RPGs / RPGs Only You've Played. on: July 15, 2008, 09:33:53 PM
King's Quest is exceptionally well known >:| Also KQ6 had fairly logical puzzles. By Roberta standards.

KQ7 had stupid, stupid "Click everything on everything" puzzles. There's not way to logically solve these things since you just have a general "USE" command. And while this was also the case with, say, Curse of Monkey Island, that game would give you some sort of clue as to what use would do in that context. with KQ7, you can't really logic out that using a rope on a rock will tie it between two rocks, and thus trip a road runner.
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