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Author Topic: RPGFan's 20 Top 20 DS Games  (Read 7174 times)
Darilon
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« Reply #120 on: November 30, 2013, 08:33:28 AM »

Nope, he's right. Video game story lines are fairly low end on the narrative medium scale.

Hell, just as a case and point, take a look at how magic is treated within RPGs. Most of the time, magic becomes a simple matter of hitting enemies with a bigger stick or the correct one if elements are involved, and the rest is pretty much Healing. Rarely is magic ever treated like anything other than an ever improving collection of Nukes or a more renewable source of Healing, and in those rare cases its usually for fast or other forms of travel or gimmicky purposes. But even rarer is when the matter of having such a mass distribution of destruction or healing is ever reproached. Then there's the matter of the long term effects of being affected by magic, the effects of bungling spells, the use of magic in occupations and how magic affects the need or structure of occupations, the Geo-political effect of a remote village possessing a powerful magical relic, and so on.

And that's just one narrative element. I could write an entire dissertation on the awful and/or lazy writing included in not just RPGs but all video games. Even the best examples currently available aren't really that good when you think about it.

While I agree that most rpgs have pretty weak storylines I think it is unfair to specifically pick on the magic system. You could go to a bookstore and pick up a random book in the fantasy section. Chances are high that the magic system in it is just as weak as any rpg. There are exceptions of course but then the same applies for rpgs.

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Mickeymac92
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« Reply #121 on: November 30, 2013, 11:14:32 AM »

While I agree that most rpgs have pretty weak storylines I think it is unfair to specifically pick on the magic system. You could go to a bookstore and pick up a random book in the fantasy section. Chances are high that the magic system in it is just as weak as any rpg. There are exceptions of course but then the same applies for rpgs.

You mean like all the cheap dimestore ones? I don't read a lot of fantasy novels...or really a lot of any books that don't have lots of pictures, but when I do I usually go for ones that either delve more into its world, or ones that are more realistic so I don't have to deal with poorly written RPG-inspired crap like magic that's just there for the heroes to lay on the occasional big bang.

As far as video games go, I can only think of Lost Odyssey as a game that really delves into how magic affects their world. And even then, I don't know how far it went into it and I kinda recall its main story being a bit of a mess (though I gotta start my replay of it someday to find out for sure...). Still, I can't think of any game that really made as much of an attempt as that game. Several Final Fantasy games made minor attempts, but never really went anywhere with it most of the time (I think 8-Bit Theater goes into more detail about the magic and the ramifications than the games ever do (been a while since I last read it, though), and that's just a fan parody). Occasionally it pops up in a few other games I've played, but again, it never go anywhere.

In fact, it's reasons like this that I rarely play games for their story. Whenever I take a story in a game seriously, I always seem to want more from them than what I'm getting, whether it's about the world, about the characters, or about the story and the reasonings behind the story, amd it just feels lazy compared to other mediums I've encountered.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2013, 11:22:03 AM by Mickeymac92 » Logged

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Holykael1
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« Reply #122 on: November 30, 2013, 11:39:42 AM »

I think the Xenosaga trilogy makes a pretty darn good job at explaining the "magic" and "supernatural elements".

One of the biggest plot points in FF XII was the magic of the world, it was directly involved in the main conflict and I think it's explored fairly well there, also in FF VI,VII,IX and to a lesser extent VIII. 

I think there are some great storylines in videogames and I believe the medium itself has potential to outdo any other when it comes to storytelling, it has the potential to tick every box(music, writing, visuals and immersion). There are a few outstanding storylines in videogames if you ask me even if the average video game doesnt have one.

At the highest possible caliber I think videogames already outdo movies and novels but that's just me, there are much fewer examples of excellent narratives, that's a given, but movies and books have been around for far longer.

If the best novels were "translated" into a visual novel and they were done right, I think they would be vastly superior to the book itself. The same could be applied to movies if done right, that would require finding a good balance between the interactive nature of video games and the pacing of the narrative in films. The interactivity adjacent to the medium allows for a bigger emotional involvement from the audience.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2013, 11:47:46 AM by Holykael1 » Logged

Darilon
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« Reply #123 on: November 30, 2013, 12:36:40 PM »

At the highest possible caliber I think videogames already outdo movies and novels but that's just me, there are much fewer examples of excellent narratives, that's a given, but movies and books have been around for far longer.

If the best novels were "translated" into a visual novel and they were done right, I think they would be vastly superior to the book itself. The same could be applied to movies if done right, that would require finding a good balance between the interactive nature of video games and the pacing of the narrative in films. The interactivity adjacent to the medium allows for a bigger emotional involvement from the audience.

That is a pretty bold thing to say. Can't say I agree though. It may be that video games as we see then today are still a relatively new thing that may need more time to reach their full potential. I can't think of any game that reached the same heights for me as To kill a Mockingbird, Othello or Shawshank Redemption.

Although I really liked visual novels such as Ever 17, I still don't think they have surpassed all other media yet. Main problem I see with translating other media to visual novels is that you would probably have to put in multiple routes and I can't see that working for everything. Unless you were to go with the more linear types such as Phoenix Wright or Ghost Trick.

I do think games like Ico and Shadow of the Colossus are brilliant examples of how a game can be done well. Can't really see either being surpassed by a book or movie based on them.
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Holykael1
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« Reply #124 on: November 30, 2013, 12:50:14 PM »

Shawshank Redemption is an incredible movie and one of my absolute favourites but I dont feel nearly as passionate about it as a I feel about certain game storylines like Zero Escape, Ace Attorney, Final Fantasy and some others. Of course it's ultimately subjective.
What I said about the visual novel thing, ye certainly it doesnt need to have multiple endings. It can have a linear narrative like ace attorney and ghost trick which are great examples of more awesome video game storylines.
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« Reply #125 on: November 30, 2013, 12:52:25 PM »

Shadow of the Collosus is a great example of how I'd like to see story approached more in games. It's hard for me to explain since my brain is running on fumes at the moment, but I felt it was less direct and the gameplay itself played a part in the story. The two seemed to work together from what I recall, creating an experience that's different from what you'd see in other media. I don't want a story that surpasses other media, I want video game stories to be their own thing, uncomparable to that of other media. We already have a few good examples of that, especially in experimental indie games, but I think we still have a ways to go before they really get up there.
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« Reply #126 on: November 30, 2013, 01:03:06 PM »

Haven't experienced the other movie/novels you mentioned. Going to add To kill a Mockingbird to my movie watchlist. I dont like classic Literature though.. Here in Portugal we have renowned authors such as Jose Saramago(not really classic literature but a little more modern), Fernando Pessoa and Luis de Camoes.. I find them to be incredibly overrated, their social critique is solid but the actual narrative content is generic dribble if you ask me, their writing might be considered masterful but I for one dont give a shit if the story itself doesnt grab me and the characters are nothing more than archetypes for the purpose of social commentary. I dont like shakespearean writing aswell but I cant speak for the content itself because im not very familiar with it but it seems to be in the same vein. They may be pioneers and ahead of their time but I dont see myself going back to them by the same logic I dont go back to Atari games. Greater and better things have been created since and what makes them so unique doesnt appeal to me. I also dont like the objective hivemind surrounding these authors, it's like a fucking religion - "these are the absolute best and if you think otherwise you are an uneducated baboon"

Edit_ Mickeymac you are absolutely right, I was just responding to people who were making comparisons, I know ive used this example multiple times  but I dont see a game like 999 being replicated in any other medium besides videogames, the interactivity is key and the multiple endings are an absolute must in this particular narrative.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2013, 01:20:17 PM by Holykael1 » Logged

Darilon
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« Reply #127 on: November 30, 2013, 01:19:11 PM »

Haven't experienced the other movie/novels you mentioned. Going to add To kill a Mockingbird to my movie watchlist. I dont like classic Literature though.. Here in Portugal we have renowned authors such as Jose Saramago(not really classic literature but a little more modern), Fernando Pessoa and Luis de Camoes.. I find them to be incredibly overrated, their social critique is solid but the actual narrative content is generic dribble if you ask me, their writing might be considered masterful but I for one dont give a shit if the story itself doesnt grab me and the characters are nothing more than archetypes for the purpose of social commentary. I dont like shakespearean writing aswell but I cant speak for the content itself because im not very familiar with it but it seems to be in the same vein. They may be pioneers or whatever but I dont see myself going back to them by the same logic I dont go back to Atari games. Greater and better things have been created since and what makes them so unique doesnt appeal to me.

If you want to watch Othello done as a movie, I suggest watching the one where Ian McKellan stars as Iago. I preferred To Kill a Mockingbird in its book format but the movie based on it was also great.

I tend to have the opposite issues with classics that you do. I love Wuthering Heights and how it portrays Heathcliff. My main beef with it is the way it is worded. Suppose it is similar to how you see Shakespearean works. I really enjoyed Philadelphia here I come and it had the benefit of the language flowing well.

More modern examples would be Cormac McCarthy's The Road and No Country for old men. Both the books and the movies based on them are brilliant. I would suggest both reading The Road and watching the movie.
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« Reply #128 on: November 30, 2013, 10:05:13 PM »

I do think games like Ico and Shadow of the Colossus are brilliant examples of how a game can be done well. Can't really see either being surpassed by a book or movie based on them.

Ico has a book and SotC has a movie coming at some point so were those intentional references to their adaptations?
And about multiple endings translating across mediums, Run Lola Run does it pretty well.
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« Reply #129 on: November 30, 2013, 10:23:35 PM »

When it comes to magic, does it always need to have some sort of logical "science-y" system behind it?  Isn't part of what makes magic cool is its arcane and mysterious nature?  That it can't be explained or scientifically reasoned?  

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE me some "technical" magic systems (e.g. allomancy in the Mistborn novels; probably one of the coolest magic systems in fantasy novels) but sometimes mysterious magic that defies logic and reason is what a world and/or a plot call for.  But then the danger lies of magic being overused as a cop-out crutch with plot points...
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« Reply #130 on: November 30, 2013, 10:39:24 PM »

The concern isn't that it isn't explained in these stories how magic "works," more that magic is just sort of there and doesn't seem to have any effect on the world or it's culture. Any world that has some form of magic would most definitely be affected by it.

And yes, there are examples of stories that handle magic's effect on society fairly well. The simplest example would be Final Fantasy IX, where magic is a fairly unique ability and the political powers of the world are seeking out any source of magic they can find to utilize as weapons against their enemies.
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« Reply #131 on: December 01, 2013, 12:34:31 AM »

Nope, he's right. Video game story lines are fairly low end on the narrative medium scale.

Even if the "Nah" sounds dismissive to the point he makes I'm neither agreeing or disagreeing with him on that.
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« Reply #132 on: December 01, 2013, 12:31:17 PM »

You shouldn't try to explain magic. If you do, this happens.



I do wish magic had story relevance more often beyond being a weapon of mass destruction or a power source though. Magic can do a lot of stuff. It can do anything. It's magic.
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« Reply #133 on: December 01, 2013, 12:41:27 PM »

I found Xillia really pushed my buttons on that.  Everything was fueled, made, or destroyed by magic.
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« Reply #134 on: December 01, 2013, 09:19:10 PM »

That was one thing I thought was strong about the Dragon Age games.  Magic is given context and is key to the story, as well as being something equally useful and dangerous / risky.  Dragon Age III is probably going to have the legal vs. illegal use of magic as a key plot point. 

The Tales series, on the other hand... hasn't been very thorough about its magic systems since... Phantasia.  Maybe ever? 
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