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Author Topic: Gamasutra - A Japanese RPG Primer: The Essential 20  (Read 12774 times)
Eusis
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« Reply #60 on: March 24, 2008, 10:53:46 PM »

I'm going to point out that Gamasutra's a site for game developers, so the essential list can be taken as more of a recommendation to developers on what to play and examine for game development.
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Prime Mover
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« Reply #61 on: March 24, 2008, 11:01:47 PM »

Quote from: "Eusis"
I'm going to point out that Gamasutra's a site for game developers, so the essential list can be taken as more of a recommendation to developers on what to play and examine for game development.


Any game designer that either a) hasn't played everything on a list like that, or b) doesn't have enough of an opinion to need a list like that shouldn't be in the business. All I'm saying is that, if he was speaking to game developers, he was likely wasting his breath.

Seriously, any kind of list like this is there to be critiqued, not followed.
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Lord Scottish
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« Reply #62 on: March 24, 2008, 11:33:02 PM »

A while back, I confessed on these boards that I have never gotten past the first few hours of Final Fantasy VII, and that the game simply did not leave much of an impression - either positive or negative - on me. In response to this, Dincrest sent me a PM (which I regrettably never got around to responding to) in which he instructed me that if for no other reason than because of the passionate responses that FF7 elicits among RPG fandom, it is a game that ought to be played to completion by everyone who is interested in RPGs.

Ironically enough, that PM from so long ago answers the question that Dincrest asks in this thread: What makes something essential is public response. It's not any more complicated than that.
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Eusis
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« Reply #63 on: March 24, 2008, 11:48:29 PM »

Quote from: "Prime Mover"
Any game designer that either a) hasn't played everything on a list like that, or b) doesn't have enough of an opinion to need a list like that shouldn't be in the business.

And if the designer in question doesn't design RPGs and simply wants to study them, or is thrown on a project where this is relevant? Alternatively, people who want to go into game design but want to know what kind of games he should check out in a genre? Or, you know, they didn't have the time to go through a longass game like FFXII or P3 when they arrived.

I'm making glue out of dead horse here, but that also brings back to the diversity thing: When you want to study one specific thing you probably want to focus on that, and not head out of that too much. It's probably good to give a few subgenre titles a spin if you need to study JRPG design, but too many and you're straying too much, plus if you're looking for external genres to study and keep in mind then you probably want to stray way more - Advance Wars instead of Fire Emblem perhaps?

(Also the start of that article stated that JRPGs are an important genre for game developers to study. I suck.)

Edit: Change of example because Final Fantasy Tactics is an example of making a series spin off into a subgenre. Fire Emblem, not so much.
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Prime Mover
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« Reply #64 on: March 25, 2008, 12:22:48 AM »

Good point, however, I do think that one failing of many games is that their either blind to all other genres (one extreme) or try to duct-tape elements from 50 different genres together (the other extreme).

Most Tactical RPGs are a good example of the former, and why I don't really play them. What makes a tactical RPG? It's spacial-based battle system, right? So why is it that few tactical RPGs have any sort of exploration or adventure aspects? There's absolutely nothing that goes against a spacial-based battlesystem game that's a giant quest with dungeons and puzzles with a world map... but for some reason, TRPG developers seem to have pigeonholed their genre so much that they seem to ignore everything the traditional jRPG and adventure genres have developed. Meanwhile, traditional RPGs seem a bit more fluid in being able to adopt TRPG elements (Wild Arms), or action/adventure elements (FF12).

I really love the concept behind TRPGs, but I've noticed that all the games I really like have a lot of exploration and navigation. Why is it that so few have been able to incorporate exploration and adventure into the TRPG genre?

On the flipside, sometimes it feels like some games try too hard to incorporate everthing. FF12 felt like this. It seemed like half the time it was trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. I'm a little more lineant on this type of thing, because I think they make for good experiments, which is what I think FF12 was, all around, even if it's not my favorite game in the world. But I think there's been such a huge outcry from other communities acting like turn-based gaming should die, that many RPG developers have started to believe it.

I dunno, I'm not sure these individual elements make a good game or a bad game, but what's important is some kind of cohesion in overall vision and a willingness to change, if it's for the advantage of the end product.
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eelhouse.net
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Eusis
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« Reply #65 on: March 25, 2008, 12:39:21 AM »

... Actually, your TRPG points may be why I can't help but feel that if you were to suggest those, you'd only need about 3 (Shining Force II, Final Fantasy Tactics, and a Fire Emblem?) and no more. You've got a list of 20 essential standard JRPGs, but if we were to focus on just TRPGS it'd be 3-5. Action RPGs would probably fare better, but depending on how stingy you are (do you count Zelda and the recent Castlevanias? Would you also include Tales of and Star Ocean?) it could be just as limited. I suppose alternatively that can prove the point of including them in that list, there's not as many you could call essential so it may as well have been a 30 list instead and included some TRPGs, Action RPGs, and Harvest Moon.

I also want to point out that there can be value in creating a work in a certain field yet not have much exposure to other works in that field if any at all. I recall reading years ago that the Silent Hill 1 director hadn't watched any/many Horror movies and that was pretty fucked up.
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Dincrest
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« Reply #66 on: March 25, 2008, 08:50:41 AM »

Quote from: "Lord Scottish"


Ironically enough, that PM from so long ago answers the question that Dincrest asks in this thread: What makes something essential is public response. It's not any more complicated than that.


And the thing is, for me at least, public response is part of what I'd consider in the essential movie.  How Star Wars became a cultural phenomenon, nowadays I'd look at anybody strange who hasn't seen Star Wars.  Whether you love or loathe Star Wars, I think it's essential because of its cultural and historical significance.  Is it the greatest movie ever created?  No.  But its impact on the movegoing culture cannot be denied.    

On a smaller scale as far as JRPGs go, Final Fantasy 7 was that first blockbuster RPG that opened the floodgates and took the genre out of the underground.  Is it the greatest RPG ever made?  No.  But I do think its impact on the JRPG playing culture cannot be denied.  I mean, the game is over a decade old and people still talk about it.  It's still idolized and demonized.  People still clamor for a remake with upgraded graphics and an smoother localization.  I've had a love/hate relationship with the game.  

Think about RPGFan.  We in the community get bent out of shape when people post spoilers, but we don't when people post FF7 spoilers because we pretty much assume that everyone's already played that game and thus something like OMG Aeris Dies! really isn't a spoiler since everyone knows about it.  That's some impact right there on our RPG community and who's to say that impact isn't present in other RPG communities?

I think that there are many reasons for a game to be considered essential, and there are games I would consider essential for different reasons.
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« Reply #67 on: March 25, 2008, 11:47:49 AM »

Quote from: "Prime Mover"
Any game designer that either a) hasn't played everything on a list like that, or b) doesn't have enough of an opinion to need a list like that shouldn't be in the business. All I'm saying is that, if he was speaking to game developers, he was likely wasting his breath.


You know, honestly I kinda doubt that. If you look at the exclusive interviews we have on the site, you will find that a lot of folks in the game industry either don't play a lot of games (be it due to time constraints or because they want to do something different in the little free time they have) or if they do, then in many cases they don't play RPGs. Given the insane working hours of industry folks directly involved in development and the time it takes to complete most classic RPGs, I would be surprised, if a lot of high profile Japanese game designers actually have had the time to play through all the RPGs on that list.
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daschrier
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« Reply #68 on: March 25, 2008, 02:11:11 PM »

I've never played FF7...and I have a black label copy of it sitting right on my shelf.

I should just ebay it!
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Alucard von Elru
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« Reply #69 on: April 04, 2008, 12:15:16 PM »

I found the list to be an enjoyable read. It's far too FF-heavy (I think he would have been fine in selecting one 2D and one 3D FF title, personally), and some of his restrictions seem to be a bit iffy... as an example, though I'm thrilled to see BoFV there, that game always seemed like a really advanced mixing of a Tactical RPG and an Action/RPG (much like Vagrant Story, actually), so it doesn't seem to fit into his criteria.

There are plenty of games that I would substitute with his picks, but this has less to do with the fact that I disagree with him and more to do with the fact that I find a "20 list" to be extremely claustrophobic. I have a lot of issues with working within the confines of just 20 spots, so I always find myself having to work with a minimum of 40 spots.

I enjoyed his picks overall. Very, very pleased to see the exceptional Panzer Dragoon Saga and Skies of Arcadia. Seeing SMT: N was also a grand surprise! On my list, P3 would very much be swapped with the two DDS games. Everything else in the MegaTen series released after Nocturne and DDS I have been almost completely unable to enjoy. I view them as the high-points of the entire series and all of its various subsections.
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« Reply #70 on: April 04, 2008, 01:33:01 PM »

I didn't like this list from the start because they left out strategy RPG's, and those are developed by Japanese developers. I love strategy RPG's, especially Final Fantasy Tactics & Fire Emblem, and I believe those would be on my list pronto. I also disagree that VP should be on there, it was good, but doesn't have a huge appeal to it and certainly doesn't need to be played by EVERY JRPG fan. Also, I'm surprised to see FFXII on that list because it had such mixed feeling among fans, but I think it totally deserves to be there. I loved that game. No Super Mario RPG befuddles me as well, that is one of my all-time favorite games.
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death919
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« Reply #71 on: April 23, 2008, 01:31:51 AM »

I'm bookmarking this article and making it my goal to have all of them beaten by December 31, 2010. :)

Beaten:
Final Fantasy IV
Final Fantasy VI
Final Fantasy VII
Final Fantasy VIII
Final Fantasy X

Still need to beat:
Valkyrie Profile
Xenogears
Chrono Trigger
Shadow Hearts: Covenant
Persona 3
Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne
Earthbound
Grandia
Final Fantasy XII
Dragon Quest V
Panzer Dragoon Saga
Skies of Arcadia: Legends
Chrono Cross
Phantasy Star: The End of the Millenium
Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter
Suikoden 2
Final Fantasy V


I feel like such a noob.  >_>  Better get to work! :D
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Eusis
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« Reply #72 on: April 23, 2008, 01:38:18 AM »

Didn't think to figure out which I have/haven't beaten. I beat 17 out of 22 games there, I still need to beat FFV, P3, FFXII, DQV, and SoArc.
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Shiguma
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« Reply #73 on: April 23, 2008, 01:49:20 AM »

Hmm, I've beaten 17 out of 22 games on the list, too.  Everything except:

1.  Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter
2.  Final Fantasy V
3.  Panzer Dragoon Saga
4.  Shadow Hearts: Covenant
5.  Skies of Arcadia: Legends.

Someday, I'd like to complete Panzer Dragoon Saga... but the other four?  No thanks, heh.
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Ramza
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« Reply #74 on: April 23, 2008, 02:01:26 AM »

Quote from: "Eusis"
Didn't think to figure out which I have/haven't beaten. I beat 17 out of 22 games there, I still need to beat FFV, P3, FFXII, DQV, and SoArc.


This was a good idea. I will try this...


Beaten: 10
Chrono Cross
Chrono Trigger
Final Fantasy IV
Final Fantasy V
Final Fantasy VI
Final Fantasy VII
Final Fantasy VIII
Final Fantasy X
Final Fantasy XII
Xenogears

Still need to beat: 12
Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter
Dragon Quest V
Earthbound
Grandia
Panzer Dragoon Saga
Persona 3
Phantasy Star: The End of the Millenium
Shadow Hearts: Covenant
Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne
Skies of Arcadia: Legends
Suikoden 2
Valkyrie Profile



...guess that makes me a Square whore. :(
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