A rant is only a rant if it's responded by a rant, or some such thing! I stand ready to meet ye blow for blow, Sir Highwind of, uh, Highstuff!
I think your first point is mainly a matter of opinion. I played both of those games when they came out... FF1 at least.... and even then they stunk. The control was interesting and it did define the genre, but it definitely did NOT set the standard. I've played a hundred recent games that topped it. All my opinion probably has something to do with the clumsy and annoying Nintendo controller which I'm sure caused me some sort of thumb deformity that will hinder me in later years.
Heh, not horribly cliched? Fighting the Doom Dragon in Doom Tower whose main spell was Doom? Evil Wizard takes Good Princess and Heroic Hero endeavors to save her? They were VERY cliched, but not from other games. Books. We've seen it all a thousand times before. The only original fellow was that guy who made Zelda.... Miyamoto. Very, very original. Insane, but original.
People seem to assume I loved FF8, for some reason! I thought it was okay. They managed to pull off the loner thing pretty well, for once, but beyond that all was uninspired. Anyway, you're right, of course. Many new games are not so good as well. If you want an interactive movie, you should buy Mad Dog McGee, or something, not FF8. The thesis, though largely unclear I now realize, was that new games, the good ones, are generally better than the good-old games. Many, many new games are crap. Many, many things are crap. I just want people to accept that not ALL new things are such.
I agree on sidequests. My absolute favorite game ever is Planescape: Torment for the PC, and that has around 10,000 sidequests, all of which are unique and interesting. They affect YOU, the character, and the story very directly DESPITE being optional! I love that in a game. It's not pulled off easily, though. Saga Frontier is a good example of how to go wrong in this area. On a side note, I loved Lufia.
Gimmicks mean little to me. In my E-mail responses, I said again and again that I tend to slide by big, complicated systems and use only swords and the most basic magic. It's how I am. If I want excellent gameplay, I look in First-Person Shooters and Fighting Games. Or that's how it is in most cases. There are a few exceptions, but they come few and far between and are generally Action RPGs.
Leveling just flat out annoys me. Always has, always will. It all seems like a silly little ploy to get you to play a game longer. If they REALLY want you to max out, then they should make the game long enough so that you WILL max out. I'm one of the few people I know who has fun with last bosses because I tend to be very underleveled when I arrive at them. I need to use my brain to fight, not my vast powers.
I'm always being asked to get angry at game developers for wanting to make money... I just can't do it. I can't fault them. Why be in business to just lose money? I find many popular companies make all their money by making pretty good games. Blizzard Entertainment? Black Isle? Hell, even Squaresoft. They all tend to hit at least .500 averages with more than their share of home-runs! Yeah, they care about making money. That's why they put out good games.
Heh, I respect everybody's opinion, Ace. Every E-mail I get, I respond to as best I can, just as I respond to your editorial now. My last editorial was.... Flashy. I was in a bad mood and I let it out through that. My point is still valid, however, even if my wording is different.