An essay on role-playing games

Discussion in 'Video Games' started by Nevyrmoore, Jan 17, 2009.

  1. Nevyrmoore

    Nevyrmoore AKA Ass-Bandit

    Just now, I found this commentary on western and japanese RPGs, and why they're mis-using the term RPG. I felt it a good read, and thought I would share with you.

    Insomnia | Commentary | On role-playing games

    What are your thoughts on this? How close do you think game developers can get to developing a true RPG? Should the term be dropped in favour of something else?

  2. Vincent_Valentine

    Vincent_Valentine Studley-Do-Right

    On one hand, I can see where the author is coming from. He is obviously a big fan of the 'true' RPG genre, and it annoys him when the term 'RPG' is applied to something that doesn't meet his definition of what an 'RPG' game is.

    On the other hand, it just reeks of a superiority complex. The entire JRPG section was basically him ripping into how shitty he thinks the games are, and even goes so far as to say there is no such thing as a 'JRPG' that doesn't suck. He even has this little nugget in here:

    "And the result of all this inanity? Even players who are right in the middle of a hundred-hour JRPG often have little idea of what the hell is going on -- and who can blame them, as it turns out they don't need to! They mash a button; random numbers keep flashing all over the screen; and if they happen to die at some point they simply double back, kill a couple hundred more green slimes and try again."

    As a big fan of 'JRPG' games, I find this hilarious since he assumes that most people playing 'JRPG' games are mindlessly pressing the same button with no idea of strategy or tactics.

    Essentially, I see where he is trying to come from with this arguement. That 'CRPG' games don't have enough emphasis on the actual role playing and too much emphasis on battles, and therefore they shouldn't be considered Role-Playing Games. However, it looses all credibility to me when he spends paragraph after paragraph talking about how shitty 'CRPGs" are. He comes off so condescending, that it is nearly impossible for me to agree with him (despite the fact that I really see where he is coming from and actually do sort of agree with him) because he basically spend the past ten minutes telling me that I'm an idiot because I like something that isn't actually an RPG.
  3. ExpectantlyIronic

    ExpectantlyIronic e̳̳̺͕ͬ̓̑̂ͮͦͣ͒͒h̙ͦ̔͂?̅̂ ̾͗̑

    No GM of mine is going to get away with rolling my dice for me. That sounds like shenanigans. My main problem with the article is it seems to suggest all tabletop gamers are alike, and all good tabletop games follow a certain formula, when they're all very different depending on what group of dudes and ladies you have around the table. Saying that all good tabletop games should deemphasize the mechanical aspects of the game, and that they're just a necessary evil, would give at least one dude I know conniptions.

    I'd agree, though, that RPGs and CRPGs are different beasts.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2009
  4. gamingbruin

    gamingbruin New Member

    EXACTLY! totally suggesting that all tabletop gamers are the same.
    whats up with that.
  5. fleinn

    fleinn 101010

    Well, I agree with his point. Role- playing by yourself, thinking about what the character in the story does, fooling yourself to become immersed in the story - that has very little to do with actual role- playing. As he says, it's a passive or at least introvert experience. But it's not as passive as being taken for a ride by your gamemaster, and never interacting with the rest of the players except in combat. I've played a lot of games like that, specially with D&D fans, because no one has the interest to immerse themselves in huge piles of lore about what works in the world.

    In the same way, I've played Vampire the Masquerade and setting up games in a setting we know every player is somewhat familiar with, and having no problem allowing everyone to prepare some set pieces to the others.

    Because, obviously role- playing is dependent on your experience as a player, not the degree of actual customisation or real improvisation. In a sense, it seems like the guy in the article is violently arguing that mythical real life is the only rpg there is, and if you don't have to spend three hours throwing dice before you get out the door every morning - and as long as you have any inkling of an idea what's going to happen next, or don't improvise at every point - then it's just not an rpg.

    But that's not what he says, of course. He's saying that his set pieces and his setting that allow him to immerse himself in a game are the correct ones. Add that to the superiority complex, and stream of xenophobia and prejudice - and you basically have the archetypical western role- player. The kind who throws a dice to determine what he likes and thinks every day - because he really seems to need these things put down in rules before it's a required part of the play to learn something about yourself.

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