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Curse you, status effects, stop confusing my heart


For part one of this three-part status effect miniseries, head over to this post, Status effects are poisons that turn my silent heart to stone

The nightmare continues. What, you thought that it was over? Unfortunately, this is not the case, as status effects are nearly as numerous as the hitpoints of a high-level Final Fantasy character. I don’t want to talk about all of them, as some of them actually make sense. But where’s the fun in that? It’s not the JRPG way, man!

So, instead, let’s take a look at some of the other bizarre, nonsensical, and pointless status effects from the world of RPGs. Is it going to be a fair and accommodating look at them? No. No it is not.


Voodoo shit. Execration (not excretion). Hexing (not Hexen). The fine art of cursing is something that we’ve probably all tried at some point. That dick stole my money in the lunchroom, so I’m going to recite a curse that will cause his head to be replaced by his ass while he sleeps. They never work, unfortunately, not even with the use of a voodoo doll or an elaborate ritual site crafted in the luggage closet.

However, the world of Final Fantasy does not play by our rules. In fact, a curse is a very dangerous thing to even the greatest of heroes, as a curse spells certain doom for someone who does not act to nullify this terrible affliction. How so? Well...that’s the tricky part. Sometimes, it kills you after a certain number of turns.

Or it makes you unable to use special attacks.

Or it lowers your stats until it is cured.

Or it just up and fucks your whole party with poison, disease, confuse, and sap.

Seriously, can’t someone standardize this shit? I mean, calling it “curse” is pretty damn vague anyway. How about “Bullshit?” It’s far more representative of the actual spell, especially for the last one.

Honestly, what the fuck kind of shit is poison, disease, confuse, and sap all at the same time? For everyone in the party! It basically means that you’re going to slowly lose health in three different ways, and cast random shit on your fellow party members. Good god.

No matter the particular version of curse, it can die in a fire, which would probably be more effective than trying in vain to get one of your characters to heal it.


As long as we’re on the subject of stuff that makes no sense, let’s have a chat about confusion. The basic concept behind a confusion status is that a character’s brain got rewired temporarily, and he’s no longer able to tell who is a friend and who is an enemy. He’ll often respond to this with plenty of sword swipes, fire spells, and sometimes even beat the shit out of himself.

Holy hell, where to begin.

First off, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a JRPG enemy, but let’s have a quick look at this guy:

FUCK. OK, now let’s have a lookie here:

What is enemy? I do not know! How do I tell? Is it the one that I most want to have sex with? Hmm, still can’t decide!

Not stupid enough for you? OK, how about this? When you get confused about something, what’s generally your instinctual response? To attack the thing nearest to you? Or to, I don’t know, maybe take a step back for a second, reevaluate the situation, maybe have a nap? I typically don’t get cast-happy when I’m confused, but maybe that’s just me.

I also don’t start cutting myself with a sword. Is this some sort of psychological doppelganger response here? Oh god, I’m confused! I think that perhaps this enemy has replaced the real me with an evil twin, and to defeat this evil, I must defeat myself! I suppose it isn’t that farfetched considering how often you have to fight an evil shadow version of yourself in JRPGs. But, come on man, in that case you don’t actually have to try to light yourself on fire!

How do you cure confusion? In a way that’s more likely to cause confusion than anything: by smacking the afflicted character in the face.

Here’s what the game assumes:

Party member 1: “Oh no, I’m confused! Better start punching myself in the crotch!”
Party member 2: “I’ll save you!” *smacks party member 1 in the crotch*
Party member 1: “My eyes have been opened! You are a gentleman and a scholar.”

Here’s what the situation would really be like.

Party member 1: “Oh no, I’m confused! Better start punching myself in the crotch!”
Party member 2: “I’ll save you!” *smacks party member 1 in the crotch*
Party member 1: “What have you done to my fucking crotch? You’ll die by my hand, you evil bastard!”

The best part of confusion is that you lose all control of your character, which is awesome when your healer gets confused and you happened to be all about of panacea bottles. It’s even better when your whole party gets confused and you get to watch some ultra-violent version of The Three Stooges play out in front of you. Dammit Curly, stop spamming firega.


Remember playing “Red Light/Green Light” as a kid? When someone yelled “red light,” you had to freeze in place; if you moved, you were out. You could only move when the leader yelled “green light.”

Stop, otherwise known as temporal stasis (I guess), is very similar. Someone yells stop, and you stop. You can’t move, attack, use items, or do anything. You just stand there.

“Oh, you mean like paralysis?” you say. Yes, just like that, except that it doesn’t make any sense! No matter how you understand stop, it’s total bollocks.

Let’s say that it’s just as simple as someone stopping because they’re servile and they were told to, just as in “Red Light/Green Light.” Maybe they just really like that game, and they couldn’t really get over it as a kid. Either way, as their friends die around them, you’d think that they’d say, “Hey, maybe I could recite a healing spell under my breath and still win the game!”

If temporal stasis is more to your liking, you’re going to be disappointed. Temporal stasis means that a person experiences no passage of time, even though the passage of time continues around him. To him, massive amounts of time would pass in an instant. Now, to achieve stasis, the actual space around that person would have to be affected, as would anything that entered that temporal field. So, let’s say a jackass tries to swing a sword at the stopped character. Nope. Impossible, because as soon as that sword enters the temporal stasis field, it would be subject to the same rules as the person in stasis. No movement would be possible, not even that of inertia, so a sword stroke that began outside of the stasis field would still stop instantly.

Also, my scientific logic is as impenetrable as my conception of a stasis field, so step off.

And with that, friends, the prosecution rests. There is nothing left for me to say about status effects, and I hope you’ll agree that we should cast petrify on those little bastards.

But the fun isn’t over yet. This is but part two of three in this series of happy fun. Part three will be a great time, of this I am sure. What could it be, you ask? Well, I’ve talked about all of this existing status effects that I hate…but what about new status effects? A new star is born every day, right? Let’s give birth to some stars, baby.

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About Andrew Kauzone of us since 5:10 PM on 04.30.2009

In loving memory: PAX 2009 (thanks ZombiePlatypus! And WalkYourPath, of course)

I'm Kauza, which is pronounced like cause-uh. My real name's Andrew Kauz, if you'd rather go for that.

I like talking to Dtoid people, so please add me on your favorite social networking site:
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/kauza
Gchat: santakauz[at]gmail.com.

Basics: I'm 25, and I write things.

Eternal thanks go out to Y0j1mb0 for the amazing header image you see above. So, thanks, sir!

Look at some of the things I've written.

Things on the Front Page:

Mass Effect, Metal Gear, Moon Unit, and more: An interview with Jennifer Hale
The Future: Demanding more from the voices of videogames
Love/Hate: A plea to play as a female Shepard
A warning: Regrets from a former life and experiences yet unlived
Top ten games for people who hate Thanksgiving
The wrong thing: Being evil should be more like sex
Staying dry in a sea of spoilers is a matter of building a boat
Lessons on taking games just seriously enough
Come, take your pilgrimage to gaming's one true mecca
Here's to you, random-JRPG-dialogue-writer-man
The forgotten: Crushing disappointment at the hands of Crash 'n the Boys
The people who have the power to change the world
Improving game communities: Enough with the negativity
The draw of exploration: Antarctica to Oblivion, Shackleton to Shadow Complex
I suck at games: BlazBlue and a slapdash attempt at fisticuffs
I, the Author: My Everest
Untapped Potential: The Gamer's Education
Other Worlds than These: Our World, Only Different

A series sort of thing about status effects
Toxic Megacolon and other fresh status effects
Curse you, status effects, stop confusing my heart
Status effects are poisons that turn my silent heart to stone
Also check out the related forum thread.

The Fall of the Titans (wherein I talk about dead or dying gaming companies)

The fall of the titans part 3: What once was shall be again
The fall of the titans: Sega died so that we might dream of the future
The fall of the titans: Why do the giants of gaming die?

Stories from the Past (a series about my experiences playing certain games):

Stories from the Past: Tobal 2, Tomba! 2, and console double-vision
Stories from the Past: Diablo and the Dark Ride
Stories from the Past: What the f*ck, mom?
Stories from the Past: Xexyz and the battle aboard Turtlestar Lobsterica
Stories from the Past: The One-Balled Man-Bear
Stories from the Past: The Battle of Olympus
Stories from the Past: Suikoden 2

Storytelling (a series about, well, storytelling):

Storytelling: The Problem of Genres
Storytelling: Mass Effect, Vonnegut, and the Fourth Rule
Storytelling: Doing Nothing in "The Darkness"
Storytelling: The Power of a Single Line (Yeah, it was my first post.)

Other stuff that is good:

Lessons on taking games just seriously enough
A consuming power: The demon and the borderlands
Can games transcend good and evil?
Nothing is sacred: We won't let you go alone, but we have made a tragic decision
How Destructoid single-handedly changed my mother’s opinion of gaming
Why Tecmo Super Bowl is the greatest sports game of all time
Seven reasons that I will end you in creative ways if you don't play Folklore
Mother Nature and the Impending Death of the Gaming Spirit
Times Games Forgot: The Dark Ages
The Sins and Successes of In-game Collectibles
The Lock is Broken
When Music Surpasses the Game
Truckasaurus Rex and the Humor of Games
I Want to Cry (storytelling related, but not part of the series)

I have others as well that you can check out on my blog. You'll enjoy them or your money back.

Since it seems like the cool thing to do, here a list of my favorite games that is coming straight out of my ass and onto your computer screen, and in no particular order.

Fallout 3
Uncharted 2
Suikoden 2
Mass Effect / ME2
Metal Gear Solid followed by any number you can think of
Tales of Somethingendinginia (OK, and the Abyss)
Battlefield: Bad Company
Xbox LIVE:kauza
PSN ID:santakauz
Mii code:kauza


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