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Home dude be dissin' my Role Playing Games



I am a fan of Role-Playing Games and will probably doing design work on them until I die. I spend most of my time thinking about them. I try to see the potential in them. Ever since I knew about Zelda I was charmed by them. No matter what kind of RPG it was. I enjoyed games with RPG elements a little bit more than those that didn't. I considered Double Dragon to have RPG elements, and felt good every time I learned a new move upon leveling up. I'm a fan of Final Fantasy games, Square, Square/Enix, Bioware, Black Isle, Bethesda, and so on. Once upon a time, I had spent a whole vacation playing Final Fantasy II (US) at a friend's house instead of hanging out with those friends that we were supposed to be visiting for a week in another state. My parents were pissed and I didn't give a shit. I was in entranced. There is something about RPG's that have a hold on me and won't let me go.

I have been fascinated with CRPG's partly because there is no human error to mess things up. I like it when there are strict rules for my adventures, and hate it when a Dungeon Master gets the rules wrong. Some might say that CRPG's lack a human element that table top games have. But, CRPG's aren't made by robots. They're made by humans and only 'driven' by computers. CRPG's don't have to be so mechanical. There have been plenty of games out there that had better stories, better dialogue, and better combat systems than any table-top or multiplayer game I've played. A lot of times, it is the real person that I'm interacting with inside the game that ruins the experience for me. Rules get broken or forgotten at crucial moments. Other human players will cause you grief unless they are tied down to a very solid list of rules to abide by. You have to endure them talking like idiots - DURR. Some people just want to watch the world burn. Or uh... maybe they just aren't interested in it for the same reasons I am.

for the rpg connoisseur

One of the people I used to work with would constantly try to divide a line between simulations and games. He would use the RPG genre to point out when games become more like simulations. It used to annoy the hell out of me. I would try to explain some ideas for a new game I wanted to make, and he'd just shoot them down and told me I had to focus more on the 'main goal'. I'd tell him things like: I want a training system that is like Skyrim or I want a good story in the game. Instead of saying anything insightful on story telling or RPG mechanics he would just say, "Yeah but what is the game about? What is the goal?" He'd bring up Tetris. He'd say that it has a clear goal. The goal is to get a high score. He'd be all like, "Video games are so very totally cool."

you know what you doin...

Really? Okay? What 'is' the goal of a role-playing game? I would ask myself those questions and only come to one answer. Think about Skyrim. The goal isn't to finish the game. It's not. There are so MANY goals. The goal of being the richest man. The goal of completing every task. The goal of beating the main quest. But one goal, in my opinion, defines all of it. In an RPG, the goal is to play a role of your choosing. That's one of the brilliant things about Skyrim. There is too much stuff to do. To stay sane, you have to choose your own goals. You have to choose the role you are going to play, and then be done with it. You have to pick your battles. Do what you are going to do and get the fuck out. Or you'll be playing it for a very, very long time. Some say the game lasts forever. That's what the game is about, and I just spoiled it for you. Damn.

So I told him this. And his reply was: "Well, then it really isn't a game you're talking about. If the goal of your game is to play a role, it is more of a simulation." I had respect for the guy but I couldn't stop thinking about how pretentious that statement was.

i don't know who this guy is, but he looks like the type of guy i'm talking 'bout

I find that when people that get into their craft (in this case the craft is game design), people can get this way. They get blinded by the details. They start thinking so hard about what will make the best game that they forget to just make the damn game and lead by example. Instead they write books, write blogs, and do speeches about how they think everything should be. (I am hypocrite?)They are the kind of people that say stuff like, "We need a better definition of the word GAME". And I immediately think, "Stop trying to change words in the dictionary please." There is a limit to the amount of bullshit I can listen to, especially when someone is bashing RPG's.

If CRPG's were simulations would that even matter? I don't know if I would even mind calling Skyrim a simulation. It does try to simulate a great many things. But the pretentiousness of that comment still nags at me. I went to school to learn about Video Games, Games, Computer Programming, Entertainment. My degree was in Real-Time Interactive Simulation. Yes, it's a fancy way of saying Video Games. Why not call RPG's simulations? But whatever, I'd rather just call them games. Does anyone out there really think RPG's have to prove themselves? I'm ready to defend RPG's till the end. Man, this is my life, and this is RPG's. I have countless experiments and books that I read.

I wuv action rpgs

The other thing I keep hearing from people is that no one will remember Skyrim. That games like Tetris will long out-live all RPG's because grinding and mediocre story will be the death of RPG's. But there they go again, making their own definitions up of what games should or shouldn't be. The only way I've ever seen a definition of a thing changed or a definition invented is when someone actually does something of note, like when Nintendo made Zelda changed what we thought of the action RPG genre.

RPG: It's a pretty solid genre. It's what's for dinner. People love to buy those games when they are done well. Just look at Skyrim. Lots of people have things to say about them, and lots of gamers want more. You can bash RPG's as much as you want, but they aren't going anywhere. The future of RPG's is great! They are our holodecks until technology finally catches up with Star Trek. Will games like Tetris leave them in the dust? I think Tetris will be remembered, sure... But those game types will be around like Chess is, for the hobbyists. Games like Skyrim are out there for everyone who wants to experience what it is like to slay dragons. Games like Tetris will lie dormant for the occasional hobbyist to play inside the awesome RPG that they're playing. Thank you for reading.
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About Fame Designerone of us since 7:47 PM on 01.31.2010

I've been working on developing video games for a few years now. I put up a blog on here to share what I hope will be sensible and interesting articles about game design. The "Fame Design" name came to me when I thought, "I want to be famous for only one thing: video games".

At the moment I'm developing new games in Flash. So I expect to share experiences in being an indie game developer. I often find myself wondering if I should be working in Flash, HTML5, XNA, or the iPhone/iPad SDK. Time will tell.