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I suck at games: Role Playing Games

I suck at Role Playing Games. I don't finish them. Pretty much ever.

A quick list of games I've put 15+ hours into and never finished:
Final Fantasy 7, 8, and 10, Oblivion, Fallout 1 and 3, Super Paper Mario, Mario RPG, KOTOR, Dragon Warrior, Kingdom Hearts, Deus Ex, Chrono Trigger and Earthbound (those last two Iím a bit ashamed of).

A few that I have finished
Secret of Mana, Illusion of Gaia, Mass Effect, Diablo

The biggest issue I have with them is the same thing that makes most people love them, the extreme number of hours most take to complete it. That being said, most RPGs are based on an epic journey to save the world involving a number of characters with branching story lines which all help the player feel more invested in the game by the time the final boss shows up. I understand that the length of the game is at the very core of experience, itís just not for me.

People spent 100 hours with this

For me, it has not been that I don't enjoy the good RPGs out there, but when I have something like real life interrupt playing for a week or so I have a hard time jumping back in. I forget that I already went to that cave or that to keep the story going I need to go talk to Yuffie. This usually leads to me trying to get back into the game a couple of times then putting it back on the shelf for 6 months only to pick it up and start over from the beginning. I have no idea how many countless times I've saved the Runaway Five, but the number of times I've beat Giygas is a big fat zero. It's a vicious cycle.

These guys really need to take a business class

Looking at the list of RPGs that I actually have beat I noticed a connection that I hadnít really thought of. They are all action (real time) RPGs instead of turn based. Turn based combat just gets stale after a while. I really don't care that now I have a Ice 3 spell instead of an Ice 2. It would be nice if you had the option of simplifying the controls a bit so that the X button used your physical attack and the Y button brought up your magic list instead of scrolling through menu after menu. After fighting the similar enemies for an hour I get muscle memory on how to select each action for the characters. I donít even have to look at the screen during the fights. I donít want that. I might as well just use a macro to input the commands. Anything to help the battles go by a little more quickly would be welcome. Active time battles and other gimmicks to let me select attack a quarter second earlier doesn't really get me all worked up down there either. Features like the auto-win in Earthbound really help the game seem less monotonous.


So different and exciting!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Invisible enemies or Random Encounters (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Random_encounter),also drive me nuts. If I want to try and avoid enemies as I escape back to an Inn to rest up I don't see why I shouldn't have that option. Also, itís nice to know what kind of enemy you are going to fight before the actual fight begins. When Iím out of mana donít want to fight someone who takes little to no damage from physical attacks. Chrono Trigger is a great example of how this can be implemented without detracting from the challenge of the game.

This is all I need

Difficulty level vs. actual skill. Anyone can beat 99% of RPGs. My mom, your grandma, bubbles the monkey. Just like the putting said monkey in front of a keyboard will eventually lead to Shakespeare (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infinite_monkey_theorem), all it takes to beat a RPG is time. There is a certain learning curve and level of skill in most RPGs but there is always a way to circumvent it. If you donít want to learn the intricacies of battles and the weaknesses of certain enemies just spend 5 hours grinding and youíre all set for a while. FPSs, shooters, platformers, action games all require you to learn the game and improve/adapt. Mario wouldnít be as much fun if by practicing jumping up and down for an afternoon meant that you never fell into a fit for the rest of that world.

Yep, he beat FF IV

Save points. This is not the problem that it once was with some of the older games but I donít like being forced to reach an arbitrary save point before Iím allowed to quit playing. As Iíve gotten older I donít have the marathon sessions that I used to. Most of the time I have a window between 30-60 minutes in which to game. In some RPGs this is barely enough time to get out of the town you saved in and on your way to the next objective. I donít need to be able to save after every battle but poorly spaced saved points can really detract from a gaming experience.

For only 100 gold

I could keep going on but even thinking about RPGs makes me tired. Let me know if any of you feel the same way.
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About TonySwankone of us since 11:59 PM on 07.02.2008

I play a little bit of everything. Some retro, some sports, some shooters. RPGs are something I rarely play anymore just because of the huge time commitment. However I do find time to replay Chrono Trigger and Earthbound every year or so.

Currently Playing:

Mass Effect
NCAA Football 2009
Call of Duty WOW
Left 4 Dead

Aside from gaming on big on building stuff, photography, playing guitar, and brewing beer. Also, as of late I've been into the yoga, which has kicked my ass.
Xbox LIVE:Tony Swank
Mii code:Tony Swank


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