Monday, 11 August 2014

Good game for an argument

Played this excellent little free game 

Don't worry It's a JRPG,
by the next story event he'll probably be fine. 
A charming, 4th wall breaking, short JRPG which parodies and ultimately rants against, the genre of JRPGs.

First off I highly recommend you play it through.
It's good fun, and is about as lengthy as a short TV programme.
I'd also like to counter some of the points raised in-game by mouthy, side-side-kick Tam McGleish (who like Socrates, as well as being a player in the story, occasionally serves as the Author's mouthpiece directly).

Development for development's sake is pointless and Tam never actually offers an argument as to why JRPG's need to move on.
Sure they "can/could" move on, but must they move on in order to not be "shit"?

Chess doesn't move on, it only moves on aesthetically; Simpsons Chess, fancy see-through glass Chess etc. They're not bringing out new pieces; Archers, Assassins, or changing the fundamental rules.
Does Chess need to move on, to not be shit?
Picture highlighting both chess and anime,
pity he wasn't also in mid triple jump ...

Does Anime? or the triple jump?

You can't claim "X has stayed the same for the past X years, and is therefore bad"

A JRPG is a JRPG and as a genre it has found an identity and equilibrium (just like many other games, sports, genres as well as forms of literature), that doesn't means they are all "now shit".  

A fugue is a fugue, you can write a rock song if you wish, or just do an "out there" no rules composition if you wish.
...but you can also write a fugue.

The game is of course an ideally built straw man (self referenced intentionally I hope, but if not, then accidentally at least by the very talented creator) but even still this game was fun and good, as was A Bard's Tale (Hack 'n' Slash) and the Disgaea series (Tactics);
two RPGs that use the same forth-wall-breaking, self-depreciating humour this does.

The parts I truly disagreed with

A: I believe the lecture was self righteous and wrong (for the reasons outline above).

B: while Mass Effect is a great Role Playing action game, it is not a JRPG.

"If this were Grand Theft Auto V
I could just run him over"
If this was a 'Side Scrolling Beat-em-up' parodying Side Scrolling Beat-em-ups, an in-game smartarse asking "why can't you just throw the knife diagonally" would be funny.
But if Blaze and Axel then side scrolled into a 16 bit interpretation of Grand Theft Auto V to listen to a rant about their game genre, the suggestion becomes "Kill Side Scrolling for 3rd Person "
Tam's main point seemed to be "Kill JRPG, for action RPG".

He continues on to described the practice of leaving the genre in it's form, but adding newer and finer artistic development as they become available (e.g., better graphics, and finer gameplay) as "turd polishing".

In which case one of my favorite games of recent times was the very well polished turd 'Scot Pilgrim vs The World'; an unashamedly 2D Side-scroller with elements of RPG character development. But it doesn't end there. In music, literature and art among my favorite works ever would be, by Tam's definition, polished turds. 

P.S. the sleep spell is depressingly accurate; you get it for about one fight and it doesn't work. Why do they put sleep spells in turn based combat if they miss?
Or worse, only hit monsters once your level difference means you can one-hit-kill them anyways?

Either leave the spell out and save the poor artist from animating something that'll never be a tactically sound use of a turn, or, have it cost "a billion MP" but definitely work when you use it.
Perhaps be creative; have it cost more depending on how difficult the monster is to 'put to sleep' (magic def, size, level, boss status). The spell then fails only if that difficultly exceeds your max available MP.
I'm not spending my turn (and MP/PP/AP/ZP/$P) on a 0~25% chance the enemy won't-do-a-move-until-after-next-I-hit-it-and-providing-it-survives-that-hit, not when I could spend the same amount of turns (one) and MP (a small amount) on killing it with fire.

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