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Andrew - April '13- 12:00 Central Standard Time
The sheer number of cliches in RPGs makes me want to make a completely original game, unique in premise, brilliant in design, and gorgeous in imagery.
...but then no one would buy it...
|Doom is upon us, but you can still win big at the Evil Empireís Casino!|
My most despised rpg cliche:
There is a mini-game that is not even mildly entertaining in the least bit, but you absolutely mustcomplete it to make progress in the game. There is a meteor heading toward the planet. There is a war that threatens the lives of hundreds of one-lined NPCs. There is an evil empire trying to crush your rebel force. The evil force that has been sealed away for centuries is returning. In fact, the entire world is burning to the ground at your very feet. BUT SCREW ALL THAT! I have to collect all the legendary cards, chase sheep-pigs into fences, play red-light green-light with sentient cacti, waste all my money in casinos (another painful cliche), play simon says, collect allthe moonfish, and feed a moogle just the right amount of nuts. Of course, this brings the whole "the world is ending and you're collecting things" cliche into light, but that's not my point. My point is that the world is ending and you're not only collecting things, you're doing it through the use of painfully stupid and poorly thought out GAMES! How dare they make us play games in our... games...
Uh... never mind.
That rant just reminded me of another bad cliche.
There is an evil empire. They're evil and stuff. They're bent on world domination and are trying to usesome ancient power that is far too dangerous for their puny little brains to control. You, naturally, are part of a rebel faction trying to put an end to the empire. Usually 2 things will happen.
1) They will get ahold of this power. It will then be (gasp) too powerful and will end up destroying them.
2) The second-in command absolutely must overthrow the emperor. It is against the RPG moral standard for the evil emperor to the be the ultimate badguy. Even if they are the last boss, there is still some other villain that absolves them of blame.
Sometimes the second case will cause the first. The right hand man takes over and uses the power to kill the emperor or ends up destroying himself with it. Some games that come to mind are FF4, FF6, Secret of Mana, Skies of Arcadia, and Suikoden.
Need games to play?
- very fun space shooter. I wouldn't mind rpg mini-games if they were all shooters. Anyone rememberBlades of Steel?
www.newgrounds.com usually has some fun flash games.
And if you're looking for webcomics, www.choppingblock.org is the greatest thing ever, andwww.nothingnice.com is great too.
Tim the Zuhalter
1. Mini-games are fine for some parts of a game, but yeah, near the end, theyíre just inappropriate. I think this happens a lot more with game creatorís who donít take their games seriously, and fail to realize how horrible detractive the mini-game is to their workís focus. Take Xenosaga, that Mr. Driller game was a complete oversight on the part of the design team in terms of a having a damn point.
2. Ironically though, itís pretty true in real life. Look at the atom bomb. It was suppose to be a weapon of peace, to scare humanity into never having another war again, and now weíre scrambling all over the world to prevent the plans from falling into the hands of rich madmen. The best intentions of peace and war seem to always go awry...
3. Thanks for the links!
|Sorry, the loot is in another castle.|
Here's another couple of cliches that occured to me while playing Chrono Trigger. Yes, I can just keep churning this out
1) The party pays a visit to the local king. Apparently, the king's got himself a nice big weapon that he's not using, and you want it. But he's not just going to GIVE it to you, oh, dear me no. First, you've gotta prove your worthiness by wandering through a dungeon and returning safely to receive a sword that ironically would have helped a lot in said subquest. Of course the party would never dream of just knocking the king down Garland-style and taking his stuff, cos they're all law-abiding citizens. Even the thief.
2) Also, if a character finds a locked chest, you better believe that there's no way you're getting in there without the key. No, not even if you're level 99, able to nuke a small village with a fart, and you have a sword that cut a Grand Dragon in half AND dice lettuce while you wait. Instead, you've gotta thump your way through waves of monsters to get the key, trek all the way back to the chest, and for what? a potion. Great. that's just great.
Iíve never understood why thieves who can rob an enemy blind in the middle of a battle couldnít steal from normal people or at least use lock picks with some sort of competence. Another really stupid developer oversight, especially in Final Fantasy games. Stealing is a really odd skill to include too, since itís so specialized, and well, evil. Hmm...thatíd make a good RPG too, about a thief who was actually good at what at his/her profession...
|But...my mom thinks natures cool!|
Nature isn't that bad... I mean, sure, sometimes conditions can be rough. And no, I am not just somebody who just WISHES to love nature. After climbing mountains at Big Bend (In east Texas), hardly being able to breathe while climbing seemingly endless switch-backs, finally reaching a place to sleep, feeling as if my legs were going to collapse, and having a luxurious dinner consisting of a trail mix bar, I can still say that I love nature. Even after walking twenty-plus miles of it at one time.
Now don't get me wrong either, I am not a huge fan of bugs and I am not somebody who gets up at 5 in the morning, every morning, to run 3 miles and soak up the atmosphere. But I really think that nature can be a calm, serene place. Sometimes, during winter, (when bugs don't come out as much! Wahoo!) it's nice to put on some layers and just walk through my local wilderness, which, I might add, I feel lucky to have. Besides, why not take out some of the bugs and bad weathr and put nature in video games? I mean, many unpleasant sides of OTHER game aspects are taken out as well.
The State Park Big Bend? Brave of you. Well, thatís a different kind of nature. Here in the Midwest, nature is tall grass and deer ticks. And hey Ewcoolio, if you think a druid would make such a good main character, why not make the game and prove it?
|Oh yeah, like I havenít heard this one a million times.|
Alright, if we want to talk about RPG cliches, let's go for the big ones:
You are always out to save the world & defeat the evil bad guy.
So how about a game in which you get to play as the bad guys.
This could be really interesting in an online game. Player killing would be encouraged. For the goody two shoes people out there, some of the players could be good as well, but the point would be to conquer, plunder, loot, etc. Just like regular games, only without the illusion of morality. To balance things out, it could be made so that higher level evil guys could be so far above "the little people" that no one could PK anyone more than a few levels lower than them.
Or just in a console type RPG, instead of pesky random monsters, you get to wipe out the human populace. The monsters work for you. It could even be really dramatic, in that the main character could start out as a hero, but have some fall from grace that turns them into an evil, murderous, vengeful bastard.
And as far as the sword thing goes, all the great fairy tale heroes we learn as children feature heroes who wield swords-- Luke Skywalker, King Arthur, Beowulf, all the old samurais in Japan (Musashi, Jubei, Samanosuke Akechi), etc. It's just typical human behavior to copy that which we enjoy. But I agree that it would be cool to have more heroes who wield some other type of weapon-- something which I really like about the Suikoden series. RPG makers should take a look at the Dynasty Warriors games-- how about a hero w/a pole arm? Imagine a guy dual-wielding halberds as an RPG hero-- now that's someone we could all take seriously.
Just some thoughts for everyone to mull over...
1. Yeah, that sounds great! Iíd LOVE to murder the innocent, splatter the blood of children under my iron toed heel, and ruin the lives of thousands of people in my games!
Seriously, itís a good idea in theory, but come on. Unless the game was extremely comedic, itíd be sickening to play.
2. I love books with real bad-ass heroes, and I wish more games could do the same. Sadly, too many gamers arenít bad-asses, and developers think they should connect with their major demographic. Sissies.
Swords are the choice weapon of RPG main character dudes for two reasons:lack of orginality and, let's face it, swords 9/10 times are a helluva lot cooler than anything else you could pump out. It's hard to take evilslaying hero seriously who uses a hammer, umbrella, or a big stick and/or rod. Swords come in a variety of designs, therefore looking ubercool, and give the hero "personality" and "style." One of the key defining traits of Cloud was his huge Buster Sword!! All other weapons are either too restrictive or just not cool enough, at least in the masses eyes. Even so, I think it would be really cool to have a main character with a scythe. One of the main reasons Magus was so cool was his scythe. Scythe's are bladed, like swords, but can look cool and/or menacing enough to be considered almost as wicked as swords. Too bad only bad guys seem to use them...:(
There's an obvious reason why swords and guns do about the same damage. The fact is that guns in real life do a helluva lot more damage than a sword, but have this be a constant in all games would be a bad move for all of the sword lovers (or any kind of melee weapon lover) in the world if they could be dusted all the time by some guy with a flintlock. I guess it would help to imagine everyone who uses a gun has very poor aim and always hits the enemy in the leg or something, missing vital organs, viens, and bones everytime.
The biggest RPG cliche (maybe more of a nuiance) is that.... they never change clothes!! For entire games, most characters never even go into a bathroom, let alone get new clothes or at least wash their old ones. A cool feature would be a costume change thing, sort of like FFX - 2, but not necissarily integral to the game's battle system, but just a way to liven things up. Hell, even a color change would be better than nothing.
Quick question: Are you looking foward to FFXI? If so, what class are you going to be should you pick it up? I'm thinking that a Red Mage wouldn't be a bad idea, what with the versatility and all. :)
~Demonslayer McNugget (don't ask)
P.S. The best airship was the Highwind. That's all.
I wonít point out the obvious and stupid flaws in your embarrassing first two paragraphs, and just let the readers enjoy laughing at them along with me.
Yeah, costume change. Developers either blame it on space limitations, or that the playerís donít want it, but Iím going to argue for laziness again. Poor Tifa...her nipples are black from frostbite.
|Letís end this weekend with a little razzle dazzle!|
Hmm, RPG Cliches, eh? There's a few that really stand out the most, most of them are about game play itself, not necessarily about storylines, as those all seem pretty obvious:
1) Someone talked about how more expensive weapons are always more powerful, but I think it's funny how you manage to always progress in just the right manner that the next powerful armor is always available. Obviously this is more for gameplay and can't really be changed, unless you had to make all your own armor or something, but it's still funny to know the first thing I have to do when I get to a town is get the next level of weapons/armor.
2) Some mode of world wide transportation. By this I mean you'll get a ship, airship, or some mythical creature to fly/said you around the world. Whatever happened to Warp?
3) The world is really SMURFING small. The fact that you circile the globe in about 30 seconds is always amusing.
4) You can only carry 99 of a specific item. So for some reason, you can't throw away a Potion to have room for one more Hi-Potion. Go figure.
5) You don't really see this one anymore, but I remember from older games when you'd SEE a character in battle they would kick ass and have cool moves/super strength, yet when you get them they generally suck and are lacking said cool moves. (What happened to Titan Rydia?)
6) I could be thinking about this one wrong, but it seems like the last dungeon is always some sort of flying fortress or something. I dunno, basically if the it's airborne, you know you're in trouble.
7) RPG characters do not need to eat/use the bathroom/need climate appropriate clothing. Anyone else thought the whole Tifa in the snowland bit was a little odd?
8) The main villian will never actually try to wipe you out himself until the very end, because he's FAR too busy and there's NO CHANCE you'll actually make it to him, but if he does make an appearance, it's only to knock out your party, not actually kill you.
9) RPG worlds are very monotonous, and when you come to a town most people will be doing the same thing and say the same things.
10) If you see a religious order, they'll end up being evil, because God makes a cool bad guy.
11) RPG characters buy their accessories from the same place Felix the Cat got his magic bag, as they appear to be basically limitless, or at least hold far more than one person could carry - 99 steel armors, helmets, and swords? No problem! (Er, this is kind of related to #4, but has to do more with weight)
12) Phoenix Downs won't work to revive someone who dies OUT of a combat screen, like in a certain scene in FF5, yet if a character dies from being hit with Guns, Swords, and, oh, a Nuke spell, they can easily be brought back and at full health!
13) Most RPGs eventually have a 'cute' character for some reason.
14) Armor is apparently invisible, as your weapon may change (more in recent games) but no matter what armor you have on you'll always be in your 'comfort clothes'. (I've always thought it'd be cool if an RPG did have characters outfit change with armor, and each character had unique armor, but that might just be me...)
15) If someone says someone hasn't 'been themselves lately', be ready to fight them at some point or another as they are most likley a monster.
16) Don't worry about having a hard time in a dungeon, because there's always the 'save spot', usually right before the boss, where you can use a tent or cabin that monsters just don't seem to want to bother you at.
17) Apparently towns that have electricity and such get their power from some sort of 'generator' in their locked up basements, as there are never any power lines. Same could be applied to vehicles yet no gas stations, or the fact that you never need to refill your own airships.
18) Your party members can also fit into the main characters item sack, and pop out at convinent story points, as you'll never see them actually walk around!
19) Your characters can possess God-like abilities and spells, yet if they run across any type of barrier/locked door, they're screwed.
20) Cliffs that look about 2 feet tall are actually about 20 feet tall, and your character has no way of climbing it, despite appearances.
21) Even though most magic users will be in school studying magic, you don't actually NEED to study, just go kill monsters and eventually you'll learn spells automatically! Too bad this doesn't work in real life...
22) Any character you actually invite in your party will be trained in some sort of lethal combat, whether it be sword, gun, bow&arrow, spear, or... bubbles! (ala Maria from Xenogears)
23) If you fight a character who uses a gun earlier in the game, and go and fight said enemy again, being shot won't hurt as much! Likewise, if you get stronger, your guns will hurt the enemy even more!
24) Any character who has a carefree attitude actually has huge traumatic scars locked deep in their subconscious.
25) Your character is able to turn into a giant when on the world map, as he will grow larger than any town on the map, yet shrink to normal size when he enters said city.
26) The sun is very sporatic, and can stay out for weeks before it sets, yet the next day it may set in under an hour.
27) Even though characters are in your party, you'll hardly ever be able to actually speak with them whenever you want.
28) Like you said, you can be a total shitbag to the female characters when you have the option to select a response, but they'll always end up wanting you in the end.
29) Related, female characters are always shorter than males (unless the male is a child).
And my all time FAVORITE!
30) If you are cleared to enter a gate that you were previously restriced from by a king or higher official, you may do so right after this person tells you, even though it doesn't appear anyone actually notified the person guarding the gate. Likewise, if a bridge is destroyed, it is miraculously rebuilt RIGHT after the boss is dead and you talk to the king/mayor/whoever.
Okay, I think that's enough!
Oh, and I was thinking about this last week when you were talking about topics for your column; you should really do a 'Worst RPG rage' topic, I'd love to see how many people freaked out and cried when they couldn't beat Ruby Weapon, and ended up breaking a controller or something. I sadly have one that I'd share from back in the day.
Take it easy,
RC, this letter means you either-
A. You kick ass so hard that it hurts MY butt.
B. You havenít seen natural light in the last year.
Frankly, it doesnít matter either way. Great letter!