by Mitch Hendrix, Jr.

There has been much debate recently about the difference between the older console RPGs, and the newer, more cinematic incantations. The old school games had hundreds of extra items, characters, side quests, story lines and such that were all completely unnecessary to complete in order to beat the game. This made for a gaming experience that could take up to twice as long for the die hard gamer who wanted to do everything, yet allowed for a casual gamer to get through the game in a reasonable amount of time. The newer, more cinematic RPGs are just that: cinematic RPGs. A great deal of the game is spent watching cinematics, reading text, and finding out more about the world and characters of the game. It has almost become like playing a movie. You watch for the most part, and every so often you play a little. Obviously this is an over generalization, but it's to make a point. What exactly make the old school RPGs better?

Obviously, the idea that the old school games are better is 100% opinion. For those of you who enjoyed games such as Final Fantasy 1-6, Chrono Trigger and the Dragon Warrior/Quest series, what did you like so much about them? The first thing that pops into my mind is the overabundance of things to do in Final Fantasy 3 (6 Japan) once you got to the world of ruin. With the exception of getting the first couple of characters back, you didn't have to do any of the side quests available, or in any specific order for that matter. Though you might have had a great deal of trouble, you could go on to the final boss's dungeon as soon as you had 3 people. (You had to create 3 parties, or you couldn't get through the dungeon.) The whole idea is that most of what was available to you was optional. It gave you a sense of control over the game.

So what I would like, is if I could get as much response as possible. I want to know what everyone loved about the old school RPGs. Give me general ideas of what you thought worked good, and specific instances as well. (example: "I liked all the extra sub quests," or, "I liked how in FF3 US, you could get some story lines only by going to the right place with the right person.") So whether you're referring to an older game, or a new one with some nostalgic features, let me know what you liked so much about those games. Please try to keep replies short and to the point, as I'd hate to have to wade through hundreds or thousands of 15 page letters. If you want to expand on one point, fine. Just try not to ramble.

Please send all replies to

    Mitch Hendrix, Jr.

P.S.- For those of you who are wondering. Yes, I am doing this for game development purposes.

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