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Serial Killers

Josh Martz

After countless hours of researching old plot material for Xenosaga, I felt that I was finally ready to tackle Xenosaga III when it hit store shelves. Knowing that a database existed in the game would have saved me plenty of time, but that's neither here nor there. Anyway, I've scoured the internet to find as much information as possible on the previous games, including all of the little things that I may have missed when I played through. But, while I like doing research, there was just a nagging voice in the back of my head that kept pestering me.

It said, "Don't forget to do the dishes!" But I pushed those thoughts out of my mind, and concentrated on the other, more pressing question: "Why am I doing this?"

It seemed simple enough a question. I've got two perfectly good games sitting next to me that I've completed, and now I'm sitting here looking up information that I already knew at some point. Needless to say, I was rather annoyed at this discovery.

Serialized gaming is not necessarily a new thing. .Hack did it across four games a few years ago. However, back when sequels were introduced into gaming, if they followed the same storyline, each game at least felt like a complete whole. For instance, each Monkey Island game ended with closure, and then the next game opened up a whole new story for the characters.

But now we have these games that tempt us with incredibly deep storylines, ones so massive that it requires several chapters to be told over the course of hundreds of hours of gameplay. Am I questioning this? No, because I love storylines. Anything that makes me think or stare in awe at the imaginative plot twist blossoming in front of me makes me giddy like a prepubescent schoolgirl. While I knew that upon my purchase of Xenosaga I, my mind would love the story, I also knew that there would be quite some time between it and the release of the next chapter. This is rather a problem.

Once I finish a game, I love to be able to think, "I understand everything." This is why I played Xenogears over and over until I found every tidbit of information that intrigued me. I don't want to be left guessing, without any way to divulge the information I'm missing. The waiting around, the furious search for closure; they're all symptoms of my lust for knowledge. I'll play the games over and over, bordering on futility, as I twitch in agony at the lack of any progress. Then, it will all be gone once the next game hits, and the cycle will begin anew.

Why do they make us wait? I understand there's development time, but why not release them all a little closer to each other? Us RPGamers are a different breed, where many of us focus on plot development over, say, the desire to fire a rocket launcher at people hundreds of yards away while screaming "Noob." It had been so long since I had played the previous games, that I had forgotten all of the little things. So, rather than play through the games again (there has to be a limit...), I decided to roam the internet in search of the missing links. Call it devotion, call it insane...I call it redundant.

So have a heart, game designers. If you realize that your game is going to be broken up into parts, keep their releases near to each other. We need our fix.

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