Why the media destroyed RPG's and will soon destroy all videogames

by pincode

Everytime I look over the review section of a magazine or an internet site, I see one common link: very rarely are games marked with low scores. On a scale of 1-5, Almost never is there a score below three. 1-10? I dare you to find something under seven.

I doubt anyone would dispute that the reason Final Fantasy VII was so succesful was because of the heavy media coverage. If it wasn't on the cover of every magazine, if the commercial wasn't playing at least once an hour on every majour station, if there weren't countless interviews and articles, the word wouldn't have gotten out. To me, this is negative because it seemed as if the media was deciding for the public whether or not the game was good. Before the American version was released they were hailing it as the best thing since sliced bread. To someone who was already excited about the impeding release, this was just an amplification and I think it served as a form of brainwash. This kind of overexposure is what created the anti-FFVII backlash and definately what created the pro-FFVII hysteria.

As a result of the way FFVII's release was handled, you can't read a strategy-RPG preview/review without hearing about Final Fantasy Tactics, or a standard RPG article without hearing about Square. Games are no longer being judged on their own merrits; they are being judged by how pretty they look, how much money was spent on them, and their pedigree. Very rarely do you see an RPG that doesn't have the Square name on it sell well. The exceptions, Zelda ... well, that's the only one that comes to mind. But that exception only exists because it has been around for so long and isn't completely an RPG.

High scores for the majority of games in magazines only benefits the magazines. Hype only benefits the magazines. They help build up franchises like Final Fantasy so they can be sure that in the future a picture of it on the cover will sell their new issue. They put the name in bold lettering so you'll pay the five bucks and look inside. Even the so called independent magazines like PSM, who claim not to be burdened by a sponsor, are guilty. They gave Final Fantasy VIII a 4/5, called it a bigger and better Final Fantasy VII, and didn't hesitate to call each and every character in it a legend. This is wrong because the general public generally beleives it. What reason do they have not to? If Final Fantasy VII wasn't so extensively hyped for two years straight before it was released in America, RPG's would still have been thought of as a geeks genre and wouldn't have gone mainstream. But because Square threw all their money into creating this big machine of hype, I have to deal with some pompous ass punk kid who thinks he knows what RPG's are about from playing one game.

For the first time, vidoegames made more money than movies did. That's huge because that means we're a multi-billion dollar industry, and everyone is taking notice. Time magazine, Entertainment Weekly, all of the majour news media is starting to jump on the bandwagon. If you think you enjoy your little niche; you play your Metal Gear Solid, your Brave Fencer Musashiden, your solid games with good gameplay and graphics and a great all around package, don't think it will stay that way should things continue on the path they are currently headed. Videogames as a whole will become a fad. One game will symbolize that fad and twenty other clones of it will come out. Budgets will inflate. Before you know it, the industry will become nothing more than a factory churning out the next cash cow. Look for the equivalent to big-budged action movies with little substance but high shock value. Expect to have to wait years to find truly awesome games, only to not be able to get your hands on them once their released because wide support for them is so small they aren't carried in many places. Then see how I feel about RPG's.

My opinion won't be shared simply because those who will read this are the ones who have already jumped on the wagon that destroyed quality RPG's in the first place. That Emporer M sites the fact that on this site people voted FFVII one of the worst games is only testament to the fact that the sheep who jumped on the bandwagon in '98 have already moved on from the RPG fad. Please print this I make a valid point. Thanks.

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