RPG stands for role playing game. Show me a Squaresoft game that lets the player control the role and course of the character, and that also came out in the States. The closest I can see is Chrono Trigger, and as good as that game is, you're still confined to an extremely narrow role and potential paths of gameplay. And that game came out in 1995. What about the rest of the decade?
Didn't Chrono Cross have multiple, albeit limited, paths? Front Mission 3 does the same thing, and Saga Frontier II allowed players to pick which story segments to follow, and, on occasion, which characters to kill off. And though it follows a lone storyline, Final Fantasy X-2 has a much greater selection of tangents and sub-quests than previous FF titles.
Not to go off on a diatribe here, but "Role Playing Game" is, in its ostensible meaning, a misleading term. It suggests a game carried out entirely through a player assuming a character's role. The concepts of choice and freedom of character development are never implied. In fact, one could just as easily call improvisational acting, like that practiced in competitions for gifted kids, a role-playing game.
Since their start as tabletop exercises, RPGs have been set apart from improv and such not by their diversity of choices, but by their mechanics: the use of statistics to gauge character growth and customization, and the reliance on chance (be it a physical dice roll or computer-generated outcome) to determine a result. These still serve to identify RPGs today, especially among video games.
We simply use the phrase "RPG" because it's more flattering and easier to remember than Statistical Role-Playing Game In Which Event Outcomes are Decided by Random Number Generation. With decades of adherence to the term and numerous games offering new takes on the genre, it's probably best to reckon something an RPG so long as it includes the very things that distinguished RPGs from other forms of "role-playing" in the first place.
Of course, the attempt to rigidly define RPGs is, to borrow a Final Fantasy quote, "semantic nonsense," as semantics often reveal that countless terms in the English language are vague and inadequate in their descriptions. After all, why call something a "fighting" game when you're fighting things in 80 percent of the games out there? Why call it French Toast when it should be "French's Toast"? Why call it football when it's played mostly with the hands?
(I'm eating a chocolate chip cookie as I type this mmmmmmm)
This thread has to stop with the definition of RPG, by a literal meaning of RPG, I could say monopoly is a RPG because I'm the freakin' car. That doesn't make it right, a RPG defines games like Dragon Quest/Ultima/Final Fantasy/Arc The Lad/Sa Ga/etc..., not Rad Racer, Mega Man, Castlevania, not even Zelda (Adventure Game) or Final Fantasy Tactics (Strategy Game). We all know this so the arguement is pointless (sorry, but it is)
As for the graphics, I know that with the first Final Fantasy game I had to use my imagination because it wasn't as detailed as today's games (obviously because of the time it was released), but I can't really complain about the high-end graphics of the newer FF games because they help immerse you into the story. But, like someone said, the games lack exploration, they're too direct in letting you know what to do next. Newer FF games are more of an interactive movie than the previous chapters, which makes the series not true to it's roots. That's a good or bad thing depending on the player, for me it's a terrible thing. I like not following a set path and really going through hard dungeons, like FF4's dungeons, I died all the time and I'm never in low character levels (I mean the Japanese FF4, not the USA FF2).
One last thing, someone mentioned that the GameBoy USA Final Fantasies aren't really Final Fantasy games, but that's only true for Final Fantasy Legend I + II+ III. Final Fantasy Adventure is called Final Fantasy Gaiden: Seiken Densetsu in Japan, so it is a real Final Fantasy Game (but it's not a RPG). Not everyone knows that.
Joined: 08 Aug 2004 Posts: 3 Location: Vancouver, BC
Posted: Sun Aug 15, 2004 7:39 am Post subject:
Hah. I was hoping someone would contribute to this topic and open it up again. Forgive me if some of the following statements are very simplistic, I don't think anyone here is stupid, I just need to say everything to line this up properly.
I have an opinion on RPGs, and it goes something like this.
There seem to be two sides to the RPG definition argument in this topic, the open-ended gameplay vs. the playing of a defined role.
I'm almost positive the basis that the former came from Dungeons & Dragons, where you could be and act out anything, at least as far as the imagination of your dungeon master could.
The latter is the utilization of the limitation of a semi-interactive medium and the fleshing out of a programmer's idealogy (and also a capitalization on general passivity)
Video games are no different than any other media. When there is a hole in the plot of a book or a movie, you get rudely removed from the realm of imagination and go WTF. Same with music when it doesn't tickle your fancy. The mechanics of the media become painfully obvious, (you can tell the blood is fake, that could never happen, all you can hear is the damn trumpet) But on the reverse, a great movie, book, song, or videogame can take you away. We want our experience to be as seamless as possible.
The next logical step to videogames would be virtual-reality, where the possibilities of tailoring an experience of your creation are unlimited. Roleplaying games already are a virtual reality. (of course there all games can be argued to be RPGs, but I consider an RPG by the amount of interactivity between characters and by the variety and depth of emotion brought forth in the gameplayer) Besides the character and his/her world, If you look at your setup for your game system or PC there is a monitor or TV for your sight, mouse or gamepad for sensation, keyboard or voice peripheral for speech, and of course audio for sound. All this to streamline your experience with a maximum amount of physical expression. At this point we are pretty deeply immersed in our videogame experience.
Personality profile is the key to perfecting the experience.
Two simple character traits found in every person is lead or follow, a close relative of fight or flight.
Lead means to make your own future, decisions, reap huge rewards (like open ended RPGs)
Follow is to live the experience, browse leisurely, enjoy the pace, not be encumbered by the big decisions, (like predefined roles)
(Don't forget that after a hard day at work being responsible of X amount of people, you may just want to kick back and pretend you're the guy in Grandia or Final Fantasy X)
And what is it that makes a good book/movie/song/game?
Your opinion on what makes a good book/movie/song/game.
Posted: Tue Aug 17, 2004 3:18 am Post subject: Wow, another FF7 debate...
It's been along time since I've seen a FF7 debate thread. The only aspect of FF7 that hasn't been talked about is how it broken Nintendo's back. It was the game the decided who would win the PSX/N64 generation. We all know how that story played out. And once again I have to defend FF8...
FF8 was a very unique console RPG. It took the conventions of most RPGs and threw them out the window. Dead bodies no longer spewed random money, you couldn't just mindlessly level up to win boss battles. You had to take some time and equip your GFs properly to succeed. Also the art style made a lot of old-school RPGers scream foul.
But then again you're also talking to someone who considers Zelda an action RPG...
Newer FF games are more of an interactive movie than the previous chapters, which makes the series not true to it's roots.
Yeah, if by roots you mean the original Final Fantasy, I've played Final Fantasies 1-10 and 2-10 were a lot like a movie, (I'll cut out 2-3, since there's still more gameplay than story) Just because they're only 16x16 pixel graphics doesn't mean it's any less of a story then the rest...
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