Unleashing What’s Inside: RPGs

The following post is a stream-of-consciousness writing exercise. Starting my train of thought with a prompt, I will write continuously the first thing that comes to my mind. If I get stuck and can’t think of what to write, I repeat the same word over and over until I have somewhere to go. The goal is to write my raw, gut feelings and ideas onto the page with no limitations or reservations. This post is edited only for spelling (for the sake of legibility – people are still reading this, after all). Expect total chaos.

RPGs. Role Playing Games. My favorite genre. Although genre is a weird term. I read this article once about how it’s silly to have a genre called RPG when basically every video game is a role playing game – a game where you play the role of someone else. It’s such broad terminology but somehow it has come to be used as the catch-all term for games that utilize in-depth numerical mechanics that the player can interact with. I mean, isn’t that really the only difference between CoD and an RPG? The numbers that make CoD work aren’t VISIBLE to the player, the player doesn’t have to THINK about the numbers, but they’re still there. Heck, if you look at it that way, Final Fantasy isn’t an RPG because those numbers never mean anything anyway. How does my 13 attack power translate to 157 damage? How does 244 attack power deal 9999 damage? The math that drives those battle calculations is seriously crazy stuff. Like trigonometry or something.

Something something I don’t get is is is is how RPGs have fallen so out of favor. At least, the style that used to be popular when I was a kid. You know, turned-based active battle bar RPGs. I mean, I guess turn based was also somewhat tedious but the technology didn’t allow for anything else so now it’s obsolete, but for those of us who grew up on that stuff I feel like it might be missed a little. I mean it’s hard to find a serious that does turn based. Or I should say does turn based well, because I’ve played a lot of RPGs by a certain corporation ATLUS that really just drop the ball when it comes to fun. Like they are the worst combination of the ridiculously difficult mechanics of the Final Fantasy games and then some RPG that just gives you way too many options at the start so you have no idea what half of the options even DO.

Do do do do you think that the genre may eventually fall out of favor completely? Probably not because there’s still a niche audience out there and I feel like those of us who play tabletops are probably always gonna love RPGs a little bit and will want to keep playing them. Plus if the stereotypical turn-based JRPG goes out of style there will still be games like Fire Emblem, the strategy RPGs that will live on because turn-based works for them and works for a style of game that plays like chess. Turn based works great for a game where you actually have to think about what you’re doing, where it’s not as straightforward as clicking attack over and over again.

You know what really just confuses me? Sometimes different websites will consider something like Zelda to be an RPG. I guess it is because you know, the whole thing where every video game is technically an RPG, but I’ve always thought of Zelda as something of its own thing. Like, no other game really does what Zelda does like Zelda does it, which is part of what makes it amazing and why I love it. Breath of the Wild is on the way and golly am I excited to pick it up for the Switch, which looks totally awesome by the way. I wonder what kind of RPGs might end up coming out for the Switch. Like, Dragon Quest XI was announced for the “NX” back in the day, so maybe we have that to l0ok forward to. I’m hyped for Dragon Quest XI because I love that series and actually getting to play a new game instead of remakes of ones I’ve played before will be pretty awesome.

Awesome how the map is supposed to work in that game – it looks like the graphics of the older Dragon Quest games on the DS, and the top screen looks like the graphics in the 3DS remakes, so you can switch between those looks at some point, and that’s really cool because it makes the map interesting and it also is a throwback for people nostalgic about games like Hand of the Heavenly Bride. Which I love, so I’m excited about that.

Western RPGs are really hit or miss with me. Like, I don’t really care for Fallout. It just doesn’t work for me. And with Skyrim I like it at first but I’m never really driven to do every single thing that they ask of me. The game would go on forever if I helped ¬†every tiny person.

[at this point in the exercise I fell asleep]

The game would go on forever if I helped every tiny person. Not that there are dwarves in Skyrim, because they’re all dead. I always thought that was a really interesting choice in the Elder Scrolls. Like, here you have this very Tolkien-esque fantasy world with this deep lore and plenty of classic races and BAM, dwarves don’t exist anymore because they’re dead. It’s definitely an interesting choice. And I like how they are technological dwarves, like, they built all these fantastical machines and they’re so powerful and advanced. I love that trope in fantasy.

I’ve been super into a tabletop RPG lately called Numenera. I’ve been wanting to play it for a long time and recently I got the opportunity to read the rules in more detail and the worldbuilding and inspiration is just so detailed. I love that the whole game basically runs on that quote “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” It’s such a cool inspiration and I think it could create a really dynamic and interesting game world. But I’m also worried that if I ever tried to run that game it wouldn’t go all that well because Numenera is so narrative-and-exploration driven as opposed to being driven by combat and I just don’t know that I would be able to make that enticing for my players.

Players players players right now I’m thinking about the Wiggles because as I’m typing this my grandmother and my son are in the room and she’s putting the Wiggles on for him and it’s the Christmas Wiggles except just kidding it isn’t the Christmas Wiggles it’s the dancing one, which I like because the songs are catchy.

But I’m supposed to be talking about roleplaying games and luckily the fact that I am aware of that is causing my thought process to naturally gravitate in that direction so I can get back on topic while also sticking with the whole “organic thought process thing.” Plus they turned off the Wiggles because my son went upstairs so that helps a lot.

A lot of RPGs RPGs RPGs man typing that acronym is not fun because I don’t use caps lock because it messes up the window like it makes the window in the background so I have to click back into it it’s really weird and I don’t like it so I always press shift. Shift shift shift is a cool name for an RPG character like a post-apocalyptic type thing, like they just call the guy “Shift” and other people have names like “Scratch” and “Tank.”

Tank makes me think of different roles in RPGs, and that’s something I really miss about the classic turn-based system with the three-or-four character party is you really have to choose your characters carefully because they have roles to fill. You don’t want three mages because then you’ll all die you need someone strong enough to take blows for the party. I thought that worked particularly well in Bravely Default because classes in that game actually had special abilities that really protected the other party members so running someone with two shields and with purely defensive skills was actually viable, plus there was this attack that did damage based on the character’s Defense stat so you could still use that to fight with the tank character if you really wanted to.

Alright, I think that’s enough.

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