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Everything posted by Guardian

  1. Exactly. An insertcredit article that was basically a retroreview of the original Final Fantasy really hit on the numbers game that they've been playing over the years and made me realize that the numbers you would have deemed significant in an earlier game have become meaningless. The writer called it Hit Point Inflation. My thought is that it's almost as if they are unconsciously acknowledging that they have to make the numbers bigger and bigger each game to even pretend that the player is impressed by his characters' statistical progress. How much longer can this last?
  2. That's how I feel as well. Allowing the player to see where enemies are and giving him/her the chance to avoid them is a temporary solution to this problem, but it is only a first step.
  3. Woah--hold on! I totally agree with you! What I meant though is that most of these games we call rpgs are supposed to do this (and had better if they want to feature indirect menu-based combat), but completely fail. Most Final Fantasy games can be played for yonks, mindlessly leveled-up, and played to the end without a thought devoted to strategy. That's my complaint. They are leaning on the level progression as a substitute for any real effort on the part of the player, and what you get is utterly boring. My feeling is that this is why tactical rpgs are developing such a cult following. They do what regular rpgs are actually supposed to do.. although they usually don't manage to connect the player to the characters' growth, which is the other important thing: My other point is that very few of these games manage to (in your words, which I liked) feel like a journey of progression and development that (and this is especially where many fail) the player shares with the characters. I won't repeat what I said about this because I went on a lot earlier. I really liked what you said. Are we in agreement now? What else do you think?
  4. Well, yeah, a book can certainly pull that off, and a game can too, but god almost all games are like this with their modal breaks. They swing you from one kind of gameplay to another. That's only going to work if the content works with it. Obviously wario ware is a great example of a game whose very gameplay is based on modal breaks. That's exactly what makes it so brilliant. The player has no time to adjust to the new mode, and by the time s/he has adjusted, the game has completely changed yet again. But such disjointedness is completely inappropriate for most games. The breaks have to be an important and acknowledged part of the gameplay's structure itself; otherwise they are imposed and unwelcome.
  5. Well, I have heard time and again that it is more difficult to write a short story simply because it must be so concise. You have to have a complete story with all the elements and depth that a full novel might in a very small space. I have never played a "mini-"game that is analogous to this, although I think it is possible. I think short unconnected comic-esque games are a very good idea, but, again, it would present certain unique difficulties. Anyway, being concise is a quality that I love to see in games, and I hate when people complain about a game's brevity.
  6. I didn't mean to imply (1). I wasn't thinking of it that way. I agree with (2) and was trying to say that myself.
  7. Another thing. A huge problem with all of these "rpg"s and their random battles (yes, even Earthbound has a problem here) is that they break the mode of the gameplay. It's not a transition, but a forced and sudden break. You are jolted back and forth between wandering around in a top-down view, exploring, talking to people, whatever, and suddenly with an effect of the entire screen shattering as glass (as if some of these games actually acknowledge that they are doing this!), you are plucked up and slammed down into an alternate universe in which a very indirect combat occurs through the making of menu choices. Awful. Imagine a bipolar book that shifted violently between two extreme tones or a movie presented with filmed shots from carefully panning cranes that suddenly cuts into a shakey digital camcorder continuation of itself. Far too many games feature modal breaks of this kind, and Final Fantasy and similar rpgs are the worst offenders.
  8. The thing with story-games is that most people are accustomed to thinking that they need to be long and drawn-out to get the player to feel involved with the story. You would have to prove all of them wrong and make your three-hour installments draw the player in and attach him/her to your characters pretty quickly. That could be tricky. But then again, it might just be a case of making a game/story that isn't stupidly lazy and just like everything else. I also think it needs to be stylized, unusual, and distinctive to grab the player quickly and make him/her want to really get inside it.
  9. That's very true. I hadn't thought of that, probably because I've never played any games like that. But it seems like it might be a pretty fine line. Strange.
  10. I'm sorry.. I actually seem to have forgotten what this thread is about there.
  11. On the first issue, I think you're right and that rpgs are moving away from that rut. But I'm worried that they might just be moving into a rut with some camoflage over it. I'm thinking especially of Bioware. I don't really know of any games that have really taken steps here. Maybe you could tell me about some? On the second, I am trying to be constructive. I feel very strongly about my comments on Earthbound in comparison to Final Fantasy. Other examples that come to mind are Castlevania: SOTN, the GBA games that followed in its path, and the similar Super Metroid. This last isn't a great example in our context because it is not statistical- but ability-based growth that you feel a connection with. However, the final battle with Mother Brain in which you gain a new weapon through the hatchling's sacrifice and are able to defeat her where just before you had been at her mercy--that is a hugely successful gameplay<->character growth<->story connection, and one that the player feels the impact of on several levels. SOTN and its brethren mostly achieve a better synthesis of this kind by being so exporation-based. I prefer to think of the game as having no cut-scenes; certainly they are excusable and I doubt anyone plays for the next one of those as I feel many must in Final Fantasy. To me, SOTN is like Ico; the story is the adventure--the things you do as this single character in gameplay. This often happens (happily) in exploration-based games with gameplay that does not have modal breaks (a huge, huge offense that Final Fantasy commits in its heart of hearts). When I work through some convoluted passageways in SOTN and accidentally break open a wall to discover a new ability to, say, double-jump, my character gains that ability as part of the story, which is what the exploration-based gameplay really is to me. Even more importantly, that new ability directly enhances my ability to continue to explore, and I will find myself trecking back through parts of the castle I have already visited to see what new areas I can access. On the way, I will encounter enemies that once proved difficult to me and slay them with ease. In both the game's sides--exploration and combat--I can feel my character's growth in a direct way, and I can attribute that growth to what I feel is the game's story--like a pathway that I myself hacked out of this solid wall that was the game before I began it. I've probably said some (equally long-winded) things about Ico that I could bring up here, as well. Maybe later. By the way, I really like how you put that--the divorce of the character and his strength. Excellent.
  12. While I agree with what you've said, I have some reservations. For me, the brilliance of Wario Ware is its structure. The unexplained, split-second, and utterly jagged non-presentation of the games is what makes it brilliant. All of the games themselves are pretty great, yes, but even as a three-second game they cannot stand alone. The negative context of the entire collection and the inane way in which they are thrust at the player give these games a point and a life that they could not otherwise have. That said, I get a bad taste in my mouth at the thought of a mini-game. If I think of Final Fantasy or any other Game that plays host to some smaller distractions like card games or little racing games, the break in mode makes me very angry at the developers. Even the excellent game in the bar in Beyond Good & Evil was annoying in this sense, although it was better presented than many of these things are. Mini-games need integration if they are to be presented within a larger Game. Otherwise, they should just be separate.
  13. lol And I didn't Even Capitalize! There does seem to be something disturbing about the concept. Dance Dance Revolution is one thing, but a game whose aim is to slap you into shape? I just don't like it.
  14. I kno, rite?! Now that we're all friends, will someone please reply in a quasi-serious manner to my well thought-out and grammatically criminal post on the previous page? Or is this Thread to be Doomed with Knives?
  15. you know what? i've thought about it, and that really hurts. i want to make up for it. have a Capital letter. i feel ill. For Serious, Do You Guys Really Mean It?
  16. lol, no i wouldn't.
  17. well, that's what happens when i'm forced to explain myself, isn't it?
  18. i.. explained that in the same very long breath in which i misspelled centre? edit: oh you bastid.
  19. roight, m8. cheers on that, eh?
  20. that's how i feel. i'd rather sit on my stool and reveal to you little programmers all the piffling philosophical weaknesses of your coded argument that could bring the whole structure to a gameplay crash. you need me, damnit.
  21. thanks for what you've said. i actually am a bit of a grammar nazi myself, and, believe it or not, i'm also a tutor in my university's writing center. however, i don't like capital letters and in my informal message board posts (as well as anywhere else i can avoid them) i tend not to use them. i don't like to choose which words deserve capitalization. it sounds stupid, but i don't care. if you hold a gunblade to my head (chortle) i'll condescend to capitalize the first letter of each new sentence, but i will not distinguish between common and proper nouns. nor will i capitalize every letter of my thread title excepting "to", "of", "from", "and", "or", "the", etc. i am not without a sense of linguistic propriety, but this sense is my own. and yes, i am long-winded. but only when i have something to say. and that's more than i can say for you, ed.
  22. hey, don't just say that. really reply to my post. tell me what you so enjoy about playing ff.
  23. i've no programming ability or artistic creativity, but i've always dreamed of helping a game project in a design or production (as in producer, not manufacturer/distrubuter) role. i never seriously considered trying to get myself into such a project, though.
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