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The Heresy Thread

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Re: The Heresy Thread

by Angry Jedi » Thu Oct 16, 2014 6:31 pm

This thread is great. Good job, everyone; this is why we rule.

Wanted to pick up on Beige's point about very few people actually finishing games, because I feel much the same way. I try and finish everything I start these days, whether it's 10 or 100 hours long -- and however long it might take in "real" terms. The concept of people picking up a game -- particularly a story-heavy one -- and just leaving it hanging is a completely alien concept to me. I can't do it, in most cases. (I must admit I've left Bravely Default hanging, but I fully intend to go back and finish that -- or possibly start over -- at some point.)

At the same time, I sort of understand it. One of my biggest frustrations at the moment is that there's so much cool stuff and it feels like less time than ever in which to enjoy it. My pile of shame grows and grows and grows at a seemingly faster rate than I can clear entries in it; that's partly my own fault, but I don't mind too much, because the reason it does that is because I tend to pick up games that are likely to become harder to find earlier with the intention of playing them much, much later.

But still. It means I have a stack of games extending back to the PS2 era that I haven't even booted up in some cases. I'm kind of hoping nothing interesting shows up in "next-gen" for a while so I have time to get caught up!
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Re: The Heresy Thread

by Beige » Fri Oct 17, 2014 12:21 am

Pete: Protip - play something other than 90 hour long Japanese visual novel / RPGs with multiple branching paths each of which you feel compelled to finish. After that, take whatever your play counter says for Final Fantasy XIV, divide these hours by the time necessary to finish the average indie, action adventure or homespun game and you'll be good to go! We kid because we care, yet the point is made. May I recommend, oh, something that rhymes with Sqeenix vs Hofessor Playtown.

I was actually going to return to a better metaphor for the Left 4 Dead thing, namely Reality TV.

I don't even actually hate Left 4 Dead that much, but my feelings on it are almost identical to my feelings on the original Survivor TV series. I thought when I first encountered it "Oh, that's novel" not realizing that what I'd just witnessed was television suddenly waking up and realizing that they could make a primetime TV show without paying any actors, without hiring any writers and without making any sets. And they could put it on TV and.... nobody would know the difference!

As a person who was raised on Cheers and the Cosby Show, not to mention Northern Exposure, Twin Peaks and the glory days of network TV it is difficult to look at the modern television landscape -- the horrible Fallout wasteland that it is -- hence why I cut the cord long ago.

That's what all this stuff just looks like to me. Evolve, Titanfall... it's reality TV and I miss Sam and Dianne.
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Re: The Heresy Thread

by Angry Jedi » Fri Oct 17, 2014 8:24 am

Ah, you seem to be mistaking my comments for complaints. I have no issue with being well-stocked for games for the next few years. If it means I can hold off on buying a PS4 for some time yet, great, I say!

That said, short games are nice sometimes. I've been enjoying the concise nature of the Ace Combat games, and of course stuff like The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is single-sitting stuff.

Trouble is, I just really like those long games more than anything else out there. :)
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Re: The Heresy Thread

by RedSwirl » Sat Oct 18, 2014 5:14 am

Beige wrote:Pete: Protip - play something other than 90 hour long Japanese visual novel / RPGs with multiple branching paths each of which you feel compelled to finish. After that, take whatever your play counter says for Final Fantasy XIV, divide these hours by the time necessary to finish the average indie, action adventure or homespun game and you'll be good to go! We kid because we care, yet the point is made. May I recommend, oh, something that rhymes with Sqeenix vs Hofessor Playtown.

I was actually going to return to a better metaphor for the Left 4 Dead thing, namely Reality TV.

I don't even actually hate Left 4 Dead that much, but my feelings on it are almost identical to my feelings on the original Survivor TV series. I thought when I first encountered it "Oh, that's novel" not realizing that what I'd just witnessed was television suddenly waking up and realizing that they could make a primetime TV show without paying any actors, without hiring any writers and without making any sets. And they could put it on TV and.... nobody would know the difference!

As a person who was raised on Cheers and the Cosby Show, not to mention Northern Exposure, Twin Peaks and the glory days of network TV it is difficult to look at the modern television landscape -- the horrible Fallout wasteland that it is -- hence why I cut the cord long ago.

That's what all this stuff just looks like to me. Evolve, Titanfall... it's reality TV and I miss Sam and Dianne.


Yeah, it's a weird dichotomy. I'm still not all sure on how much influence L4D actually had, but I feel similarly about Modern Warfare 1. I don't hate the game itself, I just hate the chain reaction it caused. Same with Resident Evil 4. The game itself is one of my favorites, but I hate that it basically killed survival horror for a while.

Oh, and there's one more thing for people who never "got" Pokemon: It basically introduced an entire new generation of kids to role-playing games. Game Freak and Nintendo took the basic setup of turns and dice rolls, filed it down to a second grade level, and then slowly built an insane metagame around it. Way back on Google+ I mentioned how console gaming got so popular partly because it had Super Mario Bros. to easily slide a whole generation of kids into it whereas PC gaming didn't really have a game that so simply showed kids what PC gaming was all about. Pokemon was probably that "Super Mario Bros." of RPGs to a lot of kids. There are probably people in their 20's today who know what turns and hit points mean BECAUSE of Pokemon Red.
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Re: The Heresy Thread

by Grant Heaslip » Sat Oct 18, 2014 5:57 am

RedSwirl wrote:Oh, and there's one more thing for people who never "got" Pokemon: It basically introduced an entire new generation of kids to role-playing games. Game Freak and Nintendo took the basic setup of turns and dice rolls, filed it down to a second grade level, and then slowly built an insane metagame around it. Way back on Google+ I mentioned how console gaming got so popular partly because it had Super Mario Bros. to easily slide a whole generation of kids into it whereas PC gaming didn't really have a game that so simply showed kids what PC gaming was all about. Pokemon was probably that "Super Mario Bros." of RPGs to a lot of kids. There are probably people in their 20's today who know what turns and hit points mean BECAUSE of Pokemon Red.


Speaking as someone who was in middle school when Pokemon came out (born in 1989), I think you're right. In my experience, that influence was magnified by the fact that said generation grew up with the Nintendo 64, which had vanishingly few RPGs. The first non-Pokemon RPG I remember playing was Golden Sun, and it came out in 2001. I realize the PS1 was way more popular in aggregate, but in my circles among people of my age, the N64 was the console people owned (I suspect it's an age thing, and maybe that Nintendo was punching above their weight in Canada at that point?). Pokemon may not have been a great RPG (though I assume its faults were a lot less glaring relative to other games in 1998), but it was a fundamentally new thing to me at the time. It felt exciting and boundless in a way that nothing else (except, to some degree, Zelda I) had ever felt for me before.

It seems like Youkai Watch is filling that same role in Japan right now -- the 8-4 Play guys all gave it a shot and were talking about how rudimentary yet strangely compelling it was. I do think these formative childhood games deeply inform the way people think about games, and it's the one thing that most scares me about kids growing up playing whatever manipulative, soulless chaff is at the top of the App Store charts on their parents' iOS devices. (Yeah, Pokemon was manipulative, but in a way less insidious way. I do think the people who conceived of it meant to create a good thing.)

P.S. I also think there's something about the understated coming-of-age story of Pokemon that really speaks to adolescent boys (maybe girls as well, but something tells me it's more of a boy thing). I remember it feeling very weighty to me in a way that was probably much more a result of my imagination than the actual dialog.

(Sorry, that was kind of all over the place.)
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Re: The Heresy Thread

by Angry Jedi » Sat Oct 18, 2014 9:37 am

That's interesting, actually, and may account for why I don't dig Pokémon despite being an RPG junkie -- I came to RPGs fairly late, relatively speaking (while I played a few early in my gaming career, I didn't really understand them; it wasn't until Final Fantasy VII that I finally understood) but even so, by the time Pokémon rolled around I was already used to the anime-style exuberance of PS1-era RPGs and consequently Pokémon just felt a bit "flat" after that.

It also didn't help that none of my friends were into it and, particularly in the pre-Internet era, you really needed to know other people who were playing.
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Re: The Heresy Thread

by Teryn » Sat Oct 18, 2014 4:22 pm

There was a little Pokemon fandom in my high school when it got popular. N64 was tanking (but we loved it anyway), and my brother habitually brought Red to school for trading. IIRC, he did quite well, I think he was only around 10 Pokemon away from a complete 150 (no one wanted to trade their Mew, of course...).

I thought it was silly at first, but then I recalled people bringing their Game Boys to school only a few years before, just to play linked Tetris together. I figured it was the same kind of thing.

Eventually, because of being a fan of the anime, I got Pokemon Yellow. Pikachu following your character around anime-style was definitely kawaii bait and I knew it from the start. It was almost unfair, too, you were able to get the initial three starter Pokemon from Red/Blue in Yellow through quests of sorts. Maybe the devs made it that way because those three were difficult to get anybody to trade at an early enough level (pre-first evolution) to record them properly in your Pokedex.

I did "get" Pokemon's popularity and appeal for a while, but its simplicity is also its weakness. I couldn't help but move on once I belatedly got a PSX (is it the Pokemon killer system?), and started to play more involved RPGs on it and the PC. It's good for what it is, but I think its dumbed-down feeling and slow pace becomes annoying to deal with when you know what other RPGs you're missing out there.
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Re: The Heresy Thread

by Alex Connolly » Sat Oct 18, 2014 5:03 pm

I only played the original games on GB. And that was enough. Was fun, though.
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Re: The Heresy Thread

by Calin Kim » Sat Oct 18, 2014 6:25 pm

I don't have a frame of reference for Pokemon, having not owned a Gameboy until I owned a DS for a few months five or six years ago, but I think that everyone needs "my first RPG" to really get them into the genre.

I got really deep into Phantasy Star II back in 1990, and it was my gateway RPG. (Hard as hell too, which is probably why I feel like most modern JRPGs don't pose much of a challenge unless the words "Shin Megami Tensei" appear somewhere.)

I also feel like really "getting" turn-based gameplay has to come when you're still at a somewhat impressionable age. My wife watched me play Final Fantasy XIII a few years back, and she just could not figure out why I was playing a game where I choose what to do in a menu. It was utterly baffling. And, I kind of get that. She plays a ton of shooters and adventure games, and there's a more direct 1 to 1 thing going on in those games. If she wants to avoid getting shot when she's playing Uncharted, she'll take cover. If she wants to attack something she'll press R1 to fire her gun. The idea of selecting "magic -> Firaga" and waiting for your command to execute is just utterly bizarre to her. Though, this does make me wonder if she would get into the Devil Summoner games... Hmmm... Been wanting to replay those anyway.

Also, RedSwirl, I love the fact that someone else loves Resident Evil 4 here. I know I say that to you when the topic comes up, but it really is a perfect game in a lot of ways. In fact, I may have to start a thread for Resident Evil 4...
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Re: The Heresy Thread

by RedSwirl » Sat Oct 18, 2014 11:27 pm

Calin Kim wrote:I also feel like really "getting" turn-based gameplay has to come when you're still at a somewhat impressionable age. My wife watched me play Final Fantasy XIII a few years back, and she just could not figure out why I was playing a game where I choose what to do in a menu. It was utterly baffling. And, I kind of get that. She plays a ton of shooters and adventure games, and there's a more direct 1 to 1 thing going on in those games. If she wants to avoid getting shot when she's playing Uncharted, she'll take cover. If she wants to attack something she'll press R1 to fire her gun. The idea of selecting "magic -> Firaga" and waiting for your command to execute is just utterly bizarre to her. Though, this does make me wonder if she would get into the Devil Summoner games... Hmmm... Been wanting to replay those anyway.

Also, RedSwirl, I love the fact that someone else loves Resident Evil 4 here. I know I say that to you when the topic comes up, but it really is a perfect game in a lot of ways. In fact, I may have to start a thread for Resident Evil 4...


I had the same problem once when people asked me what I was playing, and I struggled to describe Final Fantasy Tactics. Just tell her it's like a board game. Turn-based combat originally was an emulation of tabletop mechanics anyway. The only difference is computers have allowed those mechanics to blur the line between turns and real time. And with Pokemon, there was actually a brief period at my middle/high school where even some of the "cool" kids were playing it. I remember getting into a battle with a varsity football player. That's how deep it penetrated.

On RE4, if you're messing with the Steam version, I'd say keep an eye on this retexture project: http://www.re4hd.com/
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