Man vs. Slime, the fourth type of conflict
RPGCast - Episode 286: "Diablo on a Unicorn"
RPGCast - Episode 286: "Diablo on a Unicorn"
Blizzard has some announcements. Square Enix has money! Jon doesn't have a 3DS...still. And you have a new podcast.
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Whoa, 286 is already out? I just got a chance to listen to Ep 284 just now!
Anyway, I know I'm late to the party, but I feel the need to leave this comment about ep.284 feedbacks (How can SQE fix Final Fantasy?):
Despite how "popular" jRPG has become, people just have to realize that it is doomed to be niche games, and FF is no exception. I'll draw some parallels--you have your pop novels and your Hollywood movies with feel good ending and fun back and forth throughout--it's a tried and true formula that people love. The video games equivalent to this is the power fantasy--Your CoD, your Battlefield, Halo, Fallout 3, etc. Those are your typical power fantasy--you are a person, but you have the strength to change the world, to protect those you love, and to punish evil-doers. Then you have your wildly unpopular sort of games (or parts games)--you know, Mass Effects' ending, Bioshock's ending, and a whole lot of Japanese games. What's common between these is the fact that they are about disempowerment, rather than empowerment. And remember that Kamen (pronounces car-men, not kay-men) Rider you guys talked about a few weeks back? There is actually a US version called Dragon Riders. Do you want to know the difference between them? In the American version, nobody died. The monsters didn't have origins--they were just monsters. Every episode starts cheerfully, and ended in an action packed adventure. In the Japanese series, every episode opens with an average Joe making the best and somehow finding peace despite his or her life actually being quite miserable, only to be captured, tortured, and turned into monsters that the main character must eventually kill. A lot of the ally of the main characters died by the end of the series too. See the difference? This is why jRPG is a dying genre in the West, but even more so in the US.
To draw it back to games, let's start by naming a few jRPGs with perfectly happy ending--a Hollywood ending if you will. There are a few, of course. But I can certainly think of a few more where the protagonist died, a few where the person you have been trying to protect the whole game sacrifice themselves to protect you, a good few more where the world actually gets destroyed entirely. So what does this mean? It means that mainstream Americans can NEVER truly like a jRPG, because they are conditioned to prefer a happy ending. Hence people hated not being able to save the universe in Mass Effects. Hence they hated submitting to the whim of Andrew Ryans in Bioshock. Hence they hated (although most do not admit, or simply does not realize) how FF13 forces you down a corridor (they recognize this much), and strip you off any power to actually emerge victorious. FF as a series is a long and dark descent--7 puts you in a coma for a while and offed your girlfriend. 8 plunges you in the afterlife for a bit, only to be rescued. Or maybe you went to heaven, no one really knows. 9.Actually had a happy ending-or maybe not! A lot of people think the ending involves Zidane and Vivi either dying, or soon to die. 10..dead. You're totally, absolutely, without a doubt, dead. 12. You're Vaan. Great. You didn't get any romantic relationship by the end of the game. Oh, and SQE pulled the rug out from under you and actually made you the sidekick to the real leading man, Balthier! (If you wanna know more, I can do a whole essay on that later). Also, not a terribly sad ending, unless you're Ashe. 13. Yeah...everyone's f**ked in 13.
The more the technology grows, the more developers like SQE can realize the story that they truly wants to tell--with evermore complexity, and more gut wrenching twists and turns.
Last edited by xocolatl; 11-13-2013 at 08:24 AM.
President of Soft Paws
As to your question of the week about archers in video games, I find that quality archers with good back stories are lacking in most video games. Most protagonists use swords, which has gotten a bit boring, but even the side characters don't seem to favor bows. Here are a few that came to mind, though, as being positive experiences. Marcel from Jeanne d'Arc is a bit adorable with his speech impediment, but he's not much of a badass. Warcarft 3 has three solid archers in it. Tyrande is a strong ruler in addition to being an archer, ordering the humans and orcs to be killed while quipping that she doesn't have the "luxury of sleeping through the hard times." Bonus: she was always riding her pet kitten, Ashalah. Sylvannas, back before her World of Warcraft days, was both sympathetic and tortured while feathering demons and zombies with arrows. Shandris, though, wins out for being in all the important battles while dressed in her teal paw cloak, showing her cute and fuzzy spirit.
Come to think of it, maybe the entire reason I like Warcraft 3 is that it has three solid archer characters where most games have none! Continuing the implication that no men old enough to take speech therapy use bows, Arycelle from Tactics Ogre was another interesting character. Alas, where are the male archers? Perhaps game designers take a page from The Illiad, a book entirely about archers being killed off in horrific ways. No, wait, one survives -- Teucer takes a sword to the collarbone and puts down his bow to pick up a stick. He is the only survivor.
I'd like to suggest that next week we set the question to be about kittens or angels in video games.
I remember the Pocket Station, because FFVIII had a game for it called "Chocobo World". Although the main reason I remember that is because the PC version replicated this game in it own little program.
(I would have made a joke about how this small LCD-type game was "the best part of FF8", but I felt people would probably have great trouble believing that it was actually a joke!)
This question is for John; it relates to his knowledge of the Japanese language. I have extrapolated from various episodes of the show that I have been an active listener of (about the last 20 or so shows) that John is fluent in both Japanese reading, writing, and speaking. I was wondering...how did you do this? I am currently trying to learn Japanese and I would rate my level at about 75% to the JLPT N5 level, so not very much. Although, I do know about 240 kanji and have access to Japanese speaking colleagues at my college, so immersion is not so much of an issue. I just wished to find out how he accomplished something on such a tight schedule as it seems that he must of had as a fully functioning member of society. I am currently trying Mango Languages and Genki I. Any help would be appreciated, I quite admire your ability to read and understand the language so well. [If this doesn't fit into the flow of the show, you don't have to read it]
@NEStalgia considering how names are often butchered, I would say the casts are very fluent at reading, but not so much verbal. ps. I only know about 150-200 kanjis back when I studied, but it helps with pronunciations to be in close proximity to a lot of Japanese (I studied in international school), and watching fansubs (a good way to train your ears). I find that listening to people talk in college does NOT help though, as most people have very western accent, and that does not train your ears to real Japanese accent (it's like saying you can speak English, then going to live in Manchester or something. Definitely NOT the same). Genki is a text book, right? I recalled my juniors using that a text by that name. It's kinda mediocre. I used Nihongo Kantan when I was studying. It's much harder to find, more expensive, but much better! The context for example sentences and exercises makes so much more sense for real life usage.
On topic of archers in video games. I'm a fan of archers much more so than any other ranged weapons. But they're generally just OP and hard to balance, hence you don't see them as much, I guess. But yeah, there really aren't that many nowadays. And most of the ones we see (The Thief guy, etc) are rehash of older characters. I guess they're perceived more as frail and not manly, and rely more on traps and such. I would refer you back to my first post--not Macho = not who you want to be in a western game.
Uh uh uh, and I have a question for the casts: Since everyone are really into Pokemon right now, what would be the most shocking/awesome thing to pop out of a pokeball for you? I would love to see a Prinny
Last edited by xocolatl; 11-16-2013 at 08:03 PM.