Have you read this article on RPGs?

Mar 10, 2007
5,851
0
0
30
#1
I'm sure you have:
http://insomnia.ac/commentary/on_role-playing_games/

What do you think? He sounds a little arrogant, but he makes some good points. The problem is that plenty of people are perfectly happy playing 'strategy games with an emphasis on exploration', so it just becomes a case of arguing semantics.

I WOULD like to see more role-playing games along the lines of Deus Ex. It would be ideal to have computer role-playing games (Even that article doesn't present a solution) that are more role-play than numbers (But why not play a tabletop RPG?). I don't have much more to say than that, but I'm sure some of you have strong opinions about this.
 
Dec 19, 2007
8,426
0
800
#2
Seems to be mostly "WRPGs are great and JRPGs suck because they have different inspirations" to me. I agree that I'd like to see more choice involved in RPGs, but seeing as how that's about the only aspect of WRPGs I enjoy I have trouble agreeing with his assesment.
 
Dec 14, 2007
2,714
0
0
Germany
#3
Interesting article. The guy is completely right. I bet 99% who say they love RPG's have no glue what "role playing" actualy means.
And the fact that so many games are falsely labeled as RPG doesn't help either.

I play crpg's for 20 years but i have played only one game that truly deserved to be called RPG and this was Ultima Online on modded "role playing" Freeshards. The way UO was played on the official servers had nothing to do with real role playing tho, so keep that in mind.
 
Jul 20, 2006
3,996
1
0
Hong Kong
#5
This is pretty pathetic, because while the guy has a point in that most RPGs aren't true "role playing games", who the fuck cares? They are still fun games. My experience playing Final Fantasy isn't diminished knowing it's not a role playing game. Most "RTS" games these days involve little actual strategy. So what? Can we stop obsessing over those terms already?
 
Jan 11, 2008
8,546
0
0
#7
rainking187 said:
Seems to be mostly "WRPGs are great and JRPGs suck because they have different inspirations" to me. I agree that I'd like to see more choice involved in RPGs, but seeing as how that's about the only aspect of WRPGs I enjoy I have trouble agreeing with his assesment.
You and me think alike when it come to wrpgs it seems, i love the idea of them i just hate everything else.
 
Mar 10, 2007
5,851
0
0
30
#8
I think that a console would be for a developer to create a world filled with items that follow specific rules or behaviours, and the 'game' is the player interacting with the world. A sandbox without linear missions, basically. There aren't many 'true' sandbox games.
And it would probably have no dialogue.

It's not even a complicated thing to do.
 
Jul 6, 2008
2,417
0
750
#9
You have to consider that "role-playing" has a different meaning by the gaming population (i.e. statistics, hunter/gather mechanics, etc as opposed to real actual role-playing)

It's similar to how "spartan" is now used to describe a certain type of lifestyle as opposed to describe someone as a citizen of Sparta.
 
Dec 12, 2008
5,245
0
0
#10
Eh. It's interesting, and I think he's exactly right that western games tend to be closer to what an RPG originally was, but no one much cares.

I also think he mischaracterizes the appeal of jRPGs as deriving from strategic elements. Yes, there are jRPG fans who will defend the games as having 'good gameplay', or just gameplay that isn't mind-numbingly boring, but nobody plays jRPGs for the gameplay. The writer comes close to realizing this himself when he mentions that, when a new jRPG is announced, people care about character designers and composers.

The appeal of jRPGs is that they're very efficient forms of entertainment. They take forever, they have some semblance of a story (which is usually better-developed than what you see in the typical multiple path wRPG), and they liberally dole out positive reinforcement in the form of number increases. If it's also nice to look at and listen to, why not play it? I don't know that many people defend them as being particularly strategic or deep experiences, but they can be amusing.
 
Oct 19, 2005
26,635
1
0
#12
As an avid tabletopper and CRPG player, I wish people like this would shut the fuck up and die. If I controlled the language with dictatorial impunity, I would change CRPGs to "statistical games" or something just to end the whining, but I don't, and he doesn't either, so he should man the fuck up and accept that CRPGs are a distinct thing of their own now.

His entire argument is based on a false premise: that it is in any way possible to simulate the degree of choice inherent in tabletop play in a computer game. "Infinite choice" works in P&P because the GM or other players don't have to imagine every contingency, just to react to the one that actually occurs. CRPGs are never going to aspire to that level of freedom, much less achieve it.

(I also like how he manages to trash western RPGs upfront and yet still pull out the racist "rororor Japanese am too stupid!!!" canard.)

I won't even get into every one of the various whoppers of poor logic spread through the piece:

that guy said:
For one thing, they all effectively required the player to assume control of a party of characters, something which immediately ruled out the possibility of any kind of role-playing (except perhaps for schizophrenics or those suffering from multiple personality disorder).
Oh yeah. It definitely takes mental problems to successfully role-play multiple characters at once. I mean, it's a good thing that most tabletop systems don't require a single participant in the game who has to perform such an impossible, masterful task!
 

Masklinn

Accept one saviour, get the second free.
Sep 9, 2006
1,123
0
0
#13
Gotchaye said:
The appeal of jRPGs is that they're very efficient forms of entertainment. They take forever, they have some semblance of a story (which is usually better-developed than what you see in the typical multiple path wRPG), and they liberally dole out positive reinforcement in the form of number increases. If it's also nice to look at and listen to, why not play it? I don't know that many people defend them as being particularly strategic or deep experiences, but they can be amusing.
Yeah, but why keep the name "RPG" for them then, if they're glorified slightly interactive movies? (which they are, really)
 
Dec 14, 2007
2,714
0
0
Germany
#14
Johann said:
It's similar to how "spartan" is now used to describe a certain type of lifestyle as opposed to describe someone as a citizen of Sparta.
Thats true. The problem is that true "role playing" for crpg's is not lost. But if you would want to bring it back as a developer you would probably have to rename it to something else because people nowadays have this wrong in idea in their head what rpg stands for.

I believe (actualy i know) that there is still a big niche for that in the mmorpg segment. True role players are still stuck with the old ass Ultima Online technology. What they are waiting for is a state of the art mmorpg that allows private servers and highly customizable/moddable content. This kind of gameplay never works on public servers because a single player who doesnt "role play" can spoil the fun for everybody else.
 
Dec 12, 2008
5,245
0
0
#15
Yeah, but why keep the name "RPG" for them then, if they're glorified slightly interactive movies? (which they are, really)
Eh, why not? The word just doesn't mean what it used to mean. What it means now is a game with levels and statistics and such. I guess when computers and programs get sufficiently sophisticated to produce a compelling real role-playing experience, we'll have to come up with a different word for that, but it's just a word. No one's tricked into thinking that jRPGs have much in the way of real role-playing elements because they're called RPGs.

In fact, I imagine that, for most people, a computer RPG is just an 'Arr Pee Gee'. There's not even much of a subconscious connection to role-playing there.
 
Feb 27, 2008
2,885
0
0
#16
I don't think it's a very insightful article. He starts by stating a truism, and then spends a thousand or so words proving it, in what I imagine is an attempt at projecting some air of authority. He gives a slight nod to counterpoints to his 'argument', without actually refuting a single one of them. From there he launches off into some completely tangential (and wrong) tirades railing against genres he doesn't like, for reasons that are essentially unrelated to the whole thrust of the article, and by the end he's got no solutions to any problem he's made up, except for some asinine thing about hiding the player's stats.
 
Sep 3, 2006
3,494
0
1,015
Netherlands
#17
Quote from this article about the current state of computer RPGs:

At the moment, things look hopeless. Westerners are stuck on their numbers fetishism; the Japanese on their anime wankfests; and the MMO crowd on their pointless, absurd powerlevelling and hoarding of useless trinkets.
After reading this long, long article, I can certainly see where he's coming from, and I think many people here share his disillusionment with the current state of MMOs and JRPGs, and with the small number of western RPGs released. Still looking forward to Mass Effect 2, though.
 
Jun 13, 2004
24,280
3
1,365
horizonvanguard.com
#18
His entire argument is based on a false premise: that it is in any way possible to simulate the degree of choice inherent in tabletop play in a computer game. "Infinite choice" works in P&P because the GM or other players don't have to imagine every contingency, just to react to the one that actually occurs. CRPGs are never going to aspire to that level of freedom, much less achieve it.
Doesn't he spend half the article saying that it isn't possible to simulate the degree of choice inherent in tabletop play?
 
Aug 16, 2007
4,533
3
0
#19
BrokenSymmetry said:
I think many people here share his disillusionment with the current state of MMOs and JRPGs, and with the small number of western RPGs released.
You really think the loudest complainers on GAF represent any sizable portion of the gaming populace?
 
Mar 10, 2007
5,851
0
0
30
#20
Well, he spends the article saying that that 'infinite choice' can't be done, but then ends it by saying "How can this be done? I dunno, someday computers will be powerful enough hopefully lol" which sort of took the bite out of the article for me.

And maybe having a video game that replicates a tabletop RPG makes as much sense as having a video game that is a feature-length film?
 
Jul 19, 2007
4,101
0
0
28
#24
And here it's worth noting that even games like Fallout (1997) and Planescape: Torment (1999), as well as Bethesda's Elder Scrolls series, came nowhere near enough to be considered true RPGs -- though it has to be said that they at least tried harder than everything else.

...all the instances of role-playing to be found in even the best-of-the-best CRPGs hardly ever amount to more than a few minutes in total.
Disagree. Planescape has an extremely limited focus on combat, contrary to what he complains about. Dialogue is the star of the show and the options available definitely allow to find a sense of character and role-playing for more than 'a few minutes.' It has more text than War and Peace.

I'd argue the same for Vampire Bloodlines, though it has a much heavier combat focus, it is great at offering so many different options and really giving you a fantastic sense of your character.

No, these games don't have the 'infinite choice' of tabletop RPGs but what they do have is an extremely reasonable/wide degree of choice with each choice being incredibly well crafted, something few dungeon masters can aspire to. Having some guy talk to me about what I'm doing will never immerse me in a role and move me in the way that something like Planescape does.
 
Oct 19, 2005
26,635
1
0
#26
Scribble said:
Well, he spends the article saying that that 'infinite choice' can't be done, but then ends it by saying "How can this be done? I dunno, someday computers will be powerful enough hopefully lol" which sort of took the bite out of the article for me.
Yeah. I hate when people say that dumb shit. If anything, growing computing power makes such a thing harder and less likely. By far the most effectively non-linear and immersively choiceful story-driven games ever created were text adventures, many of which had incredibly detailed interaction points, numerous endings, and allowed for multiple solutions and approaches to every problem. The more computing power you're using, the more money you need to spend generating graphical and auditory assets for each new thing that shows up in your game, which means the less "freedom" you can actually effectively engineer.
 

RevenantKioku

PEINS PEINS PEINS PEINS PEINS PEINS PEINS PEINS PEINS PEINS PEINS PEINS oh god i am drowning in them
Jun 6, 2004
23,074
0
1,565
36
Nara, Japan
www.bookofrevenant.com
#27
Gotchaye said:
Eh. It's interesting, and I think he's exactly right that western games tend to be closer to what an RPG originally was, but no one much cares.

I also think he mischaracterizes the appeal of jRPGs as deriving from strategic elements. Yes, there are jRPG fans who will defend the games as having 'good gameplay', or just gameplay that isn't mind-numbingly boring, but nobody plays jRPGs for the gameplay. The writer comes close to realizing this himself when he mentions that, when a new jRPG is announced, people care about character designers and composers.

The appeal of jRPGs is that they're very efficient forms of entertainment. They take forever, they have some semblance of a story (which is usually better-developed than what you see in the typical multiple path wRPG), and they liberally dole out positive reinforcement in the form of number increases. If it's also nice to look at and listen to, why not play it? I don't know that many people defend them as being particularly strategic or deep experiences, but they can be amusing.
 
Jan 7, 2007
12,014
0
0
#29
Gotchaye said:
but nobody plays jRPGs for the gameplay.
I'm so sick of this stupid argument that appears from time to time. I think that JRPG stories are terrible, yet I still find myself playing them due to the fact that I enjoy the gameplay.

Why would you think that a gamer couldn't enjoy the gameplay in a JRPG?
 
Jun 18, 2004
4,131
0
0
36
#31
My problem with this article is that even WRPG aren't really giving you that much of a choice. If someone really wants to play a role-playing game with true choice, they'd be playing PnP games. As of now, a computer or a console cannot replicate the DM. JRPGs and WRPGs both offer different game systems and can both be enjoyed. I hate how we're trying to put both sub-genres into competition with each other. I play a JRPG for completely different reasons than a WRPG but I enjoy both types of games.
 
Jan 11, 2008
8,546
0
0
#32
dead souls said:
I'm so sick of this stupid argument that appears from time to time. I think that JRPG stories are terrible, yet I still find myself playing them due to the fact that I enjoy the gameplay.

Why would you think that a gamer couldn't enjoy the gameplay in a JRPG?
The funny thing about his statement is that the reason why i can't get into wrpg is because of their gameplay whereas its the opposite for jrpgs.
 
Jul 20, 2005
2,062
3
1,140
#33
I find these kind of articles funny, because taken to it's logical extreme, no single player video game is an RPG because you can't role play by yourself. He evaluates D&D as the definition of role playing, so because JRPG design differs more than WRPG from D&D then they are less like RPGS. If his argument is semantical, then his argument isn't sound.

Ultimately I feel like it's just somebody bitching because JRPGs aren't enough like Dungeons & Dragons...
 

RevenantKioku

PEINS PEINS PEINS PEINS PEINS PEINS PEINS PEINS PEINS PEINS PEINS PEINS oh god i am drowning in them
Jun 6, 2004
23,074
0
1,565
36
Nara, Japan
www.bookofrevenant.com
#35
What follows is a real transcript from a real tabletop RPG with real choices and real consequences. If you can't handle it, I suggest you take a real hard look on your real life.
Really.

---

DM: You find yourself in a large throne room with a pair of thrones in front of you. A lone king sit wearily on the throne to the left as the one on the right remains empty. He looks as if he has something to tell you.

Me: Is there anything else in the room?

DM: You can see a few treasure chests to the side and a pair of guards by a closed door.

Me: I approach the king.

DM: He begins by telling you a long tale of the history of the land and how he is glad you are here and ready to be the savior to the people. He warns you that in order to restore peace to the land you will have to slay the lord of the dragons who casts his darkness on the land from his nearby castle. Unfortunately, it won’t be as simple as crossing the great lake between the two castles as all the kingdom’s ships have been destroyed by the evil lord. He asks that you do what you can to end this terrible reign, and that you may also find his daughter who has been captured recently. He notes that the chests to your right are yours if you choose to help his country.

Me: I accept his quest and head to the treasure chests and open them. What’s inside?

DM: You find a small key, a torch and a few bits of gold.

Me: I take it all, leave the throne room and head outside.

DM: There’s a locked door to the throne room, but you find the small key you discovered in the chest unlocks it fine. Unfortunately, the key breaks as you open the door. You head outside and find yourself surrounded by various amounts of townsfolk.

Me: Are there any shops? I’ll ask the townsfolk.

DM: They tell you that the nearest shops are not held within this great castle but the town to the east has some goods for you.

Me: I leave the castle.

DM: As you leave the castle the first thing you can see is the great ominous castle of the aforementioned Lord of Dragons. Between you and the castle is no surprise a great and terrifying looking lake. Off in the east you can see a great plain and what looks to be remnants of some sort of town.

Me: Guess I’ll head to the town.

DM: As you wander towards the town a mass of blue slime wriggles its way towards you. It lunges its flimsy body at you in an attack and hits you for one point of damage.

Me: I swing back at it with my fists. *rolls* Damn, a miss.

DM: The slime leaps again and hits you for 3 points of damage.

Me: Ugh, only 1 HP left. I try to run away.

DM: *rolls* The slime follows you and quickly lunges at your feet. *rolls* Take one damage.

Me: Dead. Goddamnit.
 
Dec 12, 2008
5,245
0
0
#36
I suppose I should be clear that I don't think a whole lot of the actual gameplay in wRPGs either. But the fact remains that the vast majority of RPGs, Japanese or Western, involve no real strategic choice on the part of the player and require next to no thought to play (though I do think that the western games come out ahead here). As games, stripped of character design, of music, of plot, of special effects, etc, there's really not much there. There are exceptions (Baten Kaitos on the GCN comes to mind, and Tales at least requires some amount of player engagement in the battles), but certainly the biggest console jRPG franchises (Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest, say) just aren't very demanding games, and certainly don't reward or encourage the kind of engagement other genres do.

Am I not understanding what people mean when they use the word 'gameplay'?
 
Dec 7, 2008
39,071
0
0
Florida
#38
Speaking of Tabletop RPGs, are there any PC conversions? And I don't mean D&D The MMORPG, etc, I just mean instead of you and a couple of friends around a table, talking to each other, it's through text and such.
 
Apr 21, 2007
2,033
0
0
#41
The author of this article basically used a fuckton of words to say that he buys into the idea of rigid genre definitions way too much.

Gotta love the internet.
 

truly101

I got grudge sucked!
Feb 20, 2007
21,301
0
0
#42
true role playing in any single player game, whether its an RPG, adventure or sandbox is hard to accomplish because the amount of feedback the AI can give you for the choices you make is extremely limited. In D&D, you have the dungeon master to help flesh out the interaction between your character and the world he/she lives in. WRPGs may be closer to table tops mainly in the mallebility of the characters you make, but that comes at a cost. When I play Oblivion, or Morrowind or Kotor or whatever WRPG, my character is little more than a tourist in the world. He has no real interaction with the people there, just the typical "hello, generic man" greeting. He has no family, no friends, nothing to do but roam and kill and really no payoff for it.

The trade off for JRPGs is, you have characters that fully belong in that world with all those interactions, yet you have no to very little choice in affecting how the narrative turns out. Naive magic girl is always going to have a crush on the happy go lucky main adventurer and they will probably end up together (thinly insinuated at that) whether you hate the chick or do not.

The true evolution will be to marry the two worlds. To have characters that you create, control and influence their stories, but they feel like they actually belong there, not empty digital avatars.
 
Jul 25, 2008
4,707
2
815
#43
He's pretty spot on about how poorly a lot of battle systems are developed in JRPGs. Most of them seem to be designed for complexity's sake instead of for creating interesting strategic decisions.

That said, not every game has to be incredibly engaging all the time. RPGs can be fun experiences because they're low bandiwith entertainment where you don't have to do much thinking beyond hitting X a billion times. They're quite relaxing, I find.
 

ZealousD

Makes world leading predictions like "The sun will rise tomorrow"
Apr 17, 2007
29,347
0
0
#44
Don't get so hung up on the term RPG. It's a misnomer. You role-play in every game.

It's an outdated term that's just been carried over from D&D and it's come to represent any game that's inspired by its basics, like stats, leveling, and customizable equipment.
 
Oct 29, 2006
566
0
0
#47
No mention of Dwarf Fortress?

At any rate, if he spent more time on contacting developers about why they aren't integrating more role-playing in the games, then I don't see what the point of the opinion piece is.

If doing a 'true' roleplaying game is feasible, and a good idea, why doesn't he fund it and make billions from it?
 

Musashi Wins!

FLAWLESS VICTOLY!
Jun 7, 2004
14,625
0
0
#49
I'm fascinated by this website. It's connected to the most joyless, sterile gaming forum I've ever seen.

I have a bit of a philosophy fetish, especially for Schopenhauer so it's fascinating to see his essays interspersed with some rigidly hostile game commentary. Just an odd site all around. Some of the opinion pieces and reviews are quite fun though.

This is what I might create if I went on a depression bender, still religiously followed gaming and read a lot of Baudrillard.

God I love and loathe the internet.
 
Mar 14, 2007
11,247
0
0
dark-pen.deviantart.com
#50
Dungeons & Dragons, the first commercially available role-playing game, was published in 1974 by Dave Arneson's and E. Gary Gygax's TSR. Though the bulk of D&D's elaborate ruleset was derived from miniature wargames (particularly Chainmail), it is important to realize that these rules were not the game's defining feature. D&D was about far more than stats and turn-based battles -- it was about characters, choices, and stories; it was about experiencing fantastical adventures through a brand-new kind of collaborative, improvisational storytelling.
...I remember someone on GAF correcting me when I made this assumption, and saying that Gary Gygax's intention was for the game to be a pure grindfest, or something like that, with the storytelling being more of a player-to-player development and change.

Also, wasn't there a totally awesome post by someone in one of our past WRPG vs JRPG threads, giving the defining pros and cons of both genres and approaches? Something like WRPGs being all about polish of the same thing, while JRPGs are about a whole lot of things with small differences?

I tried to read some of the article, but it seems like its mostly a giant melting ball of semantics. I mean, seriously. Its like something you'd write after thinking about something too hard, and thinking "EUREKA! I've figured it all out! Now I'm going to tell everyone how angry and smart I am!"

:/

Then again, the website IS called "Insomnia" :S

Honestly, the guy's entire shtick seems to be how violated he feels by Japan's genre-naming.