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Old 11-14-2010, 05:09 PM
Sam United Kingdom Sam is offline
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Making Numbers Go Up

Quote:
Originally Posted by Encyclopędia Britannica
Role-playing games are games in which players assume the roles of fictional characters and collaboratively create stories. Players determine the actions of their characters based on their characterization, and the actions succeed or fail according to a system of rules and guidelines. Within the rules, players can improvise freely; their choices shape the direction and outcome of the games.
********************
The second, and probably last, of Alex Kierkegaard's essays that I have posted here to discuss. Alex essentially hates JRPGs, for several perfectly valid reasons that can be found in his full essay. For now though, I would like to look at the terminology of the role playing game and it's impact on the industry.

Alex Kierkegaard is infamous in videogame journalism circles for his radical ideas and, almost as significantly, for his scathing tone, and his unceasing proclamation of his own genius in the face of what he considers rampant and all pervading idiocy in the industry as a whole. It certainly puts a lot of readers off, especially when they feel they have some sort of professional or personal stake in the industry he attacks.

Regardless, if you can get past this he has important and interesting points to make. His website can be found here, and the list of his essays on videogame culture here.
********************
The first part of his essay emphasizes the origins of the RPG (the pen and paper variety), and that number crunching was never it's focus:

Quote:
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. Players became at the same time script-writers and actors of their own roles; whereas a reader of a book or a viewer of a movie always remained a passive observer, a player at a D&D game was constantly called upon to make choices that propelled the action. Compared to the role-playing dimension of D&D, the stats and battles were only minor aspects.

...

And the reason for this dependence on rules is simple. In RPGs rules are necessary in order to set up a framework, with the help of which the gamemaster can evaluate the players' actions and arrive at or decide on their consequences. Because even though the players' adventures often take place in wonderfully bizarre universes, these universes still have to make some kind of sense -- they still have to obey some sort of logic, otherwise players would quickly lose interest in adventures steered by a gamemaster based on nothing more than random whims.

...

Yet from the very beginning of computer role-playing games (CRPGs) it was clear that the stat-recording and incessant battles were the only things that could possibly survive the transition to the electronic medium, and that nothing short of the invention of human-level artificial intelligence could change that.
Without the presence of human minds, filled with creativity to breath life into the game, how could the soul of the role playing adventure exist?

Quote:
What chance would the players have to make decisions and act them out -- in other words, to role-play -- if they were denied the ability to express themselves, and if their actions were limited to inventory-management, battle tactics, and wandering around static maps? The quality of the RPG experience had from the very first depended on the ability, talent and dedication of the gamemaster, and some dumb computer program was indeed a pitiful substitute for a Gary Gygax or an Ed Greenwood.

All this was of course instantly recognized by the pioneers of CRPGs, who, being programmers, were well aware of the limitations of the primitive software engineering techniques available to them.

And so they focused on the stats and battles.
The early role playing games thus contained little role playing, and games like Akalabeth and Dungeons of Daggorath, though based on the similar rulesets to D&D, can only be described as dungeon crawlers, as they contained no role playing elements.

Quote:
But since early D&D modules themselves consisted of little more besides dungeon crawling, the pioneers of CRPGs could at least claim that their games managed to capture to a degree the spirit of those early modules. The computer gaming world -- such as it was at the time -- could hardly be blamed for praising their efforts.

Unfortunately, those early efforts would end up setting the tone for all subsequent ones.

...

Before long, CRPGs had become something of a joke in the role-playing community, whereas in computer gaming circles the term "RPG" had been debased to a euphemism for a genre that contained a varying mixture of strategy, action, and adventure elements -- everything, that is to say, except role-playing.
And here is something , personally, have always agreed with. I have always described, say, Final Fantasy, as an Adventure game, or, at a push, and focusing on the battle side of things, and really bad strategy game. But we're getting ahead of ourselves. Let's look back to the dawn of the JRPG, because-

Quote:
-in Japan, meanwhile, things were proceeding in a most amusing direction.

The key to understanding the debacle that are modern JRPGs is to realize that role-playing took ages to arrive in Japan, and was largely ignored even when it did. D&D took almost a decade to be brought over, at which point the Japanese had already been playing western-made dungeon crawlers for several years.

That fact alone explains everything. You see Western developers have always been aware of the nature of role-playing, so at least they've always known what they should be aiming for.

But the Japanese designers who set out to make their own CRPGs had no such understanding. They played Wizardry and other early dungeon-crawlers, and then sat down in smoke-filled izakayas and exclaimed, "So this is what a role-playing game is then!"

And off they went to do what the Japanese do best.

Hydlide (1984) and Courageous Perseus (1985), the first Japanese CRPGs (hereafter referred to as JRPGs), were quickly followed by Dragon Quest (1986) and Final Fantasy (1987), the huge success of the latter effectively dooming the genre in Japan for decades. Had player reaction to these first efforts been unfavorable, their designers would have sat back and re-examined their choices; perhaps they would eventually have sought out and studied the second- or third-generation Western CRPGs (which were already starting to move away from dungeon crawling by offering the player the occasional choice), and things would have likely turned out very differently. But since no one involved -- neither designers nor players -- knew the first thing about RPGs (even the term "role-playing" itself affording them no clue as to the nature of these games, since most Japanese don't speak English), and since Dragon Questand Final Fantasy had much to recommend them despite their not being RPGs, that was the end of the story. They kept selling, and so they kept getting made. The extremely risk-averse corporate policies of Japanese publishers such as Square, Enix and the rest of them (many of which were practically built on the success of their early JRPGs), have been efficiently crushing any hopes of a change ever since.

And there was never a question of these games evolving to overcome their humble origins, as happened in the West. Western CRPGs have kept evolving because there has always existed consciousness of a direction towards which to evolve; JRPGs, meanwhile, have been going round in circles ever since their inception -- Fallout is worlds away fromAkalabeth; not so Lost Odyssey from Final Fantasy.
Alex goes on to discuss why MMORPGs are both more and less then their pen and paper counterparts, his hatred of the JRPG, and the bright future of the CRPG.
********************
But let's focus on the terminology for a moment (maybe we'll look at what else he has to say later in the thread, or in a new thread altogether):

Now, the range of genres we have in video games are unhelpful at best, and a confusing and convoluted mess the rest of the time. The idea that an RPG is anything that has stats and level ups is considered an RPG, when in reality there is far more similar between Final Fantasy and a game like Zelda then there ever is between Final Fantasy and Fallout, but not only do we connect the two with the term RPG (JRPG, WRPG, SRPG, and so on as if they each had anything at all in common), we separate two game that are in essentially the same genre.

Genre is supposed to categorize works of a similar nature, for the convenience of those with an interest in the medium (whether it be for the purpose of criticism, discussion, analysis, or consumer friendliness); pandering to this rubbish is the opposite of genre. It is anti-genre.

It gets worse when it leaks onto other genres, and we start calling games [genre]-RPGs, because they have levels and stats. In what way is Castlevania role playing, for example, yet it is almost always described as and adventure-RPG by it's fans. Why is Crisis Core an RPG and Devil May Cry an action game, because the differences between the two aren't all that great (other then DMC beings a good game). Is it because the former was made by Square Enix and the later, not? Or is it because the stats are visible in one game and not the other?

In short, role playing is not stats.

Discuss.
Last Edited by Sam; 01-19-2011 at 03:57 PM. Reason: Reply With Quote
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Old 11-14-2010, 08:27 PM
Khao Khao is a male Chile Khao is offline
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Re: Making Numbers Go Up

*clap*
*clap*
*clap*

I can't do anything else but to agree, after playing pen & paper RPG, and noticing how insanely different it was from the RPG genre in video games, it feels like the RPG label is absolutely wrong, but it can't be helped, it's already stapled, and even if most gamers and developers in the world were to agree that RPG is incorrect, it would still remain being used for the same, a title to "number raising" games, and nothing more.

For something different to say, real RPGs are quite possible as a video game, Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines does a good job on it, you select your type of character wich gives you access to different skills (not necesarily combat based), and you can go through the game any way you want, persuading other characters, intimidating them, killing them, or whatever, and different choices are "unlocked" depending on how you play, giving access to different endings. The game is still slightly linear, but does an excellent job in tricking you to believe it's heavily open. Actually, it's very similar to the real pen & paper version of it, except you go through a set storyline instead of there being a storyteller improvising it.
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Old 11-15-2010, 08:37 AM
Sam United Kingdom Sam is offline
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Re: Making Numbers Go Up

First, Critical Distance yesterday published their weekly list of the best videogame articles around the web, and, fittingly, I was linked to The Escapists exploration of the differences of WJPRG characters and JRPG character, which, in the process of making some valid comparisons between Japanese and American culture, proceeds to completely miss the point.

This is important, because it outlines how labelling both genres as RPGs is confusing and leads to misunderstandings such as this one. The sad thing is that the author actually describes in what way JRPGs are not to be considered role playing, but fails to recognise the point he is making and continues to treat them as if they are.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andross
Sure, Final Fantasy isn't an RPG, but neither are Fable, Mass Effect (Which I'm a big fan of, by the way), Fallout 3, and the vast majority of so-called "WRPGs." There really aren't any modern "RPGs," J or W, that provide a complete role-playing experience. Maybe some older games like Fallout 1 and 2 or some of the classic BioWare games offered that experience, but that was then and this is now. And even then, the RP experiences in those games paled in comparison to actual role-playing. Until "true" A.I. is implemented in video games, a full role-playing experience comparable to what larpers do on a daily basis will be impossible.
Well, yeah, actually, this is what he said, but he stresses that WPRGs have come far closer to reaching the ideal CRPG then JRPGs ever have, which is 100% true. His conclusion is that MMORPGs are the only real CRPGs, but have their own downfalls:

Quote:
But the beauty of UO's [Ultima Online's] approach was that it completely eliminated the fundamental problem of CRPGs, this being the impossibility of creating an A.I. capable enough to convincingly take up the duties of the gamemaster. Because if virtually all the characters surrounding each player were other players (excepting a few shopkeepers, city guards, etc.) there would be no need for a gamemaster to control them. Free from the constraints of the dialogue trees and pre-scripted events of traditional CRPGs, players could say exactly what they felt like saying in the manner they chose to say it, and be assured of receiving a rational (or irrational, as was the case!) and completely spontaneous response. This was 100% pure role-playing, and for a moment it seemed to be the future.

That moment didn't last very long.

Because it quickly became apparent that simply by throwing several thousand players into an otherwise barren fantasy setting was not enough to guarantee that Tolkien-like epics would spring out of nowhere, and sweep players into the kinds of adventures that Gary Gygax et al. had in mind when they first created RPGs. So yes, the role-playing part was as perfect as anyone could hope for (that is to say the game facilitated no-holds-barred conversation; whether players chose to take advantage of this was another thing altogether -- eventually, special servers would be set aside for those so inclined), but RPG fans soon discovered that in a world in which everyone was an adventurer there could be no adventures worth pursuing.
And that the only single player game that could be described as such is Deus-Ex, and that that, not Crisis Core, is the epitome of the Action-RPG.

(Though, I haven't played Vampire the Masquerade, as Khao recommended; I'm sure there are other games that come as close as Deux Ex that have simply been overlooked)

On the subject of larpers, seeing as you brought it up:

Quote:
It is important to realize the fundamental difference between an action game and an RPG. In an action game, the player's character is ultimately as capable in performing tasks as the player himself. If you can't physically line up the crosshairs with your enemies in an FPS you'll never be able to kill them. If your reflexes are not up to the task of dodging bullets in STGs or fireballs in fighting games, you will never manage to get very far with them. But in an RPG you could be a wheelchair-bound quadriplegic, and still controlling all kinds of fully-functioning human (or inhuman!) beings -- from regular Joes to veritable supermen. Hence pure role-playing games are controlled completely by the player's mind, and the only human ability that is being tested is that of decision-making. This is how ALL real-life RPGs work, with the exception of some extreme forms of live-action role-playing, in which players physically hit each other with kicks, punches and all kinds of fake (or sometimes even real!) weapons. These latter ones are NOT considered pure role-playing games, hence the "live-action" label.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andross
Trying to fit a game in to a genre mold is stupid to begin with as it stifles creative freedom. The best course of action wouldn't be to "purify" genre labels, but to encourage people to stop caring about them so much.
I agree that the restrictive conventions of "genre" run against the very idea of artistic expression but it's only an issue to the artists; when they start aiming to fall into a genre for whatever reason (creative deficiency, aim to appeal to an existing market, ect), then they cease to be artists at all. But it's those developers that we need to worry the least about anyway, as they are the ones destined to failure.

To the audience of the games (or music, or movie, or literature) they need only be used as a convenience of language (if we didn't use the names of genres, we would only say things like "games in which you shoot things in the first person" instead of FPS (though, for the record, FPS is also a stupid-as-**** genre name)) or a means of categorization. So the best course of actions is simply to be flexible with genre, to understand and allow for the creations of new genres, and so on. Not to judge games as if genre was absolute (it might be a bad FPS when compared to its FPS peers, but a good game for other reasons).

But for genre to satisfy even this basic, basic purpose of convenience, the labels themselves have to make sense.

One last thing I forgot to add to the opening post:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex
How long can this inanity go on for? For how much longer will we have to put up with trashy, infantile strategy games getting shoved in our faces and touted as the latest and greatest "RPGs"? And don't even think of telling me that this is a trivial issue of naming conventions -- the problem could not possibly be more immediate and real. We'd have hundreds of Deus Exes by now if the term "RPG" hadn't been debased to virtual meaninglessness. If players do not one day start asking for real CRPGs they will never get them, except perhaps once a decade or so as happened with Deus Ex, after the necessary cattle sacrifices have been performed according to the rituals prescribed by the village elders, and when the stars in the northern sky align as foretold by the prophecies handed down to us by the ancients. For lovers of real RPGs who long to see -- within their lifetime -- what can be accomplished through the power of digital computing, hoping and praying would seem to be all that's left to us.
Last Edited by Sam; 11-15-2010 at 08:42 AM. Reason: Reply With Quote
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Old 11-15-2010, 11:46 AM
Sam United Kingdom Sam is offline
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Re: Making Numbers Go Up

His definition of role playing is perfect. Action games rely on a players reflexes, strategy/puzzle games rely on a players intelligence; role playing relies on those, and other, traits of the character, not yourself. Your decisions effect your character, and your character effects your success. That's why in pen and paper RPGs you have skills like language, lore, lockpicking, whatever; you don't actually know these skills, but your decisions mean that your character does, and that in turn will have an effect on how you handle situations in the game. Hence, you are taking up a role. A 50% chance for one person is a 50% chance for another, assuming they played the same role.

Otherwise literally everything is role playing. If Half Life you "act" as Gordon Freeman, hence, roleplaying? No, of course not. If we're going to resolve the mess of genres we deal with at the moment, we have to have sensible definitions, and this is one that resolves that issues well, because now you can't recommend to someone Final Fantasy who enjoyed Mass Effect, because they are not both RPGs.

Now I've never larped, but though you get the advantage of actually moving as your character does (and, other then perhaps dressing up, this is the only advantage it seems to offer, and in pen and paper RPGs you are in theory doing just as much acting), how fast your can run, how quickly you can react or how well you can see is down to your own abilities, not that of your character. Hence-

Quote:
-in an RPG you could be a wheelchair-bound quadriplegic, and still controlling all kinds of fully-functioning human (or inhuman!) beings -- from regular Joes to veritable supermen.
(as I say, I've never larped; I'm taking it to be pretty much a glorified game of tag)

JRPG battles are on their own strategy games, because it is down to your intelligence whether or not you succeed. Now RPGs can contain strategy elements, as much as they can contain puzzle elements are action elements, but without the dynamic characters as described above, and dynamic stories, you cannot describe it as role playing. As Alex said, "Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy had much to recommend them", but they are not RPGs. They are adventure-strategy (though, honestly, the strategy element is awful most of the time).

For the record though, I disagree that Fallout and Mass Effect are not far better RPGs then FF. I don't want to argue specifics, and get into a never ending quote war of needless technicalities and overly specific examples for each title, but as far as I am concerned they meet the specification above and I would probably describe them as adventure-RPGs.
Last Edited by Sam; 11-15-2010 at 11:59 AM. Reason: Reply With Quote
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Old 11-15-2010, 01:25 PM
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Re: Making Numbers Go Up

The meaning behind words changes from decade to decade. I've never played D&D or any other table-top RPG. When I think RPG, I am always going to think of Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest, and maybe the Elder Scroll series as well. I really do wanna try some more traditional RPG's to get a taste for how different they are from JRPG's.
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Old 11-15-2010, 01:51 PM
Sam United Kingdom Sam is offline
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Re: Making Numbers Go Up

The only definition you have provided is this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andross
Role-playing is just that: playing out a role, acting as a character. A role-playing game is when you're doing that but in pursuit of particular objectives.
So why isn't Half Life a role playing game, again? You're playing the role of Gordon Freeman, you're acting as the character, you are pursuing an objective.

It is your definition that is open to abuse, and it is Alex's that considers the history of the term and places it sensibly into the context of videogame genre.

The only thing you have done is link to a dictionary.com page, as if that was helpful, the definition on which would mean every game on earth is an RPG, and then added clauses to that definition such as "non-linear" to dismiss games that obviously are not RPGs when I've brought them up. In your original definition, Half Life was without a doubt an RPG, and so was Grand theft Auto, Super Mario, and Puzzle Bobble.

So you're making a very confused an inconsistent statement here.

I'm also really not sure why you don't consider Fallout 3 an RPG, according to your "definition". Is it because it has an ending? Because even pen and paper RPGs have a goal. How you get to that ending in Fallout is completely up to you. Your actions always have an effect on the story- usually small contained effects yes, but even they contribute to the development of your character which has a long term effect. Mass Effect too; yeah, the Good/Evil thing might be role-playing-for-nine-year-olds, but it's still role playing, even according to your definition. No, they're not the same as pen and paper RPGs, we can both agree on that, but they're closer then you give them credit for.

I never said Final Fantasy was a bad game, I said it's strategy element was ****. And it is. Even if your usual tactic of attack-attack-potion-attack temporarily does not work, you can just run back a few paces, fight some green slimes (or usually a lot of green slimes), and then it will. Sometimes the fundamentals are there, like in X, but even there you only ended up using five different attacks, and not in any tactical order other then heal{when: health = <20%}. Even fans agree that the battles systems of JRPGs are not "the point", and pale in comparison to games such as Fire Emblem, or Valkyria Chronicles, or KotOR, or DotA, or whatever. I'm a fan of Final Fantasy and think the battle system is arbitrary and unbalanced, and doesn't offer any opportunity for strategic thinking.
Last Edited by Sam; 11-15-2010 at 01:53 PM. Reason: Reply With Quote
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Old 11-15-2010, 03:02 PM
Sam United Kingdom Sam is offline
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Re: Making Numbers Go Up

How do you define "living"? Is "living" different to plain old "living"?

I'm not misunderstanding the definition, I'm intentionally interpreting it badly to demonstrate how flawed it is.

You can't hijack the plot in Half Life because of all these damn knee high walls that get in your way; in RPGs you can't hijack the plot outside of what the gamemaster allows anyway, so can Half Life be an RPG now?

Again you're working with vague definitions, and scales. So what if there weren't two moral dimensions in Mass Effect, but 5, or 19? Would it be an RPG then? Is labelling something an RPG down purely to how "subtle" it is? How do you measure subtly, and how subtle does a game have to be to be an RPG?

(When it gets 1000 sbtl pnts does it lvlup to RPG, lololololololololol no)

Alex hasn't "made up" any definition, he has simply clarified a definition, and explained how it works in the context of game genres.

Of course, his definition was never about having large amounts of choice (perhaps you need to re-read some of my posts), but for all I can see that's exactly what yours is about;

Quote:
If you were truly role-playing as the character, you could hijack the plot and go where you want from there.
Quote:
All of the choices are laid out before you; there is no improvising on the part of the player involved.
So... what's all that about?
Last Edited by Sam; 11-15-2010 at 03:13 PM. Reason: Reply With Quote
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Old 11-15-2010, 03:20 PM
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Re: Making Numbers Go Up

Whoa, Whoa, Whoa wait on a second here. Final Fantasy 12 doesnt have any tactics??? are you kidding me? You have to set up all of your gambits in the right way constantly to adjust to the given enemies (in reality mostly only bosses) in the varying environments. Especially in the later optional bosses which have... i think 99 million life or something. That is pure tactics, even if it isnt on demand constant tactics changing of final fantasty 13.
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Old 11-15-2010, 09:21 PM
Khao Khao is a male Chile Khao is offline
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Re: Making Numbers Go Up

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Originally Posted by ibLeo View Post
IMO, the way forward to encourage a player to be more "in character" is to give characters needs, like in the Sims. You set your types of needs and desires when you create the character and then you can't just do the usual "I'll be a saint one minute and a devil the next" tomfoolery; you have to stay in character. Perhaps if we also used Fire Emblem's Rapport System whereby if two characters spend enough time together, they develop a rapport and their enhanced teamwork means that they gain bonuses to their stats when near each other - BUT with the drawback that their company becomes a new "need" whose gauge must be kept relatively full or the character gets depressed from missing their friends and their stats drop drastically.

There could even be a sanity gauge, perhaps, whereby when you continually neglect your character's needs and desires, they go crazy. That way you can't just befriend random NPCs for a while and then randomly kill them later, because your character will be fond of them and murdering them will cause insanity which, although not technically permanent if you return to acting in character, it WILL leave lasting scars on you and maybe your character will randomly suffer from relapses even if you don't do anything else wrong.

There are plenty of ways to enforce a sense of character.
The game I mentioned earlier attempts something like this, you have a "humanity" level, wich goes from 1 to 10, if you kill an innocent human or are extremely cruel to another being, the level will drop, and can only be regained back by performing good deeds, but the opportunities are quite rare. The thing is, that with less humanity, your dialog choices will be much more limited, and will often come as very violent and insane, easily making NPCs scared of you, losing valuable information, or items, or wathever.

For example, there's a point of the game where you have to infiltrate a private family party, a good way is to try to persuade a family member out of the party to give you his invitation, there are various ways to do so, from passing off as a pitiful person who lost his invitation, to make his wife fight with him. With a low humanity, your choices are mostly limited to "give me a ****ing invitation or I kill you and everyone else in here."
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Old 11-16-2010, 04:00 PM
Sam United Kingdom Sam is offline
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Re: Making Numbers Go Up

Oh, so it's all about "becoming", now, also in italics? What does that even mean? "Representation of your mind"? Do you have any idea what you're talking about? You clearly don't have a point for me to miss, and you're certainly not clarifying anything, for you or for anyone reading. I'm only "assuming" exactly what you have told me.

I've lost interest in your tenuous grasp on semantics.
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Old 11-16-2010, 04:40 PM
Sam United Kingdom Sam is offline
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Re: Making Numbers Go Up

On the subject of your game ideas, by the way ibLeo; though each were great ideas, for sure, they're flawed. Sure, when it is as (literally) two dimensional as Good/Evil, you can make measure to prevent a player switching between the two, though most games already have this in that they only reward you if your Good/Evil rating is high, so once you start getting points in one area you are compelled to continue. This is reinforced in Mass Effect were Renegade points open Renegade choices that give more Renegade points. Once you start you've got no reason not to continue on that path, and often it is the only path open to you.

I actually feel this is anti-role-playing. The computer is having as much as say in your decisions as you are.

Moreover, the computer could never allow for all character types; the computer might punish you for what it sees as acting out of character, though in your mind your character is just more nuanced then the computer had allowed for.

In the end, the most important decision is your decision to role play to begin with, and if you're not capable of stepping into a role without the computer pushing you into it, maybe you should be playing another game.

In fact, what you suggested seem more suited to a JRPG game where the characters are pre-assigned; it would be your job to interpret the characters you are given based on what you know of them (it's not as if JRPG characters aren't typically very nuanced anyway, so this shouldn't be overly difficult). Your knowledge of your character (eg. pairing a character with his friend in battle, ect) is rewarded with stat bonuses. I also think it's a nice way to tie story and gameplay together, two aspects usually kept miles apart in this genre.

Nice ideas, though. You seem to be full of them
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Old 11-16-2010, 05:09 PM
Sam United Kingdom Sam is offline
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Re: Making Numbers Go Up

Okay, just to clarify, why can't you beat you wife to death with a spade and jump on the next broad that comes you way in Fable? Is it because no woman will go near you because you still have her blood on your forehead, or is it because you have two weeks of compulsory erectile dysfunction whilst you sit down and think about what you've done?

The world responding to your character's actions is a sign of a good RPG, but I still think if the computer is giving you a penalty for killing someone you've battled with a lot because it has interpreted you as friends with him, when in reality you were just hanging around with him to gain his trust so he can tell you the location of a top secret weapon you would like and in reality you hate his guts because he has a ginger beard and your abusive mother was a redhead and you've basically been waiting for an opportunity to box in his head since you've met him... is pretty much counter to the RPG experience.

On the other hand, it might actually be rewarding when the computer gets it right, and you can see that your character decision has some tangible weight in the story, and exists outside of your own mind, and that could be quite a satisfying feeling.

So maybe one day there will be a computer that can accurately work out 98% of character models, but until then...
Last Edited by Sam; 11-16-2010 at 05:12 PM. Reason: Reply With Quote
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Old 11-16-2010, 06:29 PM
silver arrow silver arrow is a male Canada silver arrow is offline
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Re: Making Numbers Go Up

Like all words in the English language, definitions change over time. Today, (and for the past 20 years or so) RPGs are widely seen as games where you get experience and level up. Thus, that has become a correct definition of what an RPG is. Like it or not.
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Old 11-16-2010, 07:00 PM
silver arrow silver arrow is a male Canada silver arrow is offline
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Re: Making Numbers Go Up

Basically, D&D is a role playing game where you get experience and level up. Since it was the epitome of what people saw as an RPG people started equating RPG to be "D&D like", in other words, any game that played like D&D was labeled an RPG. Meaning any game that had a campaign and let the player gain experience and level up.

It's really a prime example of what has happened to countless words in our language. If we went back to the original meanings of all words in our language, the confusion would be astounding. There are always people who want to hold on to the original meanings, but they are always left behind. I see no reason to change the label of "D&D like games" from RPG.
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Old 11-17-2010, 09:29 AM
Sam United Kingdom Sam is offline
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Re: Making Numbers Go Up

Silver Arrow, we've already talked about that mistake, and more importantly why it is not beneficial to propagate it. If you're not interested in participating in discussion, then please don't.

Okay, let's look at this:

Quote:
Role-playing is coming up with new ways to change the direction of the plot; video RPGs can't possibly do that, so they can't possibly be considered "true" RPGs. Older WRPGs were able to fake a feeling of player improvisation by providing a wide variety of subtle choices,
Let's try a thought experiment: can you have a linear RPG?

Well, a lot of games of D&D are pretty linear; the gamemaster often draws out the maps beforehand, with a specific goal in mind. Encounters are pre-arranged. So say you have a RPG that is just 5 connected rooms in a straight line. The role playing element, as you seem to see it, is the player being able to improvise his way out of each room and into the next one, though dialogue with other players and the game master.

Whatever the situation, though, the gamemaster sometimes has to say, no, you can't do that, no, that won't work (even when, based on the information given to you, it would have worked in the real work).

The point is this; a game with a wide variety of subtle choices is indistinguishable, and thus for all intents and purposes, the same as, a good gamemaster.

That's what makes it a good RPG, but here's the distinction; not good as in it is a game that is good/bad at being an RPG, but a good/bad game that is in the RPG genre.

We already know that computers do not make for great gamemasters. It's often said that the quality of an RPG is how good the gamemaster is, not how well defined the rule sets or the scope of the universe or whatever. But even when you have a terrible gamemaster, you are still playing an RPG. This is not what defines an RPG (and, consequently, why you don't actually have a definition for me to agree/disagree with at all).

Role-playing is about stepping into a role, you're right there (the clue is in the words). A game is about winning and losing, so in the context of videogames a role-playing game in one in which success is down to your role, as opposed to your reflexes or your intelligence. Your role in the game, just as your role in life, is defined, loosely, by the decisions you make.

That's how I define an RPG. I'm not making up definitions out of nowhere, I am clarifying a definition. That is what a pen and paper RPG was and is, and that's how a CRPG should be judged.

It also fits nicely around other genres, as we've already discussed way back when. I mean, by the currently held definition, Devil May Cry is an RPG; you receive new weapons, new moves, you power up those moves with orbs, and so on. But it doesn't have Level ups and it isn't published by Square, so I guess by the modern inconsistent standard of today I guess it can't be an RPG, right?
Last Edited by Sam; 11-17-2010 at 09:30 AM. Reason: Reply With Quote
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Old 11-17-2010, 02:20 PM
silver arrow silver arrow is a male Canada silver arrow is offline
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Re: Making Numbers Go Up

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Originally Posted by Sam View Post
Silver Arrow, we've already talked about that mistake, and more importantly why it is not beneficial to propagate it. If you're not interested in participating in discussion, then please don't.
What mistake? I read the whole thread. Only K9doggie briefly mentioned what I talked about. Language evolves over time. The meaning of RPG has evolved. Regardless of how you say it would be beneficial to turn back and use its original meaning, you're wrong. It'd be a huge pain in the ass, and borderline impossible to turn back now because we've been using that definition for multiple decades now and a large portion of people weren't even born until that definition was the norm. It's already accepted by most people and is an easy way to describe a certain genre of games. It's convenient. We wouldn't benefit at all from changing back. It's not like the other definition is gone.

If you're not going to properly respond to my posts then don't. I was just pointing something out that was in fact, related to the discussion at hand. Don't accuse me of making uninterested posts.
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Old 11-17-2010, 03:37 PM
Sam United Kingdom Sam is offline
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Re: Making Numbers Go Up

The term hasn't "evolved", anymore then the new definition of "literally" is now "figuratively", regardless of how some people use it. Would you say the meaning of the word literally has "evolved"?

If anything, it's devolved into a far less useful term (the reasons it is less useful you might understand if you have read the thread), and this is more down to ignorance then anything.

Is DMC a RPG because you "level up" your attacks? Is FFX not an RPG because you have the sphere grid rather then "level ups", but every other game in the franchise is?

If you're in favour of useless words, please, continue.
Last Edited by Sam; 11-17-2010 at 03:37 PM. Reason: Reply With Quote
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Old 11-17-2010, 04:48 PM
Kamekosta Kamekosta is a male Kamekosta is offline
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Re: Making Numbers Go Up

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam View Post
The term hasn't "evolved", anymore then the new definition of "literally" is now "figuratively", regardless of how some people use it. Would you say the meaning of the word literally has "evolved"?

If anything, it's devolved into a far less useful term (the reasons it is less useful you might understand if you have read the thread), and this is more down to ignorance then anything.
I dont think that your argument is valid. Your comparing a subjective word to a direct one. the word "role-playing" is conceptual of a role-playing game, and it has no real border's around its meaning. Its meaning is what you interpret it to be, while the word "literally" has only one direct meaning and doesnt evolve as easily as more subjective words.

Anyway, its words like "gay" and "fag" that evolve quickly because of the underlying idea behind it. These words are much more flexible than words like "quantity" or "fulfilling".

Words cant devolve... that doesnt even make sense. The old concept of a word still exists, and then another word is derived out of the previous one. Even if the new word is less encompassing than the old.
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Old 11-17-2010, 04:58 PM
silver arrow silver arrow is a male Canada silver arrow is offline
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Re: Making Numbers Go Up

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Originally Posted by Sam View Post
The term hasn't "evolved", anymore then the new definition of "literally" is now "figuratively", regardless of how some people use it. Would you say the meaning of the word literally has "evolved"?
No. There is a big difference between a lot of people using a word incorrectly, and the vast majority of people using a word incorrectly. Literally has never been used in that incorrect way to such a degree that it would be accepted. By the nature of its precise definition, it probably never will. A good example of what RPG is like is the word mineral. A mineral, by definition, is a solid, natural forming conglomerate of elements that has a definite crystal structure. People started to incorrectly call elements minerals so now it is commonplace to say that a certain food is filled with beneficial minerals like iron (not a mineral). There are no minerals in the vast majority of your food if you go by the original meaning. It has become an accepted definition though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam View Post
If anything, it's devolved into a far less useful term (the reasons it is less useful you might understand if you have read the thread), and this is more down to ignorance then anything.
It is not less useful. You're reasons are wrong. RPG is a short, easy to say word that describes a genre that might otherwise be difficult to describe. The original meaning is still maintained when used in that context so nothing is hurt. If you've taken any college English vocab classes you'd know I'm right. Maybe you should speak old English. Accepting change decades after it's already set in stone is ignorant after all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam View Post
Is DMC a RPG because you "level up" your attacks? Is FFX not an RPG because you have the sphere grid rather then "level ups", but every other game in the franchise is?
No. DMC already falls under the gaming genre known as Action. It fits the Action genre far more than it fits the RPG genre. It could be called an Action game with some RPG elements.

FFX is an RPG. You do level up, it's just a little different. You gain experience and use that experience to power up. The only difference is that you can customize what attributes level up yourself rather than it being automatic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam View Post
If you're in favour of useless words, please, continue.
I'm not in favor of useless words. Most words however, are not useless, RPG being one of them. I'm always against change and want words to keep their current meaning. I know when to accept that a meaning has changed though.

Edit:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kamekosta
I dont think that your argument is valid. Your comparing a subjective word to a direct one. the word "role-playing" is conceptual of a role-playing game, and it has no real border's around its meaning. Its meaning is what you interpret it to be, while the word "literally" has only one direct meaning and doesnt evolve as easily as more subjective words.

Anyway, its words like "gay" and "fag" that evolve quickly because of the underlying idea behind it. These words are much more flexible than words like "quantity" or "fulfilling".

Words cant devolve... that doesnt even make sense. The old concept of a word still exists, and then another word is derived out of the previous one. Even if the new word is less encompassing than the old.
Well said.
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Old 11-17-2010, 06:09 PM
Sam United Kingdom Sam is offline
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Re: Making Numbers Go Up

Quote:
RPG is a short, easy to say word that describes a genre that might otherwise be difficult to describe.
It doesn't describe a genre at all. This is what this thread is about. Games with level ups are not a genre. If you're going to say that DMC had RPG elements then you may as well also say that Serious Sam had RPG elements, seeing as you get more powerful guns, making you stronger, as you progress through the game. Neither are JRPGs and WRPGs in the same genre, a genre that Castlevania, DMC, Serious Sam and Psyconauts all also belong to, given your logic.

I'm not saying that words cannot change definition, but I am against it when it makes those words useless when they were not before, or when they don't have to be. What if suddenly a majority of people did accept that literally could mean figuratively. You'd have half a word for one opposite and one and a half for another. I'm sure you can see how ridiculous that is, and I'm pretty sure you'd still correct people when they use it wrong. I sure would. That's pretty much how I see this RPG thing.

Lol, words are subjective. You can subjectively interpret the meaning of a word if it has several meanings, but almost all words have hard, semantic meanings, with some exceptions, even if there are several of them.

And so you know, I was using the word devolve to refer to degrade in usefulness or complexity, or to evolve badly, not literally evolve backwards through former forms.
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