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Woooo hoo! Hey kids! Does any body know what time it is?

It's Howdy Doody Ti- Wait wait wait...

:O? What's wrong?

We've already done that opening. It's old.

Oh.

Yeah. We have to start over.

Ok, lemme try again...

Fine.

Wibby Wham Wham Wuzzle! Who knows what time it is?

... That's just stupid. I mean, Wibby? What does Wibby mean?

...Having Wib-like qualities?

That doesn't help much.

Obviously.

It's not my fault that you lack smartity!

That's not a word.

Certainly, your robo-brain is malfunctioning.

No. It's not.

Oh. I believe you. Umm...Well, what are we gonna do then?

Hmm... Let's ask GG Crono 4. Is that good?

Why, yes. GG Crono 4, what time is it? :(

Ph33l the ph33r! GG Crono 4 is h33r! ...or somethin'.

Realism in RPGs, eh? Well, THAT would GREATLY depend on the RPG.

Let's take a typical RPG for example. Realism would probobly dampen some aspects of the the gameplay. And do you know why?

Realism is guns dealing more damage than swords.
Realism is not getting pelted by fireballs and lightning bolts in battle, and getting killed out of battle by a simple knife through the chest.
Realism is some poor shopkeeper from a backwater town being unable to give you 650,000 gold beacause you happen to walk in with a legendary sword you don't want.
Realism is having a monster/demihuman or reformed villain in your party and having the townspeople being a bit shaken up when you're wandering around.
And realism is heroes with hair that's affected by gravity.

So in some cases, we do NOT want "realism" thingy.

However, imagine some new kind of RPG.

Some kind of scifi setting, where the hero may use a gun as a weapon. You encounter someone, and enter a tradiational RPG battle mode. When you attack, you have to AIM. And depending on how well you do and where you hit him, you may or may not hit him. And if you DO hit him, you could give him a headshot and kill him instantly, shoot him in the leg to make him stop moving, or even charge forward and pistol-whip him to knock him out.

THAT would be an interesting game, definately.

Well, thats all I have to say about that. Before I go, one question...

Kagon, what the sheezy-feezy is up with that big freakin' sprite?

Well, off I go. Bai!

I think games like Fallout take that into account, GG. I know I've seen some RPG where where you hit them mattered. Well, and Shenmue. It had a cool move where you could incapacitate a person with one move by breaking his arm.

Hmm, don't you mean realism is NOT all of those things? :P There are games that do the aiming sort of thing, too. Vagrant Story does it to an extent, if I remember correctly, and Front Mission had such a feature too, in which destroying an arm would disable a weapon, destorying the legs would cut their movement to 1 panel, and destorying the body would take the pilot out. The one thing I can't attest to is...Kagon, what IS up with that big freakin' sprite?

Durr! i asnwerd one off thos rpgc emale spms

There you have it, GG Crono 4. Well, who's getting the next reply?

You.

Oh...This one comes from The Loafer. Mrrraw.

None. I play RPG's to get relief from reality.

Hm. Short but to the point.

Just depends on the game. Or maybe why you play them. :D

Well, too little realism can be weird. I don't want to walk around in an RPG whose whole game is a Salvador Dali clock painting, although one place like that would be cool.

Yeah, but on the other hand, too much realism is silly. It was technically more realistic to find rare items to make weapons in Final Fantasy 8, but it was hella annoying, and I really hated it. I mean, what the hell do you use your Gil for in that game? Nothing you can really BUY is any good. :P

That's not realism. That's just stupidity. I don't think I can go out and collect the rarest metal with only one ore known to man to try and forge a new weapon.

I beleive it was an attempt to make it more realistic. More of the newer features in that game were somehow meant to be more realistic, but were not realistic at all. Like, since you're in a military of sorts, you get paid depending on your rank, so rather than get gil by fighting, you just get it periodically, which isn't realistic at all. :P

Well, it's very realistic. Military get paid based on rank and get paid periodically. At least there's no question of why a slime is caring gil though.

Yeah, but I mean, you got it periodically NO MATTER WHERE YOU WERE. Like, if you were in the bottom of a deep uncharted ruin, you'd still get your gil. If you were in the future, you would get your gil. It didn't matter, they got it to you somehow. :P

Hm. Well, that's a little off. I don't remember the game, but there is some game where only human enemies drop gold. I think it's Xenosaga.

Hmm, I never tried Xenosaga, didn't look good. :P That game obviously isn't realistic anyways, because if it were realistic, every guy on the ship would hit on Shion. :P

Heh. Well, it was realistic in the sense that every human dropped gold, and other monsters dropped stuff that could be sold, like scrap metal.

I see. Well, I guess you could say that all games are realistic in one way, and unrealistic in other ways. I don't really mind, as long as they pay attention to details, or, to clarify, they make the fantasy world realistic in its own sense.

Right. But as The Loafer said, we play them to escape reality, so we need a healthy mix of some fundamental realism and out of this world magic fights.

It's cool that it sparked such a conversation, heh. :P Anyways, we have a mailbag to do :P Get the next reply :P

Fine. Will Doc Shinryuu spark as much talking? Only time will tell...

*with a rather interestingly varied array of explosions, a nearby wall is blown to smithereens. Doc Shinryuu walks in through the resulting hole* Heyo, all. Doc Shinryuu here. *huge, loud, unneccessarily flashy fanfare* As you can see, I'm feeling descriptive today.

Hmm... realism, eh? Personally, I think realism is one of the defining points of RPGs, in most cases. There are a few exceptions(i.e. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Okage: Shadow King, etc.), but I won't discuss those. I think that realism - including voices, ambient noise, graphics, and character/plot development - should be included to the greatest possible extent. FFX is a good example. It includes excellent graphics, voice acting, and plot. Everything develops essentially smoothly and twists quite well at times. If a VR RPG comes out, I'll be first in line!

...You know Doc, your flashy exit isn't cool enough, so I made you a new one. Try this on for size:

*Doc Shinryuu abruptly blurts out, "MY PLANET NEEDS ME", and flies off into space, never to be seen again(?)*

Oh well. Bye Doc Poochie. The VR RPG reminds me of my idea for a 50 hour long Virtual Boy RPG.

Hah, have fun getting VR sickness. :P I can just imagine what would happen if someone made a VBoy RPG, heheh. :P

Every spell would be Fire.

Even Ice?

Have you ever seen red ice?

In FF4, Ice 2 has Red in the middle. :D

... Damn.

:D

Now, what about red lightning?

HMmm..I'll take that as a no...um, I'm sure I have, gimme a second... Aha! I don't remember which one, but one of the lightning spells in Final Fantasy Tactics has a red hue to it :D

Red forest based spells?

Why forest based spells?

Because they're typically green.

I'm sure you can have dead red leaves. :P

.... Just get the next reply.

Ok :D :D This is a reply, from JOE!!!!!! DUN DUN DUN...Chuga chuga woo woo! Wasn't that a good theme song?

I don't even know what show.

I don't think there is one. :P

It is I, Joe last time I responded under the alias Arlene fullmer It is my friend's name because I was using her computer to respond.

luckily, for energon Mr. T went back to his milk factory so now It is just me and evil Joe so, evil Joe get the mailbag topic!

evil Joe: why me?
Joe: because I don't like you
evil Joe: oh, ok just asking*gets topic*ok, ahem, reality in rpgs how much should there be?

well...not very much in my opinion there should be just enough to make the game make sense, like a princess named Kagon running naked through the forest in the 31st century would not make much sense, neither would refrigerators in 1000 AD *cough,ChronoTrigger,uncough* stuff like that confuses people so keep as much reality as you can in there, but don't make the game boring is my answer.

and now for my entertainment I will...NOT beat up energon!!! I will have someone else do that*slips a Bola in energon's pocket* Look, Kagon, Energon has a....BOLA!!!!*leaves while laughing at what will happen to energon at the hands of Kagon*

evil Joe: um, hey what about me?
Joe: I guess I will just try to take over the world now.*disappears*
stinct voice:ahh damn! every time I start to plot I disappear.

durr! not teh boa!

GAK!

Was great, we know, Energon.

Gak was cool, I had play doh though, which sucked cos it always became hard and useless. :( What did you have when you were young, Kagon?

boogies!

boogies? I...don't know what that is, and I wonder if I want to know?

Probably not.

Yeah, I figgered as much. 984, be a doll and get the next reply? :D

noz! i get it! it frm cala

Ok, Kagon. You're such a sweetie :D

*cackles evilly as she thinks of a way to get another appearance on the Mailbag*

Errr... Heya. Cala here (man, do I feel stupid). I have a pretty strong belief in regards to realism and video games.

I believe the two shouldn't mix. At all. EVER. Video games were meant to be an escape from the real world. Bringing realism into a fantasy world (bring in technology to FFX) isn't a very good thing to do. It's not right when someone says "Yea let's melt the ice with Fire1." and then someone gets out a flamethrower or something. Fantasy doesn't go very well with realism.

Anyway, I don't think I proved my point very well (or clearly!), but that's my belief: Video games and realism don't mix. Period. Or . Anyway, bye!

Hmm...I must disagree, as per the conversation 984 and I just had. :P

And technically, fantasy just means not reality. In that case, super advanced technology works.

Yeah, a lot of the technology in FF10 wasn't very realistic. I would very much like to see Blitzball happen. :P I mean, hell, it's like underwater Quidditch, almost :D

Just wait until BN gets it working, SG.

Oh that's right, he did have ideas for that, huh? They were actually really smart, it just sounds farfetched cos it sounds...well, really expensive. :P

It's a sport that will bomb so quickly it makes the XFL look like a long range investment.

Hmm, that could be a problem too. :P But the XFL was dumb because it was showy. That's why the ABA isn't around anymore either :P

The XFL was great. Didn't you enjoy the antics of He Hate Me?

I don't know, I never watched the XFL cos I don't like football. :P I like baseball. :D

Okay. Go Braves then. Woo.

I'm an Astros fan myself... :P ANyways, who gets the next reply?

You.

Alright. The next one is from RPG Knigt.

Hello. RPG Knight here.

Yay, you picked my mailbag topic. Itís been something thatís routinely come up in my life. ďWhat do you think about realism in video games? How much should there be?Ē To this question, I just have to say, if you wanted to have a realistic video game, stop playing and go outside or something like that. I sometimes think realism is okay, but not too much. I liked the concept of, say, Earthbound. Everything was just like today and was fine and stuff, and then a meteor crash-landed and their lives totally changed. THAT was good.

However, as the same time, if you have no realism at all, the game makes no sense and no one likes it. The only exclusion to this rule is all those really weird 2-player games kinda like Pong, and those arenít even RPGs.

So, in my opinion, you should have, say, a 50% to 25% realism estimate for any RPG. Luckily, that means nothing, since realism is not a variable. Yeeeeesssss. In easier terms, you should have some realism, but not a lot.

Have a nice day

Heh, yeah, in other video games, it's realism, so to speak (Since GTA3 isn't realstic though it is in a sense :P), that makes the games good. But they're not RPGs.

Play Shenmue. It takes realism to an extreme. Consequently, it's either loved or hated.

Hmm, I don't have much more to add that that. :P Someone get the next reply!

It's your archnemesis, SG.

archwho?

Archone.

Aha! You clever man, you. :P

I say, the more realism, the better. Make that, gameplay and plot realism. Fantastic elements are great, so long as it's consistent.

With realistic gameplay, I mean, the ability to interact with the world. I loved "Freedom Force" for the way the characters could interact with almost everything on the screen. If it showed up as graphics, it could be picked up, thrown, used as a weapon, used to activate something, or destroyed. Ultima had a similar concept in it's later editions- though Origin's corner cutting resulted in gaping holes(and not just in the way you could buy horseshoes but not use them). Sierra made it big with games such as "Liesure Suit Larry," "Police Quest," and "Conquest of the Longbow," but they'd have been even better if you weren't required to use EXACTLY the right item in EXACTLY the right way with EXACTLY the right wording in the command phrase...

As for plot, well, RPG's are basically stories that star the player in the role of protagonist. It doesn't matter how good the gameplay is, if the plot doesn't make sense(well, maybe it still matters a little). Ultima VII and onwards had plots that massively diverged from the overview of the previous series, in which the Avatar of Virtue became naught but a coward and a thief, while the wise and noble Lord British somehow became a thoroughly incompetant ruler in 200 years(despite having been the mythical "perfect ruler" for a couple of millenia before that). Whereas Betrayal At Krondor became one of the top 10 RPGs of all time in large part due to the fact that the plot was written by Raymond Feist himself, thus resulting in a storyline that was consistent with both itself, and the Riftwar novels on which it was based.

Bottom line: The more the gameplay allows a player to immerse himself into the game world, the better. While the more the plot suddenly explodes, due to breaking the fourth wall, a character behaving OOC, or a wildly unlikely event that wreaks havoc with a much beloved central character(like killing off Aeris without a way to bring her back), the worse...

Hmm, yeah, this is exactly what I mean by paying attention to details and stuff. The fantasy world has to be realistic in its own sense. I haven't got to play either of those games yet, though, heh.

I like the idea of interacting with your environment fully, but that can be very hard to implement in a fully linear RPG, I think.

Yeah...it really depends. You have to work with what you're given. SOmething that could make a lot of RPGs better is more character interaction between the main characters - something that I think Lunar and Grandia hit right on the money.

Aye. I didn't overly enjoy Grandia II, but it's character interaction was top notch.

I swear you have to try Lunar :P It did right everything Grandia 2 did wrong. :P Except Grandia 2's fighting is more interesting, in theory. I think Lunar's fighitng is more interesting just cos it's harder, even if it's VERY basic.

Don't worry, SG. Kag will supply me with Lunar.

dur! lunr noz gud!

Oh that's right, Kagon didn't like it cos it starts really slow :P Well you suck Kagon, And since you're a wooden plank, you'll probly agree with me :D

Way to knot say anything, Kag.

*Just sits there with a blank look on his face*

Uh, Kagon?

Kagon...? Get the next reply, yeah...?

*Fall on top of a reply marked ClothHat*

Aaahaa...Well. Hmmm. I guess this would be our next reply... :P

Alright, is this too late? The main page said the dealine was August 3rd but that doesn't seem quite right, whatever. Ok, I'm back to mailbag responses after several months of gnawing on pipes like some sort of metal eating giant rat.

Err... Sorry about being late. There was internet and coordination problems.

Uh, what are you talking about CH? It's only September 15th! THe mailbag will be up in two days! ...You know what, just for that, we're holding this off for a whole month! *Waits one month* Ok, where were we?

Reading CH's reply.

Oh, ok! Yeah, let's get to the rest of that reply, now...

Realism in RPGS, the two extremist factions on this issue claim that either all games should be ultra-realistic simulations including food supplies, fatigue levels, and characters capable of carriering about 30 lbs of gear. Or that characters should be able to dual wield two miniguns, jump 50 feet in the air and carry 8,000 lbs of gear.

Ordinarily I lean towards the idea that games should be as realistic as possible, the problem is that this is difficult to implement and not make a tedious exercise that becomes of no real concern after about an hour into the game. As long as it doesn't detract from the fun level, make the games as realistic as possible.

Hmm... I agree, I think. I can't think of any instance where that isn't really a good idea, but maybe there is one. Oh well. :P

Probably Fallout. This is CH we're talking about.

Yeah. That's all he ever talks about. That and how he doens't like 'huggles'.

And how he and some squid are best friends forever.

And how they play Fallout together.

Yeah.

Heh, well uh. Who gets the next reply?

*Kicks Kagon off of the pile, revealing one know as Postbagboy*

..Uhhh...good job, Kagon! Yeah!

Hello! Postbagboy at your service! You said something about realism in RPGs? Well, I think there should be certain balance of realism in modern RPGs. For an example, I wouldn't want things to be uber-realistic, since it would spoil the game and make it less imaginative, if you know what I mean. While those cartoony RPGs, that use cellshading... there aren't real enough. Something like FF7-10. It has it's own style, but isn't extremely realistic, giving it that imaginative feel. But then again, i'm too cheap to buy consoles. I just wait until the emulators come out.

Cel Shading is good for games that kinda have obvious anime-ish feels. I THINK Wild Arms 3 was Cel Shaded. Wild Arms 2 was definitely going for the feel of an anime I would say, and it would have done weel with Cel Shading. Just depends on what you're trying to achieve.

WA3 was indeed Cel shading, but I didn't like how it used it. Unlimited Saga or possibly Wind Waker use cel shading more effectively, but I agree with the idea that the cel shading in WW lacked some crucial texture for the most part.

I see. Using them for character sprites is what I just imagine looks best. Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter is meant to be somewhat anime-ish in design, as per the intro movie. To compliment that, all the character bodies are cel shaded (With 2D portraits for faces though, which is kinda weird :P)

Yeah. But you know the art style for US cannot be beaten, ever probably. Just what little I saw of that game was beautifully rendered.

Yeah, it's pretty, except for the game board part, which looks ugly on big TVs :P SaGa games have been one step ahead of the game in the graphics department for a long time though. In SaGa Frontier 2, every map in the game was a Water Color Painting. It was really pretty.

Now we need a SaGa Paint By Number art style.

I don't get it. But on the other hand, I'm retarded. :P

Then you know what to do. *Hands SG a gun*

Yes, I know what do to...*Takes the gun* Kagon! Get the next reply! *Shoots Kagon*

If you prick me, do I not bleed?! ;_;

No. You're wood.

Heehee, you said wooood

;_; Sylvan Archer ;_;

:D?

Dear Sirs (yep,I called SG a sir) you may have the honour of receiving the award for the longest time gap between two mailbag updates ;) Isn't it funny replying to a topic set over a month ago?

Realism in RPGs has been proven to be unnessecary. Especially in fantasy RPGs the characters can survive from heated waves of fire,having their life energy drained and regain it by sleeping at an inn and even survive whole planets falling on them. The tip is to do all this in battle mode. Otherwise a lousy sword hit will instantly finish off your character and the Meteo spell may destroy your poor planet.

That said realism can exist in RPGs although the biggest hazard is finding a way so that the PC (Player Character) won't die too easily. So the one shot/one kill situations are avoided at all costs by the game companies.

I demand a bit of realism only in modern day rpgs, I know I can't survive 30 bullets in my head right? In sci-fi realism is optional and in fantasy rpgs IMO realism is unwanted. I WANT MAGIC.

Hey! I can be a perfect gentleman, I'll have you know! ...It's just cool to be all un pretty-like and shtuff :D And magic is real! Have you ever heard of RONOLD MICDAHNOLD!?

And that honour still goes to Macc for the time between his second to last Mailbag and last Mailbag.

How long was it?

Very long.

Oh, excellent. Well, all in all, magic is real. that's all.

OMG! SG is a Blainiac!

YOU'RE a maniac!

Dude, go back to drowning yourself in the Reflecting Pool.

:O? You don't make any sense. It's time to end the mailbag. :P That's right! I knew what time it was the WHOLE TIME! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

It's time for your pills.

I don't have any time for those, I have to go early, because tommorow I've got to ~ MY PLANET NEEDS ME! *shoots off into space, never to be seen again(?)*

Huh. That was odd, eh Kagon?

*Falls over and catches on fire*

Good idea, Kagon. Next topic shall be Free For All #3. That's right, once again, you readers get to talk about anything and everything in the RPG world, whether it be Suikoden 4, Ragnarok Online, that one NPC you hate the most, etc. You know where to send it.

Guh. I leave for one weekend, and I'm replaced with wood... I hate all of you.