RPG Classics Mailbag
OK... wanna know the truth? The real truth? After I gave in that topic for this week I was filled with remorse. I mean, this topic was vague. REAL vague. And kinda corny. And stupid. And... well, didn't have much redeeming value, if you get my drift. No offense at all to Arcanus Dominius who submitted it, of course. But I underestimated the huge amount of variety of wackos who read this mailbag and can turn a simple vague question about what makes an RPG memorable into a gamut of strange and horrifying topics. To give an example, let's see what RPGClassics' Mr. Saturn has to say.
(I've noticed that it's customary to address people in these mailbag entries, so I'm gonna give it a shot)
G'hoi hoi, good sir Cidolfas & co.
What makes an RPG memorable? I had to think hard on this one. I could only come up with one answer: the dirty, smutty porn.
What's my favorite RPG? Final Fantasy IV. It always has been, and no matter how many games I play, it always will be. I always assumed there were good reasons for this. It was the first RPG I completed on my own, it had such a memorable plot, it had such great music, etc. If this were the case, there were many other RPG's that should be my favorite. In all actuality, I played DW1-3 and FFI before I played FFIV. I even beat DW1 first. Why then should I like FFIV better?
The answer, as I see it, is simple. There is only one think that separates it from other RPGs, and that's the dirty, smutty porn. Sure, you don't get to see any of this mystery porn, but it's there, and that's reassuring. It tells you that those characters are happy in their off time, when they're not fighting "baddies." The constant allusions to Cecil and Rosa having sex also accentuate the dirty, smutty feeling that FFIV conveys.
Why would anyone like an RPG if it weren't for dirty, smutty porn? Why, a lot of people's favorite RPG is FFVII. I do not understand why, comparitively, the game wasn't that great. However, without looking very hard, you can find some very dirty, smutty porn of Tifa, Aeris, even Barrett, I'm sure.
Why, I'm sure that at least one of the mailbag maintainers enjoys dirty, smutty porn, don't you?
*looks up guiltily* What?
I highly doubt that's who he was referring to...
Shhh! MY mailbag, I do what I want and implicate whoever I please! Quiet!
Yes, that's what Square's games are missing lately. Not plot devices, not music, not original characters; they're missing the dirty, smutty porn. Bring back the porn, and they'll bring back the quality.
(if you couldn't tell, I was being almost completely sarcastic, sardonic, or facetious throughout that rant. See if you can find the serious parts, you may be able to assemble a workable reply. If not, there's always the, uh... humor value... ^_^)
Ah yes, dirty, smutty RPGs... we just don't have enough of them, do we? ...What? What did I say? Who invited this sicko into the mailbag anyway?
Oh. That explains a lot. I haven't seen you around lately.
I've been playing dirty, smutty RPGs.
Hah, oh yes indeed. Now go away.
Humph! *goes back to downloading the "cut-out" Xenogears scene
Let that be a lesson to you: Never allow your evil side to come alive, or you'll get lots of embarrassing accusations. And to illustrate my point, here is Danmnan... er, damn, I mean Link of course. ^^;
This is Dan signing in....
I thought I told you not to do that! Geesh!
But it Danman5311!!
Let's see what makes an RPG memorable to me? Well, I guess it would have to be several things. The first being the story of course.
An RPG is driven by its story. We all know this. When I play an RPG for the first time, I know when it's good because I don't want to stop playing. The story has to grab me right from the beginning and never let me go. Some RPGs that I've played have had slow starts, such as Final Fantasy VI, but I treat the game much like a book. I tell myself to keep on playing regardless of how the story's pace is, I mean like I said before, FFVI was slow at first, but once you got to the branching story in the World of Balance (you know the three quests) it really got good, I couldn't stop. An example of an RPG that was great from the beginnig to the end was Chrono Trigger, the story is just so simple yet so intricate at the same time you know?
The second thing that makes an RPG memorable is the characters. When you play an RPG you should feel for the characters as the story moves along. You should want to see good triumph over Ozzie...er I mean evil. Final Fantasy VII was my first RPG ever, and I had an incredible experience. It was all because of the endearing characters. I mean even though I was told that Aeris dies at the hands of Sephiroth beforehand, I still nearly cried when I saw that scene simply because of great characterization. Some RPGs however don't rely on characterization, yet are still memorable in my book such as the Zelda series.
The third thing that makes an RPG memorable for me is the music. I love RPG music! Every time I play an RPG I always find myself humming the tune of one of the songs from the game to myself afterwards. The music adds so much to the story and really creates drama. Final Fantasy VIII had some really great orchestrations, such as "Walz For the Moon" which I find to be an excellent piece of music. Music also adds tension to battles, who can forget the first time they heard "One Winged Angel" when they finally battled Sephiroth. I for one can't. Boy this is getting loooooooooooong!
The final thing that makes an RPG memorable to me are the villains! I just
love good villains...er...I mean bad villains...er...ummm...you know what I
mean! Anyway, one villain I'll never be able to forget is FFVI's Kefka! The
shrill laugh, the horrible puns, and sayings! He had evil written all over
his face. Square even went as far as making him an evil clown! Now that's
scary! Other villains really were intimidating. I remember playing Final
Fantasy V and feeling like there was no way that I could ever defeat Exdeath.
from Chrono Trigger who I just never liked. I wonder why?
'Cause I kept kicking your sad butt! Admit it, you NEVER were able to figure out that switch puzzle, were you?!
As you can there's a lot that makes an RPG memorable to me. This is Dan signing.....*zapped by Ozzie's magic!*
Neo Dan:What just happened?! Wh...what?! I've been revived!!!!! Mwhahahahaha!!!!!!!! I can finally move!!!!! OZZIE THANK YOU FOR MY REVIVIFICATION!!!!!!!
Dan:Arrrgh! Just what do you think you're doing?!
Neo Dan: Quiet!*Killed Dan with Flare* I'll be taking Dan's place from now on!!! Mwahahahaha!!!! This is Neo Dan Telepo-ing out!!!!!*Flies off the mailbag*
Great. More stupid alteregos. It's an epidemic!
Mwahahah! I am infecting everyone!
I thought I told you to go away!
Er. Right. Sigh...
Anyway. Here's the ideas of Stus, aka Alistair Jacklin.
Its been a while since my last submition but who really cares?
We care. We all care. Don't we?
*is playing ping-pong with Lunaris*
*is still downloading*
You're an embarrassment, is what you are.
I think that there are several things that can make an RPG stick in the mind or in the brain for exaple:-
3)Bieng god damn awfull
Actually, DeJap just decided to be particularly, um, rebellious about those scenes; the translation I helped out with (TransTech) was far more delicate about it. ^^; Anyway. Dragonier will misinterpret my question to instead be asking how to *make* a memorable RPG, so here goes.
Well hi Cidolfas,
First and foremost, the game has to have an interesting title and not have a
ton of RPG clichés (You know what I’m talking about, and if not there’s a
big list @ http://guardian.simplenet.com/text/rpg.html). The game has to be
original; games like Terranigma, Tales of Phantasia, and the Breath of Fire
series (my personal favorite) come to mind.
The puzzles and mini games should vary from stupidly easy to fricken hard, and the mini games should give some sort of reply value to the game. I’d throw something like the dungeon items from Lufia 2 (bombs, arrows, etc) in there to supplement the puzzles in the game.
The hero and other main characters should use some kind of rare and exotic weapon throughout the game. Swords, knives and guns have been overused. Look at Terranigma for instance, the main character uses spears, and in Breath of Fire 1 Ryu uses boomerangs. Weapons like whips, gloves, rods, and javelins deserve their place in the spotlight.
Under no circumstance will the main character have spiky hair, it has been too overdone. At first that trait was cool, but now it seems that all the heroes have that damn spiky hair. It always seems to be blond, red or blue hair too. Why not silver green or white hair instead?
Come on. Who do you know whose hair is silver green or white? Under the age of 80, that is.
This isn't real life, it's anime. You know.
The character’s outfits should change depending on their armor and environment. I mean really, does it seem likely that a female in a skimpy silk dress and high heels is going to climb some frost-bound mountain? I think not, she’d be wearing firs and a pair of good boots. The characters should at least have different clothes for different climates.
In addition to above, the NPC’s should react accordingly to the hero’s attire. What would you do if a fully clad black knight with a huge sword strolled into your peaceful mountain hamlet? Welcome him and give him your hospitality? NO, you’d run inside your house and lock all the doors until he left. Similarly, most guys would drool over a heroine in a short, revealing dress.
The enemies should be a challenge, not enough to wipe you out most of the time, but enough to make you expend a decent amount of items and magic to win. Bosses should take a lot more of your resources, and the final boss should take every item that you can scrape up with all the money you get throughout the game, and all the magic you can muster.
On the subject of bosses, the final boss should not be some stupid creature that had no relevance to the plot of the game until the very end, it should be that recurring nightmare that plagues you throughout the entire game.
The hero’s enemies should operate with some sort of logic, not having stupid plans that consist of A tricking the hero into helping him and B laughing at the hero maniacally.
The Heroes pasts must be explained, unless the game has a very good reason for not giving you it. FMV’s are nice, but not vital. A well played out automatic scene can do just as well to further the plot and explain stuff even with its graphical limitations.
Well that’s all I can really think of at the moment. Maybe you could do a
mailbag next week on what makes a RPG crap, what makes you want to take a
sledgehammer to your TV in frustration, or give the game away to someone you
hate. That ogre battle sig was a mistake, and I’m sorry that Spoonybard
froze you in his comic, but it can’t really be helped. Well Cid, keep up the
good… Er, keep up that work that you do.
Ha, you can’t say I don’t help the environment!
Sure I can! You don't help the environment! Hah! And I don't mind being frozen, since I am working as a guiding motive for the heroes and that's just fine with me. Besides, knowing how often I get cut off 'cause someone wants to use the phone, I'm frozen about 90% of the time anyway, so it's not much of a change.
What the hell are you talking about?
Online Life. I'm a supporting character, if you didn't know. Heh. How many of you out there can claim to be supporting characters?
*Macc, Merlin, MMX, Celes, Future Trunks, Deathscythe, Manhatton, Sinistral, and Wizz all raise their hands*
Er... moving along... we have a letter from KLin! W00t!
The BEST way to make an RPG memorable and STICK in your BRAIN is for it to have lots of flashy spells and impressive ougis/death blows/limit breaks/overblown Dragon Ball Z-like moves that leave a smoking morass of your video display monitor of choice.
Hamel (From Violinist of Hameln): Especially if it's one of those FLASHY spells that includes nekkid women. Ever since I saw The Guardian Force Summon for Shiva from Final Fantasy VIII... WOW, that image has been stuck in my mind like a razor-sharp 2D sword through the brain. Of course, the sight of Siren...
*Slams Hamel with an over-sized Cross twice his own height*
Shut up you pervert! Ahem, notice how the sales of newere RPGs with flashy effects is significantly higher than that of older RPGs with less flashy effects.
*Draws up a badly drawn chart with the words Square's Final Fantasy I and Final Fantasy VII sales in America based on amount of Flashiness written across the top*
Of course, even oldschool effects had their charm, it's just that with older animation techniques it was difficult to tell whether your Black Mage was casting a fireball, or flipping them the bird and thus angering them enough to cause them to sporadically combust.*
Nowadays with the fancy 3D graphics tools available, video game graphic artists are free to animate to their hearts desire. (or at least to the budget set by the management.)
Thanks to technology we have Big Bangs, Niebelung Valestis, Tenjou Mendou Bakusai Hous, and the standard Kamehamehas. And lets not forget the ultimate spells where planets can be destroyed over and over again.
Flashy spells are like the video gamer's hallucinogenic. The mix of pretty lights, colors, and obligatory surround-sound SFX all combine to create a psychedlic journey.... 0.0
Satan Gundam: Which explains why Pokemon is so popular. Why, all the kiddies were so overcome by the sights and sounds of the cute monster's antics that they passed out with seizures, Mwahahahahahaha!
*Vaporizes Satan Gundam into a pile of ash with a Beam Cannon, Satan Gundam's luminous eyes remain hanging in the air awhile, and blink a couple of times before also disintegrating.*
That's the Animation series that gave kids seizures! Ahem, anyway without decent earth-shuddering sound effects, the most impressive RPG eye candy would lose luster, which is why good voice talent is integral to lasting impression upon the human brain.
But only professional seiyuus can shout: "semeno ga ume desute! ougi! finality bulasuto! dama te kieru!
So yeah, anyway those are the addictive nicotine-like elements that an RPG needs to snare gamers.
*Turns around and walks off, on his back is a large sign that says "Winners don't use Drugs!"*
...If you think I understood half of that e-mail you are severely mistaken.
Yeah. Not everyone's as anime-oriented as you are, dude!
I have seen DBZ twice, though. I thought it was absolutely horrible. O_o Next we have an almost-as-incomprehensible reply from the redoubtable Megaman X(2K). Note that all pictures and statements within this e-mail, except the stuff not in italics, were dreamt up by MMX and have nothing to do with me and therefore everything will go back to normal as soon as he's finished ranting.
It's Cid-a-fuss, asking what makes a mailbag memorable!
CID-A-FUSS? How dare you destroy the beauty and melodiousness of my name? Infidel!
So this kramerrn guy keeps asking you to give him a Messup sign for misspelling your name and you don't... and then X does it and you give it to him without asking... that's real evil, that is.
It can't be! Look, I'm your evil side, right? And if you're evil, right, then I don't have anything to be an evil side about! Right?
AHHHH! *implodes in self-existential doubt*
Phew. That was nice.
*pops back into existence* Just kidding! Mwahahahah! Ooh, that was cathartic. *Goes back to downloading stuff*
Sigh... were we listening to MMX before? I think we were.
But first-! Some unfinished business...!
First of all, to the rebellious Calamari (AKA Ultros)...be careful who you say you like. Remember that, because you're leglaly bound to macc, any legal csts you endure (e.g. if you get sued) go to him. Therefore, I'm sure he's not above renting you off to the highest bidder to pay your lazy crustacean butt off.
*crosses tentacles and looks uncomfortable*
Second, a lot of people have been complaining to me - ME! - that Ozzie doesn't endure enough torture. Just a few rlatively painless plot holes, and that's all. Now why they asked ME, I've no idea. But, I will deliver even to losers like them! Observe! *snaps his fingers to the moogles*
Kupo! *fires the huge cannon he's standing nearby*
WHAT THE-*is thrown into the ground*
Wait a sec...Moogle #56743, you set the Ragnar-*sweatdrop* I mean, uhh...you set the Coat rack wrong! Yeah, coat rack...*winks at Cid then snaps his fingers again*
Kupo...*takes out the coat rack launcher instead and fires it at X2K*
Now here see...*tries to take his coat off...but realizes he doesn't have a coat*...Oops!
Not again! *is thrown back again by the flying coathanger*
Err...well, that was slightly succesfull...in a weird
way. Anyway, onto the mailbag. First, the six most
memorable RPGs to me are:
And why, you ask? Let's look at this introspectively.
Great and Unique Gameplay: FF5 was my first RPG, and between the ATB and the class system, it was eye-opening for me. Arcana...well where should I start, the M+M-like Dungeon crawling or the Magic system? Terranigma wasn't my firt ARPG but it proved to be the pinnacle of the genre. No other ARPG (save for Spike McFang) had Jumping, and being able to attack my enemies in so many ways...and town expansion. Cool. Super Metroid...the very ida of such an Adventure game...gave me many very happy hours. Super Mario RPG had times hits, the whole idea of Mario Gameplay in an RPG world, the FP system, etc. And Lufia 2, the puzzles, the monsters, and the IP. Very nice.
Catchy Music tunes: FF5...for some reason, the Steamship theme stuck in my head. I got "stuck" there trying to defeat the queen, and I almost have the dungeon memorized. The music kept playing in my head, and for some reason, it somehow helped me play through the game. Arcana had some very good music, especially the last level music and the battle music. Terranigma...almost everything. Super Metroid had ominous music that added theme to the game. Super Mario RPG had suprisingly good music. And Lufia 2 had great dungeon and battle themes.
Third...what does Cid dish out in healthy quantities every week in his Mailbags?
: A bunch of cr-
Serves ya' right. I meant Humor! And that, too, makes an RPG really memorable! FF5 had several scenes of cute light humor "P...Pl...Playb...oh, nothing." And of course, the moogles. Arcana, this doesn't count, because it HAD no humor. Very dry considering that Hal made Kirby/Pokemon. Terranigma had some humor when you expanded towns. Wanna eat at Mick burger? And am I the only person who thinks that ShaheenCATS resembled that fat dressshop owner when he owned #rpgshrines? Lufia 2 had some cute humor also. Especially with those two Ultros-types, the thieves. Can't remember the names. That'll teach me to steal unlimited Mentats from Lunaris' Unlimited Mentats machine. Doesn't really matter, though, now everyone can have them. And of course, Super Mario RPG. Do I really need to say it?
*Throw a Super Sledge Hammer at X*My precious Mentas!!!! Mine! Yes, my precious!!*/Quick Man*
Aah! It's a chain reaction! *falls*
OK... now, while Lunaris has been wanting to do that for quite a while, it seems that X made him do it himself. Which begs the question, just what is X smoking? Why does he have such a desire to hurt himself? And do we really want to know? Next up we have someone whose e-mail header reads "Coleman Mavity" but... well, you'll see.
Hello Cidolfas this is, Well I don't need a name.
Hmmm, Well what makes an rpg stick in my mind and never go away. Well one rpg I will never forget is Final Fantasy 3 mainly because I cant get Kefka's stupid laugh to stop ringing in my ears. He appears 50,012 times and he does the same (Whehehe) thing every single time and I can hardly stand it and I still hear it now and uh...
Anyway I think if all new rpgs have a short guy with a really stupid laugh working for a massive empire trying to kill magical creatures for there special ability's Square Soft will sue you for stealing there most used FF story line and you will live in a cardboard box all your life. That's it now I will go back to whatever I was doing before. Bye Bye.
Mentats : The choise of a new smart generation and....uh...I forgot the rest....
We have a small entry by FFFanatic. That's three F's, for those who can't count.
When two people grow to love another and a romantic senario starts. Then something awful happens. Like in FF7 when Aeris was killed. I remember exactly what happend to this day. And in FF8 when Rinoa gets stuck in space. I cried... seriously I did.
Ahhh... young love and tragedy. *eyes mist up* Ahem. Our last and best reply comes from our old pal The Pill.
First, I just want to say that I think the RPG Classics Mailbag is one of the funniest things on the net, and that whether Macc or Cidolfas maintains it.
W00T! I am the MAN!
No, *I* am the MAN!
Oh shut up, we've already done this joke.
Second, I'm rather glad that a certain person who used to be the head of this site has been canned (*cough* *cough* @$$hole).
Now, regarding this weeks mailbag. I think the thing that makes a great RPG is a mixture of things. The most important is plot. Without a good story-line there is little reason to play a game. I have played some RPGs that I thought were terrible. The worst was probably Secret of the Stars. Not only did it have a bad plot, it also had a bad battle system, which is another must for a good game. Final Fantasy VIII tried to use timed attacks just like Super Mario RPG, but I've been playing FF8 for three months now and I still can't get the timing, and neither could my best friend and he's great with that sort of thing. Another factor is the versatility of characters. Some of the worst games I've ever played have characters that are good for only one thing, or their character does not develop or do anything different from their typical modus operandi. Dragon Warrior III is a classic example. Final Fantasy III, V and VII, and Chrono Trigger (even though Final Fantasy V and Crono Trigger are great games, they can each have at least one character that sucks, i.e. Ozzie and Gilgamesh) are probably some of the best games for good plot, battle system, and character versatility. I wish that I could add Final Fantasy IX to my list, but unfortunately, with college and work, I just haven't had the time to get very far in it.
See! I make games memorable!
Yeah. What you said. Ahem. Next week we have a special guest host since I'll be out of town. Let me just say that it will be a good deal more insane than usual when she's done with it. And if you still can't figure out who it is, you need to hang around more messageboards. The topic to write in to her about is: Make up your own RPG secret! Take an existing game and add a crazy, twisted idea of secret characters, items, enemies, etc. Be creative! Should have fun with this one. The address to send to is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don't play Ping-Pong with Grenades folks! 'Cause only /I/ do that!