galifreak (galifreak) wrote,

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A Year in Gaming: WELP


Truth to be told, I've been drawing so much for adventures that I can't really find time to play video games. I'm almost done with Phoenix Wright but I haven't touched Pikmin yet, opting instead to play Mass Effect when I'm home. Even then that's pretty sad progress. So I think today I will talk about the tired subject of "Growing Up and Realizing You're Too Old for Some Video Games."

Not all video games, of course. There are still tons out there that I'll gladly make time for. Ones that are really fulfilling, really worth playing.

I am talking about subpar RPGs.

...And even still, there are a lot of great RPGs out there I'll play over and over for their story, their secrets, or their engaging battle system. But as Sturgeon's Law goes, for every good RPG out there there are nine that are just okay or even bad.

I used to love RPGs. In fact, they used to be the only kind of game I would ever play. I'd absorb every one, good and bad, like a sponge, and after the game was over I'd examine ever barrel, nook, and cranny until I discovered every secret the game could offer. I sunk hours and hours into them until there was nothing left to find.

A little earlier this year I figure I'd start on one of the numerous RPGs I have to play for this year; they're long, after all, and better to spread out. I chose Tales of the Abyss specifically--I remembered liking that a lot, and I had a new game+ file waiting, so it wouldn't be too difficult, I figured.

I was rather horrified when the timestamp on my finished game read "83:55."
I was even more horrified to learn I had overwritten my new game+ file.

So I told myself that it was no big deal, that I would just beat the final boss again. But, flipping through the cutscenes before, I had to wonder why I had even liked this game at all. The graphics where horrid, nearly PS1 era polygons. The words that the characters spewed were nonsensical angry quips about how they were more right than the other person. Battling was about running in circles around the enemy while trying to keep the healer alive. And halfway through the boss fight the villain inexplicably turned into some combination of Tron and Bizarro Sephiroth.

It was at that point that I realized I just don't have the time anymore to dedicate to bad RPGs. RPGs intrinsically are not very challenging; anything can be overcome by beating up different slimes over and over again and gaining levels. Very few RPGs offer real strategy and engaging plot. But their largest flaw lies in that they are uniformly long games--back in the PS2 days, anything shorter than 40 hours was called a ripoff (and even the original Xenosaga was criticized by some for being "too short," clocking in for most players at 40 hours exactly).

I can get thrice the real entertainment value from a speedrun of VVVVVV--with as much practice as I have, it only takes about an hour and a half.

So I'll be updating my list to reflect my choice to simply throw some games out without beating them soon. Though I can't promise a post, I may do a retrospective on the RPGs with some reasons why I'm keeping them or not.

Right now Abyss and Radiata Stories are confirmed for leaving. I may also take a look at some of the strategy games I have (Path of Radiance, that means you) to see if they're worth it.
Tags: 2011 gaming

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