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RIP Ralph Baer (1922-2014)
By KevinS
Posted on 12/07/14
RIP Ralph Baer (1922-2014) I really, really hate writing obits. I really do. But I take it as a personal honor to be able to say good things about the men and women I respect, whether in this industry or just in my life, and Ralph Baer is the reason all of this exists in the first...

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Lord_Fornelius Lord_Fornelius' Blog
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JRPG: Jaded Role Playing Game
Posted on Sunday, December 7 2008 @ 06:17:54 Eastern

It's not fun when you realize that something you have admired over the past years turns out to be complete ****. Whether it's a TV show or a movie, you can't help but feel retarded for liking that thing. There have been allot of things I liked in my childhood, but later realized they were worthless and had the value of Mariah Carey's movie resume'. The most recent object that I've come to realize as "stupid", is none other than the Japanese Role-Playing Game genre. I first saw a true game in the genre early in the new millennium when someone, at this summer camp I went to, was playing Final Fantasy IX, and I instantly fell in love. It was like nothing I've ever seen before. A couple of months later, JRPGs was the only genre that I cared about. Then the years went buy, and with no changes in its core gameplay, I've realized that the genre is clichéd, tedious, and boring.

Anyway, the purpose of this blog entry (hopefully, Vox Box entry), is to list the complaints that I have with the genre and to hopefully to persuade developers (who has learned english, and feels like he/she should read the information from a website that has little to no popularity in the gaming sub-culture) to stop milking these game design elements.

1: Androgynous characters

I don't understand why developers of the genre think that having feminine looking characters as a good thing to have. Maybe it's because the character designers behind these games are transvestites and they want to express those inner-feelings they have into the characters they created, rather than do so in the real world, but sadly can't because they are trapped inside the closet. Or maybe because they are gay and have a fetish to feminine looking men. However despite how you see it, the problem with Androgynous characters is that they are supposed to be taken seriously in these games. I mean, in the real world, if you found a man who almost looks like a girl, and tells you that he's out save (or the destroy) the world, would you try to join (or stop) him in his objective? or would you rather call the police? Besides, when you see characters like Kuja from Final Fantasy IX and Calintz from Magna Carta, who would make you say to yourself or your friends, "wow, that girl's hot". Only to later realize that she's has a penis.

2. Random Encounters

Back in the NES days, JRPG developers had to implement random encounters into their games, simply because of the limitations in technology at the time. Despite that, with 2 decades of increased technology, that makes it possible to create individual polygons for a piece of grass, you still can't make an enemy appear on screen!? Allot of fan-boys defending this, will tell you that random encounters help you progress through the game without worrying about leveling-up. Although, isn't the point of an RPG to worry about leveling-up? It gives you a sense of accomplishment once you finally increase your strength, so that way, you can enter, what were initially impossible, to reach areas. Besides the real reason why developers keep implementing random encounters is to save money on production costs, and that way, they can make allot more money.

3. Emphasis on story

JRPGs usually have a heavy focus on its' stories. And this is really the appeal of the genre, with many people playing JRPGs just to follow the game's story. Now to me, that just goes against the whole idea of playing video games. The reason why we chose video games over any other medium (like movies or TV) is to have an interactive experience. And when you have a genre that has a heavy emphasis on the un-interactive part of a game, it shouldn't count as a video game. Besides it's not like these stories are any good. They usually involve an amnesiac boy who tags along with 6 other people to fight some big, evil corporation or kingdom, with there being a heavy emphasis on plot-twists (plot-twists, a good story does not make). If you are going to have a large emphasis on a video game's story, you should make it more interactive, and I'm not just talking about adding choices in your response, I'm talking about the feeling of being involved in the story, where you can move freely, and have the feeling that your are a part of the story, rather than someone observing it, like in Half-Life 2. Or you can just go the easy route and add quick time events.

4. Turn-based battles

Again, back in the NES days, JRPG developers had to implement turn-based battles into their games because of, again, the technical limitations at the time. Still, how come after 2 decades, with all of the technological capabilities, turn-based battles are still a staple of the series? Sure they were pretty cool when you first saw and experienced it, but after 20 years, it just becomes a tedious chore. Besides, it's not like it makes the battles more strategic, like the fan-boys say it would, since the battles are usually short and can mostly be won by simply selecting "Attack" commands for all of your characters, with little to no risk involved. Again, this purpose is solely used to save more money during the production of the game, and in turn, make more money.

5. Lack of immersion

JRPGs usually try to use the games' story to keep the player interested, but I think that a better option would be to make games more immersing. You see, when you play a game that can make you feel like that you are actually in the game, you can't help but feel engaged. Now, the 8 and 16 (32 maybe)-bit games didn't have any immersing feel to them because of their limited technology (and therefore, excused), but with technology in its present state, there should be no reason for JRPGs to not feel immersing. JRPGs have this weird fetish of including static, lifeless backgrounds and NPCs that contain no emotion or life whatsoever. This would've been acceptable in the early-to-mid 90s, but in 2008, with games out there like GTA IV and Half-Life 2 that have settings and characters that are full of life and emotion.

6. Lack of variety

The lack of variety in its' game-play is one thing that adds to the tedium of JRPGs. The games usually consist of the linear progression of 'going to towns to buy and sell items; traversing through dungeons to fight monsters; rinse; repeat, And that's it, and it gets very boring after 40 hours of game-play. The towns are especially boring, with nothing to do there except go to the stores. Oh sure, you can talk to those NPCs but nowadays, they just spurt out boring dialogue about their life stories, unlike the NPCs of the 8 and 16-bit days, where NPCs had important things to say that helps you progress through the main game.

7. Progressing the genre

This leads to my biggest complaint to the genre as a whole. The lack of improving the fundamentals of the genre. You see, all of the above complaints are caused by this very problem. The JRPGs you play today, really play the same as they did in the 16-bit era, with little to no improvements over gameplay. Fanboys call this lack of progression "traditionalism", but anybody who's familiar with other video game genres would understand that without changes to those genres' fundamentals, those genres could not survive. Take point-&-click adventure games. Allot of gamers think that this genre died because of the rise of games like Doom and Quake, but in reality, the reason why that genre died, was because of the lack of evolution occurring to the games in the genre. Throughout the decades, the point&click adventure genre has always been about constantly clicking on everything with little to no risk, trying to solve illogical puzzles, until you find something that causes you to progress further into the game. That's exactly what's occurring to the JRPG genre. In all honesty, did 3D RPGs do anything different, gameplay-wise, compared to their 2D siblings?

So that was the list of my complaints for JRPGs. Congratulations for reading the angry writing of some nerd sitting in front of his computer for most of his day. You know, you're probably asking me "LF, isn't there a single JRPG you like?", well as it may surprise, yes, there are actually a couple I like, and I'll be happy to tell you what they are. They are Earthbound, Growlanser Generations, Barkley: Shut Up & Jam: Gaiden, A Blurred Line, Pokémon and Dragon Quarter. The reason why I like those games is because they don't fall to the typical conventions of a JRPG, they do things differently, like, adding a sense of charm, or offer a different type of experience. However, like I mentioned in the beginning, it's not fun to realize that you dislike something especially if you became attached to it, and was usually your favorite genre of video games. Despite that, it makes us look back in our lives and come to the revelation that we were stupid back then. To me, the JRPG genre is dead now, and if games like White Knight Chronicles and Final Fantasy XIII, convince me otherwise, I will to post a video on YouTube of me punching my crotch with simultaneously saying, "I'm a ****".



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Top 10 Most Overrated Video Games
Posted on Sunday, August 10 2008 @ 18:04:59 Eastern

If you knew me personally, you would think that I criticsize almost everything negativly in my life. I never really express much hatred on the forums, mainly because my criticsms extend far beyond video games. That's until now, where I'm going to list, what I think, are the top ten most overrated games in recent history. Be prepared to spam my email-adress with hate-mail.

(11: Sonic The Hedgehog series)

I know that this isn't in the top 10, but I just had the urge to discuss on it. Anyway, in case you are wondering, I'm not just talking about the 3D Sonic games, I'm also talking about the 2D ones as well. When I hear people complain about the 3D games, they always talk about how the 2D games were much better, but I don't really see what's so great about those games. At its core the Sonic games have been nothing more than a mediocre platformer with weak level design and a large gimmick. I mean, if it wasn't for the speed, would you still enjoy playing Sonic? I mean, it's not like the speed really effects the gameplay. The speed is really just there for show. You don't really control Sonic most of the time, you really just watch him speed down the level(s) with little to no interaction in controlling him. Also, the difficulty in these games are based more on random events than on actuall skill. So overall, the Sonic games are nothing more than style over substance.

10: Super Mario Galaxy

Don't get me wrong, Super Mario Galaxy is a good game, It's just not a great game. The awkward controls, the worthless items, the wonky camera, the repetetive levels, the piss-easy boss fights, the lack of depth and the un-intuitive lives-system, makes me wonder why game journalist didn't consider all these problems into account in their reviews. I think that the only reason why this game got alot of praise, was simply because it was a new Mario game. I'm sure that If the game didn't star Mario, and instead starred some anthropomorphic animal, the reviews would be in the 7s and 8s instead of the 9s and 10s.

9: StarCraft

In my opinion, the Dawn of War games are the best RTS experiences to date. Dawn of War improved on alot of conventions that plagued the RTS genre like making units more managable, making resource-collecting more competetive, and making the experience more cinematic. Despite all of this, StarCraft still remains the most popular RTS game after a decade of its release. After what've seen in RTS games, over the year, I'm still wondering why this game continues to be praised by journalists and gamers everywhere. Even at its time or release, It wasn't very revolutionary. People would say that it's main feature is the inclusion of having races that play differently from eachother. This may seem innovative....to those who've never played Dune II (one of the first RTS games), which had races with different skills and abillities. Besides, at it's core, StarCraft is still a mediocre RTS game that focuses more on rush tactics than actuall strategic.

8: Metal Gear Solid 1-3

Many people would say that the first Metal Gear Solid was the first 3D stealth-based game. Actually, Tenchu and Thief, beat it to the finish line, but since those two games weren't as popular as MGS, it dosen't make it in the history books. MGS was a pretty good game....at it's time, when there were no analog sticks on the psONE (crawling is impossible). Nowadays, the game is a clunkly affair to play. So, can somebody explain to me why these controls are in MGS 2&3, despite the fact that they were both developed for the PS2 which has two-analog sticks, and is a generation ahead? It's not just the controls that bother me, it's also the fixed camera angles; the long, overdramatic cut-scenes, and the re-spawning enemies and items. MGS IV may be better, but when looking at the previous games, it just pales in comparison to games like Splinter Cell.

7: Crysis

Okay, I'm cheating, I haven't actually played the full game of Crysis, but what I've experienced in playing the demo, Crysis is nothing more than an average shooter covered in attractive graphics. The only reason why Crysis got numerous game of the year rewards, was because of it's advanced graphics engine which made people pay more attention to the look of the game, rather than the play of the game; which includes poor enemy A.I., week RPG elements, wonky vehicle sections, and linear level design. Besides, in order to achieve all of the graphical capabilities, you would probably need to steal a computer that's used by NASA.

6: Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Before GTA IV was released (let alone, announced), the most popular GTA title was San Andreas. San Andreas added alot of new elements elements to it's game design, like territory control and RPG elements. The problem with these inclusions, is that they are poorly made. The most tedious element were the RPG elements, which forced you to play these incredibley boring minigames; such as the repeatedingly mash up and down. Territory control seemed like a good idea as well, but with a clunky combat system and weak interface makes the idea just that; an idea. Despite all of those problems, San Andreas made it to the top 5 sales chart, many game of the year awards, and a spot on my overrated games list. At least GTA IV is a better game.

5: Super Metroid

Despite all of the tedium and bad game design that's included in Super Metroid, it still finds a place in alot of "Best Game Ever" awards, and it's hard to see why. The element that's in Super Metroid that alot of people talk about, is the "enhanced" RPG elements, which allow you to find, equip and shoot different weapons. The problem with this is that most of the weapons you find seem to only be used for solving puzzles (like opening doors), and nothing else. Then there's the exploration elements, which is the series most famous element, but finding hidden rooms and passages is really just a matter of luck rather than keen eye-sense. Infact one time when I was following the linear path, I couldn't find out where to go only to find out that I had to shoot the floor that hand no visible difference than any other floor.......Excuuuuuse Nintendo for not having a giant, massive space brain for not figuring out that puzzle, even though it was never mentioned in the game at all. Also, why do developers keep making games with respawning enemies and items? People may say it adds challenge, but I say that it adds annoyance and feel that I'm just grinding to get extra items. However, I guess since alot of game journalists are in their 20s, and 30s, and must've played Super Metroid when they were kid, Super Metroid may seem like "the ****".

4: Bioshock

The latest in the rare FPRPS (First Person Role Playing Shooter) genre, Bioshock has gotten allot of praise, recognition and a list on my overrated games list. The problem with Bioshock is that it trys to appeal to a more mainstream audience by removing some common elements found in the genre (inventory managment), and making combat less strategic and more circle-strafe. When it's played by a large amount of gamers who enjoy playing Halo, Bioshock may seem like the most innovative game to ever surface the universe, despite there being better games in the genre, like Deus Ex and System Shock.

3; Halo series

Allot of people would tell you that the Halo series reinvented the FPS genre, and their right, because almost every FPS game I see is trying to be like Halo and, just like Halo, is ****. If you're saying that Halo reinvented the FPS genre, in a possitive way, than you're wrong. What's so innovative about repetitive enviroments, tedious combat, and space marines fighting aliens? Allot of people may tell you that the multiplayer options more than make up the single-player campaigns, but there's nothing about it that sets it apart from multiplayer games, like Unreal Tournament and Call of Duty 4. Besides, the only people who truly think that Halo reinvented the FPS genre, are console gamers who had to live their lives playing mediocre FPS ports and when Halo came out, it was viewed as being the "best" in the genre. That's like saying that Command & Conquer 3 for the Xbox 360 is the best RTS game.

2: Final Fantasy VII (and other JRPGs in general)

You know, back when I even enjoyed playing JRPGs, I still thought FFVII was just a lame game, even for the genre. I mean can somebody please explain to me what's so great about tedious mini-games, the lack of individuallity among the playable characters, and a confusing story that rivals the Aqua Teen Hunger Force Movie? The reasons why FFVII was popular was because, to many, it was the first RPG they've played, and was the first to experience CGI graphics, and that's it. While we are on the subject of a JRPG, lets put the genre, as a whole, on the list. I don't understand why this genre is more popular than it's western cousins? maybe it's because allot of people out there enjoy playing games that contain gameplay that are dated, tedious, un-interactive, un-imersive, un-strategic, easy, and just boring. Allot of fanboys will tell you that story in these games more than make up for the gameplay, but I believe those people either have their head far up their ass, or that they would rather watch a movie than play a video game. Also, back to FFVII, I would like to add a little something to this summary; FUCK AERIS!!! SO WHAT IF SHE DIED IN FFVII?!! THAT DOES NOT MAKE THE GAME MORE ENJOYABLE TO PLAY!!!

1: Legend of Zelda series

Boy, I bet you didn't see this coming. Now before you close this page and start preparing to burn my house down, let me explain. Back on the NES, the original Zelda game was innovative for being epic, unlike much of the "arcadey" video games at the time. Then there was Link to the Past, which improved on the core gameplay in many ways. And that's were the innovation ends. Since Link to the Past, the core gameplay of the Zelda series has never changed. It always involves the redundent formula of linearly traversing through dungeons, solving puzzles, fighting bosses, traverse through another dungeon, etc. And that's it. And this formula has never changed over the years. Sure, some of them made the jump to 3D and some of them allowed you to transform into a wolf, but other than Majora's Mask, the games have never changed or improved upon its core gameplay and formula. Also, why do the developers still give you, essentially, an unlimited amount of rupees, as well as having everything in the game to constantly respawn? It's not fun. It's not challenging. It's ****ing annoying. Besides, with similiar games out like Beyond Good & Evil and Okami, which offers more depth and variety in its' core gameplay, The Legend of Zelda series just pails in comparison.

So, this was my top 10 (11) most overrated games list. If anybody were to read this, I'm sure that I'm going to be under the witness protection program to avoid being killed my avid fanboys who whear underwear that's licsensed off of the above games.



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System Shock is now freeware !!!
Posted on Thursday, February 28 2008 @ 20:22:30 Eastern

No this is not a joke, System Shock is now downloadable for free over the internet. Just click on the link below, and you will be taken to a website that explains everything you need to know about downloading the game.

http://www.strangebedfellows.de/index.php/topic,211.0.html

Due to the fact that this game was released for DOS, you're probably expecting that you would have to download DOSbox. While it does use DOSbox, you don't need it in order to play System Shock. The great thing about this download is that DOSbox is integrated into the download. Which breaks up the tedium needed to play games for DOSbox.

However, this download does have technical flaws. You would find the game to occasionaly crash (especially, when closing an overworld map), and there's no patch released to remedy this. There are also times when your character will uncontrolably turn in a certain direction (there's no patch for this problem either).

Despite all of this, System Shock is a very enjoyable game to play, especially to those who have never played it before (like myself).



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Hardcore Gamer Magazine
Posted on Saturday, September 22 2007 @ 19:57:03 Eastern

  In this blog, I want to inform readers of a magazine that i really like. This magazine is called (in case you didn't read the title), "Hardcore Gamer Magazine". I love this magazine alot, it has all the reviews, previews, news, an...   read more...

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Blue Dragon VS. Final Fantasy VII
Posted on Thursday, September 13 2007 @ 08:14:53 Eastern

  Last week, I rented Blue Dragon, because of the mixed reviews the game has received. After playing it for a couple of hours, I thought that it was a pretty good game (despite it being very easy). I then looked that at the reviews for Blue D...   read more...

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Ratchet & Clank: Up My Ass-hole
Posted on Friday, August 31 2007 @ 19:55:20 Eastern

  You know, I'm getting sick and tired about all of the hype over "Ratchet & Clank: Tools of Destruction". Now, don't get me wrong, I like the Ratchet & Clank games. The first one was great and "Going Commando" was...   read more...

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Graphical Situation
Posted on Friday, July 13 2007 @ 21:45:30 Eastern

  How many people do you see argue about the graphical capabilities of a video game? "Those graphics are awsome!!!!", "that system has better graphics than that one". Those are the things you would usually hear at a Gamest...   read more...

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Is Our Culture Being Stolen?
Posted on Monday, June 18 2007 @ 12:36:29 Eastern

  I never really thought about this, but after looking at a comic strip of Penny-Arcade (http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2001/06/06), i realized that our culture was being taken away. Think of it, how many people do you see who play video g...   read more...

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Why Final Fantasy VII is a generic and overated game
Posted on Sunday, June 3 2007 @ 21:24:11 Eastern

   You know what annoys me? The Final Fantasy "geeks". You see their kindof like Goth kids. They say that they are anti-conformists, but they really aren't. The FF geeks claim to be radical fans of FF, but in truth, they a...   read more...

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The inventor of the Hype Machine
Posted on Tuesday, May 29 2007 @ 19:04:38 Eastern

  (Before I begin, I just want to let people know that this is my first blog). The Hype Machine, journalist and gamers alike have always complained about the hype behind video games. They all express a large amount of hate to video game ...   read more...

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