My favourite videogames, in no particular order, are Final Fantasy XII, Final Fantasy XIII and Tales of Vesperia. These are not the games that move me most, or that I would necessarily recommend to others – I could list things that aren’t real, Even The Ocean, Butterfly Soup, Queers in Love at the End of […]Read more "Playing Favourites"
The recent resurfacing of the ‘is JRPG a genre?’ debate on twitter didn’t really break any new ground (it totally isn’t, by the way), but I did finally decide to sit down and respond to one common structure in the discussion. When we point out that the word ‘Japanese’ refers to a nationality and thus […]Read more "Turns"
Ronald Reagan stated in his 1986 State of the Union Address, “Never has there been a more exciting time to be alive, a time of rousing wonder and heroic achievement. As they say in the film Back to the Future, ‘Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.’” A vacuous quote. In the film it’s stated […]Read more "One More Time, for the Road (Against Chrono Trigger)"
By far the most common kind of complaint about JRPGs is that they are ‘unrealistic’, either in their combat systems or character designs. This holds true despite the fact that all JRPGs are fantasy stories of one kind or another (I know of no exceptions). In fact, given that nearly every western game is also […]Read more "Why do you care if it’s realistic?"
Participate in enthusiast discussions long enough and you’ll encounter the idea of Japanese role playing games (JRPGs) not really being games. Because JRPGs are understood as being full of cutscenes (cutscenes being non-interactive and thus antithetical to a true game), and because what little gameplay they do have is a repetitive set of instructions the […]Read more "Defining the JRPG: A History"
Blood and Bone After finishing Final Fantasy XV the first time, I wrote that I thought there was ‘a story written in the bones of this landscape‘. The thought wasn’t entirely figurative; the most obvious icon of the land of Eos is the great stone arches vaulting across the hills of Duscae like the exposed […]Read more "Written in the Land"
I Am Setsuna is a game that betrayed nearly all of its marketing points: it’s not retro, it’s not anything like Chrono Trigger, it doesn’t really function as a proper homage to jrpgs in any way, shape, or form (and homage is SE’s marketing keyword). Marketing shaped the frame that Setsuna was supposed to rest […]Read more "Goodbye, Setsuna"