Often – not always, but in the vast majority of cases – you read a JRPG best by looking at the journeys the characters take in it. Not any kind of metaphorical journeys, but the literal movements through space, and the identities of the places they move towards or away from. Mikhail Bakhtin gives us […]Read more "The Night Seems Like It Won’t Come"
What does it mean when a videogame is accessible? There is accessibility in the vital sense: closed captions, colorblind modes, modular difficulty, freedom to rebind troublesome controls, adapted peripherals, and so on. Like, I have early onset arthritis. My joints swell, my feet hurt, my knees ache, and everything is a bit harder than it […]Read more "“Access”"
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"