Arr Pee Gee

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4
 

I think what Shamus is forgetting here is that the term Role Playing Game does not restrict itself to just dungeon-crawlers and leveling up. The key word is role. The idea is to assume the role of the character in the game. This does not mean that freedom should come with it. You are simply assuming the role, identity and position of the protagonist(s). However because people have this obsession with trying to apply their lives and values to everything, it's 'expected' that the protagonist has to be this blank slate for you to make your choices and all the rest of it. No. You play an RPG to assume the role of the character(s) and nothing else. Take Final Fantasy for example. That's an RPG, but you have to follow the linear path of saving the world. But it's an RPG because it puts you in the shoes of the party who's tale the game's story centres itself around. I would argue even games like Halo can barely fit the title RPG as you're assuming the role of Master Chief. About the only games which can't be classified as RPGs are ones where you do not take control of a central protagonist, like RTS games. Obviously we don't lable Halo has an RPG game as it has a classification that suits it better - the shooter. But that doesn't detract from the fact we are assuming the role of Master Chief as opposed to a random, nameless marine.

I actually like your names for sub-catagories.

Shamus Young:
What would you name these game types?

If I were to do it--I mean really do it--I would reconfigure the game genre nomenclature, as a whole. In my world, every game would have its own taxonomic ranks, just like animals and plants. First would come number of players, then theme or setting, then secondary gameplay aspect and, finally, primary gameplay aspect.

So Fallout 3 would be a "single-player, retro-futuristic, free-exploration-based stat building game." The "secondary aspect" would be determined by how you interact with the world around you and the "primary aspect" would be determined by how your character evolves throughout the game, if at all.

For games which are equally dependent on two separate "aspects" for interaction with the environment, a "tertiary aspect" would also be listed. So Bioshock would be a "single-player, retro-futuristic, first-person, linear-exploration-based ability collection game." In many cases, the secondary aspect of one game would be the tertiary aspect of another. Zelda would be a "single-player, fantasy, linear-exploration-based, dungeon crawling item collection game"

The ordering of the ranks isn't so much in accordance with the importance of each towards the game, but to make for an easier transition from the genre namings we have today. Is it easy on the ears? Absolutely not. Is it confusing as shit? Certainly. Does it work...? Eh, not really. Kind of a metaphor for my life, really.

commasplice:

Shamus Young:
What would you name these game types?

If I were to do it--I mean really do it--I would reconfigure the game genre nomenclature, as a whole. In my world, every game would have its own taxonomic ranks, just like animals and plants. First would come number of players, then theme or setting, then secondary gameplay aspect and, finally, primary gameplay aspect.

So Fallout 3 would be a "single-player, retro-futuristic, free-exploration-based stat building game." The "secondary aspect" would be determined by how you interact with the world around you and the "primary aspect" would be determined by how your character evolves throughout the game, if at all.

For games which are equally dependent on two separate "aspects" for interaction with the environment, a "tertiary aspect" would also be listed. So Bioshock would be a "single-player, retro-futuristic, first-person, linear-exploration-based ability collection game." In many cases, the secondary aspect of one game would be the tertiary aspect of another. Zelda would be a "single-player, fantasy, linear-exploration-based, dungeon crawling item collection game"

The ordering of the ranks isn't so much in accordance with the importance of each towards the game, but to make for an easier transition from the genre namings we have today. Is it easy on the ears? Absolutely not. Is it confusing as shit? Certainly. Does it work...? Eh, not really. Kind of a metaphor for my life, really.

I'm sure hundreds of years ago people had these exact same arguments about bird and plant life. Now it comes to video games.

I really like the idea of classifying games academically, it makes perfect sense.

Shamus Young:
These games were usually hardcore number-crunching simulations and were not designed for the faint of math.

Fixed for the sake of Dyscalculiacs.

JRPG.
MMORPG.
RTSRPG.
TBSRPG.

Is there a SKRPG? (South Korean) or CRPG? Or do they get lumped in with JRPGs? Is a sci-fi an SRPG? Is fantasy FRPG? What about SFRPG? Is there such a thing as FPSRPG or AARPG? (Action-Adventure). Are dating sims & novel games RPGs? Are Maple Story & Trickster SKFMMORPGs? Are Baldur's Gate & Neverwinter Nights WFRTSRPG? Are Final Fantasy 1-6 JFTBSRPGs?

Yeah I agree, it's a mess. Confusing for me anyways....

Reolus:
I really like the idea of classifying games academically, it makes perfect sense.

I agree. Unfortunately, I doubt it'll ever actually happen f'real f'reals. I say we start calling RPG's "Maurice" as a form of protest.

Neverwinter Nights is an RPG when someone is DMing on their own server.

:-)

BioShock is listed under the "RPG" genre on Steam. I was told that Steam put it as a RPG because that's what the publisher wanted. This greatly annoys me because only a complete moron would call BioShock a RPG. So as it stands now, BioShock is the highest rated "RPG" on Steam, better than Dragon Age or Oblivion. What a backward world we live in.

WTH is Maurice...

Acting like a FOOL:
WTH is Maurice...

It's what we're calling what used to be RPGs, since the taxonomic term "RPG" is about as transparent and easy-to-use as driven-through slush.

RandV80:
This begs the question though, you can say it was poorly applied from the start but how would you define those early games like the first Dragon Warrior, Final Fantasy, or Phantasy Star? In Japan I believe these were inspired by an early RPG-like game attempted on the PC (can't remember the name), which of course was full of shortcomings compared to real table top D&D. I don't know the real history about how it all went down, but I would take an educated guess that the inspiration for Dragon Warrior came only inderectly from D&D. The Japanese don't or didn't have D&D in their country so they had to put their own spin on it. I'm not sure if they decided to call it an "RPG" for their own audience, or if it was a decision related to marketing over seas, but either way that's the term they settled on and it stuck.

Actually, there was a Japanese translation of D&D around 1985, plus the Japanese had been playing earlier attempts at computer RPGs like Ultima and Wizardry before that. But now that you mention it, I think those 1st edition D&D rules must have been really influential on them. I was really harsh on how linear early console RPGs were but in all fairness the earliest published D&D adventures weren't any different (even today, some have excessive railroading of PCs). The game was still very close to its rules-heavy, story-light (or nonexistent) wargaming roots back then.

So for the Japanese, it seems, "RPG" grew to mean "similar to 1st edition D&D rules" while Western RPGs incorporated some of the developments from non-D&D pen and paper RPGs, and the interactive storytelling trend that got big in the late 80s/early 90s. The Japanese also incorporated more and more dramatic narratives onto their RPGs starting with the earlier Phantasy Star and Final Fantasy titles, but without the interactivity.

RandV80:
And this part can't really be argued, in Japan and Japanese culture the basic Dragon Warrior template is the base definition for RPG. There was a thriving market for these types of video games well before it became popular over here (JRPG or WRPG). Anyone who reads their manga or watches anime will see it all the time, from Love Hina to Gintama having a dragon warrior-ish "RPG" episode happens all the time. Even if it doesn't make sense to call them "RPG's" you can't really argue with how popular it became, and sometimes thats all you need for a definition to stick. And while the PC always kep it's own distinct past and table top RPG players never went away, for 3 full console generations the Japanese brand of RPG was the default standard.

In my opinion, this hole mess started when the East & West crossed paths. When Microsoft entered the console war, they brought along all the former PC developers with them. Where before you had a clear line between RPG games on PC and RPG games on consoles, now you had Morrowind, KotOR, Fable, etc going toe to toe with Final Fantasy X, Star Ocean, Xeno Saga, etc, all with the same genre name: RPG. Of course people are going to get confused, and given that it's been about 10 years now you have gamers that never knew the distinction between a CRPG and a JRPG. Personally I think neither side has a real right to claim the title, which is why as a long time fan of both I simply make the distinction by calling them 'Western' RPG's or 'Japanese' RPG's.

You've led me to conclude that genres and formats end up having different definitions across different media. An RPG on a computer or console is not the same thing as a pen & paper RPG or LARP, even if they share an ancestry, anymore than a sports game is an actual sport, or an FPS is an action movie.

Its unfortunate that any computer games were ever labelled RPGs at all. This was precipitated by their desire to be like Tabletop RPGs which were extremely popular. But in Tabletop RPGs you make whatever choices you want for your character - which are infinite. The DM never says "here is your situation, choose A, B, or C as your response". No, you could do anything from pick your nose to marry the evil guy. You could do it with any type of personality you chose to portray.

But since the term RPG has made it into computer game language, in my opinion a RPG would have to (by definition) allow me to decide as much about my character as possible. Not only which stats to advance or which items to equip, but how my character acts as well.

Unfortunately there is no real computer RPG yet. I would say that non-instanced MMOs come the closest. But I can't wait for the real thing. :)

RPG works fine for most western style ones. Though Oblivion and Knights of the Old Republic are two very different games, they have enough similarities that they can be cobbled together into the same genre.

However, JRPGs need to find their own classification.

Or, every games needs to be part of a different genre. We could call JRPGs a type of strategy game with RPG elements, and then we could say that Fallout 3 is an FPS with RPG elements.

To be more clear, we just tack on "with RPG elemnts" to anything that has them. All RPGs of today fit some sort of other genre. Oblivion/Morrowind could be called a "Medieval Action Game with heavy RPG elements."

This would allow us to branch out the genre and give games greater depth. We could have more games like Assassin's Creed 2, where it isn't really an RPG, but it has plenty of elements of one.

What do you guys think?

RPGs (Roleplaying Games), are games wherein the player makes choices/decisions that affect/alter the course of the plot, and are basically an offsoot of adventure games in which conversation choices and interaction choices allow for divergent plotlines

Few games are pure RPGs since the term doesn't cover combat mechanics, leaving us with hybrids like:
Stealth/Shooter-RPG (Deus Ex, Alpha Protocol)
Shooter-RPG (Mass Effect)
Realtime Tactical-RPG (Dragon Age, KotOR)
Sandbox-RPG (Elder Scrolls, Fallout)

Bioshock is a FPS that happens to have an excellent story and as much character development as diablo/devil may cry/etc

Diablo and ilk are Dungeon Crawlers, Borderlands is an FPS Dungeon Crawler, Devil May Cry and the like are hack'n'slash or alternatively action-adventure, Disgaea is a grid tactics game

jRPGs are more akin to action adventure games, with the action replaced by whatever term should be used to decribe the jRPG battle system, since as in an adventure game Final Fantasy and the like is played by talking to people oin a specific order to access the story of the game, interrupted by battles
so perhaps they could be called Battle-Adventure or Linear-Adventure, though neither sounds particularily flattering - perhaps a fan of the genre can come up with something that sounds better. Epic Adventure Games sounds better, but isn't as informative. Perhaps there's a japanese word for these random battles?

As an afterthought, I honestly don't see why we can't allow games a full sentence as a descriptor, rather than confining them to buzzword phrases like FPS RPG or Maurice. It would certainly allow more precision:

-Dragon Age is a roleplaying game with realtime tactical combat and equipment-drop+skill-based character progression
-Mass Effect is a roleplaying game with realtime third-person shooter combat and equipment-drop+skill-based character progression
-Mass Effect 2 is a roleplaying game with realtime cover-based third-person shooter combat and streamlined character progression
-The Ocarina of Time is an adventure game with 3d-action combat and dungeon-crawling and collectable-based character progression
-Majora's Mask is a time-manipulation adventure game with 3d-action combat and dungeon-crawling and collectable-based character progression
-Braid is a platformer with time-manipulation puzzles
-Diablo is a dungeon-crawling game with point-and-click combat and equipment-drop+skill-based character progression

An RPG is a game experience where your choices are made in terms of your character's internal purposes and motivations. There isn't any other definition to it. Equipment, items, setting, and a surprising amount of story are all completely irrelevant to that specific term.

I believe most of the RPG games out there are not labeled as such because the makers are trying to correctly characterize their game, but because the marketers are trying to target the game to a specific market segment. Which of course is completely wrong, but how often are marketers actually held accountable for anything that can't be tied directly to sales numbers? Pretty much never, so that's where we get this kind of static.

Mass Effect, Diablo, Skyrim, and pretty much everything else in the "RPG" genre I would classify as "story-driven fantasy action games". In all of those the story exists simply to give your character a reason to do actiony stuff. Your guy or girl has no purpose or reason for existence otherwise, we just imagine they do because we're naturally imaginative people. Remove that forced story and you essentially have a sandbox where the character can run around and do stuff just because, which oddly, brings it closer to the pure RPG concept.

Give those sandboxes the content and mechanics to let the player shape the environment in accordance with their character's purposes and motivations, and lo - you have a real RPG. Which is fine, because unlike what all of those developers seem to think, the fact that you own the hardware and bought, installed and are playing the game means you don't really need to be forced to take action in order to take action. You're playing the game after all, so there's no way you're not going to take the initiative to make things happen ;)

Shamus Young:
Arr Pee Gee

What's another word for "RPG"?

Read Full Article

Shamus' articles are ones that I generally enjoy and one of the things that keep me coming back to the Escapist, but this one was a little thin. It didn't get to a conclusion, espouse an opinion or criticize anything.

I hate to be a complainer, but this seemed like a pretty pointless article. Well, aside from complaining that RPG doesn't mean anything anymore.

Zom-B:

Shamus Young:
Arr Pee Gee

What's another word for "RPG"?

Read Full Article

Shamus' articles are ones that I generally enjoy and one of the things that keep me coming back to the Escapist, but this one was a little thin. It didn't get to a conclusion, espouse an opinion or criticize anything.

I hate to be a complainer, but this seemed like a pretty pointless article. Well, aside from complaining that RPG doesn't mean anything anymore.

I disagree about the article being useless... :) but it did exactly what it needed to : it warned us not to trust how marketers or reviewers define games because there is no clear definitions for games.(in my experience)

now id rather base my judgement on trusted reviewers... or friends. Some RPG(claimed to be or have elements of) games appeal to me and i usually enjoy them alot, but that doesnt mean it will satisfy the other gamers

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here