In response to “Hooking Up in Hyperspace” from The Escapist Forum: Many of the same systems that were found SO2 were also present in FFX. Depending on given responses to questions posed; in what order you spoke with various party members; and even something as seemingly benign as who you healed and in what order; Tidus could grow closer with one of the three female protagonists (Yuna, Lulu, Rikku) altering a few of the cutscenes in minor ways. The overall story however, did not change, nor did the ultimate outcome.
It would be nice to see a little more of this seemless process applied to current gen games (whereby your actions do have consequence on the final outcome).
I’ve complained in the past about the boring system applied in DA:O, for example. It uses the pretty typical “feed gifts to party members to raise relationship” for the most part. Yes, there is a less significant “Q & A” with party members, but that is still pretty unoriginal and can be easily over-written by the gift feeding.
Even the outcomes in this case, are a little stale. Sure, you get a love scene (whoopee!) and a bonus to a stat. But IMO, the older SO2 integrates relationships better and is far more immersive, as it directly affects the way party members react to you and to each other, in battle.
Great article. I’m happy to finally see some more people realise how deep the system of that game really went. Not only with how many variations there were in the possible story routes, and Private Actions, but to see someone doing an article like this actually cover it to the point of mentioning the favoritism the game plays with the A.I. from the relationships the characters have been built to have with each other.
Star Ocean: Second Story is one of my favorite games I’ve ever played, and I didn’t even get a chance to play it the first time until last November. tri-Ace isn’t the best story teller by far, but they did a great job with what they gave the players in this game. Still my favorite in the series, even after playing all the other Star Ocean games.
In response to “Interviews With the Fandom” from The Escapist Forum: “This issue is actually a source of tension within many fanfiction communities. While some are writing merely to entertain their fellow fans and have little reason to care about literary standards, other writers seeking to craft something with more depth view this approach as lazy.”
This can be found at its most extreme, actually, over on TheForce.net’s fanfiction forum. There, they’ve got an entire “fan fiction resource” subforum filled with authors who rail against “mary sues” and hold big threads about improving narrative structure, pacing, and characterization.
Also, I think that in general, Star Wars fanfiction tends to be of a higher quality to other forms of fan fiction because of this: when a new fan comes in to try their material, the very first thing they realize is that, no matter what level they’re at, they’re doing a better job than George Lucas. :p
I particularly don’t care for fanfic, but if the view this article offers is accurate, I should never care. It says that bad fanfic isn’t really bad per se because some people enjoy it. Yeah, plenty of people enjoy things that are so bad it’s good – unless it’s done deliberately, it’s not a good thing, it’s a massive mockery. It says that fanfic writers say people who don’t get fanfic are just people for whom it isn’t made for; while it’s true that people on the internet love going to sites dedicated to things they hate and announcing they hate the thing the site is dedicated to, that doesn’t mean the hated thing has any qualities, or that they should just focus on their small group. And the policy of making something more inclusive has not worked very well for webcomics, which anyone can created as long as they have a working hand or foot and are widely considered to be a waste of time except for a few awesome cases.
I have read a few fanfics, and other than the well-publicized car crashes like My Immortal and ‘and then John was a zombie’, my main problem with them is that the writers don’t seem to love the media. Written media, I mean. They are writing an alternate continuity for a cartoon, or a comic book, or a game, and they can only do it in written media, so they try to comform to it but fail it, there’s a certain ‘I wish I could make a movie/comic/game based on this story, but I can’t, so here’s some lame plaintext instead’. Maybe it’s because I want to be a writer and I’m the kind of guy who loves the Pratchett/Adams style of writing, in which you take the disadvantadges of the medium and turn them into advantadges. For instance, descriptive paragraphs are usually the dullest parts of a novel, but in a Pratchett novel there’s sure to be a pun or other wordplay in it to make them some of the most memorable part of the whole thing. It’s what jumps at my eyes; I endeavour to be not some Dan Brown or J. K. Rowling, but an artist whose work is so fit to its media that adaption means reimagining, not just taking the thing and using it as a script.
I don’t write fanfic because when I was six I created a fantasy world for myself based on TV characters and I guess that went on to steal all my drive to work on media I don’t create entirely. Whoops.
I wholeheartedly agree. I don’t know when or why “angst” became a negative thing. It seems to me that when the word “angst” is used, its always as a negative connotation of it being whiney or “pussy” or something, when really, its just emotion, that thing we’re all SUPPOSED to have.
It became a negative thing around the time people realized their stories sucked because they couldn’t add conflict, but weren’t good enough to come up with believable conflict. So they thought that they could get around that by making their characters sad. Angst itself isn’t a bad thing, but the problem is that in several stories (and I’m not referring uniquely to fanfiction here) once you take the angst out there’s nothing to hold the character any more, the angst is there not as part of one’s personality but instead of it. It does give a bad name to people who can write dark stories well, but them’s the breaks.
It’s kind of like any video game with a good story has to have a plot twist in it somewhere, because plot twists make a story look more interesting than it actually is.
In response to “Corporate Fanfic” from The Escapist Forum: Honestly it was the buildup to the Watchmen movie that kind of ruined it for me; months of interviews with Snyder playing up how faithful the movie would be to the book. And then… it wasn’t. It kept the characters–kind of–and went through the motions, but it replaced crucial and characterful dialogue with Hollywood mush, played self-depreciating parts straight, and glorified in the violence Moore was writing against, radically changing the tone if not the message of the original… Apparently in Snyder’s mind a deluge of f-bombs and gore are all that’s required to tell an “adult story”, without regard for subtlety or maturity. And seriously, a faithful adaptation means more than making sure the props in the background match the comic panels perfectly.
Don’t get me wrong, it was an entertaining audio-visual spectacle that genuinely felt like a labour of love, and of course there’s no way everything could have been crammed into one film. I did enjoy it; but I felt a little cheated at just how far the film deviated from its roots in ways beyond costume and colour scheme.
By contrast I totally loved Sin City, which I thought preserved the grit, tone and spirit of the comics, without compromising the entertainment value of the end result. “Put the original creator in the director’s seat”? Fuckin’ A.
…Not that Frank Miller’s other attempt at directing was exactly stellar…
No one mentioned the 1985 adaption of Clue? Yeah, it was a board game to movie adaption – and it wasn’t that bad. It was a playful family movie, with a killer cast.
Edit: The article said the best case-scenario of movie adaption is grave robbing, but what about authors like Stephen King or Neil Gaiman who are more than happy to have their work adapted to other mediums? You get authors who co-operate with directors and vice versa, and they often create amazing landmark films. It really depends on the author, the property, and the care that goes into the movie’s production. Sometimes things are misjudged and a movie tanks, but if all the stars align then you get a great adaption.
In response to “From Fanfiction to Just Fiction” from The Escapist Forum: As someone interested in wanting to try his hand in fan fiction precisely for the purpose of using it as a springboard to writing real fiction, I would like to thank you for this article. It was both very helpful and informative.
However, I sometimes wonder if writers (and people in general) bother themselves too much with the notion of “Mary Sue/Marty Stu” characters. I mean, how people perceive fiction is entirely subjective. What is incredible and deep for one is a pathetic excuse of a story for another. Likewise, one may perceive a certain character as a “Mary Sue” character while another may not. Even tests that are made to determine “Mary Sue” characters are entirely subjective in their premise.
This is not to say that people should intentionally write characters as flawless and whatnot. But real life people start as blank slates and only gain qualities and flaws as they grow. If this holds true for characters as well, is it really worth creating characters in a certain way for the sake of avoiding what others may think makes a bad character? Doesn’t one run the risk of alienating the character from the rest of the plot by doing so?
Ah, fanfiction. I remember trying to write fanfiction a couple of times, but I couldn’t really get into it. I enjoyed planning out the story, but when it actually came to writing it…I’m not very comfortable writing other people’s characters as opposed to ones I’ve created myself. I don’t know what it is, but it makes me squirm a bit.
The one instance where I actually got something on paper came after listing various ideas for “what if” scenarios, which is the kind of fanfiction that actually appeals to me to write. Specifically, it was for Cowboy Bebop, the what if being, “What if Faye had never met Spike in that casino?” I went down a brief outline of chapters to parallel the actual series and tried to brainstorm how the circumstances would be altered if the boys had been on their own and Faye had been doing her own thing without the Bebop around to bail her out, complete with Faye meeting the Feng Shui girl (whose name I’ve forgotten) and having a bit of a runaround with her as the girl can tell Faye isn’t meant to be there – the story’s not what it was supposed to be – and she wanted to know why.
Only wrote the first chapter of it, but it was fun just trying to figure out how the story might have progressed if it had been two divergent paths rather than one combined group. Interesting exercise even if it bore no fruit.