Why do people like RPGs?

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Voor
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Why do people like RPGs?

Postby Voor » July 20th, 2017, 7:55 am

I'm not saying they shouldn't, I'm just genuinely interested. Aside from Mario RPG, which I thought was OK, I've never been tempted to invest any time in one.

Also, how do they vary? Aren't they all just pick a member of your team, pick to attack/defend, and then await the outcome (which is somewhat random).

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scotland
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Re: Why do people like RPGs?

Postby scotland » July 20th, 2017, 8:34 am

Good question. I can give my opinion on why I like some RPGs. I think the genre is varied enough where opinions are going to vary alot.

I enjoy slower paced tactical games like some RPGs, Rogue likes, or Advance Wars kind of tactical games. Each piece/party member has abilities, and you work together to meet the objective.

its also an evolution, for me, from other hobbies. I played tabletop games like Risk or Chess or Squad Leader, to classic role playing like Dungeons and Dragons. For games like Risk, its all about mechanics of tactical gameplay. For D&D, tactics marry setting and characters.

I find I can play these (often gralhically simple) games for hours. They become like a good book, where you want to read one more chapter. Yes, there can be lots of repetition, but most games are lather rinse repeat when you think about them. The difficulty is usually self adjusting (too hard - go grind. too easy - toss away that magic sword), and completing a task is rewarding.

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Retro STrife
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Re: Why do people like RPGs?

Postby Retro STrife » July 20th, 2017, 9:19 am

It's hard to describe, even for someone like me who grew up with RPGs as my favorite genre. First, I'd agree with the last paragraph on Scotland's post, about a good RPG being like a good book. The story of an RPG engages you in the same way you might get engrossed in a fantasy TV show or book (like Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings), but as an active participant. If an RPG does not have a good story, I have no interest in it.

The other big thing is character progression. I find it enjoyable to improve a character-- leveling up, getting new abilities, getting new weapons, etc. There's something fun about starting with a clean slate and strategically building your character over time. In fact, I find myself enjoying that in other genres too (for example, in the NBA 2K series, I like to create a player and then build him up over time so that he goes from a nobody to a superstar). If you find that aspect interesting in other genres too, then you might like RPGs. No genre does character progression better than RPGs, since that's basically the most essential element of the genre.

Then you get to explore a whole world, which slowly opens up new areas over time. (i.e., you're stuck on one continent for now, but then you get a boat that lets you go to more areas). Eventually the whole world is open. I like exploring the towns, talking to people, etc.

I actually think the battling is among the most boring parts of RPGs....hitting "Attack" over and over, and healing when needed, is not all that exciting to me. That's especially true for older RPGs from the 80s and 90s. Sometimes it feels like a "necessary evil" to grind away in battles, just so I can enjoy the rest of the game.

JWK
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Re: Why do people like RPGs?

Postby JWK » July 20th, 2017, 5:15 pm

I think separating JRPGs and WRPGs is imperative to understanding why someone gets into the genre-- or one of the two sub genres in this case. For example, I LOVE Japanese role playing games but after trying Western classics like Skyrim, Drage Age Origins/Inquisition, Fallout 3, etc etc, I have made peace with the fact that I simply don't like Western role playing games. Doesn't mean I won't ever try them again-- I plan on trying The Witcher 3... maybe soon-- but I've tried to force myself to play and like them and they just aren't for me. Can't get into them.

But I was the same way with JRPGs for years. In fact, I started posting here in 2009 and I hated the genre. Then I played Chrono Trigger on DS and something in my brain just clicked. The music, the visuals, the characters, the battle system, the story. It was the perfect gateway drug for me. Since then, JRPGs have been more or less my favorite genre (along with 2D shmups, 2D fighting games and Third person shooters). It's also one of the last remaining genres from the old school that remains in modern gaming. I'm slowly working my way through Persona 5 and it's perfect.

Some of the tedium of the genre is endearing to me; I enjoy leveling up characters, revealing more of the map, farming to upgrade a skill or buy a new weapon. I'm pretty OCD that way. But I recognize not everyone is gonnaenjoy or even tolerate the genre because of genre tropes like those, but those can get past that (or lead to enjoy those aspects) will find an absolute wealth of gaming. When I broke down my defenses and embraced JRPGs, that's what happened to me. I found Classics both modern and retro that were brand new for me to experience. I'm assuming some WRPG will come along and do the same thing for me with that genre. I hope so, anyway.

GTS
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Re: Why do people like RPGs?

Postby GTS » July 20th, 2017, 5:55 pm

RPGs have more depth, but better graphics. Non-RPGs have less depth, but better graphics. So it's a matter of what your preference is.

Voor, you may want to try other RPGs to better understand their appeal. They are much more varied than you are making them out to be.

goldenband
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Re: Why do people like RPGs?

Postby goldenband » July 20th, 2017, 8:59 pm

Most RPGs don't have a compelling plot or characters, so if you go into RPGs expecting a gripping story with three-dimensional inhabitants I think you'll be grossly disappointed. (I certainly would be, with very rare exceptions.) Some people claim otherwise, but compare a good book or movie to even the most well-admired RPG and it's not remotely a contest: 99.9% of the time, RPGs have incredibly clichéd plots with cardboard cut-out characters.

But what many RPGs do have in spades is atmosphere. Whether it's the gorgeous music of games like Chrono Trigger; the verdant scenery of a Secret of Mana; the creepy wireframes, distant rumbles, and heart-beating suspense of Dungeons of Daggorath; or the huge, empty worlds of a game like Drakkhen or Faery Tale Adventure...

...all of those have an immersive atmosphere, at least to me. And that's a big part of what keeps me coming back to a genre that can too easily feel like a Skinner box or a slot machine, i.e. pressing the same lever over and over again to get a treat. You can just be in their worlds without the immediate pressure and goal-oriented quality of an action game.

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ptdebate
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Re: Why do people like RPGs?

Postby ptdebate » July 20th, 2017, 11:59 pm

goldenband wrote:Most RPGs don't have a compelling plot or characters, so if you go into RPGs expecting a gripping story with three-dimensional inhabitants I think you'll be grossly disappointed. (I certainly would be, with very rare exceptions.) Some people claim otherwise, but compare a good book or movie to even the most well-admired RPG and it's not remotely a contest: 99.9% of the time, RPGs have incredibly clichéd plots with cardboard cut-out characters.


Perhaps there is some merit to your claim that most RPG stories are cliché-ridden and dull. But in reality this is no more true of RPGs than it is of genre literature, film, or television. Most works of entertainment borrow extensively from what came before. They rely on established tropes and character archetypes. People tend to judge the different media based on what they've been exposed to, and their opinions can change over time as they are exposed to new and unfamiliar things.

Looking at the roster of current blockbuster entertainments, you see similar trends across media. A yearly Transformers iteration. Another season of the hopelessly derivative and unfunny Big Bang Theory. A clone of last year's tired franchise FPS with some tame "politically relevant" dialogue thrown in for spice.

And then something truly challenging comes along. A disruption to the cynicism and complacency. Look to these titles for a more complex form of consumption. The games are there, the question is simply whether or not you're willing to go outside of your comfort zone.

goldenband
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Re: Why do people like RPGs?

Postby goldenband » July 21st, 2017, 1:13 am

Well, I definitely agree with Sturgeon's Law, i.e. that 90+% of all media is basically garbage. And I certainly am no friend to contemporary mainstream media, which is generally an embarrassing wasteland. It's astonishing how much the quality of the writing in TV and film has deterioriated in the last 20-25 years or so, such that I can pick up even a third-rate movie from the 1970s and find dialogue that's far better-written, and characters far more human, than even Oscar-nominated films from recent years.

But my point is that I've yet to encounter an RPG whose plot had any merit beyond supplying a structure for the action, or whose characters had anything resembling depth. And I say that as someone who found Chrono Trigger (for example) very moving to play through...but what's moving about it is the world itself and its atmosphere of magic and possibility, not the characters.

If there's a Citizen Kane of RPGs -- something where every single character feels like a truthful depiction of a real person, with a three-dimensional personality and nuanced motivations -- I'd love to see it and play it. But most of the time I feel the plotting and characterization in RPGs, especially JRPGs, does nothing for or even detracts from the experience. The more epic and moving they try to be, the cornier things get. What they really have to offer is a world, not a plot.

To be fair, that's also true of almost all video games -- but it affects RPGs most acutely since so many of them foreground the story and characters. Video games can be exciting or frightening/creepy, but I can't think of a single one that's succeeded in getting me to actually care about a character the way I do when watching a terrific movie, or reading a terrific book -- to feel sadness, or grief, or guilt, or any other emotion that's being elicited by a character's humanity and human suffering (instead of being elicited by cues in the soundtrack helpfully telling me what I'm supposed to feel).

(Another World/Out of this World is the closest I've seen, partly because it leaves so much unsaid -- which is no coincidence -- but again, that's far more about the magic and atmosphere of the setting than the depth of the characters.)

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Stalvern
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Re: Why do people like RPGs?

Postby Stalvern » July 21st, 2017, 5:59 am

There is a good, well-written RPG. It's called Earthbound.

Voor
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Re: Why do people like RPGs?

Postby Voor » July 21st, 2017, 7:35 am

Thanks everyone. I guess my issue then is that I can't ever really recall being very interested in a game's storyline. Just don't have the patience to sit through a bunch of text or cutscenes.

for me, the interest would lie in the actual combat, which may be why I like some real time strategy games, but not RPGs


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