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Trapper Zoid

Definitive stories in console RPGs?

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Hello all, My current hobby project that I'm presently designing is loosely based on the stories and characters of console RPGs, and I'd really like to capture the essence of what defines that genre. So to do so I'd like to play some of the most definitive console RPGs to get a feel of what makes them tick. However, since I was late to the console gaming party, I'm not sure I'm qualified to pick out the titles that really define the genre; so I'm asking those of you who are really big fans of console RPGs to help me out. What I'd like is a shortlist of the most definitive console RPGs (mainly from the story and character perspective) so that I can study them. Please note that I am not necessarily looking for the best console RPG stories, but those that in your opinion are best representative of the nature of the genre; i.e. I'm not looking for truly innovative one-of-a-kind stories, rather the opposite; the ones that have stories that most people would associate with console RPGs. Also please note that I'm looking for console-type RPGs, not the Western D&D style ones (i.e. Final Fantasy; not Baldurs Gate, Ultima, Wizardy etc.); they don't have to be Japanese but in the same style. I'm probably going to aim for a SNES style look (as the art work is probably within my capabilities), but I'm not sure if there's a difference between the types of stories in the SNES era RPGs and the later RPGs (any advice on this RPG fans?) So what should I look at while I make my design to get a true feel of the stories and character design of the genre? Thanks to all who reply!

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No replies as of yet? I guess I'm not making much sense; my present bout of insomnia makes me about as coherent as a stunned squirrel [grin]. I'll try explaining myself again.

What I've noticed in the few console RPGs I've played is that the same archetypes of characters and situations occur again and again. Spikey-haired swordsmen heroes, princess-type heroines, long-haired pretty boy types, young genious sidekicks, anti-hero villains turned good etc. I want to study those archetypes, catalog them, and use them as part of my current game design.

To do so, I want to play through a couple of choice console RPGs, all the time making notes on the path of the story and the behaviour of the characters. I'm presently planning on playing through the back catalog of Squaresoft SNES RPGs, but the problem is that these games take an awful lot of time to play through. So I want to limit myself to only playing the most definitive RPGs; the ones that capture the entire essense of what RPGs are about.

Now if I don't get any replies I'll probably play it safe and just play through the Final Fantasy series, since I know that they are considered one of the greats, but I don't know if there's anything else I should be playing through in order to get a better understanding of what makes the console RPG so popular and great. That's why I want to ask you, the expert writers who have a feel of story structure and character types, for advice as to which games to play through first.

Sorry if I'm still a bit unclear, I'm not at all thinking clearly today. And thanks for any tips I get.

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Those are anime archetypes, if you want to study them it would probably be a lot easier to watch some anime than find and play a bunch of old games. The long haired prettyboy type is called a bishounen BTW.

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Final Fantasy 4, 6, 7, 8, and Tactics.

Eight is a bit afield, though.

Chrono Trigger.

Secret of Mana.

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Original post by sunandshadow
Those are anime archetypes, if you want to study them it would probably be a lot easier to watch some anime than find and play a bunch of old games. The long haired prettyboy type is called a bishounen BTW.


Well, I sort of guessed that as well, although I probably haven't seen enough anime to spot a large reoccuring trend. But it's not really just the characters I'm interested in, but also the story structure and plot elements as well. I may be completely off track here, but I'd suspect that there would be some differences between the manga and anime plots and those found in RPGs (as well as the similarities).

Actually, has anyone catalogued the manga/anime archetypes into some sort of review? It sounds like the kind of thing there'd be a book on, or at least a masters thesis. Something along ths lines of like "Archetypes and characters in popular Japanese culture"? I'll see if I can find anything.

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Original post by Beige
Final Fantasy 4, 6, 7, 8, and Tactics.

Eight is a bit afield, though.

Chrono Trigger.

Secret of Mana.


Thanks for that, Beige. I was going to look at those games anyway as I've heard good things about them (played Chrono Trigger myself already, absolutely loved it; also played a bit of FF6).

One quick question: why not Final Fantasy 5?

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Throughout the 1970's and into the 1980's there were "super robot" anime...which for the most part featured a five member team of archtypes.

The mostly stoic but earnest team leader - often with unkempt hair
The more impulsive "bad boy" anti-hero rebel type - whom is often at odds with the team leader
The slightly introverted beautiful girl - sister to team leader, or loves him
The large, often loud, and sloppy member - ruff and gruff on the outside but with a heart of gold
The smaller, skinny, nerd-ish member - often has personnality quirks even though they are often the smartest member on the team.

These same character types are also used by liveaction supersentai shows (known in the US as the Power Rangers).

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Original post by MSW
Throughout the 1970's and into the 1980's there were "super robot" anime...which for the most part featured a five member team of archtypes.

The mostly stoic but earnest team leader - often with unkempt hair
The more impulsive "bad boy" anti-hero rebel type - whom is often at odds with the team leader
The slightly introverted beautiful girl - sister to team leader, or loves him
The large, often loud, and sloppy member - ruff and gruff on the outside but with a heart of gold
The smaller, skinny, nerd-ish member - often has personnality quirks even though they are often the smartest member on the team.

These same character types are also used by liveaction supersentai shows (known in the US as the Power Rangers).


Wow, was this the formula that Voltron used back in the 80's right? I loved that show. I remember making my own five robot lions out of toothpaste boxes that forms into that giant robot, because I couldn't afford the real toys. Great stuff.

Anyway, all the help has been appreciated. I've found a book on archetypes in classic Japanese film at the library that might be useful, but I'm a feeling I'm getting a bit off-track here (I love learning about practically anything, but that means I'm very easily distracted from what I should be focusing on). I'll probably focus more on the games rather than entirety of Japanese culture, as there's only so much I can take in at once.

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Quote:
Original post by Trapper Zoid
Quote:
Original post by Beige
Final Fantasy 4, 6, 7, 8, and Tactics.

Eight is a bit afield, though.

Chrono Trigger.

Secret of Mana.


Thanks for that, Beige. I was going to look at those games anyway as I've heard good things about them (played Chrono Trigger myself already, absolutely loved it; also played a bit of FF6).

One quick question: why not Final Fantasy 5?


I would highly recommend 5.

A full list of my recommendations:

Wild Arms, - ESPECIALLY if you're looking for a SNES-style look, but want something a little 'nicer' (this game was 2D, but combat sequences were 3D a'la Final Fantasy 7)
Final Fantasy (5 & 7), - 9 seemed pretty cool but I never got to play it for more than a few hours so can't really comment.
Secret of Mana,
Seiken Densetsu 3,
Chrono Trigger,


-Also if you're not "dead set" in creating a stereotypical console-type RPG, or would be willing to simply "sample" some other sorts (who knows what you might like/dislike about them)

play fallout 1 (and possibly 2) on computer. - two things that console RPGs are generally missing are character development and open-endedness, both of these are covered extremely well in fallout.

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Thanks for the tips gav86!

Quote:

-Also if you're not "dead set" in creating a stereotypical console-type RPG, or would be willing to simply "sample" some other sorts (who knows what you might like/dislike about them)


Actually, I'm not really making an RPG at all [smile]. At the moment, I'm planning on making a simulated village environment as a test bed for some ideas on character A.I. and automated stories. However, to make it interesting and to ensure it's high quality, I'm going to turn it into a game. It's just that I think it will be a lot more fun if the feel of this simulation was a part homage, part parody of the characters and situations present in console RPGs. It just feels "better" to me, in a way I can't fully explain at this stage (it's still in design!)

Quote:

play fallout 1 (and possibly 2) on computer. - two things that console RPGs are generally missing are character development and open-endedness, both of these are covered extremely well in fallout.


Actually, Fallout is one of my favourite games of all time! Fallout 2 is permanently on my hard drive. I'm really a PC RPG fan who only recently started loving console RPGs (well, five years ago; that's a short time considering the amount of time I've been gaming [smile]). That's why I'm asking about the SNES era of games, I was a PC gamer in those days.

By the way, I'm not sure whether I'd consider Fallout to have excellent character development. Open-ended definitely (it's the poster game for open-endedness) but the characters seemed a bit underdeveloped to me, compared to a good console RPG.


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