Friday, April 15, 2016

Computer to Console to Computer

This is really a continuation of my previous blog where I noted that I started computer gaming as a substitute for playing Dungeons & Dragons.  Of course, that meant I played RPGs.  And at that time, it meant that I played western RPGs.  During those years in the early 1990's I didn't keep up with everything gaming.  I didn't own a console of my own (well, anything newer than an Atari 2600) but I played with friends on their consoles.  So, I was surprised when a friend told me about a type of RPG that was played on consoles, one that I hadn't heard of - a JRPG!  What?!?  Of course I had to try it.

I tried it, and I was surprised that I did not like it.  I was as surprised as my friend; it was a highly rated and hugely popular JRPG.  I tried to like it, but if you have to try to like something there is something wrong.  I just couldn't get over the fact that I couldn't create my own character.  That was half the fun of playing an RPG!  I would spend forever creating a character.  Depending on the RPG, I could choose my appearance, class, race, sex, alignment, abilities, skills, religion, and I would have a backstory in mind.  Sometimes, I would just create a starter character to see how the game played out before I created my "real" character because not all warriors play the same and a mage is not a wizard just as a druid is not a cleric.  It seemed like in a JRPG, you were dumped into a character and there wasn't much roleplaying to it.

I couldn't tell you how many times I was ripped out of the game by a dialog or action choice.  When the image I had in my head of my character did not correspond to the options given.  This only seemed to happen in a console JRPG.  I don't remember playing a western RPG on my computer in which the game came to a complete stop as I said to myself, "I wouldn't say this.  I wouldn't do that."  Sometimes I would have to pause for a significant length of time, hours or even days, before I could bring my head around to having my character take the best of two (or more) bad choices.  I hated that and it took the fun out of the game for me.

So, I stuck with computer gaming.  That is until the newer consoles came out and wonderful RPGs were available.  But that is the topic of another blog.