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/vr/ - Retro Games

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File: 73 KB, 600x597, Final_Fantasy_VII.jpg [View same] [iqdb] [saucenao] [google]
4467402 No.4467402 [Reply] [Original]

Are RPGs just inefficient story delivery mechanisms?

>> No.4467407

Any kind of a genre can handle a story well.

>> No.4467408

No, most devs are just bad storytellers, and that's not just rpg devs.

>> No.4467417


I'm reminded slightly of back when people would say the same of comic books.

>> No.4467438

Video games are bad story delivery mechanisms; game mechanics and stories don't mesh well, they only do in rather limiting instances so you're compromising for the game and the story factor by doing so, a disservice to both mediums. In other, most cases, you see stories interrupted with games (a ton of text or cutscenes with some easy moving around and solving easy puzzles in between) and games interrupted with stories (your typical excuse "damsel in distress" plot with 10 second cutscenes in the entire game).
The game genre of your picture is a blend of strategy game (with its origins on turn based war board games) with elements of exploration and sometime puzzle stuff (so-called SRPGs like Fire Emblem are the same but lacking the later non-strategy elements). FFVII marked the moment where they really started to focus on trying to add story in this game genre (remember: story is not a game mechanic) and they became famous games for storyfags, your "I play for the story" or "The only point is playinf for the story" kind of crap.

>> No.4467461

Video games can deliver stories fine, provided the stories are told in the terms of gameplay and written so that they don't get in each other's way or even complement one another. Unfortunately, this sort of a thing is tricky to accomplish even in modern day and virtually unheard of in retro games - but I've seen it done.

>> No.4467465

So much gets lost in translation for FF7 -- not sure if it's a good way to open up this topic

>> No.4467471

No more than Platformers are because the latter Megaman X games throw ridiculous cutscenes and exposition dumps at you.

>> No.4467474

>provided the stories are told in the terms of gameplay and written so that they don't get in each other's way

And this is why I said "game mechanics and stories don't mesh well, they only do in rather limiting instances". It is rare for a reason, you can't have many different stories or types of games that can coexist without stepping on each other.

>> No.4467489

It's for a meme response. They were trying to shitpost.

>> No.4467510

But in the instances where it's done well, I believe it can outshine all other forms of storytelling.

>> No.4467517

As far pre-cinematic video games go, they were the best option available for extensive storytelling.

>> No.4467525

I have some doubts myself but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt since I haven't dabbled too much into this. If you can post some of the better examples you know that would be much appreciated.

>> No.4467619

First they said this about radio.
Then television.
Then Comic Books when they got really big.

Video games are just the most recent version of assuming [thing] can't properly tell a good story as a medium.

>> No.4467624

Only shitty video game """""RP"""G's"""""""" are.

>> No.4467629 [SPOILER]  [DELETED] 
File: 318 KB, 1280x1280, 1513560561164.jpg [View same] [iqdb] [saucenao] [google]

Despite having been around for decades, video game storytelling really is in a woefully poor condition. At worst you just get a perfectly regular and linear story, just that you yourself have to play through it: if it's done well and you're into it, you can immerse yourself to it and enjoy it more than if you just read it through a book, since you're actually there, but more often than not we just get shit like was said, where the story and the game get in the way of one another.

Then in the best case, we've got multiple dialogue options (usually with the same end result anyway), side quests that you don't need to complete, and the occasional (extremely binary) choice that never matters outside its extremely limited context: this latter is kind of better than what other storytelling mediums do, but usually not well enough to compensate for the already underlined fundamental issues, especially when they're usually written so poorly.

I submit that there are two ways, at least two that I could think of and that I've seen to work in practice, to do video game storytelling -right-. Unfortunately I can on top of my head think of only one example of each, at least a really good one - and neither of them are retro at all.

The first is to put the story entirely to the background: completely eliminate cutscenes and dialogue and ensure that gameplay is never truly interrupted, at least not for a very long time at once. The player could zoom right through the game without ever actually getting into any details of what the hell is going on, but such an option should be made available if they really want to. But this would of course just leave you completely and utterly confused and wondering just what the hell is even going on here – unless the basic plot and the mission given to you are simple enough, and it's made plausible that your player avatar himself couldn't give a shit of greater context. My example of such a game is the new Doom.

>> No.4467634 [SPOILER]  [DELETED] 
File: 1004 KB, 1536x1152, 1513560636705.png [View same] [iqdb] [saucenao] [google]

The second is to make gameplay itself a part of the story: game mechanics, controls, and user interface would blend in with dialogue and player character mindset. Most of the time games just fuck around with these things under certain circumstances, like the weirdass sanity loss effects in Eternal Darkness, or Psycho Mantis reading your mind – but these are just amusing little effects that spice up the game a little, rather than being right in the core. My one true example of this takes it far further: gameplay mechanics change on the fly all the time, story events reach out into user interface everywhere rather than just in a single mind-bending instance, choices matter and persist even if you load the game (which just acts as a sort of time travel), the name you give your character is more than just a name, and your control over your player character is acknowledged as something far more than them simply being your avatar within the game world. This one game is called Undertale.

You may disagree with many things in my assessment, but I personally would argue that both of the above games go far, far beyond the sum of their components. To me they are shining examples of what video games can do with their stories and their gameplay, early displays of their potential beyond what books or movies can do, and I hope to see more of them in the future.

>> No.4467656

Storytelling is minialmist in most 80s game. A beginning narrative and ending narrative. It wasn't until snes it got expanded on and even more so with ps1 and later systems.

Even then, Video games counterpart is movies not books.

>> No.4467681

Which has nothing to do with OP's question.

>> No.4467690

Yes, it does.

OP asks if RPGs are inefficient at telling a story. The post you quote says not necessarily.

>> No.4467695

/vr/ is full of storyfags after all, holy shit

>> No.4467696

I think they naturally acquired the storytelling aspect because they are long games. They aren't inherently better suited it for other genres. And they don't exist to tell a story. They are based off of dungeon crawlers, which barely need a premise.

>> No.4467817

>modern games

>> No.4467829

That's what I said, yes.

>> No.4467836

>retro games have no good story

>> No.4467862

They're skinner boxes for people who hate reading books.

>> No.4467884

Nice meme, you Something Awful/NeoFAG retard.

>> No.4467986

IMHO the point of RPGs should always be more about exploring the game's world to find out more about it's history, characters and current events than just telling a story. This should also extend to the gameplay side of things meaning the only way you should find out what you are supposed to do and where to go next should be by talking to NPCs and exploring things like bookshelves, signs and other things instead of FMV cutscenes and endless dialogue boxes constantly telling you what to do without letting you to do any exploring in order to find out.

80s and early 90s RPGs worked this way and IMHO it's how RPGs should be like but I'm sure the FF7 generation of RPG players will disagree with this and are going to defend the RPGs are only to tell a story point of view and linearity in modern RPGs.

As for stories and their importance just like in any other genre you only need a story to set up the main goal of the game but having anything more does enhance the experience but should not be the main focus of the game except for point and click adventure games.

>> No.4467989

It would not surprise me if I am the only one that gets the fact that JRPG games can tell a story in a way that isn't possible for any other genre of games. At least for the most part that genre has built itself into such a formula that it is instantly recognizable even by people who don't care for it. Talking in regards to TB/ATB JRPG games though.

For the other RPG games I think they tell fine stories at times. The genre I feel delivers story the shittiest more often than not is is modern 3rd person action games and FPS. I never cared for games like TLOU or Uncharted yet that is what became popular. Those are genres that should be gameplay centered more than not. While with a JRPG if the story is sucking you will likely want to shut it off because story is the most important part of these games due to their length and the fact that their gameplay will feel tedious if the story isn't good.

So I disagree with your question. I think at least in the case of JRPG games they tell a unique video game story you couldn't replicate in any other form of entertainment as well. As for other RPG games like the Fallout games and TES I think they tell good stories to but at least in those games cases their lore tends to be the most interesting aspect.

>> No.4468016

No, I genuinely enjoy jrpg gameplay.

>> No.4468019

Back then making these games was like shooting in the dark so they get a pass but for a modern jRPG there is nothing I can think to justify making your game longer than 30 hours.

>> No.4468104

RPG is a genre of gameplay. Not a narrative device.

Which I'm constantly reminding the RPG MAKER community, who seem to think RPGs require story context, and therefore must be anything with a story.
Don't get me started on people who think "Role-playing" and "Role-playing game" mean the same thing.
Genre names are nouns. Not verbs. Not adjectives.

>> No.4468106


>Then Comic Books when they got really big.

And absolute fuck all changed.

>> No.4468121

Dungeon Crawlers are a subgenre of RPG.
It's an RPG where you navigate through the floors of a dungeon or tower.

Rather than visiting towns and navigating a world map.

>> No.4468152

But he's almost completely right

>> No.4468193

The only real, honest-to-God example of a story being well-told and part of the gameplay that I can think of would be Shadow of the Colossus, but that's not retro. What others have you seen?

>> No.4468218

He later posted DOOM 2016 and Undertale as his examples but the posts were removed due to being non-/vr/.

...Yeah, those.

>> No.4468240
File: 265 KB, 481x194, life lessons from a plant.png [View same] [iqdb] [saucenao] [google]

The answer is right here.

About op and pic. Not sure why you chose this image, but there are stories made to sell something, so they need to hit all the marks set by the "marketing". And there are good stories that don't force bullshit in.

Games that represent that well are:
>Witcher - FinalFantasy7 and above
sad "superficial boring" world that makes sense - superficial flashy nonsense and groups of people that make no sense but hit all the check marks

>Inside - SuperMarioWorld

>Stories Untold - LeisureSuitLarry

>Silent Hill2 and shattered memories - Resident Evil

>Soma - Doom/WolfenShit

You see, good story has not much to do with anything. Stories do help sell a game, good or bad. Keep in mind that the marketing department has not only influence on the story, but also on character designs and explosions, crystals and everything that sells. I work in marketing, and it is most unholy.

>> No.4468247

Considering a lot of RPGs hardly have any story to speak of, no.

>> No.4468304

Which cannot be compared to a good book

>> No.4468310

>Don't get me started on people who think "Role-playing" and "Role-playing game" mean the same thing.
God you are retard.

>> No.4468324

>FFVII marked the moment where they really started to focus on trying to add story in this game genre (remember: story is not a game mechanic) and they became famous games for storyfags, your "I play for the story" or "The only point is playinf for the story" kind of crap.
There is no point in playing a rpg for anything else than the story. Otherwise go play a boardgame.

If you don't want to feel like you are part of a party of heroes on an epic quest helping people and understanding the world, you landed in the wrong genre. Like 80% of the game is about that. The rest is random, repetitive, combat. To play a 20 hours game just for a gameplay mechanic that must be the less exciting one in videogames and call everyone else a storyfag ...

>> No.4468396
File: 56 KB, 600x450, 600full-tomb-raider-iv_-the-last-revelation-screenshot.jpg [View same] [iqdb] [saucenao] [google]

Look at me! I'm role-playing as Lara Croft. Tomb Raider is an RPG. A Dungeon Crawler even!
How can I be wrong? Why would genres be anything beyond the verbal meaning of their name? What's a misnomer?

>> No.4468432

Lara Croft is not a rpg. If you don't understand what rpgs are for, just read what their creators thought and why are they the most popular videogame genre despite every videogame being about gameplay.

>> No.4468502

That's exactly the point anon.

It's the same principle as people stating that the name 'JRPG' applies to every RPG from Japan, which is also not true. An Oblivion clone made in Japan is not a JRPG.

>> No.4468597

Very good, all video game genres are about gameplay. That is how they are categorized. When two games game share the same gameplay, they go in the same category. We call those categories genres. RPG is one type of genre.
And still, when you ask fans and wannabe developers what an RPG is, they list off all these associations that have nothing to do with gameplay.

"Gameplay. What is the gameplay?"
"It follows a story..."
"No anon. Narratives are not gameplay. Try again."
"Final Fantasy is an RPG..."
"Yes. And the gameplay of Final Fantasy is... "
"Exploring? Minigames? Item Management?""
"Just admit you don't know and I'll leave you alone"
"They're all Fantasy."
"That's a literary genre. Not a video game genre"
"Zelda is an RPG!"
"Take that back you son of a bitch!"

>> No.4468650

>all video game genres are about gameplay

Except when it comes to RPGs, which make the gameplay take a step back and focus more on the plot as well as on providing an experience in which you play as one or more customizable character(s) who level(s) up over time, usally by defeating enemies.

I really find it bizarre that people still call LoZ an RPG though, it barely has any RPG elements. Its original top-down perspective was a bit remeniscent of Final Fantasy games, and you do get better gear over time but that's it.

Also not all RPGs are Fantasy. Earthbound, for example.

>> No.4468689

I sure love playing Wizardry V for the story, buddy.

And don't go shitting on me "this is an exception" since this series is pretty much the #1 basis for all the later jRPG stuff.

>> No.4468690


No, he's asking if they're nothing BUT inefficient story delivery mechanisms.

>> No.4468694

not really
better than movies at least

>> No.4468696

Naeh video games are better at delivering because you actually take part in the adversity of the characters making you understand and care on a deeper level than possible in 90 minutes of just passively watching.

>> No.4468720

I feel like point-and-click adventures are the best genre to tell stories. It doesn't distract from the mechanics since talking to people in these games is basically a mechanic. And seriously, they have the most involved and character-heavy plots.

>> No.4468730
File: 160 KB, 479x192, wat.png [View same] [iqdb] [saucenao] [google]

Yeah, while you are right that we dive into every video game, a roleplaying game focuses on the role of a character in the world. Tomb raider is not a focus of lara crofts in the world she is in. It is focused on controlling her with fun mechanics through puzzles. The focus is on plattforming and adventure. You can apply this to books and movies too. Sure you almost always have a main character but the genre is always different. The focus is the point.

It would be more difficult with SOMA. Soma is a fantastic mix of horror, adventure and rpg. I think what differenciates some more from normal RPGs is that in rpgs you slip into different roles of different characters in one game, and even play between them with yourself. For example in final fantasy 6 you play as many different roles, but it has a reason to do so. You are supposed to experience all those feelings between and of the different characters. So you have to play their role, if you want it or not.

>> No.4468732
File: 142 KB, 272x286, bitchslap.webm [View same] [iqdb] [saucenao] [google]

autocorrect ment:
soma, not 'some'

>> No.4468746

An RPG is any game with continuous character progression, combat that is mostly or completely stat-based, freely selectable inventory that can be filled with non-essential items, and a relative freedom of movement. It's fucking simple.
The anon above is right, the only standard for genres is game mechanics, not themes, plots or "immersion". Any game can be immersive and include meaningful choices without being an RPG. I can't fucking stand people who think anything before Fallout isn't an RPG because it doesn't have "C&C" or some shit.

>> No.4468765

You may feel more involved but the actual storytelling that can be told (that is, the range of possible stories) is limited, since many don't mesh with game mechanics. Either that or the story segments are separated from the gameplay segments (cutscenes, text) and it almost becomes a "I'm reading a book to turn the page I have to do 5 sit-ups or else I won't be able to proceed" type of case of disjointedness.

>> No.4469635

Think about what you're saying for a moment.
You're saying all the keys on a piano play a note, except for that one, it plays the color salt. And that's still somehow a note?

Also, graphics and camera angles are not gameplay so they're not video game genres. If you say First-Person Shooter. "Shooter" is the genre. "First-person" is just the camera angle. 3D, 2D, Text Adventure. Only "Adventure" is a genre. Get it? People say this stuff all the time but not understand the linguistics of it.

And Earthbound is literary fantasy. Maybe you're thinking of "fantasy" (like most people do) as a setting. Colloquially "not earth". But settings and themes are not what go into genres. It's like people call Star Wars "science-fiction" because of it's association with space and technology. But Star Wars' literary genre is Fantasy, because Literary Genres are about the story. Just like Video Game Genres are about gameplay. Just because it has speculative technology in it, doesn't mean it's ABOUT speculative technology, see? It bothers people so much they made up the term Science-Fantasy just for Star Wars fans who miss the forest for the trees.

>> No.4469667

I love explaining to people that Adventure is the name of literary genre. But also the name of a video game genre.

That's usually the point people realize there's something that goes into a genre. And they've never though to look into it beyond the word itself. They thought "Adventure" was just an adventure.

>> No.4471057

depends on game. Wizardry/Might and Magic 1 don't fit the bill.

>> No.4471201

>FFVII marked the moment where they really started to focus on trying to add story in this game genre
That was FFIV, m8.

>> No.4471204

You mean FFII.

>> No.4472225

Good job missing the point, the point being that you're wrong. A good story can be told just as well in any medium, with talent and effort.

A 80 minute redbook audio CD full of nothing but morse code beeps could tell an amazing story.

>> No.4473118

You are correct, FFIV was a set up in that regard, but it's still pretty minimalistic compared to JRPG from FFVII and after due to CD storage space.

>> No.4474602

To an extent, I would say Vagrant Story.

>> No.4476541

You mean Phantasy Star 1

>> No.4476664

Anybody else hate this cover? I see a partially-drawn man painfully holding a sword against his back while he stands before a blurry nuclear reactor or Shibuya corporate building (it's indeterminate as the viewer has no sense of scale). What am I supposed to gleam from this picture?

>> No.4476669
File: 526 KB, 1800x500, Cover-Art.jpg [View same] [iqdb] [saucenao] [google]


>> No.4476761

Nice bait.

>> No.4476898

You can tell stories WITH game mechanics. That's like saying movies and cinematography don't mesh well.

It's just that there's few people that really TRIED to tell stories with gameplay, because game designers usually focus on fun, rather than on story - 'narrative design' is an extremely novel field and only a handful of games use narrative designers. In the 'retro' age, few games had dedicated DESIGNERS, let alone writers!

Shadow of the Colossus, Dark Souls, Half Life 1+2, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Psychonauts, Spec Ops: The Line, handful of indie games like Gravity Bone and Thirty Flights or Loving - I'd say those few comprise majority of boldest efforts to tell stories with actual gameplay.

You can't judge games on their storytelling ability yet, it's unfair. Ask any game designer interested in storytelling via games, and he will tell you games are in their infancy as a medium.

Noone took comics (medium born in 1930s) as a serious medium for telling stories before Contract with God (in 1970s) proved it can be done, and Watchmen/Maus (in 1980s) elevated it into mainstream.

Noone took film (born around 1890s) seriously as a storytelling medium until Battleship Potemkin (1920s) proved it can be done, and Citizen Kane (1940s) elevated it into mainstream.

Noone takes videogames (born I guess around 1970s) seriously as a storytelling medium.
Yet. But videogames' version of Battleship Potemkin and Contract with God and Citizen Kane will come yet. Evnetually.

For now, we can still play the games for the skill mastery, for fun, for visuals, horror games for the scares, adventure games to feel like detectives. They're still worth it. And we can rest easily knowing that someone, one day, will finally figure out the key to how make games actually tell stories that don't involve overlong cutscenes or long text dumps.

>> No.4477069

Really? Because Maus, Watchmen, Contract With God, Persepolis, Ghost World, Jimmy Corrigan: Smartest Kid on Earth, Monstress, Daytripper, American Splendor, Pluto, Akira, Nausicaa, Incal, Airtight Garage... all beg to disagree.

Let me guess, you don't actually read comics - or books for that matter, but you simply assume that books are somehow 'higher' form of art, basing your uneducated opinion on actually nothing at all? I mean, seriously.

>> No.4477080

>You can tell stories WITH game mechanics.

Yes, you can. But, as I said multiple times already here, you can only tell certain types of stories with certain types of mechanics. You need to compromise both mediums for them to coexist simultaneously. This is why I argue video games are not a good story telling medium, they are a better game mechanics medium (of course).

>> No.4477117

There are no "both mediums". Story is not a medium. Narrative is something that exists WITHIN a medium, be it a book, or a movie, or a game.

Game mechanics are not separate from stories, they TELL stories. "I walked into a room, shoot two nazis with a machinegun, then suddenly I heard a noise - I rotated quickly and just in time, as a Nazi sneaked up behind me! I quickly cut him down before he got a shot off, so I got lucky" - is a story. It's a shallow story, sure, but that's because our game mechanics are emotionally shallow. All we need is to develop mechanics that are emotionally rich to tell meaningful, emotional stories - with emotional mechanics. Games don't need to be fun to be engaging or enjoyable - we already know that as many horror games aren't fun at all - they're designed to inspire fear and other NEGATIVE emotions in the player. It can be done.

Shadow of the Colossus manages to inspire doubt using its mechanics. Dark Souls uses its world design and difficulty to inspire despair. Spec Ops uses its enemy design and moral choices to create feeling of moral ambiguity.

All of these mechanics are fun AND tell an emotional story at the same time. Game designers just need to figure out more emotionally meaningful mechanics to put into games. This will take time - but it's not a lost cause.

Now, I will agree that a game that would tell this deep and meaningful story most likely would be fun to play - it could be interesting, sad, enthralling - but probably not fun. But again - horror games already aren't fun in the traditional sense either, and we still play them anyway.

And it's not like fun games are likely to disappear anywhere soon. They're just too much, well. Fun.

>> No.4477206

RPGs, and videogames in general, are valid storytelling devices. It's just that they, just like books and movies, excel at delivering specific stories in a specific way. In the case of video games, it's a story that is shaped by the player's agency and use of game mechanics.

For me, the purest example of videogame storytelling that cannot be done by other mediums is roguelikes. They typically have only the bare minimum of plot and lore, but the freeform nature of the player's interactions with the world allows them to forge their own narrative, imagine and figure out things based on their own findings. Add some graphics and more narrative links for the player to connect onto that, and you get a very powerful story delivery mechanism.

The opposite approach, that is unfortunately mainstream, is to cram as much pre-fabricated narrative, text and cutscenes into the game as possible to make it more like a movie. Unfortunately, that will inavoidably clash with game mechanics and player-shaped narrative and ultimately result in lesser quality storytelling compared to an actual movie. It defeats the point of videogame as a storytelling device in the first place.

It's ironic that for all the flak that JRPGs get, Japanese developers actually figured that shit out. Starting with SaGa games with their indirect storytelling and non-linearity, and continuing with Souls games, with their seemingly barebones and obscure worldbuilding that the player figures out on their own by interacting with the world instead of being talked at in cutscenes. Another example, although some may disagree, is Dragon's Dogma. It has a plot but it's very generic and open to interpretation on purpose, allowing the player to make their own story roaming in the open world and using heavily customizable game tools. What this post >>4477117 says with regards to game mechanics creating specific emotions is also valid, and it's best when those emotions do not clash with a prefabricated narrative.

>> No.4477262

they do alright

>> No.4477325

>It's a shallow story, sure, but that's because our game mechanics are emotionally shallow. All we need is to develop mechanics that are emotionally rich to tell meaningful, emotional stories - with emotional mechanics. Games don't need to be fun to be engaging or enjoyable - we already know that as many horror games aren't fun at all - they're designed to inspire fear and other NEGATIVE emotions in the player. It can be done.

You see what I mean? A lot of game mechanics that are fun aren't good storytelling, and most good storytelling doesn't translate to good game mechanics. This is what I mean when I say stories and game mechanics don't mesh well and you need to compromise both so they are in harmony. You can, but if you only do so lots of game mechanics and/or stories would get left behind.

Again, not saying it can't be done, just that I don't feel it's the direction games should go: they should be games first, it's what they do best. If some want to include stories, sure, if they are integrated with the mechanics. Sadly neither of these is the norm nowadays for single player stuff but rather the cutscene cinematic fest you're mentioning.