On the Dread Terror of (C)RPGs!

Posted: October 13, 2009 by Guy Shalev in Uncategorized
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This will be a short post on Computer/Console-Role-Playing Games (RPGs), which are why I’m so scarce this week; as opposed to last week, when it was due to me attending a convention.

Rush and Irina Sykes. Protagonist and sister.
Rush and Irina Sykes. Protagonist and sister.

The Last Remnant, Square Enix‘s less than stellar last game, is the one I’m currently spending too much time on, which is exactly the point: These games work their magic on me in such a manner that even when they are less than stellar, my days are lost to them.

The way in which RPGs work on me is that there’s always another goal, just nearby, and when you reach it, you’ve already got another goal or two on your sights. Not to mention that when you have a farther goal it is comprised of several mini-quests, or you find out that getting Super-Duper Sword Z makes getting Superlative Armour Y much easier, so the sword you never aimed for is now your new goal…

You know how they say most RPGs are 40-60 hours long, and if you spend more time on them, they can get up to 100 hours? Well, these people don’t know me, who grinds and usually does ALL side-quests. I don’t grind so things would be easier (and indeed, in The Last Remnant, as you gain levels, your enemies gain new powers and more life), but I want to complete everything available to me at each point.

Heck, you know how in Poke’Mon (the original gameboy games), many people rush to the end, and only then really work on their Poke’Mons? Well, I worked quite a lot on my Poke’Mon before, and then kept working later, both on getting new Poke’Mon and getting more of them powerful. I didn’t just stay with my 6 uber, but rotated for more of a roster, and that translated to more hours. Of course, due to my bent-neck with the gameboy, I had a very hurty neck, my new chair helps ensure that my travels with Rush Sykes and friends will not be as hurtful.
Maybe it’s bad, as it means I won’t leave my computer, but nah, I won’t be leaving it anyway 😉

World of Warcraft is an example of a game I’ve stopped playing in part because it was too good. I played WoW a lot, and I’ve realized, that if I keep playing it so much, I wouldn’t be able to visit the forum (RPG.net) and sites, and talk to the friends, I had at the time. And with the addition of the subscription fee, I’ve thought to myself, "Hm, if I’m not going to be playing it much, why pay for the subscription?" (I was in the army at the time, so my monthly salary was $80 or so, so $15 a month for subscription was not negligible).

So yes, these days when I look for MMORPGs, for instance, I look for games that are not as good as WoW, or at least, not as addictive (but when they aren’t as good, I end up not enjoying them :D). Guild Wars works perfectly for me, less for being "less good", and more for the no-subscription. I haven’t played since January, but I might install it again and give it some more of my time. Of course, that it takes 15-20 giga of hard-drive space is also consideration, so I might try and finish The Last Remnant first, you know?

The convention I went to has something to do with it, as I sat in the cafeteria during down-time next to someone who was playing, though it’s been on my mind for a while that I hadn’t played in quite some time. And of course, next month comes out Dragon Age: Origins by my favourite RPG-releasing company, BioWare, and seeing as next week the new school-year begins, I hope it’ll go well.

The only way to stop this is to limit myself, not to "goals", as there are always more, but to time-spent playing. And no, "30 more minutes" shouldn’t be acceptable, as you can find yourself looking at the watch again, and it’s 3-4 hours later.


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