Friday, February 17, 2006

What a drag it is getting old

Kindly direct your attention to this review of Grandia III. Grandia indeed. I feel a perverse desire to play this game, in spite of the fact that it's fucking GRANDIA, which means that it's pretty much a given that--regardless of what anyone says--the story will be so much pale gray mush, and that--see previous hyphenated clause--the battle system will be the usual boring thing. Don't worry. I'm not going to. I figure if I'm having trouble bringing myself to play Dragon Quest VIII--clearly a *good* game--I'm not gonna have much luck playing a mediocre one just for perverse nostalgia reasons.

But that is not the main point of this post. That is this paragraph:

Boss fights, for the most part, are extremely drawn out, which can be annoying if you die near the end and have to reload and start over. I often wish RPGs would solve this problem somehow -- perhaps insert some sort of checkpoint in the middle. The days of being able to spend hours and hours in front of the console without interruption are over. Our lives are more complicated, more interruptible now, and there should be a way to pause a fight and save it for later without having to leave the console on and risk having a sibling, parent, or roommate turn it off. It feels sometimes that the wave of innovation and progress has hit every genre but the Japanese RPG, which sometimes shows its age.

Let us leave aside the odd contradiction inherent in the fact that, out of the three people who might turn off our system due to us being so much older and more mature than we used to be, two are "sibling" and "parent." Let us instead ask: who's "we," paleface? We're all narcissists, of course--witness my Abe Simpson-esque ranting about how games ain't SHIT compared to how they were in the GOOD old days--but does this reviewer truly believe that cheesy Japanese RPGs are aimed at "us"? Are you, Ms. Reviewer, a socially awkward fourteen-year-old boy? No? Then guess what: it doesn't matter what YOU want. No one invited YOU to the party. I know it's a little embarrassing to have to admit that your favorite entertainments are designed for children, but there you have it. It would be nice to imagine that the videogame industry is tailored to the specific wants and needs of each and every one of us, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that that is not the case. And for that reason, getting wounded when this fact becomes more readily apparent than usual has very little currency. Sure I'd like it if there were a moratorium on all post-GBA game systems! I'd also like a pony! Not really. But the point, whatever it might be, remains valid.

In any case, if you have time to sit down to play a game like Grandia III in the first place, your life can't be THAT much of an neverending rollercoaster ride. So there.

P.S. If, for whatever reason, Mother 3 is not released in the West, THERE WILL BE DEATH. Just so we're clear on that.


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