Gaming fleeting thoughts

Of the Tabletop, and other, lesser varieties.

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Koa
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Koa » Tue Mar 29, 2016 9:56 pm UTC

Well I chose those examples exactly because I knew people would disagree with me. I've already run into many such people, so I never suggested that my example was objective. I thought I was clear in saying it was subjective. What is an example of a truly objective unfairness? Or a singular anthropocentric truth of unfairness, to be specific. We'll just call it objective.

Let's try one. An objective unfairness is being unable to succeed at thing when by all accounts you should be able to. For one, people don't play these games, and while there might be a couple out there on the intraweblez, people don't make these games either. We've only begun and already this qualifier seems useless. So maybe it's a relative statement, this game is more or less fair than others. How does one determine such a thing without immediately dipping into subjective details? Who decides how much you "should be able to" anything?

If you get enjoyment out of a part of a game, or even if all people get enjoyment out of a part of a game, is that relevant to the determination of fairness? What I mean is, do you as a player ever feel that a game (as a whole) is much more fair than it actually is simply due to the fact that you enjoyed it? Assuming yes, which bar do you slide to aggregate that information and attempt to determine its total fairness? Assuming no, then that word "succeed" looks like it might have a bit of subjective peeking out from underneath those double letters. You even run into the deeper problem... That games don't need to have a challenge, or an end, or success or failure.

Bonus question: Is Mountain fair or unfair? Bonus question 2: Is the baby ending of The Stanley Parable fair? Extra bonus question: Do you think everyone would agree with your answer?

Seems a bit like this objective fairness thing might be a phantom.

They say: The game is the ultimate decider of what actions in the game are correct or incorrect. The game is the ultimate judge, and it is always fair.
They mean: I fully accept the challenge of the game, and give up my own preconceptions of what actions in the game are correct or incorrect. Because otherwise I would have quit or gone insane.

But none of that is really needed, because it's never used in a truly objective sense anyway. If I really wanted to bend over backwards, I would call it pseudo objective, a spectrum of anthropocentric truth. People can maybe fit into categories, I don't know... But just getting back to language, I've heard the "hard but fair" phrase used from the same person, about a different game, and it granted me no insight into the games or into their mind beyond simply knowing that they liked it. That's all it can ever reasonably tell you.

Now, when you say something is unfair, everyone understands that as a negative quality. So people get defensive. When you say something is fair, no one takes umbrage with that for the most part. At least there are alternate derogatory forms, like "skinner box" (very similar).

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DaBigCheez
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby DaBigCheez » Tue Mar 29, 2016 11:49 pm UTC

I think the "fair" bit can't really be separated from the "tough but". As I think you said a while back, it's in part to distinguish it from games like IWBTG, which promote a high level of difficulty primarily through cheap tricks. What makes a trick, and what makes it cheap? I would say it's consistency.

IWBTG has things work contrary to your expectations, then starts building up a pattern, then subverts that pattern. It breaks any expectation of consistency, so you have to find your way through by brute-force trial-and-error and rote memorization of all the various betrayals and traps.

Souls-like games still have significant trial-and-error involved in learning the fights/enemies, but are more internally consistent and actively *encourage* the recognition and utilization of patterns, rather than punishing any attempt to do so. Recognizing enemies' "tells" and knowing when you have opportunities to punish a missed attack of theirs is usually a core component, and would be impossible if their tells weren't consistent. Similar enemies often fight with similar styles (in Monster Hunter particularly, the "tail-sweep" attack is so generalized across monsters that you can often tell what your safezone is without ever having fought the monster before).

So, that's about the "fair" bit. What about the "tough but"? As I mentioned, it's probably pointless to discuss the latter without the former; "not tough, but unfair" is either pointless (if the "unfair" attacks don't meaningfully set you back, they're more nuisances than anything) or, well, not really in the realm of games.

I think one distinguishing factor here, in the style of "toughness" involved, is the reliance on player mastery vs. character power. I primarily think of this by contrasting it to JRPGs (I'm a big JRPG fan, not ragging on them or saying they're "easy", just a contrast in styles). Additionally, it's about the *dependence* on player mastery to proceed.

In a JRPG, the amount of incoming damage from a given enemy will be pretty constant; they'll hit you for 250 a round, you'll hit back for 500 every round and then heal for 750 every three rounds, you're good. In the Souls games, due to the various knockbacks, interrupts and such that I mentioned before, at a low level of mastery (first time seeing a given enemy) you're likely to connect with an attack only very rarely, while they'll be hitting you frequently; once you've mastered fighting that enemy, they'll never hit you and you'll rain down blows upon them. Consequently, on subsequent playthroughs, an enemy that took you five minutes to defeat in a Souls game might be blown past in thirty seconds, whereas in a JRPG, you're unlikely to shorten your time by more than about 30% by using more efficient strategies.

This also means that you probably won't be able to beat the enemy in the first place until you've learned its attacks; as such, you take a more cautious, defensive playstyle while you observe what the enemy does and gain mastery of it. In JRPGs, this is rarely necessary. Certainly you'll keep yourself more topped off and hold some of your strongest attacks in reserve in the first phase of an unfamiliar bossfight, but it seems generally expected that you'll be dealing out fairly solid damage even then. It seems the expectation for most JRPG bosses is that they'll beaten on the first attempt or three, without any serious need to learn their patterns - or that those patterns can be learned sufficiently within the duration of a single, not-deliberately-stalling fight.

Diablo, I think, is included in this paradigm as well. Enemies are certainly obstacles, they certainly have patterns and attacks to be learned and can be more optimally fought - but at least these days, it seems the *expectation* is that the enemy will primarily be a speedbump of varying size rather than a threat that needs to be played around. Earlier, easier fights familiarize you with the mechanics, and then later fights are primarily overcome through the increase in character power; a fresh Level 70 character wouldn't stand a chance against a Torment X rift guardian, regardless of how well they knew its mechanics (in part because of the unavoidable chip damage, as in JRPGs), whereas Dark Souls can be and has been beaten naked with the starting weapon.

The original Castlevania is another example of a "Souls-like" game, I think. If you've seen Egoraptor's Sequelitis video on the subject, you can pretty much skip this paragraph because I'm more or less parroting his views. The game was designed with every enemy planned around being a threat to the path the player would take if they simply rushed forward at full speed; a great deal of the gameplay lay in learning enemies' movement and attack patterns, forethought and planning in the proper items to bring to encounters, and building strategies to properly damage enemies while remaining safe from harm yourself. By contrast, Diablo also expects you to rush forward at full speed, but the enemies are not arranged to punish you for doing so, instead just kind of waiting around for you to arrive.

TL;DR: The "fair" is meaningless without the "tough but", the difficulty lays primarily in building up player mastery of enemies' attack patterns being necessary in order to defeat them, and the fairness lays primarily in that mastery not coming in the form of rote memorization of cheap tricks.

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby rmsgrey » Wed Mar 30, 2016 12:51 am UTC

Outside of videogames, there's a mathematical/philosophical concept of fairness - where the basic idea of a fair game is one where switching setups with someone before the game starts offers no advantage (many games do this with some form of randomisation). A subjective element enters when you start considering what it or isn't part of the game - is the determination of first player part of the game or not?

In single-player games, rather than fairness depending on a notional equality, instead, it depends on a notion of predictability - does the player have sufficient information at any given moment that, were they to take advantage of the information provided by the game (and some knowledge about games in general, rather than any game-specific knowledge) they would be able to reliably select the actions that would achieve their goals, or do they require game-specific information from an outside source? The obvious grey area is over what's considered legitimate information gained by playing, what's technically revealed, but unreasonable to expect players to be aware of, though there's also one over what's legitimately considered part of the game - an example of the latter issue is Meryl's CODEC frequency in the PSOne version of Metal Gear Solid, which the player is expected to learn from a publicity still on the back of the physical CD case the game came in. An example of the former is memorising attack waves in a side-scrolling shooter - for some people, requiring "learning by dying" to learn the best route through a static level is completely fair; others require that a fair game include some way of finding a safe path without sacrificing waves upon waves of your own self...

The existence of grey areas is insufficient reason to declare a concept entirely subjective - any more than denying that "black" and "white" are objective concepts because you cannot sharply divide either of them from the shades of grey that lie between is valid.

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Koa » Wed Mar 30, 2016 1:39 am UTC

I felt I had to unpack it for rmsgrey to demonstrate that it's subjective at its root. If I repackage it then I'm back to square one, where I think the expression doesn't convey any information other than that the speaker found the challenge difficult but agreeable.

What I think you're missing, rmsgrey, is that you defining fairness as predictability is a subjective viewpoint in itself. I can see how a person might link those things, and I might value it sometimes myself, but it's a small piece of the pie in finding a challenge agreeable. I don't care as much about predictability as you described it. It's nice I guess. If you believed this, wouldn't you have to say that DS2 has a lot of unfairness in it? The whole giant souls thing, the windmill thing... "What do the covenants do?" "These smooth and silky stones seem worthless, the game has more than a few worthless things in it, might as well sell them." Wait, more than that, wouldn't games that completely hold your hand be the most fair?

Even if I try to extend your argument towards gameplay systems, ex. I introduce unfairness/unpredictability by making it so that when the player jumps on a goomba's head it unpredictably kills the goomba or kills mario. Is this unfair, or, is jumping on a goomba's head now just a gameplay element like taking a desperate shot in Xcom?

That model of fairness doesn't seem to work either way, and further It answers nothing about the meaning of the expression. You highlighted the gaping crevice of its subjectivity as well. It's a little more than a grey area, let's be honest. Like I said, I'd be willing to meet you at pseudo objective, but it doesn't change much of what I've said anyway.

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Mar 30, 2016 1:13 pm UTC

DaBigCheez wrote:I think the "fair" bit can't really be separated from the "tough but". As I think you said a while back, it's in part to distinguish it from games like IWBTG, which promote a high level of difficulty primarily through cheap tricks. What makes a trick, and what makes it cheap? I would say it's consistency.


Sure it can. Look at a simple game. Say, Microsoft Hearts. You know how to play hearts, you begin enjoying the game, and the challenge seems appropriate for the sort of game it is.

And after playing a bit, you realize that the AI works by looking at your hand. The overall challenge has not changed, but your perception of fairness certainly has.

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby rmsgrey » Wed Mar 30, 2016 8:26 pm UTC

Koa wrote:Even if I try to extend your argument towards gameplay systems, ex. I introduce unfairness/unpredictability by making it so that when the player jumps on a goomba's head it unpredictably kills the goomba or kills mario. Is this unfair, or, is jumping on a goomba's head now just a gameplay element like taking a desperate shot in Xcom?


In XCOM, you're told a figure for how likely the shot is to hit.

For the hypothetical Mario game, it depends - if jumping on a goomba always has a 75% chance (say) of killing the goomba and a 25% chance of killing Mario, then it's a gameplay element, and fairness or otherwise rests on whether it's communicated to the player (if there are enough goombas (goombae?) then, while getting killed without warning by jumping on them the first few times may be unfair, overall it's still fair since the player gets the message fairly early). Just because it's fair, of course, that doesn't mean it's a good mechanic.

An unfair variant would be if a small number of goombas, otherwise indistinguishable from every other goomba, killed Mario without warning when he jumped on them.

Not all surprises are unfair either - the question is whether the surprise can be recovered from. Having an unmarked trap that insta-kills the player is usually unfair; having an unmarked trap that deals 1% damage to the player is not unfair. Something similar applies to hidden secrets - the more necessary it is that you find the secret in order to succeed at the game, the more hints are required in order for it to be fair.

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby SecondTalon » Wed Mar 30, 2016 9:44 pm UTC

I'd say it would need to go slightly further, re:Mario and the Goombas.

That is, if there's 10 Goombas in a level, 4 of them are randomly selected to insta-kill you. Otherwise the expectation would be for the player to memorize the lethal goomba locations.
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby rmsgrey » Wed Mar 30, 2016 10:14 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:I'd say it would need to go slightly further, re:Mario and the Goombas.

That is, if there's 10 Goombas in a level, 4 of them are randomly selected to insta-kill you. Otherwise the expectation would be for the player to memorize the lethal goomba locations.


4 out of 10 is still enough that it comes back to fairness overall - if it were 4 goombas out of 400 (how many goombas in a typical Mario game anyway?), and there's not any warning that some goombas are lethal, it would be unfair.

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby SecondTalon » Wed Mar 30, 2016 11:01 pm UTC

See, I wouldn't say so. If they're randomly selected each time, the game is teaching you that fighting back period is wrong, and that you shouldn't even try to stomp them.
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby rmsgrey » Thu Mar 31, 2016 1:14 am UTC

SecondTalon wrote:See, I wouldn't say so. If they're randomly selected each time, the game is teaching you that fighting back period is wrong, and that you shouldn't even try to stomp them.

Well, yeah, it's a terrible mechanic, but it's not an unfair one - the game makes it clear that stomping goombas is risky, and something to be avoided where possible, rather than springing it on you suddenly when you come across one of the few dangerous ones...

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Deva » Thu Mar 31, 2016 1:54 am UTC

rmsgrey wrote:(how many goombas in a typical Mario game anyway?)

Counted 143 Goombas in Super Mario Brothers (32 Levels) and 89 in Super Mario Brothers 3 (90 Levels). Assumes no errors, of course. (Blends in when moving quickly.)

Breakdown:
Spoiler:
Super Mario Brothers
1-1: 16
1-2: 14
1-3: 3
1-4: 0
2-1: 16
2-2: 0
2-3: 0
2-4: 0
3-1: 14
3-2: 15
3-3: 1
3-4: 0
4-1: 0 (Replaced Goombas with Spinies. See also: Lawsuit Goombas.)
4-2: 3
4-3: 0
4-4: 0
5-1: 21
5-2: 4
5-3: 3
5-4: 0
6-1: 0 (Again, Lakitus with Lawsuit Goombas.)
6-2: 2
6-3: 0
6-4: 0
7-1: 0 (Largely Paratroopas, Bullet Bills, and Hammer Brothers.)
7-2: 0
7-3: 0
7-4: 0
8-1: 26
8-2: 2
8-3: 0
8-4: 3

Super Mario Brother 3
(Treated Para Goombas, Brick Goombas, and Kuribo Goombas as Goombas. May have missed Brick Goombas. Recalls some pipes spitting up unlimited Goombas. Probably counted each side as one.)
1-1: 5
1-2: 12
1-3: 6
1-4: 0
1-Mini Fortress: 0
1-5: 0
1-6: 0
1-Airship: 0
2-1: 10 (8 of them Brick)
2-2: 1
2-Mini Fortress: 0
2-3: 4 (All Brick)
2-Quicksand: 0
2-4: 1
2-5: 4
2-Pyramid: 0
2-Airship: 0
3-1: 0
3-2: 0
3-3: 0
3-Mini Fortress One: 0
3-4: 7
3-5: 0
3-6: 0
3-7: 0
3-Mini Fortress Two: 0
3-8: 0
3-9: 1
3-Airship: 0
(Note: Ignores size changing.)
4-1: 2
4-2: 0
4-3: 0
4-Mini Fortress One: 0
4-4: 0
4-5: 0
4-6: 4
4-Mini Fortress Two: 0
4-Airship: 0
5-1: 1
5-2: 5
5-3: 3 (All Kuribo)
5-Mini Fortress One: 0
5-Tower: 0
5-4: 0
5-5: 3
5-6: 0
5-7: 0
5-Mini Fortress Two: 0
5-8: 0
5-9: 0
5-Airship: 0
6-1: 1
6-2: 0
6-3: 0
6-Mini Fortress One: 0
6-4: 3
6-5: 0
6-6: 0
6-7: 0
6-Mini Fortress Two: 0
6-8: 0
6-9: 0
6-10: 1
6-Mini Fortress Three: 0
6-Airship: 0
7-1: 0
7-2: 0
7-3: 2
7-4: 0
7-5: 0
7-Pirahna Plant One: 0
7-Mini Fortress One: 0
7-6: 0
7-7: 0
7-8: 0
7-9: 12
7-Mini Fortress Two: 0
7-Pirahna Plant Two: 0
7-Airship: 0
8-Tank One: 0
8-Battleship: 0
8-Hand Trap One: 0
8-Hand Trap Two: 0
8-Hand Trap Three: 0
8-Airship: 0
8-1: 0
8-2: 1
8-Mini Fortress: 0
8-Tank Two: 0
8-Bowser’s Castle: 0


Edit: Added Super Mario Brothers 3.
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby 3fj » Thu Mar 31, 2016 10:02 am UTC

I've been playing a lot of Stardew Valley. There's something very calming about it, something that I assume I'd get out of "pottering about in the garden" if I was to have one, but with more immediate results.
There's a lot of systems here, and none of them are pushed on you, really; but they do interlock. For example, I've been going in hard on the farming and social aspects of the game, but if you haven't been doing any mining then the later stuff you can unlock just sits there greyed out. Sure, there's immediate bonuses (in the form of "hoe efficiency", meaning you spend less energy when you go to hoe things), but these are less impactful than having a quality sprinkler (from what I've read).

I'm still going through my first year, and Summer has been dedicated to making money to buy the necessary equipment to get a kitchen in my house and a hutch to house chickens in. In the mean time, I've been making friends with the village goth because she seems like fun and gradually getting deeper in the mines.

I've been loving the quirky little things that crop up. I randomly bumbled into a spa that replenishes your energy near the train tracks, for example. That's not to mention the scripted events that seem to happen on a whim (not the relationship focused ones).

Summer cash crop tip:
Spoiler:
Plant as many blueberries as you can ASAP. They yield a ridiculous amount of money (~15000G per yield, with about 4 yeilds)
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby ameretrifle » Fri Apr 01, 2016 9:23 am UTC

AMT sucks at Bravely Default, the Abridged Version, Part II
Spoiler:
Chapter One: This Title Seems to Relate to Jack Shit

Ringabel: OK, we found your hometown. No thanks to you.
Agnes: I was raised in a convent! They let me out like twice!
Tiz: A year?
Agnes: No, twice...
Edea: Er. So! What's this city like?
Agnes: It's a desert city that's totally dependent on wind and plays stereotypical middle eastern music in the background all day because desert.
Tiz: I don't feel any wind.
Agnes: Because the crystal's borked.
Ringabel: Well, that can't be good.
Agnes: Anyway, I should report back to the king on that factfinding mission he sent me on.
*entering Desert City*
King: Look, I know you're all pissy about running in the hamster wheels for our generators, but them's the breaks. Run harder! Dream of revenge on that stupid vestal who broke the crystal and then ran out on us.
Agnes: ...
Tiz: Prick.
Edea: We could report on the strange boot that suddenly appeared in his ass.
Ringabel: Well, fixing crystals is the best revenge. Unless a sidequest opened up somewhere around here.
*somewhere around here*
Merchant: I'm charging money for water!
Tiz: You can charge money for water?!
Merchant: Pay my price or try the oasis, you filthy communist!
Tiz: I don't know what that is but me and the sheep were just friends, okay?!
Ringabel: I've heard that one before.
Edea: Oh, hey, how's the town rebuilding going?
Tiz: Kinda slow.
Edea: Could you call some friends to help out?
Tiz: THE SHEEP WERE MY ONLY FRIENDS AND THEY'RE ALL DEAD
Edea: Erm.
Agnes: The other crystal monks were my only friends and they're also all dead.
Ringabel: I don't even remember.
Edea: Aaaand all my friends think I'm a traitor. So... you know what that means. ROAD TRIP!
*at the oasis*
Hapless Patsy: That band of thieves stole all my things when I came here to get water! My family! My famillyyyy!
Tiz: Wow, what pricks.
Edea: I say we kick their asses.
Agnes: You always say we kick their asses.
Ringabel: Do you want thief job magic or not?
Agnes: Not really...
Edea: DUNGEON TIME!
Agnes: Sigh.
*dungeon*
Edea: Fuck! These pricks trapped this wall!
Tiz: This one too!
Ringabel: Also this chest.
Agnes: Two more over here. I'm getting a little sick of casting Blindna.
Edea: WHERE THE FUCK DO YOU EVEN GET THAT MUCH BLIND GAS I'M'A KICK THEIR ASSES
*boss time*
Tiz: Hold! What you are doing to us is wrong! Why do you do this thing?
Thief: My parents abandoned me in this shithole and I'm always thirsty!
Tiz: So why didn't you try to find them or start working for Buzzfeed?
Thief: FUCK YOU IS WHY
Tiz: My entire family is dead, your tragic backstory ain't gonna impress me.
Thief: Then me and this mercenary are gonna kick your ass instead!
*insert like 3 or 4 failed runs here because I suck at this game and forgot about attack items^
Mercenary: Huh. You seem approximately half dead. I'm out.
Thief: WHAT NO EVERYONE ABANDONS MEEEEEEE
Ringabel: This is all very tragic, I'm sure. Now die.
Thief: NOOOOOOOO *dies*
Ringabel: Yeah, turns out we actually are straight up murdering these douchebags. Check out this letter, though, this guy deserved it.
Agnes: He was colluding with the merchant to know when people would arrive at the oasis?!
Edea: Cryst, what an asshole. Can we kill him too?
*insert failed run here*
Ringabel: The answer would appear to be no.
Agnes: So can we actually check on the crystal now:
Edea: *sigh* Well I guess.
*to the Wind Crystal Nunnery*
Tiz: Wow, this place is about 1/8 as wrecked as my hometown. And my hometown got swallowed by the earth.
Edea: That means we're gonna have to tool around 2 or 3 floors to bypass all the stupid rubble, doesn't it. Can't we just move it?
Ringabel: Don't look at me, I'm a Black Mage.
Edea: UGH FINE let's go before I change your job class with a boot up your ass
Tiz: Seriously, the fuck is with those burn marks?
Agnes: Almost everyone I ever met died protecting me from the crystal I'm supposed to regulate.
Tiz: I'm not entirely sure that answers my question but that really sucks.
Agnes: *sob*
Ringabel: Oh look it's the crystal!
Agnes: And it's still dark and evil.
Airy: You can fix it if you get the right vestal clothes and do the vague ritual!
Tiz: The fuck did you come from?!
Airy: Do you have any idea how much work it is, being the tutorial fairy?
Tiz: No, I can't say that I do.
Ringabel: About these vestal clothes, are they--
Edea: Nooooooooooooo...
Ringabel: I hadn't even said anything!
Edea: Even tutorial fairy knew where that was going.
Agnes: But the fancy vestal clothes were turned to tatters by the evil...
Ringabel: And that's a problem?
Edea: JUST SHUT UP ALREADY, CRYST
Airy: Well, you'll just have to get new ones!
Agnes: That's right! The only other place I've been to, the Yulyana Woods! It is definitely... some distance... in a direction.
Ringabel: *sigh*
Edea: Well, can we kill that price-gouging douchecanoe before we go? Makes my skin itch just leaving him there.
Tiz: Well, I guess we could find out.
*back in town*
Hapless Patsy: Hey! All my stuff was stolen!
Merchant: I'm going to charge you more money and threaten your family!
Hapless Patsy: This is cartoonishly unfair!
Edea: Hey you prick! We know you were colluding with those thieves!
Hapless Patsy: WHAT
Merchant: Prove it!
Ringabel: This is your handwriting, for Cryst's sake.
Merchant: You have proved it! My mercenary friend and I will just have to kill you!
*insert another failed run or two here. slightly fewer at least*
Mercenary: Well, looks like you're half dead. Time for me to bugger off.
Merchant: CURSE YOUR SUDDEN BUT INEVITABLE BETRAYAL *dies*
Edea: More papers? It seems this goes even deeper!
Ringabel: Somehow I expect we'll be prevented from checking that out just now. Also, we got the Merchant job.
Edea: Does anybody give half a fuck?
Party: ...
Edea: Didn't think so.
Agnes: If we could continue with the saving the world now...
Ringabel: Quite. I'm not certain I remember how to pilot this thing after all those party wipes.
*to the forest*
Sage: Hellloooooooo ladies!
Ringabel: Comrade!
Edea: sweet mother of cryst
Agnes: Hello, one of the few other people I've ever met. I need a new magic robe.
Sage: Well, without the magic thread, I can't even make you a magic bikini. Though I'd be happy to--
Agnes: We'll just have to quest for the thread, then.
Sage: Aw. Well, you can feel free to rest here for the night. Preferably in my bed.
Edea: Would you like me to show you our weapon collection?
Sage: Oooor the one over there.
Ringabel: Crystals below, your lingerie collection is simply divine! Comrade! Let us speak long into the night of the ways of love.
Tiz: why are there two of them
Agnes: I'm pretty sure there is no God.
Sage: Anyway, good luck! Here's some horrible directions to the cave. You'd better learn to trust your minimap instead of random NPCs!
Edea: Way ahead of you, old man.
*through the cave*
Tiz: Well, there's some thread. In a cave. Wait, how the fuck does that--
Agnes: DRAGON!
Tiz: HOW THE FUCK IS THERE A DRAGON
*several party wipes later*
Edea: I am going to find that old man, and I am going to kick him in the old balls.
Agnes: Well, maybe he just didn't know there would be danger!
*to the sage's house*
Sage: So! Got past that dragon all right?
Agnes: ...crystaldammit
Sage: Well, fair's fair, I'll pull an all nighter making the thing.
*later that night*
Tiz: I woke up in the middle of the night. Back at home, the usual remedy for a bout of sleeplessness was a good eavesdropping. Oh, there's a conversation now!
Agnes: Oh, old sage, I'm famous and everyone either hates me or thinks I can solve all their problems. I was raised in a convent and have no idea how to begin dealing with this.
Sage: Well, you're the magic vestal. You'll be okay.
Agnes: I think you're missing the point.
Sage: Just have blind faith and get yourself some followers!
Agnes: I've been trying to ditch my followers for the whole prologue!
Sage: Kid, you're in a JRPG. Learn to love the party, or learn to love to die.
Agnes: Sigh. Oh, by the way, that necklace you gave to me?
Sage: The one I got from the pachinko ma--
Agnes: I've kept it safe. It means so much to me. I used to talk to it and it may be my only friend.
Sage:--erm, I mean, I'm glad you've taken care of it. I'm sure it'll be... very helpful someday. (it occurs to me to wonder if the whole 'bride of the crystal' thing might have warped your ideas of personhood or given you some kind of fetish)
Agnes: Did you say something?
Sage: Nope, just weaving.
*the next morning*
Agnes: My new holy outfit!
Tiz: Yay!
Edea: Shut up Ringabel!
Ringabel: Hot!
Agnes: Thank you, sage!
Ringabel: Oh Tiz, I heard you leave your bed last night! And Agnes was up too! Tell me all the salacious details!
Tiz: It was like ten minutes, the fuck kind of sex are you having?
Ringabel: Look I don't remember where any of the porn shops are okay
Tiz: Maybe you're just really bad at it.
Ringabel: Well we'd better go get that crystal fixed!
*two levels and several job levels later*
Agnes: Right! Time to purify the OH GOD THIS ONE HAS TWO HEADS
Edea: WHY ARE THERE DRAGONS
RIngabel: It's all right. We have prepared for this. Come, my magic friends. Let us kill it... with fire.
Edea: WHY AM I THE ONLY ONE WITHOUT ABATE FIRE
Ringabel: You're the one who wanted to be the knight.
Edea: THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO BE GOOD AGAINST DRAGONS
*new dragon dies*
Airy: Okay! Crystal time! This will be dangerous and physically and mentally grueling. I want you to picture a button marked X in your mind... and I want you to tap that like you're Ringabel. Got it? Go!
Agnes; AGH CAN I STOP NOW
Airy: No.
Agnes: BUT I HAD TO TO GET THROUGH THE DIALOG BOX
Airy: Just work it, sister!
Agnes: NOW?
Airy: No.
Agnes: YOU JUST WANT MORE LINES YOU FAIRY MINX
Airy: I've been gone the whole chapter, so sue me! Fine, you can stop now.
Agnes: Phew! The crystal is okay again!
Edea: Sweet! We should go back to town and take credit before that worthless prick king tries to pull something.
Agnes: Look, just because he betrayed me once doesn't mean he's all evil.
*back to town*
King: So that bitch vestal went and did something worthless! Probably all her fault! Anyway, I need you all to put 20 hours a day in to the hamster wheels.
Agnes: ...
Edea: Told you.
Agnes: ...Worthless prick! My friends and I just beat up a monster and healed the wind crystal!
King: Bull shit!
Agnes: Here's a chain it dropped!
Tiz: Hey, that wasn't even a key item!
King: Then where's the wind?!
*the wind rises*
Crowd: YAY VESTAL!
King: BITCH YOU AIN'T HEARD THE LAST OF ME
Agnes: oh god adoring fans um I still have to go save the rest of the world!
Crowd: She cares about the rest of the world! She's so dreamy!
Agnes: help
Tiz: No worries, we already bought out the shops. Time to get the fuck out of here!
Party: Thank fuck!

And that's where I left off.

The bosses keep kicking my ass. I think the problem is, I see I can beat up the random encounters in a turn, I think I'm good to go. The game thinks I should see I'm beating up random encounters in one turn, and enjoy my safe spot to grind a couple more levels. I may or may not be getting the hang of it, but I do wonder if I should just put it on easy. All it really does is lower boss HP, and while it'd sting my pride, it would probably lower the grinding thresholds a bit, and probably still fail to negate the need for grinding. Because god damn is there a lot to grind. Sigh. Lets you change such things (and encounter rate, etc) on the fly, so it might be worth a try sometime. Will see if it eventually gets to me.

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Echo244 » Fri Apr 01, 2016 9:33 am UTC

I'm *loving* the paraphrased writeups. ;-D
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby SecondTalon » Fri Apr 01, 2016 5:18 pm UTC

ameretrifle wrote:AMT


...

I have nothing to add, just remembering that your name *isn't* peculiar spelling of A Merit Rifle.


Back on topic, though - I'm playing Ultima Online again. Sure, it's on a free shard, but it's using the rules that I'm more or less used to with just a little added bit here and there, nothing major.

Because why shouldn't I play a 18 year old MMO?
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby You, sir, name? » Fri Apr 01, 2016 6:36 pm UTC

RE: Stardew Valley.

I don't know about this game. It does not seem very well balanced at all. Maybe it's that I played a bunch of Harvest Moon back on the SNES and have a decent theoretical background on how to play these games with a modicum of efficiency, but I've been absolutely shitting money all game long. I'm at spring year 2 and the only thing that will even begin to absorb my income is fruit trees. And I only have so much space in which I can plant more trees.
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby rmsgrey » Fri Apr 01, 2016 7:56 pm UTC

Human Resource Machine is kinda fun - at least if you like games that are about programming. I got maybe half a dozen levels in before thinking "this feels a lot like World of Goo" - not the actual gameplay, but the general aesthetic - turns out it's made by the same people.

My one gripe is that it's fairly short - after 3 hours' play, I've done everything but one of the bonus levels, though I could go back and optimise a fair number of them, and chase the remaining achievements (things like overflowing the number storage or attempting to follow a pointer out of bounds).

Meanwhile, I recommend Manufactoria: http://pleasingfungus.com/Manufactoria/ - which is free.

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby 3fj » Fri Apr 01, 2016 8:39 pm UTC

You, sir, name? wrote:RE: Stardew Valley.

I don't know about this game. It does not seem very well balanced at all. Maybe it's that I played a bunch of Harvest Moon back on the SNES and have a decent theoretical background on how to play these games with a modicum of efficiency, but I've been absolutely shitting money all game long. I'm at spring year 2 and the only thing that will even begin to absorb my income is fruit trees. And I only have so much space in which I can plant more trees.

I think what makes that okay, to an extent, is that money can't buy you most things. You need to do stuff to improve your farm (unless you play joja mode, I guess). Even the stuff that needs money also requires time. Beyond a certain point, shitting money doesn't mean anything, you know?
To me the game is as much about time/energy management as it is about money and resources.

Never played harvest moon, though, so maybe that's it.
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby You, sir, name? » Fri Apr 01, 2016 9:15 pm UTC

3fj wrote:
You, sir, name? wrote:RE: Stardew Valley.

I don't know about this game. It does not seem very well balanced at all. Maybe it's that I played a bunch of Harvest Moon back on the SNES and have a decent theoretical background on how to play these games with a modicum of efficiency, but I've been absolutely shitting money all game long. I'm at spring year 2 and the only thing that will even begin to absorb my income is fruit trees. And I only have so much space in which I can plant more trees.

I think what makes that okay, to an extent, is that money can't buy you most things. You need to do stuff to improve your farm (unless you play joja mode, I guess). Even the stuff that needs money also requires time. Beyond a certain point, shitting money doesn't mean anything, you know?
To me the game is as much about time/energy management as it is about money and resources.

Never played harvest moon, though, so maybe that's it.


Well, what else is there? I've married the girl, I've tamed the lands, all my gear is penultimate or highest tier, I've gone to the bottom of the mine; I have a few things left in the community center, but on account of being wealthier than Scrooge McDuck, I'll have that wrapped up soon too.

I'm only planting about 180 seed plants right now, because that's the amount I can relatively quickly water each morning. If I wanted to really make money, I'd plant far more, but that just makes the game boring. Watering 180 plants is about the limit of my patience right now, eats about 20% of my stamina bar. I also have 4 chickens, 4 ducks, 4 cows, and 4 goats; 7 cheese machines and a mayonnaise machine. The animals alone give me in excess of $60k per month. Also eats another 10% stamina.

I spend the rest of my stamina bar just making time pass. Foraging, fishing, looking for loot the mine (even though I've already cleared it and have far more ores than I know what to do with). I don't really understand my character's motivation anymore. What is his impetus? He just seems to go to work because he is expected to. In reality, he has more than enough money to retire and dick around for a long-ass time without worrying about income. But I guess maybe this reflects my own existential crisis that had me take a year off work.

In HM there were far fewer overpowered tools (5x5 AOE watering can, really?), but also a far more intuitive interface that meant the game did not require them to the degree Stardew does. This, along with foraging and fishing makes it extremely easy to make game breaking amounts of money.
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby 3fj » Sat Apr 02, 2016 1:14 am UTC

It kind of sounds like you completed the game by my definition and also probably your own? At a certain point I'm going to have to draw a line under the whole thing and say "they lived happily ever after" cause I presume there's no canon end to this thing beyond completing the community centre.

I haven't had time to play a whole load in one go, so I haven't hit anywhere near there yet. I guess the question is if there's no end to the game then when do you call it?

Edit: though I get what you mean. You got the "what's the point, I'm so OP" way early on.
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Koa » Sat Apr 02, 2016 11:21 am UTC

As I remember, the Snes version of Harvest Moon somewhat closely resembles the difficulty of Stardew Valley. It's impossible to get everything in the first year in both games. By the time the second year has completed, you should have just about everything (farm plot is complete, money is meaningless, etc). Your parents arrive in HM after two and a half years (those two seasons are when you Scrooge Mcduck), and that more or less marks the end of the game. Stardew Valley ends on the first day of the third year. It's a little more forgiving, perhaps understandably so for a 2016 game, but it might have been too much. A full year of Scrooge Mcduck is kind of a drag. Though, I guess there's nothing stopping you from halting your production and going into a coma.


@rmsgrey I would like to ask again if you think Dark Souls is unfair or not. If you do find it more unfair than most other games, then I understand what you're saying at least. If you don't, then I have no clue what you're saying. Because Dark Souls is constantly throwing new enemies at you with new rules, new traps in new situations -- throughout the whole game -- it rates high on the unpredictability that you've described. One of the key components of Dark Souls is the feeling that you're never truly safe in an area that you don't yet fully understand. A feeling of unpredictability, yet I think many would call it fair, because in that moment they're not dead. If fairness is about agreeable challenge, of course someone would find it agreeable to be very afraid of losing and still win, so of course they would call it fair. Being very afraid of losing and still winning is the most fair thing, right? Dark Souls facilitates those moments, but they do it by beating you like a house wife. If your favorite moments were when you went for a short while without pain, you're in an abusive relationship.

(If someone were to say Dark Souls is unfair, or likens it to an abusive relationship, they would perhaps have less of those experiences of almost-losing, or maybe they're like me and they don't value those moments as much. I get that feeling plus more from competitive gaming, and I thought it happened too seldom to be worth the frustrating moments and lack of combat depth. Therefore to me, it is more unfair than fair.)

Or would you say that it's predictably unpredictable, and that makes it fair? If things can be predictably unpredictable, then nothing can be objectively unfair. You can always find something predictably unpredictable.

Also, if you do find it unfair, and Dark Souls is probably one of the most hardest but fairest of them all in terms of how gamers use the expression...Well, I don't know how this got so complicated.

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby rmsgrey » Sat Apr 02, 2016 4:09 pm UTC

Koa wrote:@rmsgrey I would like to ask again if you think Dark Souls is unfair or not. If you do find it more unfair than most other games, then I understand what you're saying at least. If you don't, then I have no clue what you're saying. Because Dark Souls is constantly throwing new enemies at you with new rules, new traps in new situations -- throughout the whole game -- it rates high on the unpredictability that you've described. One of the key components of Dark Souls is the feeling that you're never truly safe in an area that you don't yet fully understand. A feeling of unpredictability, yet I think many would call it fair, because in that moment they're not dead. If fairness is about agreeable challenge, of course someone would find it agreeable to be very afraid of losing and still win, so of course they would call it fair. Being very afraid of losing and still winning is the most fair thing, right? Dark Souls facilitates those moments, but they do it by beating you like a house wife.

(If someone were to say Dark Souls is unfair, they would perhaps have less of those experiences of almost-losing, or maybe they're like me and they don't value those moments as much. I get that feeling plus more from competitive gaming, and I thought it happened too seldom to be worth the frustrating moments and lack of combat depth. Therefore to me, it is more unfair than fair.)

Or would you say that it's predictably unpredictable, and that makes it fair? If things can be predictably unpredictable, then nothing can be objectively unfair. You can always find something predictably unpredictable.

Also, if you do find it unfair, and Dark Souls is probably one of the most hardest but fairest of them all in terms of how gamers use the expression...Well, I don't know how this got so complicated.


Let's go back to what I said about fairness in single-player games:

rmsgrey wrote:does the player have sufficient information at any given moment that, were they to take advantage of the information provided by the game (and some knowledge about games in general, rather than any game-specific knowledge) they would be able to reliably select the actions that would achieve their goals, or do they require game-specific information from an outside source?


In Dark Souls, while you keep coming across new enemies, you usually have the opportunity to approach them cautiously and see their moves - and can usually take a hit or two without getting killed, which gives you the opportunity to learn how to defeat them without dying - in other words, you can reliably play to achieve your goals, making it fair by my earlier definition.

The exceptions are times when the camera glitches or when you can't tell which bits of geometry are walkable...

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Koa » Sat Apr 02, 2016 4:40 pm UTC

Oh. Well that's simple because you can never objectively say what is sufficient for any given person. I mean, merely the person's mood will change how much information they might need, let alone their life experiences and physical brain. Seems really backwards to me to call this objective in any sense. I take acid and your game is now unfair. I live in Beijing with poor air filters, your game is now unfair. I take acid and your game is now fair.

The abuse joke was good though, right? Worth?

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby You, sir, name? » Sat Apr 02, 2016 6:29 pm UTC

I think the only trash enemy in Dark Souls that can really truly fuck you over if you play cautiously is the wheel skeleton. Fuck, I can barely deal with them even when I know their deal.

They're up there with O&S in terms of death count in my DS playthrough.
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby eviloatmeal » Mon Apr 04, 2016 7:08 am UTC

You, sir, name? wrote:wheel skeleton.

Spoiler:
Image

Excepting Garfield & Odie, I've find some sort of technique for dealing with any enemy eventually. In the case of skeleton wheels, the solution i've found is to just run past them.
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby kiniget » Mon Apr 04, 2016 8:50 am UTC

should I feel bad that it took me two hours to beat Shinobu in No More Heroes?

I kept getting wrecked by that multi-shot energy attack of hers
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby rmsgrey » Mon Apr 04, 2016 3:24 pm UTC

Knights of Pen and Paper +2 Edition seems a lot like the original game, but slightly different. If you really liked the original and want more of the same, go for it; if not, you might want to pass.

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby SecondTalon » Mon Apr 04, 2016 6:53 pm UTC

eviloatmeal wrote:
You, sir, name? wrote:wheel skeleton.

Spoiler:
Image

Excepting Garfield & Odie, I've find some sort of technique for dealing with any enemy eventually. In the case of skeleton wheels, the solution i've found is to just run past them.


If you can get them to either charge you one at a time OR to charge you as a group, they're dodgeable. It's when they're rushing you, staggered that they're a huge problem.

So, 90% of the time.
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby You, sir, name? » Mon Apr 04, 2016 7:01 pm UTC

Yeah. I also played with a BKS, which has an attack wind up time longer than the expected lifespan of a labrador retriever and required a carefully timed anticipation attack when they were barely on screen :P

The most viable strategy I found was jumping down on a hidden ledge and then rolling randomly toward the end of the wheel skeleton area and hoping they derped into a wall while chasing me.
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby eviloatmeal » Tue Apr 05, 2016 7:52 am UTC

You, sir, name? wrote:I also played with a BKS, which has an attack wind up time longer than the expected lifespan of a labrador retriever and required a carefully timed anticipation attack when they were barely on screen :P

Ah, the 'gotcha bitch' sword.
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby You, sir, name? » Tue Apr 05, 2016 2:38 pm UTC

Yeah. It has some pretty weird moves you can do with it. Like walking past an enemy and beginning a forward attack (while facing away), and then suddenly turning around and killing them with the still charging attack when they run after you.
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby ameretrifle » Wed Apr 06, 2016 11:17 pm UTC

Shorter Bravely Default update, since I wasn't far from the end of the chapter...
Spoiler:
RIngabel: Why look at this. That nice vizier gave us all these supplies.
Tiz: Wow, he sure is nice.
Edea: Shame he's not the king.
Ringabel: They're loading them on our ship right now. How generous and helpful.
Tiz: So now that the wind's back, we can go try to fix the rest of the crystals!
Edea: Oooor we could hang around here 'till nightfall and investigate the rest of that oasis douchery.
Agnes: But I'm tired...
Edea: But villainy.
Agnes: Why isn't there a middle ground between people expecting me to do everything and people allowing me to do nothing?
Ringabel: Hush now, every level is a good level.
Agnes: *sigh*
*night falls*
Edea: Okay, since the merchants were too cheapass to pay for a night guard, we're totally free to break in this shack now.
Tiz: Okay, wait, I'm from the ass end of nowhere and even to me that makes no crystal-damned sense.
Ringabel: Well, it's not like the place isn't swarming with thugs.
Tiz: Still!
Edea: At least they didn't invest in those fucking blind traps you could barely even detect for the love of cryst
Agnes: Is it just me and my inability to navigate out of a paper bag, or is this a ludicrous fucking maze?
Tiz: No, halfway to switch number two it was pretty clear this is a ludicrous fucking maze for being a... mill or whatever.
Ringabel: Indeed, it's like That Building at college all over again.
Tiz: What's a college?
Edea: Why the ever-loving fuck is this a back way into the palace?!
Ringabel: Cryst, it really IS That Building.
Tiz: Hush! It's eavesdropping time!
King: BLAST! My evil plans of evil were all foiled! Those evil plans that I planned myself of evil! All ruined!
Mercenary: Yes, your evil plans certainly were foiled there. Those plans of evil that you labored over for so long.
King: I was going to make my people miserable with ludicrous slavery, then target their rage at the crystals, which are holding back progress because people are all superstitious about them!
Mercenary: Yes, you were going to attack the crystals and vestals because of progress.
King: HOW COULD MY BRILLIANT PLAN HAVE FAILED?!
Mercenary: It involved you attempting to convince people of anything, a fatal flaw as you are consistently ranked as less trustworthy and charismatic than a randomly selected plank of wood.
King: THAT WAS RHETORICAL
Mercenary: Just sayin', Mr. Time Mage.
King: YES I AM A TIME MAGE AND YOU ARE A SPELL FENCER
Mercenary: Yes, I am a Spell Fencer. This was some sort of secret, perhaps.
King: SO ANYONE LISTENING IN WOULD KNOW WHAT JOBS THEY WILL GET WHEN THEY MURDER US. DID I MENTION THE EVIL PLAN OF EVIL WAS ENTIRELY MINE AND I AM A TIME MAGE
Mercenary: Yes, I'm a Spell Fencer, not deaf.
Edea: *pokes*
Agnes: All right, all right. SURRENDER, DASTARDS!
King: GASP HOW COULD ANYONE HAVE OVERHEARD US, ESPECIALLY THE PEOPLE I LEAST WOULD HAVE WANTED TO
Mercenary: i am so sick of this bullshit
Agnes: Your plan was terrible in every aspect! You are unfit to be king!
King: Well prove it!
Edea: Your plan was also terrible in that you left documentation absolutely everywhere.
King: Well, well, who are people going to believe, the king they know who forced them into hard labor for twenty hours a day, or the holy nun they've never met who just brought back the wind?!
Agnes: ...
Tiz: ...
Ringabel: ...
Edea: ...
Mercenary: ...
King: OKAY FUCK IT DIIIIEEEEE
*fight ensues*
Tiz: Hey mercenary loser, what's with the not running away?
Mercenary: I am feeling inexplicably loyal today.
Ringabel: Seriously? This hill you choose to die on?
Mercenary: I'm fuckin' mysterious.
Edea: Hey, fine by me. *slaughter*
Tiz: Huh. Does anyone else have a funny feeling? Or... not have a funny feeling?
Edea: I don't know. This does feel kind of different from our other fights.
Ringabel: Rather.
Agnes: No, I remember this feeling, too. Or-- this not-feeling. I haven't felt it since our first fight against that White Mage and Monk.
Edea: Like we fought those guys without ever getting horribly murdered... Does that make any sense?...
Ringabel: I think at the moment we should consider the consequences of our regicide instead.
Vizier: Wow, I had no idea any of that was going on and I am incredibly, incredibly sorry.
Ringabel: Nah, it's okay, you're cool.
Vizier: oh thank cryst
Agnes: But who will look after the city now?
Vizier: Well, I was second in command and am coincidentally descended from the family that used to rule before this guy's family took over...
Tiz: Sounds good to me!
Vizier: But, you know, I think I'm going to try to transition us to a democracy.
Edea: Oh?
Vizier: Group-casting is weaker.
Agnes: Not sure I follow.
Vizier: Diffusion of responsibility should be safer for all concerned in many ways, is all-- so how's your newly resupplied airship and your quest that will take you very far away going?
Agnes: We should get back on that. See you later!
Vizier: meep
*on the airship*
Ringabel: Well I'm suddenly seasick. I'm going to go wander off somewhere. *wanders off*
Agnes: Riiiight.
Tiz: Eh, whatever. Hey, what's that knock, are you back al-- OW MY BALLS
Dark Knight: Vestal! I am here to arrest you and your cronies!
Agnes: ...Nice helmet.
Edea: Hey, the fuck is this?!
Dark Knight: Ah! I've been looking all over for you, Edea! Quick, behind me, you've been rescued!
Agnes: Nice suspiciously modified-sounding voice.
Edea: OH MY GOD FOR THE LAST TIME I DO NOT NEED RESCUING
Dark Knight: Y-you'd betray us?! Well... noooo...
Agnes: Nice suspicious fixation on Edea.
Dark Knight: I-- I guess I'll let you by with a warning this time, but-- next time we see you, you're going to be in really, really big trouble! *flees*
Edea: LIKE I GIVE A FUCK
Agnes: Nice convenient fucking off.
Edea: AARGH THAT DICK WRECKED OUR FLOATY CRYSTAL
Agnes: Sounded like you knew him?
Edea: Old childhood friend, yeah, ALWAYS RUINING EVERYTHING DO YOU HEAR ME WHEREVER YOU FUCKED OFF TO
Agnes: Did he always wear that helmet?
Edea: Huh?
Ringabel: Hey guys, look at this sweet seashell I found!
Everyone else: *glares*
Ringabel: What? Did I miss something?
Agnes: Tiz, I swear to Crystal, if that guy doesn't turn out to be RIngabel, I will... what do people normally bet? A few thousand currency? Eat a pig? Switch to the Merchant class?
Tiz: could you please just cast cura on me please
Agnes: But you're the white mage now...
Tiz: HAVE YOU EVER BEEN KICKED IN THE BALLS
Agnes: Can't say I have.
Tiz: HELLLLLP
Agnes: You are so lucky we can multi-class. *heals*
*END OF CHAPTER*
Actually didn't get horribly murdered by a sidequest boss. Not even once! Maybe I'm actually getting the hang of this nonsense. And/or maybe the system is hilariously skewed toward Black Magic, 'cause having three users has done improbable things to my survivability.

Also, they have avoided one cliche so far-- all the heroes are 18 or over. Ludicrous how rare that is in a JRPG.

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby rmsgrey » Thu Apr 07, 2016 12:19 am UTC

ameretrifle wrote:Also, they have avoided one cliche so far-- all the heroes are 18 or over. Ludicrous how rare that is in a JRPG.


That probably hints at the target demographic...

Plus it's traditional for coming-of-age-and-gaining-world-shattering-powers stories to feature adolescents because of the obvious parallels between growing hair in new places and gaining the ability to level entire cities if you get angry enough. Or possibly the parallel is with the marked increase in strength and newly acquired ability to literally create new life-forms (a great power that sadly precedes the requisite great responsibility by some years - or about 9 months if people aren't careful) being compared to gaining superhuman strength and endurance, and literal magical powers.

Traditionally, children enter fairy-land and return unchanged, while adults, if they're changed, are rarely improved by the experience, but adolescents go through a rite of passage and return as adults (having gained many levels in the meantime).

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby New User » Sat Apr 09, 2016 12:18 pm UTC

Regarding Bravely Default: According to the Final Fantasy Wiki, several of the characters were under 18 in the Japanese version, and the ages were changed for the overseas versions. Some characters were 15 in the Japanese version, changed to 18 for overseas audiences. I seem to recall that this has been common in adaptations of Japanese games since at least the SNES days.

As for the reason why the main characters seem so young, I never thought that much into it, but rmsgrey's coming-of-age/fairyland analogy doesn't seem quite right to me. I don't consider 15 to be adolescence, although maybe rmsgrey is referring to other games. For myself and my peers, the transition from child to adult seemed to be (physically, as in the "growing hair in new places" part) completed by age 15, and started at about age 12. The girls had fully developed breasts, the boys voices had changed, growth spurt was complete, and some kids had already lost virginity while others were desperately trying to do so. That would make (approximately) age 15 the earliest adulthood, post-adolescence. But here in the United States, adulthood is age 18 for practically any legal purpose.

As for the reason RPG characters are often so young, I always just thought it was a wish-fulfillment kind of thing, like as if the game's creators wished that they could have gone on an awesome adventure with ramifications of saving the entire world and all of existence proper from evil or destruction, when they were in the prime of life (earliest adulthood, which is the instant you turn 18 years old in the West, but apparently younger in other cultures). The creators also assume that most introverted nerds who play RPGs have this same wish-fulfillment fantasy, and so include it in their games. Since, in games, especially the ones in which the main character is the "silent protagonist" type (also the "player avatar" type, for which there is often significant overlap), it is intended that the player superimposes their own personality onto the main character (which, being silent, often has no personality at all), for the purpose of immersion. And when the player becomes immersed in the game's narrative, the player feels as if it is he himself who is fulfilling these phenomenal achievements of courage and selflessness.

But RPGs and video games in general are accepted by a much wider audience nowadays compared to those older times, and in my ripe old age of mid-30s, I seem to forget that this isn't 1991. RPGs aren't just for introverted nerds anymore, and the video game industry has gone from "niche interest" to "multi-billion dollar entertainment industry with widespread appeal and a worldwide market". Games less frequently feature the named silent protagonist, and in games that feature the player avatar, the avatar's appearance is typically customizable, sometimes with age customized as well. Some RPGs still feature very young protagonists of the non-customizable type, with actual personalities, emotions, and backstories, who start from humble beginnings and bravely go on a life-changing quest to save the world from danger. So it seems to me now that there is more to this than the wish-fulfillment fantasy being injected into game design, because if that were true, it would have been eliminated as an acceptable element of game design in such a huge worldwide industry.

So maybe the point is supposed to be that other important element of growing into adulthood, which is emotional and psychological maturity. Physical maturity is typically complete by age 15, but there is a reason why the legal ramifications of adulthood don't begin until age 18: because people who are so young aren't held by society to be experienced enough to make mature decisions with long-lasting effects, such as entering into contracts or voting for democratic representation. In the fantasy world of video games, the characters begin their adulthood by being placed into situations where decisions of enormous consequence are placed in their hands. The protagonists are meant to grow, not physically, but psychologically, from a humble beginning as a peasant or amateur adventurer, to the savior of all existence. Throughout their adventure, they rapidly gain the experience needed to grow from a child into a mature adult, fully capable of taking care of themselves and those they care about.

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Deva » Sat Apr 09, 2016 5:17 pm UTC

Adds loss of innocence. Occurs often in coming-of-age stories, game or not. Begins in peaceful surroundings. Encounters an unexpected, ugly part of the world. Sets off on a journey, intended or not. Discovers the world's problems and complexities alongside the protagonist(s). Makes less sense with adult characters. Should have already noticed it.
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Zohar » Mon Apr 11, 2016 12:59 pm UTC

Started playing Ori and the Blind Forest. I'm finding the platforming elements quite a bit more challenging than I thought they would. Also the "save anywhere but you can't always save" element is stressing me out a bit (should I save now? How about now? Will I need this energy thing later on?).

I'm sure all of this will be remedied once I get a bit stronger (get double jump and more blue save thingies) but still.
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby 3fj » Mon Apr 11, 2016 4:01 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:Started playing Ori and the Blind Forest. I'm finding the platforming elements quite a bit more challenging than I thought they would. Also the "save anywhere but you can't always save" element is stressing me out a bit (should I save now? How about now? Will I need this energy thing later on?).

I'm sure all of this will be remedied once I get a bit stronger (get double jump and more blue save thingies) but still.

It's very open-ended as well, which doesn't help. You can get to a bit before you're "supposed" to be there, which just ends up making things a billion times harder; but not totally impossible. Keep in mind where you should be going!
Everything's dead until it's alive. Man will exist, and then he will die. Just take the ride!

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Obby » Mon Apr 11, 2016 5:26 pm UTC

Dark Souls 3 in T-minus 4 hours 35 minutes! Plus whatever time is needed for installation, the inevitable server issues, performance twerking, and all that.
The story so far:
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby You, sir, name? » Mon Apr 11, 2016 9:48 pm UTC

12 minutes + obligatory 'forever' steam preload unpacking* :D

hype!

* I need to get an SSD
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby You, sir, name? » Mon Apr 11, 2016 10:03 pm UTC

Well, this is off to a good start

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