Armchair Empire - Skyrim, now with Disco Soundtrack
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November 5th, 2012, 13:28
I'm looking forward to the next installment when this writer will sink into deep apologies as he is a commercial writer writing to please his readership. Telling things roughly is never a right way to solidify readership. The article is a product of all that RPG elements story and shows how from flawed premises, you only hit a sound conclusion once in a bluemoon.
Stunning article as it delivers some basic observations brutally but omits some other observations that are as obvious.
Connecting that article to the other article claiming that RPGs elements were colonizing other genres, here, that is the countrary tune: RPGs are tainted by other genres. This last version is the right one for some reason..
Because of the way of thinking, the author is compelled to treat every gaming genre the same as the RPG genre. The stagnation or the decline of RPGaming is extended to some other genres which is obviously wrong. The Shooter genre
has been progressing giant leaps.
With one main drive: having the priority right by admitting the obvious: shooting is the essence of the shooter. And efforts to better games should go to enhance
the shooting experience. This could go through various elements but elements that are nothing than supporting elements to enable the shooting experience. And shooters are assessed through the delivery on the quality of the essence of shooters: shooting.
On the other hand, the RPG genre has not evolved as consumers prefered not to accept that roleplaying is the essence of a roleplaying game. On the contrary, they prefered to promote game mechanics as being the core of the RPG genre. It gives assessment of the story, assessment of the character progression system, assessment of the inventory management,assessment of the combat difficulty and supposedly tactical depth etc Never the assessment of quality of role playing provided by the game. Very hard to improve on anything when progress is measured through liminary aspects.
You cant put two genres that have been going through so different paths in the same bag, no matter how frustrated you are by the current RPG situation.
The trend discussion helps to miss the global picture: beyond the trends, there are categories. Shooting games have maintained a continuity in essence, that is focus on shooting as the heart of a shooting game. This allows that shooters are recognized shooters no matter the time of their release. This is their fixed point that has not changed as time flew by. Doom is a shooter. So is Halo x, and recognized as such by players.
Contrary to RPGs as players can not recognize RPGs independent of the time they were released. For the same reason: because roleplaying is not a fixed point in the RPG genre. Roleplaying is not the measure for RPGs.
This goes beyond trends. For clothes,people can recognize them as they are independently of the times of weaving. Adjustment is required but taking pants from the 1970s, 1980s,1990s,2000s and 2010s and people tell that those are pants.
It is the same for shooters. Not the same for RPGs, leaving room to endless discussions on what game is what or was what.
There is persistence in some gaming genres while RPG never managed to establish these persistence.
Nice thing to discuss trends but the bigger picture exists.
This leads to another pittrap : drawing conclusions on RPGs from Skyrim. That starts by reporting Skyrim is a RPG. Skyrim is just a RPG by label. It has no RP in it. Cant blame Bethesda for conning the customer as they did their utmost to remove most things that could be associated close or far to the notion of role. They made it clear and Skyrim has no role in it. The conclusion is straightforward: no role, no role playing enabled, not a role playing game. Dismissing the dimension of roleplaying in a RPG and prefering to cling to secondary features as story, character progression system, combat etc to tell a role playing game from a non role playing game wont change that Skyrim is not a RPG.
Skyrim is a narrative game. It is a game that provides the gamer with an environment to developp a narrative for his/her PC to live through. It can not even be a poor RPG as it is not even a RPG.
And you can draw no conclusion on the RPG state from Skyrim. You can on the narrative game state.
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