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Default Kickstarter - Shaker - Editorial @ Edge

October 12th, 2012, 04:42
Jason Killingsworth from EDGE has penned an editorial about Shaker, the old school rpg created by Tom Hall and Brenda Braithwaite. In it, he asks the question "old school rpg, what does that mean anyway?"
A quote about what he thinks about the rpgs of the past:
The primary distinguishing traits of many old-school RPGs were nothing more than creative workarounds for the nascent technology available at the time – text input, turn-based simulations, etc. The Kickstarter page assures us that the game will have the graphical fidelity players expect from contemporary games, but that doesn’t get us much closer to a working definition.
A quote about what he thinks about naming Shaker an old school rpg:
To label one’s project Old School RPG seems to just draw attention to this appeal to nostalgia in such an obvious way that it comes off feeling a little crass, perhaps too forward. Especially in a context where you’re trying to convince people to contribute money to your project. It’s easy to romanticise the past, but Brathwaite and Hall still need to offer a compelling case for what makes old-school RPGs not only meaningfully different, but preferable to the genre’s more evolved descendants living today.
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October 12th, 2012, 04:42
The primary distinguishing traits of many old-school RPGs were nothing more than creative workarounds for the nascent technology available at the time – text input, turn-based simulations, etc.
I find that quote a little frustratingly short-sighted of the fact that in just as many cases, (perhaps more!) older RPGs featured turn-based simulations as a chosen design feature. It wasn't just the technological limitations causing these choices.
Thus, this "nothing more" than a creative workaround idea is a little misleading and doesn't reflect the whole truth.

Let’s hope it takes us into those uncharted waters where the sea monsters supposedly lurk, and doesn’t simply ferry us up and down a neat, tidy, coastline mapped out decades ago.
Indeed. It's a shame the maps for those coastlines have fallen into such disuse over recent years though, yes? Can they still be read and followed and will they lead to buried treasure? /cheesy analogy over.

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October 12th, 2012, 18:41
Originally Posted by Pessimeister View Post
I find that quote a little frustratingly short-sighted of the fact that in just as many cases, (perhaps more!) older RPGs featured turn-based simulations as a chosen design feature. It wasn't just the technological limitations causing these choices.
Thus, this "nothing more" than a creative workaround idea is a little misleading and doesn't reflect the whole truth.
Exactly, it's a very common misconception (especially regarding the CRPG genre) that everything associated with game design in the past can be explained as a direct product of technical limitations. Also, this idea is for the most part combined with the even more implausible belief that game design today is synonymous with "innovation". But why couldn't it be the other way around? The demand to include X amounts of polygons in a 2012 game could be infinitely more restrictive than the need to make certain gameplay elements more abstract in order to fit the game on a floppy or two…
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October 15th, 2012, 23:55
Originally Posted by Pessimeister View Post
I find that quote a little frustratingly short-sighted of the fact that in just as many cases, (perhaps more!) older RPGs featured turn-based simulations as a chosen design feature. It wasn't just the technological limitations causing these choices.
Thus, this "nothing more" than a creative workaround idea is a little misleading and doesn't reflect the whole truth.
I was actually going to agree with his statement until I remembered that arcade ports and action games, though greatly simplified by today's standards, were far and away the most popular type of game out there.

That said, there is an element of truth to it. The "blow up" system that Garriot evolved out of DnD for example was a great workaround for the limitations of the technology. Same with the tile system in general.

What's fascinating is that, with the exception of the FP smooth scroller, attempts to move beyond some of these workarounds have met with limited success. Its why new generations of gamers always tend to go back there to try and capture the look and feel of these games.

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