What the Crap?: Role-Playing Games

RPGs rock. Deep stories, great strategy elements, orchestrated music, walking around and fighting the same slime 50 times—they're fantastic. I remember getting my first RPG for free from Nintendo P

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RPGs rock. Deep stories, great strategy elements, orchestrated music, walking around and fighting the same slime 50 times—they’re fantastic. 

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I remember getting my first RPG for free from Nintendo Power (not counting Zelda 1). It was Dragon Warrior. I was like “What the crap is this?” Sure, I’ll go and walk around aimlessly and “FIGHT!” a bunch of slimes and shit. That game actually has no story, and is a poor example of an RPG. It probably won’t meet the purpose of this month’s WTC, the illustration of all the stupidity, nonsense, douchbagetry and things that make you say “What the Crap?” in role-playing games.

All role playing games support some sort of health system, generally seen as HP (health points). Go to the local inn of whatever generic town you happen to be in and pay a small fee to restore your health. If the price is one gold or free, you know that some crazy shit (zombies, ghost attack, natural disaster, random singing ladies who only come out at night, etc.) is about to go down in the town. It’s like the generosity of the innkeeper is a dark foreshadowing of troubles ahead. 

Sometimes your entire party goes in to the same bed, which really should spark something in your mind as to what the hell the programmers were thinking. Speaking of beds, did you ever notice how there are never enough beds for the number of people in a house? Next time you’re in town, go to someone’s house (which is never a problem since all the town doors in a game are unlocked, and no one seems to give a fuck that strangers are running around in their house and talking to them) and count the people-to-bed ratio. It’s always more than 1:1. Sure, a husband and wife can sleep together in the same bed, but what about their parents and their children?

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On the topic of towns, have you ever noticed that that many of them are in ridiculously obscure locations (on top of a mountain, surrounded by mountains, underwater, etc.)? Sometimes the town is only accessible via an airship, and even though you’re the ones in the whole world with an airship, the town is populated and kickin’. Sometimes the town is invisible and you can only find it by walking through the right forest tile. What the crap is up with that? You can’t advertise a town that’s invisible!

Also with towns: have you ever noticed how the townspeople either work 24 hours a day, or are unemployed? Each store will have a potion shop and a weapon and armor shop. They’re open all day every day, and it’s always the same dude behind the counter. Why does he work if he doesn’t have a home? Do they really need to be open 24 hours a day? Yes, yes they do, because you’re the only customer in the entire world. And the people at home never go to work. They just stand in some random place and spout bullshit about the good ol’ days or how to defeat the next boss. How the hell do they know how to defeat the next boss? All they do is stand in their home with their one bed all day. What the crap?

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Ever notice how the world is populated by about 75 or 80 people, not including the endboss’s army (of which there seems to be no limit)? Are humans not at the top of the food chain? There’s a total of 80 people in the world, and yet the world is infested with 300 different types of monsters, which breed like mice.

How come there isn’t a fucking Outback Steakhouse on the world map? Even though there’s only 80 people in the world, you gotta eat, right? You can’t just survive on tonics and potions from the item shop (or Hi-Potions, if you’re really thirsty!). And no one goes hunting and gathering, either. The only sign of food I’ve seen in an RPG is from Chrono Trigger, where everyone has stoves and refrigerators (but no electricity). Real slick. So, no food stores anywhere, but there are weapons shops every twenty feet. No one else shops for weapons besides you, right? How do they stay in business? They should open up a Mickey D’s.

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Why is it that news travels faster than your party can move? If you defeat a boss in a nearby cave and return to the local town, why is it they they’ve already learned about your victory? Who told them? You get back 10 seconds after you slice the boss and it’s already on the front page. Is a journalist following you into the obligatory cave? Or maybe your people walk back to town with a “We just whooped the Fire Tortoise�s ass” look on their face.

“Hey, can I have your shiny treasure chest?” There’s no way around it: Your main character is a thief. Even if you’re a Paladin, you’re a thief. People have very nice things in their house. Money for their kid’s college fund, perhaps a nice weapon or armor passed down over many generations; there’s a lot of shit in people’s houses, considering no one seems to have a job if they own a house. They put it in a nice chest or box, but that’s not good enough, really. These valued treasures are left unlocked, and their owners seem to have no problem letting a complete stranger who claims to be rescuing the world take their loot. It’s bad enough you can go running in to people’s houses in the first place. I’d get pretty mad if some spiky-headed douche bag and his pet robot and frog came scampering around and talking to me about selling me jerky for 10,000 gold.

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Yarr me mateys! Traveling by sea may be fun, but watch out: Every RPG seems to have either a ghost ship or a gigantic squid to attack you. I guarantee some crazy shit will go down the first time you set sail in the game. You’ll be attacked by a squid, attacked by a ghost ship or realize that you’re ON a ghost ship. I’ve yet to see a ghost squid, but hey, you never know; Final Fantasy 12 should be coming out soon…

Who’s that crazy old man sitting on the hill spouting gibberish about a flying monkey that craps golden eggs that hatch out the legendary key to the underwater fortress of solitude that houses a legendary shield of stinkyness? I don’t know who he is, but no matter how farfetched his story is, it’s 100% true, even though no one else in town believes him. Most RPGs take place in olden times, and crazy old men grow up to be Plato.

I’m tired of all this crap from RPGs. Next time I get an RPG, I’m just going to stay in town and fight level one rabites and blue slimes until I am the king of Potos, Hometown, Buttsville, or wherever the hell the main character is from. I’m tired of the five hour long side quests to get a turkey feather.

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About the Contributor


Since 2006

Mark Freedman is a hard hitting reporter on just what the crap is going on in the world of video games.He also writes reviews and manages the staff Q&A column. Occasionally, he has been known to take a shower. zzzz

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