ʒ_ˈɒ_n_ɹ_ə – ʒ_aɪ_v #1: The JRPG
Updated: Feb 7
So I reached a little on the title .. eat me. The Chairman
From where I write this missive to you, my loyal little Leaguelettes– it is still an hour and a minute before sunrise; official.
And yet I wish you a good morning anyway. Or at least– a morning. And certainly not any mourning.
That would be bad.
Any-junk; I come before you this morning to kick off the month with something.. new. Something unplanned– as per my usual play.
It’s simply how I roll.
Downhill, and with e’er increasing magnitude.
Oh– the new thing, yes. It is a series in which I will take you readers on a tour, of sorts.
Sadly, the TSA would not allow me to wrangle so many of you through security at once– and so instead of some exotic locale, we’ll be looking at entire genres of game, the impact they’ve had on the industry– and of course, a brief peek at some of my favorite titles therein.
So without further ado, or adon’t– I present you with entry numero uno: The JRPG!
Now I know some of you may be wondering why I’ve chosen this, amongst the slew of possible genres; to begin this series. The reason however is quite simple.
Weeaboo trash! — oops–
What I meant to say was that my first video game ever– as some of you may know, was Final Fantasy for the NES.
Obviously not the first thing I said.
And I promise– I do indeed make the distinction between Eastern and Western RPG’s, and this is why I’ve made the JRPG it’s own .. thang here.
Anyways– for me it was an easy decision to jump right into my roots. Prithy, knave?
Where to begin– my word– back in the late 80’s, early 90’s, it was so easy to find a gem with which to polish my collection.
Countless hours spent staring down the barrel of a cathode-ray cannon.. Ahh yes– taking in those gloriously imperfect pixels.. it was the true embodiment of eye-candy for a perpetually outcast youth such as myself~
Ahh I can hear the pained cries and woeful– baleful grunting and moaning from some of you, and it is truly the sweetest of fruits.
What’s the appeal?, they’ll inquire– fruit-lessly. For the treasure you see above you was simply not meant for them.
Like the innards of the Ark of the Covenant to a nazi’s eyeballs; the JRPG melts the very fabric of those unworthy of it’s visage.
Yeah, like that.
I ask a question of my own, though. How can something that runs so thick in ones veins; something that brings such joy with a simply constructed array of squares– be ugly to anyone?
The above image is from what is likely to be my favorite of the Final Fantasy series. The 4th, incase anyone was wondering–
The 16-bit era of the Super Nintendo was more about bringing what we knew and loved, into a higher place.
Pauper to Prince, so-to-speak..
Better color, better sound.. oh the sound.. I am a thirty three year-old man that gets goose bumps when I hear that fanfare theme.. To this day, I tell you!
There is no stronger sense of nostalgia than that which I get from those classic tunes. Oh but those clever lads at Square knew what they were doing.
Exactly what they wanted. They too, loved what they had made before; a homage to tabletop roleplaying: reinvisioned, digitized– and then they just… made it better.
Better, being objective here of course– prettier.. flashier? Either would likely be a better term. All true– and better in my horridly biased oculars. But the point remains the same, kiddos: As technology improved, so did our experiences.
For a time..
Perhaps it was due to my stunning lack of problem solving skills.. and general learning, as a youngster– but games, used to take forrrrreverrrrr to beat. 50+ hours if I knew what I was doing..kind of..
As games became prettier– the lack of depth, quality– quantity?, waned.. or did it?
Citan for President!
When the Sony Playstation hit, with it– came a better JRPG. Some would even argue that this, the 32-bit era; was the true hayday of the RPG in general, while others would give that crown to the SNES.
I’m personally torn.. I’ve not enough fingers and toes combined to count the titles on both systems I’d fallen in love with. Unfortunately.. this is where the magic seemed to die.
The best we’d get out of the era of the PS2 and Xbox would be a Phantasy Star: Online port and Disgaea.
And sure– pleeeeeennnnty of playtime to be had here.. but– what else do we get? I mean– from everyone else..
Final Fantasy 10? or 12, even– a poor man’s Final Fantasy XI to be sure!
Ahh I can hear the hate train pulling into the station now~ Delightful– truly naught but one mans humble opinions however..
Nintendo was off doing it’s own Mario related things– Paper Mario had come out by now, and would be a smash hit successor of the SNES gem; Super Mario RPG— but this was not even handled by their primary staff.
Nay friends– nary a nod from Miyamoto came the way of Intelligent Systems when this marvel was made..
Why the abandonment? Why only in more recent years has the love returned for this once Juggernaut of the industry?
According to some rather interesting data courtesy of VGChartz.com— from the years 1990, to 2006– thats fifteen years– about HALF my lifetime, a JRPG has taken either the number 1 or 2 slot in most copies sold.
As one progresses e’er further through time– that prestigious ranking begins to plummet. But why?– I ask you!
I hope to continue this conversation with the lot of you throughout the week. I implore you share your thoughts with me. Lest I have to reach into your skull with sharp things to fetch them, myself.
Anyway, I grow weary–
Consilio et Animus, digitized meat.