Anti-JRPG Rant

Inspired by a few recent articles and advertisements from Bioware and Bethesda, a fellow gamer of mine has written his own anti-JapaneseRPG rant, which I thought was so brilliant it deserves immortality in blog form.

I would like to preface this post with the fact that the author of those post, and myself, are actually very big fans of non-MMO JRPGs.  So please take this rant in the spirit it is intended – honest criticism, laced with insanity.

(Oh, also, STRONG LANGUAGE.  You’ve been warned!)

There are some major stereotypes in JRPGs that I would LOVE to see die:

Why is the hero always a 15 year old kid who is an orphan… or will be an orphan within the first hour of gameplay?

The hero is always joined by some hot chick who is 14, but is built like a high grade Vegas stripper.

The hero learns that he’s not actually from the village he started in, or the village burns down to the ground within the first hour of gameplay.

You kill the boss of the level after 10 mins of fighting… The boss dissapates in a cloud of explosions and DPS, only to go ‘hahaha’ in the next screen and get the Item of Power that you were trying to guard, then leaps out the window…. all before you can react. Awesome.

You find a random traveler who whups your everloving ass with 2k damage per second… then after finally ‘beating’ them, the char joins your party… at level 1, with no equipment or skills.

Shopkeepers who charge you 1mil for the Sword of Catrimness, when their shop is on fire and goblins are running around town killing people. Besides, in the last mission… you saved the shopkeeper’s daughter because the shopkeeper was too distraught to open his fucking shop when you first got to town, so you had to go rescue her to get the shop to open in the first place. Now the asshole wants 1mil gold…. how about -stab stab stab loot. Thanks for the Sword, Recently Killed Guy Voiding His Bowels. AND I’M KEEPING YOUR DAUGHTER TOO, ASSHOLE!

When you went to save the shopkeeper’s daughter… how the FUCK did she get to the END of the Lair of the Eastern Airworm and past the 100 imps of annoyance?!?!?! It took me 2 hours of constant battling to get here! you are telling me she just ‘wandered’ here on her own?!!?

Why does the chest right before the Fire Dragon boss living in Ifrit’s Armpit have an Ice Sword in it!?!?! It just happens to be the one weapon I need to defeat the boss… you think the boss would at some point leave his ‘Boss Room’ and look outside the door, see the ice sword, realize it might hurt him one day… and toss it in the lava pit of Ammakan’dur.

Why is this random woman in the village willing to pay 300gold for an Onion so she can cook dinner for her family? I mean, I turned in 40 Onions and just got rich. Do families in RPGs have this much capital for food? Hell, a dagger only costs 50 gold, you think she’d get her lazyass husband to go kill a goblin for an onion.

Why do slimes always carry so much gold? Tehy don’t have eyes… or a mouth… or hands… but they always seem to have plenty of cash lying around.

Why do Orcs always seem to carry magic weapons that they don’t use… this one just dropped the Dagger of the Magi… you think he’d use it against me instead of that stupid Goblin Rush move that does 1 damage.

About 2/3rds of the way through… you meet Doctor Good, who has a hidden lair full of monsters for some reason… but ultimately is creating the Master Sword. He won’t use it himself, he’s just waiting for a 15 year old kid to come along to give it to so they can save the world.

Gate Guards who won’t let you pass until you complete some stupid goal, like talking to the Magistrate. You know what, Gate Guard? How about I push you down and take your lunch money? What are you gonna do really to keep me from passing? I’m Catrim, a level 51 TemplarMageThief with Ancient Fireball III, you really think you can stop me? Oh wait… you can… every fucking time… with a single sentance of text. “You can’t go here yet”

Ridiculous party characters that ‘lick’ your enemies to death, so you stop playing them because they’re fucking retarded. Later on, the game forces you to group with only them, but since you thought they were stupid… you didn’t level them up and now you are stuck with level 6 Retardo Montelbahn in the level 200 Temple of Ancient Death.

Chests. How come noone’s opened this chest sitting in the open by a fountain in the town square. It has 5000 gold in it…. the entire town is poor and hungry and dying and there’s 5000 gold sitting in the middle of town that noone’s thought to use!?!?!

Stupid townspeople. “Oh, I don’t know where to find a cure for the plague that’s killing our town… on a completely unrelated note, there’s an herbalist that lives in the valley just outside of town.” Noone puts this together until the super genius 15 year old hero comes to town and says “Maybe we should go see the herbalist for a cure for the plague” and the townspeople are all like “Oh man, why didn’t I think of that… that’s a great idea… too bad we can’t spare anyone from the town to make the 5 min walk there… do you think you could go, I know I just met you… and you are covered in blood and bone chunks… but I trust you to make it there and back before the entire town dies. Toodles”

Having 19,234 hit points… and getting one shotted.

The brooding, dark, emo character in your party. You know what… stay home… we don’t need you. I already have 15 playable chars in a group that only holds 4. I really don’t need your bullshit. I hear they’re having a sale on girl’s jeans and self loathing at Ross… go check it out, here’s 2000 gold to get you started. Also, I put a razor in your backpack and drew a dotted line across your inner wrist… do what comes naturally.

Armies of level 1 bad guys waiting outside the town’s gates… You could destroy them all with a sneeze, except “No, it’s too dangerous!!”

The Bad Guy of the game… trying to destroy the world. Really? YOu know the world is where you keep your stuff, right? You know that there’ll be noone to ‘rule’ right? What the hell happened in your life that makes you want to blow up the entire planet, including yourself??!?! Can developers not come up with a plotline that dosen’t involve the world/universe blowing up? you could have saved us all a lot of trouble by just going fishing… or killing yourself… or getting laid for the love of God. Why isn’t “Buy Dr. Bad a blowjob and a bottle of Jack” an option?

Thieves. Yep, you were walking through the Mine of Maliciousness when some asshole just jumped off the fucking wall… managed to grab the Key of Plot Unlocking you were taking to the Shrine of Kabibble-chock… and run away… all before anyone in your group could react. Then you get a cutscene with all 21 of your playable chars going ‘Oh… uh…. Hmmm… maybe we better get it back’

Enemy A-Teams. Usually called Alpha Squad or Delta Force or something equally non-hetero… You get a cutscene and they’re all talking shit to you. How they’re going to kill you because they’re Omega Troupe and they’re the best… then you beat them like an interracial stepchild. Oh, it’s not over… they’re not actually dead at all. They get up and talk some more shit and run away… then spend the rest of the game following you to every location, talking shit, picking fights, and getting beat by you over and over and over and over… never getting the idea that you are the one with the controller and they can’t possibly win and they are just wasting their time. Besides, they’re working for Dr Bad… who is trying to destroy the fucking world. What kinda benefit plan or 401(k) are you getting out of this job!?!? What’s it going to matter when the world is gone!?!? YOu guys are idiots, you know that, right!?

Romance. Yeah, don’t care. Trying to save the world here… don’t have time to take this chick to the casino or the grayhound races or the polo green for a date right now… seriously… world about to blow up… volanoes… tsunami… deforestation… poison water… armies of undead… not feeling really horny right now. Well, ok… kinda… but I’m busy. If you don’t undertand, sorry. Go do some laundry or something, I’ve been covered in blood for like 30 hours here. Make me a sammich or something.

These incredibly mazelike levels… are you serious?!? who the fuck built this place?! I took the rod of complacency I looted from the 200ft tall Gigas living inside this place and put it in the slot of obscurity… 6000 tons of rock moved into place to make a escalator to nowhere, which I activated with the Staff of Dwoeming… the staff was a pain, there were 13 different chests with a piece in each one, but they were scattered around the Balcony of Timekilling. I crafted it with the Triangle of Repair… which only appeared after the entire place was flooded with water (funny, we’re in a desert)… then dropped into the Well of Falling at the top of the Escalator to Nowhere only to find a musical puzzle where I have to play Greensleeves to ride a lift made of the bodies of the workers who died working here up to the Room of Reward, placed oddly enough RIGHT NEXT TO THE FUCKING ENTRANCE OF THE ZONE!!!!!! Turns out… there was a rusty screen door hanging on one hinge seperating the entrance from the final room… you just didn’t see it. Again… who the FUCK built this place?! This is a major undertaking. you are telling me the people in town down there didn’t notice the 300 years of construction that went into this monstrosity!?!?!?

That one zone you walk through, with the waterfall… and the lens flare… and the sun. It’s… so… beautiful. Really, wow…. what? there’s nothing to do here? it’s just a zone I spend 5 seconds in and then never return for any reason!?!? WTF?!?! How much space did this bullshit take up on the disk? ungh…

Stupid Kiings. I’m about 80 hours into the game and you’ve really never heard of me by now?! I seriously have to earn your trust? You are really going to risk your entire kingdom on the chance that I can get the Sacred Chalice of Geeks from the top of BubbleYum Mountain before the Army of Things that Bite and Itch get here tomorrow!? Are you out of your fucking mind!?!? I’m right here, willing to help right now. If you just give me the Amulet of WTF now… I could go out… and meet the army before it even gets here, dude. Your castle wouldn’t get a scratch, I promise. Dude, seriously… I’m not even asking for money or wenches or cheese. Just a crappy amulet that you aren’t going to use in the first place. I could kill you all, you know. Seriously. You all.

You enter a room. It’s completely empty except for a 4 year old girl in the middle of the room. Given my knowledge of RPGs… the only real option here is to kill the 4 year old girl immediately from as far away as you possibly can and DO NOT ENTER THE ROOM unless absolutely necessary. Oh no, this is never the option. Instead you stand there and watch it transform into the Avatar of PC Death for 10 minutes. You could have attacked when she started talking with that creepy deep voice… no, wait. You could have attacked when she started glowing purple… no… wait. There’s a third arm growing out of her neck… No… wait for it. Ok, she’s about 50 feet tall now with like demon horns and shit, I think we need to…. no no no… wait, I say! You know, I think I can see the corpses of past party members floating around under her skin, man. I’m really scared right now, I think we should attack…. NO YOU ARE GOING TO WAIT!!!! You wait until a giant crystal forms in her stomach and starts pulsating black and the guilt of everytime you masturbated into a cup and watched your grandma drink it in her tea embodies itself into a skin of evil that somehow takes away all your other party members and you have to solo the boss now. Thanks game developers.

❤ Catrim

Well said, brother in arms.  Well said.

There’s a secret place in my heart that yearns for all of the above.  And when I see the same tropes replayed in MMORPGs, that part of me dies a little more each time.  It’s one thing to consider a story ‘classic’ but it’s quite another to copy it so much that it ends up a caricature of itself.

So please, JRPG makers…. move on.  It’s way past time.


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