Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Definition of a RPG

Now before I get into this I'd let you in on some background information on me. I started playing games ever since the Atari 2600 when I was a kid, then got a SNES followed by many platforming and oh you know a certain Kart game as well (I also got a "bazooka" that played Tetris haha). Followed after that I grabbed the N64 and was blown away by the transition into 3D (funny how I can't go back to these very crudely rendered polygon games today though). Along this time our family got introduced to PC ownership due to a generous uncle who had a very technical job at an university. I still remember the day my family and I spent over at their house playing Dune II on his computer. My love for strategy games started there and I've been a major RTS gamer on the PC ever since.
Of course I latter grabbed an Xbox around the time Halo was popular and became a name when I was in highschool. My love for FPS games grew; I believe Goldeneye was the first FPS game I played and that was back in my high school days. For my college years I was introduced to Counter Strike and Half Life. My PC, brand spanking new for school PC, was running pretty much anything I threw at it; I was spending money on hardware upgrades instead of things I should have been getting like books. I highly enjoyed First Person Shooters, Real Time Strategy and Racing games at the time. I wasn't however a huge RPG fan. Sure I played the slew of them but most of them were boring or just tedious (why must I constantly sort through my inventory or oh now I get to go against an enemy that has way more hp than the lower enemies I've already faced).
Then I believe when I played KOTOR, Knights of the Old Republic, I understood it all. I think KOTOR wasn't my first RPG game that I enjoyed but it was the first one that made me aware what an RPG was. I thought it was interesting reading this article which describes the defintion of RPGs based on the thoughts of Casey Hudson (project director for Mass Effect 2).
"...three founding elements for their definition:
  • Story plays a central role, and the player's involvement as the character can change the outcome of that story.
  • Combat is more considered than a pure action game and incorporates tactical concepts.
  • The player's character grows over the course of the game developing skills, abilities, etc."
That last one is why I really enjoyed playing Crackdown; yes I will try to find all these orbs that boost my abilities!
You can read the whole article here.  
Not saying I've played the crap out of Mass Effect 2 but I've played a looooooooot of that game. I believe I've got over 250 hours with multiple playthroughs and character profiles. The moral choices, the different classes and the variety of decisions/endings I want to have to import into Mass Effect 3 has kept me going for a while. On a side note, It's good to see Mass Effect 2 achieved universal acclaim, their design choices really helped in that matter. Man I can't wait for Mass Effect 3 and ever so excited when I heard that Bioware is putting the RPG back into Mass Effect.