Editorial: The End is Nigh?

I am beginning to think that the RPG is a dying genre—at least where the upcoming generation of gamers is concerned. A generation that is increasingly craving fast-paced, short games in lieu of the longer, more engaging experiences found within the pages of an RPG. Gamers, increasingly, are avoiding games that tie them to the screen for hours upon hours as they trudge through dungeons and dialogues. RPGs are ever-increasingly becoming saturated with flashy CG animations and sub-par voice acting to quell the hunger of people who do not know how to read and have no imagination.

Okay, maybe I am exaggerating slightly, but in my recent endeavors into our middle and high schools this is what I have found: The majority of our young gamers do not even know what an RPG is. Sure, they know what an MMORPG is, and will happily tell you about their adventures in Azeroth, but when asked about gaming staples such as Chrono Trigger or Final Fantasy they merely stare blankly.

Can you imagine what our world would be like without this?

Can you imagine what our world would be like without this?

What is this? students think, It does not sound like the latest installment of Silent Hill, Halo, Grand Theft Auto, Resident Evil, Fallout, Devil May Cry, and so on.

Why is this happening? I think that I have begun to touch on this above, in mentioning that gamers are increasingly settling for what I have lovingly called “gaming lite,” that is to say gamers want games that they can sit down and play for a few minutes—complete a mission, beat a level—and then move on having accomplished something. The upcoming generation of gamers are appalled by games where they are forced to move from save point to save point, chapter to chapter, sometimes with hours between.

So, Lusipurr.com readers, I implore you to take those second and third collector’s editions of your favorite RPGs and distribute them among our youth! We must band together to educate the masses of the joys of varied gaming, engaging characters, and intricate battle systems!

…I will climb down from my soapbox, now. Have a great weekend!            

0 comments on “Editorial: The End is Nigh?”

  1. Funny you should bring this up. I actually gave my copy of FFX to my little sister less than a week ago. Hopefully it’ll get her interested in the genre.

  2. The monstrously lengthy Oblivion was one of the best selling games of this generation.

    Rant invalidated.

  3. This editorial made me immediately think of Chris over at Cat Fancy who, despite being a host of an rpg podcast, constantly bemoans the length of rpgs. I think you’re absolutely right, which is a shame because I like my rpgs lengthy.

  4. I’ve always thought a large part of Oblivion’s success was timing-based. Not to take anything away from the game, but at the time it was pretty much the only thing out for the 360 and one of the only major releases around that time (I think it was out in April or something). I know at least a few people who typically have no interest in RPGs, but picked up Oblivion because it was the only new things out around that time.

  5. The reasonably lengthy Fallout 3 was one of the best selling games of this generation.

    Rant invalidated.

  6. Fallout 3 and Oblivion are not really aimed at young children, most of whom have never heard of them, let alone played them.

    Those games are typically played by late teens to early adults.

    Stupid and thoughtless comment invalidated.

  7. It is a little sad knowing that old school RPGs are a dying breed. But in my case, I have so many to catch up on, and replay, that I’m okay with it.
    Plus, games like Etrian Odyssey are amazing throwbacks to the early days of the genre.
    I really do love games like FFXII with incredibly voiced and directed cutscenes, but I agree that there is a certain charm to the older titles.
    And I will always try and get friends into RPGs.
    Good editorial!

  8. It is a sad thing indeed, I just bough The Dark Spire for the DS. I’m kind of addicted to it right now, its a throwback to first person dungeon crawl RPG of the 80’s and such. At leaset we can always count on the handhelds… and Atlus…

  9. “Fallout 3 and Oblivion are not really aimed at young children, most of whom have never heard of them, let alone played them.”

    The article was examining middle-school and high school students as its demographic. What makes you think they don’t play these high profile games like all the others? Hell, the article lists Fallout as an example of games they DO play.

  10. Yes but to be fair Fallout 3 is more FPS then anything else,oblivion too is more like an action game, do you see where I’m going with this?

  11. From what I understand (I haven’t played it myself), Fallout is sandwiched somewhere between RPG and FPS, where if you strictly try to play it like either, you will die often.

    I think the article was specifically talking about old-school RPGs like the ones mentioned (FF and Chrono Trigger) (whoever wrote it can correct me if I’m mistaken). It seems like more and more “hybrid” RPGs are coming out now (Persona, Valkyria Chronicles, Fallout/Oblivion, Crisis Core), which might be in response to this trend the article mentions. Traditionally, old-school RPGs have been more about the story than the gameplay, but more and more I think people need something to keep their attention between cutscenes (be it gameplay or really flashy visuals).

    Personally, I think hybrid games can be just as good as pure RPGs, so I’m not overly worried about this. As long as they can keep the story quality up, I’ll keep buying the games.

  12. @SiliconNoob: Not really, unless you think real-time elements somehow interfere with them being “longer, more engaging experiences.”

  13. @Drav- I was pretty much getting at the point DarthGibblet made about the only comercially successful rpgs these days being action hybrids. The young’uns don’t want to be playing traditional rpgs and as a result rpgs are forced to slide further and further towards the action spectrum.

  14. @Drav: What makes me think that they don’t play these games is that I know rather a lot of children that age, having taught them for several years, and none of them do.

    Some of the older boys–high school–fall into the realm of those who do, but you’d probably be surprised to hear they are more interested in Grand Theft Auto than games aimed at table-top RPG enthusiasts (Oblivion) and the admittedly good–but not a traditional RPG in any sense–Fallout, though the latter is more popular esp. among the PS3 owning set.

    Incidentally, Thea meant Farcry, not Fallout, but that is beside the point really. Your response to her post (twice!) was totally inappropriate, and your attitude stinks. Consider this your first warning.

  15. @SiliconNoob: Ok, but what the article seemed to be getting at is that RPGs are dying because people don’t have patience for long games where you have to dedicate yourself to lengthy play sessions if you want to accomplish anything. Oblivion and Fallout 3 are both like that, or at least as much like that as any other RPG.

  16. @Drav: I didn’t get your oversimplified summary of the argument from the article at all, and I think the success of MMOs (which Thea is MORE than adequately familiar with) precludes such a notion; or would if you were at all familiar with the person whom you are dismissing so casually.

    Fallout allows you to save whenever you like. As does Oblivion. You’re not making your point very well by comparing them to games in the past–or even ‘any other RPG’, as you say. So you don’t have to dedicate yourself to a lengthy play session; because you can put it down at any time and resume it later. Most past RPGs were not like that, and even quite a few modern ones arent’.

    Even FF12 which is perhaps the most recent and successful RPG to wade back into long play sessions had, I think we can all agree, much shorter dungeons than earlier incarnations from the series. Save points are everywhere, with but few exceptions. Side-quests are largely broken up into digestible chunks in the form of hunts and such. There are a few things in there for the diehars–the Hunt Club, and so on, but by and large it is bite-sized; lots of bits, to be sure, and long overall, but bite-size in its composition.

    What I’m getting at is that the difference, as someone else points out quite justifiably, is a matter of timing. Even long games, modern ones like MMOs or Fallout (for example) allow you to play in bite-sized segments. I remember thinking the Phoenix Cave long in FF6, but it had nothing on some of the truly interminable dungeons in games like Lunar, where save points were few and far between.

    I think the relative success of even bite-sized RPGs against more action-oriented, fast-paced gaming clearly shows the greater popularity of the latter, and it is no surprise that RPGs are being guided by this principle. After all, it is where the money is, but there’s something to be said about a more immersive, engaging experience which–though perhaps not the vogue–offers a unique gaming perspective which still appeals to some, and might well appeal to more if people were introduced to them.

  17. The way I see it Oblivion and Fallout 3 are comprised of a lot of self-contained mini-quests which can be played though before the ADD kids start to get restless, a much different proposition to playing through one lengthy traditional scenario.

  18. @SN – Yeah. I’ve had 5 hour play sessions with Fallout 3 and 20 minute play sessions. The game is designed to serve both, so I agree.

  19. I can put down Fallout 3 for months at a time, yet when I come back it’s as though I never left, when you think about it it’s the perfect game for someone like me who buys more games than he has time to play. That said it does nothing toward proving that children of this generation don’t have ADD.

  20. @Lusipurr

    1st post:

    If that really is the way of things, then I guess I’ll have to concede to your point.

    2nd post:

    FFXII didn’t strike me as having shorter dungeons, or being shorter in general, then any other FF games. One dungeon towards the end took me 4 hours to clear. Hunts ranged in length from 15 mins or so to several hours. I don’t recall save points being especially more numerous either.

    On the save point issue, that’s purely a Japanese thing. Almost all Western RPGs have let you save anywhere since the late 80s. All of Oblivion’s predecessors let you save anyway, as do all of Fallouts predecessors and any Bioware game. If then, you only mean to ask why teenagers aren’t playing JRPGs, then I don’t think that’s an issue with length or pacing at all so much as most of them being archaic and/or abstract in their design.

  21. I can’t rember any of FFXII’s dungeons being particularly long, not that they are particularly short either.

    Honestly I think that more than anything it’s an accessibilty issue for a generation in which many get put off if they’re not immediately familiar with the game mechanics. That’s why the Fallouts and Oblivions of this world reign supreme, you can jump right in and play them as you would any other 1st person title. Jrpgs on the other require you to invest time at the begining sitting through unskipable tutorials in order to become familiar with their unique game mechanics.

    Then of course there is the fact that the younger gamers of today seem to be increesingly sensitive toward random encounters, battle transitions, menu driven combat. How many people have you seen crying about FFXIII not being an action rpg and threatening not to buy it?

  22. One silver linning for all us old fogies is that for the moment old school rpgs still have a home on the handhelds.

  23. @SN – Amen to the handheld comment. Also I’m the same way with Fallout. I have near 20 games for 360 and I’ve not even had the thing a year. So I greatly appreciate jumping back into Fallout 3 as opposed to being very confused when I return to Lost Odyssey.

  24. Yeah I know what you mean, I’ve been procrastinating and delaying my return to the 3rd disc of LO for months now, just because of how disorienting it will be to pick back up and remember who has what spells etc and where I need to go and what accessories go best with which character.