Editorial: Put Down the Controller and Read (or why I want to make babby with British men in top hats)

Greetings, Lusi-sprites. May the Great Potato bless and smile upon you. While we here at Lusipurr.com did miss the UN’s International Year of the Potato in 2008, it is never too late to praise the Great Potato’s many glories.

I must confess that I find myself sorely lacking in any inclination to play, think of or write about video games, I want to read Austen novels, or moon over the likes of Jonny Lee Miller and David Morrissey. I will do my best to refrain from brevity – which is the soul of wit but in my case tends to be the symptom of laziness.

These are books. They're like the internet, but on paper.
The point of these ramblings is that I cannot help but notice the rather tiny stack of games in my “recently complete” pile compared to the teetering pile of books in my “recently read” pile. Austen, Dickens, Harris and even Swarup can hold my attention more firmly than Namco, Blizzard and even Squeenix can. The more I think about it, the more I realize that the thing which most draws me to the games I play (the plot and dialogue) is the very thing that now repulses me. The inane and often ill-translated banter of a JRPG pales in comparison to the painstakingly crafted words of even the most modest author. Even games with the most finely-tuned plots and characters do not bear up well when compared to a book.

Please, for the love of the Great Potato in his Buttery Palace, do not think that I am trying to persuade our readers to put down the controller and pick up a good book. Besides, I have the feeling that my taste in literature is as much at odds with our readership as my taste in games. Meh. Terranigma and Legend of Dragoon are still awesome.

Mr. Knightley knows that top hats will get you chicks.
What I am trying to say is that I am, well, disappointed. I am disappoint! An RPG offers such an opportunity, and that opportunity goes to waste time and time again. A good RPG can be like reading your favourite book, but with the added benefit of getting to control the heroes. Rather than read about the noble Knight saving his Princess from evil, we can read/hear their words and actually control their actions as they go through the motions of the aforementioned saving. However, this is never the case. Can you compare Tidus and Yuna to Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet? Not favourably. Game characters lack that extra depth which inspires that extra level of interest from the audience.

My recent purchase of Eternal Sonata is what really cemented these feelings for me. I find myself quite taken with the characters and the basic premise of the story. However sloppy execution and inadequate dialogue leave me with this feeling that I could get more enjoyment by daydreaming about the game than actually playing it. My imagination seems to produce dialogue with more depth and texture, more of the subtle nuances in words and expressions that games tend to lack. The only thing that my imagination cannot provide is gameplay, and unfortunately RPGs, Eternal Sonata included, suffer from poor execution in this matter. The gameplay tends to be either too dull by virtue of being the same thing we’ve seen a hundred times before, or the developers try too hard to be new and exciting and wind up creating something incredibly frigging stupid. (Paradigms anyone?)

Fix Please
In summary: makes RPGs more better. Either embrace the plot and dialogue and pay considerably more attention to these elements, or make the gameplay more enjoyable and therefore offer something that other mediums such as books or television do not. Otherwise I see little point in playing these games for more than a few minutes at a time, when otherwise bored. Oh, and I want to make babby with Jonny Lee Miller. David Morrissey or Dan Stevens will do in a pinch, though.

Now go read a damn book.

0 comments

  1. . . .

    I foresee a future Lusipurr.com which will solely review classic works of literature.

    OH HAPPY DAY!

  2. Yes, but let’s not include Austen on such list. Standards, people, standards.

    My vote goes to morose Russians, golden age sf, and early 20th century pulp. Now that’s literature.

  3. Jane Austen novels REALLY are ‘ like the Internet’.

  4. “Oh Julian! I do so hope your governess does permit us a brief luncheon in the garden! I’ve been meaning to talk of Sir Humphrey Cottington’s proposal for the invasion of the Orient with her majesty’s navy!”

    “How scandalous! Two idle gentlemen of leisure discussing politics as if we were working men of the House of Commons? Lane, you jest! Instead let us repast to some wilding! Admiral Motok can take his float of sodomites and bugger some yellow fellows all he wants!”

    See? Jane Austen is the chick-lit of England. It’s insipid, like People magazine. It glorifies fashion and society over human psychological exploration. It is bad and those who like it are bad.

  5. My word! All it is is Twilight in period costume, which is why Ginia likes it, because she’s dreadfully common!

    *whisper whisper whisper* Why, I heard she even plays the Sims and pleasures one’s self with a potato!

  6. Lane, you have terrible taste in literature (but what can one expect from a solicitor?).

    There are three acceptable genres of English literature, which progressively chart the rise of that literature to its height and pinnacle, from which it tumbled into the depths of inadequacy where it now languishes:

    1) Medieval British
    2) Early Modern British
    3) Romantic British

    Everything since is largely bilge and should be flushed out to sea, with but few exceptions.

  7. Romantics? You mean to tell me that in Xanadu a pleasure dome did Kublai Khan decree? Gross. Get thee gone, anciente marriner!

    Also, I am a barrister, not a solicitor.

  8. @Lane: You make a good point, and I apologise. Barristers are slightly higher up the greasy pole than solicitors, and deserve what respect they are entitled to.

    Coincidentally, Coleridge is my favourite poet. Xanadu was not gross–it was a stately pleasure-dome, and it was ringed by the sacred river, Alph. It sounds positively glorious.

  9. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is s time-lost Lovecraft pastiche! Fie!

  10. That’s my point! Lovecraft had two or three good stories and the rest were an example of horror fiction made by someone terrified of seafood.

    The Rime is Lovecraft’s prose set to verse. All it needs are chanting cultists and a spattering of racism.

  11. This thread makes me both laugh and weep. :)

    ps – I had 3 scoops of potatoes at supper. :)

  12. @Lane: You put the cart before the horse. The genius of Coleridge owes nothing to the laboured malefactions of Lovecraft. Lovecraft might well derive something from that brilliant poet’s mind, but the reverse is not (and cannot) be the case.

  13. My cart horse causal chain is in the proper order. The Rime, despite being older and in verse, reads like an emo teen’s Lovecraft pastiche. That’s why it is doubly sad, because it is older and worse.

  14. Clearly your surroundings have warped your sense of judgement.

    The Rime is one of the great pieces of Romantic poetry. It stands as a towering achievement of what poetic genius is capable of producing.

    Lovecraft’s scribbling, on the other hand, will be forgotten amongst the ruin of time.

    …And your lunatic opinions with them!

  15. At length did cross the old ones,
    Thorough the breach it came;
    As if it had been a Eldritch soul,
    We hailed it in K’tulak’s name.

  16. Her lips were red, her looks were free,
    Her locks were as yellow as gold;
    The nightmare LIFE-IN-DEATH was she
    Who thicks man’s blood with cold.