Jun 222011
 

That’s right, it’s time to take on video games. Don’t expect it often, I lack the time to be a serious video gamer anymore, but I have been. Yeah, I went to college…I was even a substitute teacher for a few years. Do you know how much free time that leaves you for playing games? Then I did silly things like becoming a full time teacher and having a child and *whoosh* there goes all that gaming time.

In any case, that’s not the point, the point is, I’m going to tell you what is the greatest ever genre of video games.

Role-Playing Games.

Okay, so I guess this shouldn’t be of much surprise to anyone who knows anything about me. I’m a table top gamer…a D&D player primarily. So I’m clearly biased, but that’s not the point here, either. It would be unjust of me to declare something the GREATEST EVER of anything if I only took my own biased opinions into consideration. The fact of the matter is, that all evidence says RPGs are the best genre of video game out there. You can disagree…I mean, your wrong if you do, but I won’t take away your right to believe wrong things. There are whole political parties based on such things.

Now some of you are going to disagree and then give me your video game genre of preference. So let’s just head that off at the pass and I can explain to you right now why RPGs are better.

Let’s start with what I would expect to be the first contender, FPS games (that’s First Person Shooters for you “noobs” [that’s someone new to the community/culture]). FPSes have their greatest successes when they emulate RPGs. They try to copy an RPG’s story-telling format, choice mechanics, and whatnot. At the end of it all, though, those FPSes are also RPGs, aren’t they? They’re just RPGs that use a different perspective…and let’s face it, an inferior one.

Why would I ever want to only see a small portion of what’s going on when I could see all of it? I mean, that’s just stupid. I sort of get where this came from, I guess. I can put myself in the frame of mind to think, “hey wouldn’t it be cool if the video game was just like I was there looking out of the eyes of the character?” Yeah, that would be…except you’re looking at a screen. So it’s not like you were really there, it’s like your looking through a camera attached to the head of the person who is really there. And having a camera attached to your head would just make you look dumb…so FPSes fail.

Next, I suspect people will espouse that RTSes are the greatest (that’s Real-Time Strategy games…*sigh*…noobs). I admit, I like RTSes sometimes, but there are some fundamental differences that make them inferior, as a type, to RPGs. First, if you’re controlling an army it’s harder to connect to the characters and thus the story of the thing. Story is important, if you don’t agree, you’re wrong…again. More on your wrongneess in a moment.

That actually takes me to the next game type, the MMO (look it up yourself noobs). Many games of many types have multi-player functionality that many people pretend to enjoy. This is a fallacy. Only the people who spend all of their free time playing the game so that they can become so good that they destroy all that come before them are really enjoying things…and think of all the things in life they AREN’T enjoying while they perfect their string of opening gambit hotkey combinations.

Be it in the FPS, RTS, or even RPGs, MMO, by the nature of what it is, makes a game inferior. It becomes less about the story of the world your gaming in and more about creating the perfect mechanical situation so that all the numbers add up and the end of an encounter to show that you’ve won so you can get the whatever that will give you +something in future calculations…and at that point, who the Hell cares? Just go do some calculus and quit wasting your money on a monthly subscription to the game you paid $60 for at the counter (yeah, that’s another HUGE problem with MMOs).

No, games, even video games, are about a few things. Escaping into another world where you can pretend to do remarkable things. Immersing yourself into a story in a way that a novel or movie can’t. Or helping to facilitate social situations where you can have fun with your friends.

RPGs are clearly the most story immersing type of video game and as such they also then help one escape into another world more easily. As for social situations I’m sure some of you will go back and point to multiplayer gaming. Stop it. That is not a real social situation. You know it’s not. I know it’s not. The guy at the other end of that hot night elf chick knows it’s not. If you were looking for a game in order to scratch a social itch, you’d get away from the damn screen and invite someone over to play a game in person (thats “irl” for those of you who have lost touch with human-English and who this message is falling on the deaf ears of).

[tags]gaming,games,role playing, roleplaying,role playing game,rpg,video games[/tags]

About Jeff Greiner

Jeff Greiner. Father, teacher, husband, gamer, podcaster, blogger, awesome. Not in that order. Find The Tome Show, his D&D podcast at www.thetomeshow.com and Temporary Hit Points the site for the D&D player at www.temporaryhitpoints.com.

  2 Responses to “GREATEST EVER..Video Game Genre”

  1. WRONG. RPGs are games played through menus, and lose their immersion because of it. While RPGs pioneered some great things (the leveling up mechanic, or even Squaresoft pushing the graphics abilities of previous gen systems), these have been harvested by other genres that aren’t passive and boring.

  2. Like I said, you’re entitled to your (incorrect) opinion. :-)

    That said, modern video game RPGs are not limited to menu-based mechanics. They’ve evolved along with the rest of the video game industry. I point you to the likes of Dragon-Age…and honestly, many FPSes are just RPGs in disguise (which would almost all be better with a top down view rather than FPS).

    Even those that do include a pure/old school menu system (which is rare these days) are providing interesting and useful choice, which makes them more immersive, not less.

    You know, I almost came to the conclusion here that different people appreciate different things in different types of games…but then I remembered, no, I’m just too right for that to be possible. ;-)

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