Thursday, December 12, 2013

Paying Homage to Role-Playing Games

The other day I decided to create my list of top 10 role-playing games (RPGs), seeing as how it's my favorite and possibly most-played genre in gaming. I was ready to post it today, but decided that that just wouldn't do the genre justice. So, before I share my list with you all, I want to pay homage to the RPG, in my opinion, the greatest genre in gaming, not only currently but across the history of gaming. 

It very plausible that, in essence, without RPGs we wouldn't have video games at all. Some of the earliest games drew inspiration from pen and paper RPGs, and in turn those gaming forefathers inspired future generations of developers to craft even more complex ways to play as mystical sorcerers, hulking warriors, and shadowy thieves. Decades later, games like Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Fallout revolutionized the way players could dive into the shoes of a hero(ine) of their choosing to save the world from some evil force (or in some cases seek to rule the world with an iron fist). Nowadays we’re lucky enough to have western RPGs that draw inspiration from JRPGs without all that “tedious” and “useless” grinding, as some might put it. However, JRPGs are still going strong with new and familiar faces across the landscape, and right now there is plenty to be happy about if you’re a fan of RPGs – I know I certainly am.

Respect your elders.

If there is one genre I recall from my earlier gaming days having a huge impact on why and how I play games, it’s most certainly RPGs. I played a lot of Mario and Sonic growing up, but when I sit and think about the games that constantly bring a smile to my face, titles like Earthbound and Pok√©mon always come to the forefront of my mind. To me, gaming was more about being immersed in a story, becoming part of a living, breathing world that your actions directly affected for better or for worse.

Growing up as an only child, I wasn't afforded the luxury of a sibling to play multiplayer with, and my game collection expanded maybe 2-3 games a year based on what Santa brought me under the Christmas tree. Therefore, I found RPGs to be the best bang for my buck as a solo gamer. I was able to get lost in a brand new world for 70+ hours each time, and I truly felt for the people in each one as if they were real. Perhaps being an only child and not having someone around during the summers led me to treat these sprites and pixels as my friends.

So many roles, so much time!

Whatever the reason, RPGs were and continue to be close to my heart, and because they spent so much time with me over the years, I've always come back to them time and again, like an old friend does. Sure we might not speak for a year or two, but it doesn't matter because once I fire up another, all is forgiven and we’re right back where we left off. So here’s the immortal RPGs of gaming past, present, and future – thank you for your countless hours of entertainment, sometimes grueling grinding, and amazing stories that let us live out fantasies of saving the world one summon, one limit break, one battle at a time.

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