Well, interesting enough there was a gaming article I read the other
day, written by a sighted gamer, which said just about the same things
you have been saying. Like many of us on the list he started out playing
classic computer text adventures, gaming consoles, and did some paper
and pen roll playing gaming with his friends back in the 1980's and
early 1990's. To make a long story short now he is older, has a family
of his own, and decided to purchase an XBox 360 for his family. Well,
one reason he did so is because of the high ratings on the superior
graphics technology of the XBox 360, the great sound effects, and of
course there were several games with great reviews in various gaming
magazines. In the article he goes on to pick a few titles that were on
the 2008 best seller list and two of them were supposed to be really
awesome RPG adventures. As you read on you clearly can tell the author
of the article is far from impressed by these totally cool games that
the gaming mags are raving about. He raises a lot of good points you and
i both can agree whole heartedly with.
His biggest complaint with both RPG games he reviews in the article is
the lack of plot. Neither game had much of a plot, and mostly he was
wandering around the game world just killing monsters for experience
points and bonus items. Even when there was a plot/story for the
adventure he was on all of the quests were quite similar with the same
enemies just dressed up different or located in different places. Not at
all really creative.
Another point he really hammered home was both games allowed you to pick
your alignment at the beginning of the game. He thought, as I do, that
if you pick a good alignment the games story line and adventures would
be different than if you picked an evil alignment. No such luck. He
picked an evil alignment and the game played exactly the same as if he
was good. Which really means that it didn't matter what alignment you
were as the game always turned out the same anyway.
To ice the cake, so to speak, when he completed the games he expected
some titanic battle between the hero and the boss. Again no dice. If you
completed all of the available adventures you were more than a match for
the boss. he basically beat the boss in no time, and the game was a huge
let down. He basically said the disappointing boss battles alone were a
waist of cash for the game let alone everything else that was wrong with
The point he wanted to make was simply this. Back in the day when text
was the only means for transfering information to a gamer game
developers worked hard to come up with a creative story line and a
setting to interest the gamer. The more technology has advanced the less
interested game companies are in creating good story lines, developing
the game's plot, less character development, etc. They all seam focused
on getting the best graphics, the best sounds, a lot of internet based
pvp play, and to heck with anything else close to an interesting story
or characters. It is as though big game corperations are hell bent on
pushing the limits of gaming technology while forgetting the most
important element of gaming which is the creative writing that holds the
game together. Without the creative writing people like you and I become
disgusted and board pretty quickly with the lack of creativity in this
or that new game.
As far as your point about making an original Sci-Fi RPG game I find
myself agreeing. It is easier to use an off the shelf sci-fi universe
like Star Wars, but then it's story will be largely driven by the books,
movies, and radio dramas I have read/heard/seen. It is not at all
original, and for long time Star wars fans there isn't anything
extremely new there. That is hardly better than writing a copy of Sryth
with renamed characters and places.
In the end what we really need is something new, something original,
something a bit different from the mainstream. I'm not sure exactly what
that might bbe at this point, but it is better than sitting around
When it comes to science fiction there is a lot of possabilities a game
developer such as myself could follow. We have the big SStar Trek thing
with a giant galaxy to explore, or something more simple like a time
traveling game. I don't know about you, but a game were you can visit
the future, passed, present, etc might be an interesting idea.
then, of course, there is all of the end of the world type stories.
After World War II billions died as the result of a nuclear war. Some
humans are mutated, monsters, and a few of the real humans are left
fighting for there life. In the Terminator version the Terminators
turned to the idea of whiping out there human creators. Some interesting
stories right there.
We haven't even talked much about the science fiction/horror type
stories that could be interesting stories. The World War Z concept of
the world getting infected by a biological agent that turns the majority
of the human race into zombies. It is both horrifying and a pretty neat
sci-fi plot as well. Though, on the other hand how many zombies can you
kill before it turns into another one of those slice and dice games? Grin.
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