Sunday, September 26, 2004

The Irony of CRPGs.

Before you do anything, go to this website. Download the game, create your character, and play it for a while.

Or, in actual fact. Run it for a while. You'll see what I mean. Just run it. Run it and leave it running for a while, until you get sick of it, and then continue reading this entry. It'll still be here when you're done.

Bit of a bummer, wasn't it? Did any one of you find it amusing? Did you get the essence of the joke? Yeah, it is a joke, in a sense; and a joke that sadly illustrates the state of computer-role playing games right now.

I mean, okay. It's kinda funny and scary at the same time, the way satire should be. But it really shows you, honestly, that that's what an CRPG, no matter how advanced in terms of features and interaction, is essentially no different than rogue(6).

Not that that's a bad thing, when you really think about it. Except that a whole generation of people will grow up thinking that hey, this is what role-playing games are all about — a combination of power fantasy, tedious number-crunching and somewhat odious obsession.

The worst offenders tend to be the most popular: games like EverQuest and Ragnarok Online spring into mind. Actually, Ragnarok Online is particularly sour for me, since GameFlier, RO's distributor in Malaysia, seems to think that the best way to run the game is to screw it up for everyone. But that's a different story, and not mine to tell.

Basically? The game you just played, that small snippet of 320KB, that wonderful piece of satire you just played… that's the essense of computer role playing games. Whack something, take stuff from it, sell it, repeat ad nauseam.

There isn't much else I want to say. Except that the best places for CRPGs are not always the most obvious, or the most commercially popular ones. The funny part is I can't think of any right now. Well, Nethack. Now that's the ultimate hack-and-slash game.