I love to really dissect a movie. Good or bad, whether I liked it or not, my favorite thing to do after a movie is to spend the next hour or two discussing it. My wife is my most common partner in this, as we tend to like about the same level of analysis and we see most new things together. And this goes beyond movies- games, TV shows, books, any media I consume is ripe for a nice, long discussion. But not everyone is in the same boat. Plenty of my friends pass simple judgement and carry on, with some even disliking voicing a negative opinion. Some see differing opinions as an opening to an argument, rather than a discussion. Countless internet arguments have spawned from reviews that fans disagree with. But sometimes, the discussion itself is the best entertainment possible.
I’ve spent a good portion of my teenage and adult years enamored with Namco Bandai’s Tales of Series. These games all follow the same naming convention, Tales of <Usually some made up word>, such as Tales of Symphonia or Tales of Xillia. These are pretty traditional Japanese RPGs in most respects. You control a group of teenagers and twenty somethings whose personal trials eventually give way to a quest to save the world. Swords are swung, monsters are bashed, and out-of-place side activities are completed. What really makes the games stand out from the crowd is the battle system. A real time system taking some cues from fighting games, the real joy is playing cooperatively with up to four players. In my younger days, I tackled these with friends, while nowadays my wife and I eagerly await each new release.
It’s a shame the series seems dead set on destroying itself.
Visual feedback in video games has always been a big deal to me. I love seeing that new sword reflected on my character, or seeing what a new area that looks utterly unique, or even just pulling off a difficult and flashy move. While I’m certainly not a stickler for graphics, I’ve always liked some visual feedback to chart my progress in a game. I assumed this was common, but a conversation with a friend has me rethinking why people prefer some games to others.
I’ve grown up consuming violent media. I was watching gory action movies from a young age, and never shied away from a game of Mortal Kombat despite RPGs being more my speed. I learned to tell the difference between the fake violence and real life early, so violent media never bothered me. You would expect that to change after going through a murder in the family, but something entirely different has happened instead.
Yeah, it’s gonna be one of those posts.
I’ve played my share of D&D in the past, but never ventured much outside of the comfortable space of the d20. In my heady younger days I took a few sojourns into Shadowrun and Call of Cthulhu, but I rarely stayed for long. My DM experience has been fairly limited as well, never getting too deep into a campaign, but having plenty of experience making plans that always go awry.
Recently, I dipped back into both non-d20 systems and GMing with the Fate System, specifically the Dresden Files RPG.