June 19, 2013

Why do we “let” Final Fantasy games define JRPGs?

Posted in video games tagged , , at 11:02 am by riulyn

Start a topic, write an editorial or a blog, just slap the word “Final Fantasy” somewhere in your post or tag it and suddenly you get all the hits, all the “discussion”, a huge load of comments. Start a topic about “Suikoden”, “Xeno-“, “Tales of” and suddenly it feels to be reduced to the hardcore fans of those series and a few curious outsiders.

Not that I blame Final Fantasy for being popular. It’s a series that doesn’t touch the “immediately love” buttons for me but I respect it and it does some things well.

I just find it interesting that it’s not only the hardcore fans of Final Fantasy that come out to discuss any Final Fantasy article but the hardcore haters, the bystanders, the casuals, like everyone who visits a gaming website ever unless they decide to avoid all FF things. Suddenly discussion about everything from game mechanics, story, characters, graphics, and music occur, but under the thread name containing “Final Fantasy”. On the outside, wouldn’t that look like Final Fantasy is the only JRPG series that we care about?

I’m not saying we need to reduce the popularity of Final Fantasy but rather, I’d like for more people to read articles and discuss the other RPGs that are coming out. Like Atelier games or Tales games or SMT or Ys or like the 500 others that I can’t even list out or this post would be humongous. Write more about those other JRPGs that you love, even if you only get a few hits at first. Stop asking for Final Fantasy to become everything you want but ask the genre as a whole. Stop betting everything about JRPGs on Final Fantasy.

It’s okay that Final Fantasy made JRPGs a viable genre outside of Japan, but we don’t need it to be the sole life source too. Because if that’s the case, if Final Fantasy falls, then we really are screwed.

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December 8, 2010

A bit of procrastination…

Posted in life, video games tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 4:19 pm by riulyn

I have a week before I have my exam. For those of you who are curious, I am presenting my proposed thesis/dissertation research. When I was working on this proposal, I realized that I have a lot of goals for this project. I am either going to be in grad school for a very long time or fall short of the lofty goals. It’ll probably be the former. Oh well. I’m getting a stipend and I have time to work on things like sheet music and play videogames as long as I get a decent amount of work done at the bench. I hope I didn’t just fling a ton of jargon at you all. Anyway, I learned recently that, since I did relatively well on the written portion of it in June, that I’ll probably have less questions to answer next Wednesday. I’m just ready to have that done so I can start working on sheet music transcriptions again. I just checked the guestbook so I know someone is waiting for Revival from Tales of Symphonia… (I have to say my memory of that game is hazy, but the soundtrack is fun, I guess…)

So I’m posting because I don’t want to read my paper and I guess I feel less guilty if I spend a few minutes typing here. Plus, I somehow lost the .exe of the sheet music program I was using before and so I can’t open up my old files. I’m trying to figure out still how much I want to splurge on a sheet music program and if I want to use a different one. Finale has some limitations, though it is what I am used to.

While studying these past few months I’ve put on videogame soundtracks and realized that I want to replay Final Fantasy IX. I’m guessing because I listened to so much FFIX music that the game got stuck in my head, but the music isn’t that good. It is relatively simple (I came to this realization that Nobuo Uematsu’s music is usually better when it’s “simple” thus FFVI music being awesome) and I keep thinking that I’ll do more of it because it’s nice to have some quick gratification instead of hours laboring over one song. Then I remind myself that it’s the lazy bum’s route and while I am a lazy bum, I shouldn’t always be one. I might do a few to get my ears warmed back up again after such a long layoff from transcription by ear. You’ll see, hopefully in January 🙂

I’ve also majorly distracted myself at times by livestreaming college volleyball and soccer. It’s tournament time for these two sports so I have the livestream rolling while I pretend to study figures. I wonder if I learn anything during those times. Whatever 🙂

I’ve also gotten back into a side project, which is replaying the Suikoden games and typing up interesting lines. I am playing Suikoden 1 right now and the dialogue feels a bit weird. Back then, videogame characters sure talked strangely at least in the US versions of games. It was probably a combination of bad translations and not quite as much emphasis put on polishing up the speech. I’m glad the translation issue has been mostly resolved, since I still play mostly JRPGs. I have such a laundry list of languages I want to learn, so Japanese keeps being pushed further and further down the list…

April 14, 2010

Final Fantasy XII – Finally Done

Posted in music, video games tagged , , , , , at 8:07 pm by riulyn

So I beat FFXII last Sunday. The game’s a bit easy at the end if you set your gambits to auto-fight the boss and I ended up folding my laundry as my characters pummeled the boss. Not to brag, but I was at level 60 or so when I finally put the game to rest. I was probably a bit over-leveled, but I was doing a lot of the hunts and the hunts can definitely be harder than the final boss. I didn’t finish all the hunts because I wanted to be done with it, though the hunts were my favorite part of that game.

Overall I was disappointed by the game. I thought the story aspect was weak, especially with Ashe completely annoying me for some reason and Vaan not much better at first. The pacing was weird and I really felt like all I did was travel across the world or scale a massive tower just because every dungeon needed to be longer. I did find Balthier to be amusing and one of my favorite FF characters ever, but I would take Yuri Lowell of Tales of Vesperia or Jade from Tales of the Abyss over him any day, though if I were to compare physical attributes… Anyway, I feel like I can move onto FFXIII but that won’t happen for a while. When I finally get this grad school sorted out I will probably play some Star Ocean IV. Beyond the obvious fail at physics may be a fun game to play. We’ll see.

I figured I’d throw in a note about FFXII’s music since I do have an opinion about it. Frankly, it was boring. I guess Hitoshi Sakimoto just didn’t do the job for me. I have the soundtrack on my computer and I seriously have no desire to pick through it and see if there are any songs I want to arrange. Sakimoto also did FF Tactics, if I remember correctly, and I don’t think that soundtrack was much better. Orchestration of FFXII’s soundtrack was nice, but I think most of those MMORPGs that my brother likes to play have better music, and considering the battle style in FFXII, I sort of think of it as MMORPG-like even though it isn’t. Though I guess one of those MMORPGs that my brother played was FFXI and that had a bit of Nobuo Uematsu… FFXI’s music is catchy. Maybe I’ll do more of that someday.

March 7, 2010

Final Fantasy XIII

Posted in music, video games tagged , , , at 6:16 pm by riulyn

So I guess I have to admit being a fan of the Final Fantasy series though it’s not my favorite series. The stuff is decent. There are always nice graphics if not outstanding graphics, good or great music to accompany it, and something interesting in the story. They always make it memorable in some way or another for me, whether it is the WTF last boss, the really annoying side character, the huge gaping plot hole, or… Sorry, sometimes I’m bitter that the Final Fantasy series has so many fans when RPG series that I love more are failing and dying out (aka Suikoden, Xenosaga). Anyway, Final Fantasy XIII looks like it has a lot of potential. Every new Final Fantasy has the potential of becoming the best one, but before I play FFXIII I need to finish Final Fantasy XII. Yes, I’m that far behind. And then I might think about arranging some of its music.