/ Rob Beschizza / 8 am Tue, Oct 19 2010
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  • It is with great regret...

    It is with great regret...

    The following correspondence was found among the effects of Chalmond Carmon, Chief Alderman of Windyvale, upon the disposition of his estate. It appears he told no-one of the information contained therein.


    Argo Voslant,
    Adjutant to Sturmbrigadier Shabbant K'zharn
    1st Brigade, 7th Infantry Division, MXII Legio, Imperial Army
    Kharalian, Palace of the Gate of Doom
    Satrapy of Althanda


    Dear Alderman Carmon,

    It is with great regret that I report the detention and summary execution of four youngsters claiming to be residents of Windyvale, your village. Their names, as far as we can ascertain, were Justinian, Illanda, Shimo and Zasp. Please inform their families and contact us as soon as possible to arrange transit of their remains for interment. In the meantime, we have preserved them in accordance with the Kirian rite. Please accept my most humble apologies if we have erred.

    In the usual course of events, this would mark the proper limit of correspondence on behalf of the Imperial Army. However, a marked increase in the number of young, foolish heroes leading assaults on the Opal Throne has been noted, and in this case I find myself particularly moved by the circumstances. My own brother was forced to bring two of these youngsters down himself in defense of His Refulgent Majesty's regnant interests, and the days since have not been easy for him. We are accustomed to fending off mighty barbarians, honorable knights and powerful sorcerers, but this is entirely too much.

    These were children, Mr. Carmon. Children.

    If you are to revolt, would it not be appropriate to do so with your own arms and abilities? I know youngsters can be excitable, but by your inaction, you are allowing your own offspring to waste their lives in futile crusades. And if you are encouraging them -- one of them was convinced a rusted blade, for which he was apparently forced to pay 5g by your own village merchant, was the "ancestral scire of Windyvale's destiny" -- then shame on you. As agents of the Imperial Army, it is our job to crush resistance with an iron fist. This should not entail defending the Empire from its own sons.

    As absurd as it is to discuss with apparent rebels the intricacies of combat, I simply cannot contain myself. What on earth are you telling them? Flamboyant, brightly-dyed hairdos confer no advantage whatsoever in a tactical situation, Mr. Carmon. Ten foot-long swords, despite their reach, are in fact deleterious to one's combat performance. Female combatants should be aware that mobility in the face of danger comes secondary to the need for adequate protection -- can you not even appropriately equip them at the outset?

    It is not the case that sudden advances in ability and understanding will restore one's health in the midst of battle. One's adversaries will not wait patiently for you to rifle through your possessions in search of useful items. It is not possible to drag around countless miscellaneous objects without impediment. Small animals possessing a high cute coefficient cannot aid you. There is never anything of practical value to be found in ruins, abandoned mines, cave systems and other intriguing locales. Where do they pick up all this nonsense?

    No soldier is honored by meaningless slaughter. Ensure that I never have to write to you again.

    Sincerely yours,


    Argo Voslant,
    Adjutant to Sturmbrigadier Shabbant K'zharn
    MXII Legio, Imperial Army




    Start the discussion at bbs.boingboing.net


    1. “Press button to skip?” “You wish.”
      This really sums up every Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest I’ve ever played. well done.
      Although in the last two or three Final Fantasy titles there seems to be now a mandatory scene “princess gets married to guy (possible villain!!!) she does not want to get married to”.

    2. It’s still awesome. ;)

      I’d like to see a flowchart for your average FPS game.

      Run Down Hallway -> Shoot Guys -> Run Down Hallway -> Get Car -> Shoot Guys -> Drive Car -> Shoot Guys -> Shoot big guys -> run down hallway…..

      hehehehe, formulaic gameplay.

    3. It’s not like formulaic gameplay is a bad thing. You can make a game that, underneath, follows all the same formulas, but still make it good. You can flesh it out with a good story and believable characters. We tend to value games that break the mold, and rightfully so; but that doesn’t make a good (albeit formulaic) game any less good.

      1. I agree, but only up to extent. Lately Kotaku et al have been flooded with articles about how the Japanese gaming industry, and JRPGs in particular, are in a slump, and I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say one of the reasons is because all of these games are exactly the same. Even the best formula gets tiresome eventually: FFVII is still my favorite video game of all time, bar none, but I’ve played it a dozen more times under different guises and the magic just wears off. A shakeup is sorely needed.

        Also: your username. I wants it.

    4. This actually kinda sucks. They’re blatantly trying to lay out the plot for FF7 and somehow derive that into the plots for other RPGs, but really the last 2-3 RPGs only fit like 10% of this chart. I mean you would have to take several parts from many RPGs to make up this chart, which defeats the point that this chart fits most RPGs. I couldn’t even begin to go into details of how this is wrong.

      Very nicely produced, though.

    5. Great flowcharts like this do a disservice by not adhering to the diamond/circles/square rules of proper diagrams.

    6. Is there even one Japanese RPG that fits that flowchart? I can’t even think of one that has you starting off with amnesia, let alone you starting off with a village festival.

      1. Amnesia? Just sticking with the Final Fantasy series, V had one of the main characters, Galuf, start off with amnesia. VI started out with something similar; the first main character, Terra, was basically enslaved by the Empire and even after she was freed didn’t know where she’d come from. But the one that the flowchart authors probably had in mind was VII (as evidenced by the inclusion of Cloud in the center of that layout) who while not suffering from amnesia right at the start, still had some … issues with his memory and his sanity that became apparent later in the game.

        Village festival? Probably the best known example is the Millennial Fair in Guardia that started off Chrono Trigger. [If you haven’t played it, you should, as long as you don’t think too deeply about some of the temporal paradoxes that are caused deliberately by the heroes and/or villains.] Wild Arms (the original) also started off with a festival/fair of sorts, and Xenogears started out with preparations for a wedding celebration that would have included most/all of the town’s population, which is close.

        1. Chrono Trigger, while it has the festival and meeting-a-cute-girl-your-age-who-turns-out-to-be-a-princess, really doesn’t follow the chart at all after that.

          Maybe it’s because I’ve played few JRPGs, but it seems like this is based on a handful of popular titles (Final Fantasy, mostly).

      2. Aveyond: Rhen’s Quest starts off with a village festival, and while the protagonist doesn’t have amnesia, she’s unaware of her true origins and the circumstances of her birth. Technically though, this RPG isn’t Japanese – but it’s definitely trying to imitate the style.

    7. Well, JRPGS are after all “a bit” cliché than other genres. Kind of reminds me Linear RPG.

      Loved the letter. Reading Steven Erikson lately? :)

    8. Anon@10 somehow missed out the Final Fantasy VIII, in which essentially every character in the game has amnesia. And grew up in a village together. Which they’ve forgotten.

      But yes, one reason the JPRG is suffering is because they’ve turned into a structure so formulaic, even Microsoft can do it. Twice. Last Remnant is mediocre – and at least as original as the other stuff out there.

      I lived for FF7, at the time. Now FF13’s out, I sort of bothered to borrow it from a friend. Eventually. For a few days while he was on honeymoon.

      Meanwhile, we have Bioware and CD Projekt and Bethesda and the sadly defunct Troika and others pushing RPG in a dozen different and cool directions. I can’t even tell what counts as an RPG any more. (Mass Effect 2 is a cover shooter. But with character growth and interaction and romance and mining for upgrades. Genre Boy gives up, confused.)

    9. What game has profanity filters for naming? My pokemon are a cavalcade of disgusting slurs…

      And the chart doesn’t match up to any Shin Megami game or Front Mission so it’s USELESS TO ME.

    10. Funny, I thought it was clearly all about Secret of Mana…

      Maybe it’s an age thing – SNES RPGs were all pretty similar (including Chrono Trigger).

    11. People who complain about JRPGs being all the same just need to stop playing nothing but a tiny slice of the games produced.

    12. Let’s see a flowchart for all these formulaic sports games I have to slog through every time I go to a game store.

    13. You know, yesterday was the most unpleasant period I’ve ever experienced. We were looking for a good moving company during the all nights and days. But this day is more pleasant,because I laugh reading all thoughts here

    14. The existence of Shadow Hearts disproves this. The fact that it got two sequels could justify this list’s use as toilet paper.

      Also, Earthbound and Baten Kaitos.

    15. Good article and a nice summation of the problem. My only problem with the analysis is given that much of the population joined the chorus of deregulatory mythology, given vested interest is inclined toward perpetuation of the current system and given a lack of a popular cheerleader for your arguments, I’m not seeing much in the way of change. discussion

    16. Agreed this is pretty much how they all go, that being said they can still be enjoyable if executed correctly.

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