3 of the Stupidest Arguments/Discussions in Gaming.
*exasperated sigh* Ya know, there are times when i hate being apart of gamer culture. Why? well because like the rest of the planet, there are too many little stupid people with stupid little ideas that other people make the mistake of listening too and then suddenly the internet (and to a lesser extent the real world) arbitrarily erupts into World War 3.
Now don't get me wrong, to some degree this is a good thing. Discussion and debate is perfectly natural and, on the whole, very healthy. And there are perfectly legitimate and objective ones within the gaming community, such as the subject of copyright law and Lets Plays videos. But those aren't the ones we're here to talk about. No, we're here to talk about the ones that are so idiotic, that the combined intellects of Stimpy and Spongebob Squarepants would have trouble fitting them into their heads....or rather we're gonna talk about three of them, because I don't want to be here all day. I chose these three specifically just because they annoy me the most. And I'm just gonna give a general overview of each so...yeah, don't expect an extensive history.
Virtua Fighter the first successful 3D fighting game
Dead or Alive. my 3D fighting game franchise of choice (clip from Dead or Alive 5 Last Round).
Whats this? Leaping into the background, in 1991? No...
It may have 3D visuals, but it still plays like a 2D game. Therefore, it's a 2D fighter.
3, 2D VS 3D fighting games.
First, I have to make clear that when I say "3D," I don't mean the kind of 3D that requires ungainly, gimmicky googles.I simply mean that you can move in all directions. But anyway, about a month or so back, I had an argument with a friend over this very thing, mostly because I said "King of Fighters, more than any other, proves the superiority 2D fighters over 3D ones." Now, any other person would have recognized that statement as an opinion and not a statement of fact and done one of two things. Either Ignore it and go on with their life, or they would have started a pleasant conversation around it. My friend, however, elected to not do either of these. He started to argue it with me, calling me "bias" and "elitists" and whole lot of other patronizing gibberish, simply because I wasn't being objective. Even though I explained my reasons for thinking what I do, and I told him that I like 3D fighters such as the Tekken and Dead or Alive series. But he wouldn't accept that....and then he turned right around and did the very thing that he was accusing me of being with the statement, and I quote, "Virtua Fighter puts all other fighting games to shame." Now let me ask you, does this little exchange sound incredibly STUPID to anyone else?
Well apparently its not in the fighting game community. In fact, the subject is hotly debated among them. It got me wondering, though, how did this discussion start?
The roots of this one don't actually go back that far, just back to the 90's and early 2000's. Back when game companies were starting to perfect 3D games. And for a long time during this era, it felt like it was required by law that everything that was popular in 2D had to move to 3D. To make a long story short, the results of this movement were mixed, but they were especially mixed when it came to fighting games. Early 3D fighters such as the first Virtua Fighter and Battle Arena Toshinden were slow and clunky at best when compared to their 2D counter parts, It wasn't until the release of games like the first Tekken, the first Dead or Alive, Soul Blade (which later evolved into the Soul Caliber series) and subsequent Virtua Fighter sequels that 3D fighters started to come into their own. 3D fighters were different from 2D ones in a number of ways, aside from the obvious one. Although they could never match the speed of a 2D fighter, they made up for it with full range of movement and moves that relayed heavily on timing and combos moves that ranged from simple to the stupidly complex.
Meanwhile, 2D fighters adapted to the new competition by making their gameplay more complex, i.e. by using the simple button layout and move-sets of Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat as a foundation and then building on top of it; adding elements to game play like combos and super moves (among other things too numerous to name here), as well as upping the speed at which the game plays. This in turn forced players to think more quickly and strategically with each fight. It also forced players to master the art of timing for attacking and blocking. Of course, quick and strategic thinking and mastering timing are elements of any good fighting game, regardless of weather its in 2D or 3D, but because 2D games are inherently faster than 3D ones, the former were able to perfect these elements over time, making for a much more intense and challenging round of fighting.
So, now that I've explained the differences between the two, what's the debate here? Honestly, its one of those debates in where one kid says to his little brother "My teddy is better than yours" when in actuality, its the same ***cking teddy bear. Both sides are whiny here, but as I see it, the 3D fighter crowd is the equivalent of a thousand babies crying at once. The 3D side seem to think that 3D fighters are better simply based on the unimpressive virtue of them being in 3D. I.e.: "because I can circle around opponents and slam them into walls and obstacles and that the stages have more than one floor to them and look gorgeous makes the game more complex and therefore makes them better than 2D. And the fighting is better in 3D too, because your forced to do combos and not just button mash. your forced to learn the game and not spam the one move over and over again."
Ok, except that 2D fighters have had the ability to do all of that since the 1990's. Remember the first? That game let you leap in and out of the background and foreground; depending on how good you were, you could make circles around your opponents. And that came out in the same year that Street Fighter II was released in the arcades, 1991. Remember how in Mortal Kombat 3 you could punch people through the ceiling and into another stage? And as for gorgeous backgrounds.....have you never played Fatal Fury King of Fighters, BlazeBlue, Guilty Gear, Skullgirls, Or Hell, even Smash Bros. And as for slamming people into walls and stuff; buddy, it might be cool, but it ultimately doesn't add anything to the game and just isn't necessary. And besides, why do fighting games in general even need that? Its a fighting game, not a platforming adventure. As for button mashing...I think you got that backwards. You ever try to button mash your way through, say, King of Fighters? I have, it doesn't work. Oh, and as for the old "learn one move and then spam it over and over again" strategy; unless you're playing against a complete novice, that doesn't work either. 3D fighters on the other hand, well I've yet to play one (with the exception of the Dead or Alive games) where I couldn't spam the same combo over and over again and still win, even when I was playing against other people.
And then 3D fighting game fans point out "Oh yeah? Well, Street Fighter IV and the New Mortal Kombat and Smash Bros are all in 3D."
To which 2D fighting game fans will say, "Yeah. From a purely visual standpoint, you're right. But, buddy, here's the thing, those don't play like 3D fighters, they play like 2D fighters."
And 3D fight--Oh Christ, Does it sound like nitpicking yet? Because that's what this whole "debate" is, nitpickers who can't live and let live.
2. What is and Isn't an RPG (Role Playing Game).
This is one I truly don't understand. Not in the sense that I don't understand the debate, I do. But in the sense that I don't understand why it's given any credence. Seriously, I did some research to find the root of this and I couldn't find a shred of credible evidence of it existences before the late 2000's. And even then, the only thing I could find was closely tied to the equally stupid, but not wholly unrelated, debate of "Western RPG's VS Japanese RPG's." A debate that I partly blame on Bioware's Co-Founder Greg Zeschuk. Who in 2009 and 2010, opened his mouth and said two very STUPID things to the press. The first being in 2009 when said that "Final Fantasy XIII isn't an RPG." and the second being when told Destructoid in 2010:
"The fall of the JRPG in large part is due to a lack of evolution, a lack of progression. They kept delivering the same thing over and over. They make the dressing better, they look prettier, but it's still the same experience....My favorite thing, it's funny when you still see it, but the joke of some of the dialogue systems where it asks, 'do you wanna do this or this,' and you say no. 'Do you wanna do this or this?' No. 'Do you wanna do this or this?' No. Lemme think -- you want me to say 'yes.' And that, unfortunately, really characterized the JRPG."
Now, one could make the argument that the former of these statements is just one man stating his opinion, and I'm perfectly fine with that. The latter statement, however, all I can do is shake my head and say "wow...You've never played any of the Shin Megami Tensei games, or the Growlanser series, or hell, any JRPG franchise that wasn't already popular in the west, haven't you? Actually, come to think of it, do you even understand why people like JRPGs?" But the stupidity went even further than this, because in that same interview he tried to back up this statement by saying this:
"We have big debates on whether GTA is an RPG, for example. It's got all the elements, it just doesn't have the numbers. And what gamers here want is that higher depth, that higher integration of features...Mass Effect 2 is in some ways a continuation of that evolution."
Compelling argument, bro....except that (as any Grand Theft Auto player can tell you) the closest that series got to being an actual RPG was 2004's San Andreas. And 99% of the RPG elements that were in that game, including the choices and the so called "depth", were cosmetic and ultimately meaningless, soooo....yeah, no. Its even more hilarious when you consider that a few years later, Mr.Zeschuk would be lambasted by fans and critics over the lack of meaningful choice In Mass Effects 3's ending, Yup, great choice of inspiration there buddy. Of course, anyone who follows Bioware knows that Mr.Zeschuk is no longer with that company. Sadly, however, the sheer stupidity of what he said....seems to be lost on people.
How do I know this? Because I have friends who currently study both animation and game design at an actual art college where you pay actual money, for actual people to teach you things. One day, I was talking to one of them when I casually said, "You need to play more RPGs." his reply was, and no I'm not joking, "What do you mean?" To try to clarify, he added "I've been playing Bioshock Infinite a lot lately, is that what you mean?" I'm....not gonna say what I think about that. But anyway, me and this person have talked (to put it nicely) about this on and off, and it eventually came out that he got these ideas from talking about it with his school friends; who in turn got it from their teachers, supposed "professionals" from the industry their students hope to enter. So now we have a situation where the next generation of game designers have been brainwashed into thinking that an entire genre is just one big grey area. Isn't it odd then, that this idea seems to mirror what Mr. Zeschuk said in 2010? Fi fie foe thumb, I smell people believing bullshit.
Here's the thing y'all, simply because a game has RPG elements in it, does NOT automatically make it an RPG. And while, yes, sub-genres like the Action RPG do exist, those can still be called RPGs at the end of the day because of what their core gameplay is, not the actiony parts, but the role playing parts. Games that have "light RPG Elements" like, say, the Bioshock series, are not RPGs, because Role playing isn't at the core of their gameplay, shooting things with a gun in first person is. Anyone who says otherwise is either delusional, lying, or doesn't know what a Role playing game actually is.
1. Casual VS Hardcore
I was originally gonna talk about the "PC gaming VS Console" debate here, but then I realized that that one, while no less moronic, has been done to death. So instead, I decided to talk about something that I felt is way more interesting and probably way more idiotic. Categorizing players.Specifically the 'Casual vs Hardcore' thing. You know what I'm talking about, when someone says something along the lines of "those filthy casuals shouldn't be here" or "this is for hardcore gamers only." things like that. Now, am I the only one who seems to think that this is arbitrary, and really, really, REALLY juvenal.
Look, categorizing the genre's of books, music, movies, tv shows, or whatever is one thing, they're inanimate objects, and categorizing them makes them easier to talk about. But it's another thing entirely when you start to apply categories to people, it doesn't matter if its race, religion or even video games. I shouldn't even have to explains this, but I'm going to anyway. Guys, putting people into categories has the side effect of making things that should be simple and turning them into a war, the best example I can think that's relevant to gaming is the whole, "PC vs Console" thing. Remember "Filthy console peasants" or "PC gaming master race?" Yeah. News flash, people, all this ever does is create a "country club" mentality and anyone who isn't in said country club is marginalized. "Its 'Us' vs 'Them' and if your not with "US" then you can go sit out in the rain and twiddle your thumbs, you filthy casuals." Fellow gamers, can you see how this is a problem? We are shutting people out of our own community, and for what? Because they don't like the same things we do? Or because they whine about something because it's "too hard?" Guys, grow the hell up. Because, guess what, when you attack so called "casual gamers" simply because they don't like Master Chief or whatever, you're not winning points for our side. You're being an asshole and you're making the rest of us look bad.
Some of you may be thinking, "Hey, you're not being very fair here, man." to that I say, "good." Because this isn't a debate, it's not even a discussion. Its common sense, something that you are severely lacking if you think otherwise. And it's not just kids and teenagers, there are 30 year olds who buy into this CRAP. It has to stop. PERIOD. No questions asked.
© 2015 Will English.