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Extra Credits: Western & Japanese RPGs, Part 1

Dale Weir's picture

The debate over which is the true role-playing game (RPG) and which was influenced by which has been going on for decades. With the rise of so-called Western RPGs over the last few years and the fall of the Japanese gaming industry the distinction has become larger and the debate that much louder.

Western RPG fans have maintained that their model offers true "role-playing"—control a character and take him or her (mostly him) through an adventure controlling how you interact with the world. Japanese RPG fans have trumpeted the importance of story and unique characters (though mostly teenagers) and their experience in a larger overarching story.

With such seemingly opposite takes on the genre, the argument usually devolves down to proponents of each genre arguing that theirs is the best example of "role-playing." Extra Credits dares to jump into the fray to see is one group is right, or perhaps if one is more right than the other or maybe even if both are wrong. Clearly it's not an easy task or it wouldn't be broken up into three parts.

Source: Extra Credits on Blip

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Platform(s): Xbox 360   Wii   PS3   3DS   Nintendo DS   PSP   PC  
Genre(s): Role-Playing  
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Topic(s): Humor   Business   Game Design & Dev  

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thanks for posting these,

thanks for posting these, Dale! Extra Credits is an excellent series, and I follow it religiously. Great to see it @ GC!

Actually, as someone who

Actually, as someone who really loves JRPGs, I don't think that JRPG fans are arguing that "theirs is the best example of role-playing," as much as they are just defending themselves against WRPG fans who look on JRPGs as not being worthy of the RPG moniker.

I've seen all the videos of Extra Credits on this subject, and they're basically saying the same thing, but in a kinder way: "There should be a new term for JRPGs," which sounds to me like they're saying that JRPGs aren't RPGs, which is something I cannot agree with.

Then again, I've never understood why people are so hung up on Extra Credits anyway.

I would say that if it's not

I would say that if it's not around a table with people it's not worthy of the RPG moniker ;p
(I'll use CRPG for Computer/Console RPG.)

In RPG there's both role playing and game. If you cannot do either, it's not a RPG.
Playing a role means getting to chose what to say and how to say it, whether to be kind or threatening...
Gaming implies an experience involving meaningful interactions.

To me, JCRPG aren't RPG, they are rather contemplative experiences, mostly about watching a story unfold, whereas WCRPG are weak RPG, allowing you to build your own story, but most often with little consequences, within the limits of the game and at the expense of solid storytelling.

Guess I'll stick with RPG ;)

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