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Romance in the Air - Active Topical Banter

Fowl SorcerousFowl Sorcerous Dread News EditorRPGamer Staff
Sex is not a win-state and other romantic notions are on the slate this installment. We share all of our varied emotions about this splendid sentiment within.

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Talking Points from the Episode
-dating sim logic vs story
-dumb abstractions - still dumb
-agency vs scripting
-role in character optimization
-BioWare then and now
-‘player-sexuality’
-sex as win state
-SCOTT IS SINKING IS YOUR SHIPS
-puppet sex
-Japan
-other issues
-should they even bother?

Next Time: Misdirected Fan 'activity'

Comments

  • FrankgrizzlyFrankgrizzly New Member Full Members
    edited March 2015
    I really appreciate the effort bioware puts into the romance in their games, but one thing I find a bit odd is that I'm always going for the hilarious romance option, not the serious one. It seems most of you guys, for the most part, do too. I feel like as long as bioware keeps love as just another "stat" with no real narrative consequences/gains, I will just keep choosing the funny romance partner for the humour gratification. If I choose the hottie elf as my Queen, maybe the other elves rally behind me, and maybe inversely the dwarves hate my guts now so my kingdom is short on metals.

    In the feudal era of our own world, even still now, when major political/monarchy leaders chose their Queen/King, it's a huge deal and is often not done for love, but for gain. That would be so cool if I could choose to marry for love or for gain, and have the world react to it. I'm not saying in every game you are a Queen or King, but you are usually at least someone important.

    Also I'd like to say I'm a huge jrpg fan, and I don't have a problem with story driven romances. But please, please, don't put it on the back burner. I really enjoy the love story in Lunar, it's a good example of "well done". Then with FFX, which seems like the love story between Yuna and Tidus should be HUGE (heck the basis of X-2 is because Yuna loves Tidus so much and wants to find him), you get some awkward laugh cutscenes and weird floaty, underwater "sex". That's not good enough for me, maybe others but not me man.

    Sorry for the semi-ramble, I'm not the best at putting my thoughts into a consice format. Anyways I love the podcast, you guys are all awesome, please keep em' coming. Hopefully this post pleases gracious overlord Scott and he doesn't sink my ship:(. (Just kidding buddy!)
  • smacdsmacd Full Members
    edited March 2015
    Just an FYI to Scott, the link on feedburner for ep13 is pointing to ep12 currently. I thought I'd heard it before, heh.

    Probably not a topic I'm particularly interested in. From a top level perspective, I really dislike "romance" in RPGs. In most cases, it feels either completely childish, or that faux mature that comes off as worse than childish because its attempt to be mature is so see-through that I find it insulting. I find myself agreeing with a lot of Trent's comments this time around.

    First, there is examples like Fable, where all the NPCs are "available" nameless faceless automatons, whose orientation and gender are immediately visible, and you can through together orgies just by getting a conga line going before you find a bed. This example is clearly meant to get giggles out of little boys (and immature men). Its hard to even take this serious, and its probably not meant to be- especially given you have an "STD counter". There are plenty of other games like this, but this is almost the most pure example.

    Second, there is the stochastic relationships in most JRPGs. There is a single romance between two characters that is completely outside of the gamer's agency. If there has to be any romance, this is the kind I'd prefer. While I generally like agency in RPGs, "romance" has never really been done right in a way that doesn't feel insulting, and I'd rather the game tell me a story than try to give me shallow options about who to bang. The problem with these relationships is that they often feel forced, or completely unrealistic. Take Tales of Hearts for instance, despite Kohaku spending half the game without few/no emotions, everyone around Shing and Kohaku not only encourage, but expect them to get together. It almost feels creepy, and I question Shing's motives even if he is supposed to be 16.

    And lastly, the behemoth- Bioware and its attempt to give "agency". Their games specifically feel insulting to me. They have this fake maturity that feels like its trying too hard to give an illusion of reality, but is really just about banging like the Fable example. On top of that, it adds an annoying micromanagement between your party to try not to accidentally end up in bed with everyone just because you're are a nice guy (too bad real life isn't like that, ha!).


    Either way, I would prefer to have my games with no romance at all. Much like Doctor Who, adding romance to it just never feels right, and makes things awkward. I'd rather just see interesting characters. And if the best romance you can write is about who to bang, or Twilight-level main-plot "romance", please don't bother. Leave it to the fanfic community I can safely ignore.



    Also a technical suggestion- can you mix the podcast in mono rather than stereo? I usually listen to podcasts with only one headphone (at work or driving, so I can hear things around me when necessary) so I'd either have to use both, or miss half the conversation with a stereo mixing. Thanks
  • Strawberry EggsStrawberry Eggs Wannabe Mistborn Lucario Administrators
    edited March 2015
    What annoys me most about romantic sub plots in the many games I've played (mainly JRPGs. I've played almost no games where there was much player agency with the romance) is that whole awkward the characters clearly like each other, but it never goes anywhere. It also has a tendency to lead to terribly paced romances as well if do they end up together by or near the end

    I also agree with Trent about having the romance play a more important role in the story. That would certainly help with pacing issues. I keep going back to this game and this couple, but I feel I really need to reiterate what an exemplary game I think Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World with its romance. It is an important part of the plot, is vital to Emil and Marta's character development, and is incredibly well-paced. It's notable in that starts off seeming more like a running gag than a serious love story before it becomes genuine and the two fall in love with each other in earnest. It also excellently turns the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope on its head, or at least sideways.

    And I best stop here before I end up re-writing my article from the Perfect Pair feature we did two years ago. :P
    Bravely second...
    The courage to try again...

    Twitter: BerryEggs

  • Fowl SorcerousFowl Sorcerous Dread News Editor RPGamer Staff
    smacd wrote: »
    Just an FYI to Scott, the link on feedburner for ep13 is pointing to ep12 currently. I thought I'd heard it before, heh.
    [...]
    Also a technical suggestion- can you mix the podcast in mono rather than stereo? I usually listen to podcasts with only one headphone (at work or driving, so I can hear things around me when necessary) so I'd either have to use both, or miss half the conversation with a stereo mixing. Thanks
    Don't you just love working on a website where almost nothing is automated and every update requires digging to the html files?
    The mix should only be a twenty percent shift to one side for the home/away track, is it that much of a problem?
  • smacdsmacd Full Members
    smacd wrote: »
    Just an FYI to Scott, the link on feedburner for ep13 is pointing to ep12 currently. I thought I'd heard it before, heh.
    [...]
    Also a technical suggestion- can you mix the podcast in mono rather than stereo? I usually listen to podcasts with only one headphone (at work or driving, so I can hear things around me when necessary) so I'd either have to use both, or miss half the conversation with a stereo mixing. Thanks
    Don't you just love working on a website where almost nothing is automated and every update requires digging to the html files?
    The mix should only be a twenty percent shift to one side for the home/away track, is it that much of a problem?

    Not trying to be difficult... just trying to help. sorry.

    As for the mix, I had you and Sam completely on one side, and Trent and Mac completely on the other, with zero crossover. If its too much of an issue to mix it mono, then its not a big deal. I don't recall previous episodes being split like that. But whatever. It doesn't matter.
  • Fowl SorcerousFowl Sorcerous Dread News Editor RPGamer Staff
    just lamenting that this website i theoretically love working for has been held together with baling wire and happy thoughts for more than a decade, as for the mix, i'll play bit more there may be a threshold issue specific to your headphones that mine isn't showing off while i'm cutting.
  • VictarVictar Member Full Members
    Does Tri-Ace still have most, some, or any of the same developers, after all these years? I don't know, and I'm too lazy to do any research. Based on Tri-Ace's relative inactivity, I suspect that the majority of people who once created Valkyrie Profile don't work there anymore, but that's just a guess.

    If my suspicions are correct, then there's no reason to feel any strong emotion about Tri-Ace's transition. Let any projects they do in the future, mobile or not, be judged entirely on their own merits.
  • BudaiBudai Paladin Full Members
    I will say this about ff7, tifa and aerith were both written to be vaguely romantic. This is a common way a lot of japanese stories go, where their fans like to pick cannon relationships, and rather than have bioware style romances, they just sort of danced around the romance mildly where it's up to the player to fill in their own conclusion when it's not directly stated. I can think of dozens of jrpgs with romances that are there, but it's never really confirmed. Celes and Locke are big culprits of this.
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