WRPGs vs JRPGs? My Thoughts

JRPG-vs-Western

I wish I didn’t steal so many images from Google. HAR HAR HAR

When it comes to role playing games, it seems a good majority of the gaming community is pretty biased about the type of RPG.  Die hard fans of the gritty, realistic RPGs from western devs seems to clash with fans of RPGs with a more Asian feel to them. The division between WRPGs and JRPGs is big enough to make some fans be completely biased towards one side or another, leaving to a pathetic spat between the two fanbases.

Where do I stand in the middle of this kerfluffle? Well, while looking over my RPG collection, it seems I have a preference to JRPGs; however, I have a great number of western games that I’ve fallen in love with. While games like The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion, Baldur’s Gate, and the Deus Ex series are some of my top nominations for greatest western RPGs in the industry, it seems that the likes of Fire Emblem, Dark Souls, Final Fantasy, Tales Of, Disgaea, and Dark Cloud are just more enjoyable to me. Maybe I’m a bit biased because I had more Asian exposure than a western one while growing up, or maybe it’s coincidence, but hell, I love myself a good JRPG. I just eat that shit up.

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Why any role playing game fan would want to deprive themselves of a good game simply because of the region it comes from is beyond me. From how I see it, not playing a game because it was made by an Asian or Western dev is like shooting yourself in the foot. NOT playing Dark Cloud or Baldur’s Gate simply because of where they came from is an ABSOLUTE SIN, and you’re only hurting yourself if you brush off games like that.

Actually, here’s an example. I know a guy who won’t play an JRPG because of the “girly moe shit and unrealistic nonsense that I wouldn’t be caught dead playing.” Are a lot of people this self-conscious about what other people think? Would the majority of video game enthusiasts out there skip out on an awesome game simply because of other people’s thought on them simply owning the game? If it’s a good game, then play the fucker! I wouldn’t give a fuck if someone saw me playing anything from The Witcher to Hyperdimension Neptunia. If I thought the game was fun, I’d fucking play it. Remember how people got teased for liking video games because they weren’t in the mainstream market just yet, and yet, they still played video games? All of those “Haha! What a loser! What a geek! Get a life, you shut-in!” comments? Yeah, like that. People need to grow up and appreciate games as games and not label them by where they come from.

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Whether it comes from the East, the West, the North, the South, the center, down the road, next to Wal-Mart, fuckin’ Jupiter, or up my ass, people need to stop grouping RPGs by their region and then throwing generalization onto them. The terms WRPG and JRPG should only have to denote the game’s origins and nothing more. Does it make me angry seeing that happen? Well, yeah, kind of. I don’t bash on a game because it looks too anime-like, or too western. If it’s got the gameplay to back it up, it’s alright by me. Besides, I have other ways to call a shitty game shitty.

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10 responses to “WRPGs vs JRPGs? My Thoughts

  1. It’s one thing to have preferences, that’s fine, but it shouldn’t be a debate over which deserves to exist more than the others. Sadly, any time I see this comparison raised someone inevitably tries to prove the natural value of one RPG over the other. There are plenty of meaningless, intangible criticisms I can level against one or the the other: if I say “the gameplay is boring” or “the characters are bad,” it’s impossible to counterargue. What does any of that mean? Does it mean that the means of acquiring resources is too slow or unclear? Does it mean I was personally unable to relate to the game’s cast? More importantly, none of that is the game’s fault, it’s the player’s for not being able to understand the game they’re playing.

    Players need to meet their games halfway for them to work. One of the drawbacks of interactivity that’s seldom talked about is how it requires personal commitment and investment. One type of game may be easier for a person to engage with than another but failing to appreciate a game often has at least as much to do with the player as it does with the game. In either case, just because one form of game may come more naturally to a single player doesn’t invalidate any other form.

    • I’m sort of poking at the whole “debate” thing. When people say WRPG versus JRPG, it’s kind of a moot point since there’s good and bad games from all over the globe in every genre. And yes, I agree about the player needing to feel invested in a game; however, game and character design can be subjective to other games which can set standards for another game.

      Example: Samus had a strong, independent identity in the Metroid series. When they attempted to flesh out her character in Other M, they butchered her into a needy, whiny, and incompetent woman, which is the complete opposite of what she was up until then. Coupled with broken game mechanics and an awful story, I can safely say that Metroid: Other M had bad gameplay and bad characters because the standard can be compared to other games in the series.

      Player investment is something I’ve wanted to write about for a while and I never found a decent way to approach it. Yeah, I know how well done Planescape: Torment is, but I don’t have the motivation to play it just yet. I heard things about Metal Gear, and I actually wanted to get into it, and since I recently beat MGS3: Snake Eater, I don’t regret my decision to play. That doesn’t mean the Planescape is bad, but just because I don’t want to play a game doesn’t mean it’s bad. It just means that I have other games I want to play first.

      I hope this is legible. I just woke up about ten minutes ago.

      • That’s a fair point. I think what it comes down to is how able a person is to qualify their experiences. Metroid: Prime, for instance, is a good game because everything on the planet as a reason for being where it is as a set piece and as a challenge in the game, it is evidence of Samus as a competent, no-nonsense professional and it provides substantial backstory to her specialness as an individual in her universe. Conversely, Metroid Other M is a bad game for all the reasons you’ve listed.

        WRPGs and JRPGs are useful labels, but it isn’t a competition and too often it’s reduced to one. Ultimately what it comes down to (as you mentioned in the article) “like what you like.” I just think it’s important to understand why and to be able to clearly elaborate on it, even if just to oneself.

        I’ve done a bit of writing on this subject myself if you’re interested: http://big-tall-words.com/2013/05/05/j-and-w/

  2. There are too many gamers who feel the need to look down on other gamers because they are “elite” or something. Maybe it’s due to other people (or a perceived impression of other people) looking down upon them, so they feel the need to put down someone else in order to feel better?

    I mean, there’s so many ways you can express that you just don’t care for the aesthetic of JRPGs or WRPGs generally or whatever without being offensive. And there are also so many ways to respond to someone “bashing” your beloved game/genre without saying something insulting.

    Anyway, nice post. Wish more people would act like you do.

    • “Gamers” can be very arrogant and demeaning. I can’t recall the last time I finished a multiplayer game without receiving a “Fuck you noob: or “Git rekt, faggot”. Apparently playing a video game entitles you to talk crap to everyone and generally be a horrible person. It’s “hardcore gamurz” like those that give the general video game population a bad image. It’s sad when you think about it.

      Glad you enjoyed the article though :3

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