What is a JRPG?

The Vault

The terms “RPG” and “JRPG” are generally well known among the gaming community. However, the terms have different meanings for different people and they are not always properly understood. I recall that in highschool, a friend of mine recommended Bioshock and described as a “great RPG.” Those two words are generally enough for me to get excited about a game, and I rushed to the store to pick the game up. As I started playing, it became clear to me that Bioshock is in no way an RPG. I was scratching my head, how can my friend think that Bioshock is an RPG?

At first glance, JRPG seems like a pretty easy genre to define. After all, it stands for Japanese Role Playing Game. But that raises the questions, what exactly is an RPG and what aspect of it makes it Japanese? Therefore, to fully understand what a JRPG is…

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Git Gud, Git Smart (Part 1 of 5)

AmbiGaming

There may come a time when we may feel like we’ve come up against a problem that is just too hard to overcome. Our resources are low, maybe we feel like we haven’t leveled up enough, or the story has taken an unexpected turn.

I’ve got one thing to say to you.

Git gud.*

A sentiment that started with Dark Souls, “git gud” has often been used to dismiss a gamer’s plight during a hard game. Can’t beat the level? Git gud. You don’t like the game? Well, obviously that’s because you’re bad at it, so git gud.

While the last thing that a person who is struggling or is upset wants to be told is “just be better at it” or “this is your fault,” the sentiment of improving a particular skill or advancing in a particular area in order to achieve a goal is actually a…

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Falcon’s Rest

Dyson's Dodecahedron

Built into a small plateau in the east hills, the Falcon’s Rest is a shrine to a small local deity that is usually interpreted to be an incarnation of the great hunter, or a version of the god of thieves.

After travelling to to the many stars to meet the gods themselves in the form of a great falcon, the godling came to rest at this place, drank from the stream that begins here, and wandered off on yet another great quest.

The shrine in this sacred place is entirely decorated in finely worked masonry detailing adventures, conquests, and distant planes of existence. None of this masonry is actually set over a metal substructure – that would be ridiculous. Obviously the tale of the Falcon is about the godling who travelled here in that form, and not the structure itself.

The Falcon's Rest The Falcon’s Rest

This map was drawn based on a…

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RPG Market Data is a Mess

Cannibal Halfling Gaming

There’s a lot of reasons people say that the RPG hobby is in a golden age right now. Increased legitimacy of the hobby in general, new audiences reaching games through streaming and podcasts, and an exploding variety of types and titles of games make for a more diverse and dynamic hobby than we’ve ever had before. But what do we actually know about the hobby and how it’s growing? What do we know about the competitive dynamics of the industry, from Wizards of the Coast down to the one-man shops? The simple answer to “what do we know” is “not much”. Finding real data about this hobby of ours is a struggle—and that’s when it isn’t downright impossible.

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Gamer Spotlight: Trisha Hershberger

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Trisha Hershberger  (Tech & Gaming Producer, Host)

Growing up on the east coast, Trisha got her BA in Theater Arts and moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting. She started working with the popular YouTube channel, Sourcefed, and helped to launch their spinoff channel SourcefedNerd where she earned two Streamy Awards for her work. She now runs her own production company where she creates content for companies like Geek & Sundry, Newegg & Comic Con HQ and has appeared on programs from IGN, Nerdist & DC All Access. On top of all of that, she somehow finds time to do the occasional consulting & social media marketing work, as well as get married and start a family!

What is the first video game that you remember playing?

“The first video game I remember playing was ‘Zork’ on the Commodore 64. I was very young…

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Always playing catchup

GamingSF

My earliest memories of MMORPG gaming involve playing catchup to friends, old and new, in World of Warcraft. The Burning Crusade expansion came out scant months before I started playing (by my recogning in March 2007). So when husband and I jumped into the game most of our friends already had level capped characters at 60.

As players of Classic are (re-)discovering, leveling was not that quick back then, nothing like the modern game over on Retail. We spent months leveling our characters in duo to catch up with where the guild and bulk of players were – in the newly launched zones of Outlands. I have vague memories of being somewhat frustrated at the time that we weren’t getting to join in on the fun everyone seemed to be having in the new lands and dungeons. We were lucky that our guildies had plenty of alts of various levels…

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Old School Dungeons & Dragons: Part 8

Skulls in the Stars

It’s a quiet night, and I’m feeling great, so here’s old school D&D, part 8!

Chronomancer (1995), by Loren ColemanChronomancer is one of the oddest AD&D supplements I’ve come across yet, and highlights how much TSR was willing to experiment to keep players engaged in the 1990s.

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Pieces of 8-bit: pirate video games

Later Levels

Argh me hearties! Tomorrow it be the most booty-full time of year: International Talk Like a Pirate Day. All you scallywags are obliged to great each other with suitably seaworthy saying, ask Polly if she wants a cracker and joyfully yo-ho-ho with a bottle of rum – or face a meeting with Davy Jones’ Locker after walking the plank.

Video games based on buccaneers have been a little hit-and-miss over the years (take that from someone who played Risen 2: Dark Waters on the Xbox 360, narrowly escaping the bugs and living to tell the tale). But there’s some treasure to be found out there; you just need to grab your shovel and dig around for it among all those shipwrecks. To get ourselves in the mood for tomorrow, let’s hit the digital high-seas and take a look at some of the better releases in honour of Talk Like…

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The Gnoll Pit

Dyson's Dodecahedron

The Ashknuckle gnoll tribes divide the area around the Absent City into their various tribal territories – but they share a common set of ruins that they use occasionally for the punishment of prisoners and the entertainment of their leaders.

An ancient fighting pit is under the ruins – probably originally a training grounds for religious warriors, now converted into an execution pit for the varied gnoll tribes. In the centre of the ancient pit the floor has given way to deeper ruins beneath – at one point a massive worm smashed through the floor and swallowed to combatants here much to the excitement of the onlookers.

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The maps on Dyson’s Dodecahedron are released for free personal use thanks to the support of awesome patrons like you over on Patreon. Every month 400 patrons come together to make these releases possible. You can help too in order to keep the…

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The $15 MMO subscription fee keeps increasing in value — but how long will it last?

Bio Break

Way back in 2008, I vividly remember that prior to Warhammer Online’s launch, Mark Jacobs was publicly musing about the possibility of slapping a higher fee per month for a premium product like WAR — or at least floating the suggestion to see what the public said. This stuck in my mind because even by 2008, it seemed like the then-standard $15-per-month sub fee was not rising to meet inflation rates that were hitting other video game segments, such as box prices. It made me wonder how few days were left in the halcyon era of $15/month subs.

Of course, a huge jump in subscription fees simply didn’t happen. For one thing, in 2009 Dungeons and Dragons Online swept in the free-to-play boom that we’ve been experiencing for the past decade. For another thing, the MMO market leader (World of Warcraft) didn’t budge with its $15/month sub and so helped…

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