Long, long ago in untold ages, I wrote about some beginner’s tips for making a game in RPG Maker. They weren’t anything fancy, but useful items to know if you’ve never used the engine before. It’s been a long while since I tackled the subject, though, so this week I thought I’d go back and talk about the topic again. There are plenty more idiosyncrasies you have to pick up when learning the engine, and I definitely have more tips to share. Like the last time I discussed the subject though, remember that these tips are going to be geared more towards the modern RPG Makers (so RPG Maker VX/VX Ace and RPG Maker MV).
Warning: Spoilers Ahead for the beginning of Detroit: Become Human.
As I did a previous week, this week we’re going to analyze a story and how it accomplishes a specific writing element. In this week’s case, we’re taking a look at Detroit: Become Human and how I believe the game manages to give us an immediate connection to the three playable characters: Connor, Markus, and Kara. Obviously, this is simply my opinion, but I think it is an analysis worth tackling.
MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD FOR A WAY OUT!
While normally Fridays are for literary analysis, this week I’m going to try a different approach. Instead of evaluating meaning and such, I am going to examine a story on a more technical level. In so doing, I hope to express how a story accomplished a certain writing feat so that others may take the analysis and apply it to their own writing. Given that this is a new sort of post, I only hope that others cut me a little slack on the execution.
All that garble out of the way, I feel the most appropriate place to start is an analysis of the plot twist in the new game A Way Out. Unsurprisingly, this is not a post for those who do not want to be spoiled. For those who already know or don’t care, today I’m going to examine why I believe the plot twist for this game’s story really works. Obviously, this is going to be my opinion, and you don’t need to agree with it. However, I hope you will allow me to go through my analysis with an open mind.
Warning: Mild spoilers ahead for Long Live The Queen
Choice is somewhat of a controversial topic when it comes to games. Publishers these days tend to use it as a buzzword to sell their product, always boasting their game has “a lot of choice.” Oftentimes, once players get their hands on the game, they find a shallow representation of what they expected. Sure, the endings might all have minor variations, but it’s more or less a cookie cutter template. For some this is fine, and for others they were expecting the mechanics to offer them the same amount of variation that the story choices did. Arguments ensue afterwards between players, as everyone has a bit of variety when they think of “choice” in games.
Whenever someone brings up games with “choices,” though, I always think of Long Live The Queen. Created by Hanako Games, Long Live The Queen is a visual novel game where you control the fate of the young queen Elodie. Having just been given the throne at 14 upon the death of her mother, you must guide Elodie on how to rule her kingdom successfully. The game has a simple enough concept, yet hidden within is what I think it means to have choice in a game. This is because the game not only has mechanics that are promoting of choice, but also has a story that can change in a variety of ways. As such, today I would like to talk about this game and explain how it implements choices in a way that makes for great replay-ability.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD FOR MASS EFFECT: ANDROMEDA
Given there was a good sale, I finally put skepticism aside and picked up Mass Effect: Andromeda. Yes, as per usual I am a bit late to the party on game playing. Nevertheless, I spammed played it for the last few weeks, doing every silly side quest one could possibly do. Having completed the story over the weekend, though, I feel at last ready to summarize my thoughts and review the game in full. As a standard disclaimer, this review is just my own opinions. If you have differing opinions, that’s great, and I’d love for you to share them! Keep in mind, too, that I will not be covering multiplayer in this review.
WARNING: SUPER MEGA SPOILERS AHEAD FOR LIFE IS STRANGE!
When I first saw Life is Strange in 2015, I was instantly in love. It had a bleak and cynical outlook on life that so few games have in a high school setting. The characters were compelling and easy to care about. The story was beautiful in how it developed the relationship between Max and Chloe. It even had a supernatural mystery that was hanging over the horizon ominously. It was just a beautiful game despite its simplistic interactive elements.
Then the ending happened, and I lost all interest in ever purchasing another game in the series again.
So, what happened? How could a game I care about so dearly mess up so badly? That is what I wish to delve into today.
While I am certainly no outstanding expert on RPG Maker, I have clocked in a few hundred hours between RPG Maker VX Ace and RPG Maker MV. I even have three completed games that you can view on my game studio site, Illimitable Galaxies. As such, I have overcome a lot of trials in regards to using the engine to create games. With both programs going on sale pretty often, I feel it’d be relevant for me to pass some of my personal tips for those just starting out the engine. Keep in mind, these tips really only apply to the two programs mentioned above; I have no idea how applicable my tips are for other entries into the RPG Maker series, such as RPG Maker XP. However, hopefully you will find the following tips helpful as you first learn the program and start your path into making a game.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD FOR TALES OF XILLIA AND TALES OF XILLIA 2!
As some of my recent posts may have hinted at, I’ve been playing through Tales of Xillia 2. This week, I finally finished the main story of the game, clocking in about 90 hours of playtime. Though the game is several years old, I feel it is still worth reviewing for those who haven’t played the game yet. Before I begin with my review, I wish to note two things. One, this review will be comparative to the first game, as the first game bares heavy relevance to this one. As such, there is some bias to consider in that regard. Secondly, I want to issue the standard reminder that the points made in this review are mine alone. If you disagree with them, that’s perfectly okay and to each his own.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD FOR UNDERTALE!
One of the stranger polarizing issues I’ve come across in the game community is silent protagonists. Some people love them and think they add to the immersion. The player is not forced into a character’s dialogue choices, and they can feel more like they are the character due to the silence. Other people hate them. They often view it as a developer being lazy, and they also believe that it makes a character very flat since they have no real personality without dialogue to convey it.
This being the case, indie devs and homebrew devs may find themselves in an odd situation. Should they risk people’s ire and make a silent protagonist, or should they risk a different people’s ire and have their character have spoken dialogue? This can be a crucial decision when handling the writing of a game. However, it is my opinion that what matters more is the protagonist is written and executed well, regardless of whether or not they’re silent. Thus, today I would like to bring to you three questions you can ask yourself before you decide to make your protagonist silent or not. These will prioritize the quality of the story versus other factors.