The Genres of Gaming: The Difference Between an FPS and an RPG

I tend to look at video games as form of literature.  Roger Ebert would disagree with me, as he is probably one of the few people that looks at a video game, let’s say Dragon Age: Origins, and refuses to call it a piece of art.  The industry has more or less come down to interactive pieces of literature.  Well, to an extent.  There’s always Duke Nukem. (See last post)

The fact of the matter is that games, much like books, come in genres.  Lets take a look at some of the basic ones

RPG: Role Playing Game.  Dungeons and Dragons type things.  Lots of swords, magic, potentially princesses and probably dragons.  A side note: the game that is widely considered the greatest game of all time, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, is an RPG.  It’s also my favorite Genre.  If you’re looking for plot, and possibly spending upwards of 40 hours of your life playing a game, this is where you should go.

This is a commercial for Dragon Age 2, pretty good indicator of what an RPG represents.  Also, Dragon Age Origins was amazing, and I would recommend picking it up, 14 bucks used for xbox, 30 bucks for digital download on Steam.com

FPS: First Person Shooter.  You’ve probably heard of Call of Duty or Halo by now, and if you haven’t, I’m sorry, but you should probably read the news once in a while.  Arguably the most popular genre of games out there, in recent years has almost become a sport all on its own.  You will see gamers dedicate their lives to getting that 50 kill 0 death ratio on call of duty.  If you are a competitive  gamer, this is most likely the genre you are playing.  Fun Fact: FPSes used to be mostly single player until the advent of Halo: Combat Evolved, which introduced the majesty of multiplayer FPSes to the world.  Another Fun Fact: If you ever play on Xbox live, wordplay is a game all it’s own.  The more jokes you can make about your opponent’s mothers, and/or their own sexuality the better.  Also, tea bagging.

A testament to how FREAKIN good you can be at Call of Duty.

Platformer: You’ll find these games to be more along the lines of the classics.  Super Mario Bros. and Sonic The Hedgehog, for example are classic platformers.  In recent years, the platformer has moved more into the 3D realm, instead of the old-school sidescrolling one.  Case in point: Super Mario.  Super Mario 64 and more recently Super Mario Galaxy are more recent platformers, involving moving through a 3D space in order to solve a specific puzzle or area.  Youll often times find the controls to platformers to be simple, like A to jump and arrows to move, occasionally some other attack is thrown in there, but more or less, its very simple as opposed to an FPSes controls.

MMORPG: Massively Multiplayer Role Playing Game.  Hands down, the most addictive of the genres that exist out there.  I have seen greater men than I completely ruined by MMORPGs, like the 12 million subscriber strong World of Warcraft.  Essentially, it all comes down to an RPG that is played with a server full of other players that you can interact with, Party up with, fight against and otherwise re-create a society with.  If you want to try to play one, there are literally thousands of F2P (Free to Play) MMOs out there (www.lotro.com is a good one that is completely free to play) but the piece de resistance of the MMO world Is World of Warcraft, possibly one of the most culturally relevant video games ever.  Be warned though, for 15 bucks a month, you may very well forget about your real life.  If you want to see what it’s like, find the episode Make Love Not Warcraft of the TV show South Park, it’s a pretty good representation.

The most famous video based on world of Warcraft, and pretty much the epitome of what it represents.

RTS: Real Time Strategy.  These have gotten pretty popular of late with the F2P game League of Legends coming out, as well as the sequel to the IMMENSELY popular Starcraft. (www.leagueoflegends.com)  What it comes down to is you, commanding a single character, or in most cases and entire army, and commanding their moves.  There are HUGE in Korea.  It is actually a national sport, I shit you not.  The day Starcraft 2 was released it was basically considered a national holiday in Korea.  Korea’s obsession aside, the RTS game is basically a more frantic strategy game, like chess, but with FAR more pieces, FAR faster reaction times, and more Zurg Rush. PROTIP: You must construct additional pylons.

LOOK AT THIS CROWD FOR A REGIONAL TOURNAMENT!

There are many more genres out there, far more than I could ever show in one blog post, but the ones I’ve outlined here are pretty much the basics.  Gaming has become an artform all it’s own, complete with artists, critics and whiny little fanboys bitching about how Mozart (Call of Duty) is better than Chopin (Halo).  For newbies, I reccommend starting with something easy to play, (SEE: Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros, Call of duty 4 on single player) before attempting things like Call of Duty on multiplayer or, god forbid, the sickeningly difficult but amazing RPG Demons Souls.  But my greatest advice is to make your own informed decisions on what you like.  Much like picking a book you want to read, or seeing a movie you like, it’s all about personal preference.  So go online, find some games you find interesting, and scope out your local gamestop, and who knows, you could be the next CoD champeen.

Seriously, you must construct additional Pylons,

Brian Bishop

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Vidya Games 101: Guns, +1 Longswords, Boobs, and Quests

See that?  that is the opening cinematic to one of the most iconic video games in history: Final Fantasy VII.  Any respectful geek knows his way around the past of Final Fantasy VII.  Since the game came out back in the glory days, there have been 3 sequels and prequels to the game, not to mention Final Fantasys VIII thru XIV.  Just one of the iconic games.

But really, not all games utilize in-depth storylines.  Some of them just like to have fun.  For example, this little nugget, which has been in development for a while 12 years, coming out this may. You may wanna not watch this if your offended by, well, anything offensive.

The fact that this game is coming out 12 years after the game before it is really a testimony to the staying power of the industry.  But really, from the very, VERY beginning, it’s always been a tremendous part of geek culture.  You would be hard pressed to look into a geek’s room and NOT find either a video game system, or a computer for gaming on.  Video games have become a staple in geek culture.

Another staple of gaming geek culture is what are affectionately known as “fanboys.”  Basically, a fanboy who will represent their favorite game, series, video game system, character, or basically anything til death.  You can basically go to any gaming site in the world, and find an abundance of fanboys posting about their respective fandoms.  As it so happens, we are in a veeeeery good time to be hearing from fanboys.  In one corner, we have the Nintendo 3DS being released this March, and in the other corner, we have Sony’s Next Generation Portable, AKA PSP2 coming out this fall.  It’s basically an all out war between Fanboys for Nintendo and Sony talking about how much the NGP will suck *EXPLATIVE* or how much the 3DS Is for babies.  OF course, I also have an opinion on the matter, but I will refrain from showing it…for now.

The last piece of basic geeky game knowledge I will present to you in this post is the almighty holiday upon which most gamer-geek’s calendars gravitate around: the “Game Expo.”  the two biggest ones are E3, standing for Electronic Entertainment Expo, and the Tokyo Game Show. Essentially, an Expo is where the biggest companies, studios, and people in the gaming industry come together and announce everything they have planned for the upcoming year.  I, myself, basically keep myself glued to my computer during E3 every year.  There are always surprising announcements about the upcoming year to be had, and it is always a very good way to show what exactly is going on in the industry.

Now, there is a whole lot more to a geeks knowledge of the industry, but its for another blog at another time.  Next week, though, I’m going ot begin taking a look at the various genres of video games.

Are You Feelin It Yet Mr. Krabs?

Brian Bishop

By the way, this is a high point in video game translation history.

 

Why SHOULD I become a Geek? Whats in it for me?

When people think of geeks, they think of the kids in High School nobody really talked to, or however movies portray them.  Honestly, Hollywood really did a number on the “coolness” integrity of being a geek, because I promise you, it is really cool.  Over the course of my many years being a part of the “geek community” as I so affectionately call it, I have met  the greatest people I have ever known and lifetime friends, I have found lifetime hobbies in things like watching anime or partaking in playing video games.  Honestly, you will never find a funnier and more kindhearted person than your local geek.

Over the course of this blog, I shall tell you of my exploits in converting people to the geek side of the force, as well as telling you the basic things you need to know, like what an MMORPG is, of what a meme is.  But more than anything, I recommend you get out there and talk to them, I promise you we don’t bite.  Go out to a LAN party, bring your laptop and play with them. Go out and find your local anime convention or comic book convention (There is honestly no experience quite like a good convention). Nothing makes me happier than to see new people hanging out with us!

Throughout the course of this blog, I will be giving you, my loyal readers, some insight into what geeks really represent, and some fin facts and good things to know.

In the Immortal words of Mr. Spock: Live Long and Prosper.

Brian Laurence Bishop