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GameSided Roundtable: Overdone Gaming Conventions

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Rebekah Valentine (Twitter)

As a gamer raised on RPGs, I have never understood why so many of them have the same basic overdone plot: Unlocking/Releasing/Rescuing/Unleashing/Activating the 3-12 elemental crystals/lighthouses/maidens/gems/temples/lighthouses/seals in order to renew the world/prevent the world’s destruction.

To name a few of my favorites: Skies of Arcadia, Earthbound, Secret of Mana, Golden Sun, several Final Fantasies, Legend of Zelda (okay, not an RPG), several Tales games, Bravely Default…the list goes on. Some of them try to break convention by throwing in a twist at the end: Oops! What you just did saved the world from Evil 1, but now it will be destroyed by Evil 2, resulting in more non-crystal-gathering game time.

I suppose we keep coming back to this trope again and again not because it is good itself, but because the framework around it is good. We love the characters that go on these crystal-gathering quests, and it’s fun to explore a fantasy universe that would create such objects and see what adventures pop up along the way. Still, perhaps developers, specifically those of JRPGs, could find new and better ways to drive the story along. But then again, with sales numbers like Bravely Default’s, maybe they don’t need to.

Daniel George (Twitter)

When done right, they can either complement or further engage a player within a scene. This mechanic is especially useful in graphic adventures like The Walking Dead, and The Wolf Among Us, in order to inject moments of high-tension action within a narrative-driven game. When done wrong, QTE’s can really drain all the fun out of a video game by juxtaposing the momentum or derailing the focus of a story.

The most egregious example of QTE negligence is not actually pictured above, as that is just a simple use of unintended hilarity that is prevalent in David Cage “movies” (his pretentious use of the word, not mine). Instead, I have to refer to Resident Evil 5. Chris Redfield confronts his greatest foe, Albert Wesker, in a final duel for the ages in a volcano. In order to escape his clutches and progress through the stage, Chris must move a boulder into a lava river in order to form a bridge to walk over. Pushing it doesn’t work, but repeatedly mashing a button to punch a 12 foot, presumable 1+ ton boulder does the trick. It vastly undermines the severity of the situation with cartoon lunacy.

And now, for something completely different…

Jon McSwain (Twitter)

Video game conventions have become something near award show levels.  From the Academy Awards (E3) to some of the more less known events such as GameStorm there are plenty of different conventions to get your gaming obsession fixes. However, is it time to look at the necessity of so many events? Perhaps, but they are hype machines, designed specifically for the marketing machines inundated in the gaming culture. In other words…they aren’t going anywhere.

Having said all of that, it would be nice to see some of them consolidated or at least more appropriately focused. If I had to pick one that was overdone, or rehashing some of the very same things that were just talked about in any number of conventions, I would have to say PAX.

More from Features

Let me make this overly clear, I HAVE NO PROBLEM AT ALL WITH PAX ITSELF. My issue stems from the fact that there are so many of them. I get that they are on different sides of the country and even an International one, but they lose some luster for me because they aren’t exclusive enough. What makes E3 so spectacular is the fact it is the Omega of video game conferences. You are either there, or you just aren’t. There is no, “I’ll just catch one of the other locations.” You miss it, and you will just have to wait until next year.

PAX organizers; perhaps you should keep that in mind when scheduling more and more events each year. Bigger and badder is not always better. Just something to remember. All that said, I will (just as everyone else) be watching as much of all the news coming from all the PAX events and for that matter, all the gaming conferences.


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