Definitions

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Much like any specific terminology, kusoge and bakage aren’t really terms you need to talk about games.  On the other hand, a convenient shorthand for “The Japanese think this game is terrible or stupid” is handy.  So what’s the hallmarks of this kind of game?

Spelunker is a pretty typical cave exploration game - mostly notable for the fact that the hero dies from the tiniest of falls.

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One danger in a review is becoming academic about a topic.  For simplicity, I’ll make an example of a book.  George Elliot’s Daniel Deronda is largely considered to be a flawed book by the author, scholars, and readers.  The main flaws are the length, a difficult topic handled poorly, and a subplot that barely intersects with the main plot.  However, the ways that the book are flawed and the difficult topic are exactly the sorts of things that academics find interesting.  While I would say the book is interesting, I definitely would not say that it should be someone’s first Elliot novel, and I would not read the book again for pleasure.

Gate hacking uses items taken from enemies to unlock forbidden areas in .hack//.

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JRPGs or console RPGs tend to be historically compared to pen and paper RPGs (also called tabletop rpgs) and computer RPGs.  There’s a couple of reasons for this.  Part of it is that some people are xenophobic jerks, petrified of the idea of translated alien cultures.  Part of it is the differing aesthetics of a typical JRPG and a typical D&D based RPG.  Part of it is the typical desire to call one kind of game “not fun” and another kind of game the one true way.  Yes, my bitterness probably makes it pretty clear that I think a lot of these arguments are annoying at best.

After a while, all the talking points really just sound the same.  So instead of talking about what isn’t a RPG, I’m going to talk about what makes a RPG in my mind.  Now I’m not talking about the hypothetical “perfect” one in my mind.  Instead, I’m talking about things that I expect to find so that a game fits that nebulous mental image of the genre.

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