this is all one guy
can you not
THIS GUY IS A PRETTIER GIRL THAN I AM
When it comes to reading, I know more about fantasy than any other form of fiction. It’s part of how I was raised; the first novel I ever read on my own was Brian Jacques’ Redwall, and that pretty much set me up for life. In line with that, one of the most common arguments I will have with someone in regards to writing is how to approach magic within a story’s world. I differ from most people nowadays in thinking that setting up the rules of magic is not the most important thing to do. I’ve known too many friends who spend months, maybe years, figuring how the particulars of how their magic does this and why their magic does that, without ever touching the actual story of their world. Then, when they sit down to write, they don’t have many places to go, and their project may get scrapped.
Personally, I like to do it another way. I like to sit down, figure out the characters of my story’s world, use them to develop a plot, then add in magic or whatever the mystic system is called. However, I acknowledge that my way has a major flaw as well; once I start writing about magic within the story, I don’t know the limitations of my story, and what once was going to be a dire plot point has now become a minor nuisance because MAGIC CAN SOLVE EVERYTHING, which it shouldn’t be able to do.
Fast forward to now. David (who is me) is reading The Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson. The story starts out strong with a lofty goal for the characters: kill the Lord Ruler, the tyrant that rules this kingdom and forces the skaa (or common people) to live in utter subservience to nobility. Add in Allomancy, a form of magic based on “burning” metals that an Allomancer or Misting (or Mistborn if they have access to all forms of Allomancy) has consumed for the power to push and pull on emotions, physical metals, and so on.
Without spoiling too much, I will say the aspect of The Mistborn Trilogy that I enjoy the most is absolutely how Allomancy ties into the story. The first book sets up a set of rules about how Allomancy works. Very simple, very concrete. At the end of the first book, though, Vin (the main character) learns there is more to Allomancy than everyone assumed. This growth of knowledge for Allomancy and its legacy continues throughout the rest of the series. Allomancy itself becomes a major plot point because the rules change or become revealed, not as Brandon Sanderson forces them to, but as they naturally would given the course of the story.
Long story short, magic essentially becomes another character, albeit a bit more omnipresent. It grows in scope as the characters learn more about it and themselves, revealing that the rules weren’t wrong but that there was more to them than initially thought.
This is something I’m going to consider for future projects because, personally, I find it useful. I’ll approach magic like I would a character, giving it depth but not rigidity. Maybe, by writing this, someone else will consider this approach as well.
Glass Set Giveaway - Custom Etched Doctor Who Wine Glasses
Sponsored by Fanboy Glass
Whovians, get ready to get classy! Fanboy Glass has donated two of their wonderful blue TARDIS etched wine glasses for us to give away.
To enter: Like or Reblog this post on Tumblr before 12:00 PM on Saturday (April 13, 2013). At noon we will draw a random name and announce the winner!
My life needs more classy dishware, and who’s classier than The Doctor?
Oh god my sides
(Yes, I know, two video game opinion pieces in one day. I’m feeling particularly vocal on the subject, apparently!)
While we’re talking about the 3DS, it has recently come to my attention that Nintendo is going to release Donkey Kong Country Returns on the 3DS.
Nintendo. Honey. Sweetie. Baby-cakes. I won’t lie; I’m a die-hard fanboy. I’ll probably buy every system you make just based on that. You won me over early in my life with Metroid and Zelda and a whole lot of other games. The Super Nintendo was graphically inferior to the Sega Genesis, but it was superior to my heart.
Enough is enough!! I want some damn original content! I’m not gonna buy DKC Returns again. It was good on the Wii. I enjoyed it on the Wii. If you’re gonna release a DKC game for the 3DS, can you at least have the decency to make a new entry to the series?! I don’t think that’s asking too much. You used to do it with the GameBoy all the damn time. Donkey Kong Country for the Super Nintendo? Donkey Kong Land for the GameBoy! Pretty much the same game, but there were enough differences to make it worth buying. I don’t know why you did this, but enough is enough! You want people to buy from the Virtual Console? Then put all the games you have the copyrights to on there right now. None of this waiting bullshit! I want to play some GBA games! Why do I have to wait for games you already have the rights to?! Games I may not have had a chance to buy the first time around?!
I get it, I do. You don’t want people to buy used games anymore. That’s cool. I can understand that. GameStop’s program is utter tripe anyway, and I’ll only support independent stores for games you no longer have the rights to publish. I’m not a snob; I don’t HAVE to play the game on the original system.
But when I buy a new system, for the love of Miyamoto, I’m buying it so I can play new games! So release some, dammit! Fire Emblem, Luigi’s Mansion, and Paper Mario were good steps in the right direction. While I loved Ocarina of Time, I mainly bought it for some new content and a graphics update. Star Fox 64 3DS was a stupid buy on my part, though; it’s the exact same game. I beat it in an afternoon because I knew it inside and out!! And now you have the audacity to pull this DKC Returns bull on me?!
You can go sit in the corner until you’re ready to create some new games in these established franchises, Nintendo. We all want them. You know this. Stop putzing around.
Today, I was reminded of a game I played back during the holidays that inspired me to write an opinion piece. Then a bunch of bad stuff went down (those of you who know me know what) and I completely forgot about it until now.
The game: Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance.
The opinion: SIDEKICKS ARE F@%#@ IMPORTANT, DAMMIT
Now, to start off, I wanted to say I enjoyed the 3D Kingdom Hearts. I’m a bit of a fanboy for KH, so there’s definitely bias, but it’s probably the second best of the handheld KH games out there (with Birth By Sleep leading the pack). Getting to play as Riku in a non-card game setting? Awesome. The story? …convoluted, even by Squenix standards, but still enjoyable. The Dream Eaters? ….
To be honest, my heart is still torn. On the one hand, you have full customizable secondary characters that essentially turn the leveling system into something akin to Tamagotchi. I was particularly excited when I could get a freakin’ T-REX and LION.
On the other hand…they have nothing to them in terms of character and personality. They are literally what you make of them and nothing more. Sure, there are a couple of moments with them that were neat, but nothing that actually made them full-fledged characters. Not to mention that training them was extremely tedious and that’s how you unlocked a good portion of your combat modifier abilities.
This isn’t unique to just Dream Drop Distance, though. In Chain of Memories, Birth by Sleep and Re:coded, you have no sidekicks at all, and in 358/2, you have random members of Organization XIII, the most notable being Xion. This limited interaction and personality on behalf of the secondary characters allows almost no chance for the player to develop actual attachment to them. They are, quite literally, just placeholders.
Let us, then, compare these placeholders to Donald and Goofy and the other secondary characters in Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2. With every stage that you gain the ability to get another character, such as Aladdin, Mulan, or the Beast, you as the player have only a small time frame to interact with them, but it does help with the story. By playing with these characters, you can a greater insight into their worlds and actually feel like you’re fighting with them rather than for them. Donald and Goofy are far more tied into Sora’s actual story. They’re the ones who help set him on course for the majority of the console games, and when something befalls Sora or them, the player has a chance to actually invest some emotions rather than go “Well, that just happened.”
For someone who plays JRPGs primarily for the story, this is an essential distinction. I personally have to feel like there’s a reason I’m playing these games beyond just the pretty colors, combat systems, or soundtracks. These other elements are important, yes, but without the story, without characters I can actually relate to, invest in, and befriend as only a gamer can befriend a cartoon duck and dog, there’s not much there for me. Having a lion in Dream Drop Distance: fun. But I wish there had been some reason for me to love that lion because then I would’ve felt justified spending hours petting it and paying money to increase its happiness.