Why turn-based RPGs matter

Or, as I somewhat-less-tactfully put it on my developer website: “So you created an action RPG. Stop congratulating yourself.”

You may have heard about the recent (and highly unfortunate) Gamasutra interview with Matt Findley, in which the former Black Isle dev announced that turn-based RPGs were basically an unfortunate accident of history caused by limitations on computing power. He seems to imply that, had Black Isle possessed the processor capabilities of today, they would have happily spat out a gaggle of God of War clones instead of Fallout and Baldur’s Gate. Even worse, he went on to say that action games are at the heart of computer gaming.

As a longtime turn-based RPG fan, I was less than pleased.

At the outset, let’s get one thing clear: games are not, at their heart, about anything in particular. Video games are a medium. To say that video games are fundamentally about one group of gameplay elements is tantamount to declaring that novels are about romance, or that films are about dialog. As I’ve written repeatedly, this is stupid.

Click here for the full ran–er, uh, reasoned discussion.

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