Love letter to the Old School RPG
Now I enjoy blasting faces off with rocket propelled grenades as much as the next person (in video games...of course), those aren't the RPG's I'm talking about. Final Fantasy 6, Lunar, Breath of Fire 3, you know, THOSE RPG's. I've spent countless hours on those games on those games, and it wasn't just me. My family and I MADE these mostly single player games into a whole social experience.
My brother Deron and I would talk ad nauseam about enemies we killed, new character animations we saw, Easter eggs planted by the developer that we discovered without the strategy guide. My older cousin David and I would play FF6 and set the PlayStation controllers to control different characters in battle so it felt more like a multiplayer game. My younger, more rebellious cousin Jamarl would play Shadow Hearts and revel in the main character Yuri's anti-heroism. Jamarl also (through some brutal trial and error) walked me through Shadow Heart's timing based battle system; I completely fell in love, why isn’t there more hybrid timing based battle systems a la Shadow Hearts and Xenoblade?!
RPG's have mostly been social experiences for me, but what also kept me playing were the grand epic narratives, massive and gorgeously scored locales, and the little (and sometimes not so little) nuances in battle mechanics.
Right now my RPG's of choice are Phantasy Star Online 2, FFT for the iphone, and Xenoblade Chronicles. I'm a gamer at the end of the day that enjoys a little bit of everything. But Role playing games will forever hold a place in my heart.
P.S. The Job System from FF1. Replicated in so many other different genre games e.g. Team Fortress 2. RPG's are clearly dabest...