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Googleshng - May 4 '04- 4:00 Eastern Standard Time

I became aware of this today. I cannot put into words how wrong that is.

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Time keeps tickin'...

Hey Goog,

This is a pet peeve of mine, tell me if you hate it as much as I do. Don't you hate it when you're playing an RPG, and you have to go somewhere, but are nowhere near a place to save and have come to far to start over from the last save, so you leave the system on, go do what you have to, then come back and your game time has just gone up four hours? I hate that SO MUCH just because it means I don't have an accurate tally of how much of my life I've spent playing whatever game I have in front of me. Does this nag at you as much as it does me?

Robust Stu
Gold Reviewer/Swell Guy

Yes. Yes it does. Thus, I try to avoid such situations whenever possible, and when I can't, I just make a mental note to chop however much time off the final total so I can accurately tell people how long it took.


where did chocobos originate from?

Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind. Like I said yesterday when someone asked this.

Difficulty curves.


Andrew asked this question over the weekend, but I forgot to respond and so am giving the answer to you for now. He asked about most-hated aspects of RPGs.

My most-hated aspect of today's RPGs are the poor difficulty curves. The games are easy as hell the whole way through and you cruise on by. But then all of a sudden at the final dungeon (and sometimes not until the last boss himself) the difficulty skyrockets. I dread making it to the boss because I know it's going to be way too hard. Just from memory, this has happened to me in FF4, FF6, FF7, FF8, Xenogears, and Golden Sun. I was pleasantly surprised when I recently completed Xenosaga in only one final fight attempt.

For the record, I'm a fairly thorough player, but I don't look at strategy guides if I can help it. That means my characters are probably stronger than the game expects, as I get into more fights while exploring. I don't go overboard though - I never bothered with Knights of the Round for example.

People usually rank the games I mentioned as "easy", but I always have trouble at the end. It isn't good game design when you can make it to the final dungeon easily at level 25, but will have great difficulty finishing unless you're level 50. I was weaned on the teat of the original DW and FF, so I know difficulty - it's the curving these days that I have a problem with.


Yes, it's always annoying to have a cake walk end with a ridiculously hard boss. Almost as annoying of course is when you have a nice challenging game, and then a cake walk at the end. Now, you could make the arguement that it's really hard to set up a difficulty curve for an RPG, because the player's party gets steadily better over time and you have no way of controlling that. And if you make this argument, you have no business trying to work on game design. It's simple enough to set the stats up on your monsters to get a nice staircase looking difficulty curve, which when overlayed with the steady downward drop caused by experience levels going up, and end up with a nice little jagged line which heads upwards overall at a rate somewhat dependant on how much the player character builds. It's honestly a whole lot easier to get right than the curve for, say, an action game, where you have to juggle building familiarity with the controls with new ways to challenge it.

The Last Laugh:

Huzzah. My connection's looking stable. Just two more days and I'm in the clear.

Googleshng "You've seen them smash buildings..."

... now see them move colored blocks!

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