Thursday, April 18, 2013

I Like My JRPGs Boring and Grindy

I was just watching a review of Final Fantasy Mystic Quest, a game generally criticized for being way too simple and boring, especially for a Final Fantasy game. However it sounds like the perfect JRPG for me because, yes, I like boring JRPGs. Don't get me wrong, I love games like Secret of Mana, Chrono Trigger, and the Tales series, but even in those games, labeled as exciting JRPGs, I spend most of my time grinding. In other words, I find ways to make exciting JRPGs boring, but this is what I enjoy. Its strange isn't it? Or maybe it isn't...

Looking back at my childhood, mainly my elementary school years, I played plenty of JRPGs because I had essentially an infinite amount of free time. I'd plop down on my squeaky old couch, turn on my GBA, and play mostly Pokemon while watching Dragon Ball Z re-runs that were completely out of order so I never had any idea what was going on. Pokemon is of course a very action-packed JRPG, but looking back once I beat my beloved Pokemon Ruby, for years to come I'd just keep on replaying the Elite Four and grinding. I barely even looked at the screen, I just kept pressing 'A' as my lv. 100 Pokemon destroyed everything in their path. However, for some odd reason, just pressing the 'A' button over and over and over and over again was mesmerizing and relaxing.

But suddenly it has hit me. The appeal of boring level grinds for hours finally became clear. JRPG grinding is perhaps one of the most therapeutic things in my life. When ever I feel really stressed out and need to relax I immediately turn to the closest turn-based RPG. Often little thought is required, all you need to do is sit back and press a button while listening to great chiptune (or orchestral) music. Everybody has some form of relaxation whether it be reading, watching TV, looking out at the stars. But hey, I'm a gamer, I've always been a gamer, and I always will be a gamer. However I only seem to be relaxed by grinding when I do it on a handheld console. Being forced to look at a large television is more overwhelming than relaxing, and I tend to get very immersed in any type of game when it is on the big screen. There is just something inexplicably magic and incredibly therapeutic about JRPG grinding on a handheld device while laying on a soft couch.


Breeding hundreds of pokemon eggs looking for the right nature and IV spread... Riding the bike back and forth along a long stretch, hatching the egg, tossing it out, then getting a new one, over and over again, is zen.

Thank you. I've always felt this way and I've never quite been able to put it to pen.

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