This week, we debut a new column by Jason Schreier dedicated to the analysis (and occasional mocking) of his favorite genre, the Japanese role-playing game. Whether it's because they're too antiquated or just too niche, he believes JRPGs don't get enough attention in the gaming industry today. It's time to change that.
It's hard to find an RPG fan who doesn't have fond memories of the "16-Bit Golden Age," that revered era when developers seemed to release nothing but instant classics. Twenty- and thirty-somethings all over the world love to wax poetic about the early 90s, a time when videogame production was driven more by creativity than graphical power, more by innovation than formula, more by TLC than DLC.

Take a moment to flip through the App Store or Xbox Indie Marketplace and you'll find striking evidence of this obsession with the old-school; today's indie RPGs are packed to the brim with sprites and textures that wouldn't be out of place on a Super Nintendo or Sega Genesis. The obvious explanation might be money - powerful graphics are expensive, and indie developers not named Notch are always broke. But is that the only reason iPhone RPGs like Guardian Saga and Ash aim to emulate that 16-bit style? Or is there something inherently appealing about classic turn-based gameplay?

And then there's that million-dollar question: Were all those old-school RPGs really all that great, or is our perception just tainted by nostalgia?

Psychologist Jamie Madigan, writing on his blog "The Psychology of Video Games," argues the latter, saying that we tend to have selective memory when it comes to our favorite old games. We only remember the good parts.Continue reading How nostalgic JRPGs trick us into loving them

How nostalgic JRPGs trick us into loving them originally appeared on Joystiq on Fri, 21 Oct 2011 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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