By shenstra 2 Comments
Yes, yes, I am writing a blog post to complete a quest. The new quest system, much like the game Blur ( see this Penny Arcade comic) is a great way to fill bars. As I write this, I'm at level 8 and nearly 80% of the way to level 9. My bar is nearly full. This makes me happy. Seeing this bar nearly full makes me want to fill it more. Once it is completely full, I will reach level 9 and my bar will be saddeningly empty once more. Apparently I am not only driven to fill bars, but to raise counters as well. These two things, bars and counters, are central both to my GiantBomb questing experience and most of my gaming experience.
I am a huge RPG fan. I'm particularly fond of JRPGs, but grew up playing D&D-based Western RPGs like Might & Magic. The appeal of these games, to me at least, is the sense of progress they instill. When your character gains a level, it becomes stronger. You can see its statistics increase. You can teach it new skills. Your character now is harder, better, stronger and faster than your character five minutes ago. In other genres your progress is traditionally measured by your progress through the game's story and/or geography, or by your increasing skill as a player. There is no easy way to tell that you are making progress. This hasn't gone unnoticed by game developers, who have begun including 'RPG elements' in their non-RPG games. By 'RPG elements' they obviously mean bars and counters.
The trend of RPGifying games is all about making people feel like they're accomplishing something. I've spent more time than I'd care to admit playing FIFA Street 2 and only because this mediocre game has so many bars to fill. My favorite GTA game so far is GTA: San Andreas. While I prefer the characters and style of GTA: Vice City, San Andreas simply has more bars to fill (and slightly improved controls, but it's mainly about the filing of the bars). Social networking sites have bars to indicate how good you are at using their website and counters to indicate how good you are at life. Even GiantBomb has bars, to trick me into being more active on this here website. Touché GiantBomb.
So here I sit, facing a world full of bars, with a compulsive need to fill them all. Level 9, here I come!