On September 11, 2007, Leigh Alexander wrote an article for the Escapist titled “Midgar is Burning”. In it, Alexander describes the rise and fall of the Final Fantasy VII role-playing community on AOL. She speculates regarding the future of fan involvement in media creation, that moviegoers will shape the future of films and franchises. She also posits that this process has already begun in some nascent fashion.
What Leigh Alexander didn’t know at the time of writing this was that she was describing the blueprint for a cycle of modern fan culture. Since this was in the burgeoning days of the internet, these events unfolded much more slowly than in our social media and mobile-friendly present.
Whenever I go to Games and Stuff, a hobby game store in Glen Burnie that I’ve been going to for years for their incredible selection and friendly customer service, I have come to the sobering realization that there’s a problematic impulse amongst RPG writers and publishers that I call “D&D envy”.
Given the massive success of Dungeons & Dragons, especially 5th edition, a lot of publishers are looking to get a piece of the fantasy RPG pie. As a result, there’s a flood of fantasy RPGs on the market, too many for anyone to really fully invest in. Continue reading
I remember witnessing Milo Yiannopolous rise to power, riding the alt-right wave. He was known for being a provocateur and by his own admission a troll. He exemplified the awfulness of the behaviors addressed under the alt-right banner, sexism, racism, homophobia, really anything that you could suffix with -ism or -phobia was part of his repertoire. Continue reading
Genesys Core Rulebook and One Set of Dice. Photo by Dylan Greene
When I heard the news about Fantasy Flight Games’ decision to genericize the Star Wars RPG with Genesys, I was definitely interested.
While my experience with the Star Wars RPG was poor, I also took the time to read reviews and I know that playing with a knowledgeable group is key. It seemed like if I understood the dice system that I would probably have plenty of fun. I also didn’t feel like investing in a system that was only going to work inside the Star Wars universe, as expansive as that universe is.
I’ve watched Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (and its director’s cut version, Advent Children Complete) more times than I can really remember, and probably more than I care to admit. I’ve been trying to put my finger on what the issues with that film in particular are. Everything in my previous post still applies, it’s clear that while the film has excellent visual flair it still has problems using that to tell a coherent story.
But I think it’s hard to really comprehend this on a simple viewing. You have to really break it down in order to figure out where the film stumbles in terms of storytelling. To that end, I’ve broken the film down into scene beats, bold indicates a scene added or altered in the Advent Children release.
There’s something that I’ve been thinking about for many, many, months. I wanted to do a post on why, for whatever reason, Final Fantasy VII Advent Children doesn’t quite feel like a movie. It was a similar feeling to Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV, of which I discovered the root cause when I went to its IMDB page. Literally, all the team had experience with was cutscene work.
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children possesses the technical properties of a movie, and is technically proficient in its construction. It’s the most watchable of all the Final Fantasy movie, not as anemic as Final Fantasy: Spirits Within or as fundamentally broken as Final Fantasy XV: Kingsglaive.
However, in order for me to really get at the heart of what the issue is, I have to answer a question that no one that I’ve ever seen has really given an answer for or even really addressed: I have to delineate the difference between a cutscene and a film.
When it comes to tabletop RPGs, I didn’t always have the criteria I outlined in my previous post, but I actually gained this insight by picking up a game and then…well I never got to play it.
I frequently test the waters and do world-building by playing tabletop RPGs, and when I began my journey into Cloudrunner I didn’t originally intend on using Fate Core. I went out and bought a copy of Victoriana, as that seemed like the best fit at the time for steampunk.
Ultimately, both my players and I passed on the game, and I instead ran it in Fate Core, and that was a decision I’m glad about. But why did I veto this game?