Zelda vs the term RPG- August 2012 edition

Discussion in 'Computer Games and General Discussion' started by FAST6191, Aug 7, 2012.

  1. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip Reporter
    Nov 21, 2005
    United Kingdom
    Earlier today http://www.thegamecritique.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/RPG-Chart-Stephen-Winson.jpg * (it is a big chart showing what game that might gain the title RPG was influenced by/related to what) was linked up in the IRC channel and one of the discussions that arose concerned Zelda being included in the list.

    *original source for the data using it http://www.thegamecritique.com/recent-posts/the-rpg-lineage-chart/4392/

    Although I have personally being trying to avoid the use of genre terms, mainly as it is increasingly useless as time goes on, the discussion of whether Zelda might possibly not necessarily be unworthy of the label "RPG". however how it might be ill fitting is an interesting one and furthermore it speaks to the broader topic.

    The contention (from Jdbye in this case) was that RPG type games all but require levelling and upgradeable/customisable weapon setups and that Zelda lacks this and thus lacks RPG status.

    My counter (for Zelda being a RPG or at least able to be tarred with that brush) was that upgradeable health*, increased ammo capacity, gaining of spells and some upgrades for weapons, if not outright replacements, are maybe not functionally identical but not too great a leap.

    *obtained by beating bosses and spending time exploring the dungeons/overworld which is grinding by any other name as I see it.

    Thoughts from others on the positions stated or even better your own thoughts on the matter.
    EZ-Megaman likes this.
  2. Guild McCommunist

    Guild McCommunist (not on boat)

    May 6, 2009
    United States
    The Danger Zone
    It's not "unworthy" to be a RPG, that feels some insulting, like RPGs are some type of master class genre. It's just, by classification, not a RPG.

    There's no leveling, no stat growth, no nonliner path of progression (both from a level and character standpoint). Even games that are like it AND have RPG aspects (see Darksiders) aren't even considered (action) RPGs.

    Zelda is action-adventure. There's nothing wrong with that, nor do I understand why people fight to try to get it labeled as a RPG. It gains nor loses any status from having a RPG mantle on it.
  3. Tom Bombadildo

    Tom Bombadildo Honk!

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    Jul 11, 2009
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    I forgot
    This is a hard one...Because you're right, they're a few RPG "elements" available in the Zelda franchise like the health and magic expansion, but I think the weapon argument kind of falls short. For instance, the biggest "upgrades" you get in most current Zelda games are swords, shields, the slingshot->bow upgrade and..I dunno, I can't think of any others at the moment.

    But I don't see the problem with Zelda being an Action-Adventure instead of an RPG, it's not like it makes it any less of a good game because it's not classified as a certain genre.
  4. EyeZ

    EyeZ GBAtemp Addict

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    Dec 4, 2009
    When i hear the term RPG i do not think of Zelda, so i can say i do not class the Zelda franchise as RPG's.
  5. DragorianSword

    DragorianSword GBAtemp's #1 Gunter

    Oct 31, 2008
    Wow I would never even think about calling it an RPG.
    There are very few elements in the Zelda-series that I associate with RPG's.
    I'd follow Guild and Suprgamr in calling it an Action-Adventure game.
  6. yuyuyup

    yuyuyup GBAtemp Psycho!

    Apr 30, 2006
    United States
    USA MTN timezone
    Nintendo should make a Zelda RPG. Sorry if this is wildly off topic. Please report this post for immediate deletion.

    Also, Zelda 2 contains core RPG elements like Experience building, spending earned points, but obviously it's not a typical RPG.
  7. DS1

    DS1 伝説の雀士

    Feb 18, 2009
    United States
    This is a generational issue (both age of the people and the generation that they started X type of gaming). For example, Final Fantasy Legend (SaGa) was my first RPG, and because of that, my definition of the genre was formed as, 'game with random encounters, turn-based battles, formulas to determine outcome, hit points, gold received for victory, weapons and stats to purchase with gold' and so forth. Pokemon was my second RPG, which was virtually identical except that characters leveled up and learned new skills based on their level (in SaGa, certain classes of characters were randomly assigned skills, while others simply equipped magic tomes, and so forth). And then I branched out into Final Fantasy games, which are like the previous two, but with MP instead of skills that have to be refreshed or tempered. Today, a lot of internet people would call those games JRPGs to distinguish them from the first-person genres (both maze-crawl and free-roam), and then sub-qualify them as SRPGs, Rogue-likes, and so forth.

    Now, never once in my entire time playing those games did I ever think, "Wow, this is like Zelda!" These games existed as completely different genres to me, on account of Zelda simply being an action game played at a top-down perspective. Taking your (FAST's) parameters, we would have to consider River City Ransom to be an RPG (even more-so than Zelda, in that it's less linear, more stat-based, involves random growth values rather than a set increase, and so forth). Yet who do you know that calls River City Ransom an RPG? If we're going to go with popular consensus, it's a glorified beat-em-up. Heck, most people haven't even really played the game, and figure it's just a Double Dragon clone (and certain DD games, incidentally, have a level-up system, but that's neither here nor there).

    Of course, there's also the geographic aspect. I know people from other countries that call fighting games, "V.S." games, and anything that isn't Contra or a shmup an "RPG".

    And then of course, there is the "Well you don't really Role-Play in any of these games" argument, coupled with the, "Every game is Role-Playing by virtue of the fact that you aren't playing as yourself" argument, neither of which holds any water with me, because most of the people who make them are... I don't know, afraid of brevity and being understood?
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  8. CrimzonEyed

    CrimzonEyed GBAtemp Addict

    Sep 3, 2007
    Zelda have been called a RPG?

    I always though it was action adventure.
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  9. Originality

    Originality Chibi-neko

    Apr 21, 2008
    London, UK
    Zelda 2 was pretty much an RPG. But, as with others before, I don't care what it's labelled. I liked the Zelda series. I like RPGs. I also like RTS, FPS, action, adventure, platformers, puzzlers... ok, let's make this simple. I like fun games. Any further thought into the matter takes away the fun in gaming.
  10. DS1

    DS1 伝説の雀士

    Feb 18, 2009
    United States
    Yeah, but fun is objective. Genres are (or at least try to be, but for a few sticklers) objective, and are used to convey information. To further what I said earlier, if someone tells me that their favorite RPG is Zelda, there is a giant disconnect in my mind - Has this person ever played what I consider to be an RPG? Have they played every type of game, and just mentally combines them all into straight action (point scoring) and non-straight action (anything with a menu)? I'm not going to rail on them about how Zelda isn't an RPG because he's clearly got his own definition at this point; though if I were to recommend an RPG to him, I wouldn't have any idea what to say.
  11. Shoat

    Shoat GBAtemp Regular

    Feb 24, 2009
    Gambia, The
    When has the criteria for classification as an RPG shifted to "You need to have levels and upgrades and shit."?
    That is only a small portion of what makes an RPG.
  12. gamefan5

    gamefan5 Kid Icarus Uprising connoiseur

    Aug 29, 2010
    Somewhere in this Earth
    Gimme one known RPG game that doesn't have that.
  13. Forstride

    Forstride The rudder moves when I turn the wheel

    May 6, 2008
    United States
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Zelda is not an RPG. It's an action-adventure game.

    You can get upgrades in shmups, racing games, etc. Does that make those RPGs as well?
  14. Originality

    Originality Chibi-neko

    Apr 21, 2008
    London, UK
    Monster Hunter is an RPG... no experience or levelling at all, but it has upgrades and (wyvern) shit.
  15. Daemauroa

    Daemauroa GBAtemp Regular

    May 10, 2012
    on the otherside, God of War III does have an Upgrade system, A level System(sort of for weapons and you can collect stuff to upgrade your health, mana and item) and monsters that get stronger, but it doesn't feel like an average RPG, more like an adventure game, so I think it is mostly the feeling you get from playing the game that determines if it's an RPG or an adventure game.

    more on-topic : I do think that zelda is an RPG, because it just feels like it. yea, If you look like the requirements to be named an RPG it isn't but I don't think it really goes that way.