RPGs: A Genre Based off of Reality?

-Uriah Marriott

I found myself the other day admiring the stars and the beautiful weather, when out of nowhere this thought hit me like a meteorite. My favorite genre of videogames, RPGs, are formatted a little like life when you stop and think about it. You may find yourself questioning or even lost, but don’t worry you’ll get it soon.

Each RPG starts out with your character being level one, which you could look at as their first year of life. The character typically has basic skills like fighting, retreating, defending, and using items to help themselves and others out along the way. As you progress through the game your character slowly starts to level and become stronger and more defined, just like we do through years of our life. On average, each character will normally learn their first real role-defining skill around level five or six, which is the age an average child starts school and really begins to define their self as a small person, personally and scholastically.

Once your character hits the level range of the teens, the character has built the foundation in their path, for example, if your character is meant to be a warrior, he or she will know basic sword skills like a double slash attack or other various basic sword techniques and defense skills that help take damage for weaker characters. When a human reaches their teenage years, the adolescent will typically know the basic foundations of who they are and set forth goals for what they wish to become when they reach adulthood.

At the ripe ol’ level of eighteen, your hero is established and learns their first main defining skill for their class, which is also more visually beautiful and stronger than other attacks. Along with their first main skill, the character also gains opportunities to learn additional skills and this is typically the point in the game where the story and real adventure takes off. Just like when a child becomes an adult at the age of eighteen, they typically graduate high school. Life and all of its amazing lessons take off, whether that means furthering their education to be able to start a career later on in life or just moving away, getting a job, and starting a family.

From about level eighteen up to fifty the plot always thickens and the game becomes more adventurous with side quests and mini-games, and your character becomes fully developed into full-blown hard ass and has reached full potential, learning their ultimate skill. Once a character has reached level fifty, this is typically the end of the game and you are ready to fight the final boss. Starting at the age of eighteen and reaching the age of fifty, an adult typically has traversed some of the world and experienced new things in life. The adult has also established a career and reputation throughout their community, typically by choice, has started a family and reached their potential and goals they set out to achieve that were within reason.

Level fifty and up is typically the “golden years” in the game where the character will finish up any remaining side-quests and some new quests may appear after the end of the game for those gamers that want to continue on and just have fun. In life, around age fifty, you are typically setting plans for retirement and thinking about what you are going to do in your “golden years”. This normally consists of starting your bucket-list or selling your house and just traveling to see what you missed out on while you were raising a family and working forty plus hours a week.

There are only a couple of downfalls in life. There is never a “new game+”. You can’t start all over with all of the current objects, skills, and knowledge you have obtained. In addition, no one ever gains the ability to cast level 3 Fire or any other sweet magic to make your day a little easier and entertaining. On a happier note; most RPGs do have a “new game+” feature or at least had a great story that leaves you satisfied and hoping for another great game like that one will cross your path again.

RPGs are formatted like life but tend to be a lot quicker and more fun. They do tend to have a moral in the story that the player can take away, along with poetic lines of dialogue and humor that help the player appreciate life a little more. Next time you find yourself playing an RPG, think about how the story may metaphorically relate to your personal life or what character qualities you can take away from the game and add into your personality.

A lot of us have never thought about RPGs like this, especially non-RPG fans. How do you feel about Uriah’s thoughts on RPGs being a videogame-form of life?