Why “the King” would be “teh n00b” at RPGs/SRPGs

July 9, 2010

NOTE: See this post on Bitmob. I keep Tweeting the URL to this blog post on accident :( Sorry. Will be more careful in the future. Or just wait til Twitter gets an “edit” button. Whatevs.

He *can* play ball, but rest assured he's awful at RPGs. And maintaining friendships :x

Lebron James taught me one thing with his decision (aside from the fact that he’s heartless, greedy and now officially a jerk): He and I would not play RPGs the same way. Sounds ridiculous, yes, but I’m pretty sure I’m on to something.

Sitting at a small local bar, my dad and I waited with the rest of the crowd for LeBron’s announcement. We were divided on the issue: I didn’t trust Lebron, and thought he would leave, while my dad blindly believed he would stay. The fact Lebron’s announcement wasn’t in Cleveland was an ill omen in itself (seriously, way to pick Switzerland Connecticut for your announcement).

Both my dad and I didn’t personally care about Lebron’s announcement—we were concerned about the city that was 30 minutes east of us. Cleveland.

Cleveland needs needed LeBron. While Cleveland does indeed have its highlights, those are mostly overshadowed by a negative image so bleak that even Clevelanders ridicule the city’s rep. For as long as I can remember (and long before that, to be sure), the once-booming industrial region has been riddled with problems to a Gotham-City degree: political corruption, crime, poverty, foreclosure, and homelessness.

Right: When Cleveland sports are winning! Left: Other days of the year.

But when the sports teams are winning, which is a rare and auspicious phenomena to say the least, Cleveland is a slightly happier place. The atmosphere is different. The air doesn’t feel as saturated with pollution and depression. You could go as far to say that for the last seven years LeBron symbolized hope for Cleveland’s luckless sports history. Clevelanders will miss that glimmer, that slight hiccup of positivity. Susan Orlean put it best in her blog, “The only good outcome is that Cleveland might now rally around this sense of injury and abandonment.”

So here is the point where LeBron and I would clash on the way we play SRPGs.

In videogames, I play to save everybody, whether its NPCs or party members. I’m the kind of gamer who will make strategic sacrifices just so all of my party members and allies come out alive and well. It’s not easy (or effective even) to play games like Final Fantasy Tactics: WoTL or Disgaea this way, but I feel better when my whole team only comes out with a few scratches rather than a few corpses. I guess I’d say, I play to win, but I play to win with the least damage possible.

Lebron, on the other hand, is playing to win and only win. That’s it. He wants a ring so bad that he sacrificed his relationship with an entire city (one that happens to be his hometown). He knows how much Cleveland depended on him for the occasional mood-lifting win.

He’s the jerk that kills 100 party members by a quarter of the way through the game just to unlock the special ending. The guy who has a backlog of items stashed because he can’t be arsed to heal his party members on his way to victory. He’s your disillusioned rival in PokeMon (don’t worry, I’m not going to go Professor Oak on this and dive into a lecture on love and friendship).

Now, I’m going to go rally around a sense of injury and abandonment before having a marathon escapism session into Disgaea Infinite. Let’s grab a stiff drinks and some tickets to the next Cavs vs. Heat game, eh?

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