The GWJ JRPG Super Club 2.IVR: GWJ-Street 20XX: Welcome to No. Z Grind Theater! - Voting for Q4 in progress!

Hello! Yes, LastSurprise and I are still alive! We've been having some discussion in the background about maybe making some changes around here, at least for the next quarter!

We are currently considering three different options (which I believe have both been mentioned above already):

Option numéro un:
Go by franchise. In this case, participants could nominate entire series (Tales of, Star Ocean, Dragon Quest, Grandia, to name a few, and yes I skipped the biggest one on purpose) and everybody would choose a JRPG to play from that franchise.

Option numéro deux:
Go by genre. In this case, participants could nominate a genre (action RPG, turn-based RPG, strategy RPG, tactical RPG) and everybody would then choose a game from that genre.

Option numéro trois:
Go the traditional route: we nominate and second games, then do the ranked voting, and we all play the winning game.

With all three options, we would only do one thread, in order to keep the discussions in the same place, and not to spam the entire GWJ forum with JRPG club threads. With options number one and number two, in order to level up, participants would have to declare one game, and beat it in the next six months. I would add a caveat that the game chosen should be something that has never been picked in a prior JRPG club (sorry if you wanted to play Kingdom Hearts again).

So, thoughts? Concerns? Questions? Comments? Let LastSurprise and myself know!

Options 1 and 2 are great for me because it greatly increases the chance of me being able to participate each month. I guess option 2 would give more choices to players by default but may cause some contention as to what titles fall into each category. Option 1 would be easier to manage and maybe generate better discussion I think.

Of course, by far the most important and pressing question is, can you nominate multiple games for yourself to get multiple level ups?!!!

1 and 2 interest me, and I think 1 is a really sharp idea. As GT Chris said, 1 might generate the most connected conversation because the conversation would be themed around a franchise rather than a genre. People would have some flexibility to play something they haven't played before, and even some likely flexibility with game length.

Nothing wrong with 3 either, of course.

Mr GT Chris wrote:

Of course, by far the most important and pressing question is, can you nominate multiple games for yourself to get multiple level ups?!!!

No

A bit off topic but since it was talked about earlier:
TACTICS OGRE™: Let Us Cling Together™
PSN $4.99 (50% off, This price is only available from 6/8/2019 12:00 am to 6/18/2019 12:00 am.)

USGamer.net: The Top 25 RPGs of All Time #24: Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together

The PSP remake elevates Tactics Ogre from obscure forerunner to classic, and is a large part of why I decided to put it on this list. It packs an almost stupid amount of content into one game, encompassing upwards of 300 hours of gameplay depending on whether you want to unlock everything. But even if you choose not to plumb its vast depths, its still a very enjoyable tactics RPG filled with meaningful choices and challenging gameplay.

I think it couldn't hurt to experiment and go with choices 1 or 2. Could make it interesting. I think 1 might be better as it offers a narrower scope and there's not as much discussion regarding which game falls under which subgenre, like Godzilla Blitz said.

I'm not sure what problem is being solved or how these solutions solve things, honestly.

Now you all are like.
IMAGE(https://tse2.mm.bing.net/th?id=OGC.0b59a89e487270c0ef19b987480bbd70&pid=Api&rurl=https%3a%2f%2fmedia.giphy.com%2fmedia%2fMPOuXJG5A5HbO%2fgiphy.gif&ehk=uXNqosfNuq%2buO3k1ihS3aA)

For me, I personally prefer options number 3, our traditional course. I don't feel like the other options offer a structured enough system to really generate good conversations about a game, especially for some of the larger franchises. Like this quarter we've been playing Trails of Cold Steel, but if Legend of Heroes got nominated, we may have people playing Trails in the Sky (any of the 3), Trails of Cold Steel (either 2), or one of the other 9 games released in English (there are 3 more available in Japanese only). This could potentially create a cacophony in the thread, with people not really knowing who is talking about what.

There is also the problem of people talking about things happening in a sequel that may not seem like big spoilers in that game but could be a major thing in the first game. Trails in the Sky definitely comes to mind in this regard, as it would be very hard to talk at all about the starting of that game without creating serious questions/foreshadowing about the ending of the first. Sure, specifics may not be mentioned, but depending on how spoiler tolerant certain people may be, it could be disheartening. And this may be Legend of Heroes specific, but the interconnectedness of the universe means there may be things happening in Cold Steel that are based on story from Trails in the Sky.

I feel like the ranked voting has helped bring more people into the threads and some good conversations. The only thing I could think that could help with retention/conversation if we want to force anything, would be to try and balance playtime per quarter. So, if an 80+ hour game wins in one quarter, we try and aim for something under 60 the next so that people do not feel overwhelmed by the amount of time needed of they start falling behind. I know I am feeling the time pinch trying to finish off P5 this month but also keep up on Cold Steel and I am doing NG+ run of P5.

I don't think there's a perfect solution. However, lots of series do lend themselves to cross series discussion without fear of spoilers, Ys, Tales, Atelier, DQ, FF, SMT... Regarding retention, I feel like with the first past the post system currently, you can quite easily have players for 6+ months with nothing to play and at that point they are likely to drop out. Even a game like P5, one of the biggest JRPGs in years, had at best a moderate amount of discussion in the dedicated thread.

Malkroth wrote:

There is also the problem of people talking about things happening in a sequel that may not seem like big spoilers in that game but could be a major thing in the first game.

That's a good point. When bobbywatson and I were chatting about this, I hadn't thought about episodic games, but of course we'd run into serious spoiler problems if we did a franchise vote and something like the Trails series was chosen.

ClockworkHouse wrote:

I'm not sure what problem is being solved or how these solutions solve things, honestly.

Well, it may or may not be a problem, but I'd love to see more people play the games and participate in the conversations. I think both Persona 5 and Trails both had more engagement than some of the games that came before, but just as Mr GT Chris pointed out, even P5 had less than we might have guessed, based on its popularity. It's fine for people not to finish -- and that will always happen -- but I'd love for there to be more engagement.

Would you be happier with the more traditional nominating and voting route?

I think the case with P5 is that a lot of people may already have finished the game (such as I), and didn't have time to do another run through it.

Alrighty folks! After some deliberation, LastSurprise and I decided to go with the traditional route this time again!

So, nominations are now open! The five most voted games from March are back, and there is no need to nominate or second them. Here they are:

  • Nier Automata (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
  • Breath of Fire IV (PS4, PS3, PSP, Vita)
  • Final Fantasy VIII (PS1, PS3, PSP, Vita, PC)
  • Odin Sphere Leifthrasir (PS3, PS4, Vita)
  • Valkyrie Profile (PS1, PSP, iOS, Android)

Here's the process, in case you need a refresher: You can nominate one game only. For a game to be included in the final vote, it has to be seconded at least once. You can second as many of the nominated games as you want. You have until Monday, June 17th, in the evening, to nominate and second games.

Nominations... go!

I'm curious on what people are in the mood to play? With new Tales of game announced I kind of want to catch up on some of the older entries to the series.

Well, Tales of Vesperia was on sale at Best Buy, and I snapped it up. Looks like it's still half off, and more if you still have a GCU membership.

So I'll nominate Tales of Vesperia.

Fair enough. One thing I would humbly suggest is to consider doing the series vote on and off with the individual game vote. So, 3 months choosing an individual game, and the next 3 months would be choosing a series. Series should be non serialised only. The big games like the Personas or FFs would get played during the individual months while the series votes would be for so-called B-tier series that would never get up in an individual vote, say Ys for example. Assuming the interest is there of course. A lot of my favourite JRPGs are from B-tier series, but that may not be for everyone.

Anyway, just to test the waters I'll go:
Ys Origins (Windows, XB1, PS4, Vita)

I will second Tales of Vesperia (I have the 360 version).

I would like to second Ys Origin as well, but I've already played it two years ago, so I'm not sure I can second a game I don't plan to replay. (For what it's worth, I had a great time! Also, it's about 30 hours long!)

Edit: Ys is certainly a series I have interest in. I've played Origin and 1 so far. Ys 2 is on my priority list, but haven't started it yet. (I also own Oath in Felgana, IV, VI, and VII, but haven't played any of them.)

I’m a bit of an Ys fan. I’ve played Ys 1 on Sega Master System, Ys 1&2 on TurboDuo, DS and PSP (yes, that’s 4 versions of Ys1), Ys Oath in Felghana and Ys 7 on PSP, both of which I enjoyed a lot. I have Origins and Memories of Celceta on my backlog and I do plan to pick up VIII eventually, but will need to check on the patch status of the Vita version.

I do have Tales of Vesperia on 360 but my 360 is long since dead and I actually played the crap out of it back in the day. My Tales backlog includes Symphonia 1 and 2, Xillia 2, Graces F, Abyss, and Hearts. I would have loved either Tales or Ys as a series pick :).

Absolutely keen on Ys Origin. I've heard it's one of the best of the traditional games, and while I'm mid-way through VIII, I'd happily take a detour. I've heard it's a bit short and to the point, though. For better or worse.

(I also own Oath in Felgana, IV, VI, and VII, but haven't played any of them.)

Oath is what made me fall in love with the series. You must play it!

I'm curious on what people are in the mood to play? With new Tales of game announced I kind of want to catch up on some of the older entries to the series.

Yeah I'm curious about the series as well. I've played Tales of the Abyss which I thought was only okay, but I did complete it, so there's that. Berseria is on my list due to it being in a recent Humble Monthly. I've always just assumed they were a bit too simple and easy, but I haven't tried many from the series nor have I fiddled with the difficulty settings. I'll second Vesperia, and any other Tales game that comes up I suppose.

As for me, I'd like to nominate Earthbound. It's one of those classic games that I've always wanted to play, but kept putting it off due to the older, simpler mechanics. Perhaps if I had some people to chat with about it, I'd see it through.

You know what’s weird? Monster Hunter Stories was the runner up in ranked choice voting, but was not one of the most voted games initially, so it didn’t make the cut to be re-nominated automatically.

So I’ll put up Monster Hunter Stories.

A_Unicycle wrote:

Absolutely keen on Ys Origin. I've heard it's one of the best of the traditional games, and while I'm mid-way through VIII, I'd happily take a detour. I've heard it's a bit short and to the point, though. For better or worse.

Sort of. Any individual route is maybe 11 hours, but there are 3 routes, and they each have variations on the story and radically different gameplay styles, so you'd probably want to do all 3. I think I liked Oath better, but Origin is very good.

I'll second Ys Origin as well, I have it still sealed in the box....and the fact that it's not 100 hours long is a win for me, as for Tales of games only two modern games I haven't finished yet is Hearts and Abyss, I'd like to try playing some of the early ps1 and ps2 era games but I don't own any of those yet.

LastSurprise wrote:

You know what’s weird? Monster Hunter Stories was the runner up in ranked choice voting, but was not one of the most voted games initially, so it didn’t make the cut to be re-nominated automatically.

So I’ll put up Monster Hunter Stories.

I was wondering why it wasn't up there in the returning cast of games.

I'll second Monster Hunter Stories!

Updated list of nominations:

  • Nier Automata (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
  • Breath of Fire IV (PS4, PS3, PSP, Vita)
  • Final Fantasy VIII (PS1, PS3, PSP, Vita, PC)
  • Odin Sphere Leifthrasir (PS3, PS4, Vita)
  • Valkyrie Profile (PS1, PSP, iOS, Android)
  • Monster Hunter Stories (3DS, iOS?)
  • Tales of Vesperia (360, PS3 (in Japanese), PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch)
  • Ys Origin (PC, PS4, Vita, Xbox One)
  • Dragon’s Crown (PS3, PS4, Vita)

A_Unicyle: Earthbound has already been a part of the JRPG Club, unfortunately (back in Q1 2017). I only remember because I nominated it, then quit halfway through out of frustration

I am somewhat struggling with what to nominate. I want to nominate Seiken Densetsu 3, but considering it just came out (officially) in English yesterday (and only on one platform), and despite the fact that it's more than 20 years old, I'm not sure it's eligible...

So, in the interest of moving away from long ass turn based games, I will nominate... Dragon's Crown (Vita, PS3, PS4).

I second Dragon’s Crown. I think it was a PS+ game.

Mr GT Chris wrote:

I second Dragon’s Crown. I think it was a PS+ game.

Thanks, I updated the list.

This already looks like a great list, but out of interest, what Star Ocean game would people be most interested to try? The Last Hope is a prequel and recently had a remaster, so that seems like a good option.

I've never played any of them myself, but am curious.

bobbywatson wrote:

Updated list of nominations:

A_Unicyle: Earthbound has already been a part of the JRPG Club, unfortunately (back in Q1 2017). I only remember because I nominated it, then quit halfway through out of frustration

Whoops! That must have been before I was a member here (or just shortly after). Am I able to nominate Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 instead please?

This already looks like a great list, but out of interest, what Star Ocean game would people be most interested to try? The Last Hope is a prequel and recently had a remaster, so that seems like a good option.

I've never played any of them myself, but am curious.

Ooh, that's an interesting series I've not really delved into. I've heard the first 2 were released on PSP and are considered quite good.

Never played any of them, but the Last Hope looks interesting.

ComfortZone wrote:

This already looks like a great list, but out of interest, what Star Ocean game would people be most interested to try? The Last Hope is a prequel and recently had a remaster, so that seems like a good option.

I've never played any of them myself, but am curious.

I think a remaster of the first one was recently announced for PS4? I’ve had the first four games in my backlog forever. I played about 30 hours of the second game on PS1 at some point, but never finished it. Whichever one you want to nominate, I will second it.

I've played the 2nd and 4th Star Ocean games. They're definitely in the B-C tier of JRPGs, firmly below Tales and Ys. Star Ocean 2 is fondly remembered by a lot of PS1 owners I reckon, outstanding soundtrack but, even for the time, the story was pretty daft and the combat system definitely doesn't hold up now. Star Ocean 4 got criticised really harshly, one of the reasons I feel is that people seem to view the series as being more like an A-B tier series and SO4 is clearly not a game of that calibre. I'd put 4 ahead of 2 still. The combat is much more refined, if a bit repetitive. The story is daft, as was 2. The dub is pretty bad, as was 2, just there is so much more spoken dialog in 4. You can mitigate that somewhat by switching to Japanese (not on 360 though).

I've actually beaten Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1, 2 and 3 are on my backlog though :).