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Blog 33: Excerpt of Article Featuring Seraphic Blue

Hi fans of Seraphic Blue,

Yes, today, I will be sharing with you an excerpt of an article that talks about Seraphic Blue. Before we get to that, though, let me explain what the article is.

This article is titled "Possibilities of Non-Commercial Games: The Case of Amateur Role-Playing Game Designers in Japan" by someone named Kenji Ito, and is featured in a book titled "Worlds in Play: International Perspectives on Digital Games Research". As the article's title suggests, the article talks mainly about RPG Maker 2000 (known as RPG Tkool 2000 in Japan) and things like how Japanese amateur game designers come together to create games, how they communicate with the community and release their games and how different amateur games are from commercial games.

Although this article is a tad outdated, it is interesting since it basically highlights how the Japanese RPG Maker community goes about and makes an interesting comparison to the international RPG Maker community (or more specifically, RMN community).

In any case, if you are interested in reading the full article, head down this link: http://www.digra.org/wp-content/uploads/digital-library/06278.00101.pdf

More importantly though is the section that talks about RPG Maker (Tkool) games and how different they are from commercial games. That being said, I'll quote the first three paragraphs of this section below:

Different mode of production, different economical and social dynamism leads to different products. Games of RPG Tkool, I claim, are not always crude imitations of commercial games. Being non-commercial allows freeware games to have more personal and artistic expressions of game designers. Although one might consider commercial and freeware video/computer games as the same digital medium, the messages that they convey often differ considerably.

Certainly, there are many that imitates popular titles of commercial games. There are many clones of "Dragon Quest" series, for example. Many RPG Tkool games were inspired by earlier titles of "Final Fantasy" series as well. There are action RPG's just like "the Legend of Zelda." There are even "Wizardry"-like games. Many games are, however, quite original and different from commercial games. Since the RPG Tkool does not allow its users to produce technically
impressive state-of-art graphic, users have to exploit other aspects of computer games in order to produce high-quality games. Narrative is one. Game design is another.

Since amateur game designers do not intend to make money, they do not have to conform to the taste of the mass. They can do whatever they want. Hence, they could include in their story, things many people might find unpleasant. For example, an RPG called "Seraphic Blue" by Tempura (pseudo.) is a recent masterpiece, which indicates the highest standard that an amateur game can achieve. Tempura is the author of two very long Tkool RPG's, "Sacred Blue," and
"Stardust Blue," both of which compete well with commercial role playing games in their play time, extremely complex story lines, and quality of game play. "Seraphic Blue" even excels these two in its innovative game design and masterful use of music and images. One of its most distinctive features is, however, the very pessimistic undertone of its narrative. The main character, Vene Ansbach, is a female seraph, and as the main character of an RPG always does, she is destined to save the world. In her case, however, she remains ambivalent about her mission throughout the story. When she was a human, she was psychologically abused by her father. After she was reborn as a seraph, she was treated like a lab animal again by her seraphic father. The latter attempted to train her to be devoid of any human feeling in order to best fulfill her role as the savior of the world. Resisting her determined role, she committed suicide by cutting her wrist, but she was forced to live. Throughout the game, a doubt lingers about the justice of saving the world at all. The game repeatedly asks its player whether the life is worth all the trouble it causes and whether we might actually be better off had we never been born at all. To average players, it is more depressing than fun to play this game. To some, however, this game conveys a very powerful message.

In any case, this article has already existed for quite a while, but I only share this now because it would be more meaningful to share it when the completed English game version is out for some time. That being said, it's always good to see that a game is featured in an article (or even a book for that matter).

Until next time, then!