I had to write this as a reply to the numerous threads in general games discussion,about whatever happened to real role-playing games and how anything that is not in the Final Fantasy-Dragon Warrior mode is not a real role-playing game or if they do aknowledge them they act as if they are somehow inferior.
First,let us examine the term Role-Playing,or role-play. Whether in a video game,pen and paper,or completely outside the world of games,in lets say therapy,to role play would be to take on a persona or role,usually self created but not always,and interact the way that persona would instead of as you would.
So in that context,the so called western RPG, actually fits the definition a lot better,though the traditional japanese RPG does fit also.Where the WRPG usually gives you more character choices,options and freedom,thereby opening the imagination of the player,the JRPG still fits,because to get the full effects of say FFVII and truly feel the game,your not supposed to look at it as controlling cloud,your supposed to BE cloud.
All the other mechanics and gameplay sytems really dont mean much. Turn based or action,level up by points or doing things,fantasy or futuristic,its all irevalent. Thats just game mechanics,the true test is do you aquire a role and fufill the desires of the gameworld based on that role you assume.
To further my point and nail it at the same time,lets talk about a true role-playing game you would never think of as role-playing game. Its called Madden all star mode. Dont believe me? Well you create a player from scratch,you train him,choose your agent,choose your events and how to respond,participate in the combine,then get drafted. From that point you must combine practice and events,plus play on gameday,all by yourself not the rest of the team,though your success points from practice can be used to help your team.
Last I checked,that is role-playing,the mechanics are different,football not fantasy turn based battles,or first person real time,but its definitley role-playing. So maybe instead of focusing on the game mechanics,people should start to realize that role-playing is based on how you relate and interact with the game world,not setting,theme,or interface.
Just my two cents,but I really had to get that out there. If you liked this blog please recommend it to others, I do not get a lot of readers,but I think this is something more gamers should think about.