What Are Your Thoughts on Grinding?

-by Dylan DiBona

A simple roadblock often happens in JRPGs and RPGs alike; you fight your way through the small baddies and finally come across a boss, and when you fight the boss you get absolutely wrecked. So what is a simple fix? Go back and kill more minions until you level up a few times! For some, this is boring and repetitive, but for others this is a way of getting more playtime out of their games. This concept is “grinding”, but is it a bad thing?

Image result for Persona 4

Persona 4, a game I adore was a necessary grindfest at times

My opinion on grinding is kind of like a see-saw; some days I accept and even like the concept while others I despise it like I always have. I’ll never forget having a discussion with a high-school acquaintance about Pokémon when emulators on iPhones became a big deal. It went something like this (The non-bold text is me):

“I bet you’re the type of guy who tries to avoid battles.”

“They’re annoying! They break the flow of the game.”

“Battles are the game!”

It’s such a simple concept but it’s true. I’ve never really heard anybody praise JRPG overworlds; those compliments are usually saved for 3D platformers and Zelda games. The overworld and towns are merely a point of conveyance and comfort to the player. Nobody says “I can’t wait to pick up Final Fantasy VI to explore the world!” Sure, exploring is a beautiful and essential part of the package, but it’s the new party members and abilities that are the meat of the game. Grinding does break the flow of narrative, but is it a sign of an unbalanced game?

JRPGs are usually all about the numbers so let’s keep with that trend. If you’re exploring a dungeon and the enemies are all about level 5 but the boss is level 10, that isn’t too bad. In fact it’s more than likely that the developers intended for you to spend some extra time killing monsters and gaining new abilities. But if said level 5 weaklings are accompanied by a level 16 boss, then something is wrong. There’s too much of a gap between numbers and therefore abilities. A boss should never obliterate your party in seconds; instead they should seem just slightly out of your reach but possible with some training.

Image result for dragon quest 2

Due to budget and time constraints, the original NES version of Dragon Quest II is unbelievably unbalanced towards the end.

The quicker games like Chrono Trigger don’t require  any grinding at all unless you’re strategically avoiding enemies on the field. For some, this is a point of praise because this means that Chrono Trigger is streamlined and almost deliberately designed with every step. This is the same genre that once had extremely hard to find directions, so add on some necessary grinding and you may have yourself an obnoxious experience.


So what do you guys think about grinding? Let me know down below and I’ll do my best to reply! As always, thanks for reading.

Community Blog: When Has Gaming Helped You In Life?

-by Dylan DiBona

Welcome my readers and friends to my very first collaboration since I started PlayingWithThoughts. Athena from ambigamingcorner and I are working together on a compilation of stories where video games helped us deal with a hard time or issue in our lives. But the thing is, this isn’t just a collaboration between the two of us.

We need you as well.

Don’t worry, every story will be labeled anonymous in the final project to promote honesty within our compilation.

All we ask is that your stories answer these questions and follow these guidelines:

  1. Has gaming ever helped you deal with a difficult time or prevailing issue in your life?
  2. Was it a specific game? If so, which game?
  3. If you answered “Yes” to #2, what do you think pulled you in so much? Was it the story, characters, music, gameplay, or perhaps a mix of everything?
  4. If there are any other details that make this story more important to you, don’t be afraid to share, like we said it’s anonymous.

If you want to participate, send your stories to either me at dylandibonapwt@gmail.com or Athena at athenatseta7@gmail.com

All responses need to be in by July 13th as the final project will be posted on the 20th.


Does anybody have extra comments or concerns? Voice them below and I will answer accordingly! As always, thanks for reading.

Note: JRPG JULY will resume next Monday, I screwed up and this article was supposed to be posted yesterday. Sorry for the delay! If you’ve missed the first post on Dragon Quest IV, or the second post on Persona, just click those links!

READER VOTE: New Name

-by Dylan DiBona

Hope everybody is having a great Sunday! I’m at a bit of a crossroad and I need your guys’ input. I’ve hit my first set of goals here on my site:

1,000 Blog Views

100 Followers

500 Unique Visitors

I promised myself that once I hit and then top those goals, I would buy an official domain name and rid myself of the “.wordpress.com” in my URL. My problem is PlayingWithThoughts is taken!

It’s a very annoying situation because I love the name for so many reasons; I always felt like the name could be explained in multiple ways. I’m playing video games thoughtfully, then in turn I play with those thoughts and try and arrange them in written form. But because I cannot use that domain, it’s time to look elsewhere. So here are some ideas I have written on paper (I want the main theme to stay the same):

  1. PlayingWithThought (No S at the end is okay!)
  2. InteractingThoughts
  3. TheThoughtButton

Can you see the trend? I’m pretty sure I know which one I want to go with, but I always value you, my friends, opinions. Vote with 1, 2 or 3 and then I’ll decide soon enough. It’s a sad idea that PlayingWithThoughtwon’t quite exist anymore.


Thanks guys for your input and your time! The new domain might be coming in the next week! As always, thanks for reading.

Gaming Question Sunday #8: Reviving a Franchise

-by Dylan DiBona

Hey guys! Welcome back to Gaming Question Sunday. Basically I’m going to ask everybody a question in hopes of getting a good discussion going on in the comments. This will be fun and also make Sundays a bit easier for me so I can focus on writing better stuff for the work week. So anyway, time for the eighth question:

What franchise that hasn’t seen a release in at least ten years would you like to bring back?

It may be cheating since it technically wasn’t a franchise, but I’d go Beyond Good & Evil because of its obvious intent on being a series. The original game was one of the best action-adventure games I’ve enjoyed and simply put, I want more.

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So how about you guys? Leave your answers down below and I’ll try my best to reply! As always, thanks for reading this week.

Gaming Question Sunday #7 – Unique Disliking?

-by Dylan DiBona

Hey guys! Welcome back to Gaming Question Sunday. Basically I’m going to ask everybody a question in hopes of getting a good discussion going on in the comments. This will be fun and also make Sundays a bit easier for me so I can focus on writing better stuff for the work week. So anyway, time for the seventh question:

What game do you feel unique for genuinely disliking?

Off the top of my head I gotta go Final Fantasy VI. I don’t like how slow the beginning is and the there’s so many characters I just can’t care about them all. I want to retry it again very soon though!

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Let me know your answers down below guys and I’ll try my best to reply! As always, thanks for reading this week.

Gaming Question Sunday #6 – Video Game World

-by Dylan DiBona

Hey guys! Welcome back to Gaming Question Sunday. Basically I’m going to ask everybody a question in hopes of getting a good discussion going on in the comments. This will be fun and also make Sundays a bit easier for me so I can focus on writing better stuff for the work week. So anyway, the sixth question is a tad cliché

What video game world would you like to live in?

I think I would have to go with The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. I love the idea that in this world anybody with some courage can take a blade and go out to become a hero. The reason I didn’t choose the land of Skyrim is because it’s always freezing cold and they have a problem of pesky dragons.

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I’ll be back tomorrow with normal posts, continuing my everyday schedule. As always, thanks for reading!

Gaming Question Sunday #5: Only One Console

-by Dylan DiBona

Hey guys! Welcome back to Gaming Question Sunday. Basically I’m going to ask everybody a question in hopes of getting a good discussion going on in the comments. This will be fun and also make Sundays a bit easier for me so I can focus on writing better stuff for the work week. So anyway, the fourth question:

If your collection was magically diminished to only one console and it’s games, which console would you want to be saved?

Nostalgically and logically I might have to go with the PlayStation 2. Aside from being the very first console I’ve ever owned, it had a gigantic library of great games. The variety of experiences on the PS2 is insane.

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Let me know your answer down below in the comments and I’ll try my best to reply! As always, thanks for reading this week.

Gaming Question Sunday #4 – Best Video Game Book?

-by Dylan DiBona

Hey guys! Welcome back to Gaming Question Sunday. Basically I’m going to ask everybody a question in hopes of getting a good discussion going on in the comments. This will be fun and also make Sundays a bit easier for me so I can focus on writing better stuff for the work week. So anyway, the fourth question:

What books have appealed to you the most as video game fan?

I’d definitely have to go Ready Player One by Ernest Cline; it’s an exciting treasure hunting book that takes you through both physical and virtual reality. I highly recommend it even for non-readers who just like gaming. A movie is coming soon so there’s no better time to jump in wither.

I’m looking for any and all types of books related to gaming, it could be behind the scenes stuff or design books.

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Let me know your answers down below and as always, thanks for reading!

 

Gaming Question Sunday #3- A Good Character

-by Dylan DiBona

*First off I want to apologize for missing a blog post yesterday; life kinda just happened. it stinks I messed up especially after posting everyday on my vacation. I’m keeping count of the times I messed up: twice, hopefully that’s all. I’m back home so expect some interesting topics again!*

Hey guys! Welcome back to Gaming Question Sunday. Basically I’m going to ask everybody a question in hopes of getting a good discussion going on in the comments. This will be fun and also make Sundays a bit easier for me so I can focus on writing better stuff for the work week. So anyway, the third question:

What makes a good video game character and why? List some examples!

I’ve been binge playing JRPG’s and visual novels lately and in most cases, those games are very story and character driven. I’ve met a lot of virtual people and a lot of them stick with me, but it’s rare that a character really blows me away ( it just happened minutes before I’m writing this). I would like to provide two answers for very different reasons:

Image result for link majora's mask

We all know Link, and it first it may seem stupid to choose a silent protagonist. I’m choosing Link not from a story standpoint, but from a design perspective.

Link is a living blank canvas, meant for the player to imagine him however they want. For some, Link may be a ladies man, for others he may be a hothead. There aren’t any signs in the game telling you otherwise. We know a couple of things about Link like his love for sleep or his courage, but other than that he’s like a ball of clay we can mold anyway we want.

Now for the other character…
Image result for bioshock elizabethElizabeth from Bioshock Infinite is by far one of my favorite video game companions. Not only is she smart, helpful and even sometimes witty; Elizabeth adds to the story and even adds to the main character Booker Dewitt. Simply put, she has a great personality, backstory and purpose.

Are those the three elements to a good character?

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Who knows! Let me know your answers down below and I’ll try to reply! As always, thanks for reading this week.

Gaming Question Sunday #2 – Your Special Gem?

-by Dylan DiBona

Hey guys! Welcome back to Gaming Question Sunday. Basically I’m going to ask everybody a question in hopes of getting a good discussion going on in the comments. This will be fun and also make Sundays a bit easier for me so I can focus on writing better stuff for the work week. So anyway, the second question:

What game does nobody you know in real life like, except for you?

I gotta swing it back to virtual novels. Much like I said in my Danganronpa review, I know zero Ace Attorney fans personally. I’d also add Danganronpa into the mix. I kinda like it when I don’t know any fans of a certain game, it makes it feel like it’s all mine, my special little gem.

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Answer down below and I’ll try my best to reply! Thanks for reading this week!