A Journey into the World of JRPGs
Welcome to RPG Elements, a special feature where we explore captivating merchandise related to our beloved RPGs. In this edition, we delve deep into the history of Japanese Role-playing Games (JRPGs) with Bitmap Books. From its humble beginnings to its lasting impact, we uncover the evolution and legacy of JRPGs through hundreds of well-known and lesser-known examples.
A Guide to Japanese Role-Playing Games: More Than Just a Reference Work
Among the impressive lineup of titles offered by publisher Bitmap Books, one stands out: “A Guide to Japanese Role-Playing Games.” This comprehensive book goes beyond being a mere reference work; it offers an immersive experience. Unlike other volumes that rely heavily on screenshots, this treasure trove of text spans a whopping 652 pages, inviting readers to truly engage with its content.
Impeccable Packaging and Timely Delivery
Ordering from Bitmap Books guarantees not only prompt delivery but also careful handling of your investment. Each book undergoes meticulous packaging, ensuring its pristine condition upon arrival. With multiple layers of protective covering and sturdy foam padding, the books are well-protected during transit. You can trust Bitmap Books to swiftly deliver your order, whether you’re located overseas or within the country.
A Beautiful Addition to Your Collection
“A Guide to Japanese Role-Playing Games” is a visually stunning book. The front cover, featuring enchanting artwork by Stephanie Sybydlo, evokes a sense of wonder and nostalgia reminiscent of our earliest gaming experiences. The Japanese lettering adds an authentic touch. The book’s dimensions complement other RPG titles, making it an ideal addition to any gaming enthusiast’s collection.
Unraveling the Creators’ Passion
Kurt Kalata, the book’s credited author and founder of sites like Castlevania Dungeon and Hardcore Gaming 101, leads a team of over 30 contributors. Their collective effort brings together in-depth game write-ups, encompassing graphics, soundtrack, gameplay, and captivating anecdotes about development and the teams behind these games. The informative yet conversational tone makes the book accessible to readers of all levels of familiarity with the genre.
Setting the Stage: Essays and Historical Context
Before diving into the extensive collection of games, “A Guide to Japanese Role-Playing Games” sets the stage with intriguing essays that delve into JRPG culture. The book answers the fundamental question of what defines a JRPG, providing clarity and context for the following pages. A dedicated article traces the history of the JRPG from its PC origins in the 1980s to its evolution across console generations. Additional essays explore topics such as game localization, the significance of JRPG soundtracks, the influence of anime, and common genre tropes.
A Unique Organization: Themes and Franchises Explored
Rather than following a strict chronological or alphabetical order, “A Guide to Japanese Role-Playing Games” groups games based on themes. The book’s first chapter focuses on early Japanese PC RPGs, showcasing their journey towards establishing a distinct identity. Many of these games, unknown to Western audiences, laid the foundation for the genre. The subsequent chapters delve into iconic franchises such as Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy, Shin Megami Tensei/Persona, Tales of, and Nihon Falcom’s Ys and Legend of Heroes series. These major franchises receive dedicated chapters, with individual entries and spin-off titles receiving thorough coverage.
Exploring the Vast Landscape of JRPGs
The book’s longest chapter, appropriately titled “Other Franchises,” delves into the expansive world of JRPGs. With over 200 pages, it meticulously covers numerous well-known franchises, occasionally focusing on specific developers. Whether you’re a fan of Xenoblade/Xenosaga, Square’s Chrono Trigger and SaGa series, Mother, Phantasy Star, Lufia, Lunar, Suikoden, or Grandia, you’ll find them all within these pages. Even unexpected entries like Metal Max and Atelier receive in-depth exploration. This chapter also showcases the genre-bending spin-offs from popular series like Mario and Mega Man.
A Grand Finale and a Diverse Selection
The book’s final chapters shine a spotlight on games not covered elsewhere. Organized by subgenres, these sections explore action RPGs, strategy RPGs, first-person dungeon-crawlers, roguelikes, monster-collecting RPGs, and other miscellaneous titles. Popular franchises like Kingdom Hearts, Rune Factory, Final Fantasy Tactics, Disgaea, and the SoulsBorne games receive dedicated write-ups. Even the perennial question of whether Zelda qualifies as an RPG is addressed. Fire Emblem, Shining Force, Yakuza, Pokémon, Super Robot Wars, Nier, and Wizardry find their place in these diverse chapters.
A Masterpiece for JRPG Enthusiasts
Critiquing “A Guide to Japanese Role-Playing Games” is a challenge in itself. With its high-quality glossy paper and meticulously selected screenshots, the book offers a visual treat. While some images may appear dark, they come to life in the book’s accompanying PDF download. With such an extensive body of text, occasional minor errors are forgivable. Overall, this book is a testament to the passion and dedication of its creators. It’s no wonder that the first printing sold out quickly. Whether you’re a long-time fan revisiting cherished memories or a curious newcomer exploring the world of JRPGs, this guide promises countless hours of enjoyment and inspiration.
Disclosure: This article is based on a free copy of the book provided by Thumbuddy To Love.