#AtoZChallenge: Reflection

A-to-Z Reflection [2018]

2018 was my fifth Blogging From A to Z Challenge and the aim of my theme was “to find the origins of online games, some relatively modern and some with ancient roots. Gaming might well be a modern take on an art that is almost timeless – storytelling” …

This was a perfect excuse for a writer to delve a little deeper, in some cases finding the myths and legends that had inspired a new generation of storytellers. I wasn’t surprised at how many had ‘ancient roots’, nor was I surprised that there were universal themes arising.

However, I was intrigued how many cultures were represented as I expected most games had Celtic, Norse, Japanese or Chinese roots. Okay, I half-expected Korean mythology to work in somewhere as South Korea has a large games industry. The surprise was (a) the cross-fertilization between cultures – see Z is for Zelda; (b) the use of less prominent mythologies – see W is for Witcher.

I was pleased that most of the posts inspired comments, even a little debate. However, I was amazed that J is for Jumanji,  K is for King Arthur and T is for Tomb Raider received none – especially when R is for Resident Evil received six comments, excluding my replies. (I replied to every comment.) Was that because Resident Evil is the most successful game-to-movie adaptation? Or was it because King Arthur has been overdone in everything from legend to Hollywood blockbuster?

Maybe I spent too much time trying to get the posts out. I admit that I didn’t visit many A-to-Z bloggers beyond the ones that I follow regularly – I have a lot of catching-up to – in the Road Trip. (The Road Trip is where bloggers continue to visit each other from May thru March.)

However, as well as my posts linking with my Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin accounts, I did manage to add my post-address to the Daily Lists as well to my comments on other sites. Towards the end of the Challenge, I was writing the following day’s post with a few hours to spare – and I consistently forgot the #AtoZchallenge hashtag, except on my Theme post.

My frantic approach was partly because I hadn’t even remembered to sign-up until mid-March. That began some in-depth research which included some ‘product testing’. I need to give myself time in future if I am going to reduce the pressure and visit more sites.

Looking ahead to the Road Trip is coming on May 23, I’m trying to decide which was my favourite post and why. Will the writing-related research or the gaming-experience lift the award?

H is for Hellblade or L is for Lord of the Rings? Or maybe something unexpected.

What would you choose?

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P is for Perfect World

P

 

The aim of my Blogging From A to Z Challenge is to find the origins of online games, some relatively modern and some with ancient roots. Gaming might well be a modern take on an art that is almost timeless – storytelling. A perfect excuse for a writer to delve a little deeper.

[Visit here for links to other A to Z participants.]

Game: Perfect World, commonly abbreviated as PWI, is a 3D adventure and fantasy MMORPG with traditional Chinese settings. This is a special game as I met my wife in Perfect World at a birthday party, and my elf Archer avatar took her human Blademaster avatar flying…

This is the third of the oriental games that I am looking at – this one originating with Chinese mythology.

Release Date: CN: July 2005; EU: 2008; NA: September 2, 2008

NA Publisher: Perfect World Entertainment

Genre/gameplay mechanics: Flexible character customization with twelve classes, each with unique skills and roles; large-scale territorial PvP; free-to-play BUT shop/boutique [pay-to-win culture]; quest or grind to level and develop; exploration; unusual crafting; pets/genies plus unique pet class (Venomancer); open world bosses; WASD point-and-click and auto-navigation; flying.

Setting: set in the mythical world of Pan Gu with attractive environments and semi-anime graphics. Chinese-style buildings and costumes.

Storytelling: The lonely first god, Pan Gu creates the universe, then a world out of his own essential elements: fire, metal, wood, earth, and water. But his world is largely imperfect—wraiths and monsters infect it like a plague. And it’s up to the races that embody Pan Gu’s vision to create order from chaos. Basic story is sound and there are clear threads, but also plenty of dead-end side-quest distractions.

Releases + Expansions: From the original release with six classes, there have been six further chapters that develop the storyline and introduce more races and classes.

Formats: Windows

Origins (Chronological) – The fiction is based on Chinese myths and the quest text reflects that. Unfortunately, this rich literary tradition isn’t used imaginatively enough:

  1. Chinese mythology is a collection of cultural history, folktales, and religious tradition that has been passed down for centuries in oral or written form. There are several aspects to Chinese mythology, including creation myths and legends, and myths concerning the founding of Chinese culture and the Chinese state.
  2. 618-907 – Hei’an Zhuan (Epic of Darkness) is the only collection of legends in epic form preserved by a community of the Han ethnicity of China, the inhabitants of the Shennongjia mountain area in Hubei, and contains accounts from the birth of Pangu until the historical era.
  3. 184-194 – Pangu is the first living being and the creator of all in some versions of Chinese mythology. The first writer to record the myth of Pangu was Xu Zheng during the Three Kingdoms Recently his name was found in a tomb dated 194 AD. Various myths exist. One legend is a Chinese version not only of the Norse myth of the Giant Ymir but also of the Babylonian story of Tiamat.
  4. 4th century BC – Shan Hai Jing (Mountain and Sea Scroll) describes the myths, witchcraft, and religion of ancient China in great detail and also has a record of the geography, sea and mountains, history, medicine, customs, and ethnicities of ancient times. It has been called an early encyclopaedia of China.
  5. 12th century BCE – Historians have written evidence of Chinese mythological symbolism in the Oracle bone script. Legends were passed down for over a thousand years before being written in books.

Recommendation: Neilie Johnson’s IGN review (29 Jan, 2009) said, “Perfect World is a beautiful, well-made MMO with a few of the seemingly inevitable flaws of the genre. While it offers all the mechanics MMO players have come to expect and allows you to see and do some spectacular things, it suffers from an inconsistent, buggy and obscure UI, an imbalanced levelling system and frequent bouts of quest-induced tedium”.

Sean Sullivan’s more recent verdict for MMS.com was ‘Good’, saying, “Maybe Perfect World was great three years ago. But it has aged and fallen far from its original standing. Its reigning feature is the character creation system …but beyond that, the game is a clunky mess. It feels dated, a relic from some bygone age that should only be appreciated at a distance.”

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4.35 Stars: Back in 2009, I went to Perfect World with my ‘guildies’ from Corum OnlIne, and was immersed in the story, characters and beautiful graphics. I created a pet-taming Venomancer [a female shapeshifting class based on the Japanese kitsune], and we formed a clan. Playing with others is essential as dungeons are part of the quest-line, and we had to know our job. There were also social occasions like the party where I met my wife-to-be – we first married in a Chinese ceremony in-game. (Now we game together.) Yes, there were problems that moved us on to other games – but not all PWI.

  1. Setting: 4.25*
  2. Storyline: 4.25*
  3. Gameplay: 3.75*
  4. Entertainment: 4.5*
  5. Genesis: 5”

Alternative ‘P’ thoughts:

P is also for Poirot one of my favourite detectives, whose appearances include the brilliant The Murder of Roger Ackroyd – but no games.

P is also for Pan’s Labyrinth, one of my top twenty movies – but again, I found no games.

Enter this portal to reach other Worlds in my A2ZMMORPG

Hela da

 

 

N is for Nexus

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The aim of my Blogging From A to Z Challenge is to find the origins of online games, some relatively modern and some with ancient roots. Gaming might well be a modern take on an art that is almost timeless – storytelling. A perfect excuse for a writer to delve a little deeper.

[Visit here for links to other A to Z participants.]

 

Game: NEXUS: The Kingdom of the Winds, alternately known as Nexus TK or simply Nexus, a pay to play MMORPG, is loosely based on Korean mythology and on a series of graphic novels by an artist named Kim Jin. Nexus is a classic 2D MMORPG famous for being the North American version of Baram, the world’s first MMORPG.

This is the first of the oriental games that I am looking at– here originating with Korean mythology.

Release Date: KOR: 5 April 1996; NA: 1998

Developer: NEXON Inc.

Genre/gameplay mechanics: distinguished from other MMORPGs by its 2D tile graphics, intense player involvement, a central storyline, and its manhwa-like style. Flexible character development system – four “basic” paths, four sub-paths each, plus a choice from three alignments symbolizing death, balance or life. Learn about moral virtues or obtain unique abilities. Player-run game through clans. Most players are known by others and are treated with a general amount of respect by the average player, so the fanbase community is solid.

Setting: Nexus is set in a land similar, geographically, to the Three Kingdoms of Korea. Other lands such as Han and Ilbon, though not present in the game itself, are often referenced. In addition to the three kingdoms, there are nine villages in which a player may live. Three exist for each kingdom, containing houses which players may rent for a fee. Homes may be customized as a player sees fit using “floor plans” offered for homes of different sizes.

Storytelling: Rich and well-developed – “At the heart of the stories lies the struggles of three kingdoms which fight to protect their lands from enemies across the seas or beyond the mountains. The heroes and adventures of Koguryo, Buya and Nagnang face threats from mythological and historical invaders who constantly attack the lands lead by King M’hul, Queen Lasahn and King ChaeRi respectively. Together, these three nations form a region of Asia called “The Kingdom of The Winds”. This is a place shrouded in myths and legends, a land where many heroes are born, rise to great heights and occasionally, fail.”

Releases + Expansions:

Development of Baram began in Korea in 1994 and the game was released on April 5, 1996. One year later, it also entered beta in the United States, going commercial in 1998.

In 2005, the US subsidiary of NEXON changed its name to Kru Interactive and took over running Nexus, Dark Ages, and Shattered Galaxy as an independent company’

Formats: Microsoft Windows

Origins (Chronological):

  1. Baramue Nara is the series of graphic novels by the artist named Kim Jin that is one of the origins. However, my internet surf failed to find more on what sounds like an interesting guy. Can anyone enlighten me?
  2. 1st century – The Three Kingdoms of Korea refers to the kingdoms of BaekjeSilla and Goguryeo. The latter was later known as Goryeo, from which the modern name Korea is derived. The Three Kingdoms period in Korea extends from the first century B.C.E. (specifically 57 B.C.E.) until Silla’s triumph over Goguryeo in 668, marking the beginning of the North and South States period.
  3. Korean mythology refers to stories passed down by word of mouth over thousands of years on the Korean Peninsula. These stories serve as creation myths about the world and origin myths about nature or the social world. The earliest Korean myths are rooted in Korean shamanism. Rituals that glorify shamanistic gods are central to the retelling of Korean shamanistic myths. Only a fraction of Korean myths believed to have existed in ancient times were ultimately documented by Confucian and Buddhist scholars, many of whom modified the stories to fit within their own belief systems. The gods and goddesses of Korea are the topic of this article on an underappreciated pantheon of deities.

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Recommendation: Well received on its initial release and with a staunch community, today the game looks outdated compared to modern games. Current reviews are sparse and moderate.

Alternative ‘N’ thoughts:

N is also for Narnia as in C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, mentioned under my C post. Or N is for New Hope as in Star Wars and that will be under S. Plus N is for Neverending Story, a wonderful book by Michael Ende and a good film.

+ ‘N’ Games played: Neverwinter.

Enter this portal to reach other Worlds in my A2ZMMORPG

Hela da

 

 

A to Z Challenge 2018 posts

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My March 19, 2018, post for the A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal day set me on a quest to find the origins of online games, some of these relatively modern and some with ancient roots.

Gaming might well be a modern take on an art that is almost timeless – storytelling. A perfect excuse for a writer to delve a little deeper. As my research continues, I realise that some games have more recent roots, but there are ones that go centuries back.

Soon after finding dragons living in the diverse dungeons, I discovered that many games have elements and more with roots in the mythology that enriched the lives of our early ancestors. Therefore, I could have just used a repetitive answer throughout, but I chose a more scenic path.

So scenic that I got diverted by the urge to start with at least one source material as that was a better opening. A case of DEA – devious experiment ahead.  Any ideas on which will be the diversion?

There was a point where this challenge was going to be called ‘Arthur to Zelda’. But Arthur must wait – like Charles – to be King…King Kong? Wait and read what happens when the sword emerges – and learn which sword rules.

As I write this, my A-Z list below is incomplete, so suggestions are welcome. I have forgotten games that I played a decade ago – like a few strategy titles. In a couple of cases, there are games beginning with that letter, but no interesting ‘roots’. Some of my choices might seem strange, but there is ‘method in my madness’ – like I’ve tried to choose (a) games with roots, and (b) games that I have sampled for hours or months.

For those games that I have played, I have attempted to give my personal assessment- stars based on the following aspects: Setting; Storyline; Gameplay; Entertainment; and Genesis. My supportive partner, Juanita has added her input as a fellow gamer – in fact, her experience is far greater than mine. P is the key to our relationship.

Here are the 26 letters that will develop into my posts for the April 2018 Blogging from A to Z Challenge, aka A2ZMMORPG – A to Z Musings Muster Original Roots Per Game:

A is for Assassin’s Creed

B is for Baldur’s Gate

C is for Conan Exiles

D is for Defiance

E is for Elder Scrolls

F is for Frankenstein

G is for Guns or Butter

H is for ……

I is for Indiana Jones

J is for Jumanji

K is for King Charles?

L is for LOTRO

M is for Might & Magic

N is for …..

O is for …..

P is for Perfect World

Q is for ….

R is for …..

S is for SWTOR

T is for Tomb Raider

U is for …..

V is for Vindictus

W is for WOW

X is for X-Men

Z is for Zelda

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