Friday Favorites: Weapon Triangles

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday everyone!

A couple of Mondays ago, I wrote about the Rule of Three, a trope that exists in many stories, movies and video games alike. Many video games have aspects that come in threes that convey special attributes about the game, especially when it comes to combat. So today I’ll be sharing my favorite weapon triangles from various game franchises.

Double Jump | Video Games | Nintendo | Triangles | Rule of Three | Triforce | Legend of Zelda | Pokemon | Fire Emblem

Grass-Water-Fire

One of my first “weapon triangles,” this elemental concept was introduced to me through Pokemon Red and Blue. Bulbasaur’s Grass-type moves were strong against the Water-type Squirtle, whose own abilities were strong against Charmander’s fire attacks, which were strong against Bulbasaur.

Sword-Axe-Lance

One of the first parts of the prologues or introductions in a Fire Emblem game tends to be the weapons triangle. Namely, how the three basic weapons stack against each other in strength. Swords are quicker than axes, which are too close-combat orientated to be hurt by lances, which are long enough to stab before a sword. Or something like that. A few Fire Emblem games have another weapons triangle with the tomes. Dark magic is weak to light magic, which is weak to anima — or elemental — magic, which is weak to dark magic.

Power-Wisdom-Courage

Not a traditional rock-paper-scissors scenario, the Triforce from the Legend of Zelda franchise is a favorite “rule of three” for me. Almost every game in the franchise swirls around the relationship between Link, Zelda, and Ganondorf who hold Courage, Wisdom, and Power respectively. The relationship between these three fighting to protect and dominate the world has never failed to create an enjoyable story for me in these games.

What are your favorite weapon triangles in video games?

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Rule of Three

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday, everyone!

Video games, like movies and novels, love to employ tropes — for the characters, the settings, the plot and story — because they have proven time and again that they work well. The Rule of Three is another such trope that, when done well, can keep us spellbound when playing a game.

Double Jump | Rule of Three | Three | Video Games | Tropes

There’s a common trope in storytelling called the Rule of Three. Generally, three similar events happen in the plot with a few changes to a variable or two. The first two events usually drive up the tension while the third event gives a twist on the outcome. It’s a tried and true trope, and video games have plenty of instances of threes in them.

This Rule of Three is as old as the common trio of warrior, mage, and rogue in most RPGs. They work in tandem personifying the classic stats of defense, attack, and speed. Or, if you wanted to go a step further, as physical attacks, special attacks, and perhaps skill or evasiveness. It’s common for side quests to have three parts, with the final task being the most important, or for final bosses to be fought in three phases. In racing games, three laps is the usual length for the course, and games with branching story lines tend to have good, bad, and neutral endings.

Many RPGs tend to have three members of a party out in a battle at once, such as Kingdom Hearts with Sora, Goofy, and Donald, or Super Mario RPG, where Mario and two other members can battle at once. The Legend of Zelda has the Triforce with Courage, Wisdom, and Power, each based upon one of their patron goddesses and personified by the three main characters of most of the games. Even the Harry Potter mobile game uses this trope with your character’s personality being shaped by how strong your courage, knowledge, and empathy are based on your choices in classes and interactions with other characters. Even duels in the game are performed by choosing sneaky, defensive, or aggressive spells, another rule of three.

The Pokemon core games have had trios up until the fifth generation when they ended the trend and gave us Black 2 and White 2. On that note, it is the last three Pokemon generations are the ones where we did not get a third title (Nintendo, I’m still waiting for my Gray, Z, and Eclipse games!). The generations that did have three titles tended to have more in-depth story elements in the third titles as well — while Yellow had Pikachu as the starter Pokemon, Crystal, Emerald, and Platinum each starred the third Legendary in a deeper plot. Pokemon GO has the three teams in Valor, Instinct, and Mystic.

Three seems to be the magic number when it comes to video game aspects.

Have you noticed the Rule of Three in your favorite video game? Do you think this trope works well?

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Game Within a Game

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday! Is everyone ready for the summer?

Here on the east coast in North America, we’ve been getting… interesting weather. Nothing too fancy, just the temperatures going up and down like a roller coaster lately instead of the warmer weather that so many people like about the summer. Summer also generally means vacations and breaks from everyday life. Some video games do something similar where they put a “game within a game.”

Double Jump | Video Games | Super Mario | Mini Game
Beetle Mania from Super Mario RPG

There are plenty of video games out there with little mini games or “games within the game” to help break up the monotony of the story line or actions of the main game. Some mini games have relevance to the original game at hand — such as Final Fantasy’s VII chocobo racing — but others are there just as Easter Eggs or for fun.

One such game is Beetle Mania in Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. For five hundred coins after the Marrymore section of the game, Mario can buy a Game Boy from a Toad child at the Mushroom Kingdom Inn. The game is simple enough in which you control a little beetle at the bottom of the screen and shoot little stars at falling red koopa shells. The koopa shells explode for points and, if they are near other koopa shells, may start a chain reaction for higher points.

Beetle Mania has absolutely no relevance to the plot of Super Mario RPG, but it’s a fun break from chasing after Star Pieces.

The original Animal Crossing also had a bunch of classic NES games that you could decorate your house with and play, such as Balloon Fighter and Donkey Kong Jr. Math. New Leaf also included a couple of new games, such as one based off of Panel de Pon titled Puzzle League. Likewise, the popular Stardew Valley also has a couple of arcade games that one can play while hanging out in the Saloon.

What other “games within a game” can you think of? Any favorites?

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Gender Tropes

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday, everyone! I hope everyone had a lovely holiday weekend. Going off of last week’s post about Healer Tropes, I thought I would share my thoughts on Gender Tropes. Remember, kids, sexism shouldn’t have a place in the real world or video game worlds!

When I was writing up my Fire Emblem Fates review, one of the biggest issue I had with the newest trio of Fire Emblem games was the treatment of the sister characters from the two quartets of the avatar’s siblings.

From Nohr was Camilla and Elise, while Hinoka and Sakura were from Hoshido. I felt that they got a bit pushed to the side after being created to be the cute healers and tough female warriors. It was the brothers that got more development, that were the wielders of the other divine weapons, that had stronger ties to the avatar character. While I enjoyed all the characters for the most part, I still maintain that it may have worked better if the royal siblings were cut in half, with one side having an older sister and younger brother while the other side had the older brother and younger sister.

Thinking back on my Healer Tropes post where I mentioned both Elise and Sakura, I also realized that the brothers also followed stereotypical male tropes as well. The strong older brothers are the leaders, Leo is the cool, calculating, aloof character, and Takumi is the brooding, hotheaded one. Many of the other Fire Emblem games have the older brother characters as the leaders, as the strong ones, while the women tend to favor gentler routes.

Case in point is the cover of Shadows of Valentia. Alm is with his sword, a fighter, while Celica is praying, looking much more passive. I wonder what would have happened had the game switched it up, with the woman being the more aggressive while the man is gentler.

With the brief introduction of the Champion characters in Breath of the Wild, I’m finding that they also follow typical gender tropes. While I personally haven’t met all of them in-game yet, plenty of Internet sources have given me a glimpse of the Champions’ personalities. Mipha and Urbosa are common female tropes, being the gentle, soft-spoken healer and tough, action woman. Daruk appears to be the jolly, father figure and Revali is the arrogant bad boy.

Mr. Panda actually made a comment on the Healer Tropes regarding how White Mages in Final Fantasy games are always female, and how he’s waiting for the day that they can be male as well. Something that I believe Fates did right was take off the gender-restricted classes, such as having a male Pegasus Knight and a female Fighter. It’s a step in the right direction to help combat the more common gender tropes found in video games.

There are always exceptions, of course, and I understand that gifting every video game character a full-fledged developmental arc within the game would be a bit time-consuming. However, as a gamer whose favorite element of a game is the story and the characters, I would like to see more characters having their personalities be based on their thoughts rather than their genders.

What kind of common gender tropes are in your favorite games? Any examples of games that break the normal tropes?

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Healer Tropes

Double Jump Kris MiiIt’s another Monday, and how I wish I could just continue to submerge myself in video game worlds, like Breath of the Wild. There are so many characters to meet there, from all the named NPCs to those who have a more direct role in the story. Yet, even with how unique everyone seems, there still seems to be those who fall into tropes and cliched formulas…

205px-botw_mipha_artworkOn our journey throughout Hyrule in Breath of the Wild, we recently reached Zora’s Domain, learning a bit more of the Divine Beasts and the Zoras role in trying to fight against Calamity Ganon 100 years in the past. The adorable Zora that we saw in the trailers was Princess Mipha, one of the Champions who had controlled one of the Divine Beasts to aid Princess Zelda and Link. From the Zora elders, we’ve learned that Mipha had been a kind, gentle healer.

While Mipha looks adorable and I’m sure I’ll love her character whenever we fully meet her in the game, I was a little exasperated at her following the typical healer trope in video games. Healers are, generally, small, female, and cute. Their main personality trait is either shy or cheerful.

The past few Fire Emblem games followed the same formula with the younger sisters of the main character — Path of Radiance/Radiant Dawn has Mist, Awakening has Lissa, and the Fates trio have Sakura and Elise. While I thought their characters were fine and I liked them, I feel as if the healer characters following these tropes aren’t very memorable.

I preferred the healers who could not only heal but also pack a punch, who may have had a gentle bedside manner when treating wounds but also weren’t shy in calling their teammates idiots for taking unnecessary risks.

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Like Mirabelle and Brady from Awakening, ones who had sass with their class and a few different facets to their personalities. Jakob from Fates was another I liked, one who was loyal to the main character but didn’t take any lip from any other character. Princess Peach (rather, Princess Toadstool as she was known back when) as the healer in Super Mario RPG was fantastic as well — she heard about the trouble in the kingdom, wouldn’t take no as an answer in joining the party, and kept everyone healed while also tossing bombs at their opponents.

The trope works in most cases, of course, otherwise it still wouldn’t be around today. But I would much rather have a healer who breaks the tropes, a healer who uses most of his/her powers healing his/her own wounds, a healer whose staff breaks not from using healing spells but from walloping enemies on the head.

Are there any overused character tropes in video games you think could use some switching up? Any favorite tropes that you want to see more of in games?

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