Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Giant Robots & Me: A Love Story (Part Three)

When anime and manga finally got major commercial releases in North America, I finally got the opportunity to see the shows that sucked me into this as a kid as they were released in Japan. Out of necessity, I long ago became comfortable and proficient with watching foreign language media subtitled into English and in the early days English language dubs were truly horrible. (You want to know what that's like? Go watch dubbed anime porn. Imagine that terrible voice acting for Your Favorite Show. Welcome to old time fandom.)

So, at long last, I could finally start watching Macross without the changes Harmony Gold made to create Robotech. It began with getting my hands on Macross Plus and watching one of the most believable love triangles in the franchise's history to date, complete with a Redemption-Equals-Death climatic plot twist. I'd heard of Macross 7, and I knew of Macross II, but I didn't watch any of that until much later (and I still haven't seen either in their entirely). Instead, my next major hit was when AnimEgo released a remastered boxed set of the original Macross series on DVD.

Ho Lee Shit. Just the change in theme music alone was a major one. The other just how totally unneeded the splicing was; of the three components of Robotech, Macross really did stand alone. Everything that got neutered or Bowlderized for 80s kids in the US did not exist; none of those euphemisms were present. The original series did not sugarcoat what it showed to you, but it did exercise discretion in what it did show to you.

Then I got wind that Palladium and Harmony Gold made a new license deal for a new RPG, using the failed pilot Shadow Chronicles as the basis for the new product line. Well, yeah, I got into it. By now, the Internet was a very much a thing and fansites with official stats were all over the place. So, when I got my hands on this stuff I compared the printed product with the fansites; at last, no contradictions. Mecha had all they were meant to have, in the proportions and with the capabilities intended. Then the new gameplay stats did a better job of reflecting that, and the new character options sucked less.

Fine, I bought a bunch. (Okay, I have all but one product in the line to date.) I haven't gotten to play or run it, and that's because of that aforementioned love-hate thing with Palladium's game design acumen (or lack thereof), but it has informed my own tinkering on the matter. (Which I will summarize here: remove all possible Murphy's Rules incidents by sticking to a Ruling-Heavy design principle, and therefore only the minimal amount of mechanics required to answer "Did it happen or not?" and "Can I do this?" questions are present.)

And I would go on to return to BattleTech and Mekton after this, only now with a far more experienced and informed perspective on both the games and how I regard the properties that they stem from. I have a bare-bones approach to how I'd run a Giant Robot game in a previous post, which I'd like to try out in person sometime.

Less sperging over numbers, mechanics, and rules. More time being present in the virtual situation and addressing the matters at hand. That's what I want out of my giant robot RPGs--out of all my RPGs--now. If I want to sperg, that's what World of Warcraft is for.

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