You know, one of the things that bothered me most about Final Fantasy XIII was the lack of towns, NPCs, shops and inns and so forth. There’s no better way to make your fantasy world seem real than by showing other people live there, that it’s about more than just the heroes. Obviously, in old-school RPGs this is balanced by the fact that the heroes can break into any home they see and take whatever they can get their gauntleted hands on, because it still all about the heroes. One of the reasons I love Final Fantasy VII is because every once in a while, if you talk to those townspeople after looting their homes, they’ll scream that you’re a thief (you are) or that you’ve taken their hard-earned money (you did) — but there’s no penalty in the game for doing so, and you can’t give it back, and thus it becomes just a moment to think about the morality of basic RPG tropes, which I believe Final Fantasy VII explores more and better than any other game, but while still being a standard RPG. It was a large section in my thesis.
Also, “sword of grandmothers” is pretty damn funny.
Robert Bricken is one of the original co-founders of the site formerly known as Topless Robot, and its first editor-in-chief, serving from 2008-12. He brought the site to prominence with “nerd news, humor and self-loathing” as its motto, raising it from total internet obscurity to a readership in the millions, with help from his savage “FAQ” movie reviews and Fan Fiction Fridays. Under his tenure Topless Robot was covered by Gawker, Wired, Defamer, New York magazine, ABC News, and others, and his articles have been praised by Roger Ebert, Avengers actor Clark Gregg, comedian and The Daily Show correspondent John Hodgman, the stars of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Rifftrax, and others. He is currently the managing editor of io9.com. Despite decades as both an amateur and professional nerd, he continues to be completely unprepared for either the zombie apocalypse or the robot uprising.