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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, '13, 1:13 am 
They were overused clichés in animes and mangas already when PSIV was made.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, '13, 12:46 pm 
tilinelson2 wrote:They were overused clichés in animes and mangas already when PSIV was made.


^This^


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, '13, 10:14 pm 
Hard to really tell what a cliché is really ! But that depends mainly of "personal perception" :)


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 1, '13, 1:05 am 
It is not hard to tell what a cliché is. For example, you pick up hero stories, how high is the percentage of the heroes discovering during the story that they are the chosen ones and you see what is a cliché. Or the number of stories where the hero or the love interest is linked to royalty. Or the percentage of heroes that are guys with a selfish personality and suddenly become aware of the urge of helping the others.

Compare that to, for example, the number of stories where the hero is someone already married and is not involved romantically with any of the companions. Or a game where there is no incarnation of evil, or the villain is not just a disturbed guy that happens to be the strongest person in the universe (save for the hero). Or stories that start as a small affair and end in a big drama about saving the world from destruction.


Last edited by tilinelson2 on Fri Mar 1, '13, 1:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 1, '13, 4:47 am 
Well said, Tili.

Also, remember that not all clichés are bad. They exist because it's difficult to tell a story without them, especially in genre fic. What makes the biggest difference is how effectively they're used.

R-90-2, you bring up an interesting point about Alys, and I hadn't considered it before. All of the characters in PSIV are more fleshed-out than the PSII cast, and Alys was given a solid background before the events of PSIV and her death. Her life was hard but not tragic, and she was in full control of her destiny, unlike Nei. I still think she was stuffed into the fridge somewhat. Her death was used to bolster Chaz into adulthood, and after her funeral she was hardly mentioned. I did like the acknowledgment that she exists in spirit in the Elsydeon, but she wasn't even a part of the epilogue. (Nei was never mentioned after her death, either, unless you count the Nei weapons and I don't, but PSII is short on script, anyway.)


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 1, '13, 3:18 pm 
Tanith wrote:Well said, Tili.

Also, remember that not all clichés are bad. They exist because it's difficult to tell a story without them, especially in genre fic. What makes the biggest difference is how effectively they're used.


Exactly. And don't forget there's a very fine line between "cliché" and "trope". Sometimes writers just simply don't have the time and the space to give every single character a unique, detailed history (and even if they did, the audience would likely get bored with tons and tons of backstory that's not all relevant), so they rely upon the audience's familiarity with common tropes to help move things along at a good pace. (If the writers take those tropes and follow the predictable route and don't do ANYTHING unexpected with those character "templates"? Then yeah, we're in cliché territory. How PS handles this is probably better suited for its own thread. :wink: )

Meandering back on topic, I was spoiled for the deaths of both Alys and Nei. Lyle's death surprised and saddened me, though. (Lyle is AWESOME. He is a DRAGON.) Oh, and I was sad when I thought Bernie was dead in PSO 'cause he's my PSO boyfriend, but then it turns out he's alive after all, and I was filled with glee!


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 2, '13, 8:18 pm 
augmentedfourth wrote:Exactly. And don't forget there's a very fine line between "cliché" and "trope".
Very true, and even on the homepage of TV Tropes, they insist that the site is about tropes and not clichés. Yet, many of the articles on the site are clearly about clichés to me. Basically, it's all subjective. (And about how these literary devices are used, but we covered that. ;))

augmentedfourth wrote:Meandering back on topic, I was spoiled for the deaths of both Alys and Nei. Lyle's death surprised and saddened me, though. (Lyle is AWESOME. He is a DRAGON.)
D'oh! I always forget about Lyle! His death was surprising. I thought he had come back from the brink after the Layan onslaught, and then he's a dragon (yay!) and then... he died. Whoa, wut? I guess since he wasn't in the active party when he died, and because his death is dissimilar to the way Alys and Nei were martyred, he doesn't come up in these discussions much. This probably applies to the deaths of Ayn and Thea, too.

Speaking of PSIII, I was also touched by Miun's death. She, like Nei, was designed to be tragic and an example of society's failure. But, I'm still moved by her character. So many unanswered questions there. Plus, I've had actual nightmares about wandering a desert for eternity, so that certainly is a factor. I'm not sad that she died, but because no one in a thousand years put her out of her misery (hey, there were people in Hazatak, not just service cyborgs). Not even the two previous generations of heroes who met up with her did anything for her.


Last edited by Tanith on Sat Mar 2, '13, 8:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 5, '13, 10:54 am 
I guess I was a bit too hasty with my conclusions... :misspeak:
Let's face it like this: both characters have inspired love in us and both are great characters in their own ways. I was shocked by both characters.

I suppose that their deaths are an example of how quickly the concept of tragedy has been evolving over such a short time; in 1989, tragedies in the literary world had to be strong and unexpected, like in real life. This also seems to be the case with the whole game, IMO, because it seems like the deepest and most realistic Phantasy Star.

In 1994, the definition had probably changed. Alys could easily be predicted (I mean, when she joins she's SO much stronger than you are, that was a pretty dead giveaway), though HOW she died was a major shock. To me, that tragedy seems more cruel: I hate how it first gives us hope, and then pulls the carpet under us, to make the pain even bigger. Still, it feels like the plot TRIED to force us to hate Zio by that, in other words: Alys died only to make us hate Zio even more. Nei died to make us love her character, and as an extra, make PSII so unbearably strong.

I also think Alys had more control over her life than Nei: Nei was born to die, and even if you kill Neifirst, she STILL DIES! Still, we cannot do much there... I'm thinking of finding a way around the tragedy, but I haven't found much... :(


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 5, '13, 4:02 pm 
I would add that despite gaming being considered a thing for children back in late 80s and early 90s, and concepts like ratings were still crude, it is obvious that PSII and PSIII were made for a different target audience than PSIV. While the formers look like sci-fi fantasy books for teenagers, PSIV is more like an anime for children and pre- teens. PS II and PS III raise questions and make social commentaries while PS IV is just an adventure were the heroes and the villains are obvious, there is a lot of light hearted scenes, goofy humor, romance, friendship, but it doesn't go farther than heroes overcoming challenges and saving the world.

None of the approaches is better, just different. So it may not be even fair to compare them.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 5, '13, 11:21 pm 
@The Reviver - I pretty much agree with everything you said.

Looking back decades after the fact, it's easy to spot the tropes/cliches/patterns and see what was heavily foreshadowed.* Could the case be made that Nei's death in 1989 was more shocking than Alys's in 1994? Possibly. I'll admit to 1) not playing PSII, III, and IV until the early 2000s and 2) not being very familiar with the genre anyway. These days, killing off a major character for plot purposes is nothing to bat an eye at, but there have been plenty of people over the years who have said that when they first played, they were completely shocked by the death of Nei and/or Alys.

(*Another admission - I'm TERRIBLE at spotting hints like that. I'm usually taken by surprise every single time. Oh well, at least I'm entertained!)

Now, back to the original question of which was more traumatic? I guess it goes back to which sort of trope (not cliché! ;) ) strikes your fancy. As mentioned, Nei is sort of set up as the tragic character from the getgo. Questionable origins, splitting from her sister, ostracized from society...even if she had survived, she might not have had the happiest of lives, despite Rolf's best efforts. On the flip side, Alys has already had success in her life and thus is inserted into the mentor/"cool big sister" role. Though they both illustrate some well-used tropes, in (over)thinking about it, the circumstances set wildly different tones. Rolf, the hero of II, only knew Nei for a couple months, where Chaz, the hero of IV, knew Alys for longer and arguably had a closer relationship to her. Do we empathize with Chaz, who has lost the woman who took him under her wing and turned his life around so he could go on to do great things? Or do we weep for humanity when Nei dies before fully proving her worth to those who scorned her and mourn the lost potential?

Obviously, it's all subjective. (And now my head is spinning a little from all this DEEP ANALYSIS.) As tili said, neither one is better; they're just different. Each one is going to appeal to different people differently.

@Tanith - I can't believe I forgot about Miun! I also thought her death was one of the more poignant moments of the game. *sniff*

(If anyone's interested, I do a weekly feature on my writing blog about tropes and their pros and cons. With luck, I linked this correctly, and it should bring you to all the relevant posts tagged with the trope feature.)


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