Creativity Comes Out When Something is Limited

I find myself wanting to play older RPG’s more often lately. These games told incredible stories and had great atmosphere without the need for realistic graphics found in today’s games. They are still captivating and fun to play even now, despite their seemingly limited technology.

RPGs greatest attributes are the sense of fantasy and wonder they convey. Sure, they need to be able to set the scene and portray interesting characters, but leaving some things to the player’s imagination enhances the experience. With the limited hardware available, designers had to think of creative ways to draw players into deep stories and evoke emotion.

Music is something that has been downplayed in modern games. Without the use of voice acting seen in recent RPGs, the musical score of older RPGs had to add to the character of the game and enhance certain scenes. Many locations, events and characters are memorable based purely on the music that accompanies them. The music itself was limited through the hardware capabilities, yet this often let to creative arrangements and simple catchy melodies that made them instantly stand out.

Graphics were created to engage the player and present them with an enticing world beyond their own, but still left enough to allow imagination to run wild. This led to players having a more original and personal experience, not unlike visualising characters in a classic book. Without the need to have extremely realistic graphics, more risks could be made with locations and stories and more time could be spent on creating various innovative game play mechanics. It meant RPGs would have an epic scale and a world that felt enormous.

I guess I dream of returning to the days when discovery and exploration was a main feature in RPGs. The adventure seemed endless and rewarding and the experience was as much about learning of the character’s stories, as it was about imagining it. Make sure to play some classic RPGs as they were made with true creativity and offer some unforgettable experiences.



Filed under Chrono Series, Editorial, Final Fantasy Series, Music

7 responses to “Creativity Comes Out When Something is Limited

  1. Wilde

    So true. Too much time spent on visuals these days. Also, it was always interesting to think about how certain characters would sound etc before the days of voice-overs…

  2. Very true. Some people won’t play old games because the graphics aren’t as good, but graphics and voice acting and everything aren’t what’s important. FFVII, for example, had much more memorable music than the much more recent FFXIII, despite one being so much newer. And there are games today where characters look real, but they don’t seem that real. Sometimes, the characters just seem stiff and dead despite looking much more realistic. I loved the simple characters of FFVII because I thought they had more personality.

    • Completely agree, Final Fantasy VII had so much more personality than XIII. Despite the older technology, the music, characters and atmosphere was miles ahead. Cloud could show more personality with a wave of his blocky hand through his impossibly spikey hair than any amount of voice acting and motion capture does these days. It seems that the more realistic designers try to make characters the more fantasy and fun they lose, great comment!

    • 0perario

      I would even say that RPG characters nowadays LOOK very real, but hardly ever FEEL real

  3. 0perario

    Hello Trigger7. I just found out about your website today and even posted comments on other topics. From what I’ve seen it looks like it’s semi-abandoned… No updates in 3 or 4 months, which is a pity. A lot of interesting material here. We seem to share our opinions on most things regarding rpgs.

    My reason for addressing you directly is this: it is very noticeable that RPGS have been in steady decline since at least the release of FFXI. Everybody who ever enjoyed RPGS feels sort of orphaned nowadays. We have extremely fond memories and these games were a rather important part of our formation (I’m a brazilian 26-years-old male, by the way. No HUEHUEHUE BR BR though… Hahaha). But we can’t seem to be able to put in words just what EXACTLY the hell is wrong with modern rpgs. And this is when I direct you to Pitchfork’s UNBELIEVABLE series titled “The Rise and Fall of Final Fantasy”. Perhaps you’re even familiar with it already, I don’t know. I regard it as the purest expression of the collective thoughts of those who grew up with Final Fantasy games, loved them, and are somewhat dissatisfied (to put it mildly) with the way things are now. You should definitely read it if you haven’t yet. It’s quite long, but entertaining all along (tip: don’t bother going in chronological order. Read the entries on your favourite ones first. Otherwise you might get a bit bored ’cause it’s really, really long). Anyway, just head over to (which is also semi-abandoned by the way) and search the articles. He also has very interesting articles on Trigger and Cross. Shouldn’t miss out on those either.

    Maybe you’re not even gonna read this… But as a fellow Final Fantasy journeymate (ha!) I felt compelled to share it with you. It is my honest opinion that EVERY Final Fantasy fan should read it.

    Cheers mate! Please keep updating the website if you can.

    • Hey 0perario, Thanks so much for your great comments, I will get around to responding to them all. I have been busy lately and just got back from overseas, so I will definitely be back into updating the website, so stay tuned it’s not abandoned. I have read all of the articles on and their “Rise and Fall of Final Fantasy” was one of the inspirations for my articles on the “The Rise of Squaresoft”. Absolutely fantastic writing and I’m glad you recommended it. Look forward to your future comments and responses!

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