So we know Neptunia
by now. Essentially a series dedicated to providing an imgur album's worth of cute girl pictures with some story and dialogue attached. Which isn't a bad thing intrinsically at all; you get people in with a surface appeal and then keep them around with actually meaty stuff that they sink their teeth into. Problem is that, with each instalment, Neptunia
tends to take the meat away and provide a whole new album with slightly touched up character portraits. What I'm trying to get at is that the series doesn't really do the whole "game world" concept justice; at the most basic level, it's just a vehicle by which to deliver cute girls (sprites) doing cute things (CGs). You wouldn't be missing out on much if you just checked for Neptunia
art on a Google search.
But I came across this quote a while back. It really made me stop and think for a moment. I'll share it with you:
Terry Pratchett, Hogfather wrote:“All right," said Susan. "I'm not stupid. You're saying humans need... fantasies to make life bearable."
REALLY? AS IF IT WAS SOME KIND OF PINK PILL? NO. HUMANS NEED FANTASY TO BE HUMAN. TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE.
"Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little—"
YES. AS PRACTICE. YOU HAVE TO START OUT LEARNING TO BELIEVE THE LITTLE LIES.
"So we can believe the big ones?"
YES. JUSTICE. MERCY. DUTY. THAT SORT OF THING.
"They're not the same at all!"
YOU THINK SO? THEN TAKE THE UNIVERSE AND GRIND IT DOWN TO THE FINEST POWDER AND SIEVE IT THROUGH THE FINEST SIEVE AND THEN SHOW ME ONE ATOM OF JUSTICE, ONE MOLECULE OF MERCY. AND YET—Death waved a hand. AND YET YOU ACT AS IF THERE IS SOME IDEAL ORDER IN THE WORLD, AS IF THERE IS SOME... SOME RIGHTNESS IN THE UNIVERSE BY WHICH IT MAY BE JUDGED.
"Yes, but people have got to believe that, or what's the point—"
MY POINT EXACTLY.
Many thanks to Taranea for introducing me to this quote by proxy via Burning Arrow, Wildfire Heart
because she ripped it off. Anyway, as I pondered this quote, my thoughts drifted back to Neptunia
for, through my fanfiction, I have shackled myself to this series instead of something better like Yu-Gi-Oh!
or Game of Thrones
. But why Neptunia
? Because one way of telling a story is through a video game.
Let's talk about video games for a moment. Unlike books or movies or songs, they have you live
a story. Take Mass Effect
for example; the world is constructed (partly) through your actions and they ultimately dictate the fates of those around you. Whether you get the ending you desire is dependant entirely on how you act as opposed to a bunch of arbitrary conditions that causally do jack all.
My point is, games are important because they make you
the knight that rescues the princess, you
the hapless child who falls into a strange new world of hurt to be healed. Most importantly, video games are important because it's because of you
that you get a happy ending. Stories help us believe in things that aren't true because that's how they become so. Video games simulate this very process.
It's not often you get a series that's perfectly well-cut for a premise that focuses on this idea. Not that I will ever expect Neptunia
to do anything along those lines, though. As a matter of fact, with the status quo as it is, I don't think it can. It'd take another reboot, or some gaiden game.