43. RPG Wisdom

Roleplaying games (more commonly known as RPGs) are hard. Some are notorious for being among the most difficult video games ever. The final battle of Final Fantasy VII has probably provoked more weeping than all of Shakespeare’s tragedies combined. Players of RPGs become exhausted by frequent battles, vexed by perplexing puzzles and frustrated by labyrinthine dungeons.

Yes, RPGs are hard. As a gift to fellow gamers everywhere, my younger brother and I have compiled a list of ten golden rules (not to be confused with platinum rules) for players of RPGs to follow.

(Most of these rules can also be applied to the Legend of Zelda games, even though they aren’t traditional RPGs.)

Without further ado, we are proud to present our RPG wisdom and prevent much weeping and gnashing of teeth among the gamers of Earth.

Save regularly

Nothing devastates a gamer like losing an hour or two of progress when she loses the game unexpectedly or the power goes out. Save regularly. Saving the game frequently does much to save a player from losing her confidence, calm and sanity.

Be wary of characters with shifty eyes

Characters with shifty eyes are not to be trusted. Beware of them.

Explore everywhere

Players often find treasures or golden opportunities in unexpected places. It never hurts to look.

Talk to everyone and read every sign

When my younger brother was growing up and got stuck in a video game, this was almost always my advice to him: “Have you already talked to everyone and read every sign?” Apart from granting access to extra quests, bystanders and signs often point players in the right direction to progress in the game.

Spend money wisely

This profound biblical principle translates beautifully to RPGs. Let us say a player reaches a town, enters the armor shop and finds a shiny silver helmet for sale—a helmet far better than his beat-up old copper helm. He shouldn’t buy it right away unless he really needs it. Items in RPGs become obsolete very quickly. Odds are that the next town the player visits will have a beautiful golden helmet—a far more useful item than the silver helmet—on sale. Even if he sells the silver helmet before buying the golden helmet, the player will probably lose money. Besides, he might find a silver or golden helmet in chest somewhere and keep his money. Unless players happen to be rich, they should use their money sparingly to purchase only what they really need.

Stay away from Tonberries

Tonberries are basically pure evil. Stay away from them. While you’re at it, make sure not to attack any cuccos either.

Do not flee battles unless absolutely necessary

Characters need experience to progress. They earn experience from battles. If they do not fight battles, they do not earn experience; if they do not earn experience, they do not progress. Some battles aren’t worth the effort and some are too risky, but most battles are worth the time it takes to finish them.

Don’t be shy about entering houses unannounced

No RPG character minds the player entering their house and looking through their stuff. The characters controlled by the player are usually legendary heroes of destiny. Legendary heroes of destiny have the right to burst into houses uninvited.

Never fight a boss on a full bladder

Trust me on this one. Use the bathroom before fighting an important boss. Players need all their concentration when fighting difficult boss battles, and a full bladder is exactly the sort of distraction they don’t need.

If a damsel is in distress, save her!

As in real life, good things come to those who help others. In RPGs, players who rescue princesses or mow lawns or find missing children are usually rewarded richly—in addition to being heroic and chivalrous, of course.

This concludes our list of wise and sagacious principles for mastering the deuced difficult games known as RPGs.

Oh, I forgot to mention something—always check behind waterfalls. There’s always good stuff behind waterfalls.

What’s your advice for mastering RPGs? Let us know in the comments!

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