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In an Attempt to Make Amends, I Have Ranked Every Personal Attack on Me by How Accurate It Is (By the JRPG Article Guy)

Hi there everyone, it’s me. The author of the highly-controversial Every Major Modern JRPG Series Ranked By How Embarrassed You Should Feel About Playing Itarticle that went live on November 30th, 2023.

Since that article was published, you’ve all had a lot to say — and given me a lot to think about. Of course, as many of you have speculated, I was fired from Hard Drive for the poor taste and unoriginality of my article. Worse still, I’m still being punished by Hard Drive for my heinous actions as we speak. I type this article to you from a dingy cellar in Hard Drive HQ, bound to a mossy brick wall by rusty chains. My only rations are a small bowl of oatmeal hastily slid under my door every day — which the rats often get to before I do, and the flesh of a severed arm which has been lodged in the cobblestone floor since I got here, and that I have to pull up and put back down with my feet.

Today, I’ve been given my first hour of freedom in some time, but said freedom is dubious. Rather than see my family again or frolic among the flowers, I’ve instead been ordered at bladepoint to sit down and type out the equivalent of an apology, which you’re reading now. This is my apology to you; Every Personal Attack I Have Received As A Result Of This Article Ranked By How Accurate It Is.

#6: I Am A Pedophile

(My history of pedophilia? It can be yours if you want it! Search for it! I’m sure it’s out there somewhere if you look hard enough!)

Of course, it wasn’t that long ago that Xenoblade 2 fans outed a vocal critic as a registered sex offender. This was a genuinely very funny moment that I — as a spectator watching on, enjoyed a lot. It’s a common accusation; that anyone who criticises provocative character design or sexualisation in a Japanese video game must be projecting — and running from the fact that they are actually a pedophile themselves.

Now I enjoy a good chuckle as much as the next guy! But I’m afraid this is just something I can not let stand. I regret to inform you that I have no criminal record, and feel no sexual attraction to minors.

Truly though, I do hope you get one of these freaks again sometime! And when you do, if you’ll accept me, I’ll be right there alongside you sharing a hearty laugh.

#5: I Am A 35 Year-Old Who Says “Adulting” And Owns Baby Yoda Merchandise

It is quite astonishing the confidence with which people have made assumptions about my personal details based on my article. 35 year-olds who say “adulting” and own Baby Yoda merchandise are a very good target! I say this as someone whose distaste for Star Wars likely overpowers their distaste for Fire Emblem Engage and who finds the phrase “adulting” to be almost as embarrassing as most of said game’s creative choices.

Unfortunately again, I am 26 and in the prime of my life, and when I’m finally freed from these oppressive bonds I intend on taking full advantage of my youth and run a marathon so that I can finally feel the wind in my hair again.

#4: I Am Racist:

Despite my article specifically citing Yakuza: Like A Dragon, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Xenoblade Chronicles 1, X & 3 and basically all of Persona as cool games that I find to be very respectable — there is always a chance that I harbour some unconscious bias! But if we’re basing this on just our media preferences I think it’s unlikely given that my most listened-to album this year is Masayoshi Takanaka’s 1981 jazz fusion masterpiece The Rainbow Goblins, I consider Tatsuro Yamashita to be one of the greatest singer-songwriters of all time (and not just due to his seminal classic Ride On Time, one of the defining pop albums of the 1980s), that I count the likes of Resident Evil 4, Pokemon Heart Gold & Soul Silver and The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild among my favorite games ever released and that I hold Tetsuo The Iron Man and almost all of Studio Ghibli’s backlog in high regard as some of history’s greatest movies.

But I did make fun of Dahlia’s character design in Xenoblade 2 and suggest that Genshin Impact is a bit embarrassing, so it’s possible I am racist. There is an inherent xenophobia in criticising any Eastern media from the perspective of a historically privileged Westerner, especially given Naoki Yoshida’s recent comments about how “JRPG” has for a while now been used as a derogatory term. It’s unfortunate how such a demonstrably competent and creative artist as himself feels so surrounded by art that is often ridiculed. I’d further ponder that it’s unfortunate that some artists considered to be in his field choose to forego his evocative character designs and impressive worldbuilding in favor of huge fuckin’ honkin’ titties and innuendo humor, which muddies the waters for the countless world-class creatives who emanate from Japan. To this I think he’d say “the West has a problem with sexism too, and many other deep issues worthy of criticism,” to which I’d immediately agree and I think we’d shake hands and become the best of friends. Of course, to follow the plot of my little fanfiction here requires a level of nuance that I suspect some on X (formerly Twitter).com are not particularly in the mood for, so instead I say I am sorry. I will spend the rest of my time in my cell reflecting on the fact that I might be racist.

#3: I Am Not Real:

 

Well, I certainly feel real — but if we’re to believe physicist Brian Cox when he says “in science, there are no universal truths, just views of the world that have yet to be shown to be false,” then who am I to argue? Perhaps I should be forced to confront the fact that I am not real. In an allegory from Plato’s highly-regarded work Republic, he writes of a group of men chained to a wall in a cave (a situation I can very much relate to right now) facing a blank wall and forced to look at the shadows of objects passing in front of a fire behind them. The men even give these shadows names, they become these men’s realities, even though they do not reflect the reality of the real world. Perhaps Brad Waters is just another one of these shadows that I’ve been staring at my whole life? An identity I’ve created to help myself escape from my grim reality. Maybe I’m a pseudonym for another Hard Drive writer who’s long forgotten his own name — maybe I’m a collection of Hard Drive writers penning inflammatory things under a fake name to escape the consequences of their words!

Then again, Aristotle rejects Plato’s allegory of the cave. He believes that all people can find truth through merely observing and understanding particular objects, so maybe I am Brad Waters after all? The jury’s still out on this one.

#2: I Am A Soft, Weak Man:

This one’s true

#1: My Article Doesn’t Qualify as Satire and Is Simply Repeating a Bunch of Takes Already Beaten to Death by Other Talking Heads and Outlets in an Attempt to Get People Outraged and Talking About It:

Oh, yeah, this is definitely true. I mean I’ve done satire before but I just wasn’t feeling it that day. We’re doing a lot more listicles lately since our audience enjoys hearing from us on a more real level and I just wanted to cause some trouble. So I went ahead and took some actual opinions I had and just magnified ‘em by 1000% and also just slipped in some other takes I’ve heard that I knew would get you riled up. Sorry Xenoblade 2 fans, I know it must get tiring hearing the same played-out jokes repeated about you over and over again, but you react so insanely every time that it just makes you a really easy target. I hope you know that I do think all the other Xenoblade games are really cool! I know there might be a temptation to insist I’m “coping” or something, or that I felt the need to speak out because I was actually affected by your response to this article and am just doing a bad job of hiding it — but I hope it brings you some comfort to know that this follow-up was largely a result of the chaos-loving Hard Drive higher-ups internally finding your reaction to this article really funny, and encouraging me to drag it out a bit more. I hope one day you forgive me, and we can share a drink and admire Newt’s design together. Thank you!