An anomaly in the Lunar series

For discussion of Lunar: The Silver Star, the original game for the Sega CD
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Shinto-Cetra
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An anomaly in the Lunar series

Postby Shinto-Cetra » Thu Sep 06, 2018 2:39 am

Upon finishing TSS for the second time I realize what is so good about it overall to me. It’s an anomaly, in that virtually every Lunar (and some later games like Grandia II) game by GameArts are very preachy, with “power of humanity/human spirit/human heart” speeches, that are nonexistent in TSS. Between this and the later-censored blood, It seems to me like L:TSS is aimed at an older teenage or even college crowd, whereas most later games are aimed at children and preteens (the original EB is kinda in-between from what I've played-there is some blood but also much preachiness.) Lunar: The Silver Star also has plotlines plays out logically for a fantasy world. Alex is able to become Dragonmaster, because Ghaleon miscalculated and didn’t realize Nall was also a Dragon (which is vaguely hinted at beforehand.) There’s no dragon’s blood fueling the Grindery that somehow resurrects Althena’s tower. There is no similar instance to Hiro and Co. just regaining their stolen magic cause “Power of Humanity!” Alex, Mia, and Jess figuratively whip Kyle and Nash into shape when they give up near the end, no magic involved. I’ve spoken at length on how I hate what the remake did to Xenobia and the Vile tribe, Ghaleon, and Nash. But this is something that I only realized more recently. I really wish the later games weren’t so preachy and used less Deus ex Machina.

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Kizyr
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Re: An anomaly in the Lunar series

Postby Kizyr » Fri Sep 07, 2018 3:46 am

Some of this may have been unintentional!

Shigema's often said that SSS is what he wanted TSS to be, if he had fewer constraints -- either technically (from limitations of the Sega CD or development time) or in terms of scale of the story. Thing is, though, constraints often can breed a lot of creativity: IMO a lot of the beauty of chiptunes is figuring out what you can do with limited hardware, and having constraints on how detailed you can make a story forces you to make skillful edits and design choices.

So with TSS, I think we're given a story that has to rely on context and guiding the player without overly explaining every detail. I'm not trying to be all "the older games were better", but it's an aspect that I think is the number-one reason that so many older games still are enjoyable to play. Because these constraints actually made the story better.
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Re: An anomaly in the Lunar series

Postby Shinto-Cetra » Fri Sep 07, 2018 4:57 am

Kizyr wrote:Some of this may have been unintentional!

Shigema's often said that SSS is what he wanted TSS to be, if he had fewer constraints -- either technically (from limitations of the Sega CD or development time) or in terms of scale of the story. Thing is, though, constraints often can breed a lot of creativity: IMO a lot of the beauty of chiptunes is figuring out what you can do with limited hardware, and having constraints on how detailed you can make a story forces you to make skillful edits and design choices.

So with TSS, I think we're given a story that has to rely on context and guiding the player without overly explaining every detail. I'm not trying to be all "the older games were better", but it's an aspect that I think is the number-one reason that so many older games still are enjoyable to play. Because these constraints actually made the story better.


Judging by that (I heard something similar but forget where) Shigema reminds me of George Lucas now. And I'm not a Lucas basher (SWIII was on par with IV-VI IMO, I-II not so much, though they were not the atrocities some fans made them out to be) but I wasn't a fan of him constantly editing the originals, and not giving fans a decent way to watch the originals in their original form.
Actually, TSS vs the later Lunar series is more than just overly explaining every detail, it's rewriting details in ways that often contradict each other even in the new story. I'm fine with details being added, SOME details can be changed (The one change (as opposed to pure additions) the remakes did right over TSS was Luna staying with Alex and the boat song IMO) but much of SSS and beyond just feels like "lets change this because we can!" For the record, I'm all for remakes of older games as long as the story is not completely rebooted; the focus should be graphical/musical. Lunar: Eternal Blue Complete and Final Fantasy IV 3D are the best remakes I have played cause they add but don't rewrite much. Likewise, I'm dreading the FFVII remake.

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Re: An anomaly in the Lunar series

Postby ShugoHanasaki » Sun Sep 09, 2018 4:12 pm

Kizyr wrote:Some of this may have been unintentional!

Shigema's often said that SSS is what he wanted TSS to be,


I did not know this! That's neat! Makes me love SSS even more! No wonder I prefer it over all the other remakes ^.^
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Kizyr
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Re: An anomaly in the Lunar series

Postby Kizyr » Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:10 am

Shinto-Cetra wrote:Judging by that (I heard something similar but forget where) Shigema reminds me of George Lucas now. And I'm not a Lucas basher (SWIII was on par with IV-VI IMO, I-II not so much, though they were not the atrocities some fans made them out to be) but I wasn't a fan of him constantly editing the originals, and not giving fans a decent way to watch the originals in their original form.

It's a pretty good comparison. I don't dislike Lucas, but he (like most creators I'd argue) really benefited from having editors and other people there to push ideas off of. The original Star Wars trilogy was so good in part because there were other people checking and vetting good ideas, and helping craft the product; for Episodes 1-2, I think folks were too scared to really push back against anything that you ended up with an unedited mess. (TBH, I think some of the later Harry Potter books suffered from the same, as no one wanted to push back against JK.)

Shinto-Cetra wrote:For the record, I'm all for remakes of older games as long as the story is not completely rebooted; the focus should be graphical/musical. Lunar: Eternal Blue Complete and Final Fantasy IV 3D are the best remakes I have played cause they add but don't rewrite much. Likewise, I'm dreading the FFVII remake.

I think there's a good case for either (and a matter of personal preference -- whether folks want story reboots or not... and personally I connect way more with TSS than SSS). However, given my own preferences I'd have to agree -- other than extending Luna's stay with the party, I think if I had my way that a TSS remake wouldn't've altered the story anywhere near as radically as it did.

If you played Tales of Phantasia by the way, those remakes (especially thinking of the PSP full voice remake) really added plenty without removing a single thing that made the original game so great. KF
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Re: An anomaly in the Lunar series

Postby Imperial Knight » Thu Sep 20, 2018 1:02 am

Never having played TSS, I can't really speak to the TSS/SSS comparison but I do think "less is more" is often true in storytelling and not as appreciated as it should be. There's a lot that can be left unsaid where the audience can fill in the blanks perfectly well for themselves. While I certainly agree that an older game is not necessarily a better game, it's often pretty impressive what they could manage to do. Look at how much gets conveyed using body language in 16-bit RPGs despite there often being quite a limited set of character sprites to work with. I feel like the trend not just with games but in the larger realm of, for lack of a better term, "geek" entertainment is towards spelling every little detail out, seemingly at least in part to cater to the common fan desire to know everything about the characters, setting, etc.

As I've been posting about in the What Are You Currently Playing topic, I've been playing Dragon Quest V, a remake of a 1992 game, and it's really drawn me into the game world more than any game I've played in years, not despite its storytelling relying strongly on the player filling in the blanks, but rather I think in part because of it. It's a characteristic that, looking back, a lot of my favorite stories, in games and otherwise, share.


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