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Apr 26 2004
By: Guru25~ Uncharted Territory 1944 posts
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(Topic) The Snake of Chaos

5 replies 60 views Edited Apr 26, 2004
I posted this in the RPG General Board and got 0 responses. So I am reposting it here to hopefully get some input.
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Guru 25 wrote:
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The Snake of Chaos is a loop in Brigandine (A STRrpg for PSOne) where chaos and war are linked to a continuous linear cycle with the cycle rotating more frequently on Medium and High resulting in more crests and troughs and making fighting more frequent at these higher difficulties. I thought it was an apt title for a thread about looping in video games. This thread will examine in great detail looping in video games such as time loops and cycles of good and evil.
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The first games with paradoxial time loops are some of the console RPGs earliest games in Final Fantasy 1 (Also apt considering the thread name) and Dragon Warrior 1-3. Paradoxial time loops are a staple of sci-fi/fantasy novels. Some books and movies also examine these themes, so they are hardly new concepts. However time looping also seems to be linked to the cyclical nature of good and evil, with time loops being a form of closed cycle. The struggle of good and evil is caught up in this paradoxial cycle forever, saving the world for the rest of us. The best book series with this sort of theme is the Death Gate Cycle, a seven part book series by Weis and Hickman.
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There is also the concept of linear cyclical good and evil. Evil seems to come back in a repetitive fashion. Some of the best examples of this include Phantasy Star's 1000 year millenia cycle with the return of the Dark Force to the solar system or Shining Force's own recurring 1000 year millenia cycle with Dark Dragon and Zeon. A shorter cycle is seen in the Lufia series wherein the Sinistrals return every 100 years. Good also follows this cycle, typically being born at the beginning of the calamity. Which of course brings in another point. Evil seems to always come before good, which is strange. If one were to graph this type of struggle it closely follows the prey and predator relationship seen in biology. Evil seems to be prey, controlled by predators or good. When prey explodes as a result of plentiful food, the predators will soon explode afterward to keep in line the prey. What next happens is dwindling prey and then predators, returning the cycle to its normal line. Good thus hunts evil, similar to Angela and the angels hunting the Hellspawn in Spawn (Yet another cyclical evil). This open cycle never ends, meaning good and evil will continue to do battle in the world forever.
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One of the greatest examples of a game set up like this is Dragon Warrior IV. In Dragon Warrior IV, the very evolution of evil is a key theme, with the fabled Golden Bracelet supposedly being the key to the perfect form of evil. The monsters also take a unique tactic in this game. To prevent the coming of the hero, they attempt to kill off all the world's children to prevent the hero from growing up. Thus evil attempts to stop the cycle of good in order to reign in the world supreme forevermore. And if this fails they hope to evolve into a perfect form of evil that cannot be defeated by the forces of good.
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Many other games attempt to examine this fight between good and evil through demon and God themselves, what are the results of the battle between the heads of good and evil?, such as more current games such as Grandia 2 and Dragon Warrior VII.
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And there is also the secondary concepts of creation and destruction, two aspects of good and evil. These aspects are explored in detail in Valkyrie Profile, Grandia 1, and the Lunar series.
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My questions to everyone here is this. Why is it that the cyclical nature of good and evil is such a prominent RPG theme as either an open or closed time loop? What other examples of these themes or different types of subthemes have you seen in video games?
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RIP PSMVP StuTDavis
RIP Gaming Lounge

Ex-mvp Guru25
Current games: Beyond the Beyond
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Keyblade Wielder
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Re: (Topic) The Snake of Chaos

Apr 27, 2004
*breathes* Well, Guru, I must say that was one of the most confusing discourses I've ever read on these forums, mainly because I wish I would have known what you were getting at from the start, lol. But aside from that, bravo.
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Now, to answer your question. Quite frankly, Guru, the answer is simple: we live in a cycle. Life, as we know it, is nothing more than a cycle. An endless repetition. We are born, we live, and we die. This can be seen in every facet of life, throughout the universe. From the birth and destruction of stars, to the formation and separation of molecules, it is an endless cycle. And the essence of this cycle is that neither life nor death will ever be conquered.
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Likewise, Good and Evil are eternal. They will never be conquered because neither one can exist without the other. You can attribute that to the idealogy of equilibrium, or simply the fact that without experiencing Evil, there is no such thing as Good, there is simply existence. And vice versa. And this is seen in every genre of entertainment, not just video games, and certainly not just RPG's. It's just that RPG's tend to be the only ones to deal with the explicit terms "Good" and "Evil."
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But to answer why these concepts are so common. Well, if we can't write about life, what is there left to write about?
-I know nothing-
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Treasure Hunter
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Re: (Topic) The Snake of Chaos

Apr 28, 2004

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,funky-fresh-dud wrote:
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*breathes* Well, Guru, I must say that was one of the most confusing discourses I've ever read on these forums, mainly because I wish I would have known what you were getting at from the start, lol. But aside from that, bravo.
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Now, to answer your question. Quite frankly, Guru, the answer is simple: we live in a cycle. Life, as we know it, is nothing more than a cycle. An endless repetition. We are born, we live, and we die. This can be seen in every facet of life, throughout the universe. From the birth and destruction of stars, to the formation and separation of molecules, it is an endless cycle. And the essence of this cycle is that neither life nor death will ever be conquered.
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Likewise, Good and Evil are eternal. They will never be conquered because neither one can exist without the other. You can attribute that to the idealogy of equilibrium, or simply the fact that without experiencing Evil, there is no such thing as Good, there is simply existence. And vice versa. And this is seen in every genre of entertainment, not just video games, and certainly not just RPG's. It's just that RPG's tend to be the only ones to deal with the explicit terms "Good" and "Evil."
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But to answer why these concepts are so common. Well, if we can't write about life, what is there left to write about?

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Finally!! I understand what Guru was asking!  As you stated life is a cycle.  I learned this in Cell Biology when I was in college.  When something is conceived it is already going through an unstable state, life itself is unstable, think about it you are constantly going constantly making decisions, constantly looking out for your life trying to avoid sicknesses and death deterioration.  Its go, go, go.  But once death hits you are what we called at a steady state where those things do not matter.  And we all know that history repeats itself.  If you look at it the things we are encountering, happened centuries ago...  So I say you are correct in saying that neither life or death has power over the other.

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What is Good without Evil?  That's all I have to say on this one...


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Uncharted Territory
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Re: (Topic) The Snake of Chaos

Apr 28, 2004

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,funky-fresh-dud wrote:
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*breathes* Well, Guru, I must say that was one of the most confusing discourses I've ever read on these forums, mainly because I wish I would have known what you were getting at from the start, lol. But aside from that, bravo.
,
 
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Now, to answer your question. Quite frankly, Guru, the answer is simple: we live in a cycle. Life, as we know it, is nothing more than a cycle. An endless repetition. We are born, we live, and we die. This can be seen in every facet of life, throughout the universe. From the birth and destruction of stars, to the formation and separation of molecules, it is an endless cycle. And the essence of this cycle is that neither life nor death will ever be conquered.
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Likewise, Good and Evil are eternal. They will never be conquered because neither one can exist without the other. You can attribute that to the idealogy of equilibrium, or simply the fact that without experiencing Evil, there is no such thing as Good, there is simply existence. And vice versa. And this is seen in every genre of entertainment, not just video games, and certainly not just RPG's. It's just that RPG's tend to be the only ones to deal with the explicit terms "Good" and "Evil."
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But to answer why these concepts are so common. Well, if we can't write about life, what is there left to write about?

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Yes but what it strangest about this cycle is that evil always seems to be on the offensive and good on the defensive. Evil acts, and good reacts. Evil is always growing and expanding and scheming, and good must react to contain it. To use biological terms, evil acts as a virus evolving over time and good takes on the role of an immune system or more specifically antibodies. Evil also seems to expand at set times in intervals exploding much like a virus does into a huge plague. It also seems these catalcysmic events finally force good to evolve to counteract evil. In other words, is good only able to evolve when evil threatens with its greatest schemes? Or is it like the Red Queen Hypothesis, where good is constantly evolving just to keep evil in check?  
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RIP PSMVP StuTDavis
RIP Gaming Lounge

Ex-mvp Guru25
Current games: Beyond the Beyond
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Big Daddy
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Re: (Topic) The Snake of Chaos

Apr 28, 2004


Guru25 wrote:
Yes but what it strangest about this cycle is that evil always seems to be on the offensive and good on the defensive. Evil acts, and good reacts. Evil is always growing and expanding and scheming, and good must react to contain it. To use biological terms, evil acts as a virus evolving over time and good takes on the role of an immune system or more specifically antibodies. Evil also seems to expand at set times in intervals exploding much like a virus does into a huge plague. It also seems these catalcysmic events finally force good to evolve to counteract evil. In other words, is good only able to evolve when evil threatens with its greatest schemes? Or is it like the Red Queen Hypothesis, where good is constantly evolving just to keep evil in check?



In refrence to the Biological analogy...

You can compare this to the Human Body's Immune system. Your immune system (good) doens't react if there is nothing to react against (evil). As it encouters viruses, it builds up and immunity/strength to it. Good can't attack evil if there is no evil present. Evil takes the offenseive BECAUSE it is evil. But they must co-exsist, otherswise there is no good or evil, which is impossible.
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Keyblade Wielder
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Re: (Topic) The Snake of Chaos

Apr 29, 2004

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,Guru25 wrote:
Yes but what it strangest about this cycle is that evil always seems to be on the offensive and good on the defensive. Evil acts, and good reacts. Evil is always growing and expanding and scheming, and good must react to contain it. To use biological terms, evil acts as a virus evolving over time and good takes on the role of an immune system or more specifically antibodies. Evil also seems to expand at set times in intervals exploding much like a virus does into a huge plague. It also seems these catalcysmic events finally force good to evolve to counteract evil. In other words, is good only able to evolve when evil threatens with its greatest schemes? Or is it like the Red Queen Hypothesis, where good is constantly evolving just to keep evil in check?  
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Well, if there is no need for Good to evolve, why should it? Evolution does not exist for its own sake, it is the product of necessity. Without a cause, there can be no effect, and the evolution of Good is caused by Evil.

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But you're looking at it as if Evil went through sudden surges, where in fact it is nothing more than a shifting of power. It is a game of hot potato in which neither Good nor Evil can handle the heat of power, and so it goes back and forth, back and forth.

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-I know nothing-
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