Happy Accident

The first game I played for my 3DS was Samurai Warriors Chronicles. It was a pretty good game and nicely established for me what he 3DS was capable of both graphically and gameplay wise. I also happen to think that it’s actually one of the better Warriors games, given that it has one, unified story that spans the entire course of historical events covered by the game. Of course, this makes the experience kind of implausible given that you’re in control of the same one character starting in the 1540s (I think) and ending in 1615. By the last level, your character should be, like, 80 years old, yet still looks just as much like a 16-year-old as s/he (you can choose your character’s gender, which is another decision choice that I approved of) did in the first level. Another feature of the game I liked was that after each level you had an opportunity to talk with other characters to improve your relationship with them. That actually may have been my favourite part of the game, even though its consequences on the game are negligible. But it did help me care more about the other characters.

But I’m starting to digress from what I wanted to say. I choose to use the female player character, mostly because I though she looked better than the male one. And then I named her Tsubame, because that’s the one female Japanese name I can remember off the top of my head. As it happens, Tsubame means swallow (the bird, not the action) – I was aware of that, but it didn’t really factor into my decision. As it also happens, one of the music tracks in the game is called Flying Swallow. It’s a particularly badass song that tends to play in important, high-drama moments. I only learned this after I gave my character a name that means swallow. I had inadvertently given my character her own utterly fitting, entirely accident theme music. It couldn’t have gone any better if I’d been trying to do that deliberately.

Another unintentional, but kind of awesome element that got added to the game by virtue of my choosing the female character had to do with the character relationship conversations that I talked about earlier. Explaining this will requite another fairly lengthy digression, so bear with me. Towards the end game (by the time the events of the plot reach about the year 1600), you are faced with the choice of joining either the Western or Eastern Army. Long story short, they’re the two sides that fought to finish the political unification of Japan. I won’t bore you with a long, detailed account of the historical events and people. If you’re curious, look up the Sengoku Period on Wikipedia and start from there.

Historically, the Western Army lost several decisive battles and were ultimately defeated by the Eastern Army, which laid the foundation for the political order of Japan for the next 200 years. Even if you side with the Western Army in the game, you still lose those battles and most of the Western Army leaders die. Where this gets interesting in the game, especially with the female character, is that you have a chance after each of the in-game representations of those battles to say your final farewells to the other leaders of the Western Army as lose and retreat. The way the whole things play out, with your general desperately pleading with you to run and save yourself and leave him because he doesn’t want you to die, with a strangely romantic subtext. It’s like the general is bravely sacrificing himself to save the woman he loves. It made the whole thing surprisingly emotional and tragic.

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~ by My Core Beliefs on June 2, 2013.

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