I try to update at least every Saturday.
Which games to play
My preliminary list of games is as inclusive as possible, but I will be skipping a number of games. I will definitely play a game if it was not officially released in English, if it's not a port/remake, and if I haven't recently played it. Otherwise I might skip it.
(3/10/18): I'm clarifying the above, although it's basically just defining what I'm already doing. For each game I ask three questions: Was it officially released in English? Is it a port or remake (particularly of a computer game)? Have I played it before?
If the answer to all three is no, and there is no translation patch, I will suffer through the game to the bitter end. If there is a translation patch, I may give up if the game is on the extreme end of the crappiness scale or I'm just really not enjoying it at all, but I consider this a last resort.
If the answer to any question is yes, I can skip it. If I choose to play it, I can stop playing at any point, for any reason.
For non-SFC games, I will stop playing each one after a week unless I have a specific reason to continue (e.g. it's a good game; it's a famous, well-liked game; I'm going to play a sequel to it).
What is an RPG?
Generally I feel like I know what an RPG is, and I think that CRPGAddict's definition works pretty well -- a game that has character development, combat at least partially based on stats, and inventories that aren't just for puzzle solving.
For console RPGs I think further clarification is needed for "Action RPGs" and "Strategy RPGs" since there are many action and strategy games that incorporate RPG elements but don't really seem like full RPGs. Here are my definitions.
For an action game to be considered an Action RPG:
- It needs to have statistic development with more than just life and magic (this excludes the Zelda games)
- It needs to have safe places like towns (this excludes the later Castlevania games)
- It needs to have some element of exploration, not just stages.
- It needs to have a narrative you play through, not just an end goal (this excludes Koei's Romance of the Three Kingdoms games)
- It needs to have individual, named characters that you can develop, not just generic troops (if both exist that's fine).
In theory, it would be great to play through all the games on a real console without ever using a walkthrough. However, I'm not doing this. Using a console makes it harder to take screenshots and introduces the risk of component failure or save deletion. Also some of the games are very expensive and hard to acquire.
I am making an attempt to buy the games I play so that I can read the instruction manuals, as long as they are available for a reasonable price. But I'm playing everything on the nSide emulator, which is a fork of higan(formerly bsnes) that adds a few features useful to me. I'm using an Acer Spin 3 laptop with a Dualshock 4 controller hooked up via USB.
Now what about emulator features like fast forward or save state? In principle I will not use them. However, there are a lot of crappy games out there, and I don't want this project to bog down or get stuck because I'm playing some game that's so awful I can barely motivate myself to play it. On the other hand, it's easy to resort to these things too quickly if they're available.
So I have a "one week rule." For the first week I play any game, I will do it without any emulator tricks or walkthrough use (unless I'm stuck). Afterwards, if the game is crappy I will start using fast forward and walkthroughs. If it's really really crappy I may even resort to cheat codes and save states. Abandoning a game entirely is a last resort (see above).