Episode 7: Same name different story

Yesterday was a day of exhaustion so no post. Considering posting something to catch up later on, let’s see. Also, in thing that need to be said, if any of you readers out there (all two of you) care to make a suggestion on future topics please feel free to offer it and it will probably end up on the blog. Now back to business. It’s one thing to milk the popularity of a given franchise with way too many installments after it’s clear that the story has been milked dry and the even diehard fans suggest giving the show some proper closure. It’s quite another for the creators to keep up tacking on the name to other narratives and somehow expect people to keep coming back for more. Now the former I can understand because an author may honestly want to continue his/her story and even if they do it for the money in this current ecenomy I can’t really blmae them for sticking with a reliable form of income/fame. Making sequels in name only happens more than you think and sometimes it just stops making sense from the get go.

Movies, especially the direct to DVD and the ones on weird movie channels on YouTube with way too many commercials, can fall into this category when people kind of make a similar movie from the same saming company as a popular hit. National Lampoon has been putting it’s name before and after Chevy Chase took his family on horrible vacations all over the world. Of particular note are all the odd ones done with the American Pie logo on it. Now I have some vague memories of watching the first one and I know they made extras to flesh out the trilogy and apparently a new one is about to hit the theaters for what I’m certain to be another movie that will fall under the ones categorized in Episode 4 of this blog. Now the insomniacs amongst you will also know that there have been a few additional movies that have the name and the general spirit of teenage boys desperate to get laid but they mostly suck big time. I think the one thing they all have in common is the appearance of Eugene Levy’s character (all played by Eugene Levy throughout the years because of reasons I cannot fathom) in every single film, regardless of chronological or spatial differences between these films and the originals. Movies are like these are often used as examples as to why sequels suck and I honestly can’t fault that critics that do for highlighting them.

In addition to the movie business, we get the same sequel model from the video game industry. Sports games I can’t blame because they have to update rosters accordingly though now that you can do the same process via DLC it seems like the tiny tweeks between installments rarely justifies paying full price for a new game for more accurate statistics and up to date player/team relationships. It’s odd that the best examples I can give comes from videogame franchises of which I am a big fan. The most glaring and obvious choice to pick on are the Final Fantasy games, the title alone supplies so many jokes. For those of you who don’t know the history, here’s a recap. Back in the late 80’s Square was about to go bankrupt and put all of its talent to make an awesome videogame with the hopes of getting the company back in the black or at the very least get a decent swan song going out. They called it Final Fantasy because it made sense, the game was a huge success which led to them making a bunch of numbered sequels in name only. Also, the numbering is weird due to distinctions between games being sold in Japan and the US. For example: the first ones are the same, FFII in the US for the SNES was really FFIV and FFIII is actually FFVI and from then on out they have maintained the same Roman numeral output accross continents. There are very few things in common between all the games story wise but mechanics wise, it being an RPG with balance of swords and sorcery, plus other elements like there being moogles, chocobos, and a guy named Cid have been pretty much a tradition for each title. Only a few games have been direct sequels and these have not been exactly well received. Final Fantasy X was pretty good even with too much of the underwater rugby weirdness that was the Blitzball minigame so they made FF X-2 (I swear that’s how the numeration works. The second game followed the female heroines continuing on adventures to save the world but it mostly feels like a glorified dress up game with level grinding. I get that they want to appeal to gamers without a Y chromosome but it was just bad. FF VII Dirge of Cerberus was completely different and many claim it sucked just as much as the other one. FFXIII-2 popped up recently and I don’t know much about this was one or its “original first part” but from what I have heard it seems to be following the same trend of direct narrative sequels.

The other big game that I love with way too many sequels is that of The Legend of Zelda series. First off, the hero’s name is Link, the Princess is Zelda and the evil dude/monster that wants to ruin everything is Ganon and they are all connected by the mystical artifact known as the Triforce. No matter what game on which platform this is the main plot of pretty much every game. I’ve personally played every game out there except for the ones on any of the Gameboys and the weird Four Swords one and can easily claim that they are all masterpieces of the action adventure genre and recommend them to just about everyone(the ones for cdi computers disks or whatever they are called suck so much that fans have collectively chosen to forget them except fro the line “Well excuse ME, Princess”). Still, the games have very little to do with each other in a narrative sense. Zelda 2 is a direct and true sequel but the mechanics of the game changed so much that few people place it as a “real” Zelda game. Majora’s Mask is technically a sequel to Ocarina of Time but it occurs in an alternate dimension due to the time rift cuased by the Master Sword in the first game. It gets even weirder with the ones on the Gameboy pulling that weird Pokemon game selling strategy of having basically the same game in two versions with slight differences but needing both of them to achieve the illustrious 101% completion rating. People have been trying to find out what if any is the offcial timeline/continuity of Zelda games but the creators have not given anything official beyond saying that new one, Skyward Sword is technically the first one since it shows the creation of the legendary Master Sword found in every other game. One of the best attempts to show all of the different potential continuities can be seen by the legendary Internet persona of the Angry Video Game Nerd and can be seen here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHIP9UtkQDQ. Fun fact: I actually put the video link as a footnote in my Master’s thesis on Chapter 3: The History of Serials though I never say who made it but I did put a disclaimer about the language.


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