chapter  4
Absentee parents in the JRPG
WithRachael Hutchinson
Pages 26

Early Japanese role-playing game (JRPG) from the 1980s and 90s created a template for the genre, using similar losses of family members as the impetus for adventure. Related to the absentee parent trope in the JRPG is a broader search for family origins. Narratives involving lost and absent parents, hidden lineage, and revenge are linked closely to memory and the search for origins, making amnesia another great role-playing game cliche. Language is an important mechanism by which the main character is situated in relation to other people and the wider environment in the game world. The player invests meaning in their character through acquiring knowledge about the character’s background, personal belief system, attributes such as physical attractiveness or strength, and attitudes towards others. The importance of language to the JRPG is immediately apparent from the vast amount of in-game text assets contained in each game product.