You’ve probably heard about George Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces, even if only because of Star Wars. Campbell argued that the myths that have survived for thousands of years share a common, evocative pattern: a “monomyth” that speaks to deep human needs.
As a cultural theory, the monomyth’s attracted its share of criticisms, but whether or not it’s correct it’s had an enormous influence on modern pop culture. And in a month that’s seen the (re-)release of classic-style JRPGs like Tales of Graces F and Xenoblade Chronicles, it got me thinking about our pop culture’s central tropes and myths.
Making fun of JRPG convention is one of the safest ways for one section of gamers to feel superior to the other. So if everyone supposedly hates the stuff, why are they still made – and why do so many of us continue to buy them? Is it because of their indifference to others’ mockery?