Why do people of certain interests enjoy RoTK so much?

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Why do people of certain interests enjoy RoTK so much?

Unread postby Tonto_Simfish » Wed Jun 20, 2007 4:18 am

Now, I am sure that the average reader of RoTK is likely to enjoy many other types of novels. However, RoTK may also tend to attract people who generally don't like reading other novels (we don't know how large that group of people is - however, it includes me).

And why is the book just so entertaining for me? Because it draws upon one of my favorite computer game scenarios: 16 player diplomacy style. This is as close to 16 player FFA Age of Empires II as it gets. It's really fun acting in an environment where there are many powerful individuals - all who have to act in an environment where there are, say, 15 other nations/rulers to deal with.

But then wouldn't most of history also be fun to read? (since most of history is also based on such multiplayer diplomacy scenarios?) Why is RoTK so interesting? (compared to the others?) The Spring and Autumns Annals and the Warring States period also seem to be very very interesting periods of time - yet there aren't any good novels based on them.

Perhaps it's because warfare within China tended to be restricted to one particular culture - a culture with relatively consistent records (and a culture where people could easily interact with each other). It was also a practically closed world - with little outside interaction. Warfare between other countries tends to be one country vs. another, or one side vs. another. Certainly, national warfare is a lot different from the kingdom warfare we see in the RoTK period - since kingdom warfare often reflects upon the rulers of such kingdoms more so than the national power of a nation (and humans naturally like to read articles that have elements of human nature in them - in the case of warring kingdoms - this is the personalities of the rulers, which have a huge impact on the nation - more so than the ruler of a large nation).

On the other hand - there was the Sengoku period of Japan - that period of many different warlords seemed to be very interesting as well.

In short - does anyone find this to be one reason why RoTK seems to be so entertaining?
Then they pushed forward, leaving a bloody trail, and escaped to the northwest. Ma Chao, meanwhile, heedless of his own fatigue or his mount's dashed on, gradually leaving his followers behind.

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Unread postby Shi Tong » Thu Jun 21, 2007 9:12 am

Because the history is different from the novel, because the characters in the novel are so well described and colourful, because there's a large quantity of moral tales in SGYY which there aren't necessarily in some other history books which can be more like annals.

But I would say that a lot of history is very interesting, but it's the games which often (in a lot of cases here anyway) get you into the ideas of the novel, therefore it's the natural progression from the game.

Put it this way, I played Rome Total War, then I wanted to know what really happened, so I read Gallic War by Julius Ceasar- it was interesting, but not as colourful as ROTK! :D
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Unread postby Kittn » Thu Jun 21, 2007 6:43 pm

Me, I've never read the novel, and yet I'm somehow still completely obsessed. :3 Go figure.
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Unread postby Tonto_Simfish » Thu Jun 21, 2007 9:31 pm

But I would say that a lot of history is very interesting, but it's the games which often (in a lot of cases here anyway) get you into the ideas of the novel, therefore it's the natural progression from the game.


It was computer games that got me into RoTK as well. RoTK is very easily simulable by means of computer games (and as I said above it's due the the vast number of kingdoms involved).

And I'd like to see the same for the Warring States or the Spring and Autumn Annals. And for the Chu-Han contention (since Rise of the Phoenix is a very simple game that has far too much repetition to really be playable at all)
Then they pushed forward, leaving a bloody trail, and escaped to the northwest. Ma Chao, meanwhile, heedless of his own fatigue or his mount's dashed on, gradually leaving his followers behind.

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Unread postby Shi Tong » Fri Jun 22, 2007 11:36 am

The games though, are definately a good way to get obsessed because there were so many what if's and so many paths that the history can take.

I think that's why it's so interesting- there were no super powers, and at any point one of the kingdoms could turn things their way to win the war.

I agree with you that more games should be made based on history, but do you think that they're so heavily contended like san guo was?
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Unread postby Zhang Liao17 » Fri Jun 22, 2007 7:58 pm

Hey Simfish, I recognize you from the Heaven's Games forums. I just lurk there and read a lot of stuff because I'm a big fan of Age of Empires II.

Good topic as well. I think it just depends on the personality of each of us having something in common. I play a lot of historically based games, and each of them has made me take a real interest in the history of the time. Whether it's RTK, Kessen, Medieval Total War, Pharaoh, Zeus, or Age of Empires, they've all opened the door for me to the real history that inspired those games. It takes a certain kind of person to care about games such as these anyway. Games that aren't flashy eye-catchers, but require a lot of time and consideration and can be challenging for their strategy and realism.

On the other hand, I've always been a bit of a reader too, it's just another form of media to me and I was greatly impressed when I first found and subsequently read the novel. That leads to the raw historical texts themselves and I'm doing everything I can to read all the translated ZZTJ. I do think, however, that the novel is what makes the Three Kingdoms era different. It's what makes it more accessible and fascinating than the Sengoku period. History is amazing and there are thousands of stories out there from across the world and I would feel odd saying that the Three Kingdoms era was the greatest/most fascinating/best period of history or anything like that, but the novel does separate it from everything else because it gives us a way to get into and fall in love with the history without having to start off reading a historical textbook.

There is also probably something inherent in the culture, time and form of the area that makes it so good. The traditions run deep, it's a time where individuals can rise up and shine and there are bits of wisdom and intrigue and feeling everywhere. As you said, it doesn't feel like a civil war, it feels more epic. The fact that it is kingdom vs. kingdom all wrapped up within a single country and culture probably is what makes an era such as this or Sengoku almost always more interesting than international conflict.
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Unread postby Tonto_Simfish » Sat Jun 23, 2007 7:05 am

There is also probably something inherent in the culture, time and form of the area that makes it so good. The traditions run deep, it's a time where individuals can rise up and shine and there are bits of wisdom and intrigue and feeling everywhere. As you said, it doesn't feel like a civil war, it feels more epic. The fact that it is kingdom vs. kingdom all wrapped up within a single country and culture probably is what makes an era such as this or Sengoku almost always more interesting than international conflict.


I like this reply. Yes indeed - this makes it more riveting than international conflict. Another part of the Three Kingdoms perhaps came in the form of the records on it - the records of the Three Kingdoms came in the form of officer biographies, and as a result, the Three Kingdoms games are centered around individual people, rather than upon abstract nation-states (like Civilization III was). We have a lot of biographies available on many individuals in the Three Kingdoms - such biographies were not available for officers in the Warring States or the Spring and Autumn Annals (officer biographies were also available for the Chu-Han Contention, though most of those were relatively limited).

The computer games I know of for other periods of history aren't officer based at all (even the few WWII games I know of - though I haven't played many of those).

Oh and Zhang Liao17 - when did you read Age of Kings Heaven? I haven't really been on the main forums since 2003 (although I have occasionally visited the community forums after 2003). The old archives are a lot of fun - the newer posts are just a bunch of newbie questions along with entertaining swp/Stevay flame wars. ;) Have you ever looked at the community forums? (I'm just curious about whether lurkers look at those forums or not). Have you looked at the AoKH blacksmith by the way? There is a 2001 RoTK scenario in there - that scenario was what initially attracted me to RoTK
Then they pushed forward, leaving a bloody trail, and escaped to the northwest. Ma Chao, meanwhile, heedless of his own fatigue or his mount's dashed on, gradually leaving his followers behind.

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Unread postby Zhang Liao17 » Sat Jun 23, 2007 7:39 pm

I've mostly just gone through a lot of the topics in the Strategy discussion and Strategy Archives forums. Looking over and testing strategies and digging up unit information and debates. I've probably had those games since 2001 and played them a lot on and off, but I didn't find those forums until after the game's "Golden Age."

True about biographies too. One of the things that made me delve so deeply into the Three Kingdoms era was my fascination with the officers I encountered when I first played RTK IV. A game like Shogun: Total War gave me an interest in Sengoku, but because officers are almost irrelevant as time flies by, it doesn't stick in the same way. RTK is more personal.
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Unread postby Tonto_Simfish » Sat Jun 23, 2007 10:53 pm

Ah I see. The HeavenGames Age of Kings forums are apparently the only Age of Kings forums that still have archives dating back to the game's golden age. I managed to use Httrack to download them all in case the admins decide to delete those archives.

Have you ever posted there? Or do you merely use an account to browse through the archives?
==

Another aspect about conflicts like RoTK is that due to the fact that these conflicts there are many kingdoms involved, but with only one primary culture/language, there is a lot of officer flexibility. Whereas in international conflicts, captured officers are almost always jailed, the Three Kingdoms is one of those periods where officers are actively recruited right after capture.
Then they pushed forward, leaving a bloody trail, and escaped to the northwest. Ma Chao, meanwhile, heedless of his own fatigue or his mount's dashed on, gradually leaving his followers behind.

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Unread postby evizaer » Mon Jun 25, 2007 8:56 pm

Romance of the Three Kingdoms is an extremely appealing setting and story because the period is based on personality and not nationality. Something is lost when two nations are at war. What determines the alliegence of an officer? Where he is born or was raised, more often then not. That doesn't enthral me. The officers are fighting not for something they truly believe in and for leaders who they wish to fight for, but for some abstract sense of their community which sometimes is quite nebulous.
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