Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What’s Blood Got to Do with It?

A lot of video games, particularly RPGs of the SNES and PlayStation 1 era, request a hodgepodge of information at the beginning of the mission. Asking for the player’s name makes sense; after all, you’ve got to call the main character something other than “generic spunky teen,” “guy who never talks but always leads the party” or “idiot amnesiac with outlandish hair.” Even when Earthbound for the Super Nintendo asked me what my “favorite thing” is, it eventually became important to the storyline.

But sometimes the questions get a little bit creepy. Take Dragon Warrior III for the Gameboy Color, which asks of new heroes, “Do you find life boring?” and “Is the sun the king of nature?” Apparently these bizarre, probing inquiries into my hilarious but ultimately trivial psyche somehow determine how hard the hero can swing a sword and how many magic points he or she gets at the start of the quest.

One of the seemingly least important questions a video game has asked before it would let me adventure boldly to my early grave is, “What’s your blood type?” Found in games like the original SaGa Frontier for the PSX, the age-old blood type query is apparently just as pointless as “Is adventuring a hardship?,” another (potentially self defeating) gem from Dragon Warrior III. HOWEVER! According to Japanese culture, one’s blood type determines plenty of aspects of his or her personality, from their temperament to who would make the best lover. I guess it’s a little bit like astrology and horoscopes, but I’m guessing that this stuff doesn’t appear next to Japanese Garfield strips.

To those wondering, here’s a nifty chart explaining the whole convoluted mythology (click here for a larger graphic):

Source: http://www.phlebotomist.net/

Of course, credit where credit is due: This graphic was designed by Lorena O'Neal; you can check out more of her work here.

So the next time a game asks for your blood type, take the question seriously – it just might pay off in the end. Or it’ll be another dumb question you had to answer before the killing can begin, but hey, sometimes that’s just the way things are.

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