Mithril Does Not Tarnish Or Grow Dim

George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead was a critique of the social upheaval in America at the time during the Vietnam War. Zombies represented the faceless masses of communism, today our fears of terrorism – brainwashed forces who’ll stop at nothing to eat our brains/blow us up are reflected in another swell of zombie flicks. So it has always been. According to’s chart you could trace the correlation through the entirety of the western world’s movie history.

Number of zombie movies over time

Gaming is about escape and in some ways acts inversely to film’s medium of reflection. In games we want to escape from reality completely. The cosy Tolkienesque fantasy settings of many role playing games take us away form the headache of the economic recession to a simpler world, where global financial trends don’t figure beyond ye olde shoppe’s trade price on a +5 Mace of Bleeding. However in a time of economic confidence and financial buoyancy this kind of twee world of magical forests and and little ivy covered inns seems old hat and uncool.

Four years ago developers like Square Enix and tri-Ace were ushering in a new age of super-modern RPGs set in high tech, futuristic worlds with gun-wielding, realistically brooding characters, with the weight of the world on their shoulders. Final Fantasy XIII and Resonance of Fate are very much a result of decisions made at a time when the streets were paved with gold. Unfortunately with the games taking so long to actually make and launch, by the time these titles hit shelves none of us had a pot to piss in and slick, shiny worlds of cold metal and colder characters no longer fit the zeitgeist. I want the swords and sorcery back. I want the magical forests. My hero should have a tail!

Maybe she'd cheer up if she had a tail

Mithril! All folk desired it. It could be beaten like copper, and polished like glass; and the Dwarves could make of it a metal, light and yet harder than tempered steel. Its beauty was like to that of common silver, but the beauty of mithril did not tarnish or grow dim.”

– Gandalf, The Lord of the Rings







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