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Fish-fry Parasol
Chapter XXII: In which Normality is Restored

Lusipurr - 01:30 GMT

I finally ran out of letters.

I hope you enjoyed last week's diversion from the usual Lusipurrian fare. Because there was no column on the Kalends, I provided you with that 'April Fools' column on the fourth instead. Some were confused, others were amused, but the general consensus seems to be "That's Lusipurr!"

Mario Kart Wii is coming up in a few weeks. It is not an RPG, but I imagine some readers will be picking it up all the same. What is your take on the Mario Kart series? For my part, I have been a devoted follower since the SNES--still the best game in the series, in my opinion. Perhaps I am just biased towards the NES and SNES. I feel that the best incarnations of many licenses were published on those esteemed systems. Has any other system since then had the same kind of widespread appeal? What about the Sony Playstation? Let us hear your take on it all.

Normally I end with topics. I suppose I will think up some more for that, too.

I will now address your tiresome and annoying questions.

The Letters
Final Fantasy IV: *SQUEE!* Edition


Will we ever see Final Fantasy IV DS in the U.S.? Besides Brawl, this has been my number one game looking forward to. Final Fantasy IV is the game that brought me back to RPGs after the likes of Dragon Warrior turned me away. Is there any hope? I would climb Mt. Ordeals and fight my darker self while accompanied by an old man and two small annoying children to get this game.

[Ed.: In a subsequent letter, the same author continues.]

Final Fantasy IV DS has been announced for North America through an interview in the May 2008 Nintendo Power!! It is scheduled for July 2008!!



Yes, your joy is noted. Final Fantasy IV DS has at long last been officially officially confirmed for release. Residents of North America will be able to purvey the desired game on July 22, 2008. Might I suggest that a pre-order is appropriate?

Personally, I am very excited. Whilst we change letters, I will change my pants.

Your Forums Suck!


I've been having some trouble recently registering for RPGamer's message boards; after I register, I never get the confirmation email they say they'll send me in ten minutes or less. I'll admit I've gone by some other pseudonyms on their message boards in the past, which I think may have something to do with my problems trying to register with a new game, and I don't get a response from anyone at all whom I try to contact at RPGamer about this problem. If you could help me, that'd be appreciated. Thanks.

-Der Jermeister


A serious question? Inconceiveable!

I know very little about our forums because I hate forums in principle. So, I have conferred with my various little minions and the general consensus is that you should do the following things:

1) Check your spam filter to ensure that the automated letter is not being intercepted as spam.
2) Make certain your e-mail address matches the one you are attempting to register with.
3) Attempt to re-register again. It may have been a temporary forum issue.
4) If the above have all been done, send a PM to Masterchief or Jeffrey.
5) If all else fails, e-mail me again and say, "I still cannot get it to work!" We will get it sorted, one way or another.

Look at that. Helpful advice from Lusipurr. What a memorable event!

Jack, Quotes, and the RPGamer Archives

Hail President-to-be Lusipurr,

First, tell Metaridley that his latest column and his breakdown of the Jack Thompson trial was one of the greatest and funniest reads I've had in a long while right up there with your bid for presidency two weeks ago. Especially his ROFL reaction to one of Jack Thompson's questions concerning an acronym. Since this is your column, what are your thoughts about this?


Let the record show that a reader is asking for my opinion. I am happy to provide it. My opinions are not necessarily the opinions of RPGamer. They are mine, my own, my precious.

We went over the run-down of the Jack Thompson trial on the podcast a few weeks ago and I think I can say that our general response was one of hilarity or, at the very least, bemusement. Jack Thompson's latest behaviour has brought up questions about his rationality, which is why he now needs the cooperation of another bar member just to file proceedings. If this has made his life more difficult, he can console himself with the fact that he himself has made it so.

Second, how would the quote contest you mentioned a few weeks ago work if your quote archives give the answer away? I don't say this to wreck it, or to deprive anyone who's followed your rules for a free game, I just want to prevent cheating. That's all. Your response?


Well, the theory is that people would have to submit their answers before the quote archives were updated. To this end, the quote archive would have to be updated with a quote's information only when that quote is being replaced, and not before. There is some debate on this. We have other contests going on right now, so the plan is on hold. Perhaps at the beginning of May we can kick off Summer with a quick-and-easy giveaway of some sort.

Finally, how come past SOCK 2 pages haven't been saved in the QnA archives since mid-October of last year? SOCK derived from QnA when Matt was around, so how come its not included now? What's to prevent the last few entries of SOCK 2 from becoming forgotten and/or accidentally deleted if there's an overhaul on RPGamer for more space on its server? Please answer this.

Here's hoping you don't find me TOO irritating,



SOCK is Matt's prize pony, and I do not want to step on his toes through anything I may say. If I had to guess, I would say it is because SOCK is considered as separate from Q&A, despite having its beginnings here. As for anything being forgotten or accidentally deleted, I wish that were the case! Not with regard to SOCK, but with regard to plenty of outdated stuff that needs to be deleted .

A couple months ago I went over the RPGamer FTP with the Site President. I found about three hundred trillion different things that needed to be deleted but were still there. There were notes reminding people to do things from five years or more ago. There is tonnes of stuff, all of it junk, and yet there it remains, as if for the sake of posterity, because no one has 'clean up the FTP' as their job.

So, take heart. If it has ever been on the site, it still is. Somewhere.

Sex Objects


Your previous reader was talking about how much he liked staring at the sex objects while playing through Lost Odyssey. I disagree and think that sex objects in games with serious storytelling take away a great deal. I am expected to take these characters seriously, but when they are as overtly sexual as they are I really do have a hard time doing so.

Ming, however, I think I am profoundly offended by. She is not only basically naked, but her breasts are so massive and so detailed that during closeups you can peer through her pale English skin and see the network of veins running underneath. She is supposed to be a regal character who commands my respect, but during cutscenes all I can notice is her array of thong underwear pulled over her hips and those absolutely disgusting breasts. I really do not enjoy looking at her character and I find her truly disgusting. Her character design may have a place somewhere in some unspecified AO-rated interactive movie, but in an epic drama maybe not so much.


Ming's clothing (if we can call it that) is ridiculous. She is so scantily clad, and her body is so strangely proportioned, that the design seems to be little more than an attempt to play to the desires of horny young men. I also noticed the veins--not because I was interested in staring at Ming's breasts, but because the game shoves them in the player's face on more than a few occasions. I found it more than slightly repulsive and did my best to avoid looking at her too closely.

That said, we should be kind to Ming. She is a thousand years old. For such an age, she is remarkably well-preserved. I suppose a few vericose veins can be forgiven.

What do you think about sex objects in video games with serious storytelling? It's been well-debated that there are sex objects in games and we should just learn to deal with them, but Ming Numara is a more sophisticated character than Lara Croft. Do you feel that the impact of what is otherwise a reasonably well-written story is diminished when its titular characters look like outrageous porn actresses (pun intended)? Personally, I like to keep my pornography and my video games separate, but maybe not every gamer feels the same way!

Also: In last week's column you pretty obviously were not really interested in putting up a column. What was up man?


Brandon Abley


Frankly, I do not see the point of putting sex and/or sex objects (or personifications) into video games. I think if a story is worth telling, then sex will only serve to distract from the actual pith of the tale. To draw an analogy, a good story is like a properly cooked steak. If it has been done perfectly, there is no need to dump A1 sauce all over it. The A1 sauce is there to cover up when something is at fault. So, when I see sex in video games, the first thing I ask myself is, "What are they trying to distract me from seeing?"

The other possibility is that developers feel this will increase their sales. Sadly, they may be right. Of course, you are now rolling your eyes and shaking your head at me. "Lusipurr, Lusipurr. You are old-fashioned and silly." Well, you should not be surprised because, let us be honest, I am a bit boring.

As for last week, that is explained in the intro!

A Crisis

Alright Lusipurr, you palefaced monstrosity of a stuffed moogle (no, you're not the cat on top, deal with it):



I picked up a PSP last week after reading the overwhelmingly positive reviews of Crisis Core that were posted joyously throughout the digital kingdom following its release. Yes, I realize that I played right into Sony's hands, and understand that I am their target demographic for the Crisis Core offensive: a bored male in his early twenties with poor impulse control and a history playing RPGs on his Super Nintendo and Playstation consoles. So I've got my silver PSP, I've got Daxter and the Family Guy collection that came in the "Entertainment Pack", I've got my copy of CC, and I couldn't be happier. I've played a considerable number of RPGs in my day and, like many, hold FF7 in the highest esteem and consider its consecutive sequels an exercise in diminishing returns. Therefore, I am naturally excited about a new, well-reviewed, ROLE-PLAYING game in the FF7 sector, just as I was naturally disgusted with the absurdity of Advent Children's voice acting and story and naturally intrigued and quickly uninterested in Dirge of Cerberus.


It is true that Crisis Core is the first step in the right direction we have seen from Square Enix in their Compilation of Final Fantasy VII series. We have several reviews up, but if I were to review it I would give it a 4.0. Levelling up the player and the materia should not be a matter of randomisation. A simple exp and ap system would have been a worthy addition. The ability to choose targets in battle (with the D pad, using the analog stick to move) is the other thing I would have liked. Still, it is an extremely solid gameplay experience that only fails in relatively minor ways.

One obstacle prevents me from truly enjoying my nostalgic trip through Midgar (well, two obstacles, if you count helpless, where-is-my-dirty-needle addiction to World of Warcraft), and that is the sheer difficulty of the game and, specifically, Ifrit. Like you, I opted to play the game on Hard, which was a decision I made after reading about the relative ease of the game on Normal. If there is one thing I hate, it's a game that's too damn easy. What's the point? I opted to make the same choice for the same reasons with Kingdom Hearts II and was glad that I did so, but Ifrit is eating my lunch. And I couldn't be more than an hour and a half into the game. I've killed every available enemy so far, and there aren't even any stats-boosting missions available at this point in the game. I am humbled, I am JV, I am bush-league, and I am stuck. I fought him four times tonight. Eventually, I imagine that I will overcome, but I can't take this kind of mental abuse around every corner, so I hope that I find a way to either get better at videogames or to pad my stats soon.


I wish I could tell you that it will get easier, but it will not. In fact, later on there are a few particular battles which are [relatively] difficult even on Easy. I imagine on Hard mode they will be gruelling. For my part, I gave up on Hard mode and am now focusing on Normal mode. I will play Hard when I get my New Game + file. This seems like a good idea, because then I will have a challenge, even with all my amazing stuff from the previous playthrough.

Any specific advice regarding how to advance in this game would be much appreciated, but I wouldn't turn down a simple morale boost. Like the rest of my spoiled generation, I thrive on positive reinforcement. I need to beat this game so that I can sell my new PSP and quit World of Warcraft before I begin law school in the fall. My future and my career are in your bigass stuffed paws.



Quit WoW, but do not sell your PSP. There are far too many excellent titles for that fine device. Surely, there are more to come.

As for your morale boost, you will get none of that from me. Take thy supplications to some other fellow. For my part, I tell you simply to play it in Normal on your first time through. Save Hard mode for New Game + and you will be much better off.

Closing Thoughts

I am out of letters. When I mentioned I had lots in the backlog, everyone stopped writing! I will not make this error again. Now, I am completely out. Without letters, next week will be nothing more than me talking to myself for the length of one column (now an SI unit). Therefore, please write letters. Also, send letters. This way, I will have something to do next Friday.

Of course, I would not mind a day off. No, sirree. But still, write letters!

Oliver has been derelict in his duty this past week, so there is no Currents column. So, the question is: what to discuss? At the beginning of this column I mentioned some ideas. I also have another: New Game + modes. Do you feel they are a significant addition to a game? Do they really add that much replay value? What is the purpose of such features? And so on. Discuss, write, and mail the results. I look forward to reading them all.

In the meantime, I have Pokémon to catch.

Pip pip!

Lusipurr is ready for exams.

Summer Holiday is almost here!

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