i'm pushing an elephant up the stairs
     Monday, October 1, 2001 "another night, another dream, but always you"     


Apparently, everybody (or at least those who wrote in regarding it) liked the prospect of me talking about my amateur game development in the column (and on that note, if you wrote to me regarding that, I will get back to you eventually, I promise). I've had quite the busy week since our last column, and as such I've done no new work on the game. Hence, nothing for show-and-tell today, kids. Maybe next week; we'll see how it goes.

I bought ICO. I've only played a couple hours, but it's damn damn cool. It's supposed to be a bit short, but given my current lack o' time, I view that as a good thing. And now that it's October (how quickly dost the time fly past), we're one calendar month away from the launches of the Xbox and GameCube. Before we know it, folks, it will be showtime.

Noone correctly guessed last week's quote. Noone even tried. I was a bit surprised, to be quite frank. The quote "misery loves a symphony" is from Ben Harper's song "Suzie Blue." Good song. Find. Listen.

Oh, and guess this week's quote. It's easy.

Now it's letters time.

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    Guess the Quote Contest
    Try to guess (be specific) the quote towards the top of the page. If you're the first one to email me with the correct answer, I'll mention you in my next column.

    "i'll sell my brother for that new chrono phantasy game"
    Hey Aegis,

    For Topics Ideas, why not have a column about what gamers have done just to afford that new, ultra-cool (or sometimes completely worthless) game? This week alone I blew the last of my gas money to reserve Dragon Warrior 7, which I would bet a kidney to be worth it. Also, what about readers' dream "Cross-Over RPG," a la "The Jetsons Meet The Flintstones?" Some games would just be darn nifty to pan out in that scenario!

    Sephiroth: The Promised Land will be mine...
    Kefka: Who is this uneducated bumpkin? Kill him!

    Also, as per Chesh's comment yesteday, a Shadowrun RPG has been a long sought out dream in the SR community since EverQuest came out.....

    Keep up the good work, shield-of-the-gods!

    -- IceDingo

    Good topic suggestions. Right now, I'm paying for games with scholarship money and part of my income from Papa John's, but I'm sure that some of you readers have some zany money collecting stories to tell. And everybody and his brother (and a sister here and there, as to not be totally gender-biased) will most likely have the perfect idea for the collision of RPG worlds. Look forward to seeing one of these two as your topic for a future column.

    Regarding Shadowrun, I've heard good things, and I know it floats a lot of boats, but, knowing virtually nothing about it, I'll just nod my head and move on.

    zak and sara... without the zak
    Topic suggestions: What's the scariest game out there? Will you hook your PS2 with the Internet? What video game has the most diverse music? Who would you like to see Capcom fight against next? Who's your daddy? If someone told you that your favorite RPG was the dumbest game ever, how long do you think that person will be in critical condition? What does Blarg really mean? Who is Aegis?

    P.S. Silent Hill 2 is freakin me out.

    -Sara, Aegis' eighth biggest fan.

    Finally, the identity of big fan #8 has been revealed. And it's a lady, no less; how 'bout that? The one of your "topics" I'd truly consider is the one regarding music in games (the use of a music-related topic would be of sheer delight to a friend of mine; you know who you are). For the most part, the use of music in games has had a more or less standard approach. However, some games have treaded different grounds as far as music implementation goes, and I'm curious as to what kind of innovations might await us in the future. So, to sum it up, we'll probably see a variation on your music topic one of these days.

    Wondering why I'm dismissing your other suggestions?

  • What's the scariest game out there?
         Not applicable enough to RPGs (gotta stay somewhat on track).
  • Will you hook your PS2 with the internet?
         See above. Plus, all I'd get would be simple variations of "yes" and "no."
  • Who would you like to see Capcom fight against next?
         I think I know what you're getting at, but I'm not quite sure. Plus, not RPG related.
  • Who's your daddy?
  • What does Blarg really mean?
         Blarg means nothing. Blargg is a lava monster from Super Mario World.
  • Who is Aegis?
         I am Aegis. Aegis is me. Unless we're talking psychologically (and we won't be), there aren't any unknowns.

    picture >= 1000 words
    wasup aegis?

    my favorite RPG is final fantasy tactics and the only thing I would change about it is being able to go in towns, The graphics would be similar to the battle graphics. It would just give a lot more depths to the towns instead of just being remembered as the town where I had to fight that guy.

    'Sup, G-skillet? Staying fresh, my homey? I've played little so far of FFT, but I too see this as a valid complaint. Towns in Final Fantasy Tactics are simply a name and a menu. I know it's a "Tactical" RPG, but adding a tad bit of exploration wouldn't detract, now would it? Things to hope for from future games, to be sure.

    now my question. What is the funnest multi-player game you've ever played(not best or outstanding, just fun) my own choice would be worms.

    -p-"I'm hearing voices but all they do is complain"

    The most fun ("funnest" ain't a word, folks) multiplayer game I've ever played is, without a question in my mind, Super Smash Bros. Melee. If we're talking released games only, then I default to the original Super Smash Bros.  I, for one, want my GameCube five months ago.

    Why did my pet mouse have to die? His name was RouseMouse. RIP


    (a moment of silence)

    Fear not, my saddened friend. RouseMouse has returned to the Lifestream, where he will... er, wait. No, it is Gaia that RouseMouse has returned to. Gaia, where he will become one w-- No, that's not right either. He's gone somewhere... um... I know it rhymes with Istanbul. You're gonna have to get back to me.

    insert rodney dangerfield impression here
    If could change one thing about my (one of) my favorite RPG(s), it would be to make Phantasy Star IV more respected. For reasons that I don't understand, we seem to remain in constant nostalgia mode for anything that Square has touched -- just look at the GBA wish list that has been up on rpgamer for so long: It's overflowing with Square games while Sega, a company that is actually currently programming for the system, goes without its flagship RPG being represented. Ideally, the entire series should be revamped in the wake of PSO's success (even III could be good with some relatively minor changes a la DW1+2, 3), but at the very least they should bring IV out again so that more people can play this neglected classic. The SNES may have been THE system for RPGs, but the Genesis had it gems.


    Though this wasn't really the type of change I was expecting people to write about, you do, in fact, talk about a change so I'll let it slide. It is sad that few people have experienced the goodness that is the Phantasy Star series. But there's really no mystery there, as you point out. The original was released on a system few people knew existed, and the 16-bit three were on a system that catered to sports and action fans. Most friendly (and non-friendly too, I guess) RPGamers had a SNES and knew little (to nothing) but Square.

    It may almost sound too good to be true, but I wouldn't be surprised if we saw GBA Phantasy Star game(s) sooner or later. Sega should know, especially after PSO, that it's sitting on a goldmine.

    this is your brain on a fat rock of crack
    One thing I'd change about Earthbound would be the main character. Instead of a bouncy 13 year old with a hat and habitual homesickness, the main character should be a friendly Norweigian chef. His name would be Hugo and his weapon would be a spatula. Also, the plot, instead of comprizing of many small towns and no overworld filled with vast nothingness, would incorporate a large planet inhabited only by walking trees and half-squid-half-spaghetti people. You would have to make food out of bark, squid, and spaghetti, creating a tough rubbery noddle that gave you splinters. Feeding this to the enemy, who would probably be a New Age Retro Hippie from Earthbound (simply because it's such a great enemy), would cause a rash which would lower attack power. Oh, and that's another thing. Attack power wouldn't be necessary, since the chef has only one arm which can't function normally. It would be replaced with a form of attack utilizing foul language and spitting. I'd call them RP (Redneck Points). Oh, and you wouldn't get party members. You'd collect cute monsters which you put in your pocket and used a magical ball to summon. I'd call it Castlevania or Zoop.

    -John Blienheimer, the only one with the left

    If you've got the left, then your mom's got the right. Oh, and you're insane.


    picked last for dodgeball
    My favorite RPG is Final Fantasy IV, and I would only change one thing about it. When you get to the end of the game and most of your previous characters gather to pray for you, at that point it would be nice to be able to form your own custom party to fight through the rest of the last stage with. I mean, every character except for Tellah is just standing there, and you can't fight with them! If by any chance Square ever actually remakes FFIV instead of just porting it to a new system, I hope they add that feature.

    -Ari "Education is the progressive realization of our ignorance."

    You're asking for a touch of realism, my friend. This is something that console developers were in the past more or less unable to give you due to technological restraints, and in the present something they seem to be more or less unwilling to give you. If it makes too much sense, you're not likely to see it happen.

    I'm not jaded, am I?

    Oh, good quote, by the way.

    burnout + cash = unplayed new games
    Dear Aegis:

    This week I've bought Monster Rancher 3, Silent Hill 2, and Ico for the PS2. And I'm not playing any of them that much. Ever get gaming burnout?

    Gaming burnout? Yeah, quite a bit, for the last couple years you might say. I mean, I still play, but not like I should. At least I buy like there's no tomorrow.

    I know I have in the past, but these are titles I have been highly anticipating. Monster Rancher 3 is as monotonous as it's predecessors in the series which can be forgiven because you know what you are buying, but the battle system allows for MANY more missed attacks (both for and against you) that really raise the annoyance factor up to rant levels. And Silent Hill 2 is awesome in some aspects but it's puzzles tend to be either really cool true puzzles (like braintwisters you might read in a puzzlebook but with the dark Philip K. Dick meets Satan edge of the series) or rather crappy fetch-and-carry, process of elimination map puzzles which make very little sense and are rather frustrating. Still, Ico is beautiful, complex without being unsolvable, and immersive in detail and storyline. A wonderful game that I should really be enjoying. I guess. But instead I find myself drawn back to Half-life mods (PC) and replaying old RPGs instead of this wealth of anticipated games.

    I know just what you mean. I just bought ICO too, and I played a little bit of it, and then I quit, and I almost had to make myself go back to it when the time came (don't fear, kids, it's not the game, it's me). Time does strange things to a person and his habits.

    Some suggested topics. Well, RPGamer gives great news coverage and lots of in depth fan culture extries to RPG fans, but the one thing it may be a step behind other gaming sites on is reviews. One reason for this I beleive is the complexity of the review system and the demanded format. I've thought about reviewing games before as I tend to buy games the day they come out and beat them fairly quickly, but I never do because I don't like the rpgamer rating system as I think it is too broad and contains things that should be in the review but not in the scoring. How about suggestions for RPGamer as a topic, with this as a starter.



    I think an RPGamer topic would do us good one of these days. Readers could see how other readers' views compare to their own, and the RPGamer staff could get a glimpse into what you all think we're doing wrong (and right, too, of course). Unless the higher-ups have major gripes with that, we'll probably delve into that in a few weeks.

    End of the Road:

    Granted, it's hard to accurately judge your own work, but I think that was a pretty good column. I hope that most of you agree. We'll meet again next week, folks. Same Bat-time, same Bat-channel. Or something.

    Yeah, and write to the slime. Slimes without letters are sad slimes indeed.

    Andrew P. Bilyk:  tastes great, less filling.

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