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No Stranger to Controversy
 
Ask JD Saturday July 03 - 6:50 pm EST

One thing echoed in my mind for some unfathomable reason as I wrote today's Q&A, was the letter printed on June 29, where the reader stated "Ok, couple things in response to JD (I think he wants you to be emailed with responses to his sunday columns until you die, he's so controversial -- but only on sundays)." Strangely enough I chuckled a couple of times at the time I read it. In response to that, today's Saturday Q&A will feature more controversial topics than previous saturday's or sunday's for that matter. Then again the bulk of letters were borderline opinion/debate letters anyhow. Also hopefully Ryan won't receive as much controversial letters on monday.

Let me digress a bit and return to a RPG topic. As you all know the big news story this week was Square's announcement of Vagrant Story. While it looks very good, frankly I'm very disappointed with the length of the game. According to Matsuno the game takes roughly 5-6 hours to complete? My first reaction was "Is this for real?" Parasite Eve took on average 7 hours and it felt SHORT. My feeling is RPG's tend to feel a lot shorter - time passes relatively, in a blink of an eye. In any event I guess we shall see what happens when it is released. On another note, I am disappointed that this is not the rumored Final Fantasy Tactics 2. Well enough of my rambling. I'm sure you guys and gals will have some opinions on this.
 
Vagrant Story

Okay... let me make sure that's not a typo... Vagrant Story is going to be able to be completed in less than ten hours? Do we know anything else about this game that could possibly make up for *this*? Length in an RPG, in my opinion, is a very important part. (Though it does tie in with plot--100+ hour RPGs with a boring and badly written plot aren't very nice). I mean, people complained that Parasite Eve was way too short, but I believed it more than made up for it with its wonderful FMV and intriguing, original plot. How are people going to react to a game that will only take five hours to complete if it doesn't have some MAJOR redeeming qualities? I'm really interested in hearing your thoughts on this.

-Ndoto

JD:
As stated in the opening I'm very disappointed with the length of the game. Here are some story details that I know of. These are tentative reports mind you. How accurate the details are remains to be seen.
Vagrant Story is set in Europe during the Middle Ages. You play the role of Ashley Riot, a agent of Knights of the Maintenance of Public Order in Valendia. Your first mission is to investigate the murder of Duke Valdoba, where you are assigned to go into Valdoba's mansion and free those trapped by the occupiers.
Sounds rather interesting doesn't it?

 
Earthbound 64

Heya, On the subject of Earthbound 64, methinks that that game was kind of confirmed to be coming out for the Nin64. I thought I heard Nintendo say something like a December '99 release date. Oh well, I wouldn't trust them either, goin' off and leavin' me barren of decent RPG's for the past 3 years... >>sniff<<

-Mark L.

JD:
As most of you are probably aware of, Nintendo announced that Earthbound 64 is going to be ported to N64 cartridge format. Will Nintendo ever stop screwing up? They should just redevelop it for Project Dolphin. Anyway as you have inferred Nintendo's release dates are dubious at best. We'll keep you guys updated if any further release dates for EB64 are announced. By the way you aren't alone with the feeling. I got a N64 with the promise of RPGs, so far the only one I have is Zelda64, blah....

 
Lunar stuff

4 days is a very long time to beat Lunar:TSSS, if you play it non-stop. I can beat it in 14 hours, and thats with me going back to get all the treasure boxes and bromides, without a walkthru.

If you know what your doing, its easy Oh and a question, since Lunar:EB is coming out this winter, though most likely it will be 1 year from today, is there any chance that Working Designs is translating Lunar Magic School for playstation? And I'm I the only one who thought the line "Quiet you!" in Lunar, was the funniest line in the game, after Nall comments on his art of Luna?

Any Reel Big Fish fans out there??

-Jimbob

JD:
It took me about 22 hours. Frankly who cares. Some people say they beat FF7 the first time in 29 hours. I bet they really enjoyed it, just rushing through towns, bypassing talking to people and not savoring each moment...My advice take your time and enjoy the RPG.

Sadly Lunar Magic School has almost no chance for US release. From what I've been told the game is BAD and didn't do all that well in japan.
Yes you're alone in finding "Quite you!" the funniest line in the game.
 
FF8 special packaging?

Hey JD,

Will FF8 come in a special package like Lunar? Just wondering cause 4 CDs can't fit in the double CD jewelcases.

Is da reason u r kwiker 2 update thann Ryan 'cuz u drink 2 mmuch coffy? Jus' curiousss.

RedXIII "A good wachdogy"

-SeaMonkey "Bet ya can't read just one!"

JD:
No solid information has been confirmed by Square. If previous Square games are any indication, no there won't be any special packaging. Besides what could they do? Square isn't the type of company that really makes great overall packaging.

Yes, I drink about 2 tons of coffee a day.

 
Blaze and Blade?

Heya, I notice that your site makes no mention of an RPG (which I've just picked up) called 'Blaze and Blade' (T&E Soft /Funsoft).Not released over there...or just plain despised and ignored ^-^ ? I could understand if it were the latter...It's appalling graphically - very sparse on story...but multiplayer (!) is a novelty, and well...we aren't so lucky here in the PAL outlands... and have to make do with whatever RPG crumbs the powers-that-be deign to drop us. Yes...think twice before you slag off Square again, dear US reader, at least you've got more than three of their products... I bring this to your attention, because I can see the day when I'll want to peruse a FAQ or the like on this game - and I can't think of anywhere I'd rather go to read one. Way things seem though, I might end up having to write one myself...

-M. (Maungawhau, Aotearoa) New Zealand

JD:
That is one RPG I've never heard of. Sorry to hear you New Zealanders get such bad RPGs. :(
Anyone here familiar with Blaze and Blade? If not, yes you probably will have to write a FAQ yourself. If any info about this game, more importantly pictures are known to be on the net provide me with the info and I'll consider adding it to game coverage.

 
Vierge Again???

Hey JD play that song for me,

Seeing the reply to my letter, I want to clear things up. Vierge, when written as an adjective to describe someone means virgin, but when used as a noun translates as VIRGIN MARY. So there!!!

In LUNAR i've just become a member of the thief guild. How far is this into the game? Oh! By the way you're right, Kyle in the bath is just Earrgghhh!!!

Salutations from the UK
-Fat Chocobo III

JD:
This really will be the last time with the Vierge topic. Thanks for the info. With that final bit of info that topic is laid to rest.
I'd say you're about 7-9 hours from the end?

 
Xenogears family wedding?
You've probably already gotten something on this, but in case you haven't I have something that needs clearing up. What is the deal with the Bart/Margie thing? They're cousins yet everybody is trying to get them to get hitched; especially the nuns. Do we see a problem here? It doesn't take a lot of imagination to see the relation between Xenogear's Bart and FFVII's Cid, and we all know that Cid is modeled after the stereotypical white American. Now comes the question, finally, "Did the person/persons who wrote the story think that we Americans goto our family reunions to find future wives/husbands. I'll probably get ragged for this, but I really want this answered.

JD:
Remember Bart and Margie were considered royalty of sorts. In the olden days especially in Europe, marriages between cousins were the norm. Especially since royalty was only allowed to marry another "blue blood."

 
The Religion Topic again

Mr.Amos,

In response to Ms.Shosetsu's inquiries yesterday about the game industry's current infatuation with religion:
The sudden influx of religious material in games is not indigenous to RPGs alone these days, ultimately I'd simply chalk it up to these three reasons; being used for shock factor, the video game industry becoming more bold, and the age & maturity level of it's gamers.
Ten years ago, religion in western console video games was practically taboo, but most game players were children then. RPGs these days (Hell, alot of games these days.), aren't directed towards children, but to about the 17+ age group.

The gaming industry, like television and practically all other media has grown more bold as well. Jerry Springer wasn't on TV ten years ago, and if he had been, he'd have probably been lynched. That brings me to shock factor. Because we're becoming accustomed to the daily assault on our senses by the society around us, we've become somewhat desensitized. One of the best ways to catch attention these days isn't though excessive violence, or old overdone plotlines. Presenting a question like "Is God truly good, or is he just selfish?" creates shock because it's greater than the physical state around us. It's an assault on manners of thought & morality. Expect to see alot more of this in the future.

Ms.Shosetsu also asked "why Christianity?". Square (the company seemingly in question here. ^_^;) isn't drawing exclusively on Christianity alone, it seems like it though, because Christianity is a rather prevalent religion in the west. Although a fair few final bosses in Square's games look pretty angelic, the Angel is not exclusive to the Christian religion.

In some cases, such as XenoGears, Christianity wasn't directly drawn upon so much as it was taking from the Gnostic religion. Which is kind of a Christianity offshoot. Xenogears' "God", "Sophia", and a few other things are very Gnostic. For you Square name-origin buffs, Sophia, according to Gnosis is one of the "three emanations of the true God". (Gnostics believe that the God featured in the Old Testament wasn't the true God, but a selfish being referred to as "Demiurge".) For all you Evangelion buffs out there as well, Gnosis is where Lilith comes from. I'm not, by the way, a Gnostic myself, rather it's just a subject of my interest at the moment, right alongside Quantum Physics. (Seriously!) If you'd like to know more about Gnosis, or just see the source of a few other obscure RPG name origins, gat story ideas, or whatever, www.gnosis.org is a good place to start. I'll spare you my collection of Quantum Physics links though. ^_^
Anyways, Square does also draw from a host of other religions, and a plethora of mythologies. With the exception of XenoGears, most other Square games feature more references to other beliefs. Christianity just seems rather prominent here, since it's considered a major religion.

I realize I've rambled somewhat, and for that I apologize. Likely you shall hear from me again when someone asks "What's with all the Quantum Physics in RPGs these days?". And if you're thinking I'm some elderly, depraved genius, you're wrong. I'm a 23 year-old high school dropout. I haven't ruled out the genius part though... Irregardless, have a nice night, folks. Respectfully,

-Jeremy Baker P.S.: Mr.Amos, I apologize for unwittingly nailing you with a response to something Mr.Davis' started. ^_^;

JD:
Granted you're letter was one of the longest I've seen and to be actually printed for Q&A. Good thing you cc'd me the letter as well.^_^
Regardless of that, I thought the letter was clearly one of the more insightful and thorough ones regarding this topic. I do agree with most of what you said on the topic, let me however interject with some new debate. Does Square perhaps have some form of hidden agenda with all the recent religious storylines, or perhaps is Square catering to a generation that has lost most of its religious values?

 
Hell Hath no Fury like a Mother Scorned

To whom it may concern,

Dr. Laura, the popular radio personality and moral barometer in this country, has recently been going on tangents about the immorality and absurd freedoms of the Internet and now, after seeing your site, I know that Dr. Laura is always right. I have never seen such a blatant attempt at turning our defenseless children away from God as I have at your site. I can see right through your agenda, heathens, with your endless talk of Witchcraft spells and magical objects. It is quite obvious that your Liberal agenda is to introduce the youth of America to Paganism, with its deviant homosexual rituals and idol-worship. I think they should not only post the ten commandments on schools, but also on every website as well.
I fought this kind of Godless nonsense in the 1980's, back when it was called Dungeons & Dragons, a "Game" that taught teenagers how to perform Satanic rituals and how to sacrifice babies to Lucifer before feasting on their limbs. The worst part about your website is that it panders to children. You talk of videogames yet, when you scrape away that thin verneer, all you find is blasphemous talk of nature Goddesses (a disgusting Wiccan concept) and Vampires and Pagan magical spells used by demons and sorcerers! Is this what those Godless liberal Atheists claim is defended by the 1st Amendment!? Paganism and Wiccanism and Satanism? Is this what you're trying to teach our children? I am disgusted at the lengths you people will go to to turn our children away from the teachens of Jesus Christ.
It is a good thing I caught my bunchkin Timothy looking at your website or else I wouldn't have known that you were trying to corrupt him. I am going to write a sternly-worded letter to my State Representative Bob Barr, who actually cares about our youth, advocating that sites such as yours be censored and that libraries be filtered against such Godless liberal filth. This is what Al Gore made such a big stink about inventing? This Information Superhighway that is only good for turning our children against God and country? It's a good thing I didn't vote for him or that swine Klinton. It is times like these where I am glad that I home-school my children and don't send them to public schools to learn socialism and atheism..

-Gwendolyn Snope, Concerned Parent
concerned_mother@hotmail.com (email was requested to be printed)

JD:
There you have it. The most controversial letter I recieved this week. Opinions anyone?
(2nd update)Note this letter was liked so much, by our Editiorial Editor that it will be posted on the Editorials section as well. If you have any long winded responses to this letter, reply in the editorials section.

 
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Some of you will no doubt question, why I printed such opinionated letters. My reasons are quite simple. First it will give some of you readers something interesting to think about and second it is rare that controversial or extremist letters have been printed. As well as this isn't merely a Q&A it is a Letters Column. Since today's theme was carried by the strength of opinions more so than questions, it seemed doubly valid.

Also forgive me for the short quickies today. I'm gonna save it for tomorrow. Lastly , one of the readers sent me the Dragon Warrior Picture to the right. Check it Out. Is this for real? It's been so long since I played DQ/DW that my memory of it is a bit clouded.

That's it for today. Cya all tomorrow.

DQ Fact or Fiction?
Is this Fact or Fiction?

Questions? Comments? Praises or Flames?
JD aka Weekend Dude
"Ride a broom in three days! Guaranteed to work or you'll suffer an incredibly painful fall!"

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