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A call to arms
 
 
Stand high, brothers and sisters of the game. Let the world know we are not the delirious, emotionally indulgent and mentally unstable youths who can't discern fact from fantasy. Show the adult world the difference between extremist blood-lustful 3d-shooter worshipping goths and the intelligent, enlightened and balanced RPGamers we all are.

The Anti-violence Gaming Community provides a venue for our holy crusade. For only together can we banish the subliminal smog of unwavering, blissfully addictive ignorance.

Be tactful, yet humble. Sharp, but polite.

Be confident, but stoke not thine ego to excess.

Have some ramen.

Does anyone have change for a dollar?

No? Um, okay. I'll stop now. Call me Radical Ramen Rabbi, techno-preacher or "Michael of the many handles"
 
The truth
Dear Michael "young sinner" Greenhut,

I was seriously offended by the anonymous person's comment about "sinful" video games. Granted that many RPGs deal with demons and other nasties from that pit-o-fire down below, but it's not like Gamers play the games to worship Hellish creatures. In fact, I'm Christian and I see nothing wrong with playing video games, including RPGs. I ain't going to burn in the pits of Hell for doing that sort of thing, and I know it. I am embarrassed that someone who shares the same beliefs as me can be so narrow-minded.

~Sailor Jupiter

Michael:

Okay, for the rest of you who couldn't tell (woah, smooth!), that "dear young sinner" letter was fake. Yup, I gave in to an irresistible urge to fabricate a letter and expose as much silliness of that extreme end of the opinion spectrum as possible. Fortunately, I can dump the task of responding to this appalling and ill-timed practical joke of mine onto Thor's shoulders, since I'm done for the weekend. *SnickerCackleSnicker*

 
Violence attracts Violence
Hey Mike-

Does Shanoyu realize that Jerry Falwell is NOT talking about console RPGs? The idiots who went on an idiot murdering rampage played dungeons and dragons and "war" and other RPGs, not Xenogears or Final Fantasy or anything. Role Playing Game does not have to mean a game that you buy for playstation or your computer.

Personally, I don't agree with him that playing such games CAUSES violence, but I DO believe that people who would be violent have a higher attraction to said games.

Reno

Michael:

True enough. Most gamers aren't blank slates, and have some idea of what they want to play. I've yet to hear of a friend go "Doom? Quake? Wow, what's this 'killing' thing? Hey, let me try this out, I've never thought about this before...whoa, COOL MAN! I never knew what rocket launchers did to people! Maybe I should bring one to school!"
Okay, that's getting a little extreme but my point is this: Gamers, at least the majority, buy their own games, pick their own genres for their own reasons and impulses. Any parent who exposes their innocent preschooler to Quake and forever ruins their mind deserves to bear the combined weight of every lawsuit being issued to any game company.

 
The Language Barrier

Hey Mr. Michael, the RPGamer guy I've never heard of(sorry). Anyways, perhaps you can help me out, or at least help me complain. Someone needs to make a comprehensive site that does Japanese-to-American translations of RPGs. I borrowed FF8 from a friend, but all I can get is the translation of the 1st disk, and a tiny bit of the 2nd(okay, maybe I'm spoiled. At least I get to play it). Am I the only one surprised there isn't a really nice site for this? Perhaps there is, and maybe you could enlighten me. Anyways, because of this, and the fact that I've always hated waited to play upcoming RPGs, I plan on learning Japanese. After this, I will enlist the help ofmany other Americans that also know Japanese, and we will make the most comprehensive RPG translation site ever. Watch for it!

Steven Vegh aka Starkiller

Michael:

There are plenty of "unofficial"[read: illegal] groups and sites that translate Japanese RPGs. Plugging them here, even non-shamelessly, would get me shafted pretty quickly. I suggest altavista, it works wonders.

Learning Japanese can be challenging (I'm doing it now), but ultimately rewarding if you put enough work into it. Two semesters will get you to the level of understanding bits and pieces of anime without reading the subtitles(nando kore wa?! = "what the hell is this?!") but a lot more studying is needed to understand most of imported games.

Anyhow, good luck on your [presumably fully legal] translation site. Let me know when it's up, and I'll give it a plug.

 
The Other Side.. .

OK, I know you're probably getting a lotta letters on this, but I got a lot I want to say....

As most of us know, there are some people blaming the incident in Littleton (which, btw, is 60 miles from where I live) entirely on the video game industry. There are many people who have written in to RPGamer denouncing that claim and saying that the blame rests entirely on their environment, parents, etc.

Alrighty, I just wanted to say that despite my love for video games, I AGREE (to an extent) with those that say they caused the violence at Columbine. Don't get me wrong -- I also believe that several other factors played into their behavior. However, violent video games desensitize the people from that violence. It will not necessarily cause the player to enact what they see (with some notable exceptions), but they may not regard violence with the same respect as others. Their environment, their parents, and their peers play a major part, but video games also factor into the equation as well.

Perhaps someone should make an RPG that shows the true consequences of violence. Sounds like a good project...I think I'll start designing one, since I'm into computer science and stuff. Anybody out there wanna help?

King of Stuff and Junk, Lord Soron

(Note to editor: Say, you're into computer science too, right? Are you planning on making an RPG?)

Michael:

I do see some truth in this; violent, gratuitously bloody first-person shooter games played by fans of blood, gore and violence will most definitely boost their testosterone, sometimes to the point of doing dangerous things.

But not all games and gamers are like that. How many times has Crystalis, Final Fantasy or Suikoden given you underlying murderous tendencies? How often has Zelda made you want to dress in green elven costumes and hackslash innocent people to death?(uh, rhetorical question) As for FF7, the idea was to portray Sephiroth as evil, bad, screwed up, mucho wacked. i.e. wrong. He killed Aeris, and that made me want him destroyed, not everyone else. Most RPGamers are different, more elevated and intelligent than the average testosterone-hooked action gamer. At least I'd like to think so. There's us, and there's them.

And while I've made a few of my own games, the first of which was a 6,000+ line (albeit simple and somewhat buggy) FF combat simulator at age 15, I've never completed a full-fledged RPG. I am, however, part of what will hopefully become a small RPG company in a couple of years.

 
RPG definition #43112
Hey Neo-Michael,

I've been seeing, as we all have, the definition-of-an-RPG question rise and fall often... and I think I've come up with a pretty good answer to the question. You see, most people try to be to specific in their definitions, whereas my definition is far from that... in fact, I still see it as a little too specific... (oh, and those of you on #rpgamer might have seen this already - join us and you'll get to hear not-really-cool-stuff like this all the time ;)...

An RPG is not defined by it's gameplay, or it's graphics, or it's setting. An RPG is defined by intention - the intention to tell a story. While some games, such as Metal Gear Solid, do tell a story, they focus much more on gameplay; whereas an RPG will, or at least tries to, focus on the story above all else. A game that is intended to do that can and should be called an RPG.

Anyway, that's my definition. IMHO it's a good definition because it's not too specific but not too vague. It covers most RPGs out there, console and PC alike, and tries not to leave too much ambiguous... although I'm sure it leaves plenty 8-).

DkPhoenix

Michael: In some cases, maybe. But then there're the older RPGs where character building and stats take precedence over any form of story that might develop. I can see two main traits that solidly define RPGs: character growth and, as you say, the intention to tell a story.
 
Michael J. Greenhut vs. captain Ego(not to be confused with Captain Eo, played by an altogether different Michael J...), round 1!

Dear (wait a minute, you aren't dear) Michael,

Thor got several of these, and you didn't. Well, I'm here to change it, in my own, twisted way. Mwahaha.. Prepare to read a bunch of random crap that doesn't make much sense!

FUNKEE DIAMOND GUY: I shink it shucks. THE JOHNNY GUY: HERE WE ARE AND GOOD FIGHT, GOOD NIGHT FUNKEE DIAMOND GUY: Like doood, it hazhn't even shtarted yet, shtoopid. THE JOHNNY GUY: OH THATS GOOD BECAUSE I HAVE TOOTH CANCER FUNKEE DIAMOND GUY: Okee, itsh Michael Greenhut vershush Mishter Tea THE JOHNNY GUY: I HEAR NOMURA TETSUYA STOLE MR TEA'S IMAGE FUNKEE DIAMOND GUY: Shuttup yew idiot. JUDGE MILLS LANE: I suck because I think I'm cool but I'm really not so get it on *Michael Greenhut throws an elderly citizen at Mr Tea and inflicts 2847 damage because the elderly citizen is rabid and has razor-sharp dentures FUNKEE DIAMOND GUY: Itsh amazhing, becuzh that guysh my grandpahh THE JOHNNY GUY: OMIGAWD YER SO NAIVE. FUNKEE DIAMOND GUY: I'm alsho from duh mewn. *Mr Tea baps Michael Greenhut with about 1,493 gold chains, but it doesn't do any damage points because he doesn't even play RPGs... *Michael Greenhut counterattacks because he has a black belt, which doesn't make sense, but RPGs seldom do and I'll shuttup now THE JOHNNY GUY: WHOAA DID YOU SEE HOW CRAPPY THAT WAS! I BET WHOEVER WROTE THIS THING IS GOING TO MAKE MICHAEL GREENHUT WIN, BECAUSE HE WANTS THIS POSTED FUNKEE DIAMOND GUY: Knock on woood. Tshshhs RODENT-LIKE MAMMAL: Like, what are you saying!? Use Lumina! *Mr Tea sputters incoherent Ebonics at Michael Greenhut which causes all negative status ailments "HOOKED ON EBONICS WORKS FOR MEE!" FUNKEE DIAMOND GUY: Dat shettlesh it, Mr Tea ish duh winner. THE JOHNNY GUY: DONT COUNT ON IT MR PERSONHEAD MAN FaNKo DeMON GUy: I ushed rename card. Wait, Michael Greenhut ish attacking! *Michael uses his Limit Bread, which he bakes to perfection until it's golden brown. He becomes naked and twirls around dizzily, and he magically dresses into a pansy's sailor outfit, and he becomes embarrassed. "ON BEHALF OF THE LOCAL BAKERY... I WILL PUNISH YOO!" He throws his wheat roll at Mr Tea, creating high frequency ebonics and he blows up and returns to the negaverse guys!! FUNKEE DIAMOND GUY: I don't get it, but I shink my fashe ish veddy pretty. shshs ^.^ michael greenhut has won the fight, and my sneakers claim to be dainty! ^.^ THE JOHNNY GUY: GOOD NIGHT GOOD FIGHT WAHOOO!!

I know that it's not like the OTHER ones that thor got, but it was.. interesting, right? I hope you post this, because (sarcasm on) I put alot of thought into it (sarcasm off). Well, good luck on the column! POWER OF THE VOID, FETCH ME MY SLIPPERS!

-Dark Neko

Michael:
Joy! A winner is me! Congratulation! congratulation!
Uh-oh, the truck have started to move.
I feel asleep!
Okay, that was shamefully gratuitous. Sorry =) Time to free up some airspace for serious questions and problems, like...
 
My ninja, sweet Ninja

I just thought I'd mention that Thor's little black ninja is animated. Your's isn't. Ha ha... Just thought I'd point that out.

-Rouge

Michael:

Whoops. As I said, er...serious questions and problems, like...

 
Science fantasy trends! Ahh, much better.
Green the Hut,

I have a theory about what square is doing with their games. And the theory, that I have, which is about what square is doing with their games goes something like this. They are giving the societies of each game one boost up on the technology tree every consecutive game. They can only do this so far however, and I do believe, as with many things in life, that this trend will happen in an undulating motion (if it was represented on a graph). I think that eventually we'll see a regression in these societies technological abilities back to the old realm of "Fantasy" as you define it. This happens mostly because this is what the players want. When there was nothing but fantasy they wanted something more modern and now that there's something more modern they'll want a regression back to fantasy. Thus the theory, that I have, which is about what square is doing with their games, is concluded. In other words, that's all folks.

--Anubis

P.S. Ten stupid points to anyone who can guess who I was impersonating in the above letter.

Michael:

This has been my own hope and prediction for some time. Final Fantasy becoming Crystalis(well, in terms of environment) would most definitely redeem any minor gripes I've had with the contemporary/futuristic setting, especially if ancient or strange races returned to the world(kinda like in Ralph Bakshi's Wizards).

 
I am Erro[u]r?

"Ramen"? Why? I don't get it...oh well, here's the point: I just read the bit about a guy in Zelda II saying "I am error," and it came to me: allegory! As you no doubt recall from whatever Rennaisance literature classses you may or may not have taken, in the first canto of the first book of Edmund Spenser's Faerie Queene, The Redcrosse Knight defeats a beast representing human frailty called, that's right, Error (well, "Errour," actually--darn that crazy Elizabethan spelling)! Of course, that Error was a big, scary monster, but as we all know from long and tedious nights of reading, sins take many forms, and are never truly defeated: so what we have in Zelda II is an allegorical representation of "Error". Why he doesn't try to overcome Link is anyone's guess: perhaps his the blazing aura of righteousness surrounding him is just too much.

Okay, so it may seem strange, but after all, this is the game that predicted Parappa the Rapper a full ten years before its release (even if they spelled it wrong). I guess Zelda II is kind of the Nostradamus of the RPG world. Amazing, no? -Diomedes

Michael:

Fascinating. Shame on me for not knowing of this bit of literature. While the simple buttnut man of the land town-guy in Zelda II was hardly a big, vicious monster, names have been stolen from mythology and swapped with unlikely figures in games before(note the difference between Asura in FF4/2a and Asura in the FFL series, as well as Ashura, Cyan's weapon in FF6/3a).

 
Age and Memories
Michael,

1. Since I'm going to import in a few days, I need to get something straight. Is everything in the single FFVI for PSX the same as everything in the FFVI in the FF Collection?

2. In FFVI (or FFIII for those who are into the American version), do YOU know Terra's correct age when Gestahl invades the Esper world? I've heard her being a year old and others say she's 2 years. I really would like to know.

3.And lastly, were you as cute as the "Hey Mikey!" kid from the cereal box when you were young? Or were you much cuter?

Thanks muchly,
The "yes, I'm a girl" Marquis
Michael:

1) As far as I know, they're the same. If I'm wrong, I call on you faithful readers to beat me over the head and correct me on this. In such an event, I'll e-mail you back and let you know asap.

2) She's 18 in the first half in the game, 19 in the second. Do the subtraction of the flashback and you'll have her age, though if I remember correctly she was a newborn.

3) I'm, uh, not sure. I'll just say I was a shrimp who people called "ma'am" on the phone until around 9th grade, sans any self-serving comments about my looks. =) My head was also a magnet for many a-soccer ball in camp or after-school sports programs.

 
Selling your soul to whatever sells

I feel the need to write to you. I was just playing the demo of Lunar Silver Star Story Complete and was watching the intro again. The lyrics clearly say "...in your dreams love is the thought, carried on wings of hope..." when the company chooses to begin a game like that, you can assume a love story is central to the plot, well kinda (but it emphasizes it later on, but back to my point), we can also assume that that theme song didn't change dramatically from the Japanese version. But look at FF8, their Japanese promotional campaign is of love, but here in America its "action and adventure, with a little love". Granted Square isn't going to change alot of the dialogue to make it more adventure and less love, but you get a look into the mindsets of the companies. Working Designs clearly realizes that many American gamers who play RPG are mature people and can handle something like that, while Square feels the need to change their promotional campaign because they assume RPG players wouldn't want a plot filled with love. Thanks for reading. Oh and to make this a question, umm... how far are you in Legend of Legia?

-Kit

Michael:

Sadly, companies often sell themselves as whatever the public desires most, rather than what they actually are. The FF7 commercials basically emphasized "save the world" with lots of pretty FMV shots, without any mention of the plot or special qualities that keep long-time FF worshippers coming back for more. I'm as annoyed as the next guy if not more so, but if this kind of advertising is what keeps these games coming to American shores, there isn't much we can do.

I'm still early in Legaia, on my way to West Voz forest to revive the next(last?) Genesis tree, and without Gala(he and Songi are only Mei's age? Yeesh! If I looked half Gala's apparent age now I'd be pretty depressed)

 
Um...what? how?

Dear Mike(The S.O.B),

I am now playing Legend of Legaia and have a problem.I've managed to get Gala but not Noa.Help me!

Yours sinfully, Lisa.

Michael:

step 1: Don't Panic. Okay Lisa...I have no idea in all of the bloody sheep clone factories in England exactly how you got Gala without Noa. In fact, I'd go as far as to say it's completely and utterly impossible seeing how you're forced to acquire Noa before Vahn's beginning travels are even finished. I could be wrong, of course. I'm still early in the game. And anything is possible for the gamer who spends enough time doing anything and everything, I suppose, but...this is highly irregular. Hmm...what to do, what to do...(no cue cards for this?!) Okay. I'm not panicking either.

Step 2: Take a deep breath. Take a few steps backwards in time. Try to follow exactly where Vahn is told to go, climb up the mountain he's supposed to go to and you should be instantly whisked to Noa's POV pretty early on. Yes, this is about all I can offer. I haven't finished the other ten steps to this little "what to do if you get Gala without Noa" program yet. For further advice, try looking for the 12-step program for "What to do if you end up fighting Zeromus with Edward, Tellah, Yang, Cid and Baigan."
Other than that, good luck. I have faith in you.

 
One more for the crusade

Dear Mike, I am sorry but even coping it I can never get the whole name out. There is something you said in you column today. I quote "Anyhow, you see my point. Just like the rest of technology, videogames in themselves aren't the problem; it's the people who wield them, and how they're used. " Now I was not alive back in the 50's and 60's. However, people were doing the same exact thing back then. They were blaming the technology on things. I think that a great number of people should get up and start to say that technology is not at fault.

Well There is my two cents!

Sincerely,

Vincient [Vincient@mindspring.com]

Michael:

Aye, seven letters is quite a labor to hammer out, especially when they're in such a peculiar order that people always reverse the a and e. Anyhow, you're right, of course. Technology has a long history of abuse by its creators, and games are no exception. That can be used for good(educational games, harmless RPGs) or evil (intense role-playing that involves actual blood drinking and bodily harm, or bloody goth-inspiring abuse of 3d shooters to harvest animosity).

 
How RPgamers spend their Saturday evening, #23091(See? We're harmless!)

Dear Mikhael, Archangel of Ego Stranglification--

That's to satisfy your cravings for a vaguely religious title, since that charming rat bastard Thor "stole your thunder"-- heh heh. (Everything seems funny at 2:11 a.m., ne? :)

Anyway, I shall now ask you this stupefying question-- Thor has said repeatedly how sick he is of FF7-related questions, especially ones as bass-ackwards as the one I'm about to ask you now. But because I've never seen it before, it must be asked. It's practically asking to be asked.

Several weeks ago, I was playing my beloved game yet again, complete with a Cid who's higher level than Cloud...the way it ought to be. Anyway, I had Nanaki-chan in my party, and the three of us went to slaughter some bandersnatches on the Northern Continent.

After destroying bandy after bandy, catastrophe struck. First of all, the little buggers cast that obnoxious "Howling" spell of theirs, thus reviving one of their fallen. "Wow. That's kind of...neat," I murmured, a glazed look falling across my features as I pondered the Chocobo breeding I was soon to attempt...again. (Being obsessed is a dangerous occupation, folks.)

The next thing I knew, a menu bar had appeared at the top of the screen. But instead of revealing some essential bandersnatch weakness or explaining their genetic relationship to kalm fangs and nibel wolves, it merely read--

"Learned Limit Skill Cosmo Memory!"

Now, ladies and gentleman...it was true that Nanaki hadn't gotten his Level 4 Limit Break yet. But since when are limits referred to even somewhat like enemy skills? Since when did howling bandersnatches result in such a stroke of incredible luck? Had I been eating too many Zeio Nuts? Had I watched the Kalm Flashback one too many times? Did it have anything to do with saying "...Ding"?

I tossed all of this carelessly aside and raced to my triangle button. But my feeble expectations proved to be limper than an overcooked ramen noodle. Nanaki still had 'Howling Moon.' Nothing had changed.

Two words: what gives?

This is the one FF7 mystery I still haven't figured out. If you, Michael, can answer this...then...you oughtta go and frolic outside more; it's good for you. (^-^)

If anybody else can answer this...perhaps you're even more of an FF7 otaku than me, and the apocalypse truly is upon us.

That's a lot of message for one dinky little question! I talk too much. The end.

Quibbles 'n' bits 'n' bits 'n' bits,

Areia

a.k.a. "Mulberry Field Bodyguard"

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
"He has real samurai spirit!"

-- Katsushiro (on Kyuzo)
in Kurosawa's_Seven Samurai_

Michael:

Now this, my friends, is a true gamer. She's also quite literate, and for her to be wondering about such things...well, since I don't even remember seeing this perhaps she should take my place. Or, maybe both of us need to get out more. Yeah, that's probably it.

 
Need a scapegoat for sin?
Ask Thor
(monotheistic grandmothers beware)
 
Nostalgic?
Try the Archives
 
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Legend of Legaia
A little more, a little more...
 
 



Way too many letters to print em all. A couple more I'm saving for next weekend, though, so don't worry.
Michael's mirror

And whoosh, there goes the afternoon...don't forget to keep sending those editorials defending us RPGamers against the trenchcoat mafia stereotype. And this time, there is a default subject. Please leave it as is =)

I'm sure my wit ran out near the end there. Someone mop it up for me?

Please?


RPG Darwin Award:

Jedi256 was lost in Xenogears. Hopelessly, terribly, undeniably lost.

in an empty room.

Shadow Zero Attack Mega! Michael "Arch Angel" Greenhut

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