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   Two Guys From Saga   

Andrew - March '7- 12:00 Central Standard Time

I must say, it was a pleasure doing a column with Rayme. His opinions are so vastly different from my own, which I suppose makes sense, since heís a Xenogears fan boy, and I well...I donít HATE the prequel. Yet.

Rayme-

"Some information about yourself", he says. Hmm.
Well, I'm 23, and I work for the university here in Anchorage, Alaska, doing computer stuff. Spare time is usually spent (naturally) playing a game or two with or without the friends around (some solo RPG here, a little Halo LAN there), or trying to code pretties on a computer screen.

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Anime freak hates English voice acting! SHOCK.

I think the only thing I truly found embarresing in an RPG was pretty much the entire American release of Star Ocean 2. The voice acting in the battles just sucked. The main character sounded like some nineteen year old yelling into his computer's microphone. The voices in the battles ruined the entire game for me, they were that bad.

I recently downloaded the first fansubbed episode of .hack//sign and thought it was great. Coincidentally, I later saw the same episode dubbed on Cartoon Network that day. Besides the dub just being mediocre in general, I noticed that the original Japanese version used more correct computer terms, while the American version was dumbed-down, as well as all the swearing was gotten rid of. I also didn't like that they altered the ending sequence. I really have no patience for dubbed anime. The ONLY dubs I can stand to watch are for Cowboy Bebop and all of the Studio Ghibli films, besides those, I just can't enjoy watching even what's otherwise my favorite series.

Andrew:
I hope you die a truly slow and horrible death, for only considering the surface of both video games and anime. Whatís it like missing out on Star Ocean 2's fantastic battle system, or the really funny English dubs because youíve got a stick up your butt?

Rayme:
Dubs tend to be a sore point for me too, man. Nothing ruins a mood quite like poor translation, mismatched voices, odd gaps in conversation, and plain old Bad Acting.

I'm no authority on the subject, but I'm guessing that, often, the job just has to be good enough, and the bar isn't always so high. I think conclusions are reached that are something along the lines of "well, this cat-girl sounds like she was done by someone doing a poor imitation of my sister mocking my mom.... but the 8-to-13-year-old-male bracket is still going to buy the toys... we're golden.", and the more discerning among us are left to grit our teeth through the experience. Or get cozy with some subtitles & the original language track, when we have the options.

Hell, I'd be curious to find out what peoples' favorite horrible-voice-acting moments are, sometime. Me? I dunno, hard to pick a favorite. Though..... I'd have... to-say-that... Yuna kind of... made me... want... to... scream... sometimes, you know? Ahem.

 
War is never easy, especially when youíre wearing iron pants.

Andrew,

Hello, master of all rabbits. I have been wondering something- what was your first RPG? Also, where can I download the games you made for the O.H.R.R.P.G.C.E? I have played one, Joke, and I laughed at all of the scenes.

Now on to the other part of the letter, my pseudo-rant. I have had a horrible week. I did well in a tennis tournament up until it was canceled, so I got no recognition. I realized how bad at that Fly The Copter game I was. I was made fun of at my school because of my political views. In fact, after saying I would like to visit, and possibly live in, Japan someday, I was called a faschist/communist/nazi. But I won't even get into that.

However, the last straw was in Final Fantasy Tactics. I was in chapter four and went down to Goug. When I got there, new jobs had become available to me, and I switched jobs. Then I got creamed in that swamp area and had to start over. I got past it without a battle, started a quest, and walked around to random areas until it was finished.

I had my backup party all set, and I stupidly went back to the swamp. I fought six, (yes, six) gray bomb creatures. This, of course, was after having learned many new abilities. I lost in about twenty rounds, so I did go down with a long and agonizing fight. Very peeved, I scrapped the quests and went north. The next battle I got into killed me. I was infuriated.

My enthusiasm for games has temporarily vanished. What do I do? Oh well, I will get back into a gaming mood in five, four, three, two, one...

--Ewcoolio
"Hahahaha! After a few level gains, I will go back to that swamp..."

Andrew:
1. Oh man, you liked Joke? I replayed it at the mention of it in your letter, and I truly forgot how awful it was. Thanks for the kind words, but donít expect another game out of me for a while. But hey, you can be sure Iíll put a link up here to any new ones.

2. Very few people are good at Fly the Copter, one of which is my room mate, who trounced my score without even trying. >_<

Ewcoolio, youíve now realized how freaking stupid public schooling is. My sympathies that you will now have to endure taunts and giggling until you graduate, all because people find it easier to be stupid than be themselves. On the bright side, college is much better. And guess what? Iím applying to Study Aboard in Japan next year, so your dream isnít so silly after all. Besides, whatís wrong with communists?

3. Seems like you already got over your FFT loss. If it makes you feel better, Iím a levelaholic, who just canít say no to new skills.

Rayme:
N-nazi? Because you want to live in Ja-?
.....
Honestly. What sort of alpha-hicks are you schooling with over there? o_O

Anyhow. I know you didn't exactly ask me, Mr. E, but my own first real RPG was probably Dragon Warrior, on the NES (yeah, I know; pretty unique, eh?). But the first to really get me going was the initial Final Fantasy. Do you remember that Nintendo Power strategy guide that came out? A good half-dozen of the kids in my sixth grade class had the book memorized before we'd even bought the game, as I remember. Four characters at once? Airships? We get to EVOLVE?

Though I suppose I played D&D on my Dad's Intellivision even earlier....

 
I love Disney games and Neopets! Damn it, Carbuncle had better not be my kid sister.

Prepare for more craziness, rabbit!

I think most embarrassing was trying to express my feelings for Kingdom Hearts. The moment I heard the techno music and saw the awesome keybladeyness (it's not a real word, I know), I fell in deep admiration. Yet, everytime someone saw me fighting alongside Goofy, it was hard not to say, "this is weird!" in my own defense.

Question the First: Is there something wrong with someone my age liking a Disney-Squaresoft bastard child? I won't tell you my age, but let's put it this way: I'm in college. (narrows that down, huh?)

Answer the First: To answer your "Volcano Run Linkage" prompt from the last letter printed ... posted ... whatever you call it... I can't post a direct link. The reason: It's on neopets.com

Which leads me to Question the Second: Would Neopets be considered an MMORPG? I mean, it has a battledome, for goodness sake!

OK, back to acting my age ... or, trying miserably to do so.

NeoCarbuncle

Hunter of the Heartless

Andrew:
1. Oh lord. We are NOT getting into the ďvideo games are weirdĒ argument again. All games are bizarre, from Tetris to Warcarft 3. The only difference for Kingdom Hearts is that itís recognizable weirdness. And hey, who could, or want, to resist the fantastically well done commercial?

2. Nintendo thinks that Animal Crossing is an RPG. By their definition, yes, NeoPets is an RPG, and so is lint. Now if youíll excuse me, Iíve got some bricks with Nintendoís advertising executiveís names on them.

Rayme:
q1) Awe, heck no. I mean, start worrying if you find yourself murmuring the lyrics to "A Part of Your World" at the breakfast table, but a little well-adjusted appreciation for warm fuzzies never hurt anyone.

q2) Neopets? What in the world are... right, a website, lemme see what..... oh. Oh my. That's so cute I could just about shoot myself in the face.

 
If I kick him in the nads, he dies, but Iíll lose XenoSaga. ...wait, whatís the downside again?

Hello Andrew...

I cannot believe you gave out your actual address to that Xenogiving dude. Diabolical strangers earn children's trust by giving them candy, but you are much older, and you have been suckered by free $50 software, also known as "man-candy". Don't be surprised if this maniac shows up at your house wearing naught but the XenoSaga game taped to a strategic location. "Come get your game, big boy!" he'll say as a creepy smile spreads across his face. Congratulations! You've just earned yourself a stalker. Or at the very least, a "naughty boy" session with a cat-o'-nine-tails. I hope you find the $50 savings worth it. Well, was it worth it? (See, now you can use this as the lead-in to talk about it.)

- Calculus FunBot

Andrew:
Well first off, taking 45 minutes to get to the first save point, especially after the news about the bug in Xenosaga is very nerve wracking. I havenít gotten out of the training thingy with KOS-MOS, but so far, I donít HATE the game. The intro wasnít so bad, and itís keeping my interest. Expect more on the game as I manage to find some free time for it.

Rayme:
I, er..... o_O

Well, now. I guess I just won't read this poem that I wrote for Andrew, then. -_-

To be honest, aside from the fact that other-guys aren't exactly my preferred flavor of somethin'-somethin', I'd like to think that if I /was/ going to snap and go creepy-stalker on someone, I'd come up with something that had a little more creativity than some clichť same-sex S&M confrontation.

Seriously. I don't know if I have the words or space to articulate this properly, but I imagine it would include a kidnapping, an airlift to Honduras, a handful of women unable to discern the differences between orange or blue, and a disgruntled war-pony trained in the art of.... oh, we'll say jujitsu. And I don't even know how to find Honduras on a map, so good luck finding us, bastich.

 
Spent a year making an awesome game, now lets have a nobody artist make a crummy cover for our masterpiece!

Here's a question for you. What do you think is the funniest or just plain weirdest box art you've ever seen for a game? Myself, I would have to go with Dark Cloud 2's box art as being the funniest, due to Monica holding her sword as if she's going to decapitiate Yuris, who is just standing there without a care in the world. (A possible plot spoiler perhaps?). The weirdest box art would have to be the one for Phanlanx for the SNES, I mean c'mon what has an old guy sitting and holding a guitar of some sort got to do with a fairly hard shooter game? (Though I CAN understand the reason for putting the ship you pilot in the background).

Andrew:
Worse cover art goes to Suikoden 1, hands down. It looked the cover of a soap opera or bad dating sim. Lucky I was naive and didnít judge a book by itís cover back then.

Rayme:
I always did wonder about that Phalanx box-art. I suppose there could be some deeper, artistic reason for the whole old-man thing... but maybe they just wanted us to do the double-take we all did, and have a gander at their game up on the shelf. Or someone in marketing just went bug-nuts insane. Maybe a bit of all of the above, eh?

 
Yeah? Well I smoke because Iím addicted! So itís okay!

Hiya,

I thought I would add my two cents on the discussion on Gamesharks and RPGs. I'll have you know that nobody I know had the dedication to play Star Ocean: TSS enough to get all the voice clips, yet, with the Gameshark, poof, there we go. And thanks to the Gameshark I found out that there are two voice tracks you can't get in the game. The one where Dias screams 'LEON!' and Leon screams 'DIAS!' You can never get those playing the game because Dias and Leon are never in battle together. So, sometimes you do need the Gameshark.

Later,

LEONheart Kennedy

Andrew:
Wait. If you canít open the last two voices, then they shouldnít count to the total, and if they do, they probably donít give you anything, right? The only time you should need a game shark is if you want to go poking around the game dev room after youíve slaughtered the rest of the game, not because the game is too ďhardĒ.

Rayme:
Best reasons to have a gameshark on the PSX?

1) The Debug Room for Final Fantasy 7. 2) The Debug Room for Xenogears (knew I'd get some Xeno-speak in here somewhere ^_-) 3) Changine which-characters-do-which-moves in Tekken3. Nothing like emasculating poor Jin Kazama by having him emulate Xiayou's moves.

Really, I love futzing around with games. It's a nice way to improve the old bang/buck ratio, at least. Infinite lives? Unlimited money? B'ah. Boring. Lemme see unfinished music videos, half-built playfields, incomplete graphics, and other things that I wasn't supposed to ever be able to take a peek at. Or just plain tweek with the game ("there, NOW Aeris is back in, punk").

 
PARABOLA BEAM!

Andrew:

I got a lot of strange looks from my suitemates when they listened to .hack//Infectionís Japanese voice-acting, but compared to some other effortsÖit was top notch.

Why? The most embarrassing RPG moment Iíve ever had was listening to the voice acting in Star Ocean 2. I loved the game dearly, and my first review to this site (well before I ran Points of View) was on that game. However, every time I heard Claude yell ďThat must be somewhere around 80 points!Ē drove me insane. No wonder unlocking Universe mode takes such dedication.

Paul ďAmishĒ Koehler
RPGamer Reviews Staff
ďLlllluuuccckkky!Ē Ė Precis

Andrew:
I always thought the voices were cutely bizarre. No silly mouth syncing, no dramatics, just good old humorous death dialogue. But yes, they were very embarrassing, though no where on the level of Rhapsody when the heroine broke into song. Now that was one of the few games I played with headphones on.

Rayme:
I suppose it kept with the tone of the game, but Lunar's Nash, with his "Check THIS Out!!" every time I had him do his lighting attack... man, that got old. Or "Althena, Lend Me Your Power!"...

Hrm, but now I'm just picking on Lunar unfairly, and I luv that game. ^_^

 
Kinda happy ending, except for the cats.

Well, I did as you told (kinda) and tried to gather information about the missing system. I'm not a real people person, but I did overhear some thugs talking about "four-player" and a congratulatory shaking of hands. I actually knew one of the people, so I asked him if he got a Gamecube, or one of his friends did. Now, I'm a "stuck-up white boy" or something, so I'm not the kind of person who'd hang out with them, but they denied any owning of a Gamecube. *SNIPPED FOR REASONS OF SWEARAGE*

However, my friend, a generous soul, had a Gamecube. His sister having a birthday in a month, he wagered his Gamecube for my Xbox. Having a single unbeaten game, Gun Valkyrie, I quickly traded my giant dusty contraption.

There was a catch. My friend, while being a good guy, lives in a...pungent house. His cats most likely soil everything there, and the Gamecube did not escape unscathed. I am currently trying to deodor the system and controllers.

Nevertheless, I am happy. As soon as he gives me his games for the Gamecube (which I already own, without the stink), I plan to trade those in, along with Tsugunai and Hoshigami, for another Wavebird and most likely Skies of Arcadia. With a $25 gift card to EB, I'll most likely be able to get something else. Any ideas?

Well, since I'm still typing...

My most embarassing moment in an RPG would be FF7's Wall Market...with my mom watching. If she also wasn't for getting the game, she'd sure have a new outlook toward my relatively sane life.

zitanix

Andrew:
You forgot to include what the guy said after you asked him if he or any of his friendís had gotten a new system.

Anyway, my suggestion for your money is to go and reserve Zelda, or in lieu of that, hire a private eye to go and find your missing stuff. Then you can go on a wacky adventure, get a foxy woman, and do something stupidly heroic!

Rayme:
Sorry about your gamecube woes. Mean people tend to suck the fun out of things, I hear. Just don't let it drag you down, eh? As random unwaranted advice, I'd say you'll want to make really sure you've got the right people(s) before you direct too much frustration their way. As for recommending Gamecube games... well, Zelda is recommended, of course. ^_-
Hopefully you could still snag one of the Ocarina of Time bonus discs, too. I barely got one (they didn't have enough for all their pre-orders, here, and I just happened to stop by on the right day), but man, it's neat. It's got the same models & textures, etc, but it renders at a higher resolution, with a lot less slowdown.

But I'm a sucker for Zelda, don't mind me.

Beyond that, I can't think of much that's RPG related... Phantasy Star Online is a good sci-fi Diablo-alike, if you haven't played any of it's incarnations, yet. Metroid, 'course. And Mario, if you dug the N64 one. Oh! And Animal Crossing if... y'know, if you're into that sort of thing.

Oh, my poor little game cube. I still believe in you.



Quickies

Dear Andrew,

It has to be when I said "check me out" to my brother when I was fighting Necron in FF9 and I got demolished in 2 hits.

But as far as characters. It would have to be when Kyle tries to pick up Jessica in Lunar, that made me wanna hide my head in shame.

0marTheZealot

When Kyle was dressed up as a women, I muted my tv, grabbed a handy garbage can, and upchucked. Then I reset and watched it again. Sssh.

Rayme-
Yeah, well, it worked, didn't it? Guy must've known what he was doing.

When's Thor coming back? He said he wouldn't be gone long...where is he?!

-"Man frozen in ice cube circa 1999"

Thor is back. At least, in the heartís and mindís of children everywhere. *sniff* Oh great, now youíve made me cry.

Rayme-
Eh, I dunno. He's probably busy elsewhere, I guess.

The Final Grumble:

So after I get home for Spring Break, and no, Iím not going anywhere, Iíll try to get in a few more hours of Xenosaga. Iím hoping to use the break to completely whomp the game, so once again, thanks Rayme!

Oh, and for anyone who wants to ask me about Xenosagaís plot in relation to Xenogears, save it for Google. When I made up pseudo-religion crap and make poor use of metaphors, you can be assured itís because I care very deeply. About hurting you.

Rayme-

I think everyone who's ever guest hosted starts their outro off with a "Well, that was fun....". And you know what? Yeah, this was fun.
Of course, just when I think I'm getting into the groove of responding to letters, I'm done with the last one. That's the way of it, eh? Thanks to everyone that wrote in for today.

I gotta come clean, though. I'm a tad emberassed; I had my answers in to Andrew a good few hours after he needed them (damn my communication skills -_-), like a fool. But the man didn't ditch me. Can't beat that, eh?

Thanks again, everyone. Thanks to the writers, thanks to the readers, and thanks to Andrew for extending a guest-host offer to a spaz from up north.

On a personal note: I just want to say "hey" to Alissa, Karen, Chad, and Matt. They'z my gang, love 'm like family, even in the rough patches. ^_^

Andrew "KOS-MOSING" Duff

Haha! Robot with abrupt voice! You make me wonder if 4000 years have really gone by!

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