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Andrew - November 22 '02- 2:00 Central Standard Time

Welcome back everyone. Today we have a nice mix of letters from last week and some new ones I added just for spice. Time to dig in!

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In response to your RPG romance question I would like to point out 1 key element. ESRB rating AO. What more can you ask for in a game? Hell, I'd buy a system for that game!!! You know what I'm talkin' about. There's not a single game with an ESRB rating of AO, but there damn well should be. And what better platform to make it for. RPG's lend themselves to AO games. All the character building and what not. You're gonna tell me that in the 60+ hours I spent playing this socially-depriving excuse for a game, a group of co-eds have co-existed, fought evil, and slept in the same room w/o getting' jiggy with it. Where's my f*cking cut scene!!! I want my money's worth!!!

Games of this type can be found, mostly poorly translated Japanese H-games from the early 90's, such as Knights of Xentar, Mad Paradox, and to some extent, the Princess Maker series. Keep your eyes open, and I'm sure you'll get to see a game where your favorite heroes and heroines are making sweet love. You freak.


A few belated comments for you to ponder over/ignore/mock:
1. If Americans bought anything that had Squaresoft on it, why do all of their games aside from FF and a few rare exceptions (Chrono, Parasite Eve) quickly fade into obscurity? Even their best titles are usually forgotten by the people who don't spend their time online at RPG sites, like those of us that are visiting this site right now.
2. I've never heard anyone complain about SotN being a Super Metroid ripoff, though many people comment on the similarities (even if they don't go much deeper than the mapping system and the fact that they're both fantastic).
3. What was wrong with Wild ARMs 2, aside from its unreadable translation and overall total lack of difficulty? I thought it was a very entertaining way to kill time, even if it was only above average to me.
4. What's wrong with the Chocobo games? I always thought the Mysterious Dungeon series was fun, even if it gets repetitive and doesn't feature the fun bonuses of other random dungeon crawls like Azure Dreams. Then there's the racing game, which wasn't the best "kart racer" I've ever played, but certainly not the worst.
5. Squaresoft is "selling out" because FF7 was "painfiully easy?" I don't recall 4 - 6 being much more difficult.
6. The you're/your thing still seems to be a problem. Bleh.
Well, you are doing some things well, such as seeming to hate Golden Sun. I appreciate that, since I thought I was the only person that didn't see it as the epitome of portable RPGs.


1. Uh...what great games has SquareSoft made that have been forgotten by gamers? Oh wait, since I'm a gamer...and I don't remember any forgotten SquareSoft games...then it makes perfect sense! I shouldn't remember them! Argh, stupid paradoxes!
2. It's more bitterness related to the fact that Castlevania fans get a constant flow of games, whether they're awful or amazing, and Metroid fans have basically been ripped off game-wise until this year, where they've been celebrating by attacking enmasse Castlevania fans walking home late from work.
3. I have a modded playstation, which doesn't let me play WA2, and when I finally had a chance to, I was greatly disappointed by how much it lacked compared to the first game.
4. Considering Square's record for games, when they try to break into a new genre, like racing games or even dungeon crawlers, they had sure as hell better make some sort of effort to do it right. Instead, they slapped their much loved mascot into the games, and expected that to be the selling point for their slightly above crummy games. And you know what? I bought it. I love chocobos. LOVE THEM. And I feel horribly, horribly ripped off.
5. You've got to be kidding. Did you run into the last dungeon of FF4 and meet a behemoth? How about the battle with Odin? Or wait, maybe you played the PS versions, where you had your strategy guide to help you out. How about Kefka's final form in FF6? He was so tough they basically let you use your entire team against him, meaning you had to level up all your characters, and even then he could still calmly drop you down to 1 hp and smile at you with murder in mind.
6. I'm blind, so I have my helper chocobo read and write the column while I dictaWARK! for him. So really, it's amazing this column is here at all.
7. See? What's up with this? You poo-poo my hatred of average games that great companies crap out, but when I mock a game what was on all accounts average and that was made by an average company, suddenly you agree with me. Gaaaaaah.

Ranting in my column? That'll earn ya a paddle whooping!

Oh Considerably Cranky One,I notice that you are missing an all-important sig pict. May I recommend a mugshot of the mutants from Fallout 1/2? If you can say the right dialogue to take a snapshot of their pissed face, it'll fit you to a T.
You know what the problem with MMORPGs is? They take themselves way too seriously. When you try to eliminate the personality problems that plague MMORPGs, it never works. But if you change the personality of the MMORPGs themselves, not only do you make the problems entertaining, but you can give the players all the more incentive to whack them off.
It's a simple plan, really. Make a game where no one can trust anyone. Give each PC a certain number of lives: "When they're gone, you're done. Time to reroll, bub." Then give them the incentive to off each other: "There's traitors everywhere! Off traitors and you'll get promoted, so you get cooler weapons, cooler armor, and you can boss the lowlies around and they gotta follow your orders or ELSE they get blasted!"
Next, you gotta make sure these guys got the life expectancy of a house fly. Put them in traitorous positions so they're damned if they do, damned if they don't. Give them reasons to assassinate certain PCs. Make the weapons malfunction in spectacular ways. (It's amazing how few people will use a BFG when the thing can blow up in your face and vaporize everything in a 10-ft. radius.) Give people secret mutant powers that have a habit of goofing up. Then set them loose.
Suddenly, the emphasis isn't on staying alive or having long-lived characters. It's not you can cheat death forever. No, you gotta get out there and take risks, and climb as high as you can before the inevitable game over. With almost all of your opponents being human players, adventure's just around the corner! Sneak up on that one guy and see what he's doing. Spread rumors. Shoot things up a bit. Make plans with your teammates in treason to blow up reactors, or dump hallucinogens in the food.
Finally, an MMORPG where the enemy isn't the monsters, but everyone else! What spawn site can beat the challenge of holding off a squad of players just as devious and armed to the teeth as you are? How long will it be until the traitors start competing to see who can get the largest bounty on their hide? Will anyone risk killing random PCs and end up with the entire sector hunting them down for a promotion?
And, of course, my favorite scenario: the private firefight in a side corridor that drifts into a main corridor. Naturally, everyone will want to get in on the fun. Next thing you know, you have World War 3 crawling through the streets. Hundreds of players shooting each other, blowing stuff up, being pushed out of windows, respawning as fast as they die and dying as fast as they respawn! Tankjackings, blackmail, exploding reactors! A single half-hour of that chaos would be worth $5.
Gawd, I love a good symphony of entropy.
Anyways, in conclusion, MMORPGs today suck because players aren't properly encouraged to turn on each other with maniacal glee. And not enough things blow up.
As for love scenes, I believe that the one in Dragon Warrior is one of the best. Not only do you save the princess from the dragon, but you get to carry her across half the continent as well. Then when you gotta go defeat the big nasty, she doesn't whine about you leaving her, but gives you a nifty compass item instead! Why can't all romances start out that well?
-Mike Lemmer
"For a really good climax, it's important to have things get way out of hand."
Vulture Warriors of Dimension X

Mr. Lemmer, this is quite possibly the best letter I've gotten so far. I would love to play your MMORPG, which sounds a whole lot like GTA3, only I'd be able to murder other real nerds. And possibly have sex with other nerds and then beat them into pulp and steal back my money, only to have their pimps kill me, so then I'd respawn, only to do it all over again. Of course, we'd all be in tights and have frilly shirts. Man, that would kick so much donkey.
As for Dragon Warrior, I'm quite convinced, along with the majority of the DW fan base, that the princess was profoundly mentally retarded.

I like anime girls and I cannot lie...

Hey, this is in response to the guy who wrote in about there being no anime style pc-rpgs out. There is such a game called Ragnarok Online(RO) made by Gravity, albeit an MMORPG and just a beta version of it. The game was pretty fun to play, the anime style graphics fit in very well. They cancelled the english version of the game a few months ago, but the Korean and Japanese versions are still playable. They are actually planning to reopen the English version, well international version, to the first 30,000 people but it costs $10 to sign-up. If anyone is interested go to Gravity has made a great game and can use all the support they can get and the more American people that sign-up the better the chances that they will release the full version to the US. I'm sure there are other anime style pc-rpgs out there, but this is the only one that I've played or know anything about.
"Blame yourself or God." - Delita from FFT

Considering that most MMORPGs cost 10 bucks a month to play, this seems like a pretty good deal, and RO plays like Diablo 2 mixed with a healthy dose of a well done, player motived, merchant system. I certainly enjoyed my time during the open beta, so I plan to sign on. See you there, Blinky.


You rock. You are my bad-ass Q&A hero. Do you have a legion of followers yet, willing to beat the crap out of stupid people for you? If you do... well, I am weak and girly (which is O.K. for a girl, apparently) so I wouldn't be a very good addition, but I still think you should have some henchmen.

0_o Uh...I...erm...*blush* Su...sure, I guess...
You are recruited, Private Meghan! First, send in a picture of yourself, so I can go about getting you a proper uniform! Something with lots of frills, and quite possibly a red bow!

Thrawn was a grand admiral. He did know what was going on.

Yes, up until the third book, when he was outwitted by a wookie and his personal slave race.
Lamest. Plot twist. Ever.

-In Crysalis for NES, the vampire in the beginning keeps whooping my ass, how can I stop that from happening besides shutting the game off?

You'll find that by sticking the pointy end of your sword into enemies many times, you'll gain exp, which in turn, gains you levels, which make you stronger, which will help you defeat vampires everywhere.

whatever happened to my lunchbox?

Ah, the standard of Q&A letters. Your lunchbox is still on your head, little Matty, where you left it.

In french, Pain IS Bread....

This answers so much more than it doesn't about the French in general.

in ff8 what are you sapouse to do with chocobo world when it comes up how do i access it and cheack it out because i noticed the you have to go there to get a sertain gf thanx for your time nick pierce (a.k.a ff8fan2002)

This is AMERICA. Here, we speak AMERICAN.

The Final Grumble:

Same topic this weekend folks. Love in RPGs, and NONE OF YOU ARE LEAVING until I get one story about how you and your love fell head over heels for each other with some RPG as the focal point for your romance.

Andrew "Not evil, just pissed off" Duff

I'm lying.

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