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 Zelda 64.
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 In just seven sweet days, I'll update the archive. Or, uh, six?

Hooey, I haven't seen this much feedback since the infamous Sun/Squaresoft incident. Wondering which side of the Zelda/MGS debate was the minority? Well, too bad--you'll have to wade through a few questions before I get to the good stuff. Oh, and today's column is a little light on the questions. I'm using a good half the questions I received, and even those are a bit... well... off topic. You'll see.

Name that perv

Alske is assuming that WD is making fun of the text they're translating because the lines sound 'outlandish' for an RPG. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if that actually was an accurate line in the original RayEarth. WD probably just doesn't censor lines such as that in comparison to other RPG developing companies. And Umi being 14 affects her ability to comment on breast size? Haha, not in Japan...Arg, of course you're not going to print this, I just felt like stickin' it to the man. Thanks, and keep up the great work.

-- S.Cody

Thor: That's actually a pretty good point. The Japanese have different standards than Americans (naturally), so things which seem risque here wouldn't bat a single eyelid over there--and vise versa. Thing is, Working Designs has added a few things completely out of the blue before. I remember hearing with Lunar: Eternal Blue for the Sega CD, Working Designs insinuated that Leo was gay. Really, there were quotes like "He's 30 and he doesn't have a girlfriend. People are stating to talk", and a few other dubious sounding remarks. Oh well, at least they didn't make him unsure of himself like Fei/Cloud/Terra/etc, I'm really getting tired of that.

"X-Energies" sounds like something from Final Fantasy Tactics...

Hey Thor! Got a couple quick questions for you.... actually couple of long questions, but I hope you'll answer these!

1. First of all, some idiot was asking how to pronounce Xenogears...... umm... c'mon. It's really simple. This is how you would spell it if you could spell. "Zen-O-Gears". Not "X-energies" or "Zee-No Something". It would not have a "ee" sound unless it had.... you guessed it... two E's. Am I right or just diluded?

Last time I checked, people didn't walk around saying "Zen-oh-phobia"... Anyway, Square wants Xenogears pronounced "ZEH-no-gears", with a short 'e' in the begining. However! I wasn't wrong, because Mistcaller asked how I pronounce "Xenogears"; not the proper way to pronounce it. Heh heh, I love technicalities.

2. I really don't like Zelda as much as I would have liked! I've played up until the point where I meet the princess, and it just doesn't intrigue me like the others did. Is it because I'm 50 hours into Xenogears and addicted to that or is it because it's "Mario64 with a Sword"? Should I just give it another chance when I'm done with Xenogears?

Oh, trust me, Zelda 64's worth it. Tell you what: I'll win Xenogears after I finish Zelda 64 if you win Zelda 64 after you finish Xenogears. Deal? :D

3. Have you ever had problems with third party memory cards. I think it's having trouble with saving long gameshark codes, is this possible? You see... I really like FF Tactics but I sucked at it so I bought a gameshark so I could finish the story, but when I entered the codes it won't save. The codes work though..... hmmm...

Thor: I'm no expert on Gamesharks, but I do remember one time when I couldn't save my Actraiser game 'cause I was using a Game Genie. Man, it was a mess--the poor Nintendo hotline girl actually wheeled in a TV, SNES and a copy of Actraiser into her office to try and help me solve my problem. I didn't remember to mention the 'Genie until twenty minutes into the call... and she even didn't verbally pound my goofy arse into the ground. Nintendo hotline ladies rule. Anyway, I rambled on like that as an example. It could very well be the Shark. I'd call tech support.

The cure for the common RPG OD

Ever come down with a huge case of RPG OD (Role Playing Game Over Dose), and started doing strange things? Laughing uncontrollably, rolling around on the floor, etc... I had my first RPG OD after playing Chrono Trigger for 16 hours. I don't remember what happened exactly, but I woke up in the basement of my house on the floor. Soon after that, I started getting RPG OD more frequently, and much more dangerous things have happened. I realized that this problem must be affecting more than just me, and a cure for it must be found. And now...

I have done it!

I have discovered the cure for RPG OD!! I first noticed a link between RPGs and Mountain Dew when I had started playing FF7 with one goal: Win it from beginning to end in one sitting. This I accomplished - with the help of Mountain Dew! You see... That night, the RPG OD symptoms had descended upon me at about the 17:00 mark. Uncontrollable laughter was the strongest of the symptoms, accompanied by a racing heartbeat, and rapid ramblings on subjects I was unsure about. I had my friend bring me a Mountain Dew to keep me going. The effects lightened up a bit, and a few minutes later, I needed another. I beat the game in one sitting - 27:34 - and had consumed 19 Mountain Dews! If it weren't for the Mountain Dew, I would have gone insane!

Please, Mr. Antrim, help spread the word about the cure for RPG OD. Right now, you have the strongest voice toward the RPG playing public.

Thank you.

-- Tzepish.

Thor: Don't you know what Mountain Dew does? Tee hee! ...Naw, I know that's just an urban legend. People who stay up for more than 24 hours to finish an RPG, however, are apparently quite real. That kind of dedication towards anything (besides women) frankly scares me.

And speaking of women:

I just got a new girlfriend, Latoyia, and she's really rich. My birthday is only a couple days away and she asked my what I wanted. I asked her how much she would spend on me and she said a couple hundred bucks. I think she's Bill Gates daughter or something. I named several games and she said what else!!! I'm talking 5 games here. That's like $300 Anyway I was just wandering is it right to use her like this? Or do you not have any morals either?

Thor: No, it's not right. Why can't you just use your girlfriend for physical pleasure like everyone else? (Kidding, really. There goes every single female fan I have. Go Thor.) It's fine to accept gifts, even costly ones from your girlfriend, as long as you don't consider it "using" her... which, sadly, you do. You didn't ask, but I'll give my advice anyway: Be a man of honor and only ask for a reasonable ammount for your birthday, like one game. Or you could always request all five and pay her back in footrubs. But we're talking some major footrubs here...

Nightmare on Midgarstreet

I don't know if there is much of a future for the field of video game psychology, but should I be disturbed if my younger brother has dreams about certain vidoe games. When we got Final Fantasy VII, we expressed our love to our family, entered the game chambers, and did not emerge for many, many weeks. Later, he revealed the following dream he had to me:

"I was in the backyard, when I noticed the Ruby WEAPON was trying to kill me. So I ran up to Kroger's, hoping to avoid certain death by attracting it to other victims. Unfortunately, no one but me seemed to notice that Ruby was there. It was stepping on cars, but no one paid any attention to it. So, I ran back home. There, my cousin showed up. She chastened the Ruby WEAPON for trying to kill me. It became friendly, and the three of us went to Orchard and bought a shovel."

Thor, my brother has dreams like this all the time. I was just wondering if you have heard anything about it before.

Thor: Dreaming about games is actually quite common, and there's nothing to worry about--dreams are just your brain's way of keeping occupied while your body is resting. However, if your brother reports having any dreams set in the Honeybee Inn... be afraid. Be very afraid.

The Doctor is in...sane.

Late in the bowels of a Thursday night, around 3:45 A.M. i decided to visit RPGamer for the first time in awhile, and upon seeing the main page I decided to wow my visual taste buds with the glories that awaited me in the fanart section, now this is not a commentary about the quality and style of the pieces because I could go off on that, but one thing that caught my eye and not only made me laugh but also puzzled me. I noticed a piece by someone named AnnMage, from the thumbnail it looked like a pretty normally drawn man in a hood with blue hair in sort of anime style. but I noticed, hey it looks like the chest is raised at the bottom, so I clicked it and loaded the page, and to my amazement what was before me looked like nothing more than a man, holding a sceptre and with a snake's tail for legs, who also owned a pair of breasts. I thought this was ironic that the subject was cleverly chosen, possibly because of the snake's tial so as to not give away any kind of true gender, and maybe to keep up the fantasy that the character was indeed a hermaphrodite.

I did notice that the Fanart maintainer mentioned the subject, "Bleu" from Breath Of Fire, as a sorceress,still, could have fooled me.

-- Doc

Thor: Er, sorry to disappoint, but that was, in fact, a woman. You can see the official character sketch here (though comparing it to the fan art isn't really fair). I can see how you thought the drawing was of a guy, but I really shouldn't complain. The only pictures I can draw are of stick figures. Art really isn't my thing--I'm more of the "secret life of danger, romance and high adventure" type.

In Dreams

Here's another question that has nothing to do with RPGs. Do you find it easy to lucid dream? If so, what's your secret? For me, it's a lot of hard work to get one going. (Who says sleeping is easy?:) Care to share any interesting dreams with the rest of the world?

-Snoozy

Thor: Lucid dreaming (being fully aware of, and even in control of your dreams while dreaming) used to be easy for me, but that all ended when I hit 15 or 16. The best way to become a Lucid Adapt (my own pretentious term) is to keep a dream journal nearby, write down every dream the second you wake up, and concentrate on dreams/remembering dreams/etc. before bed.

...Share my dreams? Not a chance! I'm just getting used to having people call themselves my fans, I wouldn't want to ruin everything by giving ya'll a peek into my sinister sub-conscious. Lets just pretend I don't regularly dream about being chased through a deserted mall by female Goths who want to turn me into a vampire and we'll get along fine. Er. Hey! I know, lets get to that debate, 'cause, um, heh, yeah. Ok then.

The Great Zelda/MGS debate

[I'll print a few letters and then give a general reply to all of 'em. Hope this saves any confusion. -- Thor]

***

In my opinion, Metal Gear Solid isn't an RPG -- then again, Zelda 64 isn't either. The line between what used to be classified as "adventure games" and the RPG genre blurs more and more as time passes, it seems. When the original Zelda was released, it wasn't called an RPG. It was labeled as such in retrospect, probably due in part due to its medieval theme, as you mentioned. I think another main cause of this blurring of genre lines is a gameplay style that adventure games and RPGs share. Namely, they typically provide the gamer with some sort of setting that can be freely explored. No other genre can boast of such; most are divided up into stages that, once completed, can't be revisited.

Does providing such a world for the gamer to explore automatically make for an RPG? No, and neither do battles where dragons are killed with swords. I believe the defining factor for an RPG is a menu based battle system, to put it simply. This would make games like Secret of Mana adventure games with RPG elements (stat based character growth) and games like Zelda not RPGs at all. Alex was correct in asserting that Metal Gear Solid is as much of an RPG as Zelda is -- ie, it's not an RPG at all. Sure, it's easy to term Zelda an RPG because of its free exploration style and midieval themes, but when you get down to it, what makes it any more an RPG than Metal Gear or Metroid? The exploration style is merely something shared by both genres (football and soccer are played on rectangular grassy fields, but they're still different sports), and midieval qualities don't factor in whatsoever (you can write a mystery novel set in the dark ages or the computer age; either way, it's still a mystery novel).

-- Brian Maniscalco

***

Having played both, I have to say that if Zelda 64 is an RPG, so is MGS. It is *extremely* story-oriented (and a very good story at that -- you know you're being screwed by just about everyone, but now *how* you're being screwed), and you do "level-up" in a way after defeating the bosses -- increased health, ammo carry, etc. True, you don't end up wandering the compound looking for that elusive 100th Gold Soldier to kill, but I don't think that's what makes an RPG... :)

-- Aaron Malone

***

I say, If you have Zelda 64 coverage, have Metal Gear Solid coverage too.

***

The stats increase for MGS comes with the ability to carry more ammo. The further you complete the game (by defeating each stage boss) the more equipment you can carry. It may not seem like much of a statistics increase, but then again, neither is Zelda's heart collectin'. I do suggest you dive into this one deeper, because it is definitely simple for anyone to see the rpg element of MGS when compared to Zelda. (I have a gut feeling that you guys included Zelda strictly for the recognition, or maybe the Zelda HQ had something to do with it. Then again, you did include the originals so I can't say much there.

Thor: I have to agree with Brian, Zelda 64 and MGS are much more Adventure than they are RPG. Whatever you call them, almost all of you felt that if RPGamer covered Zelda 64 they should cover Metal Gear Solid. As far as I know, Zelda 64 wasn't added for name recognition or Zelda HQ (uh?), but for these three reasons:

  1. The Zelda series, unlike the Metal Gear series, does have RPG roots. Zelda II: Adventure of Link was as Action/RPG--as opposed to Adventure--as you can get. Heck, it even had an EXP system. (So why do so many RPGamers "hate" the most RPGish Zelda? Humans perplex me.)
  2. Nintendo itself called Zelda 64 an RPG, while Konami made no such claims.
  3. There is a general fear that should RPGamer add Metal Gear Solid, we'd be flooded with requests to add Tomb Raider as well. ("Hey man, it had storyline! And you could get items! And fight a T-Rex, which is like a Dragon! And Lara Croft had a nice set, just like Tifa!!")
Before I printed the original Zelda/MGS letter, I had not seen anyone complain about lack of MGS coverage, so... I'm not sure what will come of all this. I'll talk to the guys (and three girls) about it. Stay tuned for the results.

Elemental Geardolt. (I funny!)

At first, I wasn't sure I should E-mail you, but after the MST comment, I know you're truly a wise and cool individual. Anyway, I noticed a trend in Final Fantasies. Namly, they didn't get rid of the whole elemental idea. No, they don't have crystals anymore, but elementals are even more a part of the games now than before. They just are only using one elemental per game. Let's start with Final Fantasy 6. The main character is named Terra (an earth term,) and the main disaster in the game is the shifting of all the land masses in the game. Seven had Cloud, and a huge meteor coming out of the sky. Eight has Squall, and from what I see, it's very water-intensive. After earth, air, and water, we should expect fire-elementals in FF9. You know, the main character's named Inferno or Pyrus or something, and the plot will involve either radiation, a desert world, the sun somehow, or a demon race. With this in mind, what do you think Final Fantasy 10 will be about? Hi- Keeba!

-- Seth

Thor: Pretty perceptive. I can't wait until I open up Final Fantasy 9 and get a chance to play "Scorch". Anyway, it's pretty obvious what Final Fantasy 10 will be about: Milla Jovovich.

Quickies that satisfy:

The Man says: "[Thor] said something like 'Sequels usually are connected to their prequels.' THIS DRIVES ME NUTS!!! Prequel means this: A movie/book/game that comes out AFTER the original, but has it's timeline placed BEFORE the original. A game before it's sequel is simply called the PREVIOUS GAME!!!" He has a point. the Final Fantasy series doesn't flow like Zelda's. Thank you for the correction, The Man. You have a supurb grasp of grammar... only that e-mail doesn't exactly show it. // The Doughboy wanted the Citan/Ozzy link, so here you go. // Happy birthday, Stom! Sorry I couldn't find a spot for your letter, keep on trying. // A shocking ammount of people from Pennsylvania (OK, three) requested Mistcaller's e-mail, or just wanted to give her support. I won't print e-mail addresses, but I will suggest this: Why not start a lil' thread in the Miscellaneous RPGs message board? Nothing wrong with a "Does anyone from Pennsylvania want to get together and start an RPG club" kinda post, I should think. // And finally, an unnamed RPGamer writes: "Do you think that the RPG genre will suffer the same fate that the 1st person shooters and loose a lot of their support and buyers." Son, if people savagely defend games like SaGa Frontier, Wild ARMs and Beyond the Beyond as if they were the cream of the RPG crop, there's little chance that RPGs will ever loose the support of its fans.

Thor Stuff:

Why is it the majority of questions I receive are either personal ("Jeniffer Love Hewitt or Teri Hatcher???") or not related at all to RPGs? I don't mind printing questions like this, but if any of you feel I should answer more game-related questions, well, I think you know what to do.

Eww, my throat hurts. I think I'm coming down with something. Great--now I'm going to be confused for Alex Kimbel. I can only hope that, when I wake up today (I'm nocturnal), I shall thirst for coffee.

Losing my lust for caffeine is the first sign I've got something nasty.

Wish me luck.

- Thor "Yen Sign" Antrim
I wish someone would give me a footrub...

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