A disturbingly good Monday
Get ready for few questions, lots of comments, and a lil' dab of love.
Consider today as sort of a Thursday Thorsday Madness preview, since
so many of the questions are off-topic. (Ever notice how strange this
column reads? One day we're all debating, the next there's a ton of
serious questions, the next we're discussing the origin of 'Blarg'.)
||Need a friend? Too bad. Need a question answered?|
(I'll be your friend if you give me all your stuff, though.)
(Good Lord the dialog is awful.)
| ||See how many typoes you can count! The archives await.|
Oh, and here's a switch: I'm actually feeling pretty good, despite this
being a Monday and all. A sign of the impending doom? Oh, you betcha!
I write to you in the hope that you can save my sanity. You see, my memory
card has just decided to wipe itself clean, and take my 50 hrs Xenogears
save game with it. If you, or any RPGamers know where I can get hold of a
save game for the US version, near the start of disc 2, please let me know
- I'm tearing my hair out waiting to find out what happens next!
Unless you can talk someone into sending you their memory card (perhaps a
really, really nice person on the Message Boards?) your best bet is the
DexDrive. For the price of a PlayStation game, you can get this dandy
little device which allows you to back up save game files on your (Windows
95/98 based) PC. So, if you had the DD, you'd just need to find another
Dex'ter and have him e-mail you his save file. (Fine, him or her.
Political correctness blows.)
Cowards everywhere breathe a sigh of relief
I just read that in Final Fantasy VIII, you can gain experience by
running from battles. This means that we'll never have to fight a
single battle, right? Or do we gain less experience than if we killed the
enemies? I figured you might know. This is probably old news, but if its
not, please post this letter?
-- The Wizard of Old
Can't say for sure, but I think it's a pretty safe bet that the experience
you gain will be less than half of what you'd get if you actually, um,
fought. I figure this was just Square's way of dealing with that age old
first time RPGamer goof of running from every fight then getting the,
er, carp kicked out of you later in the game. What ever happened to learning
the hard way?
Shadowrun 64. I wish.
Hi Thor. I noticed in your Feb. 4 Ask Thor you mentioned that you really
need a Shadorun (Genesis) section. What kind of stuff do you need?
I've already tracked down a walkthrough or two, so I'll say
screenshots, music (midi/module), and anything else you can
scrounge up, save for Orc toenail clippings.
I really liked the game too (The SNES game was nice, but the Genesis kicked
butt!), in fact, I just went back and started playing it again this week,
and its still fun! When I heard Micro$oft killed off the
Shadowrun:Assassin game FASA Interactive was working on, I knew that we
would probably never see another SR game. I guess the idea of corps that
make billions and run the world getting broken in by shadowrunners gave
them nightmares :)
-- Dedric Ramsey
Leave it to Microsoft to kill a game
about evil corporations, hackers and alternate operating systems. They're
even more evil than Sony's lawyers. We can only hope FASA escapes the darkness
that is 'soft eventually.
"Why is Squall's groin so pronounced?"
A person named "Sadie" asked Ryan Amos yesterday why Square's heroines are
always so busty. (I'd love to know which Square games Sadie has been
playing...cause none except FFVII come to mind...but oh well).
the truth behind this fact is simple. Terra and Celes were
decidedly.....the opposite of busty. The same goes for Rosa, Rydia, Faris
(tee hee), etc. So they created Tifa's cupsize to compensate. Now they
should even out, since they've made up for the backlog
Guys. Please. Lets stop and take a moment to think about this topic.
Can you imagine, just for a second, discussing the size of Cloud's
package? How about Cecil's area? Or Vincent's back porch? Icky, right?
Well, that's how girls feel during debates like this. I'm not blaming
you, or the chap who wrote the initial letter, I just think it's time
we all stopped talking about Square's fictional breasts and moved on
with our lives. I know, it's hard. I've fallen off the waggon and made a
Tifa/Pam Anderson joke or two in the past. You just have to live one day at a time, pray,
and drink plenty of coffee.
Devil with a blue dress on. (Don't punny topics suck?)
In the Sages' column, someone brought up the topic of angels as the big
boss in a lot of Square games, so I thought I'd share my thoughts on it. I
personally don't think it's meant to be angels you are fighting, but
rather fallen angels a.k.a. demons. Think about it. The biggest villain
there is, the biggest villain there was, and the biggest villain there
ever will be, Satan, is a fallen angel. Demons are the other fallen angels
who sided with Satan against God. The depiction of Satan and demons as
having horns and pitchforks and whatnot are a product of the middle ages
where newly converted Christians painted them to look like monsters and
stuff taken from their previous pagan religions. Maybe Square is just
looking past the common image of demons and going back to the fact that
they are fallen angels. They seem to do a lot of research to come up with
their ideas, so I think they've done that again. Just my thoughts on the
Everyone I heard from shared your thoughts (though you were the only one to
bring up the pagan thing). I can only hope that Square got bored of
the whole Christian symbology kick before they set to work on
Final Fantasy VIII. It's never a good thing when people know what
the main enemy will look like before any screenshots are released.
PS- I also have a theory about Red XIII's aging. Is that topic
-- The Bad Guy
Dead and buried. I mean it. I'd better not get any letters.
I'm warning you! Look, don't even try it. I've recently aquired
UGP's old The Box, and am willing to use it. Is it ethical to
swipe another letter column's gimmick? No, but they're as dead
as the Red XIII debate, so I don't hear anyone complaining, heh heh.
Off topic babble, skip at will.
Blarg: I'm curious... where's this from? I seem to remember playing a PC
shareware RPG much in the Zelda vein called God of Thunder, where you
controlled yours truly. In that game was a character called Blarg, and I'm
pretty sure some people used it as an exclaimation much like you do.
Blarg! Well, you seem to be spreading the word across the web now... I
face Blarg at every turn.
God of Thunder rocked, I don't remember anyone named "Blarg" though. Spooky
BTW, in Allan's column today he said he could beat you in a fight ;-) That
should be fun to see.
Anyway, quick explanation:
Blarg surfaced here and there throughout history, but was never made trendy
until I came along. A few years back I started dating
a girl who screamed "Blargle" when pissed. I shortened it to "Blarg", and
formed a small technomancy cult based on the word alone. (Yes, seriously.) Nowadays
the cult is gone, but I still like to use "Blarg" as a swear replacement. (By
the way, "Blarg" is in more places than you may think. I can say no more,
just keep your eyes open and PlayStation on, heh heh.)
Well, must get back to work now.
-- Hahn's Clone, Robug Farmer, Blarg!
Hah! Nothing but childish boasting and self-delusion! The digital
equivalent of whistling in a graveyard, I tell ya. My superior height, strength and
martial arts skills (two years of Aikido, whapa!) would make short work
of Milligan. And that's not even factoring in outside support: I have
thousands of (or at least two) adoring fans; Allan just has an old sock with a face painted
on it named "Mr. Bubzo". I rest my case.
Uhuhuh. He said 'hard'.
Hello, sir Thor:
I was reading today's (Feb. 5th) column, and I noticed something
discussing the difficulty of RPGs, which got me to thinking - what exactly
is the correct level of difficulty in an RPG? And what exactly is the
correct way to apply difficulty? I know this letter may stir up some
debate, and I'm curious what other people think - anybody out there have a
formula for good and difficult games?
-- Clovis, ruler of the Merovingian Empire
Sorry I had to cut your nifty rant. I think it's time we stopped making public
or favorite and least favorite games, at least if you'll use over a
paragraph listing 'em.
There is no such thing as "good" difficulty. It's all subjective.
Some people like mindless hack and slash, others like their battles few but
really hard (FFT), others prefer breezing though their game.
The only good difficulty is one that you can select yourself, since it's a
mater of personal taste. (Optional puzzles, a random encounter % meter, and
the ability to lower or raise the attack/defense/etc. of enemies would be nice.)
As to what exactly is an RPG's difficulty, well, this I can handle. There are
three basic elements of an RPG's difficulty.
And there you have it, the Trio of Challenge. They range from necessary (battle
difficulty) to absurd (WtHaI difficulty), with puzzles sleeping nice and snug
between the two. Going from one to the other, and sometimes both at once;
professing its love on Battle Difficulty, then turning right around and saying
the same to WtHaI; hanging up the phone without even saying goodbye; cheating on
me with that rat bastard Ma--er. <blink> Moving on.
- Battle difficulty: How hard the random/boss encounters are. Duh.
- Puzzle difficulty: A few RPGs are filled with hard to solve puzzles to pad
out the game. It's really kinda cheesy, but some people are fond of puzzle-heavy
- "Where the HELL am I?" difficulty: Sometimes RPGs are really vague about
what you should do next, so you'll spend hours wandering around and looking
for clues. This is either the result of bad game design or a developer who
is going for the "100+ Hours To Complete!" tagline.
I think you should edit out greets that exceed four letters. This is
getting out of hand - you're creating your very own 'crabbit.'
-- Rob Emes - Vandole
Yeah, I figured as much. From now on, just open your
letters with "Yo, sexypants".
Now that they're taller than half an inch, they SUCK!
How could they!?!? Ok let me explain myself before I start ranting. I
thought the clips of FMV for the FF4 remix looked very nice, I had no
problem with it, but it didn't really hit home because FF4 wasn't exactly
one of my favs (you can start yelling at me now or wait later). Ok, I
also liked the FMV in FF7, beautifully done, more or less saved the game
from its lack of content (bashing time yet?). Now I was wandering into
RPGamer.com just a couple days ago and what do my eyes see ~ FMV cuts from
the FF6 remix. I frantically clicked the button to see and I browse
through the pics. Ummm... when did Kefka become a transvestite (just
Never. He's always been a fem, you just couldn't tell when he was 32x32
pixils. Now that Kefka is larger than life, he just looks a bit like
pre-Omega Marilyn Manson. (Kefka? Fallen angel? Antichrist Super
Star? Today's column has an eerie underlying theme...)
When did Terra change her hair color and start to look like
George's dead fiancee from Seinfeld (any answers yet?)
Well, she didn't, not really. Amano has always drawn Terra with blonde
hair, so the FMV artists stayed true to his original concept.
just... ummm.. weird?
Oh come now, is that even a valid complaint? I thought he looked cool.
and well Edgar is the only one that seems
alright... not that bad. I personally don't like all this realistic FMV
Square seems to be dishing out like in FF8 *belch* (Ok now if you're not
bashing me thank you very much) and now FF6 remix. In addition, my
saddest scene of any RPG of all time is actually not a death (can you
believe that?) ~ Its Gau's confrontation with his dad and when his dad
doesn't accept him, and guess what, I am afraid with what Square might
have done to that.
Animated it realisticly instead of with blocky little sprites? God forbid.
Now that Square is so hip to full motion video, the character designers
have a lot more to deal with. I mean, look at Amano's original drawings
of the Final Fantasy 6 gang. Everyone looks kind of... female, right?
Well, those are what the characters were supposed to look like,
it just didn't translate well to sprite form. But now that you can render
up basicly anything, character designers have a lot more to worry about.
Take Laguna Loire for example: Tetsuya Nomura drew what looks to be Sandra Bullock.
No problem in polygon form, no problem in sprite form, but when rendered
Laguna looks like... well... Sandra Bullock. There was no change when
converted from sketch to game.
I hope this kind of clears up why the characters look so "weird". Square
didn't change anything, they were just finally able to convey their original
idea. Just 'cause you're used to a watered down version doesn't mean the
FMV ruins Final Fantasy 6. Lets cut 'em some slack. :D
Insane fan #1
To My Sweet Little Thor,
Hello Thor, don't you remember me? It's your grandma. You haven't
talked to me in a long time, and don't gimme that "but grandma I was busy"
crap cause I know all you do all day is sit on your butt watching the
Young & The Restless. Anyhow sugar, you really need to listen to your
elders, cause they know a heck of a lot more than you!
Yeah, well, at least I know one thing you don't: How to control my bladder.
When that Temjirim freind of your's emailed you on friday about FF8
being extremely hard, I've concluded he was talking about the demo, which
is hard by the way since you're given to few items, no directions on how
to use stock or draw, and can't even build your levels. It even took your
loving grandma 2 tries and a bottle of advil to thrash the demo. This
would explain the part about the game not even being released yet. The
demo, BTW, came with Brave Fencer Musashiden (a game about a loud-mouthed
kid with 2 swords), and had really good FMV, and character animation.
Keep in touch, Love,
Ayup. You got it. Tem wrote me and said that, indeed, he was refering to
the demo. I guess we'll have to wait a few more days before we know if
Final Fantasy 8 is hard or easy as Cloud. (Come on, people: He could
date Tifa, Aeris, Yuffie or even Barret. We're talking major sluttage,
Insane fan #2
I was inspired by the picture in Friday's column to create my own little
picture based on your glorious image. How afraid are you of your fans now?
Gwa ha ha ha ha!
P.S. Just kidding. Don't, like, sue me or anything.
Too late. I've already contacted Beezel & Lucifer, Sony's law firm.
You know, some people have too much time on thier hands. This guy actually grabs
the time others' hands just so he can have more in his. here's
the disturbing picture he submitted. Beware, it's bloody. :o
...and back to Q&A
Take a look at the NPCs in the game. There are, in fact several black and
darker skinned persons in FFVII. The daughter of the grandpa train
engineer in North Corel is darked skin. The "stay out of the kitchen"
woman in Kalm (?) is black. There are a few others I can't remember off
hand. There is a range of colored skin from butt-white to pitch-black.
(I'm secretly convinced Cid was modeled off a Japanese chain-smoking
graphic designer, but that's just me.
Good eye for, er, minorities there, dudette. You were the only one to
send in that correction. Be proud.
And for the question: Are the Final Fantasies made for the GameBoy worth
the plastic they were molded from? I'm thinking about acquiring one and
would like to see what you have to say.
Oh, they're quite worth it, in a way that games like Final Fantasy VIII
and Xenogears will never be. With the absence of all but an almost laughable
excuse for storyline, you're forced to slip into sort of a weird "Kill or Be Killed"
mindset, where your only goal is to make it through the dungeon--not
to see some FMV, not to find out why Fei wears his hair the way he
does, not to play a hastily put together minigame... just to kick
By the way, I enjoy your column a lot. You have a good sense of humor.
It's not for everyone, but most I know find it quite
enjoyable, and a nice break from more plot-heavy RPGs. (I like both,
depending on what mood I'm in, just for the record.)
-- Princess Artemis, holding her tongue about a million other things.
That makes one of you. Say, why hold back? I want all the questions
I can get. If you want to know something, no mater how silly, unusual
or trivial, send it in. Unless of course you want to know the length
of my tongue, which one reader was, um, bold enough to ask.
(How the heck would I know, anyway? Sheesh.)
Quickies: Off topic sillyness and shortarse corrections.
A helpful and sadly unnamed RPGamer wrote in: "For the guy who wanted to know
Madonna's last name yesterday: it's Ciccone." Thank you, kind sir. You've made
life happier for us all.
Another unnamed gamer asked: "do you think once your picture is posted everyone
will stop writing in with stuff like: 'dear thor god of thunder my head feels like it's going to
explode from the praise'". Honestly? Yes. From the day after I post my picture
on, people will open their letters: "I want you. Is that wrong?"
Orion had this to say about the phrase "Stud-muffin":
"when people are in love they call each other random
crazy names, like 'muffin'. When you're breeding horses (with horses, I
see that crazed look in your eye Thor...), you generally have many females,
and one male to, uh, play with the females. He is called the stud.
So there you have it, it's a cross of being a sex machine and being loved.
Great little term, ain't it?" Ahh. Life is good.
Hoenir wondered: "Do you have a stereotypical Nordic accent? And if so, could you make a
wav file of you saying one of your catch phrases with the aforementioned
accent?" Actually, my accent is so unique no two people agree on what I sound
like. Some say German, others English, others Californian, and still others
insist I sound somewhat like JFK. It's a combination of 'em all, I guess.
But I can tell you one thing for sure: I don't pronounce my R's. Fear.
(Or, uh, Feea.)
And finally, AFGamer wondered: "Why?" Why? Because we like you.
I am going to hell for that one, but it was worth it, heh heh.
Before I begin: DOWNLOAD THAT FF MOVIE CLIP! MY GOD! JUST DO IT!
Not much to say today, but only because I've got a full fledged rant for you
tomorrow. Did you guys know that when I started writing about videogames, I
wanted to be a colmnist? Yes, being a Q&A Dude played second fiddle to bitching
weekly and getting paid for it.
Now, I've discovered I like Q&A'ing more, for the most part. More interaction
with you guys. I love interacting with my readers, ya'll rock--hardcore. Even
the guy who wanted me dead... just to a lesser extent.
Thing is, I haven't lost my love of
whining like a little
girl offering thought-prevoking commentary. So, I guess
I'll make this a semi-official thing: Expect at least one bigarse
Thor rant a week. Just don't hit me if I miss one.
- Thor "I'm finally human!" Antrim
I don't bathe, I shower. Soaking in my own filth isn't my idea of cleanliness.