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For some reason, the bulk of letters I'm receiving lately have to do with 1) Amano 2) Soundtracks. Not complaining, just thought I'd share.

This one covers both.

Hey Thor, My friend imported the FFVII soundtrack and lo and behold, the cover of the CD is some art of Cloud and Aeris surrounded by lots of cute bunnies, birds, and Chu-Chu resembling creatures. From the stuff I've seen Amano do, this art is *very* much like it! Does that mean that Amano did the character design for FFVII or that he just did some art for Square?

-- LunatiC, my first not silly letter!

Amano just did a few pictures based on Tetsuya Nomura's drawings. Amano's work on Final Fantasy VII was limited to designing the backgrounds. The way I hear it, either his art didn't translate well to polygons (probable, though his art didn't exactly trasnlate well to sprites either -- note Terra's green 'do), he was working on some Anime, or both.

Orgasmically Satisfying Treat

I was just wondering, since I'm new to importing game soundtracks, what exactly do OSV and OST mean?

I figured it was something like 'Original Sucky Version' and 'Orgasmically Satisfying Treat' but something tells me that I might be a bit off on those :)

-- DarkDread

OST stands for "Original sound track", OSV "Original sound version". They mean the same thing -- the music is straight from the game, no remixing whatsoever. The distinction is important: I know more than a few people who bought Chrono Trigger - The Brink of Time, and then complained that it sounded "weird". Like the bacon and eggs cover didn't tip 'em off, or something.

Ask Thor? How passé.

Hey, Thor -

Here's an actual question. Ready? Here it comes.....

Since when is a "letters" column anywhere a "Q&A" forum? Yeah, it's used for that, but in any magazine, a good 80% of the letters are reader opinions, if not more. Don't you agree? :-)

-- Michael

I agree. The standard is around 20-40% questions and a whole lotta rants/ideas/comments/wacky stuff. I figure that's why EGM has Ask Sushi-X and PSX.IGN.COM has both Q&A and the Mail sections -- their "Q&A" column grew so popular and received so many more opinions than questions they had to split 'em in half. Maybe I'll do that. I could have "Ask Thor" and "Throw mindless rants as if they were deadly blades, you a blindfolded carney performer and Thor a tied up assistant"... naw. (People would probably wonder about the tied up part, anyway.)

Why FFVIII might not make it to PC....

Howdy there,

I went and looked up the PC Data (the standard sales figure company that everyone in the press refers to) figures for all of 98, and FF7PC sold about 185,000 units. In perspective, the number one selling PC game was StarCraft with about 750,000 units, and the tenth place winner (Riven) was at 360,000. So, FF7PC was way below the top ten in terms of sales. In addition, a game like this needs *at least* 125,000 units just to break even.

-- Thierry Nguyen

Ouch. Computer gamers must've started really caring about bugs, because all the PC reviews I read were most flattering. I guess people were too busy buying C&C or Doom clones to bother with Final Fantasy 7. (Can you believe Half-Life was Sierra's fastest seller? Twenty years in the industry, producing some of the finest Adventure games to grace any platform, and a flargin' FPS sells better. Er, don't mind me, I'm just a Sierra fan, heh heh.)

"Wow! This game is 'Mick Foley'!"

Now Thor, I'm wondering if you've ever played a ROM of FF5, because you seem to have some odd ideas about FF4j being the last "hard-core" FF game, and being gameplay-centric, rather than revolving around the plot. FF5 has only 5 playable characters, and almost no character development. It doesn't even have a great storyline. But it does have one of the most innovative gameplay systems in the FF series. Compared to FF5, FF4 is like a Tolkein novel in story line and like War & Peace in character development. Don't get me wrong, I love FF4, look at my e-mail address (paladin). But is is hardly the last hard core FF game, and is more akin to FF6 some ways than to FF5.

Ya got me. When I wrote that, I had totally forgotten FF5 was a difficult RPG. (Even more challenging than FF4, I've heard from several people, though I've yet to get far enough past the initial easy enemies to judge for myself.) Let it be known that FF5 is just as hardcore as FF4 -- albeit with one less character in the party.

Where's Waldo
(Xenogears Spoiler. Not much of a spoiler, though.)


What happened to Citan's wife and daughter? I can't remember and it's bugging, and I can't find them anywhere, did they die in the attack on Lahan? Or were they just written out cause they were no longer needed?

-- David

Citan's wife and daughter are living in Shevat. Citan's wife, Susan, is now happily re-married to Jake Cassably, an accountant who "never blows up the !@#$ house with his !@#$ experiments at three in the !@#$ morning". Citan's daughter, Kim, age six, is currently missing. She was last seen just before a major riot at a Hanson concert. It is rumored someone pointed out the Hanson brothers looked just like girls, and the subsequent stampede of angry teenyboppers soon overtook the... well, this is going nowhere. At least the first sentence was true.

Josh Reed fans should feel a warm and fuzzy sense of deja vu

Think about this: A "Letters" RPG. Imagine it...

Somewhere, in the vast prairie of Wisconsin, a teenager has done the despicable:
Thor, being necessarily cowardly, must enlist the help of former and future RPGurus...
Andrew Kaufmann
Brian Glick
Mike Tidwell
Allan Milligan
Josh Reid

Poor Alex Kimbel. Eternally sick; entirely forgotten.

You would go as a squad, traveling the US and Europe, hunting down flamers like the losers they are. Imagine the battles!
"Funky Battle Music"
You are fighting two Class A Flamers and a D00D.
D00D: Super annoying attack!
"Why isnt FFC cuming in America!? I wANT iT!!!!?!>"
Thor Casts sarcasm!
"Because you are really, really intelligent."
9999 damage!
Flamer: You suck Thor! I hope you die!
Josh Reid Summons ID
Viktor: Eat the fruit of death and boil in the blood of salvation
9999 damage!
Andrew Kaufmann sings!
----------It's the end of the world as we know it!--------------
The RPGurus win!
"Funky victory music"
Fun for the whole family!
(Rate AO for full frontal nudity)

Uh huh. Thanks for your long, funny, and highly disturbing letter. To this day I don't know how to handle things like this, but I decided to go ahead and print a long 'n goofy letter since I've got a good four or five questions today. Oh, and the um, nudity thing. Look, I was young and needed the money. The director promised it'd only be released in Asia.. what can I say? It was a mistake I regret greatly. Well, except for the warm reception I receive every time I vacation in Japan...

The great debate 2?

Am I the only one who find's Amano's art terrible? To me, the characters all look androgenous, sickly pale, emaciated, and addicted to heroin. The women aren't pretty, the men aren't "heroic" looking at all. I think back to the picture of Locke in the FF3 manual...why do people get so giddy over his art? Is it just a desire to seem "sophisticated"?

No, you're not the only one. Some people just don't like his style, others do. That's the risk you take when you create art the way you want to, not to please others. One thing you can't deny is that Amano's pictures are almost immediatly identifiable. He doesn't draw "manga" style. There are no large eyes, hard lines, or anything even remotely classified as "cute". I don't think Final Fantasy VII's characters were any more "heroic" than previous final fantasies, even though they switched designers. Heck, take a look at Laguna from FF8. Real macho -- if your idea of macho is the lead character in The Net.

Besides, I seriously doubt anyone seeks to emulate sophistication by raving over the art in a videogame manual. Sheesh.

"White people": Fact or fiction?

You are a pretty good RPG guru, but I notice that you did not acknowledge my question about the Dragon Quest IV spell called THORDAIN. now why would that be?

Uh. No comment. :D

Another thing, that moronis, CyberManX: someone should tell him that shortening Japanese to "Jap" is offensive. It is definitely a racist term, an insulting word used by paranoid, ignorant "white people" around the time of WWII. It still seems to be in use today, popular with cro-magnum types. You shouldn't just 'print' anything- there is nothing wrong with having some fun at someone else's expense, (I appreciate your humour) but I do have a problem with ignorance, and "Jap" isn't funny. Anyways, have a good day.


Using "Jap" as an insult is a racist term, yes. But I don't believe people should be shot for using it in that particular context. He wasn't a senile WWII vet calling some kid a "dirty Jap", he was refering to Japanese games -- it is a legit abbreviation, after all. Rude? Well, some people mind and some people would say that "moron" and "ignorant" are a lot more insulting than "Jap" will ever be. But I'd no more censor "Jap" than I would "Niggardly". (And before anyone sends in flames, just look the freaking word up, kay?)

So many Quickies you'll need to take coffee breaks

Gau Helldragon asks, "Ok now seriously, do Chocobos say 'Wark', or 'Kue'?" In my world, wark all the way, baby. // Booga Leagoas has gone temporarily insane, decided he actually likes this column, and has set up a "Official Ask Thor Fan Club Mailing List"... even though it's not official. Anyways, you can subscribe here if you'd like to. // Lycan said, "You're cheating again, Thor. That stuff about being thin all came from the kid's book 'Flat Stanley'. It's about that poor kid that gets squished by a board while he sleeps." No. // Diggity Wiggity asked, "Did you get that 2 dimensional thing out of a Calvin and Hobbes comic?" Yes. // And finally, Archbishop Smoot asked "Second, any word on whether the Nintendo 64 is ever going to get a Final Fantasy game?" Yeah, and I'll tell you right after I finish revivig General Leo, I promise.

Thor stuff

Thanks to Loki, who skillfully pointed out every typo in Ask Thor until I got off my skinny arse and decided to begin spellchecking my columns. You will be missed. :D

The effects of the prozac cookies are starting to wear off, so I hope for a good bitch-fest before the end of the week. Maybe something about FF7's ending... heh, heh.

If you're working on an Anime Thor hack, get it in by Friday. I won't say why, just obey my command, damnit. :D

And finally, if your Thor-ish letter didn't get printed check in tomorrow. I'm returning TTM to its roots: Self-indulgent letters up the wazoo. After the required questions/comments/etc., of course. Heh, heh.

- Thor "I'm just not mad enough. Quick, make me watch Titanic." Antrim
I didn't forget the message yesterday. It was there. Check the source and see for yourself.

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