Blargmania 15
Hey, guys! Today we have your usual Thursday Thorsday Madness, er, weirdness, so be sure and wear at least two pairs of socks. (Just in case the first pair is knocked off during -- well, you'll see.)

Warning! The following column contains the words: "porn" "crotch" "sexypants" and "crabbi -- Ha! Fooled ya.

What gives?
Dear Almighty Buff and Stuff Deity,

I saw that Castlevania :SOTN coverage was added, and decicded to browse it and see if it was any good. I saw from the Japanese version, they had a character select screen as well as other areas. Am I the only one who is friggin' upset by this? Would you care to elaborate on why Konami, a great company would do something like this to its fans? (I felt like I was buying from Nintendo when I found that)

- Ischiel Rage

Okay, here goes. Originally, Konami intended on including Maria as a playable character in C:SotN for the PlayStation. Due to time restraints, she was cut, from the Japanese and English games. C:SotN lost little in the translation, just a few 'redundant' familliars. Later the game was ported to the Saturn, and this time Konami not only included Maria but allowed you to select from Maria, Richter or Alucard at the start of the game. Also added were two new locations (a garden and a haunted hall), slowdown and "butt ugly" dithering.
Getting technical
I'm a little on the slow side and I can't grasp the difference between FMV and real-time. I'm talking about with the PSX2's power and all. I heard all these people going on and on about how they can render FF8's ballroom scene in real-time. What's the difference? Could you explain this in layman's terms. BTW, I know the difference in FF7's real-time and FMV.
At the risk of sounding like a halfassed PR line: The difference is interactivity. If you add FMV (Full Motion Video) to a game, every time the player views it, the movie will be the same. Real-time rendering allows input from a player, so you can change what's happening on-screen. So instead of just watching a beautiful dance on the PlayStation, you could watch something (arguably) just as beautiful on the PS2 and actually control the dancers, a la Parappa the Rapper. Say, speaking off...

Isn't it about time Square proved my "Rock the industry" theory and made a "Dance" game? They've practicly made a game of every other genre... how about Bahamut the Break Dancer?

P.S.-have you realized that "technically" Mega Man is the most successful series of all time with something like 20 sequals? Yikes.

- redknight1

Hmm... I dunno. There've got to be at least twice as many Tetris spinoffs as Mega Man games. Regardless -- man, that Capcom. They know how to milk a series. Square creates an entirely new world, story, characters, battle system, music and even graphics style now and then... Capcom makes an "Evil Ryu", tweaks the Dragon Punch animation, adds two characters, and expects you to shell out another $50. Ya know what the scary thing is? It works.
"Hey, what does it mean when Squall says he's really a--" 'Shut up!'
eloo mighty thor person.i have one question if yee will answer.what the hell is final fantasy VIII about.i know about the charecters and seed.but who is the villen.when final fantasy VII came out.i knew about every thing but know there is hardley nothing.

- nemesis

Dude, I haven't the foggiest. I'm not going to handle Final Fantasy VIII plot questions until after Final Fantasy VIII is released in America. For one, they'd be hard as Hell to answer -- I'd have to track down someone for help every time, since I don't import. For another, they'd be hard as Hades to verify -- I'd have to track someone else down. And at 6am, that's pretty tough. Almost as tough as watching the Honeybee Inn scene.

I swear, every time I see the word "ploik" I scream and curl into a fetal position.

"How dare you dislike something!"
Man! what game DO you like! first Wild Arms, then Xenogears, now FFT? it sure is hard to impress you! I mean, Mad Skillz. Who cares it was Hammer, he is supposed to be like that. You will figure it out later in the game. Hammer is unique. What, you get a different personality and you get upset. You think everyone in a game should be a drone, running around trying to save the princess? and the sequel, a bunch of drones running around, saving the... you guessed it, princess! you want a perfect translation go learn japanese and get a job as a translator instead of sitting around mocking games for every stupid little error.
I love Final Fantasy Tactics, and am beginning to seriously dig Xenogears. However, I'm not blinded by my love. If a game has flaws, I'll crack a joke or two about it. No big deal.

I was simply pointing out that everyone acts as if Working Designs ruins the games they translate because they replace Japanese humor with American -- which is called localization, you're supposed to do it -- and yet Square can get away with something as pop as "MAD SKILLZ" without getting a reputation for adding cheesy, "modern" jokes. And for the record, it's not an error, it's an expression; an expression as goofy and out of place as "the bomb" or a Clinton joke.

As for Final Fantasy Tactics' translation... well, the tutorial was confusing to the point of useless. Not to mention those side-quests which were just discarded rather than translated. I'd say that's a bit more of a problem than a typo or two.

No, no. I said 'mint cookies', not 'insincere flattery'.
Hi, oh you the greatest,

I don't know if you noticed (guess what, I did!) but a lot of people sending letters to Ask Thor use RPG character's name... Does that mean that before Xenogear release Lacan didn't exist and he mysteriously appeared... That a girl using Terra as a nickname would not be the same if FFVI haven't been released...? Even yourself, Thor, would not be Thor if Thor had not existed before... I want to know what you think.

- Ghar Diann

I think it's high time Square kept their videogame characters from e-mailing me questions. Do you know how many times Cloud has written in asking if he and Tifa get hitched after Final Fantasy VII ends? Or how many times Ramsus has written in with nothing more to say than "I look much better than you, hippie-boy"? And for the love of Cthulhu, if I get one more blank e-mail from Crono I'm going to complain to his ISP. (Oh, and if it wasn't for Thor, I'd have been named Raiden. Everyone knows that.)
Some people get it. And then there's Dave.
I know you don't wanna discuss this, but you sorta enjoy porn right? Well then, how come you are so open to porn, but you plead the readers to stop mentioning Tifa's bustiness?

- Yin

Dude, printing a letter with a link to and "enjoying porn" are two totally different things. And even if I was the biggest consumer of smut in North America (excluding Pee Wee Herman, of course) I'd still have the class not to giggle about Tifa's boobs in front of women -- at least unless I was sure they wouldn't be offended. It depends on the company, really.
"Square, baby, tell me everything..."
Why won't the game manufacturers release the rules behind their game systems? It would make life infinitely easier for everyone to know exactly what the stats do in a game beyond the blatantly obvious. While this isn't as important for games where the stats are unmodifiable (FF4, for example), it would be extremely useful in games like SaGa Frontier and FF7 where you have many stats and don't know how they interact with each other. How can you know on whom to use the stat-boosting accessories or the "Plus" materia if you don't know what effect raising the stat will have or what a high stat is? In order for the player to make reasonably informed tactical decisions, the player must know how to optimize the characters. There's no money lost in publishing the game system mechanics; no game would duplicate them anyway (or be able to get away with duplicating them). On the other hand, it is advantageous in that it propagates fan-developed tabletop, LARP, and MU* RPGs that serve to bring more people to the game.

- Deathstalker (you know, the technical/RPG type guy)

Because they have nothing to gain.

Take a look at the Final Fantasy Tactics instruction booklet, if you have it nearby. They don't even list every spell, let alone every skill, let alone the mathematics behind the game. For that -- well, minus the mathmatics -- you have to shell out $15 for the official guidebook. So, simple solution, lets just shove the game mechanics in the guidebook, right? Well... it's not that simple. The guidebook business is highly competitive. In the rush to complete the book before the game is released, writers barely have time to cope with last minute changes (such as in Resident Evil 2) and spellcheck, let alone perform the hellious "data entry" required to list how statistics affect one another.

And you know what? It's quicker to fill up a 200 page book with easy stuff. Screenshots, sketches, maps, character designs... why consult programmers and doublecheck countless figures when it's not something you can sum up with a neon sticker on the cover of the guidebook? Joe Gamer doesn't expect it, so we don't get it. It's sad, but that's business.

And now for a little... Thursday Thorsday Madness! Woo! Those of you interested in serious, intelligent debate and Q&A are urged to look elsewhere. Like Detroit.
The Letter Massacre
Ever seen Celebrity Deathmatch? Well, Bubbawheat took that wonderful concept and applied it to everyone's favorite whipping boy: Moi. Which is french for "Thor".
JG: Good evening ladies and gentlemen and welcome to another exciting episode of RPG Deathmatch. Toinght, we have a very special match for you. We have the funniest RPGuru of RPGamer, Thor Antrim battling against ex-RPGuru and current Double Agent for the GIA, Allan Milligan in The Letter Massacre. I'm your host Johnny Gomez, and with me as alwyas is Nick Diam-what the? Who the hell are you?
BW: I'm Bubbawheat.
JG: What happened to Nick?
BW: He's quietly tucked away in one of the lockers. He should come to in a few hours, I'll be long gone by then. And, there's a few corrections. Thor is not an RPGuru, he's just a letterman. And Allan, I think he left the country.
JG: So what are we supposed to do, we can't just abandon all the fans that wanted to see this.
BW: Don't worry, I've managed to come up with a mystery guest to take Allan's place.
JG: Uh... Alright then, well folks, a slight change in plans, but we've still got a great matchup for you tonight. In a few moments we'll find out who the secret mystery opponent is. But for now, Stacy Cornbread is in the locker room with the staff of RPGamer, Stacy?

SC: Thank you Johnny, I'm here in the locker room with the staff of RPGamer. Thor, what do think of this change in plans, are you curious as to who your opponent is?
Thor: Well, being a letter columnist for a site as large as RPGamer, I've got to be ready for anything.
SC: I guess you're right about that. Okay, Since the rest of the staff is here, do any of you have any words of advice for Thor?
Lorelai: You're gonna get creamed. Poor Thor. Have a prozac cookie?
SC: There you have it, back to you Johnny.

JG: Thank you Stacy. Well, Thor certainly has a lot of support from the rest of the staff at RPGamer.
BW: He sure does, and he's only been there a couple months. He must grow on people pretty fast.
JG: Grow he does, I hear he's over 6 foot! Well, enough waiting, it's time to find out who the mystery opponent is.
BW: In the first corner, the Norse God of Thunder's namesake and current Q&A guy at RPGamer, Thor Antrim. And in the other corner, fellow RPGamer from the fan art section, Lorelai!
ML: Alright, you're used to calling the shots, but in this ring, I'm the webmaster. I want this to be a tough, clean fight. Let's get it on!
Lorelai: Hiyas!
JG: And Lorelai starts this fight off with a swift kick in the crotch. Ooh, she isn't pulling any punches here.
BW: All the men here tonight feel his pain. And she doesn't stop there, she's on top of him, giving his larger head a workover.
JG: He's finally recovered, and looks ready to counterattack.
BW: Hey, look. There's another large, blonde haired guy in the audience, and he's got a really big hammer.
JG: That's the real Thor, and he looks like he's here to offer his namesake a little support.
BW: He's tossed his hammer to Thor... but ooh, it's landed on his hand.
JG: That's gotta hurt, it looks like he's going to be typing with one hand for a while. But the hammer did knock Lorelai off of Thor.
BW: What't this? Thor is running his good hand through his hair, and smiling. His teeth are even making that *ding* along with the sparkle.
JG: Lorelai is mesmerized with his stunning good looks.
Girl in Audience: Hey Sexypants!
BW: Thor's gaze is diverted, and Lorelai has recovered and is pulling something out of her pocket. It's a piece of fan art.
Lorelai: Don't hate me because I do fan art!
JG: It's now Thor's turn to be dazed by the amazingly beautiful artwork.
BW: The artist holding it doesn't look too bad either.
JG: Heh heh, you're right.
BW: Well, it's time for a commercial. Stay tuned to find out who wins in this exciting battle.
JG: Hey, you're not so bad. I wonder how long Nick will remain cooped up in that locker after he wakes up?
There you have it. The only way you'll ever find me and Lorelai, ah, 'wrestling'. Bubbawheat decided to leave the outcome up to you guys. So contact me and cast your vote. I'll pass the results on to Bubba.

Bubba, this was hilarious... I just wanna know one thing: "Larger head"?

Wondering where babies come from?
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(Give him a mint cookie and your chances of being printed are raised 7.25%)
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Quickies that satisfy
Theres a nice hacked picture for you, its located here. You need shockwave flash to look at it =) see ya,
- Darien
Cool, I'm shockwave! Hey, think that guy'll write in and complain about me posting a link to shockwave? "YYOU'RE RPGAMER!!! NOT SHOCKWAVEGAMER!!!"? Heh heh.
Why isn't Secret of Mana in the poll for the best SNES RPG? That has to be one of the coolest games ever.
- Ryan Buerger
I'm pretty sure it'll be on Part 2 of the poll... which will also have Final Fantasy 6! Woo! Vote for that! Even if you hated it! FF6 has MAD SKILLZ!
I'll bug you everyday until you publicly explain the hidden text.
- MistaSopz
Okay: There is no hidden text. Now stop buging me. :D
I'd like to congratulate yesterday's winner of UfP (The first guy) because he's actually p.c. for calling homophobia a fundamental evil. Either that or he's @/&/&%#"!!!! [read Richard Simmons]
- Hoenir Aesir
I'll pick the latter. Since when was Political Correctness good? It's just using large, vague words instead of short, descriptive ones. Any of you oldtimers remember the term "Shellshock"? Yeah, well, it's called "Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome" now. How inoffensive; how ineffective.
I think it would be cool if you sent out an e-mail with your column and other stuff.
- AntimatterSnake
Good idea! Then no one would have to visit RPGamer, and then no one would click the IGN banners, and then RPGamer would be shut down because no one could afford the cost of hosting it. Yay!
What did you say in your little "insert something funny descibing the place where you talk about the column" thing at the top of the page? Something about IGN sites? Chow.
- redknight1
I'm not telling. Ok, fine, I am: I just babbled about using some cheesy text translation software which everything from PSX.IGN.COM to PCXL.COM is using.
Thor Stuff

Happy birthday everyone -- except for Sriram Eleswarapu, who was simply too rude to wish anything but "hope you get nothing but underwear. Used underwear."

The "Old Quickies design or new" poll results are in. 15 people liked the new design, 7 liked the old one, so new it is. If you hate the look... well, you should have voted, shouldn't you?

I've decided to move my rant to Friday, since Thursday Thorsday Madness and the rant shouldn't fall on the same day. Stay, stay, double-stay tuned, folks. Unless you could care less. In which case, resume toenail clipping.

- Thor "Buff and still the Stuff" Antrim
"Larger head"? I mean, really.

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