Monday... rules?
Today I decided to try something new: I'll answer questions and respond to comments from various readers. I'm proud of this innovative idea, which from now on will be known as a "Thor & Antrim" column. I'd like to thank my producer, Bob Rock, and... wait, I'm being handed a card. Uh huh. Mmm hmm.... oh dear.

Well, apparently this isn't called a "Thor & Answer" column, it's called a "Question & Answer" column, and is a standard in almost every print and digital publication in existance.

Well. Hrm. Isn't this embarrassing.

Fly? Beetle? Carzill -- oh! that kind.

I recently got FF tactics and was having a good time until my characters did not return from a proposition. To my dismay, I remember reading something like this in a FAQ somewhere. No, I don't have a save file that I can revert to, memory card space was at a premium. What exactly is this bar bug and how do I avoid it?

- Andrew Dausman

There are actually two bugs which can cause you to lose party members.

The first occurs if you send characters on a job in a town that later disappears (and reappears). You know, the little trail is erased an' everything due to some plot point or another. There's no way to tell which towns are hot spots unless you've played the game before. Bummer.

The second bug strikes none other than the common Chocobo! If the horny little suckers reproduce while you're in a battle, they can eradicate important characters to make space for their WARK'ing offpsring. Simple programming bug or incedious plot by Square to weaken our love for Chocobos and soften the blow of their declinding prominance in the Final Fantasy series? You decide.

Sapher Sefiroth
(Final Fantasy 7 Spoiler. Why the hell haven't you won it by now?)
Hey Thor, glad you're back!

For once, I've got a serious question I was hoping you could answer: the final form of Sephiroth, the one-winged angel, is called "Safer Sephiroth" on the help bar. Now, I'd always assumed it was a mistranslation of Savior or Seraph, but I seem to recall a letter column that stated "Safer" had meaning in Judaism. As I've been unable to find any information on this, I was hoping you might be able to tell me a bit on its meaning. Thanks!

- Maou Jacky

It's has nothing to do with Judaism, that was "Sephiroth". You can find info about that here. It took me an hour and the help of several dedicated fans, but we finally came up with this answer: It was a mistranslation of Seraph. It fits with the "One Winged Angel" getup, not to mention "Savior" is really more of a God thing than an Angel thing... and ol' Sephy doesn't become God unless you lose the game, heh heh. Woah, I just majorly spoiled FF7. Now I have to go back and add a spoiler warning. Grumble.
Think like Amano... and recycle? More photographic fun!
Hi Thor.

Dammit, you keep cracking me up every time I read your QA page.

Uh. Sorry.
BTW, in the FFVI Square artworks page, do you realize the first two of Cyan's images are the same? (Cyan on grassy hillside, Cyan on wall). The second is a zoomed-in rotated version of the first.

I'm not even sure if this is the kind of stuff you're supposed to answer, but what the heck, you seem like a cool guy. Gotta email Thor Antrim ONCE in my life.

- Genheimis

No, I didn't realize that. Either Square is evil and re-uses artwork or someone at RPGamer blundered. Anyone want to take bets on which one it is?

(Man, that was easy! I love my job.)

Score one for the T-Man
The true meaning of mad skillz taken from a online ebonic dictionary
     (adj) Extremely, very, a large quantity. "His jeep was pumpin' mad bass" -- ??? (???).

     (n) General ability.

Eat that, anyone who thinks Working Designs is worse than Square when it comes to adding "modern crap"! Ebonics -- for no reason. I rest my case. (Then again, it was probably just Nick Rox's fault...)
Questions and comments. Joy.
Dear... uh... Thor,

First of all, I would like to make a point that perhaps the people who are buying the FFVI remix are doing so because they already bought the FFIV and FFV remixes and don't want to buy those games again. To the best of my knowledge, there was no information about a FF Collection when those games were released in Japan for PSX.

Right. Can't believe I didn't think of that. Bad Thor, bad!
Secondly, I have a few questions.

1) How do you successfully manage to update daily, when all the previous RPGurus often had a difficult time updating WEEKLY?

I'm dedicated, I guess. When I took on this project (I don't really consider it a job until the boss' wife hits on me -- and I'm still waiting for that) I vowed I wouldn't toss responsibility aside for, well, whatever reasons everyone kept coming up with. Also, I'm inept; so what I lack in quality, I make up in sheer quantity. :D
2) Where do you stand on CCGs, PnP RPGs, and other forms of entertainment that seem to relate closely to RPGamers? People seem to have a lot of different opinions on these, and I'm interested in yours.
They rule. I play Magic:TG to this day. I still have a crappy ol' Mox Sapphire sitting in a hardcase next to six or seven decks. Jyhad was swell, though rather frustrating, and L5R was enjoyable until it was assimilated by the WoTC collective. As for PnP, I love the idea, just not the action... in other words, I collect books based on the worlds and the source books and whatnot, but don't really dig role playing. Unless it's with a girlfriend -- go fig.
3) Finally, have you noticed how chocobos seem to be less and less important in each Final Fantasy game? In FFIV, chocobos were vital to a few parts of the game, as they were in FFV. In FFVI and VII, they became more of a novelty act, just there to lighten the mood a bit. And to the best of my knowledge, in FFVIII, you're a good ways through the game when you even SEE one for the first time. Its the same with moogles. In FFV and VI, they were rather prominent, in FFVII, they misnamed them Mogs (Mog is A moogle, damnit! Not the entire race!) and make them a sideshow act. And, again, to the best of my knowledge in FFVIII, the only moogle is one you see in the little Personal Handheld Chocobo adventure. I mean, where are all the mascots?

- David Boling

Well, usually a mascot is there from the beginning. Moogles and Chocobos just sort of phased into reality halfway through the series. Though I'm really sad to see them go, they weren't exactly around since Final Fantasy 1 -- but then again, Square's cut several things that were, so it seems they want to stay as "fresh" as possible.

That's one thing I love about Final Fantasy games. If one pisses you off, the sequel probably won't, because Square delivers something new every time. It's painful at times, if you're a die-hard fan of something that doesn't make the cut, but Square is able to reach a much wider audience by staying new, and... well, ya know. Make money.

Running gags. Love them or hate them, they're faster than puns.

- Crono

Fit for print. Barely.
Hey Thor! This letter is concerning all the FOOLS out there who are complaining that they can't find explicit details on the effects of different stats in their RPGs. Not a one of them knows what role playing games are all about. Knowing the detailed math behind the engine of the game totally takes the experience out of an RPG. This is called Min/Maxing in PnP rpgs, and it is a VERY undesirable characteristic of a player. Min/Maxing is when you stop playing the game to have fun, and you start working out detail math to see what combination of stats will give your character the most power.

You all need to stop your whining! Strength makes your character stronger, and if you don't know how that will relate to a fight, then your too stupid to be alive!

Come on, not providing basic information and then expecting people to buy a strategy guide doesn't help imersion any. I didn't hear anyone mention not having fun, they just wanted to know more about their favorite game. Console RPGs are a lot different than "live action" PnP games. Once they've played the same videogame two or three times, a lot of gamers enjoy "obliterating" the RPG, or learning every trick, gaining every ability, buying every weapon, etc.

One of the things that keep new players away from RPGs is the sense of being overwhelmed. "Should I add Tifa and Vincent or Barret and Red XIII? Do I take the left or right path? Should I use the Hat of Frogs (Defense + 2) or the Cap of Skeeve (Luck + 2)?", etc. Giving the player some sort of reference point is a good idea, because it can ease the rather daunting task of mastering your average RPG... and since the Final Fantasy 7 instruction booklet failed to define any status value ("stats"), I have to give them two recently deceased thumb down. (Don't ask how I got them -- it's personal.)

I wish I had that much time to spare.
Hey Thor,

While I was sitting around with time to waste - er, spare - I remembered that FF3 had a few bugs. One in particular that jumped at me and yelled "TRY ME!" was the Sketch Bug. So, I decided I would take it out and give it a whirl. I took notes on each glitch I made. Here they are. ^_^

Sketch #1: Gogo's cave. Gogo: Mimic, Sketch, Magic, Item. Sketched Woolly. Enemies blacked out. Celes an Imp, Mog invisable, Gogo frozen, Edgar grey and floating. MP messed up. Celes has funny spells, 4 each of Doom and Fire. Game appears to freeze after battle choices arem ade, but music still plays. HP drops drastically. Sketch #2: Gogo's cave. Same. Sketched Covert. Celes invisable (0 HP), Mog grey and floating, Gogo frozen, Edgar normal. HP drops dramatically. Items different. Many Illuminas, Dirks, Sword Breakers, Thiefknives, Nutkin Suits, Rainbow Brushes, etc. Magic odd. Edgar has Fallen One, 4 Fire spells, "La". "Freeze" after choices made. I tapped the SNES and screen blacked out, but music still played. Sketch #3: Phoenix cave. Same. Sketched Necromancer. Celes stopped, Gogo invisable, Mog grey, Edgar grey and "image". HP drop. Selected "Magic", game blacked out, music still played.

Isn't that somewhat interesting? Now here's my question. Why would Square release FF3 if it had that kind of bugs in it? Gogo is bug central. He has more glitches than I can name. Okay, two that I know of. The Sketch bug, and then when you go to choose his skills, Tool has a little gold line through it. I also noticed that Sketch seems to be much more sensitive in the Phoenix Cave. I didn't even get to see the menus then, it just blacked out. I didn't try it with Relm because I haven't gotten her back yet, but I'll write back when I get her and give you more info on what happens when I sketch with her rather than with Gogo. Thanks for reading!

- Another RPGirl with too much time on her hands, Tiga Shadow =^.^=

Thanks for the nifty list, I'm sure it'll help a few people. As for why, well, I can't really blame Square too much. See, it all depends on the bug testers, and it's a well known fact that all bug testers hated Relm and Gogo, refusing to play them more than necessary, so...

Okay, fine. So I'm making this up. Companies release games with known bugs all the time, they just don't like to talk about it. I could give Square the benefit of the doubt and say that in the six months between the Japan and U.S. release no one informed Square of the bug... but I won't.

Bribing Thor
Warning, this email is NOT rpg related. It's much better.

So what is it related to?

Well, you've mentioned once or twice that you sorta like Teri Hatcher. I was reading through the National Enquirer yesterday (the March 16th issue), when I noticed a nice picture of Ms. (or is it Mrs.?) Hatcher. I thought you might like to check it out. It's not the highest quality scan, but it's not really my fault. The Enquirer doesn't use the best printing presses out there. Poor print quality = poor scan. Anyway, I hope you like it. If ya do, say I'm a nice guy. If ya don't, sorry. I was just trying to think of others and share in my joy.

The caption to the picture explains it.

- UnLive

I love my fans. I really, really love my fans. They rule. Each and every one of them. But especially the ones who send me pictures of Teri Hatcher. C'mere, guys. Group hug! (Try to cop a feel and you'll lose more than your hand.)
I Have No Mouth But I Must Scream
Hey, Thor.

Regarding that guy who emailed Drew about Cloud's proportions yesterday (or day before yesterday, depending on when you get this.... I'm 16 hours ahead of you, remember?), I just want to point out something: go take a look at any of the non-SD Square artwork of any of the FF7 characters, and you'll notice the same trend: big eyes, long legs, small noses, etc. No go take a look at, let's say, Evangelion, or Sailor Moon, or any typical Japanese manga, and you'll observe the same features in most of the characters. It ain't Hitler, just anime.

- Melissa Pearce

Hitler, Anime, it's all the same to Drew. Why, just yesterday I spotted him goose-stepping down RPGamer's halls wearing a Sailor Mars costume. You think you know fear? You have no idea what true fear is until you've seen him give a "Shining Glory Wonder Love Seig Heil".
Wondering if that dress makes your thighs look fat?
Ask Thor
(Thor is better than Drew because Drew rhymes with "poo"!)
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Quickies that satisfy

who would've known Seph's other side?
- The Five Spheres

And I thought Drew was scary...
Figures you're up next right after Drew disses Eyes on Me. Oh well. Just tell him he's a disgrace to RPGamer that he made a generalized statement about something, without even saying IMO.
- J
What on earth are you talking about? I do that constantly. :D
Damn straight. Um. Word, homie? Sheesh, sounds like Square wrote this conversation. <snicker>
Now I ask you, for the sake of my sanity, please print this! I don't care if it even makes 'unfit for print' because then at least I know I can stop slapping myself in the head. That ungrateful fool (the substitute) didn't appreciate my art, and I included it here for you to see! I spent my time making it and he spits in my face. Sheesh. If you don't like Drew so much, why bother trying to get your picture printed? Looks suspiciously like the old Prince of Pies Thor Hack to me...
1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10!!!!!! Oh yeah? Well.... 11. Hah! Eat that! EAT IT!
Thor Stuff

I spent way too long on this column. I'm too freaking energetic. Is it spring yet? I swear, I feel like I could life Mike with one hand, instead of the usual two!

Anyways, I guess I'm too hyper to sleep, so I'll just stay up today instead of sticking to my vampiric schedule. Good... day. (Man, that sounds weird coming from me.)

- Thor "Sunlight hurts" Antrim
Nearly done with The Iron Dragon's Daughter. Puck ruled.

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