Go away. I'm not talking to you.
Monday bad! But... I cannot bring myself to embrace the hate as usual, because yeehaw, you guys wrote some good letters. Plenty of short, to the point and unusually unique questions today. I'm in heaven. (Unique being, of course, any question which has nothing to do with Final Fantasy VII.)
Hey Thor,

Today I was looking up Lunar: The Silver Star Story on the Working Designs website and on their home page ( they call U.S. RPG player "Role-Playing capitalist American pig's". What's up with that? Is that what game developers think of us? Am I overreacting? Should I burn my copy of Alundra in protest? You decide. :)


- Eric Robbins

Hey, fun fact: Working Designs' HQ is within driving distance of my house. Of course, I can't go there. Anymore. Stupid restraining order.

The chances of that quote being serious are about as good as the chances of Working Designs releasing a game on time, so there's no need to burn your copy of Alundra. (Unless, of course, your copy has been cavorting naked with the devil under a full moon.)

Rocket Launcher?
"...but they ignore SD: LoM, SaGa F2, and RL."

What the heck is RL?

Original Answer:
I'm pretty sure he meant "FM", as in Front Mission 3. Either that, or the answer is really obvious, and I'm going to be flooded with over 200 corrections. This job rocks.

Answer updated after a total of twenty seconds online:
Racing Lagoon, a "High speed driving RPG". Why do I always forget about that game? Sheesh.

How do you pronounce...
Hi Ice-dude with a screwdriver,

How do you actually pronunce "pokemon" ???

- from ME!!!

Pokemon is short for Pocket Monster, so you're supposed to say "Po-kay-mon". Of course, being the sexy little rebel that I am, I usually say "Mon-kay-po".

Say it out loud for maximum effect.

Square surprise?
Hey CyberThor,

I just thought of something recently. Didn't Square EA say they planned on bringing seven titles to the US this year? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I only read 5 titles in the list. Hmmm... That leaves two open.. Actually, since Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon 2 is scheduled in early 2000, that leaves 3 titles open for US release in 99... What do you think?

- NickW

Sharp eyes. Square could very well whip that out as a surprise once we get closer to Christmas, or during the E3, or on July 25th to celebrate my birthday. So see, guys? There's hope -- Square might just be toying with our rabid loyalty. However, I think two open slots is all we're getting. CMD2's 2000 release date is most likely due to a change in plans, and was originally intended for a '99 release as #7.
(Various RPGs get spoiled. Fun.)
Hail my morning dosage of side-splitters! (Dat's you, Thor)

Regarding the email on mentally disturbed characters, I'd like to point out something. It came to my attention (after playings several RPGs) that the main character at the beginning of the game tends to be a 'blank slate'. Let's look at some examples...

  • Cloud - "I don't care". He has practically no opinions about anything ('cept Sephiroth, but we all know that's Jenova's work). No hates, no loves.
  • Squall - Mr emotionless. Doesn't care about anything. He has girls falling over him, a guy who slashes his face, and he treats both with an equal lack of emotion.
  • Terra - No memory, no history, no emotions, no opinions A real blank slate.
  • Cecil - Having doubts on what's right and wrong, he ends up not making any strong decisions early in the game. So, opinionless. No history either.
  • Chrono - No characteristic quirks, and he doesn't even talk!
  • Fei - No history. Some emotions, but nothing that goes against his current environment (happy guy in Luhan).
  • Brave Fencer Musashi - This guy has character, but no history.
  • Hero McDohl (Suikoden) - takes things as it happens. Yes, he's loyal to Ted, but the game doesn't let you do it differently, does it? The ones with emotions and opinions are usually his partners.
  • Hero (Suikoden II) - Same thing as Suikoden I. The character doesn't have any specific emotions that says character, only his partners (Nanami, Joey,.. etc).
  • Stahn Aileron (TOD) - Country boy with no experience, doesn't know much about the world.
  • Rudy (Wild Arms) - Boy with no past. No opinions on anything either.
Well, you get my drift. Instead of calling it a storyline quirk, I think it's more of a design decision. In Scott McCloud's "Understanding Comics" (a must-have for comic artists!), he explained that the more realistic and detailed you make the character, the harder it is for the reader to relate to the character. The lesser the detail, the more people can relate to the character by filling in their own details.

OK. In RPGs, you ARE the character. Therefore, the less detail on the character, the more you're willing to accept being the character, and seeing the events through the character's eyes. Main characters early in the game are 'blank slates' so that you can be the character and feel the events happening to him/her. How do you make 'em blank slates? Mental ilness, amnesia, lack of experience, lack of definitive opinions.... you name it. Chrono Trigger takes it further by having the main character voiceless. Since you don't know what he's saying, you start filling in your own words, thus making Chrono YOU.

Note that in the game, whenever details of the main character are introduced, it's always through another character's point of view. You learn about Cloud from Tifa, you learn about Terra from her friends, Rudy from Cecilia, Fei from Citan and Elly,.... the list goes on. There are exceptions; I'm pointing out the general trend (or is it technique?)

Another reason is if the main characeter has strong opinions and characteristics, it could put off players from playing the game. How do you make a game based on characters having mass appeal if you risk having people not liking some of the characters? You create a safety character - someone who everyone has no problems relating to. This is important early in the game to hook in the players. Once you're in the middle of the game (and no hope of salvation for you ^_^) the game can safely introduce quirks to the main character.

Waaah! This email is too long! Anyway, that is my IMHO on why some main characters have mental/personality deficiencies.

- -G-

Man, that signature looks funny. Good letter, though.

Personally, I've never had any problems with a "bland" main character, just as it's not too obvious. For instance, Cloud and Fei played center stage in Square's two latest huge-o-rama RPGs, so the problems they shared seemed much more... obtrusive. ("Oh, great, THIS one isn't sane either!") In most cases, it's a fine decision. A cliche, of course, but nothing too rotten.

That said, I think we should address the biggest problem with a mute or mostly silent main character: conversations. Sure, it's fine when Crono can sit back and listen to a King or somesuch babble on, but when it's time for Crono to pipe in, what do we see?

NPC: "Where are they headed?"
NPC: "You mean the 'Tower of God' that the Dragon slumbers in while 'controlling' his empire?"
No! No, he didn't mean that! He didn't mean anything! Because he didn't say anything! It's just stupid! Stupid! Don't ask a mute questions and then pretend you got an ans -- Ergh. Heart... attack... grab my... pills...
"A what? Son, lets you and me step outside..."
Dear Captain Insano,

What do you think of Legend of Mana's graphics? Personally, I'm really dissapointed. They look like a children's fairy tale coloring book! Like that house under the tree in that one screenshot...why, it looks just like a Bearnstein Bears book. I absolutely LOVED Secret of Mana, but this one seems like it's sinking into a hot, sticky, cloying-sweet pit of bubbly pink cuteness. I'm really sick of cute RPGs. Do we mature folks really need lots of shortness and fatness and pinkness in our games? Come quickly, oh FF8! Come quickly!

- Shinyhat (I know you dont print the Blight anymore, but oh well...)

Okay, lemme get this straight. You loved Secret of Mana, yet hate cute RPGs.

We're talking the same Secret of Mana, right? Absurdly cute music, and... oh for Cthluhu's sake! You rescue Santa Claus in that game. Do I really need to offer anything else? SoM was cute. What probably happened is you loved Secret of Mana, but in the six years since the game was released, your tastes have (understandably) changed. The result is someone who's rabidly loyal to a game that, if released now, they probably wouldn't like that much.

To answer your question, I love Legend of Mana's graphics. Heck, I love practically everything I hear about that game. From the simple fact that Square contined the Seiken Densetsu series, to the fact that it stayed true to past games, to that wicked "landmake system", of which we know next to nothing about. I haven't been this hyped over a game since Lunar: SSSC and Final Fantasy VII. (I'm a bit dubious about FFVIII; I have a "we shall see" 'tude when it comes to that game.)

My only worry? That the game is too unfocused, like SaGa Frontier. Because of this fear, I've been stocking up on lucky rabit's feet lately. The only problem is, what do I do with the rest of the body?

Warning: males who read this may be prone to giggling. Beware, least ye look femmy.
Howdy to the god of frosty fur capes, peach schnapps and metallic hot pants!! Yes, that's you!
Great. Thor gets weddings, thunder and looking buff while kicking Giant butt. I get Liberace's clothing and Richard Simmons' taste in drinks.
Yes, I admit, it bizarre and just a little cute for a girl, yes me, to find another girl attractive. (Alright I KNOW that sentiment gets some guys salivating but that's off-track)
Sex! I mean, uh, what was the question?
But I'm curious to know you're opinion on who would be the sweeter cushion for Cloud: Aeris or Tifa? I'm partial to Aeris, the hippy-gypsy over 'hey look at these suckas bounce' Tifa, by the way.
I dig Tifa, though I wish she wasn't quite that sweet. Making both Aeris and Tifa full of sugar and spice made them seem a bit... interchangeable. Her long hair was also a plus. But beyond a shadow of a doubt, Tifa's best feature was her luscious pair of eyes. Red eyes, quite sexy.

...what? What did you think I was going to say?

See ya, oh, sex god of Oslo, golden-haired hunka meat that makes mortal women shiver, long boot wearing ABBA fan of yore!!
Ya know, I never thought I'd be called something even more dirty than "Thorgasm"... <grin>
Thought up a new humiliating nickname?
Ask Thor
(I doubt you could beat "Thorgasm" if you tried.)
Like Old Crap?
Try the Archives
(Don't worry folks, it'll return as soon as the missing columns do.)
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The Hack Archive
Thor Antrim: Anime Style
(Next update:
December 22nd, 2012)
If Gremio asked you a Quickie, would you run away?
According to traditional legend, vampires do not cast a reflection. How come their clothes don't?
- Maximillian
Their clothes are merely illusion. Vampires walk around in the buff!
A while back I got a video tape with interviews of various Square people who worked on FF7. Do you know where I could possible find a web page with a transcript of these interviews? I need it for a project due REALLY SOON! HELP!
Well, guys?
Thor Stuff

It's Monday. What do you want, blood?

Shadow Zero Attack Mega! Thor "Michael stole Shadow Zero! Die!!!" Antrim
Wow -- ya'll really dig that icon, I tell you.

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