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The Late Late Column with Thor Antrim
 
 
Today's Ask Thor is brought to you by the themes "way too long", "weird", and "off topic".

Sorry I updated so late. I received so much e-mail yesterday, and so many of the letters were unusually long, I didn't finish reading them until 3:32 PT (-08:00 GMT)! Which means even if I were to do the unthinkable and finish a column within three hours (not counting the time spent reading e-mail), AT would be "late". Blarg!

 
Fun with anagrams
Dear Thor "God of Blunder" Antrim,

Might I be a rebel and suggest the oddest candidate to be considered as an "Action RPG." River City Ransom, for the NES. Think about it: you go punch and kick all the bad gang members like a Final Fight scenario, steal their cash, and then run to the mall to buy power up items to increase your stamina, strength, and punch power.

I also noticed you can get in a fight with 2 different guys and then pause the game to read one of the books in your inventory. Just imagine: Gang Member: Hey, are you done with that book yet? Alex: Hang on. I've got one more chapter to go. Care for a Karma Jolt? Gang Member: Yes, please. Let me know when you're done, okay? Alex: Hang on. I'm at the good part!

Also, it's a good cross between violence and early censored Nintendo as you use the money to by Teddy Bears instead of drugs, the bad guys say "Barf" and "Mamaaaa" before dying, and you are allowed to keep the Gold Medal after passing a drug test. But it had to be one of the coolest games of that time.

You know, I just brought RCR up in a conversation I had a few days ago about game design. (The way I figure it, all the good concepts were taken up long ago, and nowadays everything is a 'clone'. C:SotN, original? Naw. Take Castlevania, then add Metroid's level design and RCR's Final Fight/RPG elements. Ta da!)
And now the moment you've been waiting for: THOR GOD OF BLUNDER ANTRIM can be rearranged to spell:
GRANDMOTHER BIT FLU DONOR.
FIRM DRAGOON THUNDERBOLT.
MAD FOR THUNDERBOLT GROIN.

Jeremy "The Chicken" Buege

Oh yeah? Well... well... hey, that last one isn't too bad.
 
There's no such thing as an PlayStation RPG!
In response to Therophastus's question, the only RPG (after much thinking), I could call to mind, that gives you some control over your main charcacter is Tactics Ogre. Throughout the game, you are required to make many decisions that affect the course of the game. Example: After a few hours of training battles and small missions, Duke Ronwey sends to to Baramus to take over the city. After you defeat the guard and occupy the city, you are commanded by Duke Ronwey to kill the inhabitants of Baramus. If you choose not to, Your character leaves the resistance movement and starts his own small army, and your main character is branded and outlaw and blamed for the massacre by Ronwey. But if you choose to follow orders, you become a commander in Ronwey's army, and Vice, another main character leaves in disgust at your murders.

The choices you make in the game affect future events a lot. You don't exactly have control over your characters personality, but you do get to suit the game a little more to your liking. I must reccomend the game. It is as addicting as FF Tactics and there are many paths to take and many side quests to explore.

- Swiggus

Believe it or not, this was the only response I received regarding a PlayStation RPG which lets you design your own character and decide what his past was/what he is like, etc. Frightening. I mean, even the Sega Genesis had at least two or three. I guess Final Fantasy's influence is greater than we suspected...
 
Stop laughing.
Yo Thexypants...um, Thor.

I love you! ::kisses Thor::

Aww, shucks. I... hey, wait a second. You are a girl, right? Whew, "Katt". Okay then: Aww, shucks...
Oh, yeah...I know there's a Tenchi Muyo RPG out there. I'm a huge fan of the tv series and I've seen screen shots for it [the game] somewhere... if you (or anyone else) could get some info on it and post it in the 'Games' section, I would be most grateful, O sexiest of gods. Arigatou!

- Katt (yes, my nickname is from Breath of Fire 2. Capcom should remake that game for the PSX...)

Well, again, RPGamer can't add anything unless you <points> the reader whips something up to add. I can give you some info, tho': It's made by Banpresto, for the Super Famicom, and was only released in Japan. You can play most of the show's favorites -- everyone from Tenchi (duh) to Ryo-ohki. Tenchi Muyo RPG appears to be akin to Shining Force, with combat leaning towards the tactical side. And finally, there is absolutely no chance for a US release.
 
You can't live with it, we can't afford to eat without it
O' God of Bright Crashy Zappy Things,

I thought banners were meant like commercials, they are targeted at specific audiences. You won't likely see a feminine product commercial during hot rod racing, so what possessed the powers that be to put a www.babycenter.com banner at the bottom of your site? I hope it isn't some new twisted part for "The Legend of Thor Gets Some"...

Long Live Sluggy!

- Dorthor the Mangler, resdient of the DOP

That it is!

Actually, RPGamer switched from IGN sponsorship, whose banners consisted of "teen" stuff and many an ad for a fellow IGN affiliate, to Flycast, whose banners are made for "everyone". Sure, it's not as cool as a super secret plot related to "The Legend of Thor Gets Some", but I never was one to lie just to entertain.

Say, did I ever tell you about the time Nobuo Uematsu and I got baked and watched MTV for twelve hours straight?

 
He said / He said
This is to all of those people who feel the need to write in and complain about RPG's,

Hmmm....Gaming companies are providing you a service. They don't HAVE to put any games out at all. Think about that the next time you complain about how an rpg doesn't have a plot to your liking or the characters aren't developed enough. I'm sure that if you made an RPG there would be plenty of people that wouldn't like it, although it would be the perfect RPG for you because it contained everything you wanted in a game. The point of all this is that people have different tastes...so shut your pie hole.

- Anubis

 
Tho Lor,

I'm wondering about the validity of your criticism of complaining about minor issues in RPGs. After all, we ARE the consumers here, and if we don't like some aspect of a game, why shouldn't we shout it to the heavens?

It's not as if we're bound to just accept whatever they give us without complaint. What do we want? We want better RPGs, dammit! Sure, we have some very good ones already, but that doesn't mean we should be content--we want our games to be betterbetterbetter, and I see no reason why we shouldn't bitch about even smallish details in the hopes that game publishers will heed our cries in the future. I mean, it's not like we're getting these games for free, so naturally we want the best product possible. You can criticize and still enjoy it; it's not as if complaining precludes fun or anything. So there. I've said my piece. Yo.

Oh yeah, and I really appreciated the response to the guy who was complaining about Amano's artwork. I was mentally smacking him as I read the letter, and it was good to know that we was actually receiving some criticism. Rock on.

- Diomedes

These two represent the extremes of the "should gamers complain?" debate. Allow me to provide the middle ground:

First of all, game companies are not providing a service. They depend on us, the consumer, to buy their toys so that they can continue to stay afloat. And if we never complained at all, then Final Fantasy 8 would most likely receive a FFT-quality translation. (Cthulhu knows game reviewers never mention bad translations -- a few reviews I read complemented FFT's script!)

But if we bitch about every little problem, no good will come of it. Sure, someone might take notice if 90% of us are asking for better translations, but they might not make the connection if they're flooded with messages complaining about lip synching, or a typo they found, or a single error in the game manual.

The way to go is, of course, stop and think before you send off a flame or "hotheaded suggestion". Is the complaint really worth making? Is there a good chance it will be fixed in the sequel, anyway? Would anyone else even care? If you have no doubts after pondering for a moment, by all means, bitch away.

 
"Hey there Citan, wanna join the Young Bubbies Club?"
Dear Thor and his Teri Hatcher porn, (^_^)

This letter is for Derek Thompson, who inquired about a certain fanfic on RPGamer involving a Citan/Sigurd relationship. The story you're thinking of is "Mourn Not for Angels," which was written by my friend Alanna. ^^ There is no Japanese version, secret version, secret code or hidden scene which suggests a relationship between the two characters in question, it's speculation and "what if" on the author's part.

For those of you not familiar with the phenomenon known as yaoi/slash: In a nutshell, it's art and stories depicting male homosexual relationships of a sexual or romantic nature. Almost all creators and readers of yaoi and its tamer cousin, shounen-ai, are female, and it's usually targeted at females. Even though the term yaoi itself is Japanese, and almost all RPG/anime yaoi is Japanese, the "slash" genre of fanfiction, which is pretty much the American equivalent, has been around for years here. At least on the Internet, though, anime/RPG yaoi seems to really be catching on with Americans; there are webpages and mailing lists in English dedicated to it now. I guess it corresponds to the popularity of female/female pairings with certain male readers.

Yaoi never directly relates to anything actually shown in a game or show. It's mostly a combination of fantasy and speculation-- what the readers want to see and what might have been possible. For example, given the way Citan and Sigurd seem to be close friends in the game, it's pretty easy to translate this into their being *really* close friends. Well, in a yaoi-ish sort of way.

There's actually quite an abundance of it on Japanese webpages, but it's sort of an "underground" thing here-- to my knowledge, RPGamer only has one yaoi-themed fanfic up. (To be fair, a lot of yaoi is very graphic so it wouldn't be allowed here. ^^;;) Hope this helps, though.

- Azusa Kuraino.

 
Yo Thor, (see? I can follow directions!)

As the author of "Mourn Not for Angels", the Xenogears story that Derek Thompson referred to in his letter of the other day, I can confirm your answer that the plot idea of having Hyuga and Sigurd as lovers was from "a healthy imagination" -- and some things that the character designer appeared to have in mind that never made it into the finished game as anything more than hints. (At least, I think it's a healthy imagination. I try to make sure that it eats its vegetables and gets plenty of walks.) I liked the idea; I mean, there's sure as hell no love lost between Citan and Yui, and if you read between the lines, there are a *lot* of slanted lines in Citan's and Sigurd's dialogue.

Besides, the setup provided a great deal of angst with which to play, and angst is a /great/ motivator for fanfic. ^_^

Allow me to introduce a shameless plug for the rest of my fanfic, which can be found here.

- Denise

Okay then. How to respond? I have no idea. Not that the subject makes me particularly uncomfortable or anything, s'just there's honestly not much to add. Oh, I know: After years of guys being hassled for finding lesbians, ah, "intriguing", now us guys can hassle women for finding the yaoi genre intriguing. Not that guys regularly do things like that. Ahh well.
 
Thursday Thorsday Madness
You're a mean one Mr. Thor,

I gave you over a WEEK, Thor! A WEEK! Rage fills me. A dark ominous shadow looms above you. I'll teach you to not print my e-mails Thor. Oh... you'll get yours!

X the Unknown's Revenge

(read the following while humming or listning to the theme music from Mission Impossible)

The night was young. X approached the apartment complex in which Thor lived. A smile spread across his face. He pulled out a rope and threw it up to his window. After three hours of brutal climbing, Thor's second floor apartment room was almost within grasp. Once inside, X lowered himself quitely to the ground. He steped forward, and accidentally into a laser alarm. Worried, X quickly glanced over to Thor in his bed. Still half asleep, he banged continuosly on the snooze button of his alarm clock.

X heaved a sigh of relief and walked over to Thor's closet. He opened it, and to his dismay he found that inside hung 13 pairs of leather pants and 18 leather whips. Putting this out of his mind, he searched for Thor's collection of Teri Hatcher videos. Once their location was uncovered it became a simple matter of switching the tapes with some Richard Simmons tapes he brought with him. Placing the box full of videos back into the closet, he walked over to Thor's Playstationú¨©. He put Thor's memory card into the system, and turned it on. Entering the memory card main screen, he found the Xenogears files and deleted them all. "HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHA" he laughed insanely.

Just then Thor woke up.

"Uh oh..."

"WHO THE HELL ARE YOU!?!?!?!?!" Thor demanded.

"Er... I... but... wait! I'm not scared of you Thor! I'm gonna tear you apart!" After beating X to a bloody pulp, Thor felt tired and decided to relax by watching one of his videos. He pulled one out from his closet and began to play it. To his utter disgust, Richard Simmons appeared on the screen teaching overweight people to dance in an unhealthy fashion. X was later taken to a hospital, and Thor was taken to a mental institution where he remained for 3 months until deemed "Able to re-enter society". Richard Simmons and all his merchandise, however, must remain 80 miles from Thor at all times.

- X the "Critically Injured" Unknown

Hey, wait a minute... I never use that many question marks/exclamation points!
 
Dub Vs. Sub Vs. Yawn
Yo Sexypants, or whatever it is you prefer this week,

Here's the basic scoop on RE's voice acting. It was bad. Very bad. But "intentionally so" is only half-truthful. Capcom told the actors to deliberately overpronounce everything, so as to make it more easily understandable by native Japanese (who are not as universally fluent in English as a lot of people think). The actors were given absolutely no leeway. They couldn't alter the way lines were to be said, they couldn't adlib, nothing. Bio Hazard was originally intended for a Japanese audience, and as usual, the US was at best a secondary consideration. It's also painfully obvious to anyone with half-a-year's worth of Japanese language that the script was a very direct translation of the original Japanese. Things improved in RE2, but not by that much. Phrases like "master of unlocking" work in Japanese, but most definitely not in English. Ever heard Resident Gigolo (or as the author misspelled it, "Resident Jigalo")? Do some searching around... it's insanely funny. Lemme know if you can't find it (can't remember the page offhand), I'll see about getting it to you.

- Deuce

Okeydok. This letter wasn't drastically important, but it's a fun story nonetheless, ne?
 
Salutations, Sexypants:

I don't get it.. the voice acting in the original lunar was equally cheesy. They're probably just staying true to the original. After all, that game just wouldn't have been the same without "Alex! Oh, Aaaaaalex!".

Which sure tops "Ada.. no!" 15 times in about 2 minutes.

- Cast

Heh heh, doubtful, but I sure am fond of the idea.
 
Five games with better dubbing then Lunar
  • Metal Gear Solid
  • Snatcher
  • Brave Fencer Musashi
  • Starcraft
  • Alpha Centauri
  • Strife
  • Sam and Max hit the road
  • Destrega
oops... that's not five... is it? The only reason I DON'T expect perfect graphics is the technical limitations on the machine. There are NO technical limitations on how good the writing or the voice acting can be.

BTW: I thought Eva had a fairly mediocre dub job (except for a few scenes).

I appologize if this sounds insulting, I didn't mean it as such. I was a HUGE fan of the first Lunar (didn't like the second one so much) and well besides the graphics not much is improved in this version.

- Adam

A few of you pointed out these titles, and indeed, they had great voice acting. The problem is there's a big difference between Xenogears and Brave Fencer Musashi: The BFM actors didn't have to deal with lip synching. It doesn't sound like that big a deal, but lip synching not only makes the actual voice acting hard, but also makes for a pretty screwy English translation. (Look for lots of of dialog filler, like "Okay!"s and weird "hmmmwhoah!?"s.) Keep in mind that American actors lip synching American anime/CG is easy as pie, just not when they're trying to keep up with Japanese animation. (Though come to think of it, Snatcher might have dubbing -- I forget.)
 
THE LONGEST LETTER EVER
The following is a long letter. I mean, really, really long. If you don't care to read it, you'll have to hit Page Down quite a few times until you get to the Quickies. You have been warned. RPGamer is not responsible for any damages which result in readers choosing not to pass this letter up. Godspeed to ye, man.
<*singing*>
Sweet VicThoooooria,
<*stops singing due to being tone deaf and shattering the windows in the area*>

That "odd" fanfic Derek spoke of is "Mourn Not For Angels" by Denise "Alanna" Paolucci (I originally read that story at her homepage.), and no, Shitan and Sigurd in the game itself were not lovers (However, yaoi-wise, I think they make a nice match. ^_^). It's a very good sentimental-type fic (Nothing graphic at all.), and if you don't mind the shounen-ai/yaoi (Read: gay) genre, I recommend you checking it out. Hell, even if you're not into yaoi maybe you should take a looksie, because it's a good example of a well-written short story (For all writers seeking to improve themselves, its always a good idea to look at other people's work. You can always learn a little something from another.)

Anyhow, I wanted to say something that may seem rather unimportant. To fanfic readers: Always remember that a fanfic (Or fanart, for that matter.) will contain the writer's interpretations of any given situations in a game (Or movie, TV series, etc.). This includes stuff like the Shitan/Sigurd match mentioned above, or stuff like the well known "Why the hell is Vincent 27 when he knew Sephy's mom?" dilemma. So, Numero Uno: A fanfic never substitutes for a good game FAQ or an info site (Like this one, hehe...), and Numero Dos: Remember that a fanfic writer is entitled to their own interpretations of a storyline, whether you agree with it or not -- it's the quality of the story that is far more important. I think it's safe to say us writers would rather appreciate critique on our styles and areas where we might need improvement than flaming or silly nitpicking because we didn't see the originally storyline "your way."

True freaky story to prove point -- please skip if you retch easily or have a heart condition: [But I have a heart condition! -- Thor] I was messing around this fanart page (Can't remember it now, and no, I ain't telling you people anyway! Who knows how old some of you are.) looking at all the really great pictures by the artist who runs it. Now, this being a Japanese page, it's quite common to find that some of said drawings are yaoi, which for me isn't a problem (I happen to like the genre, sue me. :-P). However, there was this one pic which nearly sent me running for the hills. <*drumroll*> And now, for the moment that can beat out Hojo's attempt to mate Red XIII and Aeris or the infamous *that* picture (People who know about FF Hentai stuff should guess what I'm talking about. Sheesh, my passion for collecting links on just about anything imaginable is turning me into an expert...) for the truly bizarre: It was a Vincent pic in which he had... *ahem*... the "Ranma Syndrome," and Hojo was fondling his... err, hers... um, bosoms. Yes. Scary. (No! Not my Vincy-poo! T_T)

Gaaah! That's nearly as weird as the that picture of the Japanese cosplay girls posted on RPGamer/Square Net some time ago. Remember that one? A girl dressed as Sephiroth was fondling a girl dressed as Cloud's, uh, mountains of joy. For you trivia buffs out there, that was the second most homoerotic picture ever posted on this site, the most homoerotic being, of course, Andrew Vestal's halloween costume.
Now, Vincent/Hojo happens to be a pretty common matchup in Japanese sites, and I can understand why the match might work (Why the hell you want to do so is another matter.). And I have seen part of a doujinshi in which Vince crossdresses in an adorable sailor uniform, and it was funny and actually cute (After all, he wasn't a female there, just wearing girl's clothes.). But this was BEYOND weird (Until someone else shows up with something even crazier to tell on your column. I'm sure it'll eventually happen). You ask: Would I have flamed the person for this? No, because: 1. It may have been bizarre by my standards, but the drawing's style & quality was extremely good. 2. It's the artist's interpretation, and it's his (Hers? I don't remember.) page, so they can do whatever the heck they want. 3. Flaming really gets you nowhere. Not only is it impolite and lame, you'll either be ignored or laughed at. So I just hit the Back button and looked at the other drawings. Moral of story: If you don't like it, leave. If you can't give constructive criticism (Politely, of course.) of their work, then don't bother the writer/artist. Heck, look at what happens to those who write here and become... Unfit for Print! ^_^

BTW, that illiterate guy's letter was a riot (And whoever doesn't get it and flames him needs to have their funnybone examined.). Next thing we'll see are deaf people complaining there's too much music in games and lysdexic people complaining about god-knows-what.

Counting how many fell for it was rather hard, since I asked people if they spotted anything wrong with his letter. You could kind of get a general idea though -- the ones saying, "He said he was illiterate but he wrote that letter! What a stupidhead poopiepants!" probably didn't get it.
Oh, and since I should have a question: Is Legend of Legaia as great as you've said so far? I'm usually on the broke side, so I'm looking forward to renting it (Try before you buy. Most wise words.). And since you're playing Xenogears, isn't the music just the most killer? What's your favorite track so far?
Legend of Legaia is great. My favorite part are the "retro" enemies. Remember fighting Minotaurs, and slimes, and goblins? Nowadays RPGs seem to be packed with surreal creatures which either resemble modern art or "Broken Ones" from the AD&D Monstrous Manual!
Signing off before this gets even longer, -Teresa Gonzalez, AKA Aurora D. Derall, The Centennial Chicken Puerto Rican RPGirl and your loyal poppet fan (*giggles*)
Wow. What can I say, folks? Even her signature is long. Let's give Teresa a hand, 'cos not only was this an entertaining letter, it just might help ease the crippling pain of the repetitive stress syndrome she picked up while typing this. :D
 
Have you fallen madly in love with Shadow "Heartbreaker" Zero?
Mail Thor
(Don't feel bad, we're all seduced by his sexy lil' somersault at one time or another.)
 
Like Old Crap?
Try the Archives
(Beware the Typoes)
 
Bored? Easily amused? Stoned?
The Hack Archive
Thor Antrim: Anime Style
(Edit me. It's fun.)
 
Quote of the Undetermined Amount of Time
"I have a big problem with Xenogears. The game isn't realistic enough. Here is an example: you can jump on people's heads. This pisses me off!"
- Cloud's hair gel
 
Quickies that cavort naked under the light of a full moon
HEY! I found something wrong. this guy "Marmelodov" has named himself after a character in Dostoevskyâs "Crime and Punishment"-- a really long Russian novel. Pretty hefty reading for an illiterate. OYE!!!!
-Svidrigailov (ARG!!! When am i gonna wake up from this dream?!)
Sharp eyes, Svlgirgflgfligglfvodvov!
Hot damn! Look at that little ninja go!
- redknight1
Yeah, baby! Get some!
How DARE you take my name in vain! I shall feast upon your flesh and devour your mind, and you shall BURN forever in the eternal hellfire that is Cthulhu! Bow before me and worship me as your true god, or DIE like the diety of Teri Hatcher's sexypants you are!
- Cthulhu
Hey... you're not the real Cthulhu! Everyone knows Cthulhu is illiterate.
Crystalis is going to be rereleased in the future for Game Boy Color. I doubt, however, that the world regressed 1000 years after a thermonuclear explosion in October 1998, though.
- Evan Pollino
You know, all things considering, that was a pretty weak thermonuclear explosion. I don't even remember hearing about it on the news.
you know, teri hatcher isnt that good looking Heh, why do I get the feeling this guy's going to star in Denise's next fanfic?
Naming your column after me has made me a minor celebrity with all my Ask Thor-reading friends!!! Thanks!!
- Amy Lynn Holbrook, esq.
Glad to hear that! You can reward me by... um... finishing that game. :D
i've been playing Legacy of Kain: Blood Omen lately (which has good voice acting, BTW) and i was wondering about it's sequal. Do you know if Soul Reaver will remain adventurish or has it turned more into an action game?
- The boy genius
Crystal Dynamics chose to snub Silicon Knights, the developers of Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, instead going with a team who had no qualms about turning LoK into -- get this -- a Tomb Raider clone.

Stop screaming.

 
Thor Stuff: Egotism at its finest

It's a general rule of thumb that even if given plenty of time (which I wasn't), the longer a column is, the more likely I screwed up.

This is the second longest Ask Thor ever.

I can't wait for tomorrow...

Ohh, you like?! Thor "Thank God it's Fri... damnit!" Antrim
I am very fond of saying "Let's get ready to grumble!" lately.

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