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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
X heaved a sigh of relief and walked over to Thor's closet. He opened
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
Just then Thor woke up.
"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.
Okeydok. This letter wasn't drastically important, but it's a fun story nonetheless, ne?
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.
Heh heh, doubtful, but I sure am fond of the idea.
Five games with better dubbing then Lunar
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.
- Metal Gear Solid
- Brave Fencer Musashi
- Alpha Centauri
- Sam and Max hit the road
BTW: I thought Eva had a fairly mediocre dub job (except for a few
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.
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.
<*stops singing due to being tone deaf and shattering the windows in the
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?|
(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|
(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!
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!
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.
|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...
Thor "Thank God it's Fri... damnit!" Antrim
I am very fond of saying "Let's get ready to grumble!" lately.