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The Speedy Kapanen

Andrew Long - May 1, '04 - 02:45 EDT

I COULD EXPLAIN THE TITLE, I SUPPOSE, but anyone who's seen a hockey game featuring Sami Kapanen will have heard this term, I suspect. At any rate, whenever I try to drone on about my non-RPG-related stuff, people seem to grow restive and demand I stop being so incurably Canadian, so I'll just pipe down and try and restrain my unbridled joy at the fantastic victory scored by Toronto Friday evening. It won't be easy, though - I'm pretty darned joyful when I want to be, which is usually right after I've been particularly cranky. Some people call it bipolar - I just call it dinner.

But that's another story for another time. For now, I must continue to stare in amazement at this intro as it stubbornly refuses to write itself, which is really rather irritating in view of the fact that I told it to when I left to go waste some time. On a completely unrelated note, I'm happy to report that Shoe is already at level 25 and building rapidly. I understand from conversations that many people have characters at level 8 million and other ridiculousness of that sort, but I haven't quite managed to achieve that stratosphere yet, so 25 is about middle of the pack for me. Maybe I have too many characters...



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Mommy, Where Do Chocobos Come From?

Series tied at 2
TOR 3, PHI 1
I ate too much popcorn
I drank too much juice
I slept too late
What level is Shoe?

Disgaeagain, among other things

"For tomorrow, everyone share your worst Disgaea character name, and the story behind it."

Mine would have to be my mage, Mariah. The name itself is fine, but its the story behind it that bothers people. You see, I gave that name as a tribute to my deliciously beautiful cousin. Yes.

I gotta tell you - that's definitely disturbing. Even if you mean it innocently, I think you can see why people might misconstrue your meaning just a little.

"I'd also like to hear what you think defines an RPG" I define RPGs as character driven games where the player's success regarding the primary content of the game is determined the statistical probabilities. This is why games like Final Fantasy, Fallout, Ultima, and nearly every pen and paper game would be an RPG, while something like Metroid or Zelda would not. Your success in Metroid is based on your reflexes and reactions, and damage is always in fixed values depending on your enemy and weapon. The name of the genre is meaningless, like most genre names.

Hmm. I'd argue that statistical probability can still play a factor in other games, such as a baseball simulation, where I'm sure some engines use complex probability routines to determine the outcomes of contact with the ball - Ken Griffey Jr. baseball, admittedly a rather ancient title, comes to mind, as the difference between hitting a home run and dribbling a grounder to first was pretty much a function of how pissy the computer was feeling. I also know this because there was a ridiculously high probability that Griffey himself would belt one out of the park, which is particularly silly in view of the fact that he only had 42 home runs in the season (okay, it's a lot, but by the way it's entered into the CPU, he somehow ends up on pace for like 400) upon which the game's statistics were based upon. Still, that's a good start.

"those characters look a little too much like the Double Dragon duo for me to take them seriously"

That would be due to the fact that Technos made both RCR and DD. In fact, the final boss music in RCR was taken straight from DD, though I can't remember if the boss characters themselves were as well. If you know another person with interest in this type of game, RCR is the best of its kind. The single player mode gets old quickly.


I was not aware of that. Thank you for bringing that to light for me, and I certainly do intend to dragoon my friend into buying RCR if I end up doing so.

You dare to toy with me? ...Fine


I'm so pleased to at last hear about Shadow Hearts 2. Fall 2004, means end of this year right? just checking :D

I have been looking all over for Shadow Hearts sites, please could you tell me where I could find some? and I don't been in search engines cause I have tried there.


Yes, it means the end of this year, miss Smartypants, and if it didn't conjure up gruesome images of sexual harassment lawsuits or at least Rhapsody on Viagra, you'd be on the receiving end of the paddling of a lifetime right about now. As it stands, the localization has yet to gather much steam, so there isn't really anything in English. If you're really feeling industrious, you can try and wallow through the Aruze homepage, but you'll need a translator of some description, and I must warn you there's a moderately frightening image there to greet you.

Update: upon further investigation, here is a better place to start, although the high incidence of Flash makes your chances of obtaining a good translation much more dicey.


Castostalwart, Leaf's win, it's a good thing. Honk Honk the Abusive Clown? Is that that one shifty character that crawled out of the demon hole under your bed? That thing brings a nasty draft whenever the landlords of hell come to visit. Sadly, I have no Disgaea worst name evar submission, but I did bring a keesh! But if I did, I'd have to name one Sandwich, cause nothing beats the name Sandwich. What does a rpg mean to Shroudie? Well, Orangey McGee, such games are ones of story. Having a short backstory doesn't cut it, the story must flow from begining to end. You must experience the story, the emotions, a rpg should allow you to be empathetic, to walk in the characters' shoes. Don't get me wrong, other games are good, but they lack the complexity storylines and in-depth emotions associated with rpgs. This leads to my last point, the characters have real emotions and feelings that other genres just can't hit. That is it for now, SATs await!!

Creamsicle keesh,

O' Shrouded One

Keesh? I think the term is quiche, but anyway... Honk Honk the Abusive Clown is certifiably a real and separate entity from myself, although I cannot divulge his real identity on pain of pizza and tacos being combined into an unholy meal of nightmarish gastronomic proportions. I will agree, however, that the Leafs winning is indeed a good thing.

So your definition is strictly limited to story, eh? I have to take issue with that, because you can experience a story in that nature playing through an action game, or a real-time strategy title. Granted, RPGs generally do it vastly better, but what I'm getting at here is that genre blur has made deciding a terribly annoying task.

Incidentally, I have changed my mind. When you are in doubt, you must now pick A. That is all.

They always come out at night...Unless I update during the day, of course

To Dr. Drewopolis, or Whomeverelse it may Concern:

It has come to my attention that our former colleague, a close personal friend of yours with access to your laboratory facilities, known around the world as 'Andrew Dangerous' may have recently attained super-galactic-oneness. What this means for your personal safety is a matter that requires dubious thought... Very nearly as much as the impending release of a certain game - which shall remain nameless - has on your inside jokes.

In short, we feel that it is in your best interest to stop production of the super-powers-enhanced 'spicy cheese sauce of darkness' that may or may not originate from your locale. We wish you the best and hope that no harm comes to you, due to our circumspect intervention.


Dr. Vaitso & Company

Dammit! I could swear I had kept that secret cheese factory under wraps, but I should have known I couldn't foil the intrepid Dr. Vaitso et al. I'm sure these rumours about Andrew Dangerous are just trumped-up rhetoric, though... I mean, what could some crazy cheese doctor possibly know about alter-egos?

Oh, now that's just dripping with irony! Seriously, folks, I'm in the Sardonic Caverns of upper Montana, and the air's thick with the stuff! Of course, that means that crazy Alanis Morrisette constantly blaring in the background, but fortunately I can't hear much of anything since Sega set off an explosive announcement a while ago in sector G. As it is, I hope to get to the rich sarcasm deposits before sunup, cuz my liver can't take any more of this "ten thousand spoon" hogwash!

"How to annoy the host"? No, "How to get your letter snipped"

Soooo...ya hear 'bout Shadow Hearts being scheduled for the states? Ooo, ooo and - *where do chocobos come from?* *runs*

(...granted the first anime I ever saw was a raw Japanese tape of Nausicaa - friend in high school who'd taped it when she lived there fer a while.)

Persona wasn't - - -
Okay, so Persona 1 was kinda annoying, esp. what with the whole "first person dungeons no automap" feature. I still haven't beaten it yet, I get annoyed with a dungeon somewhere and give up sooner or later...

*GLOMP* Seriously, you drone on worse than kupomogli o.O I mean, what you have to say is interesting and all, but nobody was talking about Persona, so I'm afraid we have to move along if this letter's ever going to go anywhere.

Oh, I think I can top both you *AND* Shroudie - I did jewelrysmithing, and at one point, managed to cut my finger open, then get jeweler's flux in it. Jeweler's flux is this lovely salt-silicate used to clean metals so they solder right, and it has all the worst traits of various salts and many disinfectant compounds for pain-causing ability, exc. it doesn't numb after a minute like the disinfectant stuff does. As I froze at the soldering table with a not-quite-voiced high-pitched squeak and a twitch, the instructor glanced up from what he was working on a couple tables over and calmly said, "Flux in a cut, eh?"

Eeeee..... You win o.O You've also managed to elicit two goggle-eyes out of me, which is a bit of an accomplishment.

*pikupiku* RPG definition....Uhhh....I dunno, I'd usually figure on something with the whole levelling-or-some-way-to-seriously-customize/upgrade/work-on character-as-you-go-along, and an emphasis on a storyline; kind of game where you can fiddle with menus, different abilities, and whatnot for a while and - damn, this is a fuzzy one, ain't it? I s'ppose you'd have to say there were "definite RPG's" that use the basic system and all, then "hybrids" off along the fringes that are part RPG and part something else to varying degrees, where it starts becoming a matter of opinion of how fuzzy you define it personally. (Like, I might define Symphony of the Night as slightly more on the RPG side because of the way it handles levelling, upgradeable equipment, exploration, that the plot influences the gameplay, and whatnot, but Devil May Cry as not being 'cuz ...let's face it, you can tweak and learn abilities and backtrack, but the focus is more on smashing monsters than exploring the castle and building up your character, and the plot's...there, but more backdrop for the squishing than having any real effect on the game.)

Aha... You've hit the nail on the head, although it did take a lot of rambling to get there! It is indeed a fuzzy one, and I made this the topic because I was fairly sure I'd get about fifteen different answers, and lo and behold, three people on topic, three different answers! Makes me wish I'd saved this stunning denouement for a slightly more climactic point in the column, but hey, I never did subscribe to the rhythm method.

...Aaah, and I'm gonna be on that newfangled FFXI online thing come later tonight...dunno what server I'm on yet thou, 'cuz after the 7-hour install (Mostly thanx to the huge amounts of updating it was doing ^_^; which I appreciate, buuutt...damn that was a long time in graybar land), I...had somehow forgotten that my poor, beleagured computer Kodaku's current hardware does not include more than an onboard video card, which took one look at the game and curled up in the corner whimpering. (That's a comment :P the initial plan was for the PS2 version, until I and those who control the household budget realized that it'd require not only the 80$ for the game and hard drive - amenable - but another 20-something for the keyboard, then the cost of the Network adaptor, and then the hassle of figuring out ISP support and everything - esp. since our household network is wireless - etc....when I already had a *mostly* up-to-speed comp with a fast connection right there. If you're not going to be doing other online gaming, FFXI is hideously expensive on the PS2!)


"ZIM!! You won't get away with this!!" *BLAST* "*cough* You got away with it...But you won't get away with it forever!"

Okay, just so everyone's clear, I don't normally print letters this long, but since it does remain vaguely relevant to any number of things we've talked about in the past, I've let it get through this once. I appreciate your... zeal, Atolm, and I'd love to hear from you again, but please - try and keep it a teensy bit shorter ^^

TinkiWinki says set fires!

Unlike everyone else, I didn't get very far in Disgaea. I got bored with it's ruthless difficultly, but I had my share of fun with names. The weirdest character I had was a Green Mage named TinkiWinki. A friend of mine had this friend on FFXI named TinkWinki. He's also a fan of the wind element. I made this character and thrusted it armorless into battle! (I hated the character's name, hence the abuse.)

Hmmm... I can see why you'd be having trouble with Disgaea if you're throwing characters with no armour around, but honestly, I haven't encountered any serious difficulties thus far. Sure, there have been the times when I went into the item world, levelled my ass off, and then forgot to save before getting gutted by the senate, but that's just dumbassery on my part, so I can hardly blame the game for my inability to save.

Anywho, what I think defines an RPG is a character that you assume the role of and grow with over time. It doesn't neccessarily mean gaining levels (you don't gain levels in Kingdom Hearts or Threads of Fate for example) but it does mean getting more health, more defense, a new spell, or equipment. I think that games like Metroid meet these standards pretty well, but somehow they aren't defined as RPGs. I have a friend that tells me "Zelda isn't an RPG!" Argh! It is too!

Shane McCloud

Well, I think you actually have a fairly serviceable definition there, except you didn't word it quite properly. Games like Metroid offer you a set progression for growth that you must, inevitably, adhere to if you're going to get through the game. You may not have to find ALL the missile upgrades, but you will have to find at least one, and you'll probably find at least half of them. As such, while you could argue that having varying levels of missiles counts as customizability, I think that it just counts as inefficiency on your part. There is a set of circumstances you must put Samus through to beat the game, whereas in an RPG you can customize your characters somewhat (and most RPGs generally involve at least one or two such divergent choices.) Granted, it's still not flawless - you gotta get Erdrick's Armor and Sword eventually, a lot of the time - but I think you'll agree that no definition really is. It all comes down to pesky game companies and their pesky marketing, unfortunately, which is why we end up with little arguments over action RPGs so often.

Disgaea naming 101

Hey, Cast,

Funny you should mention silly Disgaea names. My husband and I have been amusing each other with our Disgaea character names... after all, if you amuse the person who doesn't have the controller at the time, you might prolong the number of times you can get through Item World before the other person wrests the thing out of your hands.

You are wise indeed in the mysterious ways of diplomatic controller management. I just use brute force ^^

I started by naming my brawler Rocky. Once I played the character, I realized it was a female brawler, so it got changed to Rockie. Hubby then insisted I name my male brawler Bullwinkle.

My mage series includes Flamette, Snowbell, and Estrella, while Hubby went with the colour-themed Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald.

Ah. My mage names are rather random - old Red, my most faithful and powerful mage who started out windily, is named Stover, Greenie is Elbone (that's my pet term for "Elbow", which doesn't really explain why I would name a mage after that pointiest of joints) and the blue guy, in my fine tradition of preposterous vaguely-Japanese sounding names, is Nojimaru. Meanwhile, the Star Mage got christened Iaru, while my backup red mage was named Davina. Conclusion? I really need to spice things up.

Our greatest accomplishment was remembering that any word sounds "fantasy" if you stick an "e" on the end! Thus, I have a thief named Filche and his priestess is named Bandaide.

So that's our story, well, that, and we've picked up the unfortunate habit of interjecting "Dude!" into our conversation.

I'll leave the RPG-defining to the other writers. The theory around our house is, "We play fun games."

Cranky Dragon

Well, that certainly cuts to the heart of things. Way to ruin the fun of windy philosophy! Seriously, thanks. Sometimes I let simple ideas get the better of me. Anyhow, I guess I know where to look if I ever need a bandaid solution to naming, nyuk nyuk nyuk nyuk kill me nyuk!

FINALLY, someone who doesn't want a paddlin'

Hi, how are you doing? anyways I saw the Shadow Hearts 2 link thingy (darn my computer lingo) and as you know it says "The continuation to Yuri's story will soon be available in North America. How soon, you ask? Well, there is one way to find out." Actually there is more than one way to find out....because I haven't open up the link to see when it comes out....instead I want to ask you.....

When does Shadow Hearts 2 come to North America? is it anytime soon?

that is all <:D

Hmm, you know what? You're right. I'm not really sure what you want me to do about that, but if it's any relief to you, my blurb probably would have included some sort of reference to Mothra, so you should probably be glad you had the chance to play at being Inspector Clouseau for a day. As to my expected release date for Shadow Hearts II, I'm afraid that information is only available to a select cabal of vampires I have been known to fraternize with when I'm feeling gothy. Actually, scratch that - I might actually get called on the goth thing and have to produce some mawkish poetry, so let's just say it's a group of hay farmers with contrary dispositions and a secret information pipeline to Osaka that I pay off in sweet, sweet hay.

omg maphax0r

Cast In Rebuttle to King Fisher's argument, if you look at games in context, certain games require world maps, while others don't. I dont recall anyone complaining about BOF5's lack of world map (which is a splendid game by the way). In FFX, you explored the entire world to go for the bad dude. In Xenosaga things are a little different. You're destination (which you never meet...lazy monolith...for shame) is

Second Miltia

...enough of that, it would make sense for Shion and company to go to XEON or whatever and be like, oh loook gnosis lets get them. As for his argument bout FFX's map, yeah that was a little disapointing, has it been rectified yet...well have you played WA3?

Barieuph ~*woohoo for WA:AF coming to NA*~

Thanks for sharing, Barieuph. No, I haven't played WA3 yet, but you make a good point about BoF V. I think it succeeded in pulling off the maplessness because it cheated and provided floor plans which served essentially the same function as a world map. By offering this map that was no map, it succeeded in deflecting any criticism it might have taken in that area, which is good because as you say, it really is a splendid game.

Unfit for Print

Please oh please spoil the 'Perfect' ending to Final Fantasy X-2 for me. Im to lazy to get it myself.

Anthony Mele
aka. Templar Kefka

Why is this unfit for print? Because I'm fairly sure Anthony didn't intend for me to print this. Why am I going ahead and printing this anyway? Because I'm not going to spoil FFX-2 for myself for his edification. I'm sure, however, that there's someone in this viewing audience who has the answers our young templar so desperately seeks, so if you'd like to contact him so that he can become the one and save us all with his laziness, let me know and I'll hook you up with his ICQ/AIM/email.


I'm a BIG fan of the .hack series,and im seriously obssed with Kite from the games,and i mean OBSSED,anyway, my friends are telling me that theres a 5 game on the way, and i was just wondering if its true, so.....can u find me the answer???

Well, PRINCESS CARDCAPTOR SAKURA, your friends are all dirty liars and you should never trust them again. Also, may I humbly inquire as to why your name is Frank?

I had a character named Shoe also in disgaea :D

Reason behind the name, its short for my dog's name. Which is Shoe-Shoe. Reason behind that name, my little brother when he started talking couldn't pronounce his name Matthew correctly, and always said his name was Shoe-Shoe, all the way til he was like 6. btw poor shoe-shoe the dog is stuck with 3 legs, and is the size of a small poodle. Yet she trys to fight pit-bulls :|

Thanks for sharing, brother of Shoe-Shoe. Poor little 3-legged dog... I know how you feel, cuz my cat is small, but he's always trying to roughhouse with others that are like twice his size. Every so often he comes home missing a chunk or two, and then he behaves a little better for a while, but he never really learns for some reason.


Tomorrow is the day we've all been waiting for - the grand appearance of Honk Honk the Abusive Clown. Since we blew our clown topic load back yesterday, I guess we'll have to come up with a different topic, and probably a slightly less graphic euphemism for spent topics while we're at it. As such, I submit the following for your consideration: now that we've kind of not agreed on a definition for RPGs, which element of RPGs irritates you the most? You must be vociferous in your expression of this irritation, for Honk Honk will brook nothing short of exasperation in his readers, and you know me - I always pretend to be acting a certain way at some point or another, so I could surely have another trademark change of heart at any moment where this is concerned!

As for you lot that don't hate anything about RPGs, I throw the floor open to you and will invite any topics you wish to discuss. Again, beware the clown, however, as we can all be reasonably certain that tomorrow's title will be "Can't Sleep.. Clown'll Eat Me!" With that stunning preview under your belt, go forth, my little chickadees, and pray that the evil clown does not defeat us all!

Now that's good disturbing!
Does Andrew Long dream of electric sheep? Of course not, silly! He's not an android!



Okay, I'll level with you, I actually am a robot. Mikel has me chained in his basement with all those monkeys Brad used to look after. WHY WAS I PROGRAMMED TO FEEL PAINNNNN?

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