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SpiderMan 2 and MLB Present: Pepsi© Final Fantasy XII

Andrew Long - May 7, '04 - 02:45 EDT

SO HOW ABOUT MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL, eh? If they're not secretly tracking us with satellites and PDAs, they're sending Mark McGwire to hit some dingers and distract us from the delightful greediness that seems to strike the sport every so often. I mean, Spider Man 2 is probably going to be just super and all, but do they really need to put spiderwebs on the bases? I'm no Abernathy Q. McCurmudgeon, but it seems to me that selling out to that extent is just ugly. It also makes me wonder if games will soon follow suit - I mean, TV shows have already cranked up the product placement tenfold in the past few years, so what's to stop Square Enix from dropping a Coke Extreme Fun Town in their latest offering?

I understand that advertisers have convinced us of their undying usefulness and the general need to slap a logo on every square inch of everything, but the fact that people are increasingly ignoring advertisements should probably tell them something - namely, that we're so freaking inundated that we just don't want to see any more if we can avoid it. I know I'm meowing about something that hasn't happened yet, but just because that's the case doesn't mean it couldn't, and if anything like this ever does come to pass, it'll be a dark day for gaming.

Anyhow, a considerably less dark day for gaming approaches, as E3 is only four days away! Let us feast on delicious anticipation, brought to you by our sponsor, Gorilla Nation! Yes, Gorilla Nation will solve all your advertising needs, and is pleased to bring you a variety of aesthetically-pleasing options for the truly modern site!



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Sweet, savoury old business

I just want to say, whoever said, "...thats as menacing as my cat's poo..." (I think it was you).

Thank you.

I'll be using that in my conversations for weeks to come. There is something about cat's poo that you can't put a price on. So thank you. You have brightened my day, given me a subject to talk about, and made my mother gawk in horror. *sigh* It has been a good day.

I'm glad I've been able to bring about such a life-affirming and positive event for you, my mothershocking friend. As to their being something about cat's poo that you can't put a price to, I can actually come pretty close, since my roommate's cat decided to use my bed for such purposes back in January, costing me about $20 in cleaning products, a bedsheet, the use of my coat, and two pillows which I really need to get around to burning at some point.

Leftover definitions, anyone? They're fridgelicious!

You can't define the RPG genre by stuff like how numbers are manipulated by the system. Game genres are defined by styles of gameplay. I mean, seriously. Anyone should agree with me on that fact, even if they don't agree on the actual definitions of the genres. Here are some of my genre definitions, which you will note are quite broad and very simple.

Action: Involves real-time combat. (e.g.: Max Payne, Mario 64)
Adventure: Involves puzzles. (e.g.: Adventure, Zelda 64)
Fighting: Gameplay consists of individual battles and basically nothing else. (e.g.: Mortal Kombat, Super Smash Bros.)
First-Person Shooter: Involves shooting things from a first-person perspective. (e.g.: Half-Life, Yoshi's Story)
Simulation: Involves controlling a lot of people and things. (e.g.: Civilization, SimCity)
Sports: Simulates an actual sport. (e.g.: Madden, SSX Tricky)
Racing: Consists of racing. (e.g.: Mario Kart, Top Gear 3000)
RPG: Involves menu-based combat. (e.g.: Final Fantasy, Neverwinter Nights)
Puzzle/Strategy: Not actual categories. Miscellaneous games not clearly belonging to any other genre get stuck in one of these categories. Which category depends on how complicated the game is. (e.g.: Worms, Lemmings)

I've probably forgotten one or two, because I'm foolish like that. Also, you'll note that my RPG definition doesn't involve experience. What is up with that? Well, "experience" is a very vague term, for a very vague idea. You have to really split hairs to rule out games like SSX Tricky and Devil May Cry, but allow FF10 and Chrono Cross. Is it still experience if it's called money? What about if it's actually called XP, but you buy skills and upgrades individually with the XP? An RPG's combat can of course be only partially menu-based, selecting spells from a menu but physically attacking in an action style.

I think the menu-based combat notion accounts for pretty much anything you want to call an RPG and removes pretty much anything you don't. I almost never hear people actually use it in their definition of the genre, but it works really well. Except that it gets rid of Zelda 2. Gosh, I wonder how that could have happened? Maybe I'm disruptively innovative, or just plain smarter than everyone else. On the other hand, I've never actually played Zelda 2 long enough to get more than two level-ups. Maybe it actually has a menu-based spell system later, like after the first town.

Expecting flames,

Thanks for sharing, Locke. I think "menu-based combat" comes fairly close, although it fails to exclude various games from the less admirable Castlevanias to those old text-adventures that shouldn't really count as RPGs. It's a valiant try, though.

Fun fact: orange text is blinding


Personally, I think Sega's surprising announcement will be that they actually WANTED the 3D sonic games not to be as good as the 2D games. I'm excited about FFXII. I really hope that this new game will be really good. Who knows? Maybe we'll get something up in the ranks of FFVI. Or maybe it'll be surprisingly mediocre. We won't know 'til we see more, now will we?

And I'd love it if there was a surprise Mother 3 game announced for a newer game system. But when that's announced, the flying pigs will be too bothersome for me to enjoy it.

"Master, sir, did you just see my MAD SKILLZ!?"

I'm pretty sure Sega thinks their 3D Sonic games are da bomb hizzy, despite the groaning preponderance of evidence suggesting otherwise. I don't see how else you could explain away that introductory butt rock, since I'm fairly certain any self-respecting musician would immolate themselves on a burning pile of CD imprints of that little musical mistake. This leaves me with the conviction that they have, in fact, taken advantage of the lobotomized rockers who provided such other classics as "Denver: the Last Dinosaur" (he's our friend and a whole lot more! Now that's a disturbing subtext!) and "Sega Rally Buttrock", because I just don't think anyone operating at full lobal capacity could possibly release such a piece without destroying it before it saw the light of day. Then again, I can't see how anyone could think that saying "Shaa!" is cool or desirable, so perhaps Sega does have some sort of drug-addled production staff playing a big, terribly unfunny joke on the rest of us.

As for Mother 3, it was announced a while ago, so your prediction will likely prove to be chillingly correct.

Complain, complain...

Hey Long,

First off, I, too, think clowns are freaky. Second, youíve said before (and in your review of the game) that Final Fantasy Xís battle system borrows some from Grandia. How? The only thing I can really see borrowed from Grandia is the speed meter (and it doesnít even work in the same way as Grandiaís). Sorry, Iíve played the second and third Grandias, but I just canít see the resemblance.

-Jeremy, the Duke of Otterland

Well, I've played about ten minutes of Grandia II, and the speed meter is what I was talking about. I guess basing statements on fleeting impressions isn't always the wisest way to do things, but then, I never was one to check my facts before getting called out on them... Except, of COURSE, when writing news.

The lament of Shroudie


Well, with Honk Honk's untimely demise, we can look forward to E3 without the hesitation of a scary clown. Speaking of E3, and your lack of going, S-E's planning on some good releases. FFXII, of course, is very exciting indeed with it's flood of new information. Alas, FFVII:AC is definetly on the top of my "^_^" list. New screens of Tifa, although blurry, make me anticipate it even more. Now that she's "kinda revealed", now I can't wait for Red XIII!! In other unrealated madness, I discovered the horrid reallity that all coaches suck and ony care about winning. I would profess my anger now, but sadly I'd be using very inappropriate language not suitable to anyone in my earshot. We'll talk about it this weekend, deal? Eh, don't worry about not going to E3 this year, maybe we'll go in a couple of years. Walking hand-in-hand with the giant mascots and skipping along the lakeshore going 180 mph in a school bus. Oh, what a exciting future!! Errr..sorry about not updating the "Shrine" in a while, but I've been quite busy. I promise it'll be done by this weekend....sometime

The madness of a Castomel,

O' Shrouded One

Yes, coaches do tend to be driven by a win-at-all-costs attitude, but hey - you can always ignore them and cause some sort of power struggle, whereby they declare you need an attitude adjustment. Of course, then you'd be in some sort of teen drama, but hey - at least there'd be no shortage of all-night keggers to divert your attention!

Quotes and still more Disgaea naming

Hey Cast,

I could be wrong, but I think this week's quote is from a Megaman Battle Network. I'll go even further out on a limb and say the 4th one. Anyway, as far as E3 goes I think I'm looking forward to what Sega has to say the most. I must also admit I am a little curious about the Phantom due to the many rumors about whether it actually exists etc.

I might as well tell you about my Disgaea characters while I'm at it. My non-Divine Majins are named A through L2 due to severe lack of creativity, but I named my army of Divine Majins after the heroes from various games. The most interesting of these is RCDOHL my glitchy Suikoden I main character's name as it appeared in Suikoden II.

Well, you're not dead wrong (hint, hint) but we don't usually quote games on index that haven't been released yet, so in the end, you're still pretty wrong, as far as incorrectitude goes. As to the Disgaea name, I shudder at your allcaps badness. SHUDDER!

Tell Honk Honk I'd be happy to come to his kegger's been way too long. ;)
Robust Stu

Must you use me as a messenging service? I demand compensation, in the form of delicious donuts!


So anyway, because it's late and I'm tired, I fear our topic for tomorrow is in gravest danger. That said, I shall now rack my brains in an effort to provide us with direction, with a purpose to bend our efforts towards. Hmm... Well, that wasn't very productive... I guess we can just talk about FFXII getting delayed, since everyone on the boards seems to be up in arms about it. Actually, they're more up in arms about the fact that the lead characters are all blonde, which I think is a pretty silly thing to get uptight over, given the preponderence of brunette power lurking throughout the annals of the series. What about you... do you like your RPG casts to look like one of those LDS ads featuring every minority imaginable, or does it make any difference at all to you? More importantly, blondes or brunettes? Redheads? Crazy blue spiked hair? Truth or dare?

Woohoo! A new low!
Andrew Long dares you to kiss YOUR MOTHER! OH!



Brunettes all the way!

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