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Bend it Like Beckham

Andrew Long - June 25, 2004 00:52 EDT

SO ANYWAY, I'M NOT THE WORLD'S greatest soccer fan or anything, but I can appreciate a good game when I see one, especially when it enables me to goof off at work. The quarterfinal match between Portugal and England today was therefore reasonably entertaining, if only because England apparently decided sometime around the three-minute mark that it would try desperately to get to penalty kicks, which it did, through the magic of blowing its lead with minutes to go and then coming back to tie it on a well-executed corner. Then the penalty kicks began, and David Beckham proceeded to launch his attempt into the second tier of the stadium, almost certainly surprising the British fan there who moments earlier had been shown on camera hauling so violently on a cigarette as to cause his cheeks to puff up in a frenzy of excitement and possibly shopping.

A goal or two later, one by the Portuguese goalkeeper (or "goaler", as the saleslady standing around watching the match with the rest of us said at least a dozen times whenever anyone would listen) and hey presto, Portugal had finally proven once and for all which colonial power really knew how to kick ass, and just to put an exclamation point on the afternoon, the smoking fan had eight simultaneous heart attacks and dropped to the pitch below. Well, okay, that didn't actually happen, but I can only go so many paragraphs without inserting extraneous and possibly torturously unfunny embellishments, so it was probably to be expected, or at least, all for the better.

And that brings us to now! While reading this week's columns, I noticed a couple of things that I thought I'd mention here. First of all, Google failed to notice that a four-sided grid of three squares, with the center hole cut out, is in fact eight squares. Therefore, all is the proper answer, though why the person who asked it didn't trust me enough on Sunday when I said so, despite the fact I'd checked an FAQ to obtain my answer, is a mystery to me. Also, to the person who likes Mighty Bomb Jack: you are my hero. Come to Toronto so I can steal your copy.



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Up, Up, Up Into the Mountains
If you wish to find
Beckham's kick
Now pay me 20 rupees
Cuz I have powers...
Political powers!

Lizzie comes clean

Hey Andrew!

First of all, let me clear my name. I sent in a letter bashing Nintendo. If you notice down the bottom, I signed my name as "-The Lizard and her cousin Jo Jo" My cousin was actually there and most of the opinions expressed about the g-cube were his. I just used my name because my cousin, well, actually it's best you not know. *_* I was mostly typing what he dictated to me. And in case you're wondering, I did this because I was interested in what you would say as well as any rabid fanboys and/or normal fans. Mission accomplished.

So anyway, what are you all talking about this week.....Hrm....Deadly rage? I read what some dude said and it jogged a memory that just happened to me.....four days ago. My Ps1 memory card died. That had pretty much every Ps1 game I had ever played on it. I was really running low on memory but I wanted to use every last bit before I went out and bought another one. Then the Ps2 came out and I ceased playing Ps1 games for a year or two and even when I did, it was to re-beat something. Then, four days ago, I decided to relive the magic of FF8. The Ps2 didn't recognize it was in the slot. It wasn't that anything was erased, it just wasn't detecting that it was there. I checked it with my ps1 just in case but it was the memory card. I called Eb-games and that lady said that a Ps1 memory card is only good for 1000 saves and/or if it's laid dormat for a while, my problem could happen. I had some deadly rage, to put it lightly. Moral of this story: Get a back-up card.

To say nothing of the lesser moral: Oh crap, I have fifteen different PSX games on the go that I really should beat before my memory card dies! Incidentally, a thousand sounds kind of low, given that you can pretty easily save a hundred times or more in any given game, especially titles like SotN where there are save spots every few rooms. Then again, EB Games has some incentive to convince you your memory card is, in fact, unsalvageable, since it enables them to sell you another, apparently unreliable memory card.

Moments of Bliss? When I beat my first game, ironically, FF8. I got it after I saw the commercial. I said to myself that I would do whatever it took to get that game. So after a series of events, I got it (wasn't easy, I had to get a ps1, memory card, and the game). Then proceeded to play it for my entire summer vacation. Seriously. I was in my room for the entire summer vacation. I only came down for food, bathroom, and shower. Some say, pathetic, but I say, the best summer vaca of my life.

And I say, death to the next person who says "vaca" in my column! Sorry, legacy of hearing my sister read one too many YM articles aloud just to spite me.

On an unrelated note, I recently found out that there is a Mario Party FIVE. Dude, the party has been goin' on forever. It's meant for a younger audience but with so many text screens, I don't know what child is going to sit through them all. Which brings me to my question, what game has had the most text screens you have ever had to read?
-The Lizard

If you're talking sheer volume, I think FFT takes the cake, since its tutorial alone encompasses a good several dozen pages, but if you just mean most text screens I've ever had to read in such a way that it annoys the heck out of me, Final Fantasy also takes the cake, with the leadup to Blitzball in FFX. That's rather strange, given that I tend to credit Square with having better interface design than its recently-fused Siamese Twin Enix.

If you thought you couldn't have gleaming white dentures, think again!

Hi there ^_^

I'd like to point out that, though many will not believe me, it's quite possible to beat FFVIII in 22 hours or less. A friend of mine decided he hated the game so much he would finish it off as fast as he could. He avoided every battle he could with diablos, diden't play any card games unless he had to, and diden't upgrade a single weapon. In fact, many of his charecters were around level 12 or 20. It all boils down the Selphie's limit break which makes the battle "end". It even works on the last boss, Ulta. It's actually A fun thing to do, as I saw that because of his low levels every single battle was as hard as a boss battle (though he never fought many thanks to diablos) and the hardest part was keeping selphie alive long enough for her to do the killing blow.


Hmm... Well, I'd never considered that possibility, although I'm pretty sure kupomogli didn't employ it. I should mention, however, that you've failed to say how long it took your friend, which is the key bit of information here. Nevertheless, I have to say, I find it quite ironic that your friend, who hates FFVIII, subjected himself to its most annoying character just to finish it. By keeping Selphie in his party, he pretty much guaranteed eternal distaste for the game in his heart.

The dreaded multiparter

::Emerges full of angst and beans::

Castingdude, and Dr. Vaitso the Mega One...

Well, the utter lack of MMBN questions today has resulted in the good Doctor changing his office hours to tomorrow.

It is now that I bombard you with tasty bits of rantings, which are the mustard of the sandwich that is the Q&A column:

1. Why is it that in the earlier Final Fantasies (FFT, FF7), Chocobos say "WARK", while in the latter ones (FF9, 10), they go "KWEH"? Weird translation problems, or something more?

It's actually the result of a power struggle in Square's translation department, conducted chiefly between the letters W, K, and the number G. After enjoying initial success in the earlier PSX FF's, W was forced to take a defensive position, mostly because the translators went out for lunch, wasted all their time eating hot dogs, and then came back with seconds to spare, forcing them to just drop any old thing into the chocobo's mouths. Either way, it's still an improvement over the mostly non-onomatapoeaic chocobos of old, who simply danced to a rumba beat and flew you to highly magnetized islands in stony, textboxless chachagroove.

2. Mr. Andrew Kuplimogi found Ultimecia to be so easy that he "never lost once at her"? This, without even the Lionheart? True, he COULD have Card Modded the Laguna card for a whole bunch of Hero Medicine and played invincible, but COME ON!

...Actually, that's how I beat her, only using Rinoa's Invincible Moon limit and a triple casting of Aura. Still, no leveled up weapons? I HAVE FURY!

Thanks for sharing, Neo.

3. MMBN 4 is out now!?! AND the Mega Man Anniversary Edition for Gamecube on Tuesday!?! A pox of tobasco sause upon my poor college student status! I can only afford one, o wretched soul of mine! Which should I get? Keep in mind I've only played Mega Man 2, so most of the games on the Collection would be new, VS. the fact that I have all three of the previous MMBN games (which I enjoyed immensely, despite sucking so bad).

Ah, only these three statements I have saying before the I return to the GBA game that is holding my attention. EEEEHEHEHEE!!!

I am NOT a fink-rat!

Take heart, Neo, for I can afford neither, as my mother plants nuclear warheads under my bed each time I purchase video games or machines to play them on. SHE claims I need more important things like running water, electricity, and food, but I know better. Still, were I to take this thirty dollars I have squirreled away and make a highly irresponsible trip to EB, I would probably go with the collection, because it's just that good.

Role reversal... Now THAT'S an RPG!


Lacking motivation to perform any physical activity can be stressful on a day off. Alas, I learned from the best so I'm sure that things will work out. They always do when you find the light at the end of a hammer. Speaking of hammers, today's lesson will be full of usefull (or useless) knowledge to better yourself as a trainee. Lesson 2, where to hide. Keeping out of visual contact is very important, so I'll teach you some lifelong skills! Bushes are a super place to start out with. Discreet and kinda mobile. When you're experienced enough, we'll move onto bedroom drawers, broom closets, and shower heads! With that much in your pants, I'll have quite the fun time evading you. As for rpging, Full Metal Alchemist looks quite interesting. A cooperation with Bandai?! First Disney, then a merger with Enix, damn Square-Enix will soon eat every other company out. We must run and milk the others of all their moon milk before we're faced with a conglomeration! AHHHHHH!! For a question, I give you a request, list everything that makes you so deliciously delicious, and things you'll look forward to in 1 yr. 2 months!

This letter brought to you by my pants!,

O' Shrouded One

Having never tasted myself, I can only assume it's the barbecue sauce I bathe in each morning before I face the world. And, since I know you will slaughter me and my lovely impatiens if I say anything else, I am of course looking forward to your planned arrival in Toronto in one year and two months' time. Only then will I be able to put your stalking tips to good use.

Fanart: where you can inflict your imagination on the characters of others

in the site where it say's new fan art, it shows a picture of Link from The Legend of Zelda series. The fan art is from Tana. Did Link ever appear like this in any game. If so, which one. Thanx for the info.

If you're referring to the cracked-out Link in full body armour with his super-anime glove hand and Twisty Licorice Sword With Bonus Blood Gutter, then yes, yes he does. However, it requires a fair amount of sidequesting and collecting masks before you can pull off the transformation, and anyway it was on the N64 so it probably didn't look quite as snazzy as that particular bit of art.

Fear my fearsome listing powers

hello, my name is danny and i was wondering if you could help me. i am curious as to what the correct order is in Namco's tales series. there is teles of: phantasia, destiny, destiny 2, eternia, and many more. please, if you have the time and would liek to help me out, let me know what the proper order is either by release date or by story of just by when the game was made. I'm so confused and thought you may liek to help me. Thank you for your time and patients, i greatly appreciate it! Sincerely, Danny

Well, first in 1995 we had Tales of Phantasia, which launched on the SNES only a day after its Japanese counterpart found its way into stores. Then came Tales of Destiny, and Tales of Phantasia, for the PSX, and Tales of Phantasia: Narikiri's Dungeon, for the GBA. That's when the confusion started. You see, for whatever reason, the next game in the series, Tales of Eternia, was randomly branded Tales of Destiny II by Namco for North American purposes, which failed rather spectacularly to take into account the possibility that one day, an actual Tales of Destiny II might come about. Fortunately, that didn't happen for a few years, and they managed to squeeze in Tales of World: Narikiri's Dungeon 2 while they were dreaming up the best titular botch since Nintendo decided to sweep FFs II and III under the rug. Then, however, came the actual Tales of Destiny II, the first in the series to hit the PS2 and the one that messes most people up. This was followed by a GBA remake of Tales of Phantasia and Tales of World: Summoner's Lineage, and fans of the series now eagerly await the upcoming installments, Tales of Symphonia and Tales of Rebirth. To recap then: any series that doesn't use numbering to describe the succession of games it constitutes should be burned. Note also that the dates I'm using are for the Japanese releases, as the North American dates were seemingly selected by firing a shotgun at a pumpkin and then deciding which games got localized based upon whether or not the jack o' lantern thusly created kicked ass or not.

Late-rising bliss

It's not too late for another moments-of-gaming-bliss letter, is it? Of course not! My bliss moment, not surprisingly, was my first time beating Chrono Trigger. First of all, the ending music was for a long time the most wonderful music in the universe, at least in the universe of my mind. And second, by the end I really felt like I'd gotten to know the characters and like they were my friends. I liked them! (I liked them so much that my junior-high friends were always accusing me of having a crush on Lucca, but that's neither here nor there.) And so, with all the goodbyes, I could kind of empathize with my 16-bit friends, whom I was, after a fashion, saying goodbye to as well. It moved me. What is that magical thing about Chrono Trigger? Is it, as Mike said, that it is "simply fun to play, and not life consuming?" What did Chrono Trigger have that got us all so hooked?

-Jackson Ferrell

P.S. Furthermore, for once I agree with Kupomogli on something. Tactics Ogre rocks both his world and mine. It's not often anymore that I find a game capable of completely wiping the floor with me. Break me, Tactical RPG, break me!

Whoa fun boy, get a room! And.. yeah. Chrono Trigger's characters were primarily kids, and since kids are primarily what we were back when that game came out, I guess it resonated all the more uh, resonantly. Seriously, though, there's no point in trying to deconstruct what exactly made CT one of the best games ever; it was the overall package that rocked out, and in a real sense, it represented Square at its very very best. Now, if only they could scrape that real sense together more frequently.

A lengthy missive from the robustest of Stus

Hey Cast, been away for a while, but I figured I'd chip in for this weekend. First, the big ones...

1I'm not the type of person to be bothered by a glut of sequels rather than fresh games. Because really, all it is is a name. I mean, as long as the game is good, who cares what you call it? For example, if they called FF6 "The Goddess Statues" and FF7 "The Mako Conspiracy", for example, what difference would that really make? Well, the answer to that is that they're guaranteed to make more money by using the series name instead of naming it something new. Besides, as long as it's a good game, who cares? I don't hear too many people complaining that the Final Fantasy games are bad. (with the exception of FF8 and a few dissidents determined to slag anything from FF7 on).

2In thinking of ways to improve the site, I got to thinking that maybe you just need to give people more reasons to come here. Putting aside the personal distaste I have for Goog's Q&A columns, look at it like this...aside from the news (a lot of which is only of interest to certain strains of RPGamers) and Q&A, nothing is updated daily here. Yes, you have a few different sections that offer a lot of variety, but the problem is they're only updated once a week at most, and a lot of the time they go weeks or even months without an update. Remember when editorials went away for a good long time because of the lack of updates? I don't think that the subject matter is the issue here, I think that in order to increase readership, you need to have more frequent updates and more content. I think Bloodcat had a good idea when he said you should get some opinion columnists, although not all of them necessarily have to be Howard Stern types. You don't need to do away with any of the other sections, but maybe do something like a column on the front page with news, another with opinion columns, and a third with the regular section updates. I think you'll find that increased readership from more content will also lead to more user interaction, which will in turn increase the content submitted to Q&A, Points Of View, Editorials, and all the rest.

Hmmm... I like the cut of your gib! More to the point, I like your idea, and may endeavour to steal it at some point in the not-too-distant future.

3As far as I'm concerned, Final Fantasy 7 was the cutoff of old school vs new school. I select that as the cutoff point because before FF7, RPGs were a niche genre, at least here in North America. The Final Fantasy and Dragon Warrior games were very good and people lived and breathed by those games, but that's because there wasn't the glut of them that we have now. Once FF7, with it's excellent story, good gameplay, marketing and advertising blitz, and "OH MY GOD is it really three discs?" all happened, everybody wanted to cash in on the craze, and really that's where I saw things start to change. All of a sudden, every company had to have an RPG and we got this onslaught of them. Some were good, some were bad, one was even Breath of Fire 3. FF7 is definitely the cutoff, not because of gameplay or presentation as much as for what it set off.

4My all time flip-out moment that pissed me off beyond belief was probably in Final Fantasy 9. Long story short, I had never, ever not won the Festival Of The Hunt. Finally, after not playing the game for about a year and a half or so, I played through the game again, and I could NOT win the f---ing thing. I played through it SEVEN TIMES and couldn't do it. Finally I just barely squeaked by, but it was more of a "it's about F---ING time!" than a "Yay! I'm so happy I won!" Similarly, my all time bestest gaming moment was beating my twin brother at the end of Double Dragon. Just getting past the guy with the machine gun was big enough because he always kicked my ass, but then just barely winning the game on top of that made it very, very sweet.

5My favorite game-getting memory isn't actually of a good game, but rather a bad one. Put it this way: Final Fantasy Mystic Quest looked a lot cooler in Nintendo Power. :)

And on the back of the box, and even in the instruction manual.

6I know I'm really late with this, but happy birthday! Do anything fun and exciting?

Well, I got trashfaced and fell over a lot. Does that count?

7This is kind of a silly one and I'm not gonna make you go crazy over it, but off the top of your head can you think of any really great places to build AP in Final Fantasy 7?

Sadly, I never did do much powerlevelling in that game, so I couldn't tell you. Now, FFVI, VIII, or X? I could help you there, but in this case, I know nothing.

8)'m sorry to tell you this, but I love carnivals. In fact, the local carnival was in town last weekend, but regrettably, it was my anniversary so I was unable to go. It was regrettable because I couldn't go, not because it was my anniversary, just to clarify. :)

Wise decision...

9For anyone who doesn't know, you CAN level up to ridiculous levels and get away with it in FF8. Once you get to a certain point, I think level 50, the monsters stop leveling up with you.

Hope this made it in in time. Have a fantabuloso day.

Robust Stu
Gold Reviewer/Swell Guy

If by "in time" you mean "to prevent me from worrying about levelling my characters in FFVIII," you missed that boat a few years ago, but never fear - I was never too concerned about it anyway. As to my day, I assure you, it will be topfilled with joy and ice cream. And hilarious misunderstandings, since I'm going to go to a Jays game wearing an Expos hat, when in fact I hope the Expos will lose. Oh, I am quite the wacky fellow, to be sure.


So, as I hinted at outrageously above, Dr. Vaitso, our resident internist on MegaManology, will be in tomorrow to field your questions. He is a busy man, however, and has to schedule his performance around a CutManectomy at 5:30, so be sure to be courteous and fill the inbox with only questions on MegaMan, for it is his calling. As for me? I'll be right here, waiting to chime in with my nonsensical take on the matter. Because if there's one thing I love, it's sharing my uninformed opinion.
Andrew Long supports that there thing, because that's what any good whosit would do.



If you were looking for enlightenment here, you will be sorely disappointed. Meditate slowly, breathing deeply and imagining yourself falling away into the blueness of space and time. Picture your tonsils.

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