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Inadvisable Action Meats

Andrew Long - September 17, 2004 03:22 EDT

I SOMETIMES WONDER WHY I DO THE THINGS I DO. For instance, knowing full well that I would have to come back here and write this column at an obscene hour and screw myself over for work tomorrow, I nonetheless painted the town red, or possibly blue - I can't quite remember what colour the paint was because I had to ditch it after this crazy scooter gang started chasing us - and am now back here, feeling vaguely nauseous. Even so, I feel marginally accomplished as well, for I have finally sent out the contest emails.


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Good old taxi flipping


Ive recently started my first year of university, and so my PS2 is in hibernation. School and ps2 dont mix. So I was just wondering if you could recommend any good GBA games to waste my free time on, rpg or otherwise. All I have is fire emblem, and the classic tetris. I still love that game.

PS Canada wins again, so lets go turn over some taxis downtown, eh?

There is a small flaw in your logic - namely, GBA games, while small, nevertheless can consume equal or greater amounts of playtime as compared with PS2 titles, thus calling into question their own compatibility with your school environment. Nevertheless, since you are at least pretending to do the right thing, I recommend you get Mario & Luigi, TO: KoL, and any Castlevania but HoD. There are more good titles, of course, but since you're on a limited time budget, I wouldn't want to distract you too much, now would I?

On the other hand, now that the stupid garbageface NHL has locked out its players, there will be a surprising wealth of free time left over, so what the hey - find yourself Oracle of Seasons and Ages if you can.



Man, what's this about Dirge of Ceberus? So my fears are true, a game about Vincent? Okay, so vamp-boy is quite interesting, but I'd rather play something that dives into Tifa. Then again, we know little-to-nothing, so what can you do, eh? Well, how's the new school year? Any misadventures? Do share. How's tuinte? I hope you guys are enjoying eachother's company. I guess I should tie in another interest of us all. That whole NHL-confusion. What's your take on the situation? Will there be a season? There's always a season for you, I know. I guess it's just more blame to place on Tom Golisano! Will the madness ever stop?

"I'll gut him with a hockey stick", oh my dearest!,

O' Shrouded One

Oh, I've had misadventures, but only the bureaucrat nonsense type that cost you random service charges for basically doing nothing. tui's place has quite the nice balcony, and while he has seldom been here thanks to the TIFF, yes, we have not yet killed each other. Sadly, the likelihood of a season is low, and for that, and all else, I too blame Tom Golisano.

Boingy, boingy!

I've seen a lot of talk going back and forth on Final Fantasy VIII, and I've decided I'm bored enough at work to write a little rant of my own.

The junction system in Final Fantasy VIII is a bad thing because it heavily detracts from the individual development of characters. Instead of building up Squall, you build up Guardian Forces. These GFs can be built up on one character and then taken off and placed on another character, perhaps one that you hardly ever play. This strips away a majority of each character's uniqueness and severs a tie between a player and their characters.

There is a psychological connection between many RPGamers and the characters within these beloved games. We take our characters and raise them, nurture their growth, so that one day, in the not too distant future, they can deal thousands of HP worth of damage to all that stand in their way. It very much resembles the sociological relationship of a parent and child in nature.

Guardian Forces strip away the uniqueness inherent in a character, and thus hinder the connection between characters and players. They are indeed the unbestness.

(Of course, it doesn't help that I spent over twelve of my first twenty hours of the game playing Triple Triad. A minigame should never be more enticing than the main game.)

Well, you've got that right - TT was definitely far more enticing than the game itself, but it did come in handy when you need those extra parts and spells later in the game. As far as swapping GFs, well - remember, you could do the same thing with Materia in FFVII, and I had just super sociological relationships with that group of characters, so I don't think that's an issue.

Boingy, boingy!

I often wonder why Atlus games get so ignored in the US. The only one of recent knowledge that has had any success was Disgaea, and that wasn't even made by Atlus Japan. The Persona series, at least to my perspective, was very well-constructed and well-written; also, the added basis on Jungian psychology and ancient literature of Japanese and world culture add that extra thoughtful edge so lacking in the paint-by-numbers style of RPG story construction. (Frankly, the creative stagnation at Square has gotten quite old.) And it's a shame that we have missed the Shin Megami Tensei series, as well as the 2nd Persona Game (Innocent Sin). Now with Nocturne on the way, quite a breath of fresh air in the RPG market, I wonder how it will fare with the others' successes in mind.

Perhaps the fact that it got an M ESRB rating will cause more people to look at it more closely; sort of a Grand Theft Auto effect. ("Hey, if it's Mature then it HAS TO BE GOOD! YAY! VIOLENCE AND SEX!") And then, with slight dramatic irony, find that they have gotten a game that far reaches their expectations intellectually, possibly causing them to actually think beyond the confines of cookie-cutter narrative structure and eye-candy violence. Then again, a different conclusion can be drawn: they will hate the game because it's not like GTA. And, feeling completely betrayed by ESRB, storm the Bastille resulting in a fantastic CNN exclusive with detailed footage.

Although, on the plus side, it does seem that the marketing department here is doing a much better job than with their previous titles. Perhaps the success of Disgaea was the kick in the ass they needed to figure out how to distribute and market with the big boys. Frankly, I just hope it does well so more Atlus titles make it to the US. Then we can at least get some variation in the obnoxious fanboy/fangirlishness that has so characterized Square as well as console RPGs in the US.

On the same, or at least somewhat similar mode of thought, I wonder if more and more colleges will start to accept more Ludology courses into their course catalogues. (If Princeton and Stanford can do it, why not others?)

I have no idea what Ludology is, having not even random etymological clues to grasp at. I can, however, shed some light on Atlus's difficulties in garnering a respectable name in North America: the company, for whatever reason, doesn't seem to believe in its ability to do so. It has continually pulled punches on releaeing games period, and the ones it does release either end up in extremely limited printings, in a lot of cases, or just plain sucking (Rhapsody, anyone?) Few of the Ogre Battle titles made it to North America while the publishing rights were under Atlus's stewardship, and now even Nippon Ichi has deserted it, leaving Atlus with just the Shin Megami Tensei, a series which has been notoriously underrepresented in this market, as its sole major property. Of course they don't get no respect - they haven't really done anything to retain it.

That's right.. you DON'T know..

::Pounces on whale smugglers::


It seems as though most everyone's in agreement that Chrono Cross was an inferior and incomplete sequel to Chrono Trigger. I, on the other hand, prefer to judge a game on its own merits rather than worrying about comparing it to other games.

When I first played Chrono Cross, I had never owned an SNES, let alone played Chrono Trigger. With no predecessor to judge the game upon, I greatly enjoyed the game. Later, when I played the original (thank Bahamut for Chronicles!) my view of CC didn't diminish, even though I do agree that CT was superior in terms of gameplay, story, and... well, everything except graphics and music.

I wonder how many people would have hated CC if CT had never existed.

P.S. Where can I get tickets to Whalexpo 2004... I mean, no, I don't know what a Whalexpo is... FLEE!

Me, for one - while the ultimate demise of all things CT in CC is a definite pisser, there were a number of other weaknesses in the game that I've gone over in laborious detail before that made me want to vomit with rage.


And speaking of vomit, I'd better go to bed if I don't want to! For next week, I will continue on our current vaguely sequel related topic, but feel free to send in other stuff as well. Until then, this is your captain speaking - the creamsicles are in the small fridges to your right. That is all.
Andrew Long has to inform you that there are exits here, here, here, here, and here!




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