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questionanswer&andrew


Daily Whuhzuhzuhzuhing

Andrew Long - October 10th, 2004 - 20:21 EDT

WHEN I COME UP WITH SUCH INCOHERENCE AS this funtastic title, it always comes as a bit of a letdown when I end up realizing I have nothing to complement it with here. Fortunately, that's where you guys come in!

But wait... There is something I should grumble about. I was most irritated today to discover that even though the majority of people have their turkey dinner tonight up here in Canada - where it is Thanksgiving tomorrow in remembrance of our eternal pact with winter, signed lo these many years ago in exchange for keeping Canadians coast to coast supplied with lousy weather to complain about, thus evading the need for actual conversation - yes, up here in Canada, people have some sort of absurd need to purchase ugly furniture the very same day they go home to carve up turkeys and generally do their level best to crush, splinter, and break their pre-existing ugly furniture.

This would of course have no bearing on anything if I hadn't been trapped helping these people a full extra hour after work was supposed to end, but such was the case, and as a result, my turkey dinner was a whole hour later than it should have been! FOR SHAME, people! May your couches be filled with mice and your tables rife with termite eggs!

Now if that isn't a great Thanksgiving benediction, I don't know what is. Seriously, did I just make that term up?




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Lost in translation?


Ah, the old bone about "Games to Hollywood Movies". Which I am more than happy to gnaw on.

The problem is always twofold: how to translate something from one medium to the next, and how to retell a story that the fans already know. Homer didn't come up with the Odyssey or the Illiad, but he told it in such a good way that it's become the standard for how the story goes.

ANDREW
And Shakespeare didn't come up with much of anything, and yet his ability to tell his stories well has allowed him to outlast the better part of the authors who he borrowed from. Makes me think I should try to copy some junk compellingly, so to that end: I WILL WEAR A FEDORA FOREVER! IN YOUR FACE, HUMMEL!

Ah, screw it... I love this ballcap far too much.

If you look at the story elements for a lot of games, they're not popular for the story line, but for what you do in them. Translating "Mario Brothers" from the tale of a pair of drug addled 'shroom imbibing brothers who hallucinate attacking monsters within pipes to one about dinosaurs didn't work out to well.

But I think what games have done is influence Hollywood. Take a look at several of the action movies, from "The Matrix" (inspired not only by games but by anime) to "Sky Captain".

ANDREW
Yes, Sky Captain gave me that certain thrill when I saw an airship dock at the Empire State Building. Being a giant geek, I pretended that Setzer was piloting the zeppelin, and that the scientist running for his life was merely a down-on-his-luck gambler, defeated by a two headed coin. Then tuinte punched me, which kept my mind on the movie right until the giant robots really reminded me of Evangelion.

The trick to someday having a successful computer game to movie will be something like the "FF7: Advent Children". Don't try to retell the game, but an extension of it. Give us the side story of what other characters were doing (which was the plan for the Obi Wan game that failed miserably).

Don't just retell the story, since usually, the transfer from interactive media to passive entertainment loses a lot in translation.

John Hummel

ANDREW
A wise assessment, and one we can only hope Square Enix will live by in its production of FF7:AC. We can also hope that a Nintendo executive or two somehow stumbles across your advice, especially if this horrible news I hear about them eying a film division comes to fruition. The prospect of a movie based on a game based on the Alien franchise is bad enough without its producer having the ability to push it forth.


Well, you were right not to hope for much


Well I ain't holding out much hope of an answer, cos I've been asking this question for years. Is there any chance that ANYONE knows the name of the song used in the FFVII (original game, NOT AC) trailer music? I'm almost certain it wasn't just composed for the trailer as I've heard it elsewhere since then.

Thanks in advance, regardless of the answer

ANDREW
Sorry, my friend. While I tried to find the trailer in the hopes of recognizing it, my search was in vain. If you've heard it elsewhere, my advice would be to download the FFVII soundtrack from somewhere, because that's probably your best bet for finding the name. Why do I say that? Well, it stands to reason that if you've heard the song anywhere else, it's probably got something to do with FFVII.

Either way, I know one of you, my wonderful readers, will know the answer to this question, so please help out poor... well, I don't know his name, but he sure looks like he wants some help.


Chiming in


Yo. I'd have to agree with what you said about character individuality in the FF series. There's nothing that ruins an RPG battle system more than characters who are, functionally, clones of each other, and FFX did quite a good job of individualizing character abilities and fighting styles. One of the big reasons that people play RPG's is to take part in a story about interesting and dynamic characters, so of course the combat ought to reflect that! But I also did like how, toward the end of the game, FFX also allowed for a fair amount of character flexibility, as your crew got to tracks on the sphere grid that allowed them to augment their abilities. Sending Tidus down Auron's part of the sphere grid had some serious benefits for me, complementing Tidus' speed with a little hard-hitting muscle. It occurs to me that it's kind of like if characters could apprentice themselves to other characters, to learn new skills and affect stat development, which would also make for an interesting gaming experience. Call it the "Dynamic Teaching System" or something...

-Jackson Ferrell

ANDREW
Yes, and while you're at it, tweak it so that you don't have to cast a bloody spell ten times before you learn it through this method!


Oh boy.. Quibbling! My favorite!


Hi Cast.

I don't think you can really consider FF:TSW an FF movie. It has nothing to do with any of the games and it doesn't have any of the feel of an FF. I don't mean that because it doesn't have chocobos it's not FF, I mean that instead of a world-spanning crisis saved at the last minute, you have a tiny focus on one small expedition (or something, don't remember the details).

ANDREW
Apparently not... FF:tSW was about a small expeditionary force all right, and it just happened to be a small expeditionary force that liked to trek through desolate wastelands and old areas, almost dungeonlike in their dark, monster-riddled gloom, in search of eight powerful relics. Then a madman aimed a deadly weapon at the planet and the expedition had to defeat him. Then a chocobo snuck into a frame late in the movie, Donald Sutherland ruined his credibility as an actor, and we all went home to talk about it. Sounds about on par with the FF series to me!

It might've been a good movie, if it didn't suck. But in any case, it didn't have much relation to the FF series, apart from some small resemblances to FFVII philosophy.

ANDREW
And general thematic similarities to early FFs, and general mechanical and story similarities to any number of games in the series... But you didn't bother to watch the movie before talking about it, so let's not worry about picky little details like "what happened in the movie" and "the movie's cinematography" and "thinking before we write letters". I know my answers are refreshingly devoid of forethought!

I don't see why an RPG couldn't be made into a movie, but making a (mini or regular) series would probably work better. To make a good movie from an RPG, you'd need serious revisions to the story. A series wouldn't be so demanding.

ANDREW
I concur. Unfortunately, television producers seem much more bent on exploiting at least 10% of the American public by the year 2008 in reality shows to give any heed to entertainment that requires some creative input.

Another option would be to only take the setting of the game and incorporate a new story into it (a-la "I, Robot" which pops to mind, or the various renditions of the .hack series).

ANDREW
Again, not a bad idea, but the question is, which setting would you really pick that would set it apart from the equally suitable settings in your run-of-the-mill fantasy or sci-fi game? Sure, I guess seeing chocobos wandering around would be neat, but I'm pretty sure you said you don't care about that when it comes to defining FFness, so I doubt too many screenwriters will be inclined to diverge from the current Lord of the Rings / Stargatesque options that most currently favour.

On a different note, I can't play FM4. It's just so tedious. The whole battle system is a lot more cumbersome, the maps are so huge you don't know where to go, the secret goals you can achieve in each battle are incredibly annoying and they took away the whole in-game internet thing, which was really cool. Plus the text is incredibly tiny. Oh well.

Zohar Gilboa

ANDREW
I recommend glasses. With them, and a suitably intense beam of sunlight, you can slowly burn ancient runes into the back of your FM4 disc and some some sort of demon to eat it. Of course, it may choose to eat you once your runes have vanished, but at least you won't have to deal with FM4 after that!


An unbelievable coincidence!


i hate to be a stickler on correct information, but i read your old bit about the postal service. and just wanted to give a better history and a good comparison on the whole ordeal. postal service consists of two guys, jimmy tamberello and ben gibbard, they have one release, give up. they are both from other bands, gibbard(squaresoft) is from a band called death cab for cutie, and tamberello(enix) is from a self-project called dntel. it's best to put it like this: give up is the ff7.

dntel's 'life of possibilities' is like ff6(more minimal, less flashy, but still brilliant)

i know this is completely useless, but i dunno, i'm bored

peas

ANDREW
Yes, I know this is going to look highly suspect, but as I was flipping through my stats last night I discovered that the particular column in which I made my bizarrely erroneous statements had an inordinately high number of hits. I then concluded that it must have been due to all the lyrics and jazz, cuz it certainly wasn't much different from anything else I'd written.

I then proceeded to read over that bit you just corrected, and realized how woefully inaccurate it is/was. So I changed it to something a little closer to the truth. Granted, it's still a simplified version of the above, but hey - at least it's accurate now!

To all fans of accurate music name-dropping, I apologize. I'm not quite sure exactly why I said they went their separate ways two years ago, considering their latest release came just this year, conveniently right around the same time I discovered who they were. I will say, however, that neither Dntel or DCFC float my boat in quite the same way as TPS does; although New Year is a pretty nifty track, not much else from Death Cab really interested me, and Life of Possibilities was a little too meh for my liking.


YOU 'DREW
QUICKIE I
Waluigi
was named such because it's a play on words in the Japanese language. "Warui" (or walui if you prefer) means "bad." Hence, Waruiji/Waluigi is bad Luigi. Doesn't work quite as well in English, but at least Nintendo's finally giving us consistancy.

-Talbyn

Andrew:
Thanks for sharing, Talbyn. It's nice to know that the Japanese are just as susceptible to lousy puns as the rest of us!



DA LAST GRUMBLE

So now you have all discovered that my fact-reporting has the loosest slots in town, I invite you to comb over my previous columns in search of errors. Bring them to light for Friday, and I shall apologize and provide hilarious anecdotes as to how I could possibly have gone wrong.

Actually, they'll probably just be sad, but hey - it's not like we all wanna talk about FFIII or those new Pokemon games... do we?

castomel@rpgamer.com
Andrew Long chooses you, Pikachu!

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