Circle of Sages
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Ask Martin

    I have some bad news. Last night, I forgot to lock the door on Amber's cage and now she's escaped. I called the police, and tried to explain the dangers to them, but for some reason they didn't believe me when I said she was dangerous. Just remember, if you see her, call 911 immediately, and don't try to capture her yourself.

    Anyways the show must go on. I received a vast variety of questions in the last 30 hours, as opposed to the 90% FF Collection related emails for yesterday, so, let's get to the action.

A Day in the Life of...

Hey! We could do hack's of your pictures too, if they exist. Wouldn't that be fun?
Or scary...

I was tempted to post a picture of a chiapet, but after seeing the anime Thor hacks, I came to my senses.

I was curious about the gaming habits of the Sages and RPGamer's in general... Being so involved with this site, do you still have time to play RPGs, esp with long ones Square tends to put out?

Well, I can't really speak for the others, but actually, sometimes, I think we spend too much time playing the games, and not enough time doing the things we should school. As for the time it takes to play games, it took me over a year to find the time to beat Final Fantasy VII. Which lead me to the inevitable conclusion that college sucks.

I for one really enjoyed Parasite Eve because it was only a 11 hour game! FFTactics as well, a good 20 hours or so...

20 hours to beat Final Fantasy Tactics....In comparison, I'm probably one of the few who knows the hours counter on the game stops at 99, but the minutes will keep rolling over.

Anyhow, what do you guys do? Do the news people just troll around the web for info? Do you actually call Square, Enix, Sony, etc., for info and such? Do you get demos to review and beta and try?

News comes mostly from the web. Occasionally we get news through email, or via press releases, but most of it comes from searching dilligently. Occasionally we call companies, if its something we need to know the answer to immediately. As for demos, we get demos from lots of companies, but not all of them. Right now, Mike is playing a demo of Shadow Madness.

Does Sexypants(TM) just play RPGs and look at faqs when questions come his way, or does he actually play games and note things down?

He spends his days reading every scrap of information about RPGs that he can get his grubby little hands on, so on that rare day that he actually meets and RPGirl, he will be able to impress her with his vast knowledge.

I was also curious if Eigherz would get some attention on your page, as you can play Cloud, Tifa, Vincent, Sephiroth, and Yuffie, I think....


It will get occasional news stuff, but I doubt it ever gets full blown coverage. Zack is also in the Japanese version, but I don't know if he's going to be in the US version or not. For some cool fan artwork, check out Dream Factory, they have a fan art section.

Final Fantasy Collection, again

Probable and possible reason for Final Fantasy 4 not being rereleased: Let's say that the collection is included with the original versions that came to the U.S. - including their translation. Final Fantasy 6 was translated fairly well, and Final Fantasy 5 has rumors of being fully translated before being canned (or they can tout "NEVER BEFORE RELEASED IN THE U.S.!"). Why not Final Fantasy 4, then? The way it was translated (or should we say "edited"), U.S. audiences wouldn't appreciate that. Does that sound logical?

Sounds logical to me. Of course, I'm biased, FFIV was my favorite in the Final Fantasy Series, and <Baby Plucky Voice>I wanna to play it again!</Baby Plucky Voice>. I've been told the reason it was scrubbed was because its the most dated of the 3 re-releases, containing just FMV at the beginning and end, and generally looking less polished than the other two.

My second question for the Sage. I've heard rumors of Dragon Quest games 1 - 3 being rereleased on Game Boy Color (in Japan). Is there any truth behind those rumors? They sound plausable enough.


Yes, it is true. Hit this link.

The Ratings Game

Hello Guys,

     First off great work (duh). Second I was looking at the Final Fantasy 8 products, like Squalls necklace and the ring, so I went to a currency converter, and the necklace was 65.00. Am I the only one who thinks thats kinda high in price, so whats up with that.

I think its both because of the quality and the fact that it's a limited edition. Or it could just be that Square knows people will pay that price.

Another thing how hard is it to install a MOD chip and do you know of any places where they are sold (preferable cheap). And just how playable is FF8 if you have a very limited knowledge of Japanese, I know it's very text oriented but can you still kinda get threw it?

Well, personally I don't know much about MOD chips, but from what I do know, its not to hard to install them. As for FF8, I played the demo in Japanese, and it wasn't too hard, but without a translation, I think it would not be very enjoyable.

And last I am not allowed to play mature rated games, and I know that Japanese people don't rate games, but have you (or your friends, reviewers, etc.) found any really objectionable material that would give FF8 a "M" ratting.


From what I've seen, I would give it a Teen rating. Ryan says he's seen very little "mature" content.

Final Fantasy IV and VI

Hi Sages,

I wrote to thor last week, but he didn't post my letter, so I thought I'd ask you fine folks. Anyways, I don't have an SNES, so, I don't have FF4 or 6. I got really excited when I heard about the FF Collection, but now that it might not be translated, I'm very disappointed. But, since I can't get the PSX version, I thought about getting the SNES version of 4 and 6 (2 and 3 U.S.). SNES's are very inexpensive now so I thought I would save up some money and get one so I could finally play the games I missed (I have FF1, FF7, and I'm getting FF8 and FF Tactics). My question is, do you think I would be able to find a copy of one of those games? I heard they are really hard to find, but I still want to try. And lastly, If it is possible to find, where could I get it? Thanks a lot for your help ;)

Squall '99

I picked up Final Fantasy IV at a local rental place a year or so ago. Another good place to check is K-Mart. Online, you could check FuncoLand, Buy Rite, or CaosWorld.

To Import, or not to Import

Hello. I have one important question. How and why do people import RPGs? I know I don't have the time to learn another language. I've heard something to the effect of getting a whole text translation off of the net, but I've never gotten a concrete answer.

I think a lot of people do it so they can be "cool" by being the first person on their block to play it. Sort of like those people who go out and buy a new computer every time a new processor comes out. As for translations, they're often available for the most popular games (see above for a link to FF8's).

Oh, and if that's true, I'd also like to know why FF8 isn't coming out MUCH sooner if it has already been translated. I mean,(basically) the only thing Square would have to do is add that text to the game (with a few grammar fixes here and there). Well, now onto my rant.

Actually, its a little bit more complex than that. The translations available on the net are often done by fans, the official Square translation will have "localizations" of jokes, historical references, and what not.

Anybody else getting sick of finding things in RPGs that you KNOW must be possible to get, but after a very extensive effort, you find out that you can't even accomplish what you were trying to because owe didn't get it in the translation. I have 2 examples in my mind, but there are plenty of others. Suikoden has one of the most obvious of these unattainable secrets. In the Great Forest there is a staircase in the Inn, but NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO, the shopkeeper will stop you and won't let you up there. Japan could go up there, why not America? Also, I have another example from Xenogears. I have noticed many don't even see it, but it bugged me like crazy. There is a somewhat long rectangular box on the floor in Shevat in the room with all the beds(it's the room just right of Queen Zephyr's throne room). Although it doesn't look like the conventional treasure chest in Xenogears, I am most certain that this 'box' is indeed a treasure chest. The bad thing? IT DOESN'T OPEN!! There aren't any keys, there isn't a locksmith that opens it for you, there isn't anything you can do. AAARRRGGGHHH!!! Okay, I think I've made my point so please post this and comfort me with your unending wisdom. :-)


What always annoyed me were those stair cases, doors, and treasure chests behind the counters in shops. I wanted to go in there. In your examples, however, I think it is probably an example of something that was in the Japanese game, but were "questionable" for a US audience, or else would not have made any sense to the US audience. Instead of changing these things, they just blocked your access to them. I can tell you, from years of MUD programming, the easiest way to keep players from getting something is to block access to it, than rewriting it to be something "tame".

Good news! Amber has returned. Good thing too, I was afraid I was going to have to tell Mike I let her escape.

See? Graphics...don't matter!

Dear, whoever, I give up trying to figure out who you are.

I own Tales of Destiny and I have to say that it not only has a great plot line, but I also has the kind of graphics that says, "Hey, we don't need FMV sequences to show you that we're cool!" The graphics are not important in a RPG. Gameplay, Replay Value, Plotline, Music... Those are the most important things in a RPG. (Not necessarily in that order though.) So, don't bash the graphics of a RPG because they don't matter.

Evil Lover Extraordinnaire >8^()

Amber: This wasn't exactly a question, but this person has a good point. The purpose of an RPG, for instance, is the storyline. (If I hear one more person say that Xenogears had too much storyline, I promise you I will scream.) If the story is good, why worry about graphics? FF4 is one of my favorite games of all time, but compared to FF7 or Xenogears, the graphics are terrible. IT's nice to see upgrades, but...... Well actually, I don't know what sort of game to look for if you want a pure graphical experience. Ask Thor. ^_~

More on FF8...

Hey Amber, woman who can rip any guy's lungs out,

Amber: Heh..... you can't prove anything. Where did you hear that?

I have a question about FF8. I'm not sure if this is right, but didn't it take less time to make FF8 than FF7 or Xenogears? If so, wouldn't that take out some part of the game like secrets (example: Took out Aeris's resurrection in FF7) Plus, wouldn't the game have poorly written dialogue since they rushed the game? What's your take on all this?
p.s. Do you guys have a copy of the imported version of FF8?

Amber: Well, it's been about a year and a half since I first heard that they were working on the next installment of the series, and I am not by any means the first to hear things like this. I would say that it's taken about the same amount of time. As for the dialog...... what else would you expect? It's rare to find a perfect translation of anything, let alone a game. I don't know about everyone else, but if they do a resonably good job and actually get the game to us on time for once, I think I can overlook a few errors.

I think Ryan has an imported version of the game...... ^_^

Xenogears again!


&nbso;   Well, you may (or may not) remember me, but, anyway, I haven't been able to read these columns for a while, I was wondering, do you agree with Thor's "Xenogears Rant" which he expected to receive a lot of flame mail from? Something about Xenogears' text is a chore to read, boring, and dull. I disagree, but, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I might ask every Sage this... That's all.

> Regards,
Dan GC

Amber: Didn't I warn you that I would be biased when dealing with Xenogears letters....?

Well...... I didn't read his rant actually, but I can't really blame him. I personally loved every word in Xenogears (except for that one repetitive grammar error...), but for someone who wasn't pulled in the way I was, it might come off as boring, or hard to read. SO my one piece of advice would be this...... don't worry about it. I think I've seen several letters like this over the last months -- before we all decided to take turns -- and all you'll do by responding to people's opinions is start a flame war or something.


Moogle Master suggested that any debate that goes on for more than 3 days be settled by a poll. We'll pass the idea onto Thor, he'd probably like it.// An unnamed RPGamer wanted to know if anyone could write a list of Guardian Forces and spells in FF8 with both the Japanese and English names side by side for importers.// Our old friend Clouded wanted to know why Thousand Arms wasn't in th release list. Probably because I overlooked it.//Lewis wanted to know if I was the same Martin Drury who used to work for EGM. The answer is know, I never even knew a Drury worked for EGM ;)// Lews Therin wanted to know where to get the Xenogears soundtrack. Try here


Well, this is going up later than I wanted, but I spent a good portion of the day out looking for Amber. I should have went straight to Lorelai's though, cause she told me that's where she was, searching for more cookies. *Sigh*

-Amberyl "Cookie Monster" and Martin "Not that EGM Guy" Drury
This is not a secret message. It is your imagination. Have a cookie.

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