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   and JWH again  
Googleshng - February 23 '01- 2:00 Eastern Standard Time

If what I've heard is true, these bromides really aren't spaced out very well. I just got what I'm told is the last one before the epilogue, but I'm still on disc 1. This game is really JUST what I was in the mood for right now. Anyway though, here's JWH.

JWH: I didn't think I'd be back, but here I am. Once again I wreak myśhavoc on this column. However this time I'm not trying to suck up to you people. A nice person by the name of JJ is sending me Grandia 2 so the gloves can come off!

In the past week I've grown to appreciate PC RPGs. I tried kicking my PSO addiction and a side-effect of that was a disdain for all console RPGs. Thus I had to resort to something else, so I looked in my drawer, found Baldur's Gate, dusted it off and popped it in. It's a really brilliant game. The battles in it takes real strategy. It's a shame it looks like they're changing it for the PS2 version. Anywho, that's enough wasting space. Let the havoc begin!

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I'm Lemina, have you met my sister Lima?
The 3 amigos
Konnichiwa Googleshng and... other person I don't know?... Well I don't know Google either techniclly... *shrug* Well... first... Where did you get Asuka singing Engel ^_^? I've listened to Rammstein before... and I'm an Eva Otaku ^^;;. My second question... just who are Casper, Melchoir and Balthasar? In Chrono Trigger they were the three prophets... I haven't played it but apparently they are in Xenogears... and they are the three sections of MAGI in NGE. I guess that's it...

-Aurelius Omega
"Patron saint of Resident Evil... regardless of whether it is a RPG or not...!"

JWH:
I've been with you people for two times now and you still don't know me?ś...

Anywho, seeing as I'm the only anime fan to have not ever seen Eva I can't really comment on the first part. However the second part I can answer! You're neglecting your literature! Melchoir, Balthasar, and Gaspar (Not Casper...he ain't a friendly ghost!) were the three magi which visited the (RELIGIOUS WARNING!) baby Jesus. Square just sorta stole their names and have used them repeatedly. Although, truly, they were unnamed in the Bible and only gained names later.....

Googleshng:
People randomly send me anime music videos in various formats. People also send me stuff like pictures of Ramza from FFT as a girl. I just seem to draw that sort of thing somehow. Anyway, yup, Melchior, Gaspar, and Balthasar are the Three Wise Guys from the bible. Not to be confuses with the three stooges, musketeers, or amigos. I should get around to reading the bible some time. Evidently there's a lot of mecha in it and stuff.

 
Multiplayer
So you SMURF about other multi-player RPGs for an endless amount of time, yet when Phantasy Star Online comes out, you are drawn to it as are flames to hell. Googleshng, everthing you preach is complete and utter nonsense. Just how is Phantasy Star Online any better than any other multi-player RPG? I could read a thousand flaws off my SMURF list, but I don't want to be a SMURF. I'm simply stating the obvious, that every thing is rosy just because of the name "Phantasy Star." How HORRIBLY biased! That fact that someone like you is able to openly speak on a well know semi-proffessional gaming site makes RPG afficionados seem like idiots

Dark Lord, who hates illogical bias

JWH:
A flame! Whee! Ok. Let's look at this from a logical point of view. Is Phantasy Star Online like any other online RPG? Yes. It's like Diablo 2. Did Googleshng play Diablo 2? Yes. Did he gush over it? Yes. Is Phantasy Star Online like any other RPG? No. Is it like Everquest or Asheron's Call? No. Phantasy Star Online is merely a hack and slash game that you can have up to 3 other friends play with you. It is not a world where thousands coexist. It is not a MMORPG. Any comparision of the two is not valid. They're completely different genres. We went over this last week, people!

There is no bias here. In fact, Google even stated that it was not worthy of the Phantasy Star name. Before you begin writing up a flame because you feel burned by something that is written in a column that is based on OPINION, look at the logic of your argument.

Googleshng:
Hmm, I almost got really carried away censoring that letter. Anyway though, yes. As I have said about 500 times by now, Phantasy Star Online is NOT a massively multiplayer RPG. It's a dungeon-crawl oriented Action/RPG which allows you to play online with small groups of friends. There is a fixed storyline, and the world is populated by computer controlled NPCs. You just have the option to have a couple friends tag along on your adventure. I've never said a bad thing about that sort of game, and in fact have been wishing for some examples of it ever since modems came about. Massively Multiplayer Online RPGs however I have always frowned on, since the concept is basically just to forego any attempt at a story or characters and just dump enough players into the world that hopefully a plot will appear, despite the fact that the vast majority of players has no interest in staying in character and only want to gain levels. At that, I don't grumble very often on the subject.

 
Kana power!
hey goog, i was wondering how did you learn to write your name in japanese? i want to know how to write mine! is there like a website or something i can go to to show me how?

-onewingedangelvi

JWH:
It's really simple to learn how to write your name. I don't know of any websites, but just a simple look at the katakana chart can tell you how to spell it. Course, it helps if you know how to pronounce the characters. My advice? Just take some Japanese. Nihongo ga omoshiro desu.

My Sensei is gonna kill me for that cause I know I used the wrong particle....

Googleshng:
I'd post a chart right here except that mine's on paper. Oh what the heck, give me a sec... Here you go! Hmm... now that I look back at this, I suddenly realize I left off the N row. In the morning I'll try to fix that, but as is I spent way too long throwing this together. As is though, as long as you don't have any Ns in it, now you two can write your name in katakana! Enjoy.

 
Wark!
Hello.
After going through all that stuff in Chocobo Hot and Cold in FFIX, I finally have a gold chocobo. Many say that it can fly, and yet I can't seem to get it to fly. how do you make it fly?

JWH:
I have no idea. I sorta skipped over that part of the game. I found Chocobo Hot and Cold to be nowhere near as interesting as breeding them...

Googleshng:
Just hit the confirm button while riding through a forest and off you go!

 
FF#
Hey Goog,

I was browsing your site and happened across the description of the Final Fantasy 2 plotline. See if this sounds familiar:

"The Empire of Barmekia is on a mad quest to enslave the world. The only ones who can stand in their way is Queen Hilda of Phin's small Resistance movement. But thrown out of their castle, and with the clock ticking, can anything be done? Four young orphans, Frionel, Maria, Guy, and Lionheart, are the world's last chance for freedom... " (from your site)

It sounds oddly like the plotline to FF 8! I mean, it's even got a guy called Lionheart! Sounds like square is getting stuck for ideas, here.
Or maybe FF 8 is actually a true sequel to FF2j. Or maybe I'm looking too far into this. I've never played 2j, so I don't know. What do you think?

-Crono Deus

JWH:
It sort of does, but you're forgetting about the whole SeeD thing. Frankly, having the heroes stop a mad empire trying to take over the world is the plotline of most every Final Fantasy game. In 4 it's Baron, in 6 it's the empire of Gestahl, in 7 it's the Shinra corporation subbing for an empire, in 8 it's Galbadia, and in 9 it's Alexandria. If that doesn't tell you that the series is getting redundant, I don't know what will.

Googleshng:
Yes, every FF game follows roughly the same plot structure when you get right down to it. There's no real connection between 2 and 8 by any stretch of the imagination, but I seem to recall FF1 and 2 actually have the same world map.

 
Oddness
Heya, Google-sama, I've got a question for ya:
Well, actually I don't have a question - I'm literally all questioned out...
ś Why don't you think of a good question I could ask and then answer it for me?
I'd really appreciate that.

BL Alien

JWH:
So first I have to come up with answers and now you're asking me for a question? What do you think I am? AśQ and A guy? Oh wait. I am.

Ok...let me see. How about my opinion on the early review of Final Fantasy the movie? Frankly, this doesn't worry me in the least. Hopefully it'll lower my expectations, because god knows that hightened expectations of The Phantom Menace was its downfall. I trust Sakaguchi to put together a movie that stays true to the core of the series. At the very least it'll be cool seeing the words Final Fantasy up on the big screen. Gives me chills even thinking of it...

Googleshng:
Hmm... I haven't read said review myself, although I seem to recall hearing it was compared to various totally unrelated anime films that made it to the US, which basically boils down to "It's made by people from Japan." I probably should go track down said review.

 
Kjata
I'm going to keep sending this letter until it gets printed, because I really want to know, and I figure if I bug you enough, you'll print it eventually.

I was wondering if you, or if any of your esteemed readers, know the origin of Kjata in FF7. I'm sure there must be some mythological basis for him, since all the other summoned monsters come from mythology, but I don't know where to start looking because I don't know what set of myths he comes from. I tried doing all kinds of websearches, but I could only find FF7 pages... and there's always the chance that "Kjata" is a mistranslation or misspelling, anyway. (With FF7, you never know. ^_~) If someone out there could enlighten me, I would be vastly grateful.

~Raincrystal

JWH:
I figure Google will say this, but sending the same letter over and over is a no-no. It only leads you to getting banned.

Anywho, that's an intersting question. Let's do a search on Google (Heh!) and see what we come up with....

Porn site, porn site, porn site, fan FF site, fan FF site, porn site, bingo! Apparently he's from the Bahamut legend and he supports the world. Interesting. In case you care, this little site I found that gives the origins of FF names is at: http://www.rpgclassics.com/ffcompendium/name.html#esper It seems to be a handy little bugger....

Googleshng:
Actually, this letter here I meant to print when I first got it, but it came in during that querky little pocket of time RIGHT between when I finished one column and tossed the contents of my mailbox into the trash, and I lost it. Anyway, JWH saved me the trouble of looking that up. One of the few mythological fun facts I couldn't rattle off the top of my head.

 
Uwahaha!
Could you give me a little general info on Phantasy Star? I'm curious about it, since it's gotten a lot of publicity lately. Also, am I the only one that thinks Kefka was stupid, and his boss fight music sucked? :) -John Mora

JWH:
You bash Dancing Mad? You die now! Beware my wrath for I may unleash the deadly spoilers if you continue to taunt me! At least I have musical taste...

<Ahem>...Sorry. Got a little excited there. Phantasy Star has always been, IMO, the number 2 RPG series. It's notable for its futuristic setting, deep plots, interplanetary travel, and anime cutscenes. The first game was the first RPG released stateside and it was far deeper than any RPG out then. The second was my first RPG. It is known for its high difficulty, and lack of bosses. There's only 3 in the whole game! The third game was made by a different team, and was more of a gaiden than an actual connection to the series. It's the black sheep of the series and stands as a merely ok RPG as compared to the excellence of the rest of the series. The fourth was a brilliant conclusion to the series up to that point, and was ludicrously expensive back in the day. I seem to remember it costing more than $100 when it came out. Phantasy Star Online, which just came out, is nothing like the rest of the series. It's an action game that you can play online ala Diablo. It hasśa few connections the series but, as the producer has admitted, they merely wanted the setting and didn't want to touch the core story that runs through the series.

I do happen to agree with you on Kefka being stupid. When you can beat him before he gets a single freaking turn in, there's something wrong...

Googleshng:
That's a pretty good description of the Phantasy Star series, although it should also be noted that it offers a really nice blend of sci-fi and fantasy, and that the first game in the series was YEARS ahead of its time any way you look at it. As for Kefka, personally, I've always loved him as villains go. It's all a queston of motivation. Being evil incarnate, wanting to take over the world, and wanting to become a god are all pretty overused and dull when you get right down to it. Kefka on the other hand was simply insane, got a kick out of causing mass destruction, and got a LOT farther along in his plans than the average big evil guy. The only other really interesting motives for a final boss I can name off the top of my head would be the one from Skies of Arcadia, which is a rather interesting varient on the norm, and, since you mentioned it, Phantasy Star. The main antagonist is your standard evil tyrant, but he doesn't really want to become one with god or destroy the universe, and he rules the whole world befre the game even starts so he's not on the warpath. Honestly, he spends the whole game sitting around drinking tea until you barge in and kill him for having your brother executed in the intro. Come to think of it, the original Phantasy Star ALSO features Dr. Mad, who has the EXTREMELY evil desire to preform life ending eperiments on your cat!

 
Interesting...
Dear "Google",

My name is John Rutter, and I'm a composer. I have been all over the world, I've composed dozens upon dozens of compositions--fifty of which have been performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City under my direction (my "Requiem" being my favorite and most popular composition), and I am conductor of the Cambridge Singers at Oxford University.

I've actually been reading your column for some time. I've been a fan of video games, as I am of all technology, and my daughter showed me your lovely column, and I find it amusing, whether or not I understand the video game is another matter.

I wanted to comment on video game music. As a professional composer, most of video game music lacks substance, but some of it I actually find quite thought provoking. For example, music composed by Nobuo Uematsu is actually quite complex to the ear, and I've found myself enjoying listening to it. I find it ironic, that I've downloaded his pieces off of Napster, as I've heard he's downloaded mine from Napster. Yoko Shimomura is another composer I've found of interest--although her theory is weak at times, I think her melodic ties are quite powerful and gripping, showing that while she may not apply the theory, she certainly knows it.

I wanted to say that as a professional composer, video game music is quite decent, and as a professional composer, I suggest that it's worth the money to buy the CDs of them, as I have. It's worth the purchase, if you haven't already done it!

Regards,
John Rutter
Choral composer

Googleshng:
I don't usually get much mail along these lines, and it brings to mind something someone else pointed out to me today. The Grammy awards were given out this week, praising a huge variety of musical achievements, some in some very obscure categories. However, game music composers, who are constantly presented with the very daunting task of creating music to convey a huge variety of moods, and must compose a wide enough variety of songs to span the length of games that can run up to 80 hours really get no public acknowledgement of their accomplishments to speak of. That really demonstrates the odd tendancy of the general public to ignore any possible artistic content in games.

 
Quickies

I don't care who you are, but you gotta love David Puddy from Seinfeld. In case you didn't know, that's whose playing the Tick

JWH: Uh...no. Seinfeldśwas good, but a live action Tick? <shudder> It's going to bomb so hard they'll have to evacuate New York City.
Google: That's really just a bad casting decision. Would you ever want Ben Stein to play Superman?

i am only on lvl 12.. i am so ashamed...

pso name~Ayana
screen name~silent bob

JWH: Don't be. That means you actually have a life.
Google: It's actually pretty interesting how widely levels vary in PSO. I've seen people ranging from level 1 to level 70 and I've never seen a range where everyone tends to clump together.

The Last Laugh:


JWH: Well that's it for me. It's been fun but I've worn out my welcome. You can all thank your lucky stars as I shuffle off to stage left. JJ will soon be here to mock and deride you. However, as I leave I'd like to say hello to a few people. Mora (You have no taste!), Eiko (Naughty girl!), and Jim (Spring Break is going to be strange). I'm off to write more essays on games that really don't deserve them.....

Googleshng: Looking back, there's a SHARP contrast between that last full length letter and the quickies which is pretty jarring. I suppose it can't be helped though, as a serious quickie is one of the rarest things around. In any case, enjoy your weekend. CC just got the very impressive ship in Skies of Arcadia and will most likely be raving about it this time tomorrow. It also just occurs to me that I never got around to mentioning the rant I threw up last friday. I'll most likely be throwing another up this weekend too.


Googleshng "Happy hour!" @rpgamer.com
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