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Googleshng - May 2 '02- 2:00 Eastern Standard Time

Every so often when I have a guest host, their half of the column ends up in limbo and doesn't pop out until morning. Since that happened today, I'll keep my intro short.

John Z.: I stand corrected, actually, about the "Katt has no pants" thing. Bleu also wears naught below the belt, but that's because she's a snake down there anyway. Eve doesn't really count 'cause she's not humanoid-- well, not anymore, really-- and the same goes for Chu-Chu, Puffy, Nall, Ruby, and any other cute-and-fuzzy character (yes, even Umaro). But you didn't come here to talk about indecent exposure, you came for the letters. Let's do this.

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Could you clarify something for me? On the comment "Arc 2 took me about 50 hours, might be able to shave some more time off that if you really tried, might take you a lot longer if you go for all the various optional dungeons and Hunter's Guild jobs." Why would you want it to take less time? It's one of those mystery of life things to me that people want to beat RPGs in under X amount of hours. I know you added the "might take longer" bit, but I'm really more curious about the mindset of those who want to blow through these things as quick as they can.

I can happily sink 80 hours into an RPG, if it's a good one. Did it with FFIX, did it with Wild Arms, if I ever beat Dragon Warrior 7 I'll probably top that easily. Maybe it's me, and that I generally only play an RPG once and have done with it forever. When I go through the game I want to see everything, I want to take my time and find every nook and cranny I can. If a game doesn't make me want to do that, odds are pretty slim that I won't come close to finishing it.

Example- Arc 1 took 20 hours for me. I had forbidden ruins to get through, even levels on characters to maintain (Poco is amazingly useful, people. Stop ragging on him), Amaidar battles to fight, quizzes to answer, etc. And only 10 Niedel arena fights, though, that got old really quick.

You're aware that Arena was meant to be played in conjunction with Arc 2, not seperate from it, right? Just checking...


John Z.:
You raise an interesting point, my friend. Me, I tend to rush through RPGs my first trip through, thus resulting in me being horribly underleveled by the end. However, it's not out of some drive to "beat the game"-- for me, the story is of prime importance, and not being able to advance the story-- or worse, consciously choosing not to advance the story-- is so alien to me. My second trip through is usually where I decide "OK, I'm going to go get this and this and this and maybe that". But the first time through, I'm there to familiarize myself with the story and get comfortable with the environment. Of course, sometimes I never do take a second trip through-- and that's mostly due to time constraints-- but at the very least I can say, with certainty, that I've finished the game and I know the story.

Under normal circumstances, I'll take my time with a game, trying to get everything there is to get and so forth. However, when a new game comes out that a bunch of people are getting, and I don't know anyone who's gotten too far, I'll rush through it so I can answer people's questions.

Music still

Greetings, 'shng.

In response to the recent topic going around about rock music in RPGs, and how repetitive it could get, I would like to take a moment to plug one of the stranger RPGs, EarthBound. EarthBound has an amazing ten[!] tracks of battle music- all of them different. That's in addition to the boss themes [lesser and greater], as well as two "final battle" pieces.
Thank you.

Ipslore the Red
"I wear [alien garments] and wield a [Sword of Light.] Fear me."

John Z.:
How could I forget EB? Actually, the primary focus of contention from last week was not so much hard rock in RPGs-- which there is, just listen to Otherworld or FF7's boss music-- but lyrical songs in RPGs. Just imagine if the battle music to Xenosaga was only the refrain from a System of a Down song-- thirty seconds put on infinite loop. Not to slam SOAD, of course, but after about the first ten battles I'd have the music indelibly etched on my brain; by the end of the game I'd be willing to shoot myself to make it stop. I think we can adequately put this topic to rest when faced with the imagery of a splotch of blood on a wall next to the words "I was only trying to level up" scrawled in black magic marker.

Yes, it's good to have a variety of music. On the other end of the spectrum from Earthbound, there's games like Hoshigami where you have really long battles with a few short tracks for them. Gets repetitive way too fast.

Talkin' about Sony.

A few questions, thanks for your time
1. What's the possibility of a PS2 price drop? It's been mentioned a few times on various news sites. I'm interested in getting one see as my little brother sold the playstation to buy a dreamcast, which I'm completely fine with as it's lots of fun, but I never got to finish a good chunk of games, and there are quite a few PS2 games I'm looking forward to at this point.

John Z.:
One was announced, though an amount or date has yet to be released. No doubt Sony will spill it when E3 comes around... Oh, yeah, May is a big month. Three BIG parties-- E3, Star Wars AOTC, and my birthday. Sweet.

Yes, the general assumption is that Sony will be announcing a price drop at E3. I still say it's stupid of them to wait so long.

2. The new Castlevania game, after the next GBA one, is going to be for PS, and is going to be 2-D. Are you excited by that?

John Z.:
Yes, it does. I am quivering with glee. No, wait, that's the four liter bottles of Dr Pepper I had today.

No, the next Castlevania game "won't be on the GBA." They haven't mentioned what it will be for. I am glad though that they have realized Castlevania only works in 2D... for that matter, I'm glad they realized that they should keep making'em Metroid style.

3. FF 11 should be a side game, like Final Fantasy Online or something like that, and it should be more like PSO and Diablo, as in those games a fun enough single player, and don't require the interaction of other people to play completely.

Once again, thanks for your time

-Benny Big Hair

John Z.:
Gah. Don't get me started on this. Suffice to say that console gamers are console gamers, and online gamers are online gamers, and whoever gets the two to converge shall be as a god.

Ihear "Final Fantasy 11 should be called FF Online not FF11" all the time. The fact that I hear it so much proves why it isn't true. If Square didn't call it FF11, it wouldn't be bought by every obsessive fan who feels obligated to buy every Final Fantasy game.

Speaking of which, I think we need some sort of support group for these people...

All about Arena

Googleshng, I have an urgent question for you. What is Arc Arena??? It sounds like you want to talk about it pretty badly, because itŐs been in the New Issues column for 2 days now and no one has asked about it so I figured I would.

Thank you Sir Googleshng.

This is Big Greg, signing off.

John Z.:
Arc Arena is a bonus little ditty that WD threw into the Arc Collection. It, from what minimal knowledge I could glean, allows you to pit your party members against those of a friend who also has Arc save data. You can also fight AI-controlled opponents and monsters. A pretty neat concept, actually. I could be (extremely horribly) wrong, though.

There's a bit more to it than that. One character in Arc 2 has a spell that makes monsters join your party, Pokémon style. In Arc Arena, you can take these monsters and put them through fights to earn new monsters and items. Sort of like Pokémon Stadium. Then you can also battle a friend, trade monsters and items with a friend, hit some shops that are normally pretty far from save points, and see bizzare plays performed by the characters.

Many questions

I have four comment

why wasn't seiken densetsu 3 ported to the US? (i own a copy of it, but it's annoying playing a game in a language i can't read well at all)

John Z.:
Near as I can tell, the game was difficult to translate because its text was stored in the cartridge in the kanji character system, as opposed to katakana or hiragana. This means that they could cram more meaning into each character, and thus more text into a smaller space. Translating it would mean a huge cartridge-- pushing beyond 32 megs, to say the least-- and at that point the US RPG market was still in its infancy; Chrono Trigger was a smash, but Evermore had recently bombed. I'm disappointed too, but with the advent of the Square/Cube thing... Well, we'll see.

That's not QUITE right. SD3 was pretty kanji heavy as I recall, but generally, you need all three of the Japanese character sets in everything. Plus SoE was really more of a consolation prize since we didn't get it, otherwise it would have been out first I believe.

Is it worth the extra money to get a copy of FF7 international? (seven is my fave FF of all time, and around #1 on my top games of all time)

John Z.:
Probably only for collector's reasons. If I recall correctly, VII International only included the extra WEAPONS and suchlike that was already in the US version, except in a language that (as you said above) you can't read.

Yes, FF7 International was the Japanese rerelease of FF7 with all the changes made for the U.S. version included. So, buying it would just be insane. Of course, if you really want, I suppose you could get the original Japanese release, with the higher encounter rate, terrible junctioning interface, and lack of sick optional bosses.

Is there any confirmation on the supposed Chrono Break? (Chrono being my favorite series of RPGs, though it only has two games)

John Z.:
No confirmation nor denial. Patience, young Padawan.

When news occurs, stories are written.

I plan on joining the gaming industry as a career. Can you recommend any degrees / colleges? (I'm looking to design games)

John Z.:
Ah, you wish to do what I set out to do. Here's the thing. First off, your degree should be in Comp Sci or Software Engineering, with a HEAVY focus on Assembler and C. Next, choose your college/university based on the quality of the computer facilities and education tracks. Finally, if you want to design games, start designing games now. As you learn new tricks and tools, add them to demo projects that you should be working on on the side. Follow Aegis' example, too-- get feedback, work with others, and produce something tangible for companies to see and play.

All of the above applies if you want to be a programmer. There aren't really any classes you can take that will help you get a job designing games though, because development teams as a general rule don't hire game designers, they're started up by them. If you want a career designing games, you generally have to slip in the back door some other way. Programming is one route you can take, localization is another. You can even get into game design by way of composing music, but that one's really rare.

just to clear something up, if you wanted your name to be pronounced "Google Shing", you need to change the katakana to the equivalent of "gu-gu-ru-shi-n-gu" as opposed to it's current spelling "gu-gu-re-shi-n-gu"...which might be translated to "Googleyshing" or something like nerdish of me to point out bad japanese spelling

John Z.:
I have a hard enough time spelling it in English, thank you very much.

There aren't enough vowels in Googleshng to spell it properly in Japanese, so I just went with the way my computer pronounces it: "Goo-Gleshing".

Another 5 parter

Hey, Googleshng.

1. You ever play Tales Of Phantasia? (if the answer's no, please disregard question 2)

John Z.:
I have not, actually, but I don't feel right "disregarding" a question just because complete ignorance prevents me from answering it properly. So...

Nope. I however will disregard the next question, because I can't even find anyone who has.

ToP Spoiler?

2. Where are Elwyn and Nancy after they elope? I don't think they're in Venezzia, Beladum or Euclid...(I'm so stupid, even cheats don't contain the answer to that...)

John Z.:
Presumably, given the nature of elopements, they're laying low somewhere where their friends won't find them to berate them about their rash, overly-romantic, and something-that-I'll-never-be-able-to-do act. I wish I could answer more, but that's all I really know.

Watch me disregard! Lalalalala...

3. Where does the quote "you shall be as gods" come from?! I forget easily.

John Z.:
Considering your next question, I would think you would know this... It's from the opening movie of Xenogears.

I believe it's also in the bible somewhere, but that's been discussed enough this week.

4. Is there an American release date set for "Xenosaga: Episode 1" yet?

John Z.:
Not a solid one, but my sources tell me late 2002. Aim for October.

Wait for E3... you know, I could probably answer almost every question I get between now and E3 with that...

5. What's your favorite song and who's it by?
Thank you

John Z.:
This changes quite a bit-- at the moment it's "Ultra Relax" from Kodomo no Omocha. Mmm... hypergenkibouncecrash.

Ultra Relax is by Sinohara Tomoe for the record, and it's one of the... uh... 10 or so songs tied in my mind making your question impossible to ask.

The Last Laugh:

John Z.: It's been a wild ride, folks-- so wild it took me a week to recover the first time. But I'm glad I got to do this. Shout out and props to my man for hooksin' me up wit' da Rhapsody. For the three of you reading who thought I did well, I urge you to check out my journalthingy here-- it's updated almost daily. Lastly, I want to give one last shout out to Patricia, who I hope is watching this. Thanks for everything. Adios, amigos y amigas. Vaya con carne.

Google: Now off I go to make a little effigee of myself for you to abuse, and hopefully get a rant up this weekend.

Googleshng "Mail server limbo is evil."

I really want to play Toejam and Earl.

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