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Googleshng - December 10 '02- 2:00 Eastern Standard Time

I still find it creepy how I still haven't gotten one letter about Phantasy Star Collection since its release. I mean, you'd think if I didn't get any questions about the games, there'd at least be some person who bought it since I talk about that series so much and either loved it and wanted to tell me so, or hated it and thus wanted to flame me. I guess I'll just blame the lack of any real effort on behalf of the publishers to, you know, sell copies of it.

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Music

"After such an elaborate depiction of the music, you're probably wondering why I gave the music an average score. There is one inexcusable omission encountered when playing Suikoden III: during 90% of the cut-scenes, there is absolutely NO music to be heard. Nothing! The whole game goes completely silent aside from the sound of clothes rustling. The music in cut-scenes is the most important thing in a game's presenation. It constitutes the life and soul of a production. It seems the creators thought that the emotional events and the stunning revelations, or the very reasons we play our RPGs, would be best brought with NO music. This lack of captivating music, or ANY music at all hurt the game's presentation. Suikoden III practically punishes you for advancing through the plot with those drab sequences. It also has a direct effect on the emotional impact of the plot and completely devalues the strengths of the story. What were they thinking? It was depressing to see."

In Japanese film (particularly older films) music is much, MUCH less prevalent than in American movies. This is partially due to the fact that, unlike in America, silence and peace is prefered over background noise, while in America silence is often considered awkward. In fact, it is a common thing for them to cut any musical score to heighten the drama of a scene. Granted, perhaps it doesn't work as well for American audiences as it does for Japanese, but would you rather they start altering games futher from the Japanese originals? There is massive uproar when translations draw games away from the original Japanese meaning. When reviewing games, try to keep in mind the original audiences of these games. It's ok to say you don't like it, but at least think through the reasons for doing it. For Japanese audiences, the silence created a traditional, dramatic scene.

-M

Googleshng:
We must watch different Japanese movies. The ones I watch always have music in the dramatic scenes. Music which is incredibly inappropriate to what's going on. I've always liked it myself. Anyway, the only changes I'd like to see in localizations are for people to actually translate dialog in such a way that it delivers the proper tone and grammatical sensibility, and for people to take a hint from anime publishers and offer games with voice acting in both subtitled and dubbed forms. I still say you could make a tidy profit that way.

 
More on this...

Hey there, Usagi Vindaloo again with a few added comments on the email I sent to Andrew on the weekend.

First of all, to the kind gentleman who suggested writing for tabletop RPGs, that's a great idea! Thanks a lot! I have a rabid affection for White Wolf (although the World of Darkness gets too depressing, hence the World of Insufficient Light that I play in ^_^). Working for a company like that would be sweet indeed. Only one problem with your reply... you called me "Mr.", and I'm a girl. ^_^

There is something I wanted to clarify with my prior comment about "being a good writer" and wanting to work on video games. Andrew took this to mean that I have a plot all worked out in my head. This is actually wrong, and I am NOT that great at creating plots from the ground up. What I do best in is taking a base concept that someone else has created and working with it, developing it in new ways and hashing it out into an interesting form. Right now, this drive finds expression in the world of fanfiction. So, you ask, how the hell is THAT supposed to help in the video game RPG market? My answer: well, SOMEONE has to write the script, don't they? I know that Sakaguchi and his ilk come up with the core story, but surely there are a few faceless extras who design the scenarios and write the script.

I have no idea whether such a job exists, but I dream of a sort of writing position where, although you don't create the core plot, you do get to write all the dialogue, most of the action, and even throw in a few creative twists of your own. The nearest parallel I can think of is in television series; different writers write each episode, but they all refer back to the "bible" of the show and keep it faithful to the core plot while putting in their own creative talents. As a gaming equivalent, I sort of envision the main designer coming in and saying something like, "Right, you there, you're on the Nibelheim flashback sequence. Do what the hell you like, just make sure Sephiroth's nuts by the end of it, Tifa's been slashed, the town is burned and Cloud has amnesia." Of course, that's an extreme, but it seems to make sense that a few people work on the script. After all, 40-100 hour games probably have scripts much longer than one person alone could write.

So, question to the Great Google: Do such careers exist? Is there a place for someone who perhaps lacks a bit of originality but has a good command of dramatic tension and language? Are there individuals whose sole purpose in lif... er, I mean, their job is to write scenarios and scripts?

My comp sci friend (the one Andrew branded an idiot) says there's no such position, that one guy writes the entire thing or, if he doesn't, other level designers/programmers/modellers/etc help write. Is he right?

Thanks for your time,

Usagi Vindaloo

PS. BTW, reading the letter again makes me think I sound a bit too sure of myself. I'm not saying I'm the greatest writer ever, only that my skills in writing and language are better than, say, my programming skills or anything else beyond point and click. :)

Googleshng:
Again, a few developers might have people on that sort of thing, but you aren't going to break in that way.

On the other hand, taking a rough outline and fleshing it into an interesting conversation is what localizers do, and that's a MUCH more realistic job to obtain... unless you factor in that the average publisher keeps something like 2 or 3 people around to localize games, and there's not all that many publishers out there.

 
Fun trick that.

Goog,

I've had something bothering me for a while in the midst of the FF6 discussions popping up hither, thither, and yon. Why do so many people feel like they've accomplished something when they found the Genji Glove/Offering combo? It's not that hard a thing to come up with. I think it was one of the first relic combos I found, and I was a young RPGamer at the time.

You want great relics, Kefka's last form is nothing with Marvel Shoes, which so many people don't even seem to know about. More players should check out that Coliseum. All kinds of goodies in there. Nothing like Haste, Shell, Shield, and Regen all on one relic. Kefka can use Fallen One all day, and you'll regen about 800 to 1500 hps before he even goes again. Of course, if you have everyone decked out in Flame Shields and cast Merton every round (Economizer or no), you can beat anything, assuming it doesn't absorb fire like you do.

Thanks for the input.

Captain Modifier, who wonders why people are proud of the obvious.

Googleshng:
I never really bothered with Merton myself. Usually when I'm playing an RPG, I spend 99% of the game making sure I get everything I can, maxing out all my characters, and so forth, but once I head into the final dungeon, I pretty much just say smurf it, head straight to the end and win. Anyway though, I was always a bit more proud of figuring out how to god characters up in FF5. Master a few combat type characters, switch to classless or mime, run around attacking 8 times with your pair of morning stars or something. Also fun is Redx2 and some other magic types.



Quickies

why dont you change the quote every once in a while, like you used to! we're all sick of "Listen to the donkey's orders!"

Well, I usually try to go for something topical, and this year has been rather dry RPG wise. In any case though, there was a new one up before this letter reached me, so uh...stuff.

This is just a quickie. Do you have a suggestion for an RPGMaker that lets me create a battle system radically different from turn-based battle-systems? Just wondering...

Carmine M. Red

CN would probably have an answer you'd like better, but if you want to come up with a really unique combat system, I say you should just run with C++ or possibly assembly.

The Last Laugh:

Must finish special treat for people before Christmas... must work harder...

Googleshng "Mint!" @rpgamer.com

Book!

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