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     SWAT Monkies!   April 20, 2005

So this afternoon, someone spontaniously gives me a cat. Now, normally, this wouldn't cause any problems for me. I like just about all cats, and vice versa. About the only thing that can keep me from liking a cat is if it doesn't get along with my other cats. Now sure, people won't bring dogs within 10 meters of my house because they're rightly afraid Lucifer here might kill them, but honestly my cats are all very easy going, and know that when there's a new cat in the house, all they have to do is give him a wide berth until he gets used to the place.

The problem is, THIS cat is a huge jerk. When you bring a new cat into a house, they're going to be somewhat freaked out for a few days. Some go nuts trying to get out. Some hide under a bed for a week. Some just pick some little piece of territory out for themselves and try to intimidate everyone else away from it. This cat is going with the last of these, but the territory he's chosen is the entire freaking house. Even when all my cats went outside to give him a chance to chill out, he's been prowling circles around the house growling and hissing constantly, particularly when he sees me or the other cats. Right now he's blocking the only exit to this room growling at me while I write this column.

The funny part is, he was given to me because his previous owner felt guilty about leaving him alone while she was at work. If you ever find yourself in that situation, here's a quick lesson in feline psychology. Cats don't get lonely. A dog will sit around crying when you leave until you get home, but a cat is not a dog. Even the sweetest, most cuddley, constantly jumping into your lap of a cat is going to want to spend a pretty good chunk of the day being left the heck alone, and taking a nap somewhere. Sure, they're happy to see you when you get back, but they're totally fine with you leaving for the day. In fact, they enjoy it. Especially if they're jerks like this one.

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Hey there!

Does anyone agree? I like the older graphics from older RPG's like FFVI or Suikoden II It just seems like more simple and easier to appreciate greater storylines and you can still see enough to be able to tell what people are supposed to look like and spells and all that. All in all I think that the older crapier graphics are better for RPG's than the new ones. It just seems like the new good graphics are more for games like HALO.


It's not a question of age, it's a question of complexity. Or a question of style in some cases. For example. Take a look at the last two console Zelda games. Wind Waker is a decidedly newer game, but it uses a simpler visual style than Majora's Mask, and the result is much more expressive characters. In a nutshell, the more little details you add to a character (getting their nose perfectly shaped, drawing individual strands of hair, calibrating your breast-physics engine for absolute realism and then adjusting for your demographic), the more you limit your ability to distort the end result for the sake of emotion and animation. There's also something to be said for taking resolutions into proper account. If you draw each individual hair onto a character, and display that character within the dimemsions of, say, 50x100 pixels, it's going to look horrible and you won't be able to make anything out at all.

Only on one other island is this more common!


Did anyone else get the feeling that Nel Zephyr and Claire from Star Ocean 3: Til the End of Time (such a pointlessly long name) were just the slightest bit... umm... lesbians? Not that there's anything wrong with that. Hey, I (as most fanboys do) love lesbians. I was just curious to see if my Gaydar was still functioning properly.


Here's the thing. Take anything from Japan. Anything. There's about a 95% chance that you can find subtle, if not overt suggestions of a relationship between two female characters in it, at some point or other. It's just one of those things.


I'm sure a bunch of other people are going to send this in to you, but - sadly, the possibility of games losing Hollywood voice talent is legitimate.

Here are links:

The basic notion is that the Screen Actor's Guild wants more money from game publishers (namely royalties) because games are starting to use more A-list talent, namely Charlize Theron, Robert Duvall, Sean Connery, etc. Meanwhile, the game representatives aren't equipped to deal with big-time negotiations like this, as they do not have any actual negotiating body to represent them. Apparently, Electronic Arts negotiated the last deal, long before major stars started getting involved in voice over work, and SAG reportedly was most unhappy with the results of those negotiations. Thus, they're taking the hard line this time around and talks have stalled.

Actually, you're the only one. Anyway though, as far as I can tell, this is really the sort of thing that would only effect those companies who aren't willing to pay out royalties. Pretty darn fair of an expectation really. More to the point though, who really cares about Hollywood actors providing voices? Sure, the name recognition works as a sales gimmick, but with rare exception, you're far better off with big name voice actors, not despite but rather BECAUSE those names are only well known in the industry. I mean, can you honestly look at their respective bodies of work and not tell me you'd rather have the range of vocal talent provided by someone like Michael McConnohie as opposed to, say, Bruce Willis?

Now here's an interesting question.

Does Atelier Iris Eternal Mana have potential, and are there any serious problems or even nitpicks that can be found with it? And are there any other noteworthy titles still to come?

Not being an importer, I can't really speak for that series, except to say that there's a lot of them, which usually indicates there's something to like. Of course, since I seem to recall employees of NIS America frequenting this site, I'm sure someone will have more to say on this matter soon.

What can you say to this?

Dear Google,


The Best of Strong Mad

This would be a quickie, except it's about one line too long. Remember folks, it's all about the size, not the relevance.

The Last Laugh:

Huh. Messing with this new satellite mapping feature of that search engine named after me, I see that there's more satellite photography of my house than the vast majority of the country. Seriously. Go start zooming in on Connecticut. See that lone, highly visible patch on the southern coast where you can actually go to the max possible zoom? I live right around the middle of that. If you squint, you can almost make out my sucky skylights. Anyway, enjoy your weekend all.

Googleshng "Mrrrrrr-hhhhhh-mrrrrrrrrrr-hhhhh!!!"


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