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     What the heck happened?   June 5, 2005

Odd weekend that one... what with how Andrew announced a guest host for Saturday's column in Saturday's column and all. Unfortunately, I only have access to 12 Monkies time travel, not Back to the Future, so I can't do anything about that. On with the show!

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Paper or Plastic?

Because I saw you whining...

Do you feel that tabletop games such as Dungeons and Dragons are dying as a whole? Video game RPGs are trying to recreate the same feel and can give a player an experience that is different from a tabletop game.

With that note, do you think that a video game can ever recreate the experience and freedom of a pen and paper, tabletop game?

I would elaborate further but I don't see the need, they are very simple questions.

I wouldn't say paper RPGs, or tabletop games in general are dying no. While it's true that a certain large company is certainly hurting the industry mainly just by being so large, I still see plenty of people playing the things.

Oh, and no, unless you get really out there with your definitions, you're never going to see a videogame recreate what it's like playing a paper RPG. The whole appeal of playing such a game is the improvisation involved, and a videogame is incapable of providing that. Even if you go the NWN route and let someone play the GM, you're restricted by the available graphics, and creativity of the designers.

The Usual

Dear Andrew/Google:

Is it just me or does it seem trendy to disrespect Final Fantasy VIII no matter what you really think of it? Personally I loved FF8 for many reasons. And I know I'm not the only one, cuz outside of the Internet I know tons of people who love FF8 as well.

It had superior music (no really arguing this) and graphics to FF7 (not just because the graphics were prettier, but it had its own style while FF7 continued that steam-punk style that FF6 already did right the first time). The characters seemed less Anime-ish to me, which was a big disappointment to me with the FF7 cast. Even though I like Anime, I felt Final Fantasy was a special RPG series since it was Japanese yet didn't use Anime style (until FF7). With the villains being female, I thought this was a wicked (no pun) good change of pace for the series. No ancient evil, evil emperor, or silver-haired maniac that dresses like a male prostitute.

And mainly, the Junction system is not much different from FF5's job class system (that everyone seems to praise, another trend). Equipping a GF and picking extra abilities to your free slots is not much different from equipping a job class and picking the extra abilities to fill your free slots. Sure, you didn't have to junction Ultima spells to your stats and just cast the spell, but if you knew what you were doing, you could be nearly invincible in less cheesier ways than FF7 did (Knights of the Round).

Honestly, I think it's that the newbies who started with FF7 are still sore that FF8 wasn't a direct sequel, and it still leaves a bad tatse in their mouths. Let's face it, about 70% of Final Fantasy fans started with 7. In similar regards, most old schoolers who were pissed at Square moving from Nintendo to Sony still won't accept FF7 either.

- Elranzer

Really what it comes down to is this. The more people who are exposed to something, the more bickering you're going to get about it. For example, how many people can you find who either praise or constantly berate, say, Star Wars Episode 1? Hundreds? Thousands? Meanwhile, how often do you hear a strong opinion about, say... Moulin Rouge? The more people see or hear about something, the more they think about it, thus the more opinionated they get on it, thus the more vocal, and it all feeds back in on itself.

Anyway though, objectively speaking, I'd say FF8 gets an A for effort when it comes to trying to breathe new life into the series, but it really could have stood to get a bit more polish.

Interesting question this.

I know you guys needed some, and this was something I'd been pondering for a while.

I've played almost every type of game genre that exists, from platforming to fighting to, of course, RPGs. And my question is this:

Which of them do you think presents the most realistic setup?

Now obviously any of them can only go so far... you've always got a controller in your hand, and it's pretty easy to tell that you're not "in" the game. But all that aside, which one do you think presents the most realistic and close-to-home method of control. Each has its ups-and-downs.... fighting is never calculated in hit points and magical attacks, but it's just as unlikely that you'll jump from platform to platform and have a clear path from one place to another. Your vision isn't normally limited in the way it is in FPSes, and nobody moves in squares (or even set distances) a la tactical RPGs.

They all have their flaws and fantastical elements... but which one present the most true-to-reality package?

The Pezman

Hmm... most realistic genre of games eh? Well, it's tricky to classify as a genre since there's so few examples, but I'd have to go with Sword Fighting (i.e. Bushido Blade). No turns, no HP, no numbers to juggle at all really, and quite a bit of freedom of action. Past that, I'd go with text adventures, provided they're actually well written. It's more of a game by game thing than genre by genre though really.

This is an odd one.


How does get hooked up with game developer interviews? Is there somebody who knows someone that knows someone?

Okay bye,
Dork the Nerd.

Well... yeah. We're a legitimate gaming news site, which has been around for many years. Thus, we have contacts with pretty much every game publisher, and a few developers, mainly when there's overlap between the two. Simple enough.

Quick! Gimme 3 CCs of bad joke! Stat!

Well... Square-Enix have announced Crystal Chronicles for Revolution, as well as the one that is still (apparently) coming for DS. Now, I loved CC! I can't deny that it was an inpractical nightmare to most, but for me and friends it was cool, simple, damn pretty.

I guess my question is, do you think Square Enix will be blinded by the relatively good sales across the board of CC and not change much??? I kinda liked the artifact system but the weapon system was a lil too linear. I liked the saving up of mana water and popping back home..

Well I supopse my other question is do you think SE will stick with the usual formular for the sequel??? If not what would you love to see???


I wouldn't expect them to change much no. People rarely feel the need to do so when it comes to Action/RPGs. You get a new gimmick or two relating to spells or equipment, but otherwise it's pretty much always just more of the same. I could go on, but I'm entirely too pessimistic about that genre.

The Last Laugh:

Strange. When these expired, someone asked me if I'd relist them, as he wanted them but was out of town. So I relisted them, and still no bids. What the heck?

Googleshng "He's gettin' eaten by a shark!"

GIR is such a cheerful nihilist!

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