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May 10, 2007

Matthew Demers - 19:59 EST

MY OBSESSION WITH a little game called Pokémon is slowly coming to a close, as I ventured to the final areas today. It's a bit sad, but really, come on. I need to move on with life and get back to Zelda, Super Paper Mario, Valkyrie Profile, Fire Emblem, Lunar Knights, ... , etc etc, ... , yes.

Yeah, I have a lot of work to do, and it's evident that my backlog isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Oh me, oh my, oh no. There's not much I can do, so let's start on today's batch of letters.

Mana, but no manatees. :(

Hey Matt!

There's really nothing earthshattering that I'm looking forward to this summer. There's a few scattered RPGs, but nothing that really catches my attention. I figure I'll use the lag time (and my shorter tutoring hours in summer) to work through my backlog and catch up on a few old games. So far, I've only finished FFXII since Christmas, and I'm ambling along through Twilight Princess. Eventually, I'll make my way through Thousand Year Door and Shadow Hearts: To the New World, and then the Phantasy Stars on the Sega Collection.


Well, at least you have a plan. I used to have one, until I lapsed into "Ahh, I'll play whatever I feel like" mode; one that isn't particularly efficient at getting through backlogs very quickly.

I need to get back to Twilight Princess too, because dammit, it keeps getting upstaged by other games. It's good, but it's just long-winded or something.

The one thing I'm curious about is Dawn of Mana. Do you think that Square Enix will finally turn out a worthy successor to Secret of Mana, since they're calling it a "true" Seiken Densetsu game. I haven't been impressed with any of the Mana games in a long time, they're all very pretty, but somewhat empty (being from Arizona, there's a natural Scottsdale joke there, aka Los Angeles Lite). I kind of like the look of the game, but do you think they'll give it some true depth (and a decent story) to make it worthwhile?


I hold a glimmer of hope, but I heard somewhere that it might not turn out to be that great after all. Am I surprised? Not really. But why in blazes is it so difficult to make a decent Mana game? I think the developers are trying too hard, because Secret of Mana was simple and uncomplicated, yet wildly enjoyable. I'm worried that this is going to be a case of 3-D-itis, where a game suffers terribly in terms of gameplay in favour of awesome graphics (since the graphics are, admittedly, really nice, judging from the screens I've seen).

Woohoo, Sock returns!




Yes it does! And more than eighty contestants to boot. Damn, I have my work cut out for me. If you're interested or playing, make sure to stay on top of the game by checking out the sidebar link every day!

Lost in Translation

Konbanwa, Matt-san!

Hm, I think there's a good reason why Pachirisu doesn't sound remotely like English, and that's because it is 100% Japanese. Pachi-pachi is a sound-word that kinda-sorta means "sparkling" -- or at least, I've seen it used in reference to sparkling tonic water (pachi-pachi mizu). Risu is the Japanese word for squirrel. So, Pachirisu = Sparkling Squirrel, sorta. Could also mean Snappy, I think. I guess the translators figured that if they could get away with Pikachu (Jap. for Shiny Mouse), they could leave Pachirisu as-is.

Honestly, though, the Japanese tend to suck when it comes to word-play. Maybe it's the strict syllable structure of their writing system, but whereas in English you see tons of anagrams, restructured spellings, fused word compounds, intentional homophone misuse, Spoonerisms, and just plain bad puns, in Japanese it's considered the height of cleverness to simply spell a word backwards in katakana (and even then, only a handful of people might realize there was word-play at hand). I read through the Pokedex in Japanese, and I'm amazed at how simple most of the names turn out to be. Mostly it's basic word compounds that aren't even hidden (the third-evolution fire starter for D/P translates exactly as Raging Fire Monkey, e.g.), and a few slightly fused spellings like Teppouo (Remoraid, or literally Gun-Fish), where they removed one U so the name would fit in the five-character limit for the Japanese version. The only real exception I can remember is Mitsuhani (the triple bee pokemon, dunno the English name) which managed to be a pun on the Japanese words for honey (both Japanese and borrowed from English), bees, and the number three.


This is all fantastically interesting to me! I know a little about the Japanese language, but only a little. It'd be fun to know the exact translations of ALL the Pokémon and see their English counterparts listed alongside them. Remoraid's evolved form, Octillery, makes a lot more sense now, though I suppose you could tie the "raid" part of its name to guns, somehow.

Any way you slice it, Pachirisu still sucks as a name, no matter how cute the little thing might be. Oh yeah, and the triple bee is called "Combee" in English.

***Minor Pokémon D/P Spoilers here***

BTW, did you know that the Pal Park trading in D/P is unlocked as soon as you see all 150 pokemon on the Sinnou Index, and not after you beat the League Champion? Granted, unless you are lucky enough to find a Feebas to evolve, and have a friend around to help you get that funky Ghost/Dark one that requires frequent underground network gaming, you're not likely to finish the Sinnou Index until the League Champion battle, but still...


I find it interesting that on Victory Road, so many trainers send out hard-to-get Pokémon, in what I feel is a very deliberate whack at force-filling up your Pokédex. They want you to get that Pal Park thing, I guess... is that where you can upload others from previous games?

On a completely different note, the original game in the Devil Summoner series was released for PSP a year or so ago -- its first remake ever, though the second game (Soul Hackers) was ported from the Saturn to the PSX years back. I remember there was some hope that it would come Stateside in the wake of the third game in the series, Devil Summoner : Kuzunoha Raidou for PS2. For whatever reason, however, the executives at Sony decided against bringing it over. Best guess I ever heard was that it didn't fit the company's "new material" requirements, i.e. the game needs a certain amount of new stuff added before they consider translating it. Considering the fact that it would have been 100% new material for the US audience, well.. I hope the Sony execs aren't that oblivious. In any case, if I ever find a copy of the Saturn version, I'm getting that. Sega Saturns are wonderfully cheap now.

This is just my two yen, anyhoo.
Your man in Japan,
Gaijin Monogatari


Yeah, Sony has been a bit assholeish in the past about stuff like this; I think that they put the kibosh on the Suikoden I+II remakes for similar idiotic reasons. Funny though, that sports games can be released year after year in annual editions while changing so exceptionally little without a problem, isn't it?

Can you actually still buy Saturns there? JuMeSyn would be so proud! Good luck on your search if you do, sir Gaijin. Say konnichiwa to somebody for me!

Hypnotic games of evil involving cute little critters.

I've been playing the new Pokemon since it came out, and I'm enjoying it a lot. It's kind of a surprise. I haven't played any since Yellow, and I had no intention of buying this one. But I stopped by Gamestop after church that day, they had some left, I figured I'd try it out. Now I'm 45 hours in, and trying to powerlevel all my lower level Pokemon. I love the fact that you can re-fight trainers out in the field. They give so much more XP than wild Pokemon, plus you get cash money. Also, they kept Psyduck around, so I'm happy.


Yay! Welcome to the club... this ever-expanding, terrible club of ours. I'm glad that they brought back so many old pokémon, but at the same time, I'm utterly shocked that Jigglypuff is nowhere to be seen. It's a little bit sad!

As for new stuff, I'm trying to avoid getting my hopes up. Odin Sphere looks and sounds interesting, but I'm not sold. Dawn of Mana is sounding more and more like a flop, even though it looks gorgeous. I haven't finished the first Aetelier Iris yet; there's no need for a third one. The one that looks the most promising is Etrian Odyssey. Old school Wizardry-style gameplay. That's the only one I'm looking at buying right now. And, lurking in the distance, Persona 3.



To be fair, I have heard that the second Atelier Iris made some big improvements upon the original formula, but yeah, I don't have the time or patience to get into it now. First impressions! It's all about first impressions!

Persona 3 has been kicking around on the calendar for awhile now; I first played through a bit of it at E3 last year (actually, almost exactly one year ago!) It seemed promising, even though I've never played any Persona or Shin Megami Tensei games. Yeah, it'll be here before you know it. But I think that we can all agree that this summer will provide us all with a bit of a breather to catch up on the gaming scene- one that the vast majority of us need.

Thanks, Mr. Impossible-To-Pronounce, for the letter!

Don't forget to house-train your consoles!

To mattttttt...t:


Sounds kind like the Wheel of Fortune wheel, coming to a stop. Big money! Give me bucks.

Games I'm looking forward to, huh? Well there are some 360 goodies on the horizon like Too Human and Mass Effect, even though I am without a 360 I plan on changing that fact by this summer's end.


Another person, won over! I'm not sure if it's a trend or not; I thought it was going to be, but then I noticed that the wave of support in Japan has slowed to a revolting pace. Wait, when does Blue Dragon come out in North America now? It's before the end of the summer too, isn't it?

Those are coming out this summer, but other games for later include (though not an rpg) Smash Bros. Brawl and Fire Emblem (which IS and rpg). My educated guess on releases for those two (because I know your dieing to know what my guess is) would be the holidays for Brawl (along side Prime 3 and a delayed-into '08 Mario Galaxy [remember: GUESSES!!...don't hurt me]) and hopefully sometime before Christmas for FE. I'm only thinking the Galaxy gets delayed, despite official projections, because Miyamoto loves to perfect his projects into oblivion and because recent developer ramblings have more or less stated that Brawl is mostly done anyhow. Metroid, however, is purely a guess but they've had a butt-crack-load of time to work on it so...GIMME!!

Alright, I'm done,


I think that your guesses aren't that far off. The problem is that I have doubts that Smash, Metroid, and Mario will all be released at once, because they're the three most-wanted games for the system, and it would make evil sense for them to continue the forever-delay on at least one of them. Fire Emblem... you might be right, but I'm starting to have suspicions that we won't see it for awhile. Why? I'm being a pessimist, and I really want that game A LOT. Maybe by keeping my hopes down, I'll be delighted when I hear otherwise! Yay for self-imposed reverse-psychology. (I guess that's not really reverse-psychology.)

Regardless, we have some good games for two of the consoles on the horizon. *in a talking-to-a-little-puppy-voice* Come on, Sony! You can do it! I know you can! Yes!


"Summer '07: What are you looking forward to?"

...wait, you're saying there are actually games coming out this summer?

Carabbit is golfing this summer. No, not the Wii sports kind.

You mean people actually do it the real way still? My idea of real-life golf involves a mini-putt course complete with at least one loop-de-loop, because they're so loopdelicious.

In Pokemon Diamond and Pearl, in the underground place, when you bury spheres, is it possible that when you hook up your friends can dig them up?

I dunno! I've never tried it. That's what I assumed, but that means nothing in the scheme of things. Try it out and tell me.

Final Fantasy IV... DS? Seriously?
Can we at least do something remotely new? How about a crossover? Sure, it may make no sense to have all the Final Fantasy universes collide, but surely that makes as much sense as re-re-re-re-releasing a game? At least it's something that hasn't been done before, right? x_x


Seriously. The problem is that with Square Enix, "if we make it, they will come" is a very sound policy. It costs a lot less to make games that have already been made four times previously, no doubt, graphic happiness or not, and so bingo! They get more bang for their buck.

Dear Matt,

Will RPGamer be providing a review of Final Fantasy Tactics: The Lions War? I know it's just being released in Japan on the 10th but I thought that, some of the time, a staff member would get a hold of the game in Japanese and provide a review...


Alack; I think the review policy here is to wait for the final english version before doing a review, just because our main audience is North American. I'm afraid you'll likely have to wait! But, you can tell us your thoughts in a letter if you get the game anyway. *wink wink*


That's a good bunch of letters. I think this is going to be a great summer... if I can get past my newfound faculty duties. Ahhh! Wish me luck; tomorrow's my first day in front of a class.

I'll be back to round out the week tomorrow! Send in a letter, if you please, or if you dare, and make me happy.

Send a Letter!

Unanswered Letter Backlog: 10 - not so bad!
Matt should totally start chattering endlessly about Pokémon in front of the class tomorrow!

Eehehehehe, to see their reactions! If only life had save points.

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On my Wishlist:

1. Dragon Quest IX

2. Fire Emblem: Goddess of Dawn

3. Super Smash Bros. Brawl

4. Dawn of Mana

5. Metroid Prime 3

On my Portable Playlist:

1. Pokémon Diamond

2. Lunar Knights/Final Fantasy VI

3. Mega Man ZX

On my Console Roster:

1. Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess/Super Paper Mario

2. Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria

3. Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance

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1. Playing Pokémon?

2. Summer '07: What are you looking forward to?

3. Do you DESPISE Pokémon? Tell me why!

4. What things should be a part of every RPG review?

5. We need more goats in RPGs, don't you think?

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