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Pro Status February 10, 2007

Josh - 4:50 CST

Pro in Tennis and Bowling! Also downloaded Zelda:LttP, Mario 64, and Mario World. I'm waiting to see what comes out this Monday, though.

I've had entirely too much fun with the Wii. The mechanics of the system are just so intuitive, I've just been in a constant state of...uh..."impressed-ness" since I turned the bloody thing on. I get giddy with the frickin' NEWS channel, for god's sake. The globe is just a really nice touch. I could probably gush for awhile now, but...let's move on.




L E T T E R S
Stylus voyeurism.


This is ridiculous:

Link

You have to see it to believe it.
Zohar Gilboa

Josh

Yeah, I know! I saw that a bit earlier and my head exploded.

First off, it made me giggle when the kid said that the DS "has a lot of graphics," as if he understood what all of the words in that sentence meant. But I digress.

Yes, Pictochat works in a way that allows you to essentially converse with anyone in the relatively immediate vicinity. I also am fully aware that the security measures on it are...nil. But, if a parent is going to give their child a toy, I think it's not something extreme to ask for them to take the time to understand how the toy operates. Not only that, but they could educate their children about giving information to strangers and the like. Hell, the NDS Owner's Manual pretty much states that they should make sure that their children aren't being idiotic. Ah well...unfortunately, there will always be someone out there that will mess everything up for the rest of us.



But, bugs are nostalgic!


Dear Ouro

FFVI Advance does look mighty fine, but there are still two concerns I have that have not been answered by any review. First, do you if the battle glitches finally been fixed (so that having the Dark status actually means something)? Second, is the Coliseum still auto-battle? The game would be so much cooler to me if it didn't contain all those clumsy bugs that made battles too easy, and if the Coliseum didn't insist on battles in which you can't control you character. These would make or break my purchase decision.

Josh

Well, Dark was 'fixed,' though I don't really remember it being bugged in the original (though it's been some time), and sorry for you, the Coliseum works the same way. They did fix a lot of other bugs like the Sketch bug and the Evade glitch, so at least they addressed those.

Also, have you ever played the online fighting game called M.U.G.E.N.? I've only heard about it a few months ago, and if it weren't for my backlog, I'd like to check it out. It even has a ton of famous RPG characters! Now if only I could tell whether or not my computer could actually run it.

Josh

I've never played it - only heard of it. The reason why there are a bunch of RPG characters is that the game is practically fully customizeable, if you have enough knowledge about how to manipulate the series of text files that provide the game with data. Theoretically you can have whoever fight whoever. Too bad its license ran out...

Hmm, the hyperlinks in my last two posted letters didn't show up. Well, in case anyone is still wondering, the Hiromichi Tanaka interview that I referred to in Sunday's column was this

http://www.cubed3.com/news/6729/1/No_FFXI_on_Wii,_FF_Anniversary_Projects_on_Nintendo_Systems,_Chrono_Update_and_Much_More!

And the "clip" that I referred to in Thurday's column was this
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BDiTaXkWhnA

Whew, I hope those work.
Alan

Josh

Yep, they work! Sorry about the mixup last weekend!



I miss the old days too.


Is game music better or worse than in the old days?

In the 2D age of RPGs you tended to see a small collection of music, and generally in MIDI format, in all games (not just RPGs) because disk space was so limited. In the NES days, the hardware was too limited to have really good music. I think there was a sound output hardware limitation with the NES that kept music from sounding better. You saw graphical improvement as in-cart expansion hardware kept getting better, but the music always sounded a little "Tinny."

With the SNES there was more disk space, but still not enough. Most music was still done in MIDI because of disk space limitation. That said, the SNES era music sounds quite close to today's game music. IMHO LoZ: A Link to the Past has about the same quality music as LoZ: Wind Waker. An important advance during this era was the ability to play more than one instrument at the same time. Some of the late-era games like FF3 US and Tales of Phantasia had excellent music.

In the modern era, you tend to see large collections of music because of the large amount of disk space available. Okami for example has more than 100 different pieces of music. Playback tends to be compressed wave format rather than MIDI. It is still compressed b/c that shortens disk loading time. The drawback to a big amount of music is it tends to be hit-and-miss with some good, some average, and some bad pieces, whereas there isn't one bad piece in LoZ: A Link to the Past. The key here for developers is to make sure music (and sounds, for that matter) that the player hears most often are high quality. Poor battle music and footstep sounds will just kill a game. With modern systems, some titles employ 5.1 sound in certain situations, but I have a poor home theater setup (I can never hear the rear speakers or subwoofer) so I cannot say whether 5.1 sound significantly changes the game music experience.

So in summary, I think SNES-era music and later is better than NES-era and earlier, but further than that I draw no distinctions. Anyway, thanks for reading.

Flamethrower

Josh

I do agree that SNES music is generally better than NES (though Mega Man games still stick with me), but I think that pre-32-bit and post-32-bit era music should really be seperated. Mostly due to the fact that because most games back then had such simplistic music, most notably in the areas of multiple instruments, it was easier to make a song 'catchy.' Now you've got all of these songs in games nowadays that concentrate on setting up ambience and fanfare rather than -trying- to make a catchy tune.

While a lot of tunes does make it so that there's more probability for error, that also means that there's the same amount of room to make good music. Probability sucks, no? So much action goes on in games nowadays, that the sounds are more prevalent than the music. Looking back on SNES/NES games during that era, how often were you impressed by the blips and bloops of, say, Mario jumping, or Fighter slashing his sword? Not so much, probably - which is why we needed the music like it was. Now, however, there so much dialogue in games, or realistic sound effects, etc., that music sorta takes a backseat. This isn't always the case, though (Shadow of the Colossus), but if you listen hard enough, you'll probably be pleasantly surprised.



Pity will get you nowhere!


*Hobgoblins on golf cart, beware!*

I found a source for Sakura Wars music, and am currently listening to the ending of the third game, Voyage. Very soothing, since all the ladies in the game(s) can sing pretty well. You probably don't care though, since in addition to the games not being your thing, sitting with a FAQ in front of you for translation purposes is mandatory unless you want to scroll through a LOT of text without a clue as to its meaning. So go ahead and ignore my ramblings like usual.

Josh

Flattery will get you nowhere. :P

Started LandStalker two nights ago. Very nice so far. It's an amusing Zelda-ish title that is quite intuitive, although the isometric view (as usual) is annoying from time to time. Haven't gotten very far though, because I'm putting in 40 hours this week. Stupid need for money. Actually, I did try LandStalker a few weeks ago. Somehow, though, I managed to not see the door leading out of the very first room. I somehow thought that the statue I started close to could be moved, or jumped onto, or something, and I fiddled around with it in futility for about 10 minutes before giving up. This time my eyes worked correctly! Must be time for an eye examination.

Josh

I've done that countless times, and usually in Zelda games or some such. Usually something stupid like not seeing the lever because it blends in with the background. Stupid lever.

Random question: what's the big deal with Resident Evil? I can't remember if I ever touched one of them, although apparently 4 is a sweet ride.

Josh

The games are a lot of fun, but I don't find them scary at all. They've also decreased in difficulty ever since the original (that game was HARD). I've beaten the first 3, and I have 4, just haven't gotten around to it yet. I hear it's stellar, though.

Another random question: way back when (2001) I heard that Star Fox Adventures was Zelda-ish. Does that make it sort of an RPG for the Gamecube? I have no idea, so I'm asking you.

Josh

I guess theoretically you're right. Zelda is more like the exception rather than the rule to the Action-RPG formula. So, yeah, I guess Star Fox Adventures would qualify like-wise, since it's basically the same type of game.

Still not done with Tales of Phantasia - in fact I have a lot to go. Lately I reached the future, so I'm wandering around getting into fights with enemies that yield enough experience to make it worth my while. I get almost all of my playing done in the break room though, since that's a far better use of my breaks than wandering into Borders just to see that they don't have anything new. Any particular places that make you break out the portable systems, or is it less patterned?

Josh

I tend to bring 'em into the bathroom. Either that or a book. ^^;

Car trips, or if I've got a moment during lunch. Or if I'm sitting in bed. I dunno, sometimes I'm just in the mood to play some portable gaming goodness.

Oh, you're gonna love this: I want you to decide whether Iron Storm merits inclusion on RPGamer or not. It's a World War II-based tactical game on the Saturn that was Working Designs' first localization effort on the system. Check around and say yea or nay.

Josh

I suppose it should...maybe. It's a turn-based strategy game...still. The difference, in my opinion, of a Strategy game and a TRPG are the scale of the battles. If you're out there controlling huge armies, then it's generally perceived as a strategy game, but if you're individually controlling a group of about 10 characters, then it's a TRPG. So by my logic, I guess it doesn't belong, but that's just me.

Who's your party in this playthrough of Seiken Densetsu 3? And what classes are they?

Josh

Carlie, Kevin, and Lise. Carlie went Light, Kevin went Dark, and Lise went Dark. I'll eventually end up with LL for Carlie, DL for Kevin, and DD for Lise.

Possibly against my better judgment, I picked up ActRaiser 2 off eBay. This once I didn't care enough to get a box or manual, I just bought it. Sometime I'll feel like suffering through it, and then I can finally treat everyone (most likely) to a truly scathing review, since I haven't reviewed anything I thought completely sucked before. Maybe I'll finish Sword of Vermilion too, and get some hatred out of my system.

Okay, Phantasy Star II is hard. Believe me, you WILL need to spend a lot of time fighting. And the dungeons are true labyrinths that may require a map to navigate. Phantasy Star III is fairly easy and fairly unmemorable, at least to me. Your mileage may vary. Phantasy Star IV is where it's at. Think you'll be experiencing any of them any time soon?

Josh

I actually picked up the Sega Genesis collection for PSP recently...but it's still sitting there due to my luck of finding a Wii. I guess I'll get to it at some point...hehe.

Hell, I'm too tired. Nothing else except to say that Letters From Iwo Jima is superb filmmaking. You be sure to go and see it, support Clint Eastwood's devotion to challenging movies!

*Santa's reindeer laughter - From Hell!*
JuMeSyn

Josh

I may at some point. I need someone to go with to the movies. Hopefully things will start working out with this girl I'm seeing...

Thanks for writing in!



S E G U E

Ok, announcement time!

JDX has nabbed Final Fantasy XII. That leaves 3 prizes left in the shop. Grandia III, Riviera, and the PSU stuff. Since most of you seemed to be going for FFXII (sorry!), I'm going to begin shutting THONG down, gradually. So - this weekend is the LAST weekend to pick up Co-Hosting Opportunities, then until 2/19, you can claim Full Hosting Opportunities, and until 3/5, you can get the other prizes. After that, THONG2 will officially be over!



T H O N G
Combat Log

Luca Phase:
Luca Blight takes a moment to rest (12.2% HP remaining).

Damage Phase:
Leaper falls to Tile 54.
Tabor falls to Tile 55.

Movement Phase:
Leaper moves to Tile 56.
BLG moves to Tile 47.
Slashlen moves to Tile 52.
Arpijy moves to Tile 57.
kupomogli moves to Tile 16.
Tabor moves to Tile 57.


Previous THONG Rounds!

Selections for characters can be found at the following sites:

Suikoden Characters

Suikoden 2 Characters

Click here for the rules and lists of items and prizes!

Click here to see previous trivia!

Luca Blight

Great, now Ouro outranks me.

Answer to #L46: B. Castlevania: SOTN
Yep, it comes coupled with a remake of Rondo of Blood.

#L47.
In the beginning of Phantasy Star II, what's the only spell your party knows?

A. Res
B. Anti
C. Foi
D. Sag
E. Rever
F. Zan

THONG Question

Answer to #46:A. When summoning, the casters shoot themselves in the face.
^^;

#47.Difficulty: Easy, Potch: 150
In Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past, after you've made it to the Dark World, what's the only item you need to get in order to access the 4th Crystal Dungeon?

A. Hookshot
B. Fire Rod
C. Flute
D. Mirror Shield
E. Hammer

C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

I guess now we can start concetrating on letters even more! So, are there any recommendations anyone can make for my Wii? How about that newfangled FFXII DS Lite they're showing around? Or that the PS3 is getting a downgraded version of Oblivion? There's always plenty to talk about, so let's see what we can do, ok? Have a good night, guys.


ourobolus@rpgamer.com
***Josh needs to not talk on the phone til 4AM.


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Josh's Top Distractions:

Air Force Training

...Maybe Ailise. ^^;

Current Order of Game-Playing:

1. Final Fantasy III

2. Castlevania: PoR

3. Disgaea 2

4. Bully

5. GTA: LCS/VCS

Novel Progress:

2,788/70,000 words

THONG Players:

1. Roku
Flik  TP: 2
550p

2. Bainick
Hero 2  TP: 25
4600p

3. Leaper
Antonio  TP: 4
1125p

4. Macstorm
Mazus  TP: 1
1050p

6. BLG
Sid  TP: 29
7950p

7. Arros Raikou
Kage  TP: 21
7200p

8. Xlash
Gijimu  TP: 0
200p

9. Donovan
Clive  TP: 2
900p

10. Slimey
Gadget  TP: 11
2000p

11. Bucket
Millie  TP: 21
2950p

12. Draconn
Mondo  TP: 11
875p

13. Genjuu
Pesmerga  TP: 6
1575p

14. Alan Tse
Hoi  TP: 21
6750p

15. TheBluick
Fu Su Lu  TP: 0
0p

16. Gouden Draak
Rubi  TP: 1
725p

17. Slashlen
Lorelai  TP: 16
1250p

18. JuMeSyn
Odessa  TP: 22
5000p

19. PureLunatic
Viktor  TP: 11
1575p

21. William.T
Killey  TP: 6
5350p

22. Arpijy
Hix2  TP: 8
1175p

23. Spiffyness
Badeaux  TP: 2
525p

24. Reivax
Kasim  TP: 1
200p

25. Carabbit
Viki  TP: 7
1975p

26. Vicissitude
Clive2  TP: 5
1425p

27. JDX
Kuromimi  TP: 7
1225p

28. Kupomogli
Kinnison  TP: 7
2075p

29. Aurelius
Kahn  TP: 4
3000p

30. Omm
Yoshino  TP: 2
1225p

31. Aylee
Luc  TP: 14
4450p

32. Tabor
Ted  TP: 3
1275p

33. TvsAdam
McDohl  TP: 2
875p

34. Sundoulos
Hai Yo  TP: 15
3475p

Anyone else?

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