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Ye Shall Be as Monkeys June 19, 2006

Josh - 11:03 EST

So...uh...

Apologies beforehand, as upon my return from Gettysburg, I found that my THONG spreadsheet ceased to exist. So...I have to go through the mail and figure out who had what email addresses and such. I don't really know what happened, though I'm positive I saved it, but whatever. It'll be fine for next weekend, as I'll have had it re-written by then. If you wrote me a letter already, it'll count for next Saturday, so you don't need to send another one in for it to count. Again, sorry. >_<

I really need to work out all the kinks. Needless to say, I'm positive that things will smooth out eventually, so please bear with me until then. I mean, it's been pretty good so far, right? ^^

The trip was pretty sweet. We had a Colonel with us who basically knew everything about the battles, so had I been interested in history, it would have been great. Unfortunately, history and I don't get along well, so I spent a lot of time scratching my head wondering why it was so frickin' hot outside. Food was good though. The bus kept overheating every time we turned the AC on though.

Yargh...so I'll try to have that THONG thing back up and running.

Clarification: Just to make sure, you need to send me letters that I can POST in the column. They might not get posted since I get a lot of mail, but it doesn't count if you just send me an email saying that you are writing in just for the sake of THONG, with no actual content. I'm watching you guys... :P




L E T T E R S
FF Fanboy! RUN!


I've recently been reading a lot of stuff on rpgamer bashing final fanasy X... I never knew other people disliked that game, I thought I was alone in my anger over that game. but since others have said pretty much anything I wanted to say on the matter I'll leave it at that.

I recently finished Tales of Symphonia and really enjoyed it. There were a ton of little secret things all over the place, the combat was fun if a tad easy and the anime cutscenes were a nice addition as well, even if I wished there were more of them. I really liked the fact, when I was on disc one, that I kept thinking to myself ok THIS has to be when I go to disc two, and I was allways wrong. Then on disc two I kept thinking I was in the last dungeon only to realize I wasn't finished and there was more game and another dungeon. It kept me on my toes in a way that hasn't happened in a long time.

Now that I finished the game I have the long wait till the next game I want to play comes out. Why do good games/rpgs allways seem to come in bursts so that I have months with nothing to play and then 3 games I have to catch up on.

I hope you had/having fun in gettysberg that was one of my favorite vacations I ever had when I was 13 or 14. almost as cool as when I went to Las Vegas and swam with Mr. T at the Ballys hotel pool. I asked him why he wasn't wearing his jewelry in the pool. he said "If I was wearing my jewelry, I'd drown" (all in a very angry Mr. T voice).

last comment, I am buyig a ps3 because I buy whatever system final fantasy games are on. yes, I'm one of those. that is how I purchased all my systems in the past. I do have other systems but I buy them when they are cheap like my gamecube I got for 50 bucks.

-TheBluick

Josh

Well, there's nothing wrong with hating FFX. Sure, there are an obscene number of people who loved it (I thought it was great), but...eh.

That's awesome to hear about Tales of Symphonia. Games that always keep you wondering whether or not the end is near are few and far between. I don't own a GameCube, and the only Tales game I've even had the chance to play was the original Tales of Destiny (which I thought was pretty fun), but I may have to find a way to check this one out. I've heard mostly great things about it. Here's me waiting for the Wii so I can go back and get all those GCN games I missed out on.

Gettysburg was nice, but I've been there several times, and with a father who's obsessed with military history, so this was all a rehash for me. I wished I had gotten to sleep in. ;_;

Heh, I guess I followed Final Fantasy around too, but not actively. It just turned out that way. I initially had an SNES, then got a PSX after realizing that there were a ton of great games for it, more so than N64, and then a PS2 after enjoying my PSX so much.



I can't see straight.


What games have truly immersed you in their worlds? I ask this because I recently picked up Morrowind again. I can't wait to play Oblivion, but I'm disciplining my naughty bad self and not buying anymore games until I beat or sell what I have (which is way, WAY too many games). Anyway, no game has ever grabbed me quite like Morrowind has. On some level, I realize just what a boring, stupid game it is.

I mean, come on. Quest #5912: Run to the other side of the huge island for the thousandth time, follow the worst directions given ever, fumble around, stumble upon key item, return item to quest origin, lather, rinse, repeat.... What made me realize what a ridiculous game it is was when a friend insisted I play it, so she could see what it was like. Within five minutes, she was bored out of her mind, and I was absolutely hooked again. I spent hours just running around, raiding people's homes for alchemic components, only stopping to combine elements when I could carry no more. This last week, I've been an insomniac mess. Never has sleep deprivation felt so good... What, in God's name, could possibly compell me to do this to myself?

It has to be the level of immersion. I've heard others talk about the same phenomenon with MMORPGs. Those, praise be, never hooked me. What is it about certain games that just reels the player in and refuses to let go? Part of Morrowind's immersive appeal is its scope and complex lore. I think character customization and first-person views can also contribute to the effect. But there's something deeper going on here, and I'm just too damn hooked right now to see what it is. My only saving grace is that my plane leaves in a few hours to take me away from my precious...we needs it...but we also needs this vacation, precious, what's taters?...and I need some sleep too, apparently.

Confessions of,
Vicissitude the skooma junkie

Josh

Immersion works differently for me. The world itself helps, but for me, it takes a really good story and an awesome soundtrack to keep me in. Morrowind was ok, but I couldn't keep playing it. I just got entirely too tired of just walking back and forth doing the mundane quests. The levelling system was easily abused, and the fact of the matter was that there is such a thing as too much open-endedness. Morrowind had a great soundtrack. Seriously. The one song that played throughout the entire game was a great song. I think the OST was a single track (OK, it wasn't -really-, but if you've played it, you -know- what song I'm talking about).

I did enjoy what it did have to offer, but I just think that there was too much...stuff. I don't mean good stuff...just extraneous stuff that didn't really enhance the game, just made it more tedious. So for now, I'm staying away from Oblivion.

As for games that have kept me immersed, I felt like I was there in FFX, Xenogears, and Breath of Fire: DQ. The worlds were beautiful, the music was grand, and the stories were engaging. I wanted to be a part of it. Not many games can say they've done that to me.



Pre-gaming for the DS?


Hey Josh,

Breaking news(from me anyway): Since the DS Lite is out now I thought about getting one but there are still no DS only games I really want and they were currently out of stock. I ended up getting a Gameboy Advance SP and 3 FF games (I&II Dawn of Souls[a non-DS game with a DS subtitle], IV Advance and Tactics Advance) for around $60 instead.

All that was used of course, but the price was right. Now this means I can finally give Tactics Advance a second chance since it is currently the only FF I have played and not beaten.

My only advice for purchasing used handhelds is to double check that they gave you the right AC adapter BEFORE you drive all the way home.

Xlash the dwarf berserker

Josh

Uh...rock on? :P

I still haven't found a single game for DS that I want yet either, so I feel ya. That deal you got for the 3 games and the system is awesome, though. However, I have to warn you that FFTA blows. Hard. I love TRPGs, and I couldn't get past half of that game - it was just so damn boring. I'd start killing my characters, hoping that I'd get enough experience to just make the game explode, but alas, to no avail.



The first step is admitting you have a problem ;)


Hi Ouro.

I'm not sure if you're into VG-music, but I am. Basically, I'm too lazy to actively search new music, so I listen to music that comes along. That's why most of my music is soundtracks, mostly from video games. Another reason that is that VG OSTs have a lot of tracks and are pretty long. Since I'm kind of a perfectionist, I like to have entire OSTs and not just select songs.

The thing is, when people ask me "what do you listen to", I always answer first "various things". That's true, because the none-VG music I listen to is varied, though a minority compared to the VG music. When they look at me quizzically I'm forced to explain that I also listen to music from Japanese video games.

My question is this. Usually with that statement comes a slight feeling of shame. I like that music, it also has a lot of different styles. But when people hear it for the first time, I feel (and rightly so, I think) that they think it's childish and not very serious.

Do you listen to VG music at all? Do you get that feeling too? I usually try not to care too much about what other people think, but listening to OSTs is so "out there" that people often have a negative opinion about them.

Zohar

Josh

Yes. I love VG music. It's a disturbing thing for me, sometimes, since I'm your standard closet gamer. I play video games, people know I play video games, but they don't know that I listen to a ton of VG music, nor do they know that I work for some RPG website. It's not that I'm ashamed, it's just that I know how to read people, and there's a time and a place to drop the bomb and point out that you've got some geeky tendencies. ^^

Here's a trick: Buy Final Fantasy X: Piano Collections. I got my boss to play it at work (a copy of it), and nobody can tell the difference. I've played it in my car, because the CD is just that awesome, and then afterwards my friends will ask me what it is from, and then I'll let em know. It rather softens the blow.

OSTs I own:

  • FFV-X
  • FFX Piano
  • Xenogears
  • Chrono Cross
  • SaGa Frontier II
  • FF Tactics
  • Halo 2
Yes, I'm a Square fanboy when it comes to music. So sue me. :P

You want to get some weird looks? Drive around town blaring "Disco*Prince" from We <3 Katamari. That'll get you some looks. Luckily, it's catchy enough that people tend to start humming, and before they know it, they want to hear it again. Heheheh...



Remember playing as Cecil in the Kingdom of Paramekia?


Hello, Josh; somewhat of a quick topic here. (I always write Matt a really long, involving letter. Sorry man, I'll think one up for you someday.) After reading yesterday's column and seeing Matt's, Arros' and Erika's indignation at the woman on GameSpot who mentioned she owned no less than 5 rare RPG's in order to look "cool", I got to thinking.....are we on somewhat of a high horse as RPGamers?

Okay, I have to admit that I have the shameful tendency to look down on my non-RPGaming friends who are obsessed with such things as Halo and Burnout. I harbour some small thought that I, as an avid player of RPG's, am above them in the gaming arena. It seems to me that a lot of us RPGamers seem to think like I do, actually; it becomes subtly apparant while browsing RPGamer.

But really, we have to understand that RPG's just aren't everyone's cup of tea. It's just another genre of games among many, and its all just a matter of preference what we do and don't enjoy. And I admit that I enjoy other types of games as well. (Action adventures and such, usually.) So as much as I'd like to think that I'm a more "intelligent" gamer for playing RPG's, I must remind myself that I am not.

As much as I love RPGamer, I sometimes wonder if our method of segregating ourselves from all other genres of games has resulted in the formation of some type of....well....a cult? We're not a cult, are we?

Are we?

Oh my God we are, aren't we? And I've been converted haven't I? All this time, I never knew!! No! No! NOOOOO!

Heheheheh.

So here's a quicky for you: do you get ticked off when ignorant people continue to refer to FF4 and FF6 as FF2 and FF3, respectively? Because let me tell you: IT DRIVES ME NUTS! There's a guy I know from work who KNOWS the proper titles, and yet insists on using the retro-numbering system. Every time we get into a discussion about FF4 or 6, I feel like slitting my wrists. And then there's the people who are all looking forward to fighting Kefka again in the DS remake of FF3....Jeezus, I can't stand it. Just a really wierd, personal thing; if you find it impossible to reply to this, then just forget about it.

Have a good one,
Oliver.

Josh

First off - 'quick topic?' Sheesh.

Yes, we are of a specific breed of gamers. RPGs are generally thought of as games that require more than random button mashings to complete, they are composed of complex stories that have more twists and turns than your standard novel, and they have you in control of characters that develop in ways that are more significant than just picking up your next firearm. Because of this, we are perceived as the gamers who think rather than blow stuff up (and all I have to say to that is "come play me in Unreal Tournament, and then we'll talk"). It's not necessarily true, but it isn't without some truth.

And RPGamers aren't part of a cult. You are, though. You read my column, and you wrote in. Tsk tsk...I hope you brought your tennis shoes and fruit punch, 'cause we're heading towards the mothership in a few days.

Yes, it pisses me off, but I also understand that those gamers who never moved on to another FF after FF6 never understood that there was a difference. I correct them, sure, but it still perturbs me a tad. Nothing more than just setting them on fire using kittens, but that's a pretty mild punishment for ignorance, methinks. ^^



And now my mind is numb. *pokes* Didn't feel a thing.


Dear Ourobolus

First time writer here, props to your board game for encouraging me to write in. My question is this, with the World Cup going on I've been really interested in Football and I an wondering if there are any RPGs out there that revolve around the sport? If not how do you think one could work?

Perhaps it would work like a monster rancher or pokemon game where you train a team or player and pit it against others. (like a shot of RPG in Football Manager's Heart) Perhaps it would work better if you had to save the world once you found out Team Brazil was actually a group of life like mechs (a la terminator) bent on taking over the world.

Lately I've also been playing a lot of Final Fantasy X and I'm loving the blitzball (which is kinda like underwater football)! I'm so addicted I've spent more time playing blitzball than the actual game. Though it has its flaws, I think that such a game would work really well on a portable like the PSP especially with multiplayer functions and a tweaking of the mechanics.

If you can please let me be Gogo in your board game

Thankyou
-soulofbass-

Josh

Well, thanks for the kind words on THONG. I'll try not to let it explode in my face. ^^;;;

Any RPGs that revolve around a sport...? Um...I guess you could count those sports games where you control every aspect of every player's training. Nothing readily comes to mind.

::Ourobolus pines for the days of Mega Man Soccer...drooooollll::

Portable Blitzball would be interesting. I thought the camera angles in that game were just so weird, but I suppose it could work with two screens. I'm pretty good at soccer in real life, but I needed some work at Blitzball ^^;;





T H O N G
Combat Log

None. ::Stabs Microsoft Excel::


For lower resolutions, click here

Presenting...

THE HOPEFULLY OUTSTANDING NEW GAME!

Or, THONG for short. For now, the prizes will be limited to Guest-Hosting opportunities, since this is essentially an experiment. I'm positive that it will turn out well, though! Now, for the setup:

This is the game board. If you ever talk to CactuarJoe, make sure to thank him for the wonderful job he did! Thanks Joe!

If you want to join: Please send me your top 3 choices for characters for your game piece. A list of them that can be used can be found here. Please only choose from the "PARTY" or "NPC" links. Also make sure that the character has a left/right-facing sprite, and a front/back facing sprite. Thanks!

  • Everyone begins the game on START.
  • For every letter you write in, I will roll a 3-sided die (I'll use RPGamer's resident Random Number Generator, DiceyBot). That will determine how many spaces you move.
  • You may only get credit for one letter, per day - max 3 per weekend. Timestamps will be checked, and only letters sent during Friday - Monday before my column will be counted towards that weekend. Letters sent at other times during the week will not count until Saturday.
  • Letters must be addressed to me, at either qna@rpgamer.com or ourobolus@rpgamer.com. Letters will get credit even if they are unanswered, or even if Matt answers them. Letters must contain content that could be potentially posted in a column.
  • If you land on a Spell Tile, you MUST use the spell listed on the Tile. Spells and their effects are listed after the rules.
  • The Trivia Tile MUST be landed on before you may enter the FINISH Tile. Answering the trivia question correctly will automatically grant you entry into the FINISH Tile, and you will receive the prize.
  • If you reach the Trivia Tile, another reader who is participating in the game will ask you a question. However, the person who lands on the Tile decides WHICH reader asks the question, as well as WHICH RPG from which the question will be asked (e.g. "Wonderslime wants Bainick to ask him a question about Chrono Trigger").
  • If the person who provides the question has not played the game, they may use anything necessary to come up with a question. Failure to provide a question over 2 days of my column will result in the same effect as if the receiver answered the question right, and he/she will progress to the FINISH Tile.
  • The Prize for this initial board will be 5 Guest Hosting positions. Once those are completed, a new board will be created, probably with more prizes.
  • The effects will go as such. Movement->Spells Cast->Effects. Everyone will move at the same time, all spells will be cast at the same time, and all effects will happen at the same time. Attack spells will be cast at the beginning of the day after they were landed on.

Spell effects are as follows:

  • Bolt 1: Player chooses another player to push back 1 tile.
  • Bolt 2: Player chooses another player to push back 2 tiles.
  • Stop: Player must send in a letter to lose the 'Stop' status, at which point he may send in a letter the next day to resume rolling.
  • Haste: Player receives an extra roll which will make him/her advance 1-3 tiles.
  • Slow: Player receives an extra roll which will make him/her retreat 1-3 tiles.
  • Merton: Player chooses another player to push back 4 tiles, at the cost of Player moving back 2 tiles.
  • Roulette: I roll a 20-sided die. Any players standing on that numbered tile are pushed back 2 tiles.
C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

THONG Players: If for some reason you don't see your name on the sidebar, please shoot me an email. I have a sinking feeling that I accidentally deleted one of your emails, so I want to make sure. Thanks.

Well, I hope this is the last hiccup this game suffers. ::prays::

Have a fun week with Matt, and be prepared for some more THONG action next weekend! Take care!


ourobolus@rpgamer.com
***Josh starts writing the spreadsheet again...


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Josh's Top 3 Distractions:

1. Guild Wars: Factions

2. Sleeping

3. Plotting to take over this site

RPGs I'm currently playing:

1. Grandia III

2. Xenosaga II

3. Romancing SaGa

4. Radiata Stories

5. Wild Arms: ACF

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Fairy Esper

2. Gouden Draak
Blue Dragon

3. Macstorm
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6. Bainick
Mog

7. Angel
Celes

8. Wonderslime
Gestahl

9. Powerlord
Ultros

10. Vicissitude
Wedge

11. Bucket
Relm

12. Donovan
Setzer

13. Roku
Locke

14. JCIV
Umaro

15. Arros Raikou
Sabin

16. The Bluick
Imp

17. Chinroku
Owain

18. Xlash
Duncan

19. Alan Tse
Siegfried

20. AcidKnight
Figaro Soldier

21. soulbass
Gogo

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