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The TV is Off September 11, 2006

Josh - 9:56 EST

Yeah, so I didn't get any sleep last night. I sat in bed from 1AM to 5AM, apparently not succumbing to the sweet, sweet unconscious that takes up a good third of my day, usually. Then I had PT (but I'm excused at the moment, due to my busted I just drilled people around for a bit), then a doctor's appointment (some more time in the splint each day for three more weeks! Huzzah!), then class, to include fencing (at this point, $%#% the splint), and so here I sit now, typing this intro during my lunch break.

However, due to the fact that today is this day, and because Al Gore invented the Internet, I think I'm being watched. I dunno what this feeling is, but...I'm going to tackle these letters anyway...

Well, technically this is #4.

Hey Ouro,

Anyways, when RPG Maker 2 came out, I had an awesome game in mind. It took me literally forever and I didn't get much of anything complete so I scrapped my idea.

The game I had planned out had four characters, each having a special gift from birth(everyone in the world had a special gift.) One character was a master of martial arts and learned different martial art skills and when using them, had a chance to learn the higher ones that you can't learn at a dojo(like SaGa Frontiers spell system, you can buy a few but not the best ones in each area mixed with Kanon from Wild ARMs 2.) Another character in the game was purely magic based and learned magic on levels up. Another character was a blue mage and learned all his spells from the enemies. The last and final character though(the main character,) was who the storyline was based off of mainly.


Eh, sorry. I'm anti-randomness when it comes to learning skills. As much as I love SaGa Frontier II, I still get pissed about the fact that you can literally sit there for hours just trying to learn a single skill, and if you had someone else playing the exact same thing as you, they could potentially learn it within seconds. Just my take. Kudos on Blue Magic, though. ^^

The main character actually gets his powers through different artifacts in the game. So you get further and he acquires a new ability. That's also the basis of the storyline. The characters are out together and their village is attacked, everyone is killed, and the elder tells them to go to this snow cave. This is where the main character finally learns of his power and the elder tells him the area where it can be used. On a small deserted island to the south there is a tear in space and the main characters power allows them to enter a parallel world. There's a person who is just like the main character that they meet who is also collecting the power from artifacts as well and collecting the power from each one lets you go to each next parallel world(although you can return to any other below that ones level.) Unfortunately, I only made it to where they get past the first one and enter the next one, meet the character who has the same ability as the main character and such.

I actually had so much planned for it, where the enemy would get allies of his own etc. I even wanted to include a secret dungeon named Hell's Gate in honor of my favorite game. I was going to actually place the only extra character in the game at the bottom of that dungeon. After you showed him your power, he decides to join you. I wanted to make him have ever ability all the other characters had, and then a few extras(since he'd be the most powerful boss in the game.) I never got that far, but I certainly thought about it.

-andrew- -kupomogli-


Neat. I'm all for any sort of time-traveling or dimension-hopping. I do like the idea of the parallel worlds where you are essentially fighting against yourself. I think for simplicity's sake, keeping it at two worlds would be great. I'm saying this, because theoretically, there's a copy of each player in each world, and once you cover good and evil, what other qualities are worth giving to the next ones? Kinda-sorta-mean? It also allows for more variety in each of the specific worlds, instead of just copying things over and over again as you progress through each parallel world. However, your idea is sound, and I'd like to see something like it put into play, 'cause there aren't too many (that I can think of...) games where they couple that man vs. man & man vs. self at the same time, in also the same person!

And then there were 5!

Tovarisch Ourobolus...

But you asked about ideas for RPGs. As I have no technical talent whatsoever, and can barely manage manipulation of Word and Excel, this stuff will never happen. But I'll throw a couple out there anyway.

First off, I kinda like the idea of having the final boss be accessible from the start. He (or maybe she - never know!) is in charge of the planet, and I think I'll make it Earth in the future. This guy conquered the planet long enough ago that anyone who remembered it before his ascent is dead, and has a rule that citizens confident of their skills can challenge him in combat rather than lead a rebellion, with no repercussions for those who challenge him one-on-one. There might be a prologue with the hero(ine) trying to take him on as a small child, and the guy deciding to grant mercy. The player can march up and challenge him anytime, but without gaining a LOT of skill instant death will be the result. There would have to be quite a few missions around the world to complete, many involving combat with people who have decided to join rather than fight the main guy. Clearly a lot needs to be worked out - how's the central concept?


It's not bad. Seems kinda like a combination between Lavos and those games where you have to win some tournament in order to get a shot at the end boss. Since story would likely be a slim part of the game, the battle system would have to be exemplary. But hey, I'm all for doing something in order to rule the world. ^^

I've also had an idea about Sonic the Hedgehog. Think on it for a moment: Sonic's about the age now that Mario was when HE first started branching into RPGs, and Sonic has enough characters to make it work. Especially if the comic series is factored in - but clearly a turn-based combat system wouldn't work for a Sonic RPG. We'd have to have some new variant on action-RPG mechanics to deal with the fact that so few characters in the Sonic universe can keep up with him. There've been enough bad guys in Sonic lore to make up a good villainous cast without relying exclusively upon Dr. Robotnik. He's demonstrated enough special techniques to make some form of magic system too... and an RPG ought not be so nasty with the camera angles as 3D action Sonics are!


Hm...speed is probably a bit harder to translate into the RPG world rather than jumping is (OH MY GOD, are you Mario? Can you jump for me?! Wowow!), due to the relatively slower speed of the genre. Maybe some plot line where he's trying to regain his speed for some reason? *shot in the dark*

Oh, I got it. Use a Tails of Destiny (Get it? Haha, I'm priceless. ^^;) interface, or Star Ocean, where Sonic can charge around the battlefield, destroying his enemies.

Oh, and there's no shame in your having tried Sailor Moon: Another Story. While hardly the greatest RPG ever made, it's better than decent; especially in the world of anime-based games. And it has some nice music. Admittedly you'll get more out of the story if you've actually seen some of the first three show seasons, and NOT the dubbed version because they altered so much and made it sound moronic.

JuMeSyn again... hopefully lacking mental illness


Sailor Moon...yeah, I watched a few of em...despite the fact that it was basically anime-Power Rangers, I somehow enjoyed it (I was young, naive, and ready to -believe-), although I was what...I think it came to the US in '95, so...11. But, having never seen the original Japanese dub, I wouldn't be able to tell.

'Til next week, JuMeSyn!

I wonder how long I can keep this up.

Hiya Ouro,

Guess you must be feeling just a little bit tired, aye? Don't worry, you'll catch up on your sleep. Eventually.

So...THONG (or THOOTNG, if you prefer)

L5) B - I like this letter because I got this grade in History!

5) B - Big towers. Mmmmhhhhmmm.... Bacon.......

Just wanna say that I think you're doing a great job with Q&A, and so you should give yourself a pat on the back. Possibly followed by a hug.


Yay! I aim to please. And, failing that, your head! ^^

I remember, waaaay back, possibly even a whole 3 years ago (! =P), I created an rpg using one of those creators that were floating around then. It had awesome 2d graphics, each tile created painstakingly by hand, with self-composed MIDI music. Unfortunately, as this was before I had heard of the concept of originality, the plot involved a young boy who set off to save his world by collecting 8 magic-super-mega-death-crystal of DOOM! (tm), thus allowing him to defeat the boss, who was an uber-villian who may have used the same sprite as Gestahl. or may not have. Please don't sue me, Squenix!

However, due to computer hardware being completely unreliable, my pc contracted 1001 viruses, all intent on destroying my game. So the computer was wiped, and nearly 6 moths hard work was destroyed.


Hehe. My little brother used to write stories with the characters from the Final Fantasy game he was playing at the time. The writing was horrible, and the plotlines were inane, but at least he tried. I still make sure to poke fun at him, though. What are brothers for? Besides, you gotta start somewhere. I say, use what works until you know exactly how to make something of your own, then go with that.

So....question of the day: What companies can be blamed for unoriginality in RPGs? Recently?

Genjuu still sheds a tear for the fate of that poor village boy.


Uh, Magna Carta wasn't all that original, so I guess that's Softmax, Ltd. Stella Deus - Atlus. Practically any Pokemon game after the first few. About 80% of PC RPGs are pretty unoriginal...and...I'm spent. ^^;

Crap. Fading fast.

Thanks for the Sword of Hope 2 info...would you believe I tried the start button and nothing happened? Turns out that button is broken on my SP! First time I've ever had a Nintendo thing break down on me...ah well.

And as for Crystalis, which seems to be getting a bit of attention these days...I picked up a copy of the GBC version from my ever surprising local game shop, and I'm liking it so far..with one problem. I swear I will never get used to not being able to attack diagonally! Apart from that it's a good game, although I understand the original is supposed to be better...

Come to think of it the lack of diagonal attacks kind of ruined Secret of Mana for me as well...I've come into SNES gaming late in life:) and I've got used to having that function there. Of course theres always the possibility that you can do it and I just suck, but there you go:)

*whose bf still hasn't stopped laughing about the save issue*


Glad to be of service! Sorry that you have to suffer through the pokes and prods of your eternally giddy boyfriend, but if it makes you feel any better, I laughed my ass off when I first read this letter. ^^

Well, even though you can't attack diagonally in Secret of Mana, your attacks do have a wide enough of a sweep (well, some weapons do) that you're able to hit more than just the tiles in front of you. But, don't worry, there really wasn't a way to specifically attack diagonally. :P

Luckily, with the advent of 3D gaming, directional attacks aren't limited to 4, 8, or even 16 directions!

Counterpoint! Nooooo!

Hi Josh.

I ordered XGIII yesterday. Since I live in a PAL area, I always import my games from the US. It actually is cheaper than buying new games here, even if you include S&H. I'm really looking forward to it, but I want to finish replaying XGII before I play it. I finished XGI last week...

Anyway, regarding XGII. I was very disappointed with the game when it came out. They replaced some of the voice actors, mostly to worse ones, IMO. The GS campaign (why do the FAQs list this as the G2 campaign? It clearly says Good Samaritan...) was boring at times, the battles frustrating, the music not at all on par with the previous game and the exclusion of the database was a bit annoying.


Yeah, I never understood that G2 thing. Maybe I could understand confusing '5' with 'S,' but 2? Aigoo.

However, it has many good points.

Firstly, the story is excellent, we get some very cool moments and some questions are answered (more are raised, though).

Secondly, while the mundane music isn't very good, at least there's something to listen to while you're walking around. The opening theme is wonderfulm even though I don't like the song rendition of it - the words are pretty silly. It was strange how in the first game the music was excellent, in my opinion, but non-existent unless you were in cut scenes or a couple of dungeons. That problem was remedied, somewhat. Also, the music in the cut scenes of XGII is pretty good most of the time. Another thing I really enjoyed, musically, in XGI was that the music in that game had so many references to Xenogears. In practically every theme you could hear the influences from that game. In XGII all connection to the previous games was dismissed.


Three words: London Philharmonic Orchestra. They provided the music for the first game, impressive, to say the least. I'm actually trying to get tickets to see them at Carnegie Hall in November. The overall music of XSII, however, is rather lacking. Don't get me wrong, -some- of it is good, but on the whole, I wasn't a fan.

Also, the battle system is tough, but interesting. Some of the regular battles can be more difficult than boss battles. Fighting requires strategy and thinking. I liked how they abolished shops, you're not running after money, except for that one loooong GS mission. Combining all the different points to one system is an excellent idea. It's true that the characters aren't as specialized as in the first game, but with no equipment and only one point set, it's really easy to keep everyone around the same level.


Eh...the battle system was EASILY abused. You start racking up those chain combos, as well as gaining Stock while doing so, and you can practically obliterate anything you come across. The last boss, for instance, was a cakewalk using those combos. It had a little bit of strategy, where you had to figure out the Break, but I'm pretty sure you could just Analyze them. Attack magic was also useless, and support magic was the only type of Ether worth investing in.

Lastly, in the first game the AGWS were practically useles, at least for me. Even the strongest model didn't do as much damage as my characters did at the time. However in the second game you're forced to use the ES, but that battle system is a lot better handled than the previous game.


Yes. AGWS were completely useless, I agree. If you had been forced to use the AGWS, it might have been something good, but as it stood, there was no reason to even touch them.

So while I think the first is better overall, there are ways in which XGII is superior. I agree that it's nowhere near perfect, but once people find something they kinda don't like, they sometimes tend to form more extreme opinions without seeing the merits of what they're dealing with.

So I'd say that XGII is worth playing. Besides, sword fighting is cool.

Zohar Gilboa


Well, like I said yesterday, I was rather debating what exactly to tell him. I'm all for finishing the game, just because the story is SO good. But I will have to disagree with you on the battle system. Since the battle system is pretty much the only other main part of the game, when it's messed up, it -really- detracts from the overall experience. So while you may view it as an extreme, sometimes things just are really irritating. I do hope he finishes it, though, because the ending is something that has to be seen.

I guess you have to have some benefits. :P

Why is everyone complaining about the times Ouro's column gets put up? It seems quite reasonable to be rading them around the 10am to 2 pm timeframe. "Evil laugh"


Oh, just shut up. :D

Anyway my local Retail storwe has surprised me again, by placing Harvest Moon for PS2 on its shelf (The GC version with the extra content). Firstly I never knew the game was released in PAL and secondly I think someone with some knowledge of games is working in the shipment order department as this particular retail store was more known for having Spongebob Squarepants games then RPG's!


I'm very sorry to hear about the previous state of the store, but it's good to hear that it's improving. ^^

Anywho modem problems aside my short RPG idea is:
An open world game like Oblivion using the Paper Mario Universe! Play as a goomba, koopatrooper, boo and plenty more. Take quests, hire new party members. Buid your own Paper houses, boats e.t.c. Special Cameos by the mario cast! Battle system akin to PM: TYD. Plenty of quests, with the same fun humour. Downloadable features like new building paper blocks, new paper areas, new musc e.t.c. Use the Wiimote to fold your character into its special abilities, plenty of mini game madness.

Anyway Bainick has ran out of time himself.


Hahaha! I like it! You never see really goofy games like this with any sort of extreme development in the open-endedness category. You could probably add a multiplayer feature where each player has a party that can fight against the others, or invade each other's houses and whatnot. Add a sort of strategic element to the game...actually, this really doesn't sound too shabby of an idea. I'm tired of games taking themselves seriously! Nintendo, I hope to see some pretty sweet stuff this fall!

Thanks for sharing, Bainick!

You have to be kidding me.

I recently stumbled into Game Force and found a used Greatest Hits version of FF7 selling for $70! When I politely asked the proprietor of the fine establishment exactly what the #^@* was going on, he explained to me that Advent Children apparently sent the public into some sort of FF7 crazed frenzy. I looked up the venerable FF7 and found new original copies selling for $400!!! Am I really this friggin' old already?! Are the games on my top 10 list such ancient relics that their sale prices rival those of artifacts dug up in Egypt and behind glass at the Smithsonian?! Perhaps the more pressing question is, would I be the biggest sellout RPGamer ever if I started selling off parts of my apparently prized collection if I don't play them anymore? People seem to be chomping at the bit to pay hundreds of dollars for games I largely regard as crap (DISCLAMIER: I am in no way including FF7 with said pile of fecal matter). Rare crap, mind you, but crap nonetheless. I've been in hoard mode for the last decade or so, and am really looking at cashing in. I am by no means a collector and play every game I buy, but what's the point of keeping a game I don't like in my collection if people want to pay me way more money for the game than I did? What's your hoarding policy? Am I copout, or am I just now seeing the capitalistic light?




Hey, if you plan on never playing them again, feel free to get rid of them, especially if you can make a bundle in the process! There's no law against making a...carry the two...900% profit on a video game! In fact, I have a used copy upstairs...maybe I can go make some money...

I'm a packrat, but I'll toss in a few games for THONG, as well as sell them if I either really need the money or just don't care about the game anymore. Besides, I need to get fuel in my car somehow! ^^;

Combat Log

Luca Blight prepares to attack!.
Leaper moves to Tile 6.
Arpijy moves to Tile 3.
Gouden Draak moves to Tile 8.
Tabor moves to Tile 10.

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!

Luca Blight

Mweeheehee...I can feel you all trembling with fear!

Answer to #L5: C. 33
Tricky, no? Kid, Van, Glenn, Radius, Viper, and Lynx are all characters from Chrono Cross. 33 = CC. A good number of you got this one right, though. But maybe this next question will decide whether or not Luca attacks...

#L6. In the woods where those crazy monkeys live, the door to the Great Tree is locked! What do you do?

A. Find the key!
B. Call a locksmith!
C. Bomb it!
D. Hit the switch!
E. Wait for a guard to open it!
F. Break it down!

THONG Question

Answer to #5: A. A play by Shakespeare.
Ok, I'm REALLY, really surprised that more people didn't get this question right. Come on guys, haven't you played Illusion of Gaia? The Princess's pig, Hamlet, sacrifices himself so that the party can survive! Told you you'd be kicking yourselves. A few of you thought it was a reference to Roger Bacon in Shadow Hearts, but...he never really sacrificed anything (nor himself), and none of the answers really reflected that game.
I'll be gentle today. ^^

#6.The following are IN ORDER: Resonance, Fusion, Selection, Conception, Liberation, ___________.

A. Obfuscation
B. Destruction
C. Discord
D. Evolution
E. Rebirth


Uh...ok, I'm going to go catch up on my sleep. Take care guys, and hang in there! Oh yeah. Keep Matt company. ^^

***Josh hasn't beaten his record of 80 hours.

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Back to the backlog!

RPGs I'm currently playing:

1. Romancing SaGa

2. Radiata Stories

3. Wild Arms: ACF

THONG Players:

1. Roku
Flik  TP: 1

2. Bainick
Hero 2  TP: 1

3. Leaper
Antonio  TP: 2

4. Macstorm
Mazus  TP: 0

6. BLG
Sid  TP: 0

7. Arros Raikou
Kage  TP: 0

8. Xlash
Gijimu  TP: 0

9. Donovan
Clive  TP: 1

10. Slimey
Gadget  TP: 2

11. Bucket
Millie  TP: 2

12. Draconn
Mondo  TP: 2

13. Genjuu
Pesmerga  TP: 2

14. Alan Tse
Hoi  TP: 0

15. TheBluick
Fu Su Lu  TP: 0

16. Gouden Draak
Rubi  TP: 1

17. Slashlen
Lorelai  TP: 6

18. JuMeSyn
Odessa  TP: 0

19. PureLunatic
Viktor  TP: 2

21. William.T
Killey  TP: 3

22. Arpijy
Hix2  TP: 2

23. Spiffyness
Badeaux  TP: 2

24. Reivax
Kasim  TP: 1

25. Carabbit
Viki  TP: 1

26. Vicissitude
Clive2  TP: 1

27. JDX
Kuromimi  TP: 1

28. Kupomogli
Kinnison  TP: 1

29. Aurelius
Kahn  TP: 2

30. Omm
Yoshino  TP: 2

31. Aylee
Luc  TP: 1

32. Tabor
Ted  TP: 6

Anyone else?

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