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Overpass September 30, 2006

Josh - 3:10 EST

Starting to work on this column a day before it goes up so I have plenty of time to go cheer my team on at Beaver Stadium.

So, let me relate to you a story that just reinforces the fact that people are, in fact, -not- shining beacons of wonder and intelligence, but that unfortunately, most are found to be resembling something that merely constitute the same features of a rock - rocks.

Anyway...so I was at work at the restaurant, and it was nearing closing time. A group of eight had phoned ahead so that their food would be ready by the time they got there. They showed up much later than they said, so after reheating their food, I brought it out to them. I then waded through the sea of infants they had brought along with them, counting down the seconds until my freedom from a rather consumer-hell.

The door to the restaurant is rather difficult to open, since its position on the building invites the wind to push upon it, and the door is pretty heavy by itself, as well. You need to actually use some force to open the damn thing, is what I'm getting at here. So, as the group finally leaves, they fail to exert the necessary effort needed to open the door (read: more than the zero they were applying), and complained that I had locked them in. Now, while I normally spend hours at home performing the necessary training to increase my ability to annoy people telepathically, I explained to them that it wasn't my fault, and they just had to push hard.

Apparently, during their complaining, they had actually managed to -lock- the door. By the time I got there, it was not only locked, but jammed. So, while I fiddle with the bolt for a good ten to fifteen minutes, I dealt with a barrage of annoyance from them, after they realized that they were, in fact, completely retarded.

I finally got the portal open, and I held it open for them, while pointing my finger outside. I glared at them, and said in a not-so-calm manner, "GET OUT!" The group of people behind them started laughing their heads off at this point.

So...please...convince me that there is some hope, or at least cheer me up. Now do you see why I'm so cynical? ^^

I added a section before THONG so I can rant more. Huzzah!




L E T T E R S
Tony Hunt - 3 Touchdowns!


Josh,

Well. I was dead set against shelling out the bucks for a PS3, then seeing the videos you linked for White Knight Story and Afrika shook my resolve a little. You were right about the awesomeness of White Knight Story; if the actual game is as half as interesting as the the video, that should be an impressive game! As for Afrika, my wife noticed the video, and immediately was immediately hooked with interest. She spent the majority of her childhood living in Kenya and South Africa , and loves anything that reminds her of the "bush." If I do end up with a PS3, that game will probably be a must, regardless of what it is. Between these and MGS4, I may have to beat down fiscally-conservative Sundoulos and get a PS3, though I'm sure that I won't do it until the next console generation is well-established and the prices start dropping.

Josh

Yeah, I completely understand though...that game does look intense, and I'm hoping once more details of WKS are released, that it will reinforce my decision to get a PS3 at some point.

I'm really having trouble deciding which version of Twilight Princess I want to get. I've been playing the Zelda series since the original on the NES. As much as I like the novelty of controlling Link with the Wii's controller, I can't help but think I'll want to gravitate to the old control scheme. Plus, I won't have to deal with my wife laughing at me while I wildly swing the Wii controller around. Either way, like a true geek, I will probably buy the other version after the price has dropped.

Josh

I'll admit that while I do love the Wii's innovation with motion sensing technology, the fact that I may have to act out everything I want to do does somewhat irk me. I mean, imagining myself standing in my living room swatting thin air just makes my head spin. Since I don't have a GameCube, though...my options are rather limited. I don't really mind, as it will be a good game to play to get used to the novelty of the motion-sensing.

Either way, I'm definitely planning on getting a Wii. As a guy who works in software devleopment (i.e. code monkey), I understand the outstanding potential the Wii system will have for games; however, I have to admit that I'm leary of the fact that future installments of my favorite franchises may no longer be played with a traditional controller. As much as I love Nintendo's innovation, I think sometimes they can be a little stubborn about implementing their ideas, even if it makes it inconvenient for the end user. Case in point: the forced use of the GBA connectivity with the 'Cube in games such as FF: Crystal Chronicles. Hindsight is 20/20, I guess. Here's a current example: I like playing Star Fox Command, but I would still rather use the crosspad than be forced to use the stylus. A lot of people like the game, but I have still seem many remarks about the control scheme. Seeing trends like this continuing with the implementation of games like Phantom Hourglass bothers me. I'm getting too old, I guess…

Enough of my rambling. I really enjoy the column! Keep up the good work!
Sundoulos

Josh

This is why I hate playing games on the DS. The stylus drives me nuts. To me, simplicity and ease of use wins over innovative technology when said technology is cumbersome and not really needed. I would much rather use the controller, too...but this stuff just takes time. I originally hated using the analog stick over the d-pad, but eventually I realized that it's a pretty neat thing. I still like the D-pad for more precise things like driving cars (yes, I said PRECISE. Analog sticks are NOT precise when you're doing something at high speed). We'll just have to wait and see, my friend.



Trumpy, you can do stupid things!


Thong, the fish is ready!

Trust me to have more RPG ideas lurking in the back of my head, just waiting for an excuse to see the light of day. So let's go!

I'd like to see an RPG incorporate the dual statuses of wounding and death, just once. Wounding would serve pretty much as it does in Final Fantasy et al, in which a character is incapacitated until revived. Death, however... that would be the equivalent of what happens in Fire Emblem. As in, no resurrections, no second chances. To make it a little less controller-smashing in effect, I'd have death be administered only when a character is vulnerable by being wounded. This would still prompt some great anger though - heh.

Josh

This letter's been in my inbox for awhile, I just sorta forgot about it. Sorry for the lateness! ^^;;;

Many of the TRPGs that incorporate recruitment allow the differentiation between 'wounded' and 'death.' FFT, for instance, gave the characters a 3 turn time limit before a character went from incapacitation to oblivion. Now, in a game with actual, main characters that die for good, based on your actions rather than a plot point? That would be 1) saddening to many people, and 2) hard as hell to program, what with plot points and all.

I have a story idea also. It's somewhat prompted by events in the world at large in recent years, though taken to an extreme we will (hopefully) never see. First off, 25-30 years prior to the game's taking place a horrible war took place. Enemies were undeclared and attacked while hidden amongst the population at large, causing enormous destruction, death, and fear. To combat this, a man rose to power who curtailed all the freedoms of the country. He succeeded in stamping out the enemy, however. The people were by and large quite grateful to be freed of the high probability of death in the near future, and this man rode a great wave of popular acclaim. After this prologue, the protagonist's story begins. Let's have the protagonist be female, since that's done so seldom. She, along with some like-minded younger people, are chafing at the restrictions placed upon them by the regime. This puts her at odds with 95% of older people who remember what too much freedom supposedly got them, and a good percentage of younger people who don't agree. Her outspoken nature forces a flight to another country, because of the regime's immense power. Aid is obtained from the neighboring land, and she returns with the goal of liberating her people. Many of the people are quite unhappy at this prospect, and fight her - imagine towns in which the people refuse to grant you anything without being defeated in battle, or sometimes killed. She will also have to fight her parents, high officers in the government, over their irreconcilable differences. This will probably result in her having to kill her own parents. I have in mind a strategy title, since this will doubtless involve some grand battles - but it could be worked into a more traditional RPG format also. How it denoues is something I haven't quite decided upon... suggestions?

Josh

Winston!! Winston!!

Er...wait. Wrong story.

I like it, and that could definitely make a traditional RPG, at least if you restrict the fighting to the protagonist and her immediate party versus groups of enemies, rather than armies. Say, killing a village elder would net you the territory. Grand battles are good, though, and would make for an excellent TRPG.

while toppling an oppressive regime is hardly original, that doesn't really make it bad. Having essentially the whole world against her, rather than with her, does provide some sort of difference that could be neat. Sounds like a mix of Risk, FFT, and 1984. I like it. ^^

Okay. Now I'm going to relate an experience I recently had with Langrisser 2. It was undoubtedly one of the ... queerest things I've ever seen. Understand I do not use this word lightly, and only settled upon it because the scenario in question left no possible doubt as to what was occurring (not QUITE hardcore stuff, fortunately).

First, a bit of background. The company that developed Langrisser is named Masaya. This company also made a few games under the title Choaniki in Japan. Choaniki (Great Brother, close enough) is a shooter series in which three male protagonists piloting very phallic objects make their way through a gamut of incredibly phallic enemies. Maybe you, Master Ouro, can dig up some screenshots for the reader who misguidedly wants more information. Or not.

A secret scenario in Langrisser 2 pits Elwin (the protagonist) and his team against the trio from Choaniki, along with their six male friends. The troops of all these guys are standard enough, it is the leaders who are... different. Their portrait looks like Major Alex Louis Armstrong from Full Metal Alchemist, sans mustache and with hearts circling their heads. In combat, they look like oiled mail bodybuilders wearing speedos, and their attack is to do a muscle flex that causes an explosion. I couldn't understand most of what they talked about, but 'posing' was a frequent word. 'Posing knockout' showed up a few times also. Hearts appeared in their dialogue also.

I would respond the same way to a scenario pitting me against... what is the inverse female scenario? Amazons in bikinis using Mother Earth summons against me? I honestly don't know. But such a situation just weirded me out.

Josh

You asked for it.

I've...got nothin'. Just tears. The tears of a clown.

I can imagine the trauma. And yeah, the first thing I thought of when I saw those screenshots was that Major from FMA. ^^;

Random thought - how long will the batteries in cartridge-based games last? I saw a GamePro answer about 11 years ago that said three years, and they were waaaay off. But losing all the data I have on my cartridges would anger me greatly!

Josh

Uh...practically forever, if my copy of Super Mario Land has anything to say about it. Let's see...I was 7, so...15 years so far!

This just seems such terrible voice acting I had to share it: http://www.audioatrocities.com/games/castleshikigami2/clip21.mp3 Castle Shikigami 2 is not even close to an RPG, but if more RPG voice acting moments of shame are needed I can come up with them.

I've occasionally thought about getting a Harvest Moon game, but never took the plunge. Anybody going to give me the go-ahead?

This is where the fish lives.
JuMeSyn

Josh

..."and vice-versa, ok?" O_o Yeah...that's pretty bad. Some of the clips in Grandia III were atrocious, but luckily not most of the game.

As for Harvest Moon, I only played the original on SNES, and I enjoyed it a bit. I'm not too big on any sort of sim game (except for The Sims, oddly enough), so maybe it's just me. A bunch of other people I've talked to love the games, so I don't think there's any harm in trying!



Josh casts Women's Intuition!


Dear [insert name of columnist for the day], I see that mainly men do the character designs in RPGS and I am wondering why aren't there more women doing things like "costume" design, even if it's in the field of video games? I think a woman designer wouldn't have given Penelo such an...'interesting' pantline in "Revenant Wings" because any woman knows it would be very uncomfortable to wear something like that! --Lithioum Flower--

Inserted Name of Columnist for the Day

Because the comfort doesn't apply to us. Nor them, seeing as they are...virtual. ^^

Mainly, it's because the majority of gamers are guys (female population is rising, though), and guys know what they like. If we can get away with fitting virtual girls into black leather that covers a mere square inch or so of skin, then by golly, we're gonna do it. Even if girls do start making a larger presence in the gaming community, that's hardly going to change the outfits. I mean, let's face it. Moviegoers aren't exactly favoring a gender, yet guys still wear no shirt and girls wear next to nothing.

It is odd, though, eh? Females are a huge part of the fashion design industry, yet there aren't many examples of that translating over into video games. Ah well, I'm sure it'll happen at some point. But, just to restate this - Guys who are costume designers aren't, by any stretch of the imagination, able to translate their work into actual clothing. They draw it because it looks good, not because it's feasible. Maybe that's why girls who can do the actual fashion in the real world are unable to move it over to gaming? Just a thought.

Thanks for writing in!



I feel the power!


Well, I'm picking up Alundra at your recommendation and the recommendations of others. Of course, if I hate it, I'll hold you solely responsible. It only seems fair. Do you see the awesome power you possess? Nay, not the power to encourage frivolous spenders and impulse buyers to purchase even more crap they can't use. You have the power to shift the game market! You must use this power for good, for with great power comes great responsibility. Though were I in your position, I would take every opportunity to recommend the worst games I've ever had the misfortune of playing. Your call though.

Josh

Wow. I know that I can be persuasive, and that I have innate gaming industry knowledge and my instinct (*cough*), but thank you! ^^ I promise to use my power to get developers to make what I want!!

However, if for some reason you dislike Alundra, it's because you aren't used to insane puzzles in an Action RPG. Trust me, they're rough.

I also recommend Tecmo's Secret of the Stars, which is a lighthearted romp through nostalgia that everyone should take.

*runs*

I have no idea why I've been buying so many games lately when I have no time to play what I already have. I'll wade my way through the pile at some point, I suppose. Or burn it. Whichever seems like more fun at the time.

Josh

I'm an impulse shopper. Imgaine how I feel. ;_;

What RPG have you completed in the least amount of time? I beat Arc the Lad in a few hours, not because I'm fast, just because it's ridiculously short. The game has a really distorted sense of time. After a battle or two, the characters rant on about how they've been through so much together and their "heroic" exploits consisting of beating a handful of enemies will surely go down in history.

Josh

Chrono Trigger - 6:56.

I just blew through that damn game, and that includes doing the seven extra sidequests at the end (Rainbow Shell, Ozzie's Fort, etc.).

I've heard about cheap ways of beating Morrowind in a few hours and Fallout 2 in a few minutes. I don't really get some people's obsession with beating games as fast as possible. Seems like it would kinda take the fun out of it, but what do I know? Don't answer that.

Vicissitude

Josh

Yeah, well...Morrowind is just so open-ended, that with the right sequence of events, you can just rush in, kill Dagoth Ur, and you're pretty much done.

Fallout 2 in a few minutes? I've never heard of that. That's absolutely insane. It really does take the fun out of the game, if it's your first run-through. There's no harm in just testing your limits on a subsequent playthrough, though! ^^





S E G U E

Figured I should add some place where I can point out my actual RPG stuff, as well as discuss how THONG is progressing. ^^

I picked up Okami the other day, and...wow. It's a great game so far. The graphical style is really quite good; it's a form of cel-shading that essentially makes the game look like you are playing inside of a picture. The game is pretty easy, it seems. I think dying would actually require effort on my part. The "voice acting" is really annoying, though. It's a made up language, so they really just repeat the same 5 second sound byte over and over again, with slight changes in tone based on who's talking. It reminds me of something like the Sims, or...I think someone mentioned that Animal Crossing had something similar. Anyway, yeah. Annoying.

However, on the whole, it's an incredible game, and I'd recommend it to anyone.

THONG is picking up, as we see that people are finally buying items and casting spells! Here's where the fun begins, ladies and gentlemen! Fighting and clawing your way to the top! Don't be afraid to attack other people, because they'll probably get you some time anyway. ^^

Expect a new rune some time this weekend.



T H O N G
Combat Log

Luca Blight launches meteors onto the board!!
Sundoulos, Roku, Reivax, and Alan Tse fall off the board!
Slimey, Draconn, and Arpijy fall to Tile 14!

Slimey, Arpijy, Aylee, and Leaper fall 2 spaces!

Bainick moves to Tile 9.
Leaper moves to Tile 17.
BLG moves to Tile 7.
Arros Raikou moves to Tile 6.
Bucket moves to Tile 14.
Draconn moves to Tile 16.
Alan Tse moves to Tile 2.
Slashlen moves to Tile 22.
JuMeSyn moves to Tile 7.
William.T moves to Tile 20.
Arpijy moves to Tile 15.
Vicissitude moves to Tile 13.
JDX moves to Tile 13.
Aurelius moves to Tile 20.
Omm moves to Tile 8.
Tabor moves to Tile 21.
Sundoulos moves to Tile 4.


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

Hahahahaha! ATTACK!

Answer to #L11: A. NAIL RAN COG GO.
Racing Lagoon. Some strange hybrid racing-RPG that Square created way back when. If you're curious, the other answers were Chrono Cross, Einhander, Guardian's Crusade, Parasite Eve, and Granstream Saga.

Answer to #L12: D. 6860.
Statistics time. 20 combinations of 3 characters (6 choose 3) x 7 classes for character 1 x 7 classes for character 2 x 7 classes for character 3 = 20 x 343 = 6860.

#L13. A very, very old Squaresoft RPG that never made it here shares some parallels with American Literature. What (relatively) recent major TV show has a prominent character that shares the game's main character's last name?

A. House, M.D.
B. 24
C. Lost
D. Grey's Anatomy
E. The 4400
F. The Sopranos

THONG Question

Answer to #11: B. Allows you to fight a real boss rather than his doppelganger.
This is from Legend of Dragoon, and allows you to fight a giant pain-in-the-neck boss.

Answer to #12: C. SaGa Frontier II
Skewer, Kitchen Sink, Lawnmower, Yo-Yo were all in the game as skills each character could learn.

#13.Difficulty: Easy
There is a specific order in which you fight the full-fledged dragon bosses in Secret of Mana. What colors represent this?

A. Blue, Red, Gray
B. Red, Blue, Gray
C. Gray, Blue, Red
D. Blue, Gray, Red
E. Gray, Red Blue

C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

Ah, I love you guys. ^^

So, I'm in the Phantasy Star Universe Closed Beta, and it's pretty neat so far.

As for stuff to talk about...A while back, I wrote an editorial about how I'm essentially a closet gamer. What are your thoughts, and how do you go about mixing your social lives and gaming? Are you entirely open about it, or is it something that you reserve for specific friends, or even to yourself? Sound off! And, see you tomorrow. ^^

ourobolus@rpgamer.com
***Josh answered these questions late.


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And probably with a good supply of a buzz. ^^;;;;;;;;;

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Sept.29: Matt

Sept.28: Leaper & Matt

Sept.27: Matt

Sept.26: Matt

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Quote Archives!

Josh's Top Distractions:

Okami!

RPGs I'm currently playing:

1. Okami

2. Radiata Stories

3. Wild Arms: ACF

THONG Players:

1. Roku
Flik  TP: 1
400p

2. Bainick
Hero 2  TP: 3
500p

3. Leaper
Antonio  TP: 8
2200p

4. Macstorm
Mazus  TP: 1
600p

6. BLG
Sid  TP: 2
750p

7. Arros Raikou
Kage  TP: 2
1475p

8. Xlash
Gijimu  TP: 0
200p

9. Donovan
Clive  TP: 2
900p

10. Slimey
Gadget  TP: 1
700p

11. Bucket
Millie  TP: 7
425p

12. Draconn
Mondo  TP: 2
600p

13. Genjuu
Pesmerga  TP: 2
750p

14. Alan Tse
Hoi  TP: 1
575p

15. TheBluick
Fu Su Lu  TP: 0
0p

16. Gouden Draak
Rubi  TP: 1
725p

17. Slashlen
Lorelai  TP: 13
1900p

18. JuMeSyn
Odessa  TP: 2
1025p

19. PureLunatic
Viktor  TP: 9
1475p

21. William.T
Killey  TP: 12
1400p

22. Arpijy
Hix2  TP: 9
300p

23. Spiffyness
Badeaux  TP: 2
525p

24. Reivax
Kasim  TP: 1
200p

25. Carabbit
Viki  TP: 2
1025p

26. Vicissitude
Clive2  TP: 6
1650p

27. JDX
Kuromimi  TP: 7
1750p

28. Kupomogli
Kinnison  TP: 7
875p

29. Aurelius
Kahn  TP: 12
1675p

30. Omm
Yoshino  TP: 2
1225p

31. Aylee
Luc  TP: 7
1250p

32. Tabor
Ted  TP: 13
1950p

33. TvsAdam
McDohl  TP: 2
875p

34. Sundoulos
Hai Yo  TP: 2
975p

Anyone else?

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