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ASK ROKU
Step One
April 5, 2007

Roku - 12:35 PST

HELLO AGAIN. Another three or so months have passed since I last hosted. Major changes involve me stepping down as Head of Interaction or Interaction Editor, whatever you want to call it. Same thing. I am also filling in over at Fanart for now and running the OmniArt 2006 contest. I'm back from visiting family and juggling work, for a while at least, and just as things were cooling down, Q&A needed a guest host. Good timing? Perhaps. I'll spare you the details, unless you want to hear them later. Let's get on with the show!




LETTERS
The only letter addressed to me...


If the rumors are correct Roku-dono, you've come back to host another day of Q&A. So are they true, or has a doppleganger replaced you?

Roku

They are true.

My unique brand of questioning begins with - Vandal Hearts. Turns out the Saturn and PlayStation got the game around the same time, but the Saturn's stayed in Japan. What think you - would that version be a good buy (cheap) for one who enjoys the tactical title such as I?

Roku

I'd say so, yeah. There are some pretty interesting tactical situations in there that you don't get to see in many other games, if at all.

I'm weighing the desire to play two more Shining titles with the knowledge that they will disappoint me.... I've read your reviews, but if you were pressed on a dollar value that you would acquire Shining Soul 1 and 2 for, what would it be?

Roku

A few bucks maybe for the first. The second one was better, so more for that.

Perhaps you can answer this... there was a rumor going about last year that Tengai Makyou Ziria on the Xbox 360 would see English release. It's been a year since the Japanese release (where of course it didn't sell much) - and nothing has been announced. What happened?

Roku

My guess is that if a game that few heard of here sold so poorly there, well, they just probably felt that it's just not worth the risk.

After playing some of Advance Guardian Heroes, I can say it is enough of an RPG to merit inclusion on RPGamer. (It's no less of an RPG than the original, at any rate). Any chance of you whispering in the ears of the people who can say yea or nay?

Roku

Yeah, I'll pass it on ^^.

As you don't have any import reviews (right?), I'm going to guess you're waiting until somewhat fluent in Japanese before venturing down that road. How accurate is this imagining?

Roku

You are pretty much correct. I want to make sure any reviews I do are of good quality, so I don't want to review a game I don't understand much less than perfectly. Thankfully, there are many games that are of less-than-college level to start on. I can work my way up from there. I won't feel comfortable playing any of them until I'm able to finish my first import, Breath of Fire III, which I don't plan to review again. I simply picked that up because it was cheap, of decent reading level, and I was familiar with it enough that it wasn't totally blind. I could piece things together a bit easier. Even with that, I decided to work on my Kenshin manga first, simply because it's easier to go through a book than a game.

And once the import well has been fallen down - what titles will you commence to play that the English-only audience will never experience? Will any of these be anime adaptations? My own experiences with anime-derived RPG's mostly mirror the FMA and Inu Yasha titles you've reviewed, so discretion is understandable. I do recall hearing of a Kenshin RPG on PS1 though, and I know of Slayers, Ranma 1/2, Tenchi Muyo, Blue Seed, and others on systems I own.

Roku

I'm pretty cautious about anime/movie/etc. based games. Sometimes companies do justice to the source material. Sometimes it almost seems like they're just trying to make money. As for where I'll start...I'm not sure. Right now I feel like playing through the Mother series, but who knows what I'll feel like by the time that comes around. Chances are that I'll end up just having to playing games before they come out here yet in order to improve our Reviews section as much as possible.

Last item along the import line of thinking. What's the quick list of titles you would have gladly played if only they were in English?

Roku

You know, there are just way too many.

As one who has played the original and the Advance Final Fantasy Tactics, I must inquire as to how the new DS title appears. After all, I appear to have enjoyed the GBA title more than most - possibly thanks to my never playing the PS1 original?

Roku

Those that never played the original tend to like the GBA one more, it seems. They're usually less disappointed anyway. Feelings of disappointment aside, I wasn't a big fan of the GBA one, but I didn't think it was awful or anything. The DS one is impossible to judge at this point. What looks good on paper might be bad, and what looks bad on paper might be good. We can only really comment on the graphics for now, which look alright to me.

Which current political figure would you like to see pop up in an RPG as an enemy for no better reason than to beat the ever-loving crap out of? If politics is too risky, pick a celebrity to be EVIL and warrant a beating.

Roku

Uh...I plead the fifth ^^;;

Seriously though, I don't really feel like beating people up.

What's a series that you think should have a new installment, and hasn't for at least 10 years? I'm interested to hear your reasoning.

Roku

Super Mario RPG. Paper Marios etc. don't count. It was a good formula.

Are you still in charge of the quotes on the main page, or is it CactuarJoe's domain now?

Roku

It's the Head of Interaction's job. It was briefly Joe's job, but now it is Aethelred's.

Ever heard of Car Battler Joe? I'm giving thought to picking it up via the internets - would you do the same?

Roku

Sure have. As long as you can find a good price, sure.

I'm kinda curious on this - would you classify Star Fox Adventures as an RPG? No worries here, since I've not only never touched the game but don't own the system to play it with. I'm just wondering if the Gamecube has another title the site can cover.

Roku

Never played it. Saw it played briefly. Didn't look very interesting.

What nation of the real world would you most like to see an RPG set in?

Roku

Right now...France. If that seems random, look at the PSP tactical RPG lineup and it will make sense.

Are you gonna play any more Fire Emblem titles, or was the first English one the end of the line?

Roku

I've actually played quite a few more than that, and I will continue to do so. I hope we get some on the Virtual Console as well. That would be cool.

And - what MST3K experience do you possess? I must know! JuMeSyn

Roku

I don't know what that stands for, so I can't help you there.



Bandits and Legality


Hoy to whoever's answering this email!

First off, I'd like to answer a question from Stephen who wrote in a quickie during Matt's last qna: Regarding the 3 endings of Ephemeral Fantasia, you can get 2 different endings depending on whether you say 'yes' or 'no' to Loreille at the end, and you can get the 3rd ending if you beat the game without getting Fang (to do that, beat Twinboom really fast before Fang has a chance to join in the fight). You might get another ending if you don't get Beak or Fang (they're both optional characters anyway) but I'm not sure. Hope that helps.

Roku

I imagine you're correct for various spoilery reasons, but one ending was enough for me.

On to my question/thought. For a while now I've been thinking about a possible next Suikoden game. I have character bios, maps, plot arcs, even some dialogue written out and everything. Mainly, it's just a way for me to relax and still be creative, I never really thought I'd do anything with it, but recently someone gave me a copy of Neverwinter Nights 2 (unfortunately my comp is rather lame and can't play it yet, but I'll solve that soon-ish) and so I've been planning on designing a NW2 module based on the stuff I've come up with. But then I started wondering about the legality of it all.

Sure, if I made this game and just had my friends play it then it wouldn't matter at all, but if I were to host it on a website and put it out there for anyone to play, that'd be something else entirely. It's not as though I'd make the game and then claim that I came up with everything, Konami came up with the series and so I'd certainly give credit where credit is due, and my own story would be my own take on things, my own insights and whatnot, and it would obviously not be generating any money for me. 8-bit theatre does something similar with the original Final Fantasy, and Brian Clevinger (8-bit creator) does not appear to have any copyright infringement. On the other hand, there was that group that was doing a Chrono Trigger remake (can't remember the name of the group doing it) and Square had them shut down. So, I'm not entirely clear where the line can be drawn.

Perhaps this is a question better asked at the NW2 forums, but forums always seem so unfriendly to me and I like you guys more so figured I'd ask you.

Koala Bob

Roku

That's a pretty tough question, and the answer seems to vary randomly depending on the company and if anyone even notices. You're somewhat safe as long as you don't blatantly rip off content for personal gain, which is a big no-no, but you don't seem to be doing that anyway. While I can't give you an answer without reading through a bunch of legal books, look up fair use in some legal books or on the Internet or something, and that should give you a pretty good idea of what you're getting into.



I feel bad about this, but there aren't any more non-Matt letters...


Hey Matt,

Roku

Sorry, I'm filling in for Matt today =/

I don't know whether this is the first letter you receive from tiny Belgium. My native language is dutch so forgive my (hopefully not too abundant) spelling en grammar errors.

Roku

Don't worry about that. You're doing fine ^^.

Over the last few years I grew very fond of RPGamer Q&A. The fact that reasoning goes beyond ranting makes it far more interesting to read than most fan-based forums. The 'language barrier' kept me from writing in the past, but see, here I am, contributing to your legacy! :-)

I'm one of those so-called 'older gamers'. I've been around from the days of the NES and the Sega Master System and over the years gaming earned a special place in my heart. Nevertheless, the last few years I grew more and more frustrated over my complete lack of time. Currently I am working long days as a manager and the rise of professional responsability brought with it a steady increase in money to spend on games... but also a significant decrease in gaming time...

I remember that when I was still studying, I could lose myself completely in a game. I played Final Fantasy X a couple of times and the last time I collected all of the celestial weapons and went on to beat Penance... after nearly 200 hours of gameplay. Those days are certainly gone. Gaming time is more sparse and games are more abundant. Playing Final Fantasy XII over the last few months made this more clear than ever before... I've always been a Final Fantasy-junk but it wasn't 'touching' me any more. While playing the game, I was always thinking about all the other unplayed games that were still waiting and all the other responsabilities of daily life. Same goes for the latest Zelda and, the last few weeks, Okami (no RPG but definitely a superb game). I suppose many older gamers are confronted with the luxury problem of having too much money to spend on games, but too little time to enjoy it. Therefore forcing themselves to play games too fast to be immersed in the mood and story...

Roku

That sounds better than having no games and too much free time. A balance would be best, though, of course. Or you could always try to get a job where you're busy playing games all the time. That's pretty neat too.

Okay then, enough babbling and ranting from an old freak like me!

Another subject I like to touch are my changing feelings against the big players on the gaming market. In the previous generation Microsoft didn't seem to care about RPG- and/or J-loving gamers, so I didn't care about Microsoft either and my choice for Playstation was clear. Already having an Xbox360 I didn't feel compelled to buy a Playstation 3 during last weeks European launch (See how lucky you are on the other side of the Pacific?). If you take a look at the impressive RPG/J-line up of Microsoft for the coming months (Blue Dragon, Eternal Sonata, Lost Odyssey, Bioshock, Mass Effect,...) I can't help but be struck with awe... Do you think Sony will regain it's former advantage for RPG-J-loving gamers like us or will Microsoft really force us to make a change of heart? It certainly is very exciting to see how much effort Microsoft puts in the diversification of their line-up! Still, in the end I will probably end up owning both consoles alongside my Wii (I pity my girlfriend) which will give me even less time to finish my games and... You get the picture...

Thank you for 'listening' to me and keep up the good work!

Sven Naulaerts

Roku

It's really very hard to say. It's certainly true that things can change vastly every few years. If they're smart, the PS3 won't alienate RPGamers as much as they currently are. Sony currently seems to be pretty rigid in their plans, though. I hope they will bend for both of our benefits. Then, of course, a huge chunk is up to the developers as well. It is complicated, but I hope things work out.



Fun With Semantics


"...mediocre piece of crap." Isn't that phrase kinda of contradictory? Like saying, "Get this product FREE for only $19.95"? Mediocre poverty takes its tole on not letting me play Zelda: TP as of yet, though.

Roku

Yeah, I'd say that is indeed a somewhat contradictory and funny phrase. It's pretty obvious that they were most likely disappointed by it being mediocre in their opinion, rather than saying that it was awful because it was mediocre. I guess they went in with hopes that were way too high. Kind of like when I saw the later Matrix movies.



Alas, not a quickie


Just wondering, are the RPGAMER Awards not happening for 2006?

Roku

A short question, but it deserves a long answer. I'll have to save the quickies code for another day.

I've got to say, it's unfortunately not looking promising. I'd like to see the awards done, and in previous years I've devoted a lot of extra time to them because I feel they deserve it, but a few members of the staff don't seem to like it very much or something. Maybe they just don't feel it's popular enough? I don't know. Maybe enough people emailing some of the higher-ups to let them know how popular it is will make a difference. I can't promise anything, though.

On the plus side, there might be a special feature that is apparently going to replace it. Sort of. Unfortunately, the person in charge of this hurt himself pretty badly recently, so it's on hold for now.



IN CLOSING

Well, it's been a while. I hope I wasn't too rusty and you all enjoyed this column. It'll be me again tomorrow, so please send me a lot of mail ^^. Not much else to say. Have a great day~



Send a Letter!

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roku@rpgamer.com
Roku multitasks!


That wasn't intended to rhyme.

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What Roku is (mainly) Playing:

1. Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm

2. Final Fantasy VI Advance

3. Boktai 2

4. MapleStory

5. Mario & Luigi



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