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Out the Window August 16th, 2006

Roku - 18:27 PST

Wow, it's been ages since I've done this. Not counting the guest co-hosting a few days back anyway. Let's see...um, I got promoted, and I wrote a bunch of reviews and other stuff since last time. I won't bore you with the details, (unless you ask) soooo...let's get to the letters!




L E T T E R S
Mac Makes Me M...Decide

Sir Roku,

Ah, now it is time. I have things that I must know. Share them.

If you could create a party of six heroes from any mix of RPGs, who would you choose? Now do the same for a party of villains.

Roku

Six heroes and six villains huh? Wow, I have thousands to choose from. Um...I guess heroes like Mario, Cloud, and Chrono would be good. Villains like Bowser, Sephiroth, Ghaleon, Albedo... Hmm, but if I pick those I know I'm probably overlooking a lot of other good heroes/villains. A lot of those villains might not even count because they have good sides too. Ahhh, I'd better move on before I overthink this, make a list of all the games I've played, and give myself a headache ^^;;

Final Fantasy XII. Excited? Could care less?

Roku

Well, kind of in the middle really. I haven't been excited about a FF game in years, but I'm sure I'll still play it and hopefully enjoy it.

If you had to pick just one, would it be FFXII or FFIII?

Roku

I think I'm more in the mood for a FFIII-like game right now. FFXII looks good too, but I've always been curious about FFIII, and it looks like they've put an awful lot of effort into the remake.

Thinking of your personality and using your imagination, what RPG job class would you most like to have?

That is all for now.

- Macstorm, Blue Mage


Roku

Well, I like dual wielding kodachis, but fists are okay too. Light and time magic rock. I'd probably be paladin-ish with the usual holy/healing spells, but my support magic would be more haste-oriented.


I Was Almost Alliterate

Hi Roku (I think it's your turn now).

I don't have much of a backlog, gaming wise. All of the console games I buy are RPGs (the PC ones are strategy titles) and I usually finish them. Really, the only games on my shelf I haven't finished are Star Ocean 3 and Front Mission 4, which I didn't really care for, and some stuff I borrowed from friends which I didn't enjoy too much (Vagrant Story, Shadow Hearts).

So you see, I actually don't have a backlog. I'm even replaying Xenosaga I and II now, in preparation for XGIII. However, there are some critical games I haven't played. I never played a Zelda or Castlevania game (not much into action games), or Kingdom Hearts. And almost everything I play (apart for maybe Katamai Damacy) is RPGs.

My books backlog is a different matter. It got so bad I now have two long shelves for books I own and read and one small shelf for books I borrowed from friends and haven't read. However, the worst of it is my shelf of books I bought and haven't read yet. That one has 30(!) books on it. And I can't stop myself! It's truely an addiction. In my defense, I haven't bought a book in a few months and only got five more because I exchanged one of the books I recieved for my birthday... So I didn't really spend money on them.

Do you find that your gaming and reading habits coincide? Do you read? If you do, is it mostly science fiction and fantasy (similar to RPGs) or other genres? I enjoy most genres, but I don't know enough about non-SF stuff so I hardly buy other books.

Your next pole should be "do you read".

Zohar Gilboa


Roku

Gaming and reading in general, no, but RPGs and reading, yes. I tend to focus on either RPG-playing or book-reading at any given time, with a few games of other genres on the side. If I can fit them in anyway. I do read, and yeah, it is mostly sci fi/fantasy/etc. I also read comics, struggle to read the manga I own (in Japanese) and sometimes wander aimlessly through Wikipedia if I feel like something relatively non-fiction without diving into a textbook (It's Summer!)


Virtual Reality and Virtual Console

Hiya Roku,
I'll try not to ramble on too much. An actual job makes it harder to compose lengthy letters AND write reviews. I do believe the hanglider ride at Disneyland is actually Soaring Over California in California Adventure. Having just been there two months ago my memory is pretty trustworthy.

Roku

Yup

But I stand by introducing smell into some other entertainment venue. Taste and touch are even harder - but if they were introduced it would essentially be VR, right?

Roku

Well, the VR games I've seen haven't had smell, taste, or touch, so what you're suggesting would be a lot more complicated than the standard VR. It sounds like your describing is a bit closer to a matrix-ish system, or rather, their simulation program. It'd be cool in any case.

A conversation with a friend several years ago provides grist for a question here. He wondered why smacking the same enemies over and over provides the same amount of experience. And I must say, there is a point here. It's more a tactical RPG procedure to have doing the same thing reap lower rewards, but doesn't it make sense to input this into a regular RPG also?

Roku

I've actually seen it in a few other RPGs too. Some of the Castlevania action RPGs even have it set up that way. Even for the games that don't, the exp to the next level changes, so it kind of factors that in: you'll have a defeat a whole lot more weaklings in order to gain the same benefit.

Also: there were rumors back when Shining Force 1 was remade for GBA that Shining Force 2 might receive the same treatment. Is this a completely hopeless prospect by now?

Roku

I'd heard that as well, but it's been quite a while since the first one. It's possible that it might get picked up again, but it's not looking particularly good at this point. With any luck, we'll be able to grab it off the Wii's Virtual Console, but that's not quite as good as a portable version.

Does anyone know the secret Sony protocols determining what RPGs may actually see release to non-Japanese speakers? Nintendo and Microsoft might have secret procedures too - any information on them?
JuMeSyn


Roku

Unfortunately, I don't know any of them ^^;;


Villainous Philosophy

Hey there Ouro, you scaley snake guy and/or Roku

In my defense I wrote a long long long ----ing letter to you on the topics JuMeSyn brought up so you can't say I didn't send you something you either deleted it, or it was lost in the spam

Regarding demons and religion in RPGs is always a touchy subject, quite honestly due to my father and my childhood, I despise religion and overly religious people, if you believe in God or what have you that is a-ok just don't force it onto other people -.-;; my religious believe is that what you do in this world determines what happens in the next, simply because the whole yeah you killed thousands of innocents but you begged for forgiveness... so uh yeah I guess your cleared doesn't seem right nor does yeah you saved this many people in some conflict but you didn't thank your imaginary friend so uh torture ahoy -----

Anyway demons:

I've played enough RPGs and watched enough anime to know that demons can be good bad or neutral depending on how you look at them, really I don't see the big deal if a games playable characters are demons because most of the time being a demon means they have elf ears and bat wings, or some other animal atribute that makes them a demon so it isn't like most of them are fire and brimstone type demons, and even then in most demon myths demons were once good and for some reason or another they were punished, so who's to say they couldn't regain the goodness in them and fight for humanity's sake, then again one person's hero is another person's villian, me personally I've found that humans are far more evil than any mythological beings can be

SMT Games: Mark Spoilers here please, while not present in the games we got stateside, in the Japan only MegaTen games, God or YHVH or something like that was some sick sadistic ---- who loved to watch others suffer and Louis Cypher(Lucifer) was the leader of a demon alliance out to end said suffering or something to that extent, hince why we didn't get those games over here, also I haven't ran into many actual demons in SMT3 or DDS, just some dieties and beings from various religions, the only actual "demons" were succubi, incubi, onis, cerberus etc the rest were elephant dudes and japanese fairy princess people ^^'' so it isn't like your army of hell is really an army of hell it's more like an army of mythology you even get the gods of the four directions which is always awesome to the Arros

Religion and it's parralel in games: Take a look at actual religion, has there been any religion that wasn't attacked by another religion or attacked another religion, the answer is not likely, religion is the source of a great deal of conflicts in the world, and usually games mirror the events of real life to a certain extent, hince why some religion in a game is 9 out of 10 times behind the strife and world calamity, you have to look pretty far to find some religious order in a game that isn't corrupt in some shape or form, and besides controversy sells stuff look at GTA all the huff about the crap in those is what got them to sell greatly in the first place, religious refrences and paralels in games do the same thing to a lesser extent, some old religious nut finds out that there's a religious refrence in a game starts a hoopla over it and the kids arround decide to see wtf it really is about, which only makes things worse creating more controversy etc etc but generally after the OMFG D and D is teh evilz stuff from way back when died down most people don't give a ---- about RPGs honestly

Just my thoughts on stuff post it or not it's up to yall

Roku

There are some pretty interesting thoughts in there. I don't see why we couldn't post them.

In response to the backlogs of doom, even though I've cleared 3 games from my backlog I've added 4 or 5 so uh yeah, if I was to not train, work, watch tv, eat sleep or do nothing but game I'd probably not have a backlog in a year but as it looks now it's not likely

now for a question or two

Question 1: What are your thoughts on villians that try to pull at your heartstrings to make it seem like all their rampant death and destruction was just misguided heroism?

Roku

That depends on if they actually mean it or not. Some villains really are trying to do the right thing, and the heroes oppose him/her over conflicting ideals/belief systems. Then, of course, there are evil masterminds that just enjoy messing with heroes by sewing a seed of doubt within them before kicking them around a bit. I actually like both types of villains, though for different reasons. The first type for the obvious reason that they're not intentionally evil, maybe just a tad deluded. The second because sometimes there are just villains out there that are fun to love to "hate."

Question 2: Have you ever found out something about a character from an RPG that was editted or toned down that made you completely rethink what you thought of that character?

Arros Raikou
If life's an RPG then I think I'm going to get the bad ending


Roku

I'm not entirely sure I'm answering your question correctly here, but if you're talking about it getting edited out during localization, then yes. A lot of the advertisements for La Pucelle described Prier's aggressive attitude as being a major selling point, yet she seemed to be significantly toned down from what was suggested and what I had heard about the original version.


Innovation

Hey RPGamer. LONG time since I've written in. Nice to see the site has grown. (more .mods are needed in the sound test, though. :P)

So here's my thing. I'm finally convinced that the PC RPG industry has hit rock-bottom. Oblivion was a tragedy (Though very pretty). And it seems no one develops anything except MMOs now...All I have left is a backlog of console games!

  • Star ocean 2 (oh yeah...waaaaay back. Ummm..wait...do PS1 mem cards work on ps2?)
Roku

Yup, they do.

  • Primal (button masher)
  • Wild Arms 3
  • Front mission 4 (stuck at paris rescue EU assembly mission...)

Otherwise my only hope is Xenosaga III. I've recently finally beaten XSII; and was overall, pleased with the game. I was disappointed that the technical info and background were not as accessable as it was in XS I...hopefully Xenosaga III will offer that in this "Xeno-bible" feature.

I'd like to ask if there's been any REAL innovation in RPGs in consoles...particularly PS2, since I used to play around two or three years ago? Though I think games like Kotor 1 and 2 certainly bring a nice twist to things, they both were ultimatly rushed and cut, as well as had a unexciting battle system.

I'm losing a lot of hope here in the prospect of enjoyable games. I might have to Get a Life or something.


Roku

Hmm...real innovation... That's a tough one ^^;; Well, there have been a lot more circle "grids" in TRPGs. Disgaea certainly does some wacky stuff. Shadow Hearts too from what I hear, though I haven't started that since I want to begin with Koudelka. The Megami Tensei series and spinoffs have started coming over here. They usually have a pretty unique philosophy on things that a lot of other games lack. The Atelier series has a lot of cool item creation stuff that I haven't seen elsewhere. Graffiti Kingdom has some weird drawing stuff in it I think. I guess Magic Pengel did too, but I hear Graffiti Kingdom is a lot different. Magna Carta has a really crazy elemental system in it. Wild ARMs 4 had a hex grid that mixed things up. Steambot Chronicles seems fairly unique too, though I haven't played that either. Oh yeah, I've got to mention Radiata Stories too, if only for the unique way it blends a lot of stuff together. Well, hmm, I guess only a few of those really count as innovative, but if I can think of that much off the top of my head in about five minutes, I guess things aren't as desolate as we might have thought.

Looking at other genres, there's other crazy stuff like Katamari and Shadow of the Colossus. If you look to the DS, I don't think there have been many games quite like Phoenix Wright or Trauma Center before. Anyway, I feel I haven't quite answered your question as well as I would have liked, but I hope you find this useful ^^.





C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

I hope you enjoyed my column. It ended up a little longer than I thought, but that's not really a bad thing. Anyway, I'll be here through Friday. As far as topics go, write to me about anything you want. I'm not picky ^^. Just keep it appropriate, obviously.



roku@rpgamer.com
Roku looks out the window...


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