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Allan Milligan

I'm here for thirty seconds and I've already torqued people off. Note to self: watch my mouth. :) There's some, er, enthusiastic response to deal with, so I'll just skip the pleasantries and get right to the reaming...

Q: I pull a quote out of 9-18 RPGuru column: "Look at Microsoft: they can, and do, produce good products. But they are slagged mercilessly and constantly, because it's easy to do, and there are flaws present to mock."

Does anyone remember the main selling point of Windows 98? Fixes 3000 bugs. First it's amazing a program with 3000 bugs can even run; let alone be praised as a good product. After 3 years of "development" Win98 still has numerous bugs.

But that's not the reason that the media attacks Microsoft. The reason is because MS uses unfair tactics to attack their opponents. The phony error messages in Win3.1 to trick people away from DR DOS to MS-DOS, the Win98/IE4 bundling is clearly a direct attack on Netscape, the policy of paying a royalty for every PC a manufacturor produces, threatening Intel from making Internet software, the attempt to destory the cross-platform ability of JAVA, lying about Y2K compliance about Windows 95 and NT until less than 2 years before 2000, are only a few examples of the evil practices Microsoft has engaged in.

Since when is this kind of behavior considered acceptable? People have the right to be outraged; it's not an act of jealousy or sensationalism from the media.

Allan: All right, everybody who knew I had this coming raise your hands. All right, all right, Microsoft is Evil. Say it loud, yell it in the streets, all that jazz. And speaking of stupid things I said yesterday...

Q: Actually, the tonfa were designed in Japan to gather rice. When the people would be forced to fight for their land, they didn't have real weapons. So they picked up nunchukus (pounding rice), bos and jos (sticks), sais (something to do with grass or something...I forget) and tonfa (gathering rice). Nothing in the japanese system (besides swords) was actually designed as a weapon--it merely adapted that way.

- the real Kupan

Allan: Thanks for the info, guy. You learn something new every day. Your signoff is interesting, though. The real Kupan, are you? And all this time I thought Brian "Don't Call Me Angelface" Glick was the One True Kupan - he's been using that nick for years now! Oh, the bafflement, of the chaos. The two of you may be forced to fight it out for the nom de plume someday, to feed the bloodlust of the crowds, already frenzied and hungry for blood after my Microsoft comment.

The Kupan of Two Worlds... that has a nice ring to it... okay, moving right along...

Q: Hey there, in a recent issue of Computer Gaming World there was a preview for Final Fantasy 5 on the PC, they even showed a few screen shots with text in English. Since this time I have heard nothing of it though. Any word on whether this project is still scheduled to come out here?

Allan: Up to just recently, the release of FF5 for PC was in the "upcoming" category. But, only three days ago, updated the FAQ on their page to include the following question: Will you be releasing a compilation or collection of older games, like Final Fantasy 1-6 and Chrono Trigger, for the PlayStation or PC? And the answer is, sadly, "No. Square of Japan currently does not have any plans to release these titles or a collection of titles for the PlayStation, Nintendo game consoles, or PC format in the U.S. This is due to the fact that Square of Japan is currently involved in other numerous development projects at this time." End quote. Sorry, fellas 'n gals. I'll keep y'all posted in case of any changes, of course.

And now, for some response to my asking if Square deserves what some perceive as "bashing", leaving my comments to the end...

In your column, you asked, "What think you, RPGamers? Is it natural totry and cut the big boys down to size, or has Square earned every insult they receive?"

Well, I thinks it's everyone's job to bust the big boys' chops so that the big noys don't get too big for their britges... and, also, Square does deserve the insults they're currently getting... I know the definition of an RPG is a relative term, but Square seems to be digressing more and more from that genre to appeal more to the mainstream while sacrificing story. There's nothing wrong with making the game appeal more to the mainstream, but with the storage capacities of a CD, they could've made the game less of a long interactive movie and given it a better story and better characters (come on now! who would pick Cloud as a leader realistically, especially after he had a handful of personalities and helped the villains of the game (yes "VILLAINS"... Seph. worked for Jenova, who was raised and used by Shinra)... anyway, enough ranting... bash the big boys!



I read the latest section, and I really hafta say that anyone who thinks all Square worshippers are just a big bandwagon really need mental counseling. Sure, there are those who have just tried to 'jump on the bandwagon', but those are easily identified by the usual "I only like Square games." I'm a devout Square devotee, but nobody can say I jumped on any bandwagons. I'm well known for doing things my way, plus I got into Square the first day I played Final Fantasy for the NES. I don't ike only Square games, though Square does generally have the most unique and innovative games. Those games that many call 'just copies' are still rarely very bad. Nearly everything in Wild ARMs did bear a striking resemblance to something in another game, yet it is a very excellent game.

- Bikke the Pirate

As all the gamers out there said, Square gets criticized quite a bit. In my opinion they deserve some of the criticism, but not all. Square is badgered just because they're big and they sell a lot. Take for instance Mario RPG for the SNES, the company is big, but since the game wasn't as insanely popular as FFVII was, Mario doesn't get the criticism FFVII got, just because not as many people played. So the more people that play a game, the more amount of people hate it, just because it's drawn out of a larger pool. Then there's those people who hate Square just because their friend does, RP games are to slow, or they're just too slow. These people's rantings should just be ignored as dribble. I myself found FFVII great and all those people who complain about undeveloped side character plots (Vincent) are holding on to that myth that RP games can last forever and be new for ages. If that were true, how many RP games would we own? One, just because it would never end, but variety is the spice of life and those who criticized Square about it should really give it up.




It's not that I dislike Square's success per se. I dislike how they achieved it. It has been a while since I played FFVII, but it seemed to me that it was less Square-ish. It seemed lacking in spirit and character, and it seemed more mainstream. I felt that Square had sacrificed their originality and intelligence so they could make a game that appealed, via the always-popular low-level attributes, more to the masses. They spent more time on graphics and less on developing characters. They added guns for the heroes and a brothel. I felt they put a higher priority on sales than they had with previous games. That's why I'm not so fond of the company nowadays. Not because they are a big company, but because they have started to play the part.

-The Fever

Allan: This is just a sampling of some of the responses I received on this subject, and obviously, there's some dissent among gamers on the subject. I've suggested to at least one letter-writer that they submit their letters as a full-fledged editorial, as some of these letters are growing a tad long for a daily column to explore properly. Interesting stuff, though.

Getting back to the point, I suppose I attribute my irritable comments about "Square bashers" yesterday to spending too much time on Usenet, where hit-and-run, mindless gripe postings are all too common. As Fever demonstrates, many people have legitimate gripes with Square's current state, and to them, I apologize for flying off the handle there. On the other hand, I'm a firm believer in the importance of constructive criticism, so I set out yet another challenge for everyone reading this column: as briefly as possible (please), explain what change you would make to Square's game production policies, and why. Better translations? Less FMV? Longer games? Less linear? All sprites, no polygons? Let's see what the big beefs are, shall we?

Q: First off, you're not only ginchy, you're the ginchiest (by the way, do you have a comb I might use?). As the new letter-answerer-person, I thought that I'd get the formalities out of the way, and just ask for some favorities that people are going to invariably write in and ask about eventually. ie, favorite game, fav. ff, fav music, fav TV show, and just your all around personality. Now, a question that I would actually want to ask, has anyone besides myself noticed that FFIV's graphics are actually substantially better than FFV's? I always figured that the change from NES to SNES for FFIV was probably a sudden last second thing, and that FFV was probably planned for SNES, but if you look closely, (especially at battles (backgrounds, characters, monsters) and overhead character profiles), you'll notice that much (though not all) of FFIV's graphics are better. If they had more experience with SNES technology, why didn't they make the graphics radically better?

Mr. Saturn

Allan: As to the FFV thing, I can only speculate - asking Square "why do the graphics of FFV suck?" doesn't seem to prompt a chipper response, for some reason. Personlly, I find FFV's graphics to be slightly cleaner and brighter than FFIV's, but that's just me. The only other explanation I can think of is that their programmers were more focused on making the gameplay as detailed as possible (i.e. the Job system) than pumping up the graphics. Just a thought, though.

And me? Well, here we go. My name's Allan, I'm eighteen years old, and I live in Ottawa (capital of Canada, eh?). My favourite game is probably good old FF6, though Super Dodgeball runs a close second. My favourite music is a country and western song called, and I'm not making this up, "Why Don't We Get Drunk and Screw?" Great song, that. My favourite TV show is Dennis Miller Live, though I confess I still keep a place in my heart for good old Astroboy.

Basically, I'm a Chihuahua on speed with Tourette's syndrome, nice teeth, with a fetish for handcuffs and 80s cartoons.

I've got a long, empty weekend ahead of me (*sniff*), so don't feel shy about sending me your thoughts on, well, anything. To quote Doctor Crane, I'm listening.

- Allan Milligan, yelping the blues

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