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Allan Milligan

Well, I received an interesting piece of mail last night. It went something like this: "Dear RPGuru, the column is too long now, I liked it better when it was short and funny." I also received ICQ messages to this effect. And so I asked myself whether the column was indeed getting too long and serious.

Some of the letters I've posted of late have been, in terms of length and content, closer to Editorials than "burning questions." This is both good and bad. On one hand, longer letters often indicate greater breadth of thought, which is a Good Thing. On the other hand, it tends to get tedious to read if you're just reading this for the short 'n sweet answers. This situation has been worsened by the lack of updates the Editorial section has received of late - the response to editorials here is vastly quicker, being a daily column.

So what to do? Well, after this little rant's done, I'm going to tighten up my commentary belt a little. Likewise, I ask those who have longer letters and essays to send 'em to Editorials, because, well, that's what it's there for. :) And, as always, your suggestions and comments are quite welcome. Always.

Q: Why does everyone think the "spoony bard" line in FF4 is so funny. According to a dictionary (will it be against copyright laws if I say the dictionary) it says "spoony or spooney adj. 1. unduly sentimental 2. being sentmentally in love"

So it makes perfect sense. Maybe I am just missing something...

-John V.

Allan: Well, for one thing, "spoony" strikes me as a pretty silly word to start with. For another, it's a pinnacle of bad translation in that it is indeed technically correct, but dramatically, it's laughably inappropriate. Even if you accept that Tellah would use the word "spoony" in the first place (it's not exactly a common term), it's a stunningly weak word for the circumstance. Put yourself in your shoes: you've been searching all over for the rotten bard that stole away your daughter. Now, you find this worthless trash standing like a fool beside the bloody, arrow-stuck corpse of your beloved daughter, you fly into a rage at him, trying to beat him to death, making him pay for killing poor, innocent, sweet Anna...

... and you call him SPOONY? Give me a break.

Q: Hey there... RPGuru... boy... I'm out of the loop for a month (new, and very stubborn modem)... and everything around here changes... whoa.. wierd! Where did AK and BG go? I mean... this is like an episode of the Twilight zone! Anyways... I know this sounds like pure tedium, but would you mind summarizing the past month for me so's I don't have to go through 30 days worth of archives?

Allan: AndrewK resigned from the letters job a while ago to pursue a career on Broadway. Brian Glick does the News and Upcoming coverage stuff, among other things. After both of their tenures and a few fill-ins, Mike Tidwell did a two-week stint as letters guy before I was slapped into the position, now a day short of two weeks ago, under the title RPGuru. Everything should be updated daily here from now on, but little or no archive reading should be needed. Just leap in and read.

Q: I am writing to you to tell you of the true video vixen. The most perfect woman in the entire rpg world. Aya Brea. Even Lara Croft can't hold a torch to this blonde bombshell. That golden blonde hair and those deep blue eyes give her an alluring radiance. Aside from being beautiful, she also has a golden soul. She is a true heroine, an excellent driver, a sharp shooter, an excellent stunt woman and most of all is good with children. I bet Daniel Bo Dollis is the happiest man on Earth to be her partner. I wish every woman had even some of her qualities. In my eyes, Aya Brea is the perfect woman.

Allan: All right, let's get something cleared up right now: Aya Brea is not real. Say it with me, children. Aya Brea is not real. She is a passel of pixels who, though admittedly shapely, has about as much chance of giving you a hard shag as bloody Pikachu. The perfect woman should, by definition, be a *woman*, not the polygonal wet dream of a bunch of Japanese game designers given artificial life for 15-odd hours plus EX mode.

Now Tifa, on the other hand...

Q: Allan, I like you. You're sensitive to the readers' needs. Good boy. Good, good boy. Would you like a treat? Anyway, the questions are these:

1. I looked at the katakana, and her name is pronounced Earisu. So why do people insist on calling Aeris 'Aerith'? Not only is it a one-off from the original Japanese, but it sounds really crappy. So why?

2. People made a big deal about the religion in Final Fantasy Tactics, but nobody seemed to notice: Ramza is running around throughout Chapter 4 with no pants on!! What kind of message is this sending our children?

3. They say that The Legend of Zelda is an RPG. I just wanted to say that if this is the case, then Megaman Legends is also an RPG. It has all the story elements, the upgrading, the money to buy items (zenny, just like in Breath of Fire III), all that. That being the case, will RPGamer discuss Megaman Legends? And if not, will RPGamer get rid of its Zelda section? Equal rights, man. Equal rights are important.

This is the way!

- Adam Cederblom\\//

Allan: Yes, I'd like a treat. Sadly, I don't think you can offer me the kind of treat I'm in the mood for right now, but that's another issue entirely...

1. I don't know how it got started as Aerith. I just think it's catchier to say. Aeris sounds like sort of small, jiggly body part that most people don't know they have. "Yeah, the little dangly thing in the back of your throat? It's an aeris. Really. Most people have 'em removed when they snort cocaine the first time, and mess up their sinuses..."

2. With Michael Jordan not playing basketball anymore, Hanes needed a new spokesperson, and Ramza was only too happy to oblige. Look for the ultimate armour in FF8 to be the Hanes Briefs, too.

3. We're hypocrites. MML won't be covered, Zelda will. C'est la vie.

Q: Hi Allan,

I'm here to explain the differences between the NTSC and PAL standards and - more importantly - what they have to do with video gaming and especially RPG's.

First off, I must confess that I don't know the exact resolutions of them, neither. But it's enough to know that PAL offers a higher resolution (about 700+ lines) but a lower horizontal refresh rate (50Hz) than NTSC (about 600 lines or so and 60Hz refresh rate). But I think you guys already knew that these two standards (and therefor the two versions of the good ol' SNES) aren't compatible.

What does that mean for us gamers? In order to play games in the other format, you actually only need a adaptor which converts NTSC to PAL or v.v. - wouldn't there be these clever marketing guys at Nintendo. In order to control (or better: seperate) the world market (Asian/US <-> Europe) and the release dates, they have implemented country chips in both the console itself and the games (similar to the DVDs), to aggravate the game exchange between these markets. As the demand to play import games and particularly RPGs (due to translation difficulties and much less RPG gamers) here in Europe is certainly bigger than in the US, there's a bunch of accessories manufacturers who are also clever enough to build adaptors which bypass the interrogation. Nintendo recognizes this problem and keeps developing even better chips for the modules, while the accessories manufacturers aren't sleeping neither and always have new adaptors to counter with.

Here in Germany, a popular solution for hardcore gamers is to install a chip into the console (similar to the PSX Modchips, as there're no module slots in the PSX) which enables you to switch between the norms. Notice that the console itself is being switched, that means your TV must support both standards to play both versions of game. Otherwise you may want to get one of these adaptors. As I live in Germany, I don't know the market in the US; here you can get those adaptors for about $20 (50,-DM) and the installation of the modchip costs about ß50 (100,-DM).

I think that's enough for now. Anyone interested in this issue is welcome to contact me, as the above explanation may be a little bit too brief to be clear.

Allan: I pledged an end to long letters, but this needed to be cleared up. Thanks.

Q: Do you know what we need in today's RPG's? Pushing! I hate when those annoying townspeople are blocking a thin way and you can't do a thing. Not many games I have played have this feature. Only, Final Fantasy 5 and Secret of Mana come to mind. I don't know why they don't have this in more games. It looks pretty easy to accomplish.


Allan: Pushing would be good, yeah, but we need to start using a great feature from the Ultima series: namely, the capability to attack and savagely thrash the hell out of innocent townspeople. I loved plating Ultima: Exodus for NES, simply to find isolated villagers at the edge of towns, and then using my strongest attacks to rip them to shreds, and then escaping into the wilderness before the city guard came and pounded the hell out of me.

Tangent: what RPG character would you most like to be able to beat the hell out of, within the game itself? (Mine is the idiot in FF6's Zozo who just keeps on saying "Welcome to Zozo. It rains here all the time." That guy no doubt hails from a long, slender family tree...)

Q: I wanted to ask some questions... (ooh, numbering, I'm so trendy)

R. Where are the RPGuru archives? I missed a day (I think) and I'm damned if I can find the archives...

3. In FFT, is there any way for Ramza to become a Holy Knight (like Agrias) or Dark Knight (like Gafgarion), etc? Also, is it possible for Mustadio to *suck* any more?! Finally, what's up with people and Riovanes Castle? That place was a piece of cake! Ramza (Lancer), two guys (Ninjas), and Agrias (Holy Knight) roughed up all of them, including Elmdor (from whom I got a crazy spell, Ultima). What's the deeeeeeeeeel????

&. I can tell you where's the beef, but only if you promise not to reveal it to anyone else. Just call 1-Y00-462-3675. I've also got info on the chicken and the lox spread, but that's for another time...

BTW. the cheetah is the fastest land animal.

The Great Slurp

Allan: (I snipped this one slightly for space reasons - the rest was very silly anyway) Answers. R: They're in the Interaction section. Follow the link called "Archives." Hence the name.

3: Ramza cannot be a Holy or Dark Knight. Mustadio does indeed suck mightily. And I'll talk about Riovanes Castle once I actually do the battles there. Which will be tomorrow. At long last.

&: There is a small part of me, deep within my spleen, that pulses softly and warmly when the air gets too thin. This part of me is the only piece of my being that cares where the beef is.

And cheetahs are nothing compared to a land speed of a thirteen year old teeny bopper with a Hanson brother in sight. You could stretch dental floss at their neck level as they pass, and they'd probably go a good fifty feet before they realized they'd been decapitated. Like a chicken.

Quick 'n Dirty Tidbits: None for today. Sorry.

I also received a few letters about the Uematsu/Zimmer thing, but it's rapidly become clear that discussion to that end wouldn't go anywhere. I maintain that the "villain" theme in The Rock is eerily close to the opening music to the FF8 Demo, but that's not really debate-worthy.

A lighter column tonight, a bit less philosophical, and a bit shorter. Is this approach better? Worse? Does anyone care except for me and that one other guy? Let's find out.

- Allan Milligan, shining in the darkness with a Zippo

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