|Just Another Busy Sunday|
||In the PSX|
||Write to the RPGuru!|
||Send your musings to|
Hey, it's me, your favorite RPGologist! Here some items I need to address before we move to the letters:
1. Looks like "RPGuru" is here to stay. Thanks for all the amusing alternatives you sent.
2. Here are some of the "scary" RPGs people sent me--SOTN, Gabriel Knight 2 (although I'd group this with Sierra's Quest Series, not as an RPG), Drakken (anybody play this game? I actually liked it), and Final Fantasy III. I was thinking of Chrono Trigger, because Magus' castle was huge, dark, and had a lot of bats--a true Halloween keep.
3. I'm delaying my announcement of a special contest until tommorrow. Please direct all complaints to my secretary.
It's letter time!
I've been playing FFIV (which is the greatest game ;) ) and I have
this problem of freaking out whenever I see a battle and running away.
:) I amazingly made it to the final dungeon with GP to spare :).
See, now in this dungeon--on the level where random battle are BOSSES
that u can't run away from--I'm in trouble. :) Does this happen to
you? Is there some odd psychoproblem that I have? Why? Why? Why?
-Booga, the guy from Denver
Joshua: Booga, you are soooo cool in my book now. Why, you ask? It's because you
live in Denver, Colorado, home of the DENVER BRONCOS, who are going to whup
all kinds of butt this afternoon when they trample over lowly Cincinnati!
Wohoo! Go Denver!
Anyways, to answer your questions Booga, you have fightochondria, a chronic
condition that makes you fear confrontations in video games. This problem is not
so bad in the beginning, but you'll find that you can't defeat bosses
without leveling up (although I heard about someone who beat all the worlds
in FF5 at 9th level), and you can't level up without fighting. You are
missing out on an integral part of the game, Booga. Nothing is more
satisfying than the swoosh-swoosh of Edge's and Cecil's swords as they hack
creatures down to size. Maybe I shouldn't be telling you this (it won't help cure you), but you can
use Edge's smoke power to escape most of the random battles you can't seem
to be able to run from.
FFIV Character Debate
How can anyone say that FFIV had good characters?
Now before you jump down my throat, hear me out. How many times in the game
do the characters themselves get any development? Sure its a great story, but
the characters are basically unchanged throughout. Cecil turns into a
Paladin, and that's basically it for him. And Kain never really has any
development, nor do most of the characters. I mean, they were good character
designs, but very poorly written.
Anyway, that's just my opinion, and I don't disrespect yours. I just don't
agree with it.
(By the way, this is my fifth letter to rpguru, and none have been printed
yet. I'm starting to get desperate! Please print this so I can die a happy man)
Joshua: I can't ignore such an honest plea, nor any opportunity to make my audience
happy. I also can't ignore a chance to give myself and fellow readers an
chance to react to your statement.
Characters in FFIV are more dynamic than almost any I've seen in RPGs.
1--Rydia. She's a tormented girl when Cecil rescues her from her burning
town. She falls into the sea, the Leviathan takes her under, and the next
time you see her--she's a woman! No longer carrying the trappings of her
timid girlhood, Rydia is an accomplished summoner and an opinionated
female--she staves off Edge's romantic interest and becomes a role-model for
the monsters who raised her. She grows physically and emotionally.
Case 2--Cecil. Another dramatic change. He is a tool for his king in the
beginning--he has his doubts about the king's motives, but a tool
nonetheless. Notice how he treats Rosa in the castle--he is frigid in response to
her adulation. But as the story progresses, Cecil's heart softens to Rosa,
his indecision turns to devotion to the forces of good, he faces his
greatest fear (the darkness within him) and purges it, and he learns to
accept an archenemy as a brother. Could Cecil have made a good king at the
beginning of FFIV, I ask you? My answer is no--only through the trials he
faces and the characters who influence him could he evolve into an adept
king and caring husband.
I have more examples, but I don't want to hog the court. Hopefully this
debate will continue on both sides of the ball, because character portrayal
is an integral part of any roleplaying game. Thank you for your comments
Savior--it's hard to publicly criticize something you know people hold dear
in their hearts.
The Naming Game
Someone brought up the subject of renaming characters to make the dialogue
funny. My all-time favorite game for this purpose was Secret of
Evermore(see! It's good for something!), because of the extraordinary
amount of space allowed for names. I actually started games just to die and
receive the death message. "Sadly, The Spice Girls and Hanson were never
heard from again..." Then I'd laugh maniacally for a while before
grudgingly getting back to seriously playing the game.
Of course, there's obvious ones like naming Frog 'Glenn' or Sabin "Mr.
Thou". And simply naming a character a dirty word can put all the dialogue
in a different light... It was funnier back when video games were censored,
though. Lots of fun for those characters you don't like.
A friend of mine repeatedly named Rydia a [female canine], just for the scene
Edge tells her to get off the Big Whale... He also had a strange compulsion
to change Kain's name to whatever the timer was when he last joined the
party, i.e. '1:08' or '45:38'. He named Strago "board" once, which was
hilarious for some reason I can't remember. Once I named both Palom and
Porom "Ranma". My friends and I competed to come up with names for Umaro
that cracked us up, most of which are not fit for public reading... And
we'd make silly, pointless names for Mog, like "Fizzy". In retrospect, a
good name for Relm would be "Glitch".
Final Fantasy Tactics was great for serious naming. I loved having such
people as "Nausicaa", "Illuminatus!", "Aziraphale", "Tom Servo" and "Pink
Floyd" fighting on my side. The first time through FFT I named Worker 8
"Mr. Coffee" because that was the first thing to come to mind. One of my
Mathematicians was appropriately named "Deus X Machina".
the record straight, 'Cabbit' is not an officially recognized term(though
it is used in the Ani-Mayhem card game). Ryo-ohki is not a cabbit, she is a
spaceship. That should clear up the confusion.
"Don't try to get past me. I'm quick... Quick like the wind."
-Immobile guard in Secret of Evermore
Joshua: Zenoki has done the impossible: He has found entertainment value in what I
consider one of the biggest flops in Electronic Entertainment History. Well
Ryo-cabbit is a spaceship huh? Oh! Now everything makes complete sense.
I've seen them used as armor before too (El Hazard). Are 'dem zany anime
designers smokin' crack or what? Gotta love 'em.
Why We Don't Wear FFVII Shirts in Public
Kain? Boco? Don't tell me you're serious about these names?
Fortunately, we RPGers don't have much chance of reproducing. (Sorry
to come off rude, but it's true. I got shot down for Homecoming like
a low-flying duck. I blame the FFVII T-shirt I chose to wear that day).
Why does no one ever like an RPG ending? Everywhere I look, people
gripe and moan about the ending to FFIV-VII, Breath of Fire series, Wild
ARMs, and every other RPG they play through. What do you people want
in an ending?!?!?!? SaGa Frontier was my favorite ending. As I
recall, the main character removes the CD from the Playstation in
disgust and breaks it into pieces. Then he goes play a real game
(As always, sincere apologies to the three people who like the game).
Don't worry about the insulting letters;
it's how we initiate our new columnists at RPGamer.
Joshua: You wore an FFVII T-shirt when you asked someone out for homecoming?
That's worse than wearing formaldehyde for cologne! Unless, of course, you
are trying to draw the RIGHT kind of woman. I flaunt a "piyo piyo" shirt
around campus, hoping my dream woman will shout, "Maison Ikkoku! I love
that show!" and then I shall take her in my ardent arms and we'll "go to the
chapel, and we're gonna get maaaarrried . . . going to the chapel of love,
ya ya ya ya!"
About the endings--I want the game to finish with something that resembles
the definition of "ending." I want a conclusion. I want to feel vindicated.
I want to feel like those 45 hours were worth it. Think about your favorite
books, how the last words made you feel. I cried at the end of FFIV--the
only time for a video game, by the way--because the experience was over. I
could finally release all that pent up wonder and reenter this mundane
world. Ending on a high note is a good note with me. I'm not partial to
ambiguities or eye-candy--they leave me feeling empty. What does everyone else think?
Thanks for the advice Michael. I've had my share of insults already, but
the more gentle criticims and positive feedback have balanced the
soul-abusers out. I wish everyone could enjoy this column, but that's
life for you.
Barret Was My Best Man
Here's some questions/comments!
1) Have you played Kartia yet? That has to be one of the best games out
there! It rivals FFT (doesn't surpass, but rivals) You can create monsters,
weapons, gear. You can trade items, and fight against your
friends! That, my friend, is pure genius!!!
2) Here's a funny story. In FFVII, I put my girlfriend's name in
place of Barret's! (I think I was drunk) She didn't find it funny. But
later we got married, so I guess she forgave me. She doesn't even get
made when I play videogames! She even plays some with me! (Wait, that
didn't come out right) Which brings us to number three.
3) If my wife beats me in at a game, do I need to be worried?
Joshua: No I haven't actually. Sounds like it's something I need to check out,
however. I'm glad RPGs and Strategy games are doing so well, but do they
have to release so many great diversions when I'm trying to graduate from
2. Michael Goff! You hear that?! A RPG love-life success story! Keep
your head up, man! RPG players are sensitive individuals, perfect for any
relationship. Just make sure you find someone who doesn't mind sharing you
with the game console. Here's a reason to buy Tales of Destiny--you and
your love-dove can play together! "She even plays some with me" eh, Prince? A little Freudian slip there?
The Crabbits Are Coming
1. You mentioned you call cabbits
"crabbits"... did you know crabbits really do exist? Yep, in a
(incredibly wonderful) comic book called the Maxx. I scanned in a pic
for you if you want to see proof.
(http://www.net-link.net/~ellcrys/temp/crabbit.jpg), but I suggest
reading the comic. It's one of the few really interesting and
thought-provoking comics I've ever seen.
2.And on the Chu-chu issue... I plan to name that thing Pikachu my next
time through the game. Or perhaps Evil Pikachu. (You'd understand if
you've been to the series board much... muahaha!).
3. [Kind of spoiler] Also, on the topic of XG naming, yep, the Mechs can be
least, at one point in the game, when you're aboard the Yggdrasil. Go
into the hanger and get on the above platform, go up close to the Mechs.
You can talk to some mechanics there, and they'll give you the option.
4. I was trying to think of a way to avoid spoiling
games for people in the future, since obviously people WILL ask an
RPGuru questions about the ends of games and such...
And I think I came up with a way. On the message boards, we're always
posting multi-topic messages, containing spoilers for some games, and what some of us have done about it is... when we
get to a part of the message that's a spoiler, we simply change the font
color to "#FFFFFF". Then if people want to read the spoiler, they
highlight it. (Of course this was inspired by the spoiler message option
at the end of the message, but we're more creative with it. ^_^)
5. One more question. I'm sure everyone's dying to know... Are you a bad
enough dude to save the president?
Joshua: 1. No! No! Horrors of my imagination brought to life on the page! I'll
never look! Never! Ellcrys, I will never willingly behold those infernal
creatures--they may have many names, shapes, sizes, and colors; they many
turn into ships, make cute noises, and save lives, but I will avoid any
contact with them--looking at them is like gawking at medusa, listening to
their mewlings is like hearing the Siren beckoning you to dash yourself on
rocks, or whatever sharp object is handy at the moment.
2. Chu-Chu has tainted your message boards? Yikes.
3. Thanks. Lots of people have confirmed this fact. I've decided to name
mine after the Four Horseman--Pestilence, Famine, Death, and War.
4. I like that idea. At the end of Xenogears, you
find out that God is really NACLGigas, a giant pretzel you feast on when
it dies. How's that for an ending?
5. I saved the President once (not Clinton), with a bud of mine. You know what I told the press
after I was done? None of that "I'm going to Disneyworld" crap. I flexed
my massive bicep and said, "I'm bad!" Yeah!
Looking for the Legends
What's the deal with 7th Saga 2? This is the
sequel everyone mentions but no one reviews. Was this released in the U.S.? I know
there was a raging debate about the first game's merits on RPGamer a few
months ago, but what's the scoop on the second?
Also, given Working Design's current slate of RPG translations, is the
possibility of "Ys" translations too much to hope? Yes, I have 1 an 2 on the
TurboDuo pack-in disc and 3 came out (I should probably pick that up while I
and 5 never even came over to the U.S.. Are they an NEC property? Without a
U.S. gaming console currently in production, surely they would be willing to
license these out to WD for, say, Playstation production? Just curious.
Is it hopeless to offer support (and ready $$$) for the U.S. translations of
Japanese SNES RPGs that we never saw or played, say for Playstation or any of
the upcoming consoles? "Treasure Hunter G" and "Tales of Phantasia" (didn't
that have an internal seasonal clock, or something nifty like that?) would be
obvious candidates, along with the two "Secret of Mana"'s we never saw. There
was even a "Soul Blazer 2," wasn't there? Your fresh, informed perspective on
this, going out to thirty thousand netizens a day, would doubtlessly be very
Wasn't there a corridor-based Super-CDRom2 RPG on the TurboDuo that came out
after the system went out of production in the U.S.? I could swear I read
about one that received high praise, and could be ordered direct from NEC by
phone, back around '94 or '95, but I can't find any mention of such an
eleventh-hour hit anywhere on the web. The only CD-Rom2 RPGs I can find are
"Exile 2" and "Dungeon Explorer 2" and neither are the game I'm picturing.
-William S. Burns
Joshua: Just my stinking luck--I have mounds of homework to finish and a Denver game to watch and this excellent letter slips into my mailbox. William Burns a.k.a., RPGbuff, has a lot of great questions that will unfortunately take some research on my part. In lieu of posting this tomorrow, I thought I would let some of you out there take a crack at some of these questions, and I'll post them next time.
Of the top of my head, however: I don't know of any U.S. 7th Saga 2. I heard once that Illusion of Gaia was supposed to be Soul Blazer 2 (a bit of information that probably has as much viability as your weekly horoscope). I'm sure companies would appreciate your money, but the best thing you can do is buy their games to show support (so they are encouraged to release more), and find a lot of people to bombard their sites with e-mail begging translations. Tales of Phantasia and Secret of Mana 2 are games that I would have loved to see over here--Tales was a 48 meg cart or something, and Mana 2 had an alignment system. You can play Tales of Phantasia's sequel, which of course has little to do with the first one--Tales of Destiny. I really doubt, however, that many of these classics will reapper on 32-bit consoles, especially now that the next generations are on the way. All the more reason to learn Japanese.
Scattered Thoughts: Ken Chau, the only Gameboy Dragon Quest I know about was
supposed to appear in Japan as DQ Monsters in September. The game is a
gargantuan 16 megabits. Anyone else have some more information for this DQ
addict? It's good to have Enix back in the game market. Evil Shinji, the capitol of Assyria is Ninevah. I'd like to tell
Sugoi that I'm a rabid fan of Maison Ikkoku, and I also love Slayers, KOR,
Gunbuster, Ninja Scroll, Saber Marionettes, Vampire Hunter D (have you
heard about the remake? Wohoo!), and just about anything that isn't hintai.
[spoiler!] Count Matthewla, if you haven't found out already, you must talk
to the rich guy in the inn who has dropped his passport, talk to the lady
outside the inn who has found the passport, find the soldier she has given
the passport to, then run back to the rich guy. *deep breath* Hope that
helps. Ryan Chambers challenges us to make a case for Chrono Trigger being Final Fantasy III's sequel. Chris Dwyer names everyone Sephiroth in FFVII, and I bet that creates a confusing experience. I wish I didn't have so much homework today.
Ah well, it can't be helped. Enjoy what remains of your weekend.
- Joshua Reid, signing off