It's Friday!


In the PSX




You know you want to.


Send correspondence to the following stud
Joshua Reid

Doff those ties, throw those books in a corner, turn on the PSX, PC, Gameboy or Saturn, kick back and relax, because its FRIDAY!

A Word From the Wise (Me)

1. Has there been any definitive word on Suikoden II as a U.S. release yet?

2. It's halfway through the semester, and I'm doing very well. Should I buy Xenogears and hope my GPA stays relatively high?

3. Do you think Black Chocobos would taste better deep fried or rotisserie style?

4. If I said I enjoyed SaGa Frontier, would you hate me?

-Mongoose Boy

Joshua: 1. The definitive word from Konami's home site is--TBA. Rumor has it, however, that the States will be graced by this sequel's presence sometime in the winter of 1999, even though I've heard as early as May. But don't fret, Suikoden I's success has ensured a U.S. release.

2. I'm going to make a comparison here (anyone getting ready to take the SAT--participate!) . . .

Death Star-Alderaan = Xenogears-?

Can you fill in the blank? Does that answer your question?

3. I prefer Gold Chocobo actually. Tastes like chicken.

4. Of course I wouldn't hate you Mongoose Boy--I'll only disrespect you.

The Things People Will Do . . .

I bet if I keep pestering you with silly letters, one of them will eventually get posted. At first they actually contained something, but that grew tiresome, so now I've decided to write to you about nothing. In fact, I don't really have anything to say except, well . . . hi mom! Yep, I'm the goofy guy on the roof waving into the camera behind the dude describing the sound of a tornado. Well, sorta. Neener neener! Yeah. Yeah! Er . . . woah, like, um, people can see this! =) (if this makes it to the column I'll eat my Saga Frontier CD from a pint glass and send all interested a picture of me doing so=).


Joshua: Send your picture via attachment (JPEG, GIF) to my RPGuru address. And it better be good. Thank you.

With Friends Like These . . .

Dear RPGastronimic:

I liked tonight's article, for some reason. And then I realized: Josh wrote very little in it. Haha!



I also checked your use of the word 'Adulate'. Darn you. You used it right.

- Bigfoot

Joshua: Most of you are probably wondering why I'm showcasing a nauseating piece of inept wit and lackluster style on this pristine column. The answer is simple--Bigfoot is a good friend of mine in Blacksburg, Virginia.

Bigfoot, meet readers. Readers, meet Bigfoot. Now, Bigfoot, don't write again. You're clogging my mailbox. :)

Samsonian Square Characters

I have noticed a strange and recurring factor in all Squaresoft games I have played. Except for a few minor exceptions, the more hair a character has the cooler they turn out to be.

FF4j: Both Cecil and Kain had long hair in the game, and they both turned out to be the point men of your party. And don't forget the flying mop, Zeromous. Although his role was rather underdeveloped, he was, at the time, the most detailed and monstrous baddy I'd seen. Counterpoint: Cid had short hair, as did Edward. Do we need more explanation?

Chrono Trigger: Magus was the MAN! He also had the longest hair in the game.

Cp: Robo and Lucca had short/no hair and during the latter portion of the game they became merely bystanders as Chrono/Magus/Marle and Frog put the whoop up on everyone.

FFVII: Sephiroth is definitely one of the most developed villains I have ever witnessed in an RPG, and one of the few enemies that actually sent shivers down my spine when I heard his music. His hair also reached down to his ankles.

Cp: Cait Sith and Barret. Both characters were highly underdeveloped, and their advantages quickly paled later on in the game.

I could go into details on other characters, but I would rather leave that up to you. Granted there are a few exceptions, such as Sabin and Frog. Yet they are few and far between, so my supposition still stands.

What is your opinion of the matter, oh great and wise one?

-Brackhar, Master of the Obvious

Joshua: I'm buying horse shampoo today.

Ignorance is Bliss

I'm a 15 year old boy, still living a sheltered life under my parents wing. So I have a question: Is playing RPGs and leading a happy successful life possible? I mean, I'd love to never have to worry about anything more pressing then whether or not Square will port its latest game to PC, or who to have in my FFVII party, but some day I'm gonna have to pay the bills, and RPGing does take up a lot of time. Will I even have time for RPGs in the university? Is life outside of RPGs possible? Is hard-core RPG playing reserved only for the young, and the people who write the video game magazines? And if one can juggle career and RPG how is this amazing feat accomplished? Please RPGuru, soothe the mind of this troubled boy. Help me RPGuru, you're my only hope.

-J Cat

Joshua: Dear reader, do not fret, the Elysian fields of your youth shall continue to be as green and sweet as the ones you will galumph through in the future. You will find video games an easy and consistent partner with the rigors of Academia, and your future bosses will encourage you to play RPGs both on and off their time clock, to promote creativity and empathy in the workplace. There is not a moment in life where an RPG addiction creates stress on the wallet or the watch--nay--an RPG life is a life of radiant hues and gossamer challenges.

(Most Vengeful Lord, forgive me for this erroneous fable)

Mystery Japanese Hit Uncovered

I know I nearly fell out of my chair when I found out about this. Just a warning.

I found, a while back, a strange Japanese RPG for the SNES. I went looking for other information... and found out that the original RPG had been ported not only to SNES but to PSX, Saturn, and PC Engine as well . . . and that the game itself commanded the number one spot for a full YEAR in the Japanese market. Sounds impressive, hmm? I know I was impressed. Unless you know the game I'm talking about, you're probably very curious as to the nature of it. One of the chapters of Dragon Quest or Final Fantasy? Perhaps a diamond-in-the-rough from some unknown software developer with graphics and music beyond anything we'd get in the States? The latter is true . . . partially.

The game is Tokimeki Memorial, and the plot, from what I know of it, is straight out of a shoujo manga. The plot revolves around an ancient tree, on the campus of a Japanese high school . . . the legend surrounding it is that two people who pledge their love to each other underneath it on graduation day will love each other forever. No world-changing quests, no monsters to slay . . . the nearest analogy I can come up with is the few events in the plot of FFVII which shape who you go out with at the Gold Saucer, expanded among three years and thirteen different girls.

Not the sort of game one would expect to be wildly successful, particularly given the sort of hype few American-bred game magazines give these days . . . but still, for a game to command the top spot for an entire year . . .

Makes you think, doesn't it? Particularly in light of the fact that almost every RPG, sooner or later, will have you going off to save the world.

-G. Falconar

Joshua: I didn't fall off my chair, Falconar, but I did sprint over to the nearest Netscape browser to extract more about this game.

There are actually FIVE games (published by Konami) based off of this series--Puzzle-dama (arcade, PSX, Saturn), Tokkae-dama (PSX, Saturn), Oshiete Your Heart (arcade), Niji Iro no Seishun (PSX, Saturn), Irodori no Love Song (PSX, Saturn). I also found some Tokimeki Memorial paraphernalia, including game music, at Animenation.

It doesn't surprise me that an Anime game has done so well in Japan (Anime Factor), but it does seem odd that this RPG you mentioned can outsell more action-orientated plots. But now that I think about it, you can't get any better than thirteen High School girls. Heck, I'd buy it. This game is just a testament to Japan's infatuation with their cartoon and comic characters. You'll never see Spiderman, Batman, and Spawn games match up lucratively to Ranma, Dragon Ball Z, or Slayers renditions.

Until Anime and Manga become as popular in the States as they are in Japan (I'm not sure how much--if any--Anime infiltrates Europe, Australia, Canada, etc.), we will probably never see many of these games. But I'll take what I can get--I still drag out Ranma 1/2: Hard Battle (SNES) every so often.

Write Us a Letter, You're the Piano Man . . .

Item 1.  Crabbits as you all would like to call them, have a secret society. I'm only telling you all this as a warning to be careful when planning your assault on the CRABHQ, because I tried it already. Even Solid Snake would have problems, and if you don't believe me just watch some of the more recent episodes of Tenchi, and you will see that the cute innocent Crabbits you are so readily willing to attack are actually the instigators of destruction, they turn into spaceships and lightsabers, and other things that we just don't want to know about. Enough said.      

Item 3. Has anyone seen or heard ANYTHING good about Atlus's new strategy game Brigandine? I just can't seem to find any information on it anywhere.      

Item 4. We need a proper induction for our new esteemed RPGuru, and that would probably make up a good contest, art, sound, anything we can do to make the RPGuru look--well, you know--funny. Come on, it'll be fun folks. 

-Piano Man

Joshua: Item 1: Your feeble attempts to frighten me are as ineffectual as seraphic hymns for Crabbit souls. Forbear, because I have just initiated two more members into the CAC (Coalition Against Crabbits)--Fei and Citan, whom already harbor a keen dislike for a certain Chu-Chu (Your days are numbered! -Fei P.S. Don't tell Elly about this, you pink punk!). Citan and Fei also have long hair--and we all know what that means.

Item 2: Atlus calls Brigandine "the best elements of Ogre Battle and Dragon Force . . . the definitive fantasy tactical simulation." Sounds wonderful. There is also a preview for this FFT competitor. The game itself should appear on U.S. shelves this month.

Item 3: Please don't. Unless you want to send Roaches. I need roaches for a super secret plan I have for this site. :)

Rock Facts

I've been reading some "Contemporary Musicians" book in my High School Library, and I read something about David Byrne, former lead singer of the 1980s rock group, the Talking Heads. After the group disbanded, Byrne went on to form his own label, Luaka Bop Records. He was very interested in "new age" and "world music," and the name of his first solo album was called (I swear I am not making this up) "Rei Momo." Did the programmers of "Breath of Fire 3" decide to name two of the main characters after this album title, or was it just a strange coincidence?

Also, I've been recently reading your column and found something about the controversial nature of "Final Fantasy Tactics" and "Xenogears" for their religious content. Has everybody forgotten the Church of St. Eva in "Breath of Fire 2," the religion that set up churches around the world, stole the souls of all of its believers, and possessed the souls of evil people to make them even more evil? Now THAT is one messed-up religion.

-Joshua Rosen

Joshua: There are no coincidences--we are all interwoven in Fate's great Tapestry of Life. Each little so-called "coincidence" is actually a glimpse of two threads overlapping, a tuft of the UberRug, a syllable in the GreatBook, a sausage on the EternalPizza of Unfathomable Life, which I truly belief some maniacal Deity will eat someday soon and end this strange and wonderful existence.

Another rock "coincidence" for you--Squaresoft wanted to name Sephiroth "Manson" in the U.S. release, to connote a sense of evil presence in this contemporary audience. Marilyn threatened to sue, and Square dropped the issue. I believe it all happened for the better, considering "Manson" is eerily similar to another popular rock group with long hair, who can single-handedly bring down Brackhar's Samson theory in flames. (Just in case we have some gullible readers out there--I just told a Great Big Fib).

Heck yeah, St. Eva was crazy! How about Secret of Mana? Remember that cult of vampire-thingys? What about Crono Trigger? The demons worshipping that statue underneath the church organ was really strange, to say the least.

I want my Xenogears!

1.How come everybody has Xenogears except for me, and Electronics Boutique hasn't called me yet after I reserved it?

2. Is living at Virginia Tech much better than living in Gloucester, Virginia, a.k.a.. Hicktown U.S.A.?

3. Is it okay if I accidentally "borrowed" my friends copy of FFIII? It's not like he needs it anymore.

4. Hey, it's my birthday today! Does that get my letter posted?

5. Is my spelling that bad?

6. Galaxy Express 999 or something like that is the best Anime.

-Michael Grimm

Joshua: 1. You have been duped. EB employees are playing it right now. Grab the nearest bazooka, and claim what is yours.

2. Put it this way. If I had to pick between Virginia Tech and the Underworld, I guess I'd be paying a visit to old Hades.

3. Remember--If you're not caught, it's not illegal.

4. No. I'm going to post it a day afterwards, just to spite you.

5. Lookz god too mi.

6. Sorry, you're incorrect. Play again. Game Over. Insert Coin.

Scattered Thoughts: I found a site for Might and Magic VII

Daniel Carper and Rob Allen have found a subtitled Parasite Eve movie at my favorite Anime site, Animenation.

Many people are asking me for financial advice--PE, Xenogears, or BFM (FFVIII demo)? If you are looking for a lengthy, true RPG experience, then buy Xenogears and rent the rest. You can always borrow a FFVIII demo. How many times can one enjoy a one-hour propaganda piece? Wait--I can't believe I just asked that.

Tales of Destiny Spoiler. Da Red Gobbo asked about multiplayer Tales of Destiny mode, so here's how you do it--equip an AI character with the Channeling Ring, which you find at various points of the game. If you have the multi-tap, you can invite your friends over and have a four-player rompfest.

Xenogears Deathblow Spoiler. If you have 100% of a deathblow learned, and you still can't use it, you are not a high enough level. And some deathblows require a weapon.

Squaresoft's answer to Madden--Final Fantasy Football. What do you think? :) Who should play what position?

I recently nuked Eudora for acting very badly. As a result, some of your messages were lost. For that, I apologize profusely. Don't be discouraged, please keep sending your commentary and questions.

Joshua Johnston wants to know how many CDs Lunar: SSS will come packaged with. There will be four CDs: Two game CDs (laced with sweet animation), one music CD, and one "making of Lunar" CD.

"The beatings will ensue until morale improves." I read that saying on a professor's office door today.

- Joshua Reid

"There's someone in my head, but it's not me." -Brain Damage, "Dark Side of the Moon."

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