Unburden your soul to
It's letter time again!
Almighty Master of all that is RPG,
I was wondering what exactly is an ID? Unfortunately I
haven't played Xenogears yet as I don't have a Playstation .
. . (twitch, twitch) AHHHHHHHHHHHHH! THAT'S IT!!! I'M SICK
OF TRYING TO BE SUBTLE!!!!! I DON'T HAVE A PLAYSTATION!!! I
DON'T HAVE A PLAYSTATION!!! PARASITE EVE, XENOGEARS, BREATH
OF FIRE, THE FFVIII DEMO THEY ALL MIGHT AS WELL BE ON THE
MOON!!!! EVERY SINGLE LETTER I'VE SENT TO YOU I'VE HINTED AT
IT!! BUT DO I EVER GET A WORD OF COMFORT NOO!!!! AH HAHAHA
WAHHHHH, sniffle, stupid victor you think you have it bad at
least Josh has a.. a.. a pp . . pp... PLAYSTATION!! WA
HAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!! (And the author is dragged away from the
keyboard, kicking and screaming "beware the Crabbit's, the
unseen enemy." He is then locked in a room with only a Mac
and a gravy boat to play with. All the author has to say is
"Thank God for the gravy boat.")
-J. Cat a.k.a. (Jamie Snetsinger) a.k.a. The Mad Raving
Lunatic without a Playstation
P.S. I acknowledge that this is probably to incoherent to
post I just had to get it out of my system
Joshua: Nothing is too incoherent to make it into
this fine column, J. Cat (ex. my writing)!
You poor poor poor thing. Is there anything we can do to
encourage him my subconsciousnesses?
Ralph: Sorry kid, you're screwed.
Beatrice: Fie Ralph! Hang in there Jamie
Snetsinger! Behind every dark cloud is the beaming sun! At
least you have a Mac, and they are good for, for . . .
Ralph: Nice try Miss Optimism. Hey Victor, you got
something to cheer the bugger up?
Victor: Waiting . . . for the worms.
Joshua: Yikes. Hey J. Cat, I want to let you know
that I'll be giving away not only a copy of SaGa Frontier in
a future contest, but also a FFVIII demo! Hurray! Doesn't
that make you feel happy!
Ralph: Not unless you're giving him a Playstation
too, idiot. Geeze, get a new ego, I'm leaving this monkey
parlor. It's worse than Sybil in here.
I've been looking at some pics of Atlus's newest RPG,
Soul Hackers, and I've been getting this serious case of
deja vu when I look at them. The game is strikingly similar
to Persona. Might Soul Hackers be the next chapter in the
seemingly nonexistent Revelations series?
Joshua: By Jove, I think he's got it. Go to Atlus'
page and e-mail them so
they know we want the game over here, if it's not too
I have found a Crabbit like creature in . . . get this .
. . the NES game Crystalis!!!!!!! This foul looking creature
even has the audacity to appear in the beginning of the game
. . . as to be unnoticed by novice players . . . but I can
smell a Crabbit from a mile away. This brings the Crabbit
theory into a whole new ballpark . . . They have been around
since the NES!!!! How long have these creatures REALLY been
among us? Have they taken over video games in different
By George I think I've got it!, The evil Cid . . . the
Crabbits being around for a long, long time . . . THEY'VE
MORPHED INTO CIDS!!!!!!!!!!!!! EVERYONE, TAKE YOUR FAMILYS
AND RUN FOR THE HILLS! THE ONLY ONES THAT CAN STOP THEM NOW
IS THE CAC!!!!! AND JOSH . . . TAKE OUT A FEW CRABBITS FOR
Also . . . does this let me into the CAC . . . I've been
dying to join . . . I thought this would be a perfect chance
Joshua: Okay, that's it--no more CrabbitColumns.
*listening to the sigh of relief rippling across the
Internet* I'm afraid someone's going to get hurt.
While you're composing your next fine column, tell Victor
he isn't funny. There has also been a 'Cuar' type enemy in
Final Fantasy. Not cougar, Cuar, or something close to it.
That might explain something. Earthbound also rocks.
Joshua: I don't think Victor is meant to be funny
Cody: He's very mean, very ugly, and very serious. Oh wait,
here he is. Hey Victor.
Victor: Murder in the brain, beat her with her
cane ya ya
Joshua: Um, well . . . Cody says you aren't funny.
What do you have to say about that?
Victor: Laughter is denial, Death is reality.
There is no giggling under the coffin lid.
Joshua: Geeze. Can't you say something positive
Victor: Death is a tender lover. He kisses you
goodnight, casts his pale shroud over you, and lies with you
in your final sleep.
Joshua: Good Lord. I'm leaving.
Where Have All The RPGentlemen
I have a problem. You see, I am starting to think that
your column must be a figment of my imagination. (overworked
from too much Square Translation Interpretation)
This is because, according to your column, there are a
lot of nice friendly guys, who are not jocks, losers, or
druggies, who do play RPGs out there. These people,
according to you, do not believe that girls who play RPGs
and like them exist.
So here is my question:
WHERE ARE THESE GUYS?
The only guys I have ever met cannot understand what I
see in games. Why do none of these people live in Canada?
There are plenty of RPGirls here... So where, oh where,
are the RPGuys?
Joshua: Aha. Here's the problem. Overabundance of
RPGirls in Canada, and overabundance of RPGuys in the States
and Elsewhere. Well, I don't know about the rest of you, but
ONTARIO HERE I COME! Canada ain't so bad--lots of hockey up
Many people wish my column were a figment of their
imagination--they can't understand how such putrid html
waste gets printed here every day. Haha, neither do I, but
I'm loving it. Life is good.
Hey, there, Josh! Very inventive/funny/twisted column ya
got there. More power to ya!
1. Your Hokies lost, eh? Might I inquire as to what a
2. In FF7, is there anyway to date Barret (I'm determined
to do EVERYTHING in that game)?
3. I saw your comments on the FFVIII demo, but what did
you think about Brave Fencer Musashi (if you played that,
4. How could you possibly get a master's in English?!
Symbolism is what's wrong with the world today! It just
sucks so much!
5. What games are you most looking forward to for the
remainder of the year?
6. Will you post this?
Thanks for your time, and keep up the superb work and
-Adamentium: Crabbit Slayer Elite
Joshua: 1. A Hokie is like fun factor in the Spice
Girls game--it doesn't exist. I think the term originated
from a old victory chant that some deranged fellow made up.
Nowadays he's our mascot--a big maroon turkey. Watch out.
Every orientation they hold at this FINE UNIVERSITY for the
incoming meat--er--freshman includes a competition where the
first person who can touch the Hokie's hand and define a
Hokie (answer=doesn't exist) gets tickets to the next home
game, which is kind of dumb, because we get free tickets
anyway. Wait. What am I babbling about? Anyway . . .
3. I think it's very, very kiddie, as in the voice
acting, the game play, and the story is very simple and I
could see a younger, less mature audience enjoying it
immensely, which is why I love it! I've even begrudgingly
accepted the dubbing because it's endlessly amusing to hear
princess FILLET talk like a California Girl and Mr. "Doth,"
as I call him, spew forth another "th" infested phrase: "I
doth thinketh it imperitith that thou saveth the virtuouth
princeth Filleteh, Yeth?".
BFM is not a Zelda Killer, it's not a serious RPG
experience, but it's a fun game to limber up the mind after
Xenogears' tangled skein of psychobable.
4. Unfortunately, I don't have a masters in English just
yet. I'm a Junior and a half, but I enjoy my course of study
so much that I think I'll go ahead and give the next two
years a shot. I'll probably focus on Medieval Literature,
Film Criticism, or maybe (praying ardently to the Academic
altar) I can somehow write a thesis on the intermingling of
the Film Industry and Video Game Industry or break open a
new scholarly discipline--Video Game Criticism.
5. Brigandine, because it's an Atlus strategy game, Zelda
64, because its Zelda, Lunar SSS because the game rocks and
all the extra goodies should be nice, and that's the top
three, not necessarily in that order.
FFVIII Demo Commentary (Read At
Your Own Risk)
Actually Riona has to be in that part of the game that
was the demo. Why? She was a part of one of the full CG
Come on now, is the draw system really that bad? It DOES
after all force you to think about what spells you should
use when(notice no enemy carries a spell that it is weak
against.) This already gives it an edge over FF7 where you
just blast and heal relentlessly during just about every
The only thing I don't like about the draw system is that
normal enemies (soldiers and what not) can use spells on you
without drawing them. It kinda detracts from the whole
"magic is rare" thing.
Joshua: Good point Mikesdcool. You're referring to
the final FMV right? Well, let's hope she has more speaking
parts then. Maybe it's time for a mute girl-hero.
True, Rkenner. The draw system definately changes the
battle strategy significantly--whether this change freshens
or frustrates remains to be seen.
Another good point Rkeener. If Squall and co. are
supposed to be in Seed because of their magic abilities, how
come every other Joe can cast spells on you? Interesting . .
I have a great idea that I think should be heard. I think
that Square should split Final Fantasy into two separate
series. One series would be like the Final Fantasies of old.
It would have crisp, clear 2D graphics. Like the older Final
Fantasies, it would have a lighthearted plot with all the
loose ends tied up at the end. It also would have superb
animation sequences. It would have the same feeling that
made the first ones so great. The second series would be
more along the lines of Final Fantasy VII. It would have the
great 3D graphics that we know Square is capable of. The
plot would be a mature one with the player having to fill in
the blanks for themselves. It would also have awe inspiring
FMV sequences that will blow you away. It would have the
same blockbuster as Final Fantasy VII and VIII. I think this
would be a great strategy for Square to take. All the fans
of the first Final Fantasies would buy the 2D games. The
second series would attract people that have never played a
RPG let alone know what one is, which would make the RPG
industry grow. Hard-core fans of Final Fantasy would buy
both series. This would be a win-win situation for Square.
It would make them happy and, more importantly, make us
gamers happy. With all the rumors about Final Fantasy VIII
and IX being made simultaneously together, maybe Square is
actually taking my advice. Final Fantasy VII could be the 3D
series and Final Fantasy IX might be the 2D series. Then
again this could all be just making something out of
nothing, as I am just a humble gamer that knows nothing
about video game politics.
Joshua: Video game politics 101, fundamental rule:
Make games that will make money. Right now, 3-D games are
the fad, and I don't see any company departing from that
(unless you count Namcom, I mean Namco) in the near future.
Xenogears proves a renewed interest in sprites from Square,
but an entirely 2-D game? I wish, but I don't think so. In
some ways, the hand-drawn graphics in 2-D games take more
work than 3-D polygonal engines. Also, everyone seems to
think 3-D looks better. And 3-D sells better. Final
Fantasy's jump into the graphic bandwagon is what pushed
them into the major leagues. The Final Fantasy series will
continue to stretch the graphic envelope, and that means
more 3-D innovations. I think your idea is a great one, but
I don't see it happening in a FF. Maybe Square's other
non-FF projects, like BFM and Xenogears, will adopt your
If you want a game with 2-D graphics and lighthearted
plot, buy Tales of Destiny. Namco tries to strike a
nostalgic cord with that game, and I think they succeed.
Square would look at this kind of approach as a step
Your desire to see mature/youth themes developed in
separate games is intriguing, and I think Square addresses
that issue with BFM and SaGa Frontier. I thought both of
those games were pitched at a younger audience, while
Parasite Eve and Xenogears catered to the older group.
I have a crush on Tifa!!!!!! Can u hook us up??
Joshua: I could but I won't. I'm currently dating
her myself. I've just recently rallied enough gumption to
take her out to dinner.
Interior--McDonald's, late at night.
McDonald's Employee: Can I take yer order?
Joshua: Yes. I'll have a number one combo and . .
. what would you like dear?
McDonald's Employee: What? Why you talking to a
G.I. Joe figure?
Joshua: Infidel! She's not a G. I. Joe figure!
This paragon of pulchritude is none other than the living,
breathing, bosomy Tifa Lockheart!
McDonald's Employee: Er ya. And I thought the
fellah chewing on that cup over there was weird. You take
the cake buddy.
Joshua: She's real! Listen! <high pitched
voice> Oh Joshua! I'm so clad I dumped that lousy Cloud
for you. I would just love a number two, no onions.
<normal voice> Of course love dove! *smooooch*
McDonald's Employee: America, the land o' the
'tis I, SacredSpam. I am the food of all Squaresoft
characters, and was wondering g which had the most trouble
digesting me. Was it a hero? A villain? A nu? I'm trying to
improve my quality, so your input would be most welcome. You
shall hear from me again...
Joshua: SOBERING FACT #34512: That letter was
composed by Homo Sapiens, believed to be the pinnacle of
evolution on this planet.
Good day to you oh, RPGuru. I thought you might enjoy
this little tidbit that shows how clever those people at
Square can be sometimes. What's in a name? More
specifically, what's in the name "Lacan" in Xenogears. Once
upon a reality, there was a man named Jacques Lacan. He was
a psychoanalyst who was into the Id/Ego ideas. So, we can
all have a good laugh over how Square is just so darn clever
with their character names. Oh, and by the way, didn't
NAMCOM make the game Point Fighter Alpha Blank. The one with
the special gun controller so you can pull an Indiana Jones
and just shoot your opponent to save time? Just curious.
Joshua: Square has always dipped their arms into
the swirling pot of the Ages and drawn forth meaningful
names that tie the character and their games to a rich
heritage of philosophy (your comment about Lacan), mythology
(like Shiva), rock music (check out old RPGuru Rock Facts,
contributed by our resident rock expert Joshua Rosen), and
literature (Musashi, the greatest samurai ever).
To prove Square's baffling detection to precise,
historic, rich names. . . .
Here we go, top ten list of greatest Square names and
10. Princess Fillet, from BFM, was actually Musashi's
(the real McCoy) illegitimate child. The Fish-Queen
disguised herself as a beautiful maiden and pretended to
love his poetry and philosophy and well . . . you know the
9. WrexSoul, a cleverly designed play on words.
"Wreck"ing Cyan's "soul" is what this villain is all about.
Also, the "x" was a hint to use x-zone on him. Got to hand
it to Square. Such subtle genius.
8. Boco the Chocobo (from FFT and FFV) origininates from
your unabridged dictionary. "Bocomotion" is a sixties disco
dance where the dancer circles around his friends, spraying
beer all over them--this was supposed to have a rejuvenating
7. Strago was once the Greek God of weakness and
impotence. After seeing a few statues and frescos of this
debilitated God, many Greeks complained that his emaciated
frame was just too depressing-looking and he was removed
from the Olympic roster. But this snippet of history is not
lost to RPGlovers--this pitiable god in all his frailty can
be seen on the FFVI screen.
6. Barret. Don't let this name fool you. A sharp reader
(I lost your name, fellah, I'm so sorry) pointed out that
this name actually comes from Syd Barrett, Pink Floyd's
enigmatic songwriter/guitarist, instead of just a lame
reference to what's grafted to his arm.
5. SaGa Frontier comes from "Saga Intermisso," an
improvisational music piece by an Italian composer where
seven different instruments play their own melodies in a
disjointed tune that has no coherent foundation and really
goes nowhere, leaving listeners disorientated and empty.
4. Cecil Harvey, drawn directly from an ancient Norse
fairy tale where a giant rabbit slays the demon hordes and
goes back to delivering Easter eggs to the little girls and
3. Kefka is an obscure reference to a poison created by
an ancient Buddha devil sect. The poison, when swigged,
would cause the recipient to howl with uncontrollable,
maniacal laughter. Depending on the dose, this could be a
cute party joke, or your last laugh. The amazing
coincidences don't end there, folks--the poison came from
the extract of a rare root growing in the tropical deserts
of the South Pole known to tribal natives as Kefkanikomal.
Wow. Those crazy Square people.
2. Red and Blue. Because there has to be a better reason
than, "Blue is blue and Red is red."
1. Frog. So there would be no confusion as to what you
were looking at.
You got to get rid of that Victor guy. I think he's a bad
influence on you. I don't want to see any more profanity on
your column, or I'm coming up there to ruin your Thanks
Giving. I sent you some cookies in the mail. They're your
favorite, Crabbit chunk. I thought you'd need something to
eat, since you have no money, since you've been locked in
your cave playing RPwhatevers all the days of you life. I
know I usually use your middle name when I scold you, but I
forgot what is was. Hugs and Kisses.
Joshua: Mom! You forgot my middle NAME? How could
you forget-- waitaminute. This is a trick isn't it! You just
want to expose my shame to the world, don't you mom! Not
gonna fall for it.
While you are here Mom, can I ask you a few
1. Mother do you think they'll drop the bomb?
2. Mother do you think they'll like this song?
2. Mother will they put me in the firing line?
4. Mother should I trust the government?
5. Mother should I run for president?
Thanks mom . . . oh, I'm sending the Crabbit chunk and
Crabbit crumb cake back because I can't talk about them
anymore. Readers are starting to throw themselves off
Arnold Hall points out that there are guitar tabs for
games on this very site! Check it out in interaction.
Important RPGuru message: There have been
complaints that I'm not being serious enough in this column.
Just goes to show that you can't please everybody. I tried
to be serious before and no one liked that approach either.
So from now on, I'll balance this column with both zany
letters and thought-provoking questions. And if you don't
like the column, please give me concrete reasons why, so
maybe I can make it more accessible to you. More people have
expressed their contentment (thank you for your encouraging
words) rather than their discontent (I thank the few of you
whose e-mails desired my improvement rather than my
debasement), so I assumed I was doing a decent job. But if
I'm disenchanting readers, no matter how few, I need to know
why. It's difficult to write a daily column under the
incessant pressures of school, work, and life that tailors
to both an adolescent and adult palate, so bear with me.
I've read a couple rudderless insults on the message boards,
perused the so-called petition and its reactions, and
frankly I'm disgusted. Constructive criticism is more
valuable than either syrupy praise or mindlessly malicious
attacks on my style and content. I am fully aware that some
of you may not enjoy my writing no matter what I do, but I
can accept that. It's the thought that I could be doing
something a little differently to draw the lost sheep into
the fold that nettles me to no end. Ah well. Such is life.
But if you are going to castigate me, please do so with some
sense and courtesy, and with an honest desire to see these
pages improve instead of seeing an RPGuru deposed.
-Joshua, sighing off.
"I hate orthodox criticism. I don't mean great criticism
. . . but the usual small niggling, fussy-mussy criticism,
which thinks it can improve people by telling them where
they are wrong . . . . because of the potentially shining,
gentle, gifted, people of all ages that it snuffs out every
year. It is a murderer of talent." -Brenda Ueland.