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In the PSX

 

Xenogears--still!

 

Suggestions, Questions, Commentary?

 

Unburden your soul to
Joshua Reid

It's letter time again!

Playstation Blues

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 . . . multimedia applications!

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.

Persona Sequel?

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 late.

Enough Is Enough

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 disguises perhaps?

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 ME!!

Also . . . does this let me into the CAC . . . I've been dying to join . . . I thought this would be a perfect chance to ask

-The Kevman

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.

Victor!

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.

-S.Cody

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 for once?

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 Gone?

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? Why?

There are plenty of RPGirls here... So where, oh where, are the RPGuys?

~Greyhawk

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 there. :)

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.

Questions

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 Hokie is?

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, too)?

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 innovation.

-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 . . .

2. Yes.

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.

6. No.

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 FMVs.

-Mikesdcool

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 battle.

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.

-Rkeener452

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 . . . .

Nostalgic Fantasy

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.

-Justin Burnett

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 suggestion.

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 backwards.

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.

RPGoof

I have a crush on Tifa!!!!!! Can u hook us up??

-Mista

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 Freaks.

SacredSpam Speaks?

'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...

-SacredSpam

Joshua: SOBERING FACT #34512: That letter was composed by Homo Sapiens, believed to be the pinnacle of evolution on this planet.

Spiffy Square Names

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.

-Tolmek

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 their origins:

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 rest.

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 effect.

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 boys.

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.

 

Josh's Mom!

Joshua,

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.

-Mother

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 questions:

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 buildings.

Scattered Thoughts:

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.

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