Unburden your soul to
Crazy day! No Crono interview today, I'm sorry. Don't
kill me. I'll surprise you with one this week. :)
I think Square should do the graphics however they want,
but where the hell are the castles, huh? I want the medieval
times back, no gun toting homeboys. How great would it be to
explore the moon caverns of FFII rendered or the floating
island and castle in FFIII? I don't want any of this rusty
metal future crap. Also, the FFs are NOT lighthearted, the
stories are taken seriously with light MOMENTS but the
stories are all deep. No one wants to search the candycane
realms for the ancient whistle guarded by a guardian cream
puff of evilness. Also, I forget the name, it might be
Shadow Madness, but that robot character just looks so
Joshua: Hey, don't reveal the plot for the next
Earthbound . . . kidding, everyone. No offense to Mr.
Woooosley, but I'm more excited about the prospect of an
American designed console game than the game itself. It
seems like a big Stand/Squaresoft rip-off to me. But that's
just my preliminary opinion. :)
I also miss the castles, the knights, the pure fantasy
aspect. Technology is nice, but if you are going to use it,
why not go all out? The mechs in Xenogears still fought
(basically) in hand-to hand. Where was the Buster Shield!
Buster Missile? Macross-style fights? What about an FF with
space travel? Would that be too out-of-this-world (awful pun
intended)? Instead of experimenting primarily with the
fantasy/technology blend, I wouldn't mind a straight
approach one way or the other.
Rinoa's Line In FFVIII
I know that Rinoa has one line she says, this I found by
accident and is very simple to get: When running away
from that giant Mechanical . . . thing, Have Zell die in
battle and when you beat it Rinoa will say something like
"We must hurry to the Rendezvous". Just some food for
thought, well actually more like a snack . . . I'm getting
Joshua: But that's cheesy . . . Rinoa's just
taking Zell's line.
RPG DESIGN POINTER: Have you ever noticed how many
designers craft their story plots? The developers create a
situation where you have to use certain characters so they
are present to say certain things. The other characters you
throw in just stand around without speaking or present lines
that the developer designated for the "other" crowd. So you
either end up with a section of mutes or characters saying
very uncharacteristic statements. Many games (Tales of
Destiny) have all the characters grouped together even
though they aren't in your fighting party. Future game
designers, please consider this attribute and work around
it--it looks funy to see Rutee pop out of Stahn, and it's
annoying to watch Cyan (my favorite FFVI character) play the
laconic idler because he's not important to the plot.
This is a comment on why so few RPGamers can find anyone
out there to discuss RPGs with them, let alone members of
the opposite sex. For one thing we're usually too busy
playing RPGs to go out and meet new people. For instance,
how often has this situation occurred to you?
MtMagus's Friend: Hey Mt. We're going out to a
movie. Let's go.
MtMagus: Okay let me just beat this boss and save the
<MtMagus's Friend leaves and comes back about 10
MtMagus's Friend: Are you done yet?
MtMagus: Just be patient and wait a few minutes.
<MtMagus's Friend usually leaves in exasperation at
this point and MtMagus continues on playing blissfully
If it wasn't for the fact that I'm the only one who has a
van, I don't think I'd ever go out anywhere. While this sort
of behavior can be uplifting when the RPG crop is bountiful;
when there is a lack of new RPGs, it can get very
One piece of advice I have if your in a college dorm is
to pop in a popular RPG and turn up the music really loud.
You'll be surprised how many people will just wander in your
room when the FFVII music is going at full volume.
I'm sort of privileged because I know two other RPGamers
but neither of them are female. Sigh...
One last comment about Rinoa in the FFVII demo. Maybe
she's just really pissed off at Squall. I mean it's possible
he did something wrong and she hasn't been speaking to him
for quite a while.
I would have a question, but the entire site is so
informative I know everything I want to already.
Joshua: Your music comment hits upon a college
phenomenon called Party Fever. Party Fever is the rush in
your veins that causes you to seek out the establishment
with the loudest music because there must be a party there.
People are attracted to loud noise. If I opened my window
right now, waved my 9mm around and screamed "the Armageddon
is coming," I'm sure I would draw some notice (usually the
wrong kind of notice--the last time I tried to be noticeable
I ended up with a boyfriend named Brutus who still calls me
from the local penitentiary every so often).
TRUE STORY: I was playing Castlevania Three, having a
grand old time. My best friend was in a loft above me
fiddling with the light fixture. The glass exploded,
lacerating my friend's hand something awful, and the shards
plummeted a couple inches from my body. As my cut pal ran up
and down his repertoire of curses, adding a few creative
variations of his own, he jumped off the loft and sprinted
past me, spraying blood everywhere. During this entire
spectacle I never drew my face from the screen. Instead, I
pushed my glasses up my nose, said "wow," and kept playing.
This really happened.
Show Me The
Remember what Greyhawk was talking about in your Nov.16th
column? How she doesn't know any RPGuys who aren't jocks
etc. Well, I've been having a similar line of thought. Now
remember my last message sometime back? How no one in my
town even knows what an RPG is? Well, I've been wondering
where ANY RPGperson is! I've gotta agree it would be cool to
know an RPGamer of the opposite sex. It would add an extra
topic to converse over. But hey, it doesn't seem that's
possible does it? Because I am in the worst case scenario of
any RPGamer! I am trapped in a place where no one I know
even knows what an RPG is! Maybe isolated RPGamers is just a
problem for us Canadians. Maybe there's only a limit of one
RPGamer per Canadian town(eh)? Well . . . It's a
Joshua: Top Ten Ways to Point A RPGamer Out Of A
10. RPGamers can always find fellow RPGamers. I think
it's an aura, or pheromone we exude.
9. They are pumping the FFVII soundtrack in their dorm
7. Dark circles under eyes (from Xenogears-induced
sleeplessness), twitching fingers (must press R1! Now!),
emaciated frame (too much time cooking in Tales of Destiny
to spend a precious moment eating in real life) and unkempt
hair (from pulling at in frustration because of the latest
6. They are humming their favorite overworld/dungeon/town
5. The phrase "spoony bard," makes them laugh
1. FFVII Shirt.
While reading your column, I couldn't help but notice
that you used the word "pulchritude." Is this a real English
word, or are you just a scholar of Latin? Nos morituri te
Joshua: Nos morituri what? I don't know martian,
JOSH'S LOVE ADVICE, SPONSORED BY THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION
FOR THE RENEWAL OF OBSCURE ENGLISH WORDS (NAFTROEW).
Pulchritude is actually an English word, with Latin roots
(as are all "big" English words). It means "physical
beauty." The next time you court your prospective partner,
call her the "paragon of pulchritude." And when they give
you that "what the hell?" stare, which they indubitably
will, tell them to look the word up. Much later, over a
dusty Webster's tome, the apple in your eye will discover
the meaning of your enigmatic phrase and a flush of joy will
spread across her cheeks. Bingo! Well done Sir!
Here's another pick-up line I made up the other day:
Joshua: Do you know where to find true beauty?
Joshua: In a mirror.
Instead of deciding straight-off if the Draw system sucks
. . . let me present you with this one:
You're in a lava cave, right? So naturally you'd have
wanted to stock up on lotsa' ice magic. WHERE pray tell,
would you stock up on strong ice spells if you were in a
FIRE DUNGEON? "Simple," you respond, "the ice dungeon."
Simple enough, sure . . . but then I ask . . . where did you
get the fire spells to beat the ice dungeon?
Joshua: Catch-22 in effect.
The Mysterious Black
Hey! Did you notice that there is a BLACK BAR on the
bottom of your screen while playing Xeno? Why is this? There
was one on the FFVIII movie on the PE disc, too! And
why don't you read the instruction booklets for games? The
developer put them there for you, so you should read them! A
good IB helps better explain the backstory, controls, and
gameplay. BTW, I for one like the way you are doing things,
so keep it up!
Joshua: The black bar is for the new Widescreen
Format that Square games are adopting. J/k. I don't have a
Okay, here's my normal game procedure.
1. Buy Game--If I am driving home proceed to three, but
if I am riding home proceed to two.
2. Read instruction manual, with particular attention
given to neat art and storyline.
3. Get home, put game in. Play. Forget to eat, sleep, and
associate with human begins.
Basically, I read the manual if I can't play the game
right off. I guess I'm kind of the "instant gratification"
type. I mean, do you really expect me to hold off from
playing FFVIII to read the MANUAL first? They tell you how
to get through the game in the beginning anyway. I think
developers put in the "tutor sessions" for players like me.
Sometimes I'll peruse the back to see who developed the
game, because (as in Xenogears and Crono) the developers,
just like your favorite director, author, etc., usually
deliver the same quality product. I've kept an eagle eye out
for the SaGa crew. I'm not saying why. Just guess.
It seems that most readers of your column are not as
learnéd as I thought. Anybody who has taken an
in-depth analysis of William Golding's "Lord of the Flies."
Victor, your Id, is however not as characteristic as
Golding's Id, being wild, unruly, and sexually rampant. Yes,
those qualities aren't easy (or appropriate) to express in
your column, but I wanted to see if you and I are on the
same level here. "Ralph" is your ego, as you so blatantly
pointed out. But, a mystery still remains for me on the
matter of "Beatrice". So, I ask the following:
1) Is Beatrice your Super Ego?
2) Is she the Christ-like character that tries to save
3) Is she available Saturday?
A response either in your article or personal reply
(Yeah, like that's gonna happen, Rog) would be
Joshua: Sure my readers are learned, hey've
digested the required RPG canon--FFs, Dragon Quests,
Phantasy Stars, Lufias, etc. Nothing else is required to
discourse effectively on this column.
Let me get Beatrice to answer your questions. How about
Beatrice: I would love to answer your questions,
1. Well done Mr. Wilco! Yes, I am Joshua's Super Ego, but
I prefer to be called his conscience, if you don't mind.
2. My, my. I'm not sure about all that. Goodness.
3. Oh dear. What time?
Joshua: If you two are going out, you're taking
Victor with you.
Victor: Going on a trip to the underworld, yah,
where the streets are paved with gore yah
Here's an interesting question that I pose to you and
Could graphics in games actually get TOO real? I mean, if
the graphics were so realistic that everybody looked like
real people, would you still want to play them?
Personally, I wouldn't like to play them, because it
would leave absolutely nothing to the imagination, and it
would just seem too real. For me, the purpose of RPGs is to
have an imaginary world in which to escape the realities of
Joshua: I agree with you . . . to a certain
extent. RPGs are definitely a method of escapism for me--I
get to be the hero, save the princess, slay the dragon, kill
lots of stuff, etc--but in some ways the more realistic a
game is portrayed, the easier we are drawn into that world.
In books, the more rich the description, the closer we feel
to the action, in movies, we enjoy Jurassic Park more than
the Lost World because the Dinosaurs look and act more
realistically. Realism encourages, rather than discourages,
imaginative entrapment. But why is it that Gabriel Knight's
live action is hardly as enjoyable as FFIV's 2-D sprites? I
don't know. Maybe it's because I have more control over
FFIV. Or maybe Rosa is cuter than Sierra's werewolf
Sony, for better or for worse, is pushing for more
realistic video games. The Playstation 2000's, or whatever
it ends up being called, goal is to exhibit video games that
don't look like video games, in other words, so you don't
know you are playing a game. Sony wishes to erode that
artificial feel. Does that mean Brad Pitt starring as
Square's next FF hero? I doubt it. Does that mean
texture-mapped CGI characters that look almost identical to
us? Maybe. What's going to happen to Anime sequences and 2-D
sprites? Good question.
Coming back to your intriguing query, "would you still
want to play them?" Hmmm. . . I don't think I would, because
the more real things get, the worse they get. Reality is a
flawed, monotonous existence that we're force-fed every day.
We need a break. We need to engage our imaginations. We need
In recent posts, people have been debating whether or not
importing is worth it. Learning Japanese, invalidating your
warranty etc. have all been posted as valid reasons whether
to import and chip your PSX or not. I live in England and I
have only one thing to say that will settle this argument
once and for all:
1. You cannot buy Final Fantasy Tactics or Xenogears in
England without importing - they do not and never will have
European release dates.
I think you will agree that this is sufficient argument
to risk breaking my Sony warranty.
Joshua: This is the most depressing news I've
heard in a long time. You poor Europeans! We need to start a
fund for you: The International Society For Distribution Of
English Square Games (ISDOES) has made its first appearance!
Donate games and money to:
P.O. Box 124
I'MASUCKER, Missouri 24567
or call 1-900-WASTEMYMONEY
On a serious note, do you think inebriating Squaresoft
with e-mails protesting this injustice may turn them around?
I hope so, because so far your situation is a paradox, as I
see it. RPG companies don't want to distribute to your
country because they don't think the market's lucrative
enough, but there aren't any games to buy to prove that the
market's lucrative enough.
More FFVIII Demo
I have been thinking about FFVIII some, and also what the
things mean in the demo. I think it makes sense that they
are in SeeD because of their magic abilities. (Was that in
the opening paragraph? I forget.) Also that not a common Joe
could use magic, either. But I don't think those solders
were common Joes! That army seemed to be a trained group
using their magical powers as a unit opposed to SeeD. And
also, why would they need to Draw from you? You don't HAVE
to draw from a particular enemy in order to use your magic,
you could have gotten it from another enemy and save it,
which is what I think they did.
As for the girl, I think she will be there, though maybe
not with her summon spell. As someone said, she was in the
ending FMV, and also, one of the battles has the opponents
saying "This is SeeD? Boys and girls?" That might not be a
full-fledged proof, of course, but I think it hints strongly
towards her being there.
One other thing . . . the 15-minute timer at the end.
While I agree that it's not as heart-pounding as running out
of a building that will explode, I am sure that SeeD is a
tight military unit and had to leave in that amount of time.
You would have been stranded if you hadn't made it back in
time. Which would have been death, considering the thing
that was following you. (BTW, I only had to fight that thing
3 times, not every screen). I think it was fairly realistic
that a machine COULD chase you down, and that you could run
from it if you made it collapse.
I hope I have conveyed my opinions on the demo
Joshua: You sure have! Thanks Sammy. I'm beginning
to think, since every creature in the demo had magic to draw
from, that everyone has magic inside them, but only a few
special ones (SeeD) can "draw" it out, store it, and cast
it. But of course this is all speculation. We'll just have
to wait for the real thing. But how the days drag by like a
dismembered tortoise! How Squaresoft teases us with demos
and pictures that torture, like we were slugs, and they
flinging salt on us!
RPGuys! Here We Are! Come And
I am an avid RPG player right here in Alberta, Canada!
And I can't find any other RPG players, be they guys or
girls! So drop a line!
-Sean Kepper Camrose, Alberta
I can just see it now . . . "I met my spouse on the
RPGuru column! Next, on Jerry Springer!"
I live In B.C Canada, and I'm here to say that there are
many, many, many Canadian guys that aren't nerds and still
play RPGs take me for instance. I love RPGs but I ain't a
nerd, I have a life and so do most of my friends (with the
exception of one, he just sits in his house playing
Xenogears all his life). So in closing there are many
Canadian males that are normal and love RPGs all the RPGirls
just haven't found us yet.
I once saw a RPGirl in your column complain about the
lack of RPGuys in Canada... Hrm... Well! Here I am! But
hey... I always thought that RPGirls were the ones who were
invisible... Where were you??? You can answer this Josh,
I have a confession to make. RPGirls don't exist. I
made up all those letters. Women are sensible, why would
they waste their lives in front of a T.V. set? Hahahahaha!
You fools! Actually, RPGirls are like fairies and elves--we
want them to exist, but they are just too perfect for this
blighted ball of celestial cancer.
I used to think I was a evolutionary dead end. I used to
think there was no hope for me. Was this letter (Where have
all the RPGentlemen gone) authentic? Or some sick joke? I
wish there was someway I could really meet these elusive
phantoms of the Internet. A girl that actually likes the
things I'm interested in (RPGs, Anime, mst3k), is there even
a remote possibility? Oh, by the way, What does it take to
become a Canadian citizen? My Grandpa was Canadian! ;)
note: Ironically "Greyhawk"(the writer of the letter I'm
replying to I n part) is Zelgadis's last name(one of the
translations from the Japanese). an Omen of good fortune?
From what I've heard, the Canadian immigration office
allows you a four year grace period after which they ask you
a few questions to test your suitability:
1. Do you enjoy cold weather?
2. What's your favorite hockey team?
3. Pronounce B-A-G.
4. How many times, on average, do you use the word
"eh" in a conversation?
5. Define "canuk," and explain how that term makes you
If you answer these questions effectively, you're in!
About your omen, let me consult my magic eight-ball!
*slosh slosh* hmmm . . . "outlook not good."
Hi there oh great and most-knowing guru. Greyhawk's
letter from Monday caught my interest, not just because I'm
Canadian, but also because I'd like to know where these
RPGirls are and why I haven't seen them around... Maybe they
are all in Ontario... Poor me on the west coast...
-the B O Problem
Hey B.O., I hate to tell you this, but that might be
your problem. :)
Wow! There's actually one in Canada? And in Ontario at
that, judging by your reference! I'm of course referring to
Greyhawk, a girl in Monday's column. I understand exactly
what she means... I totally disenchanted my (now ex)
girlfriend because of too many RPGs. True story! We actually
got into a yelling argument when I wanted to pick up a PSX
and FFVII! The nerve... I tell ya... Anyways! Ask this girl
if she lives anywhere near Waterloo. Better yet! Give me her
address so I can give her the adulation all RPGirls rightly
Whoa! Down boy, down! *spraying testosterone off the
column* Ha! I feel like I've been flaunting a sparrow in
front of a horde of cats. Watch out Greyhawk, they want your
By the way, it's Alex's birthday on Saturday. Everyone
say "Happy Early Birthday Alex." Thanks.
As for Ms. Greyhawk, well, I don't think it really has as
much to do with location as she may think. Being Canadian
also, and hoping to live up to her standards of a
"gentleman", I hope that I can offer some manner of
Not knowing what sort of environment she lives in, all I
can say is that there are both advantages and disadvantages
to wherever you may live. In a larger city, (Winnipeg, pop.
650,000) there are more people who share your interests, but
it'll be harder to simply find them because city people seem
to abhor talking to strangers; so the circumstances in a
larger centre may be harder to come by. On the other hand,
in a place not unlike the one I live in (Brandon, pop.
45,000), there are considerably fewer people who enjoy my
favorite pastime, but the chances of meeting someone is a
little higher because chances are you already know someone
who knows someone who... etc., etc. Of course, if you live
in a place the size of my mother's hometown (Justice, pop.
36) you may have to drive thirty or so miles to find someone
who shares your interests.
Ms. Greyhawk, don't be discouraged because you haven't
found a guy who likes RPGs yet, they really do exist. But
like just when like looking for a friend or someone to begin
a relationship with, finding that person, no matter what
their interests, usually takes time. I wish you all the luck
in your search.
Finding that special someone is sometimes the toughest
challenge we face in this world full of obstacles. And even
if an RPGirl or RPGuy shares your interests, they may still
be the wrong match for you. She may like the Zelda series
for instance, and you may think that Link is a stupid hippie
To the RPGuru and those concerned about FFVIII, You
played through the Final Fantasy VIII demo, and were held in
awe by the visuals and music, and maybe even the battle
system. All of those being important components to a game's
success (not necessarily quality, though), you were pleased.
Unfortunately, there was one glaring fault we all can agree
upon; the translation was right out of a Japanese-English
dictionary. Ever take a look at RPGamer's own demo
translation? That's what the actual demo's script resembles.
Now, I'm not insulting the generous donor of RPGamer's
translation; he wasn't paid, but putting dialogue like that
in the demo into the final game scares me. I encourage all
of you hopeful of a Final Fantasy to remember, and not to
cringe at, to write the people at Squaresoft at their site.
Just follow the leads at www.squaresoft.com
to contact the company directly. I hope that with enough
supporters declaring that they won't buy the game unless
more money is diverted into translation, that they will give
us the only uncensored, coherent translation ever found in a
Square game. Thanks for the support, and everybody write,
for the future of Final Fantasy!
Joshua: I'm going to make an assumption here,
because I can't read a lick of Japanese--anyone out there
who can please fell free to correct/assert me. I believe,
and pray, that the Japanese dialogue of FFVIII is nowhere
near as crude and disjointed as the U.S. version. I hope
that what I'm wincing at is a product of poor translation,
that the exhibition is at fault and not the production. If
this is the case, then by all means, we must protest--a
literal translation never captures the life of the original
prose. I've read many English versions of famous foreign
authors (Milan Kundera, Dante, Virgil) and if I had read a
word for word translation, the impact of those works would
be lessened considerably. Instead of a poetic masterpiece, I
am faced with a dry husk, a mere structural representation
of the work. Translators MUST make a piece legible for
another audience, but also convey the poetic beauty, the
dramatic presentation of the original masterpiece; otherwise
you are eating the meat but missing out on all the spices
and sauces that make it unique and worthwhile. But this
replication is difficult, so much so that we have multiple
translations of the the Inferno, the Bible, etc. by people
trying to get it right. I have always thought that Square
translators have taken the easy way out, and that is why
what we read seems so leaden at times.
Here's a good analogy to describe the injustice of a bad
translation. Why do we hate dubbed Anime so much? It's not
just because Elly's voice doesn't match her lips--Saturday
morning cartoons suffer from that calamity. The main gripe I
have is the American voices never carry the same emotion as
their Japanese counterparts. When you read subtitles, the
translation is usually literal, but the Japanese voice
actors augment the words with their incredibly expressive
Squaresoft is giving us, essentially, a dubbed version of
their role-playing games. Not only do we suffer through a
uninspired translation, but a censored one as well. Many of
the language, themes, etc. has been filtered out of the game
because of "questionable" and "cultural" content that would
offend or disorientate us. Compare a Squaresoft translation
to a Working Design or Namco (TOD) one. Tales of Destiny's
translation replicates the whimsical tone of the original,
while also substituting Japanese cultural references with
Japanese ones ("You look like Leonard DiCaprio"). I'm not
saying Squaresoft ignores these approaches, but they don't
put as much effort into their translations as they do their
FMV or character art.
Is there a point to my ramble? Yes and no. If the
original Japanese script of FFVIII is a piece of art, and we
are viewing a spoiled version battered by inept translators
and censors, then we have something to complain about. But
if the Japanese version is as lifeless as the English, then,
well, we're in trouble. Only my Japanese-literate audience
can say yea or nea on that subject.
Squaresoft has not begun their FFVIII translation yet.
Even if it seems futile, I suggest flooding their mailboxes
with earnest letters requesting more attention than they
have given their English versions in the past. And while
we're at it, let's put in a good word for our poor European
brethren, who don't even get a quarter of the games the U.S.
I'm all out of time today. There were some great letters
I'm saving for tomorrow, so don't fret if you didn't see
yourself here. I haven't forgot about you. Next week, since
school will be out, I have a mission--to reply PERSONALLY to
Thank you for your mature suggestions and kind support.
I'm glad I have such an intelligent, perceptive, and
-Joshua, wishing he had more time for this great column
and his wonderful readers.
"Being an artist means never averting one's eyes." -Akira