Stogie Fever


In the machine




Don't be shy


Unburden your soul to
Joshua Reid

Another late update. Don't wanna waste time, so here's the letters:

Masamune and Murasame Cleared Up: RPGuru's Ignorance Apparent

I cringed a little when I read the bit about the Masamune in yesterday's column. You see, it is not the Masamune that is the blade of evil, but the Murasame! The legend goes like this:

Masamune and Murasame were two very famous Japanese swordsmiths, and rivals as well, I believe. To test one his swords, Murasame stuck it in a river. Every leaf floating on the surface of the water was drawn to the blade and cut in two. Then, Masamune's sword was put in the water. Every leaf avoided it, for Masamune's blade had pure spiritual power over the leaves. Thus one who wielded Murasame's blade was doomed to a life of violence, and one who wielded Masamune's, a life of peace and honor.

As for not being able to keep them straight, here are a few of my observations. The Masamune in SoM *was* actually a katana; if you look very carefully at the icon you'll see it changed shape. A magical sword of legend ought to be able to do a little shape-shifting. The Masamune in Chrono Trigger was actually called the Gradorion (or something to that extent) in the Japanese version; I'm not sure why they changed it, except that perhaps they felt Masa was a much better name than Grado. (Rion's not bad, though.) I'm not sure why the Masamune is the blade of the villain in FFVII, FFT, and the Anime you mentioned; if I were I hero wielding the Masamune, I'd sue. ^^ Finally, I've seen Murasame also called Muramasa, which leads to my sole question: in FFT, what's the difference between a Murasame and a Muramasa?

-MasaMune (who, ironically enough, got the nickname from CT before finding out the truth ^_^)

Joshua:Semantics? Thanks for the information, MasaMune. :) Obviously I need to catch up on my sword scholarship. Thank you everyone else, (MSN, Lycan, Final Bravado, etc.) who also contributed information and gently rebuked me. By the way, in the Hakkenden, where I thought the evil sword was the Masamune, the blade was actually the murasame. Sorry, folks. *bowing head sheepishly*

HP Matters

Me and my friend got into this argument over RPGs. See at first we were talking about how weird it was that Lavos from Chrono Trigger destroys the whole world and stuff with his needles or lasers or whatever those things are. But when you fight him in a battle, he uses those same things on you and it only takes off about 100 HP. So we thought, hey if Crono can take the pain, why can't all the normal people take it? Then he said it is because they are just weak normal towns people. They only have like, 1 HP. And I thought that might be true, but when you start of with Crono at the beginning, he has a bunch of HP. Buy the right armor and you might be able to survive that blast. Then he got mad at me and we got into a fight. So I ask you, great RPGuru. How much HP do we normal people have?


Joshua:In D&D, I think the normal townsfolk had about 1-3 HP, which is cool because a fireball could wreak some havoc (not that I scorched a whole town or anything. Iād never do that *evil grin*).

Hereās a great way to find out the truth. Grab a rapier. We know how much damage it does from all our FF games. Stab your friend with it. Continue to stab until he drops. Look for numbers materializing in his vicinity. If they do not appear, you can guestimate his HP from the amount of hitting it takes to kill him.

But if you like you friend, I think most normal Joes have about 3 HP, because they can survive falls, cuts, and a Spice Girls concert (some of us at least), but bullets, fourteen-wheelers, and an Ozzie Osborn concert will kill them. The average American, due to all that extra fast-food-poundage, can absorb about 4 HP of damage. Certain spineless, sniveling, evil people like most lawyers, car salesmen, and non-RPG lovers have 1 HP apiece. An average RPGamer has 10 HP. Why? Because weāve spent so much time fighting virtually, weāre bound to have leveled up once.

Why We Play Games: A Cathartic Context

Yes, I have truly discovered the reason for which we play RPGs!! It's a little word called, "Catharsis". What it means is a "Purging of emotions". You know that feeling you get when you finally realize that you've beaten a game, the final boss, and the hero(ine) finally solves at least a few of his problems? You get this feeling of happiness, and that you're happy for the character too. This is catharsis.

Most often it occurs in movies, because you've experienced all the stuff the character went through...but in RPGs this becomes even more magnified. Because we are playing a "role" we become even more in tune to what the character thinks, feels, and how he/she acts.

We like the feeling of accomplishment, and happiness. We don't play RPGs for the character development (well, kinda) or the plot, but to get that feeling that you've done something really great, and experienced a whole new view of something.


PS If that didn't scream, "I've been in school too long" I dunno what does.

Joshua: Let me add my scream to yours. The term "catharsis" originates from Aristotleās Poetics (in Greek, Katharsis), where he discusses the experience and discharging of pity and fear through drama. Thereās something scholarly to bring up at your next cocktail party. :)

As for your commentary, I think youāve hit the crabbit on the head, so to speak. Yet, however, I do think we play games for character development, plot, gameplay, graphics, music, and other attributes, but cathartic factor (thereās another ćfactorä term for you) is definitely a plus. Itās subliminal, a subtle undertone contributing to the enjoyment of a game.

Maybe I enjoy relationships in games so much because they helped me attain a catharsis in relation to my paltry love life. Urges to love, be loved, save the world, kill monsters, etc. are explored and fulfilled in RPGs, which is one of the thousand reasons why they rock!

The Power of Pronunciation

Hey, master of all RPGs:

My friend and I are having a debate: How do you pronounce Lake Hylia?

Is it high-lee-uh like I say it, or hee-lee-uh like my friend says it.

On a similar note, how do you pronounce:







and Reid (your last name)

Joshua:RPGuru's Guide to Pronunciation

Rule One Your pronunciation is correct until someone tells you differently.

Rule Two If someone tells you differently, they could be wrong, so keep pronouncing it your way until the majority tells you differently.

Rule Three If the majority tells you differently, donāt be a conformist. Pronounce it the way you want.

I wouldnāt worry about pronouncing things incorrectly. If mispronunciation were a crime, jails would be bursting at the seams with ESL people, West Virginians, and Brooklyn residents. :)

The easiest way to find a correct pronuciation on your own is find similar word forms in the dictionary.

Using this strategy, I pronounce the following thus:

Hylia (High-lee-uh, because hydrolyse, hyla, etc. are pronounced this way, although I could see a He-lee-ah a "Hy" like the hym sound)

Xenogears (Zenogears, like Xenophobe)

Citan (sitan, like citadel, but if you but an emphasis on the "i" it could be si(eye)tan)

Aeris (aris, with an a sound like "air" and a silent e)

Hyrule (High-rule, just like Hylia)

Kakariko (kah-kah-riko)

Celes (this is a tough one. I say "Seh-less" like the first part of Celestial, but I've heard it said See-leeze)

and Reid (READ, as in I reid a lot of books. :). By the way, this is the only correct spelling of the last name "Reid." Read, Ried, and other bastardizations are unacceptable.


First of all, I think RIPOMM is better than "Scattered Thoughts".

Secondly, I think that sometimes, a TOTAL lack of character development can be pretty refreshing. An example would be PokŽmon. Run around, throw balls at monsters, kill Team Rocket. Ash stays the same, Gary stays the same. It's still a good game. But ya gotta do it right, and make sure your characters have NO development. Any development just screws up the concept, know what I mean?

And third, How would you suggest I convince my parents to let me get a PSX and N64?



Joshua: You know Kiah, you have a point there. Sometimes character development gets in the way. A character epiphany in Street Fighter may be going too far.

How do you get your parents to buy your system? Easy. Kidnap a sibling. If you donāt have a sibling, tell them itās for your career, and the only way you can develop ća bipartite, unbiased perception of the video game industryä is to own both systems. Watch their jaws drop.


I noticed in a recent column you used the word "RPGrandomness". Well, considering how RPGuru and RPGamer are spelled, RPGrandomness doesn't exactly fit. If RPGamer is pronounced RPG gamer, then RPGrandomness would be "RPG grandomness". What is grandomness? Is it a lot of omness? What is omness? Is it "containing the property of om"? What is the world is om? Even if RPGamer isn't pronounced RPG gamer, you still have to be consistent. I think you should only use the RPG- suffux if the word begins with G, like in RPGamer or PRGuru. Thank you.


Joshua:Please tell me you arenāt serious. I mean, of all the things under the sun you have to complain about. Geeze. Talk about picky people. By the way, itās suffIx, not sufUx.

Castlevania's Symphony Super

Although you mentioned Symphony of the Night as a "glaring omission", you didn't say why. Although _technically_ an adventure game, this is in fact my favorite PSX game thus far (beating out even FFVII). Why? It's just FUN. Yes, it has its faults (poor translation and voice action; it's rather short), but there're so many other things that just make it amazing: a great Gothic atmosphere, fantastically designed and visually appealing characters and enemies (some of them really rather artistic), a wide range of very intriguing items (the Crissaegrim is the best goodie I've ever found in a console game), and a cool familiar system are only some of the things this game has going for it.


Joshua:Castlevania, Symphony of the Night is a wonderful game. Iām still a little irked with it because it decided to screw up on me one day and ruin twelve hours of playtime, but besides that, it enthralled and entertained me to no end. Plus the capacity for God-Mode is almost unprecedented. A bud of mine killed Dracula losing only four hit points.

Lotsa Questions

1. Someone wrote to you today (December 1) about Final Fantasy Tactics translation, saying that the storyline translation was good. I won't argue with that. The storyline translation was superb. The entire complicated and somewhat convoluted plot was perfectly captured. The bad translations lie in the job reports (example: "We opened the ore with faith! Inside was a treasure we'd never seen before! As a result, this job's a success! This's the way!" Not terribly original), the Brave Story (those bios are almost unreadable), and the, of all things, tutorial ("Items used are items that are consumed during the battle!" "I'll see you win the battle and destroy the enemy." "Solve your questions here." "This was the darkened items won't appear." Ya gotta love Professor Daravon).

But, it's all right. Now, thanks to Tactics, we know the man *behind* the translations, Professor Bordam Daravon. There are many fan clubs springing up across the net in his honor (including Cosmo Canyon's Unofficial Professor Daravon Fan Club, at, and my own Professor Daravon Club. Join the list at We also know that he has helped to translate other games, such as Final Fantasy VII ("This guy are sick." "Off course! No, way!"), Phantasy Star ("Myau flaps his wings ploudly."), Metal Gear ("The truck have started to move."), Final Fantasy 6j/3 ("Do it right, Katarin!"), and off course Final Fantasy 4j/2 ("You spoony bard!"). He is truly a great man. If only all teachers could be like him. Daravon, Daravon! Join the cult!

2. Can you advertise my web site? The address is . I'd really appreciate it if you did, but if you can't, I understand.

3. Who is Victor?

4. You're pretty good at interviewing people, but you should let me try it some time. You can check out my "work" on the RPGamer FF PSX message board, and sometimes (when the PSX board is down [a lot]) the series board.

5. If you do interview someone again, interview someone interesting, like Sephiroth or Daravon.

6. Sephiroth is awesome. He is the greatest video game character of all time. Fol... low... Mas... ter... Seph... iroth... north... Re... union...

7. Is Ehrgeiz coming out in the US? I know it isn't an RPG, but check for me, please! I must play as Sephiroth! I must!

8. We English majors (I'm an English major too, at Eastern Kentucky University []) really rock, don't we?

Robert Silvers


The Professor Daravon Fan Club (PDC)

Joshua:1) Sign me up!

2) No, I canāt advertise personal web pages on this column. But if anyone wants to check out your wonderful web work, they are welcome too. In fact, I strongly suggest visiting Robertās page. Just in case you missed the address, But Iām sorry, I canāt advertise it.

3) My Id. Have you met Ralph and Beatrice too? Theyāve been around for a little while. They usually surface in stressful situations, like exam week, dates, and this column. Why donāt you three introduce yourselves?

Ralph: Hey Iām Ralph, Joshās ego. Keep sending those syrupy letters, does an ego good. Hereās the broad.

Beatrice: My stars, Ralph! Ahem . . . I am Beatrice, if you please. Nice to meet you. I have the honor of being Joshās super-ego, but I prefer to be called Joshās conscience.

Ralph: Donāt be fooled, everyone, sheās not anything super. Josh never listens to you, Miss-Goody-Two-Shoes. If he had, he never would have ended up in the pen for . . .

Josh: Ralph, thatās enough. Well Victor, you wanna say hi?

Victor: Listen to the morbid drum of blood across the limpid moon that laughs over your gravy pie.

Josh: Hmmm . . . are those Nirvana lyrics?

4) Iāll take a look, but those message boards scare me. How you guys keep up with all those updates is beyond me.

5) Thanks Robert, but Iāve already taken your advice--my next guest is Umaro.

6) Lemme see that arm! Just what I thought: THE NUMBER 42! It all makes sense now!

7) Well, thanks to the lousy Netscape at the CPU I'm composing this column on (it's spouting Latin as I write), I canāt check the latest information, but Ehrgeiz should be available for import very soon (there was a playable demo in the Japanese BFM) and a U.S. release is unconfirmed, but Iām sure itāll happen. The new EA/Square partnership has been the best thing for game distribution since Babbages.

8) Yes, we sure do. I would go so far to say we're the paragon of angels, in form how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god. But noone seems to understand that. Here at Tech, a.k.a. Engineering Vocational College, I get a lot of insults, sometimes pretty clever for engineering students. Iāll publish them some time, to raise your hackles.

Strangeness and Seriousness

1) ra po gees, shiny like the underside of a pregnant cow, quick like the battered bone supporting you back. the cream at the bottom of a man-made tower. crap that ain't a question, oh well, Iām heading east.

2)ever notice that violence or fighting is always present in RPGs? Are they needed to make a good game? if yes why do you think so?

3)I would recommend warning people about Arcia in The Granstream Saga (seeing that you've been talking about it lately), she has my vote for most annoying character, she made my want to claw my face off in frustration and throw it in some strange vase. Everytime she started talking, I felt like slitting my throat.

-the shimmering and slightly fluffy nick...

Joshua:1) SOBERING FACT #3332288 What this reader did to witness the underside of a pregnant cow.

2) SOBERING FACT #458 Even Kirby had violence.

Video games, except for Mario paint (even though my friends animated a stick figure Ninja action sequence with that great game) kiddie games, and Tetris, are violent. Violence is exciting, it feeds our perverse needs, without which a RPG would be text and magic shops. I think a creative designer could make a non-violent RPG, and I think that while violence adds a lot of entertainment to a game, a game bereft of this element could still prove enjoyable. Iāve always wanted a Maison Ikkoku role-playing game where you run around as Yusaku Godai trying to pass your classes, impress Kyoko, run from Yotsuya and co.., and basically interact in modern Tokyo. Oh, goodness, that sounds dull doesnāt it? I guess it depends on your temperament. If you canāt stand non-violent movies, non-violent video games will entertain as much as watching 24 straight hours of Wendyās commercials. I think companies believe that RPGs must have violence to sell well, but I dare them to try something different. How about the rest of you? Is violence necessary. Maybe it is, because life has violence, and taking that dark side away will cheapen the material.

3) Purity frightens you. I know this because someone who studies the undersides of pregnant cows isnāt someone Iād call innocent.


Toughest Square bosses submitted by readers: Rubican--the fire dude you fight in FFIV right after you save Rosa (needle, Martin Bergesen), Omega from FFV (sailor saturn), Wrexsoul--Cyanās dream boss in FFVI (Mr. Grinch), Zeromus (Mr. Grinch), Culex--Super Mario RPGās Secret boss (Alijoe, Bryann Pheonix--who also gave an emphatic vote for FezarDhaos in Tales of Phantasia), Chaos--FFIVās boss (Jacob V.--thanks for the companion story :)

The most recent RPGamer quote "Letās Mosey" is by Cloud in the latter end of FFVII. Last time I checked the mail, the following readers found it: Aeon, TOO Cold Scorpio (mad props for you), Persmerga, Old Dude (my depraved friend), Rob Allen. From now on, Iāll post the FIRST reader to discover the cryptic answer.

Martin Bergesen wants that great FF media site again. Itās

SpamDaddyX (oh the nicknames!) wants to know my favorite Final Fantasy Adventure. It's the one with Baby D. I think that's two. I'm not at home and my Netscape is broke, so I'm not sure. I liked that one because of the aforementioned shapeshifter and the funny dad look-a-likes.

-Joshua Reid, wishing he could read Latin

"Jesus Christ was a man who was quick to be physical when he saw things out of line or out of accordance with his fatherās will. In one instance in particular, he walks through the temple, saw the money-changers . . . and set things straight. He was very comfortable displaying anger. Where my role is concerned there are parallels . . . when someone gets taken advantage of out there, Iāve always viewed it as my responsibility to set things straight." -Stu Grimson, Mighty Ducks Hockey Star quoted by Kevin Allen of USA Today. Grimson, with this remarkable comparison to the ultimate pacifist, justifies his nightly, vicious brawls in the hockey arena.

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