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Googleshng - August 10 '00- 1:00 Eastern Daylight Time

Ooh! Weird Al live on VH1. There's a nice little treat. Anyway, I'm feeling particularly nice, so I think I'll give you a schedule of how the next few weeks will probably shape up (assuming none of my potential Brad replacements show up that is):
Today, Alanna guest hosts.
Tomorrow, me again.
Sat-Mon, Paws
Tues-Fri, me, as usual, probably a guest host.
Sat-Mon, Jude Gore (NM guy, also doing the music for my game).
Tues-Fri, me, as usual, probably a guest host.
Sat-Mon, Jeff Hagadorn (Newsie)
After that, it'll go to me and some permanent replacement, possibly one of those guys. Now then, today's column is pretty long, so I'll quit hogging intro space.

Alanna: It's a bird! It's a plane! ...No, wait, it's one of the fanfic editors trying to be clever. Well, there goes that idea. Be nice, I haven't really slept in two days and I'm trying to help someone install Linux on a computer that's 2000 miles away. ^_^

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Politics
Hello Google and Alanna,

I was wondering what you think about the upcomming presidential elections, and specificaly what effects the results might have on gaming. Personally, I prefer Bush, if only because he is less likely to encourage strict government controls on the internet and less likely to encourage censorship of so called 'viloent media'.

Thanks,
Peri

P.S. The presedent doesnt really have the loads of power many people think he does. He only has one serious power: the Veto. He can only encourage bills and set the general economic policy, not actually make them.

Alanna:
Oooh, political questions. You people believe in tossing me the hard ones, don't you. ^_^ First off, I'll say that it's really wonderful to see concern about politics. The media makes such a big deal about how anyone under a certain age just doesn't give a damn about the Real World...

Anyway, my opinion is that it's a case of being caught in between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, we have George W. "Corporate Shill and Proud Member of the Party That Sponsored The Communications Decency Act" Bush, whereas on the other hand we have Al "Married to the Woman Responsible for Parental Warning Stickers" Gore. The vice presidential candidates aren't all that wonderful either. I think that we're looking an awfully sad time for civil liberties in the US right in the face. Whenever any politician starts talking about "family values" and "faith", I start looking around for the nearest bunker to hide in.

I encourage everyone who gives a damn about this sort of thing to join the American Civil Liberties Union and/or the Electronics Frontier Foundation, two organizations that are dedicated to preserving our rights and liberties, and to vote in the upcoming elections. You're right in that Presidential elections are less important than Senatorial and House elections, so if your district has someone running this election, find out his or her positions and VOTE. Register now, become informed, and plan to vote. It's our country in the end.

Googleshng:
Here's the light version: Before it was a choice of the sequel to the failed president who puked on the Japanese Prime Minister and his party which traditionally ruins everyone's fun, or the hippie robot with the laid back party... but the hippie robot's running mate is the person who's for censoring games and such... think I'll still go Democrat though, because Lieberman's evil powers would most likely be deminished, not heightened, by being VP.

Scattered
Oh grand *atriarch of the Slime Empire, and all that jazz......

I humbly seek answers.

But first, I have to say, I'm really gonna miss Brad. He was one crazy fun guy. But since you've recieved about 6.022x10^23 letters saying that, I think I'll get on to my questions now.

Main question: After I get CC this month, would Threads of Fate be a good RPG to save up for during the interminable wait for L2EB? I know nothing about it beyond the demo on the disc that came with VS.

I keep hearing both good and bad things about Legend of Dragoon. What do you think about it?

Next, a question to the both of you: What's your favorite RPG?

Oh, and if anyone here's played Brigandine for the PSX (good game, IMHO), happen to know a way I can survive battles easier? I hate it when they off my summoned monsters after they've been turned into mean fighting machines.

Then again, even winning battles in that game is getting harder all the time...

Finally, what I'm sure everyone wants to know..... how DOES a slime type? Pseudopoda, perhaps?

-Kenneth Whitten

P.S. About the thing with ESRB ratings from yesterday, an interesting note. L2:EB for the Sega CD recieved a completely undeserved "K-A" (heh). I figure the ESRB people have a top hat in front of them, filled with scrabble tiles saying "M", "T", "E", or "K" (for K-A), and just pull one out.

Alanna:
My favorite RPG at the moment is Vagrant Story. I tend to prefer games for story more than for gameplay, and Vagrant Story fits the bill; it took me and my roommate two playthroughs before we started to really formulate any concrete theories about what it really meant. I'm a sucker for anything that makes you sit there after the credits and just stare at the screen trying to process the implications of the ending.

I haven't played Threads of Fate beyond the demo, either, but one of the fanfic assistants have, and she likes it. It's not my cup of tea; I don't like action RPGs. (Probably because I have NO reflexes whatsoever. It took me six hours to get by Babel Tower in Xenogears. Yes, I know, I'm pathetic.) I guess it all depends on whether or not you like that sort of game.

Legend of Dragoon is next on my list after Chrono Cross, so I can't have an informed opinion yet. ^_^

Googleshng:
First off, I'm personally getting Lunar 2 and not ToF. As for LoD... if you were to rate all RPGs looking for the best one, it really wouldn't rank too high. Everything about the game is EXTREMELY derivitive. While playing it, I just kept saying things like "Oh, here's the big town with the arena. I wonder if I'll get to the end and then have to fight a major character I have no chance of beating." Then I did. The combat system is a bit original though, and it's challenging, and, bottom line, it's fun. In the end, isn't that what really matters? Yes slimes type with pseudopods, and finally, I STILL want to know how it is that Parasite Eve has "Mature subject matter" and why there's no warnings about the cute fuzzy animals graphically being ripped in half and turned into hideous monsters.

Good idea
Hi Goog, and the lovely, talented, posts-my-fanfics-on-your-site Alanna (what? couldn't understand you, something about flattery and Talking Heads?):

My question is sort of greedy, of course, but somewhat appropriate (after all, my name *is* plastered all over the front page). Y'know how Lore had that Art of the Year awards thingy? Why not do the same thing for fanfics? You could do it for different categories, like dramas, crossovers, and (ahem) comedy. It would be cool. Quite cool.

Alanna:
Flattery will get you nowhere. ^_^ That's actually a really good idea, but I shudder to think of the amount of work it would involve. If we did do it, there'd have to be some rules -- no nominating your own fics, no one from the fanfic editorial board eligible, etc. Hopefully, by the end of the year, my life will have calmed down enough to let me put some time into considering the proposal.

Remind me in about November or so!

Googleshng:
Hmm... if someone filtered fanfics down to just 3 or so really really good ones like that, I might have time to read them...

Many Multiparters
Heyas Googie-baby, and Alanna!!

To start, the quote is from Geglash in Diablo 2, when you ask him about The Summoner, after its killed. I was all worried about the summoner too, until my paladin killed him/it (?) in one hit.

So what is dragon force like? Is it worth looking for a Saturn for, and where would I find one?
(I bet you're gonna tell me "Look in the games section, yes, and ebay")

I'm gonna miss Brad. He was like a friend to everyone who read his columns daily. Hope he has fun.

And to the person who asked today, Vanguard Bandits is so worth it. I played through a kingdom storyline where Ultragunner duels Zulwarn at the end. I wonder if I had to get Zulwarn down to 11 hp from his original 650 before that, or if just walking Ultragunner up and slashing would have done the same thing.

Can't forget about the guest host!

Yay, another mac user. I'm writing email on my powerbook while helping my friend fix his pc over the phone. First his sound card was messing everythin up, now his monitor won't work. I laughed at him and told him he should have gotten a mac.

Society of Creative Anachronism? I'm sure I could look it up somewhere, but elaborate?

Back to playing Diablo 2 for me!
Traxus

Alanna:
I've been using a Mac since about '91 or thereabouts, and I love the little things. I want one of the new G4 cubes; I just got my G4 back in March and it's already severely underpowered. (40GB is just not enough hard drive space.) I have to get my mitts on a copy of OSX...

The Society for Creative Anachronism is a group that's dedicated to re-enacting medieval life, from 1600 C.E. and before. Medieval dress, medieval technology, and medieval skills. I'm actually leaving for Pennsic, the annual war between two Kingdoms, in two days, and I can't wait. A whole week of no pager, no cellphone, no email, no web pages, no urgent requests to Fix This Now, no voice mail, nothing. Though I will miss the hot showers... ah, well, bathing in the river is fine if it's only for a week.

Googleshng:
I know what you mean about the whole summoner thing. any place with hallways that narrow is HORRIFYING when you're a necromancer. I just had my blood golem do everything for me. Now I'm in a place where my whole army dies in literally under a second. Freakin' pigmies. Anyway, as for Dragon Force, someone on staff is working on a review of it I think, I'll make sure they mention all the cool things when they put it up. Let me put it this way though. I bought a Saturn just so that I can have my own saved game when borrowing it from a friend, and I'm perpetually broke. That reminds me, I'm getting money soon... hope that person who offered to sell me a copy way back when hasn't yet...

I should really STOP this GAG
Googleshng & Alanna,

>melancholy<Wow . . . Brad is gone. That's just not acceptable. I started reading the column relatively late in its life (I only began a few months ago) and you two have been the only Q&A guys I've known. Well, I wish him all the luck in the world and look forward to whomever is the new person.>/melancholy<

Another note, those pictures by Rei2 on the 8th were not, I believe, "16-bit image edits" (though I very well could be wrong). I believe, instead, they were screen-captures made with RPGMaker 2000 (http://rm2k.rpgmaker.net/ - warning, the site can be funky at times). You prolly got a lot of messages saying that. Though, if I'm wrong, I submit groveling apologies to a) Rei2 for my doubt, and b) you both, for wasting your valuable time.

First question, for Alanna, how does one go about finding and joining the SCA? *Gathers up some arms and armor,* And do they sponsor epic quests against world-threatening evil, or do we have to do that in our spare time?

Second question, for Goo . . . wait, no. Just found the answer. Whoopsie! *Sheepish look,* Sorry, no question for you. Umm . . . here, have a dolphin. *Hands you a dolphin.*

I am so gone . . . ciao and walk (err . . . ooze? Flow? However slimes initiate locomotion) well.

Truly!,

Jesse Jack Jones

Alanna:
Information on the SCA can be found at their home page, or you might be interested in How To Find Your Local SCA Chapter. You can attend most SCA events without being an actual member of the SCA, though I have the sneaking suspicion that some of them are looking towards closing the event to non-members because of overcrowding. (Pennsic is expected to break 11,000 attendees this year.) Your local Renaissance Faire is also a good place to find contacts. The SCA isn't just for fighters, either; they also have a pretty amazing network of people who research and recreate pre-16th-century technology, such as blacksmithy, herbalism, scribery, etc.

Destroying world-threatening evil isn't officially sponsored by the SCA, but most of the SCAdians that I know would fit just fine into any RPG party that I've ever seen. As long as they could bring their duct tape, that is.

Googleshng:
The SCA has a web page? That's... not right. Oh, and tradtionally, slimes kinda leap about. 8)

Most of my mail is stuff like this:
Google-

I think I remember you mentioning that you've been playing Diablo II recently. If so, what's the name of your character on the Realms server? If you're on the west realm server, we should go party down and kick some demon butt. That is, assuming the realms server decides to work...

A few questions:

What are your thoughts on Valkyrie Profile?
Have you played around with Baldur's Gate yet?
Finally, what good is Wirt's Leg in Diablo II?

And a q for Alanna:

What are some tips you can offer for maintaining a solid plot through a fanfic? I seem to have problems with this...

Thanks!

-Pat, eagerly awaiting Chrono Cross

Alanna:
Plot is the hardest part of any story writing, I think, and it's not made much easier by the fact that you're using someone else's characters and pre-defined situations. I've been struggling with plot for years. Here are the tips that I can suggest:

* Decide before you start writing what happens in the story. If you don't know before you start writing what the final outcome is going to be, you're probably not going to have much luck in maintaining a coherent whole.

* Once you've decided the final outcome, figure out how you're going to get there. Make sure that every bit you write leads, somehow, to the final outcome. Even if it's a cool scene, if it doesn't lead to your final goal, take it out. You can always use it in another story.

* Don't, whatever you do, just re-write scenes that we saw in the game, whatever game that might be, unless you've got a compelling reason to. Generally, you can assume that the readers have played the same game that you have.

* A good place to start learning about how a good story is constructed is Aristotle's Poetics -- you can probably find a copy of it in your local Barnes and Noble, or you can read it online at http://libertyonline.hypermall.com/Aristotle/Poetics.html. It's tough reading in places, but it's a great resource. Aristotle lays out the five parts of a well-constructed story, and how the writer goes about using each of those elements.

Good luck! 8)

Googleshng:
I haven't played BG or VP (and yes I know it's not out), so I can't answer those. As for Diablo 2, I've mainly been playing TCP/IP with friends... my only Bnet character is on the eastern server. 8)

Quickies

Hey, Goog, hey Alanna!

Alanna... hmm... might that name have a title to go with it? Like "Sedai"? Are YOU the REAL Alanna Sedai?! Wow!

Perrin

Alanna: People keep asking me that! Actually, when I took the name years ago, I hadn't read those books. (Still haven't, actually.) "Alanna" is actually a Gaelic word meaning "little one". It's my persona name in the Society for Creative Anachronism, and has been my logon name since my first Internet account in '93 or so. I just like the irony of people calling me "little one" with a straight face...

Dear Goddess o' Fanfic,
Hello! Have you ever heard of a MiSTing? On USEnet, it pretty much means that you take a fanfic and make fun of it. Do you ever want to do that to some of the submissions?

Bean

Alanna: The stuff that we get submitted to us is generally pretty good. Most of the time, when we reject a story, it's because of grammar, spelling, or lack of plot. I will confess to having saved a story from back when I first started working in fanfic, just so I can look at it and remind myself that most fanfic isn't that bad in comparison, but I ain't telling you which one. ^_^

bow-weep grow naw weep ninnibop!

Alanna: Bop babaloobop a whop bang boo!
Googleshng: It's Bah weep grah nah weep ninibong... and where's my little slice of energon?!?

Yo, Vampir Hunter D was on last night (08/09/00) on Cinemax at 3:00 AM or something. Did you miss it?

- Elranzer

Alanna: That was actually the first anime I ever saw. Gotta love that man's style...
Google: Now you see, vampires are right up Amano's alley. They SHOULD be pale and gaunt! 8)

Ti's the amazing Googleshng and it's pet human! $2 a ticket!

Kaiser

Alanna: I think that's the first time I've ever been called a pet anything. I want 50% of the take...
Google: That doesn't leave much for me...

Do you realize how many E-mails you're going to get that say "plz send me aeristifa2.jpg @ Ill give you a doller"?

-LXD-

Alanna: I don't have the picture, but I'll take the dollar.
Google: Didn't get a one. Good thing too since I deleted it instantly.

Anyone who reads your letters page carefully obviously doesn't need to ask questions, so why would they send you a letter?

Alanna: Because I'm cute. And Google is ... Google.
Google: Occassionally I DO wonder if I've somehow answered everyone's questions... but I never get any questions on VB or Koudelka, so, that theory's debunked.

The Last Laugh:


Alanna: Well, that's about it for me. Thanks to Googleshng for the chance to guest host, and thanks to everyone who sent in questions. If you have any other fanfic-related questions, or if you just want to chat, email me at alanna@rpgamer.com, or check out my website at http://www.mancer.net. I'm off to play medieval for a week and a half...

Googleshng: Wow. A guest host day where the guest host got relavent questions. Been a while since THAT happened. Anyway, just in case the early guest spot threw you, it's not the weekend yet, so I'll still be here tomorrow. On that note, it's late, and I need sleep. Bye! Oh, I almost forgot to give the person who got the title quote a tilde. Here it is: ~


Googleshng "Fill-In" @rpgamer.com
Yes, that was a Critic reference yesterday.

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