The Oracle
Hampster Wheel
The Oracle, Brad Lohr - March 31 '00

I'm back.. sortof. What happened Sunday. That's what we all want to know, well, 'cept for me, I already know what happened on Sunday. Basically it was really simple. I woke up late, stuff got in the way of me getting to the column, by the time I checked out being here, Google'd already given up hope on me and changed the mailto address, and well, it was my mom's birthday. So I just kinda went "eh" and took off.

'course, I've been doing waaay too much of that recently. Not with RPGamer, really.. but with lots of other things. Guess it's just starting to bug me.

Anyhow.. I hate to open a column with "I didn't get much email" .. but on a normal set of days, I get around 70-100 emails to pick and choose from, (sometimes only 50 or something.. ) .. today I got 15. 15. And without checking beforehand, 3 of those are probably spam, leaving us with a very .. how to say, sparsely populated mailbox. This ain't good, guys! Without people to make fun of questions to answer, I'm nothin'!

So I've gotta come up with a great idea on how to get a ton of you to send email. I'm thinking some sort of contest.

Yesss... okay.. trying to think up in my little brad head a contest everyone can participate in, that doesn't harsh other people's sections... and that has some form of 'coolness' about it. Wah. My creative juices, they be not flowin'.

I'll just go write the rest of my column and then come back here.

Damnit. I'm back, after writing the whole thing.. and I still can't think of something. Okay, everyone, write up something interesting. INTERSTING. Talk about yourself. Tell a funny story. Most interesting person gets to guest host next Sunday. Make sure you have Saturday free, because we'll do the column then. If you can get on IRC, all the better. In other words, the contest is, "Show Brad your personality, and he'll find someone interesting to do a guest hosting and spice things up." Haven't done guest hosting in a while. Ought to be interesting. Entries must be submitted by Thursday night, next week, I'll announce the winner in Friday's column, one week from today.

And here's yer column, you crazy nuts!

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In Brad's Head
I'm sick of school. Wah.
... I'm sad Google didn't know this.
hi Mr. Oracle,

In response to a question asked in Google's column yesterday, the reason some single disc games come in dual CD cases are usually due to the fact that either the booklets they come with are too large to fit into the slot thingies in the single cases (Alundra, ect.) or they have more than one booklet (Gran Turismo, ect.). Well, at least as far as I know, this is why. I hope this clears up any confusion.

DJ "What haiku?" Johnson

Did Google really not have an answer for this? Heh.. he must be taking drugs or something. Another reason I print this letter, is that I knew a DJ Jackson back in high school, and your name just reminds me of him. He liked purple. I like purple. But not on my toast.

Oh ye, agèd warriors!

Do you (or anybody) have any idea what happens to a character, when s/he reaches a very old age (eg: ..89)? For those of you who don't know, you can check a character's age by going to "Person" under "Brave Story" and selecting a desired character, (but most of you already know that, right?). Do they permanently die or something? It would be very awkward having a 104 year old Orlandu walking around with a Chaos Blade killing stuff.

-The guy who is now known as Steve

Ah yes.. Steve. You've been gone so long. Where is your brother Steve, Steve? Your sister Steve is worried for your health, Steve. Anyway, I knew about the aging thing, but I don't know that anyone has gotten any of the characters to an obscenely old age just to see what happens. Why don't one of you guys try that out, take a screenshot, and then I'll put it up. :)

Chicks that don't dig Brad, part 1
Reading through your column today, I was a bit offended at your reply to kupogirl's letter. I am a female, and I have been into the RPG genre since I was 12, when I became blissfully converted by Breath of Fire for SNES. Ironic then, that my two female friends of the same age were responsible for landing a copy of the game into my hands. The truth is, it's been a rarity for me to find a guy into RPGs. Looking at the online fan community according to the number of fan pages, fanfic writers, and fan artists, I've found a bit more females than males partial to the RPG genre, so your reply somewhat baffled me. I realize that the online fanbase isn't the most reliable representation of the RPG fan community, but... I simply want to get the point across that there ARE females out here that have been gaming for a long time. And to touch base on your teenaged girl stereotype, I personally never cared about the whole 'dating/liking' thing, and neither did my gaming buds. And no, I have no qualms about gaming being 'unfeminine.' How the hell do you define 'feminine' anyway? Ditzy guys suck too, and there are just as many of them as ditzy girls. Muscular pecks don't let you fly through life with people kissing your feet. ...and I think I'll stop here before I offend anyone else.

-Aude...blindly stumbling off to the fridge for another Mountain Dew...

That's okay, I offend myself regularly as well. But you have to realize that you're a minority, or if not a numerical minority, a social one. Most girls who play video games aren't liek that. And I totally agree about 'ditzy' guys. They don't excite me in any way. And by printing this, I'm going to get 30 emails asking for your email address, because you're looking for a guy into RPGs. But just as a note: I'm not giving out anyone's email address through this column, except under special circumstances, and dating hopefullness isn't one of them. As for defining feminine, Dear Mr. Webster says, "feminine: adj. 1 of women or girls. 2. having qualitites or characteristics of or suitable to women; gentle, delicate, etc. 3. Gram. designating or of the gender of words referring to females or things orig. regarded as female." That is, 'feminine' means you act like 'most girls'. If you don't, you're unfeminine. That's okay, by the way. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with it. I mean, hell, my own girlfriend is about as unfeminine as they come.. with a few exceptions. I personally like the type that doesn't wear makeup, that doesn't worry about breaking nails, or taking 3 hours in the bathroom each morning. I had a girlfriend who was highly feminine, but honestly, her near-refusal to let me see her without makeup on, and a lot of other things of such genre, really REALLY annoyed me. Tell ya what, guys. You find one that you can feel comfortable with, and ya'll have fun.. it's a good life.

Eternal this!
Dear Brad the eternal Oracle,

I agree , Time is best. But I didn't get the last two options. What's a support or indirect mage? Aren't all mages there for magical support? Does support mean status effects , or what?


Well, a support mage would be one who raises tha abilities of the other party members, with status boosting spells (Haste, Shell, Regen, etc), and an 'indirect' mage would be one who brings harm to the enemy indirectly, though stuff like Poison/Slow/Stop/Elemental Weaknesses, etc. So a lot of times you have one mage doing both jobs, as a 'status affecting' mage.

More quotes that Brad doesn't know
Since you had a late update before a Sunday, you're probably facing a letter shortage. So... time for round two of the quote game!
  • Feels like you have sacked your saccules, and tickled your utricles enough for one life time! Wow, dizzy!

    No clue. Wah.

  • Get ready for my Super Ultra Mambo-Tango-Foxtrot martial arts!

    .. :(

  • Do you like my helmet?

    ... oh now that is just so obvious... NOT

  • I shall destroy all memory, all existence, and all dimensions... then I too shall disappear... forever!!

    Can't remember this specifically. :o

  • Mark danced crazy!!!


  • See your face upon the clean water. How dirty! Come! Wash your face!

    FF1 :D

  • Then do you want the measurements of that famous and beautiful 'eight-stroke warrior?' Now you're talking. Starting from the top, thirty-six, twenty...

    Is this from Phantasy Star 4?

  • I'm lightning in a bottle! Earthquake in a can!

    ... I think I've heard this.. can't rememebr where from though.

  • I lost, you won, here's 15 silver points, wasn't that fun?

    Gato, Chrono Trigger

  • Well done. But my true strength lies in death, and with it I drag you all into the abyss!

    Milon Z, fiend of Earth, FF2a


    Persona loving SWINE!, er.. j/k
    I have an admission to make: I loved Persona.
    Pervert. Sicko.
    I loved the offbeat plot. I loved the idea of multiple selves. I loved the different perspectives. I loved the sound of footsteps. I loved having the option of dealing with the demons by talking instead of fighting. I loved the characters' cries of, "Persona!" I loved the realism of wandering around for hours. I loved it so hard that I may have broken my PlayStation. Am I really crazy? Am I completely insane?? Are my Personae just voices in my head??? Everyone I know hated it. They despised it. They looked down on me for enjoying it. I played that game to death. Why, oh why must I be tortured with the fact that there were three more Megami Tensi (sp.? What sacrelige!) games that were never brought over here? Why must I be forced to salivate over the gorgeous screen shots of games I will never own? Why, why must I be made to suffer? Sigh... please tell me that there's some hope for me... at this rate, I might be desperate enough to learn Japanese and buy a Saturn just to play them... Please, Brad, give me any ray of hope or sunlight that you can give me. Please tell me that the series will continue onto the next generation systems... please, please, please!!! Your Humble Servant, Insanerest of AOL

    I actually didn't mind this game that much myself.. but it is well known that I am easily entertained, and well, I still haven't beaten it. I got that Chris guy, wasn't that his name? But I didn't like him. So I stopped playing, and well... never went back. Maybe someday. (how many times do I say that per column?)

    Cleanin' up after Google, part 2
    Since Google mentioned it in his last Q&A, I thought I'd explain just what BoF3's clear game does...

    First of all, you can get Ding Frogs. They're basically the best bait you can acquire. To get them, you have to go to the dog fisherman near the inner sea (or whatever it's called), and he'll give them to you if your rank is Master of Fishing+ (I *think* that's what it is... Maybe it was Rodmaster+ ?) Also, you can get the Master Rod (the best rod in the game) from him if your ranking is Master of Fishing++.

    But wait, that's not all! If you go to the fairy village and assign three fairies to play music, if you go talk to the third one, you can lister to her play Pure Again (the credits song) with or without vocals.

    I've also heard people say that it makes larger groups of enemies appear more frequently in the final area of the game, but I don't know for certain if that's true or not.

    And that's all (that I know of)...

    -- P. J. "Speed" Reed

    I have no response, other than to state that while I razz Google liberally, we're not hateful of one another.. well, we won't be after that bitch gives me back my CD! .. er.. haha, just kidding.

    Chicks that don't dig Brad, part.. wait, that's not right..
    How goes?

    Ok, i may be wrong, in fact, i know i am, but still. I have never seen an rpg with a female staring role. The biggest role i've seen a female get is the love interest, maybe a little more, but not much. Am i wrong? Has there ever been a female lead?


    Most people consider FF6 to have a female lead, as for the first half of the game, Terra is much the focus of the story, and for the second half, Celes seems to get a large amount of the focus.

    SO2 Stuff, yay!
    *** Possible SO2 Spoilers ***

    Hello Brad. I have A few questions to ask you about SO2. could you tell me where is A really good place to level up? I'm in the last place and have to battle these 2 guys at once who always kick my butt. What characters do you think work the best? I'm playing through Rena's quest. The party I use is Rena, Dias, Ashton, and Chisato. The other players I have are Celine, Claude, Precis, and Noel. I would really appreciate it if you could tell which of these would work best.


    My first question is: "Why the heck aren't you using Claude?" He's your best fighter, hands down. As for spots to level up, try the Cave of Trials, (getting there is a whole other question).. or just leveling up near the entrance to the last castle-thing isn't a bad move. There's some good stuff in there.

    More chicks defending their gaming habits :D
    Hola Steve,

    I read yesterday's letter from a fellow RPGirl, and your comments on us. Here's my catch on all of it. I've been a gamer since the ripe age of three. (Difficult to believe, I know) I'm not going to quit playing games, which I love doing, to suit anyone else's idea of "feminine" or "acceptable." I don't care if others refer to it as "childish," "unfeminine," or what. At school the other day we went to the local Skating Rink. There is also an arcade inside the rink, where all the guys were gathered. I went too, not one bit ashamed of my beloved hobby. I started up Mortal Kombat, and kicked at least ten guys' rears. There was a huge line behind me of guys waiting to defeat me. Not one succeeded. And I was the only girl there. Did I feel out of place? Not really. I was gaming, and that's what I love to do. Where were all the other girls? Sitting at the tables in the snack bar without skates and clinging to their purses and makeup, too good to skate or anything in fear that they'd break a nail or mess up their hair or some crap. What kind of life is that? I mean, I'd bungee jump at any given moment. Who gives a piece of howler monkey dung whether or not my bangs get blown around or I sweat. I don't live to suit other people's ideas of feminine or normal. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not weird or anything. I'm not going to go walk down Main Street nude or cross-dress. I don't watch Xena. I'm not one of those neo-feminist girl-power people. I'm a normal girl like you'd see anywhere else, except I like games, anime, and things that are actually fun even if they do cause me to mess up my hair. What you were saying about gaming being "unfeminine," I can understand that from game content and the looks I get when walking into Babbage's or Electronics Boutique. The guys flock to me, the employees look as if a guy in a ski-mask just ran in with a Street Sweeper, and it's often an unpleasant trip. But I ignore all that and simply buy my games and browse. It does get old that when I ask about a game and the employees start hitting on me. That I could do without. And hiding my love for gaming isn't going to happen. The guys at the arcade gave me a hard time until I kicked their lousy arses. And if I hear some people talking about PS2 or the latest release at school I quickly leap right into the conversation even though weird looks ensue, and after a few minutes no one cares. I can understand being an offbeat, yes. Being in Gifted Class and a straight "A" student I'm often shunned or regarded as too different to associate with by most of my peers. (8th grade) I love games, I love having fun, and there's no way I'm going to hide or deny who I am. That's just me.

    -Rinoa the "Whopper in the Milk Duds" Resistance Fighter

    If I were a girl, I'd play videogames AND wear miniskirts. Because well, as a guy, that idea just seems strangely appealing. .. okay, enough of that. MOVING ON

    I'm sorry sir, but the elitist bastard section is in the back...
    Ah, I sound so juvenile don't I? Generalizing millions of people for their tastes, their habits, their tendencies, and their repercussions...

    My problem with modern gamers doesn't start with Final Fantasy VII. Idiots like KupoGirls that roll their eyes to the glory that is VII belong in this group. She might have played her first RPG on the NES or maybe even SNES, but she still is part of the cattle that is modern gamers, case..

    OK, I will be the first to admit it, Final Fantasy VII brought millions of people into the gaming market, specifically Role Playing Games with its eye candy, television airtime and hype. But, who created this hype?! We did, the gamers of the old. A Final Fantasy in 3D!! We made websites, forums, everything hailing this game, of course sheep will follow us...and follow they did. Blame yourselves for the craze over Final Fantasy VII. It is your fault.

    Also, a common mistake made by even the highest gaming scholars (Brad...) is the infamous 'FF2a.' terminology for games translated over to American bearing different numbers as their Japanese counterparts... Why is this bad? The game belongs with its original title, Its Japanese birth name. Not the downsized easy counter part us Americans were thrown with. Final Fantasy IV is a masterpiece in itself, it deserves a title, not a lazy slang for ignorant Americans who don't know what FFIV is....

    The downfall of Role Playing Games? I think so, we over glamorized our games. Star Ocean II, Grandia, Xenogears all had quasi sprites and 2.5 Dimensional motions and were huge successes, even in America...why do we value the look of our games so much? And, hell yea, I love graphics, I am a Digital Artist myself, but when the original crop of cult RPG followers were playing FFIV and FFV the last thing on their mind was, "These graphX suxorsZ!" It was, 'Why is Kain doing this to me?" or "Galuffff....why?" I've heard it a million times, how great something sounds but the graphics look 'sorry'. Why?! We are spoiled, immature, and snobs, that's why, the mass market has created a monster, and Final Fantasy will never be the same. If you removed all the Video from Final Fantasy VIII and changed the graphical engine to a Xenogear-esque style would fans of VII accept it with open arms?! No, they would scoff at its inferiority. And that's why we are sheep's to this industry...

    Why am I wrong? I'm not, you know it, I know it, the beauty of a Role Playing Game is to accept the role of a character thrown into a world only the imagination can create, and that, in its simplest form is art.

    Okay, well, I thought you were pretty haughty before you took a shot at me personally. So to counter that, here you go smartypants:

    FF2a is a different game than FF4j. Not just linguistically, but in gameplay matters as well. Not only that, but it was released in America by that name. If you don't like it, move to Tokyo.

    You go off about how someone else may have started playing "Back on the SNES, or MAYBE the NES".. well, since when did you become an authority on gaming, just because you've played RPGs since what... the NES? Or Pen'n'Paper before that? Just because you've been driving a car for 30 years doesn't mean you can't be a bad driver. And games are about entertainment. You forget that, in your attempt to be better than other people. They're coming in and buying the games that you like, and instead of appreciating the fact that now there are more RPGs being produced than ever before, more games for YOU to enjoy, you'd rather we got one every year ana half or so, and only half of them would be anywhere near fun to play. You like the old times? Enjoy it alone.

    I personally like recent games myself. Xenogears had an awesome story. Star Ocean 2 has some of the greatest replay value since Chrono Trigger. Grandia is touted as a masterpiece over the board. I liked FF8. And I've been playing RPGs since the original Dragon Warrior. Take a look for a second back to that game. It sucks. I'm sorry, it's old, and it sucks. It's a great 'memory', I own it myself. FF1 is annoying to play. I mean, you have to sit there and buy 99 Heal potions ONE BY ONE. And the battle system was uninspiring. But it's a great memory, and going through that game is still fun to a degree. But they make games better. And it's not an 'art form'. They do it to make money. So if that means they graphic them up so much that you hate it, but 10,000 more people buy it, they could care less about your facist elitism. They'll sell the damn games.

    To close it off, there is no 'right' or 'wrong' here. You've got an opinion. One that I don't like, but that doesn't make you WRONG per se. Facts can be disputed, opinions are just that. But the beauty of ANY game is to be entertained, and while people like you are buying new games and only getting pissed off about how they 'cater to other people now! wah!' .. I'm having an enjoyable experience playing the games that they make, instead of wishing for ones they don't, and WON'T make again.

    Forlorn Quickies of DEATH

    answer me fast(im tming you)
    what game is better
    EverQuest or AsheronsCall
    (im still timing you)

    Don't know, I haven't played EQ, but I hear that lots of ex-EQ players like AC better, because they've fixed a couple things that are waaay nasty in EQ. Then again, some people lke EQ better. Don't ask me, I've only played one.

    When I look into a mirror, I want to give myself a kiss.


    OoOoh.. Fabio's so... dreaaaaammyyyyyyy

    So, have you started FM3 yet, ya lazy bum? ;-)

    ~Dan Calderman

    Bite me, Dan. :D

    Words from the Wise One:

    Alright.. make sure to send in SOMETHING that shows how interesting/funny/whatever you might be. Write a story, tell a joke, tell me your daydreams about Q&A hosts at various websites. I don't know. Be creative. The person who wins won't 'follow directions' exactly, they'll just.. be .. interesting.

    Brad "I'll Kompress you, you tacky excuse for a Krossdressing Kat!" Lohr

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