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Return of the Blarg!
Ask Thor - April 1 '00

Well, Brad asked me to do this, so I decided, "Hey, why not?". I mean, it's been several months since I last saw daylight did Q&A, and well, Brad's got the pickup lines that just rock.

Anyhow, I'm hungry, and Brad looks good to eat. I am going to eat Brad, and then do his Q&A column. So he'll answer through me... for the REST OF TIME!









... my tummy feels funny.

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The Hack Archive
Yes, I know now, I forgot Parasite Eve
Um, question.

Do we not count Parasite Eve the RPG genre, or was the omission in yesterday's segment about female stars in RPGs an honest mistake? No big deal either way.. :)

Ok, here's a joke to fill up space on your column.

A plate of bacon and eggs walks into a bar. The bartender looks at them and says "Hey, get out of my establishment, we don't serve breakfast in here."


Okay, okay, forgot Parasite Eve... and I like the joke.

Hello Brad.

For the guy who was looking for RPGs with female leading characters... the only I can think of right now is Phantasy Star I (Alis) and Parasite Eve (Aya Brea).

I wouldn't say that the female characters in other RPGs are all love interests, though. Take a game like Chrono Trigger. Marle, Lucca, and Ayla is as important to the plot as the guys. Cecilia in Wild Arms is one of three main characters. FFIV is already mentioned, and think about FFV! You end up with three out of four of the people in your party being female!

Altough there isn't that many RPGs with female main characters, there's actually quite a few with female co-starring roles.

- Charlotte

Good call on Wild ARMs and FF5, In my opinion.

More Chicks in Video Games.. (wearing miniskirts? noo..)

I agree with your idea that Terra and Celes are the main stars of FF6, but you are forgetting Phantasy Star 1 had a female lead character, Alis. Also, in PS4, Alys (no relation to PS1's Alis, note different spelling) was considered the lead for the first third of the game, although her student took up the lead in the latter two-thirds of the game. If you want something more recent, cosnider Aya from Parasite Eve. On the PC, Septerra Core has a female lead if I remember correctly (or at least there was a female lead in the demo; I haven't played the full version). Also, there are several RPGs where you can choose the gender of the main character (although the only game I can think of that has a real difference between a male or a female main character is Fallout 2...), but those ones are generally a moot point.

Those are just a few counters to stan's "Are there female RPG leads" question.

Gina Silver

Even more answers to the question.. and more games I missed. :P

Xenogears, worth it, or not?
I've heard from alot of people that Xenogears is a great game, but WAY too lengthy in the dialogue department to play now if you haven't yet. What is your opinion on this matter? Thanks for your time.

Joe "And knowing is halve the battle" Copelin

While I've said it many times, I'll say it again; Xenogears has a good story. A great story, in fact. I think it's worth playing through at least once, regardless of how slow the text goes. I don't really have a burning desire to go through it AGAIN, but well, that's a different story.

Speed through games, young warrior!
Hey Brad,

A couple of days ago I wrote a letter to Google asking him if he knew any RPGs that rewarded the player for rushing through them. He didn't. So I let the idea percolate for a while and I came up with (what I think) is an ingenious way to create a non-linear RPG with multiple endings that rewards rushing (as opposed to mindless leveling) and doesn't require 20 discs of FMV.

I don't know of any games following this model, but the more I think about it the more likely it seems. So if there are please excuse my ignorance.

Say near the end of the first disc, after about 10 hours of linear play, you learned that the world was going to end in a "week" (about 30 hours of play). Now imagine that there are a dozen or so in-depth side quests which earn you special weapons, armor, or allow you to meet new allies, and you if you don't beat the game in 30 hours the game ends and you lose. If you rush through, you can complete more sidequests (which is beneficial), or you can sit in one area and level up (which some people prefer), then go straight to the boss.

Now here's where the beauty lies. Suppose each side quest has an FMV associated with it. After you beat the game, these chunks of FMV are arranged in a predetermined order and capped with a general-purpose story ending and run together to form a "final" FMV. If you don't do a sidequest, you don't get to see that FMV. Boom: replay value. This would be a lot like the ending of FF6 in which each character was profiled and some scenes from around the World of Ruin were shown.

There would, of course, be New Game+, and after the first time through the initial 10 hours of linear play would be a breeze, allowing you to continue on to the sidequests. And we rushers would be kings--the more you get done each time around the fewer times you have to replay.

So what do you think?

- Naz

Well, some games do such a thing (Super Metroid, not really an RPG, but a classic game).. also, for the Programmer's Ending in CT, you have to beat it early on, (though after a NewGame+, admittedly). But this isn't too bad an idea, 'cept it takes me forever to get through games for some reason.. I'm always taking longer than everyone else.

Games, Art?
Dear Brad, you Oracle, you,

Something disturbed me in your column yesterday, and that was your assertion that video games are not an art form. According to you, games can't be considered art because their sole purpose is to "make money".

Sure, *perhaps* that might make sense with the recent "blockbuster" titles such as Final Fantasy VIII and Vagrant Story (though I still disagree), but what about games like Growlanser? Growlanser contains no 3D graphics, is not jam-packed with amazing FMV sequences (it contains 2 OP anime sequences and that's *it*), and doesn't have eye-popping summon magic that takes two minutes to complete. Why, then, bother to release a game like this (especially almost simultaneously with Chrono Cross) that contains very little of what the lowest common denominator of RPG players are looking for? Why produce a game which has no chance of making a lot of money?

Because Growlanser, quite simply, is a work of art. What Growlanser *does* contain are hands-down the most beautiful, detailed, and exquisite (did I say the game looks good? =D) 2D graphics I've ever seen in any game. The story and script are well-concieved and very powerfully written. The characters are very likable, and for the most part avoid being cliche and stereotypical (I can't say the same about FF8's characters). The character portraits themselves are works of art; done by Urushihara Satoshi, they're very attractive, show lots of expression, are *large* (almost as large as Sakura Taisen's!), and animate quite well! The game is not *fully* voiced, but close to it (Disc 1 has over 10 *hours* of voice-acting alone), and the acting is phenomenal. The gameplay is innovative and addictive, adopting a battlesystem which is kind of a cross between Chrono Trigger and Langrisser III in real-time. I could go on and on about the wonders of this game, but I'm afraid I've already been way too long-winded, so I'll wrap things up ^o^;;.

What I was driving at is that you should think about the implications of what you say before saying it. I agree that many games are not works of art, but just because the majority of them aren't doesn't mean that there aren't *any* that are. And also, with your logic, movies can't be considered art, since many are produced with the intent of "making money".

Lessee... something interesting about myself... I'm a composer which has won a few awards with a symphony and some other smaller-scale works, I've written music for a couple of RPGs which would've come to fruition had the game designers ever bothered to finish them -_-. real name isn't Steve, but it sure could've been!.....Ah, who am I kidding! I'm not interesting!


What Brad meant to say yesterday was that RPGs (and games in general) are not PRIMARILY an art form. Their first purpose is to make money, and while many do not, some may strive to be 'art' afterwards. So leave 'im alone, I'm digesting.

Girls have gills. That's why they're fish.
Dear Oracle,

I'd just like to add my 2 cents to this whole feminine issue. Femininity supposedly "acting like all the other teenage girls" is a completely relative thing. My friends and I are teenage girls, and none of us act in the fashion you mention. I know the media warps everyone's minds to the point that we can't even think without offending someone, but I'd say that a good portion of teenage girls nowadays have their minds set on other things than acting like God's gift to men. In fact, it sickens me the games some companies try giving to us...are software companies REALLY going to attract girls to gaming by marketing such trash-worthy titles as "Rockett's New School" and the nausea-inducing "Barbie" series?

~SmartLaine "Next up: The Trolls discover Acid Rain"

I don't get how something can be relative to a mean average, but that's just me. I'm glad you guys act how you want to, and don't let the 'culture' or whatnot tell you what to do, but that doesn't change what 'feminine' is. :)

Star Ocean 2 ... more more!
*** Some Star Ocean 2 stuff ***

Ooh!! Ooh!! I know these~! Bowser was the Earthquake in a bottle thingy, and I believe Culex is the memory and existence guy!! SMRPG flash there ^_^ And speaking of that...

Like the moon into
the day my genius and brawns
are lost on these fools ~Bowser

Liiike it? SMRPG was also the only game I know that recites haikus.

Now, I've got a SO2 question for you: In the walkthrough book thingy, there are some scribbles of random characters. I don't own the walkthrough myself so I can't scan it, but there is this one character in a few scribbles which resembles a blonde male fellpool. The same scribbles have Opera with the bunny eared mask thingy that her sprite was based on. Now I'm thinking: Perhaps Noel's sprite was done based on this blonde fellpool guy before they changed him to a Nedian? Those ears are way more turned up than Chisato's. Either that or the sprite was meant for some other guy they took out of the game.. Theory~?


The guy you're probably looking at is Ernest, Opera's boyfriend. He's kind of a dope, and difficult to get, but if you want to get anywhere near the full amount of sounds, you're going to have to grab him at some time. Details on getting him can be located in just about any FAQ, or I could answer it if you really wanted me to.

More Star Ocean 2 goodies
*** Star Ocean 2 Mini-Spoilers ***

Hey Brad

I don't think anyone's sent in this in. It works best you have the Eternal Sphere just enter the tournament for the 50 battles and go mad. If you can get going you can keep them stunned until they go down, there's a green cat guy who gives mucho experience but soon after him is this big freaking bird with 100,000 Hp and he always smears me across the wall.

Denethor Anduril

The only problem with that is that you're only leveling one guy up at a time.. which would work if he were levelling 4 times as fast as anyone else, but otherwise, go on to bigger and better things.

Temple of Friends
Brad, who was your favorite of the 4 fiends in FF2(4j)? I liked Milon and Kainazzo. Rubicant was just a bastard and Valvalis was just a nothing. Not a really important question, I know. "Get ready for my Super Ultra Mambo-Tango-Foxtrot martial arts!" is from EARTHBOUND for SNES. Is it just me or am I the only person who really really likes that game. As for "Do you like my helmet?" It's right on the tip of my brain... Oh well.. That's it.

-Boffo Bob

I get word that the "Do you like my helmet" is from Shining Force, but my memory is fading fast.. as for my favorite, it'd have to be Rubicant. He's just too cool. He knows he's badass, and he really is. That, and he heals you before the battle, "to make it fair". Haven't quite had a bad guy like that since. Oh well.

I am a magical being. Take off your bra.
Hey there Mr. Lohracle sir, here is something that I discovered just the last week: There appears to be an inverse proportion between the amount of pick-up lines used by guys, and the amount of dates that they get us. Where as, the more pick-up lines we use the fewer dates that we get. For example, if I don't use any pick-up lines, then i get no dates, but if i do use pick-up lines then girls start avoiding me. The solution? Simple, we, as guys, must use negative pick-up lines. A negative pick-up line is when girls use them on us.

Also, these irate rpgirls in your column are driving me bonkers. What do you mean there's not enough guy gamers out there? So far, I have managed to locate one (1) rpgirl. While at least half the guys i know agree that rpgs rule. So, to find these rpguys, mebbe you rpgirls just aren't using enough pick-up lines. In which case, please allow me to suggest some.

  • If you were a booger, I'd pick you first.
  • You're name must be Mickey, because you so fine.
  • Have you ever been to Tennessee? Because you are the only ten that I see.
  • If i said you had a nice body, would you hold it against me?
  • I think we should see more of each other, take off your shirt.
  • And, last, but not least, in fact it's my personal favorite, -Nice shoes, wanna go do it?   
    [Editor's Note: This comment was 'dulled' by the writer of the letter himself, and I find it much more effective to just say it in plain English. "Hey. Nice Shoes. Wanna play Yahtzee?"]
I hope that this helps you ladies find the rpguy that you have been looking for.

T-Dog Jenkins, match-maker extraordinaire

Two things:

  1. The only pick up line I have to use is, "Hi. I'm Thor." Which almost always ends up with me getting smacked.
  2. If you're a matchmaker extraordinaire, then how is it that you've found only one RPGirl?

FF7 Parodies.. oh.. beware..
Hello Steve! Hope you like these FFVII parodies! They were a big hit at CMGSCCC.

[This one focuses on Cloud's strange personality, mainly how he acts like he's on drugs. :) ]

(A dark inn in the slums of Midgar. In one of the rooms, we see Cloud hunched into a fetal position in the corner. His eyes are bloodshot, he's pale, and he's obviously under the influence of some sort of lethal inhalant)

Cloud: Hee hee hee......
Tifa: (Opens the door slowly)....Cloud, I brought you your shrooms.
Cloud: (Gurgle)
Barret: (Stomps in beside Tifa) ARGH! Dang addict! Get yo' spikey butt up! Sittin' here huffin' household cleanin' products ain't gonna get you NOWHERE! You gotta save the $&*@% world!
Cloud: (Screams like a little girl) SHERA!!!!! We've got to get to Balamb Garden!
Barret: ??? The heck!? Balamb Garden is in FFVIII!
Cloud: FFII!!!!
Barret: FFVIII!!!!!!
Cloud: FFII!
Barret: ARGGGHHHHHHH!!!! (Barret jumps onto Cloud and begins punching him and bodyslamming him until his eyes roll back into his head and he seems comatose in every way)
Cloud: Uhhhh....
Tifa: (Sighhhh) I guess I've got to leave it all up to that flower witch and that genetic disaster-of-a-lion to save the planet now!

[Even though I love his art, Amano portrays characters as being way too thin. They look anorexic. This parody goes into depth with that factor. ^_^]

Aeris: I am SO fat! I mean, look! I've got a fat roll! (Her rib cage is showing clearly through her dress)
Cloud: (Sob)...I have a confession to make.....I had an orange two days ago!
Red XIII: GASP! Traitor!!!!!
Vincent: We're going to have to call Jenny Craig now, you freak! We'll even have to buy some Richard Simmons tapes! Now look what you've done!!
Cloud: (bursting into tears) WHAAAAAA!!!!!
Tifa: Look at you! At least I'M not anorexic.....
Sephiroth: Yeah, well, you're bulimic.
Tifa: So are you....
Barret: Losers! Look at ya all! Ya need a shrink, ever'y one of ya!
Vincent: Oh, look. What a surprise. It's polygonal Barret. Hi, polygonal Barret......
Aeris: GOOD LORD, you've PUT ON WEIGHT!!!!!!
Tifa: Don't you know? He's POLYGONAL.......
(Everyone gives him a look of disgust)
Red XIII: Ewww....glad I'm not polygonal! Look how heavy they look! I'm going to be sick!
Sephiroth: He Cloud, have you seen the polygonal you? Now talk about needing Phen Phen!!!!


-Rinoa the Resistance Fighter

Sick. Sick sick sick. I like it.

Quickies that give you what you want, what you really really want.

Mr. Lohracle;

I've been kidnapped by evil jungle monkeys. Are you a bad enough dude to rescue me?

~A MagusAkaAlex & SeaMonkey collaborated quickie

Of course! Here is proof!

Ill give you $10 bucks if you put me in the quickies

And don't foget the $10 your sister owes me... she knows what it's for. :P

What's wrong with my muscular pecks?

Those aren't muscular.. those are manboobs. MANBOOBS.

I, uh, think you misspelled Hamster. :P


I'll tell that to Brad the next time I burp a piece of his ear up.

I'm a girl, and I play videogames in miniskirts! What do I get?

A sack of dead monkeys for your travels! (30 steps later, "Sack of Dead Monkeys effect has worn off.")

Hey Rinoa.

-Squall the Surly SeeD

I told you not to call at this number!

Brad!! Brad!! Brad!!

FM3!! FM3!! FM3!!

Play!! Play!! Play!!

Now!! Now!! Now!!

-yes i did send you this

Brad, you're playstation is talking to you... what the heck are you doing to my head!?

In the words of Stewie from Family Guy, "What the hell do you think you're doing?!"

Anyway, I thought I'd say that I learned about the Law of Cosines and the ASS Theorem in math the other day.


Angle/Side/Side is a fallacy.. Don't do it, man! Law of Cosines is cool, though.


The second quote from yesterday's quote game, "Get ready for my Super Ultra Mambo-Tango-Foxtrot martial arts," was said by the Onett police chief in EarthBound. It's pretty obscure (EB, that is), but I consider it a cult classic. Farewell.

-Andrew "Bad Steve! No kibble for you!" Mike

Good catch.. a lot of people got that... I never played Earthbound, myself.


wanna try something fun? When Chrono Cross comes out, try renaiming all of your characters "Champ". See if you can figure out what's going on.

yours cruelly,

Oh, that's sick.

Hey Brad, in the trivia game question thing where it had the quote: "It feels like you sacked your saccules and tickled your utricles one too many times! Wow, dizzy!" is where Citan just jumped out of Weltall's hand after Bart's cruiser attacked the Aveh cruiser.
(PS: Citan was kidding.)

And another answer to the infamous quote game...

Words from the Wise One:

Yeaaaah... okay. I didn't do such a hot job.. but whatever. It was an attempt. :) April Fool's, if you haven't figured it out by now (you idiot :P) and well, keep the contest submissions rolling in.. see you tomorow!

Heh.. I wonder if he throws the controller at himself when he gets mad...

Thor "Okay, okay, so my Thor impression sucks." Lohr

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