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one of these days I'll forget to update the hidden text, if I haven't already
LETTERS WITH AEGIS
     Tuesday, July 17, 2001 "all the lights are changing from green to red"     

NAKED PICTURES:

To the dismay of some, perhaps, this column's title has nothing to do with the column itself... it's just a li'l experiment, that's all. I didn't give you guys a topic last night, and as such I didn't receive nearly as much mail as I usually do. However, I received a respectable amount of printable letters nonetheless, so it didn't turn out to be a problem. I do plan to give you all a topic next week, though.

And while we're near the subject of me printing letters, I'll give a few folks some much-needed advice. Unless I have some important reason to do so (like to explore a specific point that no other letter mentions), I will not print any mail that A) is just one large chunk of text without any logical paragraph definition, B) is horribly typo-ridden, or C) just seems like incoherent babble written by some uncouth, uneducated person. Sorry to seem like a snob, but this is my column and that's the way I run it. If you keep sending me letters that fall into any of those categories, and you wonder why they're never printed, that's why.

Climbing off my soapbox, though, I hope knowing what I won't accept will encourage some folks to change what they send in. The more relevant, coherent mail I get, the better the column will be for everyone else.

Before we delve into the letters, I'd like to address a couple points. First, I've (still) yet to play Xenogears, so that's not why I'm printing any single one of MANY letters about the game and its plot points. Two, this column, at least when I do it, isn't the place to argue over where to build up experience in FF6 for days on end. The same goes for the topic of the morality and legality of emulation... everybody has their opinion (for those of you who are horribly curious, I have no problem with it, breaking the Q&A host trend), and continuously discussing it only leads us in circles. Now we can proceed.

Games I'm Playing
Pizza Delivery Boy: the real-life RPG
 
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    Guess the Quote Contest
    Try to guess (be specific) the quote towards the top of the page. If you're the first one to email me with the correct answer, I'll mention you in my next column.
     

     
    from last week
    Hola, Aegis. For once, I know where your quotation comes from! (I usually never have a clue!) But this one, She says, "You know that you can go much faster", is from the song "Canned Heat" by Jamiroquai, ne?

    ~DonFrey

    Aegis:
    You are correct, sir. I'm a big fan of Jamiroquai. In fact, I think I'm going to listen to "Canned Heat" right now...




     
    but you didn't ask anything...
    Howdy there, Aegis-san, been awhile,

    Thought I'd comment a bit on a few of the topics, since that's something that I've always done - commented pointlessly on things I know nothing about. :)

    Square does distrubute ROMs, at least in Japan. I haven't had a chance to check the Final Fantasy Chronicles version yet, as I do not have one, but I do have the imported version of Chrono Trigger. When you put the CD into a typical computer CD drive, you can find a 4 MB file called ROM.BIN. When copied onto the harddrive, renamed to a .smc, and played in ZSNES, it's actually the unedited Chrono Trigger ROM. Square sold ROMs for $45! Talk about profit...

    For Ender, the hopeless fan of Tales of Destiny (poor sod, Destiny was horrid), the obscenely better prequel, the glorious Tales of Phantasia (my personal favourite game), will likely never get an official translation. Rumour had it that the PlayStation remake of Phantasia did actually get translated, but ultimately was rejected due to questionable content. While there may be no merit to the rumour, it does seem likely, as a few scenes rose an eyebrow on me. And before you jump to the conclusions of which they are, no, I have not played the translated ROM, and no, the boat scene is not the scene I be referring to. I saw a screenshot, it's not it.

    Ah, the poor Square grovellers, i.e. many readers of this column. It's a world existing of music by only four composers - Uematsu, Mitsuda, and the Final Fantasy Tactics guys. My two cents? There are others out there. My favourite would be Motoi Sakuraba, the Tales of and Star Ocean composer, whose specialty lies in all the intricacies of his work. Sort of the Radiohead of game music. A MIDI that fully captures his style is rare, unlike the ones you can find for Mitsuda-san and Uemtasu-san.

    However, kudos to Mitsuda for Time's Scar. It would make a fine single.

    I always found Crono's house to be difficult to find, too. Odd.

    --Ryan Mance

    Aegis:
    Good to hear from you, Ryan. Yes, it's been a long time. This is a well-written letter, but there's really nothing for me to answer or even to really comment on. Next!




     
    state your purpose
    Hi there! I've got a general question about the RPGamer site.

    I was wondering what each of you think the "goal" of the site is. I enjoy reading the Editorials and Q&A, but in all honesty the biggest resource I use is game reviews and previews, and I use this information to make decisions on what to try and buy.

    Well, my problem is that the RPGamer review section doesn't really stay up-to-date. For that matter, since DailyRadar bit the dust, neither does anyone else. Say what you want about DR, they reviewed almost every game as soon as it came out.

    Heh, I just realized that I may be coming across as a jerk. That is not my intention, and I realize that you guys put a lot of work into what is FREE entertainment for me. Thank you for sacrificing so much and putting so much into this site...I read it regularly and love it!

    ~t

    Aegis:
    First off, no, you're not coming off as a jerk at all. You've got a question, and some constructive criticism, 'sall. If RPGamer founder and boss Mikel Tidwell was around, I could ask for his official answer for this, but, alas, he is not, so I'll just have to run with it myself. RPGamer's goal is to provide readers with information about role playing games.

    Expecting something less vague than that, eh? With good reason, of course. The thing is, though, the answer is vague because we have so many readers who come here for so many different things. Some come primarily for the Q&A. Others for the fan art section. Others still for the news, or music, or editorials, etc., etc. I was going somewhere with this, trust me. Expanding further, I think RPGamer is here to adequately provide for every RPG player, despite their differing wants and interests.

    With a widespread goal like that, some readers will be more satisfied with their experience than others, which is a shame, but that happens everywhere, with every kind of publication. Going deeper into your letter, everyone who works at RPGamer works here for free in their spare time, and, for the most part, reviewers don't get free games to review. That's no excuse for lacking in reviews, but that's the reasoning behind it.




     
    in the year 2525
    How long has RPGamer been around? I remember when it was square.net.... But I was wanting to know when it became RPGamer... I'm probally stupid and missed it somewhere obvious though.

    And about Zelda not being a RPG, I agree with that. Except with the case of Adventures of Link. For that is as much a RPG as any other Action/RPG game.

    Masamune-

    Aegis:
    Bossman Mikel Tidwell showed up in the nick of time for that question. RPGamer was founded on March 11, 1998. As far as your Zelda comments go, although I can't with a clear mind classify the original Legend of Zelda as an RPG, every Zelda game from Adventures of Link to the new Oracles titles I consider an action/RPG.




     
    music
    Hey, Aegis!

    I've been meaning to tell you what a fine job you did on posting my FAQ some weeks ago. Hope my format wasn't too much of a pain. No one got the 'Disco Inferno' quote? No one at all? Damn, I feel like a fool now; I called it immediately, but I figured someone else must have gotten it then. No one got some of the most infamous words of musical history, terrible. Your Alan Parsons Project quote drove me to the brink of madness, as I could only half remember its origin! Now I must try to inflict similar madness upon you. Where did this bit of musical joy come from?

    "Like nine cans of shavin' powder, that's funky!"

    Speaking of such things, I have a bit of advice for Imperial Mog, and all other that must live with teeny boppers. They hate Funk. They REALLY HATE Funk. Just pop a little Ohio Players, Parliament Funkadelic, or Bootsy Collins in your cd player, and they'll run screaming! I've had many enjoyable hours of torturing my teeny bopper cousin this way with a car radio. ::Chuckles darkly::

    Anyway, ye did nicely with me FAQ, Aegis. If you get that quote, my respect for you will double. Until next time.

    Uncle Pervy

    Aegis:
    Greetings, Uncle Pervy. Nope, nobody got the "Disco Inferno" quote, a fact which still shocks and appalls me. I could try to search the quote on a search engine, but that would be cheating. I have no idea where that line is from.

    Thanks for the advice about the teeny boppers. I, for one, swoon over Britney Spears (her looks over her music, mind you), but I can see where you all are coming from, no doubt.




     
    where's the beef?
    Hey Hey,

    I don't know if anybody asked this already, but I was playing FF Chronicles: Chrono Trigger and I know there should be FMV scattered throughout. Well, after looking at the screenshots you guys had up I assumed the first one should be when Marle disappears. But when I played up 'til there nothing happened! Do you think something's wrong with my disk or that's not the first FMV (if not where is the first?) or maybe I had to beat the game once first. I don't know and I'm getting frustrated.

    - Skywingz

    Aegis:
    I don't own the game, and I'm not completely positive, but I am about 95% sure that I'm right: The FFC version of Chrono Trigger ONLY has cutscenes for the opening and the ending of the game. Same with FF4. If anybody can prove that I'm wrong, mail Goog about it tomorrow.

    Update: Apparently I was wrong, and the games (or at least CT) do have more than just openers and closers. Readers from this point on can cease mailing Goog about my mistake. ;-)




     
    at least it's not an acronym
    Could you please tell me what that damn "(SP?)" thing means? And also, on a related note, where can I buy my very own "Internet abbreviations" dictionary? Thanks.

    ~Xeros89

    Aegis:
    This'll make perfect sense once you hear it. The "SP" is short for "spelling," and the question mark is there to signify that the writer isn't sure whether he misspelled (sp?) the word he just typed. I doubt you could buy such a dictionary, but I bet you could find some handy guide online if you searched for it.

    On a side note, I actually did spell "misspelled" correctly. www.dictionary.com is a wonderful resource. Use it if you need to (most people do need to, even me, from time to time).




     
    error, error
    how come in the ending of Chrono Trigger in the credits it says the music was done by Nobuo Uematsu? i thought it was Mitsuda... everywhere you go people say its Mitsuda even msgs on this column yesterday.

    - stake

    Aegis:
    I really don't know. You're right, Mitsuda did do Chrono Trigger, as can be verified right here at Mitsuda's official page. Maybe Uematsu did some music in the game, but that doesn't explain why Mitsuda's not listed at all. Anybody know the answer?




     
    long letter
    Uhhh, hello... My name is Mike Lemmer.
    Crowd: "Hi, Mike Lemmer."
    I used to be a rabid RPG gamer until a couple years ago, when I decided not to buy a Playstation. I haven't played a Square Soft game since Chrono Trigger, and-
    Crowd: "HERETIC!" *proceeds to tar and feather Mike*

    Well, now that the introduction is complete, I'll start off by pointing out a few things about your RPG Game list:
    First, could you explain exactly why the Final Fantasy Legend trio is listed under "SaGa"? Call me naive, but I sort of expecting to find them under the Final Fantasy grouping...

    Aegis:
    The FFL games are actually part of the Saga series. Square renamed them because the Final Fantasy name insured better sales. Similarly, the Game Boy game Final Fantasy Adventure is actually the first game of the Seiken Densetsu series and the prequel to Secret of Mana.


    Second, there appears to be a couple games you're missing off your list. My area of expertise is the SNES, so I'll just list at least two RPGs I know aren't on there: Arcana and Paladin's Quest. (At least, I THINK Paladin's Quest is an RPG... I only read vague hints about its existence in old magazines.) I would suggest checking them out.

    [snip]

    Double points if you can tell me whether or not the HAL that made Arcana is now HAL Laboratories, programming team at Nintendo. (I could've SWORN that some of the music in Arcana sounded similar to the music in Kirby games.)

    I'm sure there's other RPGs out there that haven't been mentioned yet, and gobs of other "sorta-RPGs" (adventures, tactic battles, etc.). Perhaps you could ask the old-time gamers to help fill in the holes?

    Aegis:
    I cut out a couple paragraphs that explained the game Arcana because your letter is, still, ungodly long. There are quite a few old RPGs we're missing, and we do try to cover old games when we have the time to do so, but even keeping up with the new games can be a challenge. So many people can only do so much... give us a break! ;-)

    Oh, and as far as those HALs being related, I don't know for sure, but I'd say most probably they're one in the same.


    Now that that's done, a question: how do you think that designers can breathe new life into RPG combat? I'm guessing everyone's getting a bit tired of the standard "attack, attack, attack, heal, use destructomagic" formula, and something really new could attract some attention. Here's some ideas I came up with:

    1.Varied methods of extermination: Anyone that's played Deus Ex knows what I'm talking about. You could just attack the monsters straight on, get the monsters to attack each other, or hack into the security systems and cause their own defenses to turn them into cream puddin'.

    2.Easy-to-use battle grids: You can't just whack that sorcerer in the back with your sword first turn. You have to rush up to him first turn, THEN whack him, possibly leaving your magic users undefended. Ranged weapons would become a heckuva lot more useful, too. I know this has been used before, but it might merit another look.

    3.BIGGER battles: There's quite a difference between attacking 1-6 monsters at a time and having DOZENS of the little creeps swarm at you at once. Give the player a couple "squads" of weaker-but-numerous troops to help fight against them and you have the makings of an epic battle, with the characters taking out the "big guys" while the squads hold off their little minions.

    Aegis:
    You've got some decent ideas there as far as battles go. I could tell you my awesomely innovative RPG battle system ideas, but as I don't want somebody to develop a game with said ideas before I do, I'm not about to post them here. Sorry.


    And finally: Why do you think that the Final Fantasy series has become the main player in the RPG department, rather than the Dragon Warrior series, Breath of Fire, Phantasy Star, Lunar, or the countless other RPG series? I was just wondering that. Should start an interesting debate...

    Aegis:
    Mainly it's just an issue of timing and sheer number, in my opinion. You've got to realize, even Final Fantasy was small before FF7 came out, and after that we've already had two more FF games. I think only Phantasy Star and Dragon Warrior are of high enough caliber to compete with the FF series for "main player" status, and there hasn't been a new Phantasy Star (PSO doesn't count) or Dragon Warrior (seven's not out here yet) since then.


    -Mike Lemmer
    "When the world comes to an end, and all that is left is a can of soup, some dweeb will bet it on a cockroach race."
    Vault Dweller's Survival Guide, Fallout





    End of the Road:

    Despite the fact my thermostat is/was set to 70 degrees, I'm sweating. I bet one of my roommates changed it. Anyhow, short closer for you tonight, then. Be good for the slime and whatever weekend host(s) you get, and I'll see you next Tuesday. Later.


    Andrew P. Bilyk: bringing you high-quality dairy products since 1974.

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