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LETTERS WITH AEGIS
     Monday, September 3, 2001 "and he was like, 'Emilio!'"     

SOLDIER:

I'm back. Since my last column about a month ago, a lot has happened in the gaming news. Okay, maybe not, depending on your personal interpretation of "a lot," but I think Nintendo's Spaceworld by itself makes up at least that much. I know you guys already went over this, but I'll reiterate anyway. The Cube's delayed in North America by nearly two weeks, and the new Zelda has taken a major graphical change of direction. Love Nintendo or hate them, at least they've been getting everyone's attention.

In other Nintendo news, Mario Kart Super Circuit (not an RPG) has been released for the Game Boy Advance. If you're one of those who liked either of the first two incarnations of the game, I recommend that you go buy this right now. Just a thought.

Sony's Ico should be out later this month. While you're buying Mario Kart, you should pick up the latest Jampack PS2 demo disc and try out Ico. After that, you won't need me to tell you to buy it, too.

I don't really know where I'm going with this opening... do you? Nope, didn't think so. Let's move on to the letters.

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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.
     

     
    alligator lizards in the air
    Aegis! Holy @&^$! I actually know one for once. Its from the song Ventura Highway, by America. I really like that song, it's actually my favorite, alongside Sister Golden Hair, and Horse With No Name. Old acoustic stuff rocks. Heheh, damn, i'm all giddy now.

    Aegis:
    Indeed. "Tell me, how long you gonna stay here, joe?" is from "Ventura Highway." You were the only one who even ventured a guess, so you should feel that much better about winning. Congrats.



     
    grounded nostalgia
    Ugh, my friends are so mean! They keep making fun of my new AD&D character. I mean, who wouldn't want a Paladin named Armadillo in their party?

    Anyways, has there been any news about DW4 coming to GBA?

    BL Alien

    Aegis:
    Um, no comment about your uniquely named Paladin, but as far as DW4 on the GBA goes, there hasn't been any news. As you have probably already heard (and can read about again here), Dragon Warrior 4 is being redone on the PlayStation. Earlier rumors pointed at a GBA version of the game, so this news took a lot of people by surprise. I personally doubt that Enix would remake the game on two different systems (and especially within a close period of time), so, although Enix has yet to specifically say that they won't do it, I wouldn't expect a GBA version of the game, at least not anytime soon.



     
    concluded discussion
    Hey, again, Aegis! It's been long since I last saw you on Q & A. I believe either you were on vacation or real-life responsibilities took the best of you during all these days... =P

    Aegis:
    Hello again to you, too. I'll take this opportunity to explain my recent absence (for those not paying attention, I missed three weeks) from the column. The first week I was indeed on a small vacation-of-sorts at my Mother's. The second week was the week of Googleshng's return from its vacation, and it jumped into my Tuesday slot too quickly for me to do anything about it. Last week, I didn't do the column because whoever did Q&A the day before didn't link the email to me, and by the time I found this out, it was too late. But things are straightened out and I'm back, and I should be doing Mondays now for quite awhile.


    Anyway, I'm sending this email to respond something that you asked me on your August 7th column (check the letter that starts with "from warmer waters"). You were asking me if "Is it pretty easy to import games from the U.S., or did you just make the effort regardless?" Quite frankly, out of all the games that I've played, only a couple or so have been 100% mine... The rest have been either borrowed, or rented. =P In any case, though, importing games from US to our country isn't that much of a problem, since all our electronic stores and movie/game rentals are filled with US games, and some even have Japanese ones as well (heck, I even heard a couple of days ago that a store is selling Japanese PS2s for a fraction of the price of the US one -obviously, Japanese games are harder to come by, but still it's possible to get them. I hope to someday have in my hands Stepping Selection [by the way, even though this isn't an RPG, do you know if it did make it to the US Market?]. If it never did, then I guess I'll have to eventually get a Japanese console, unless mod chipping it isn't much of a problem and doesn't involve any risks for the US console). But I'm digressing...

    Aegis:
    Although you haven't really needed to buy them, it's probably a good thing that the option is there, just in case. Concerning your query about Stepping Selection, as far as I can tell from IGN PS2's information on it, it's Japan-only. I'm intrigued now, though, because some of the music on there looks damn cool. But if I get it I'd have to get a chipped PS2... I guess we both have the same dilemma now.


    In any case, I hope this responds your inquiry... Since I'm one of those people that love RPGs, but aren't too "enslaved" (if that's a good word to use =P) to them, aside that I don't have that much available time for spending countless hours trying to beat a game, it isn't painful for me to say that I don't own a PSX or a PS2, so far, and yet I have enjoyed quite good games from the list mentioned on the above mentioned column, thanks to the generosity of very good friends and relatives...

    That said, I'd like to point out something concerning the piracy of games (seems to be a hot topic nowadays)... Well, around here it's the rule more than the exception, but that has a reason for being... Aside from the fact that US Copyright laws aren't that much enforced in terms of gaming in our country (at least as far as I know), since our main source of games is the US market, sometimes it turns out that games that are next to impossible to acquire in US, are closer to impossible to find here. Hence, sometimes when RPGamers find such a jewel (like the first released Xenogears, Final Fantasy Tactics, or other hard to find games), whenever they have the chance, they burn it to keep their collection at a more affordable price. A couple of friends of mine get their games that way, and although I don't endorse or condone the practice of burning games like that, I do have to say that sometimes necessity makes you do that kind of stuff... Simply put, if the demand of a certain game can't be satisfied with what the local market offers, gamers will most likely recurr to copying them from rented versions. For example, I heard of FFT, Chrono Cross and Xenogears (if the latter isn't still in process) being rereleased as Greatest Hits, but so far I haven't seen them in our stores available for purchasing, so there you have it. =P It's kind of like when you're hungry, you'll most likely do whatever it takes in order to eat... This happens because when a game is scarce, its price goes sky high, and while it's a lot easier (and much cheaper) than importing directly from US (or given the case, Japan) to get a blank CD and copy the game, people tend to do that... I just hope this doesn't spark off again this debate, but at least that's the reality of things concerning "piracy" (if it can be considered as such, since gamers burn the games because the simply can't find or get them otherwise, and they aren't commercializing them, either. Just for auto-consumption)...

    Aegis:
    Yes, I've read things that agree with what you're telling me here. In some parts of the world, you either choose the pirated version or go without. With such a scenario, high piracy is certainly understandable. Let's move off this subject, though.


    Well, amigo, I hope this is enough for now, and that my English is understandable (my main language is Spanish)... If we can serve you in any way, you know how to reach us. ;-) Until next time...

    Francis Alma.

    "The Earth is but One Country, and Mankind its Citizens"
    - Bahá'u'lláh

    Aegis:
    Thanks, Francis, for writing in. And please, please, don't feel the need to justify your use of English. Your letter is intelligently written, your grammar use is great, and you obviously know how to use a spell-checking device (either that or you're good enough to not need one). Careless English natives such as Imperial Mog (whose error-filled letters I won't print), would do well to take a page or two from your book.



     
    quizzing the quizzer
    Hey Aegis, how are you?

    Yaknow, since you always give us quotes, I think i'll give you one to try for you to figure out. Enlist help if you can't get it.
    "Slowly walking down the hall
    Faster than a cannon ball
    Where were you while we were getting high?"

    Aegis:
    I'm good, thanks... pretty tired, though. I think your quote's from "Champagne Supernova" by Oasis. In fact, I'm about 95% sure, but since I must have deleted the mp3 of it I used to have, I can't check myself.


    Also, I'd like to comment on the sub/dub discussion. Princess Mononoke is a great dub. It was a good job dubbing plus the voice acting was good. Now, Square is a big company and has been around a long time. I think they will do a good dub job with Final Fantasy X. Unlike some anime dubs, Square should have some halfway decent, talented voice actors - especially since this is their flagship series.

    Aegis:
    I can appreciate both subtitled and dubbed works. I probably prefer a good dub just because I can understand it, but I'm not too picky. I do agree with you there, though, that Square will probably do a good job on FFX's dub.


    Btw, I've never seen the name "Bilyk". How do you say it?

    --Rahlious (rah-lee-ous)

    Aegis:
    I'm not surprised you've never seen my last name before. It's Ukrainian, so it's not as common as, say, Smith. It's pronounced "Bill-ick," with the emphasis on the first syllable.



     
    he prolly works for konami
    Hey Aegis,

    The topic may be played out, but I thought I'd offer my defense of Suikoden 2. Playing the game, I noticed one or two references to characters that were misplaced, but it could easily be figured out through context. Other than that, though, I never noticed it as being an outstandingly poor translation. I never even knew other people considered it as such until I read the last few day's columns. Playing through FFT made me laugh at times, and I can't believe its translation is being compared to that of Suikoden. I love both games, so I guess that a great translation isn't all that important to me as a gamer.

    Aegis:
    I've not played either Suikoden, and, as of yet, I've not played FFT either (I did buy it, though; the lovely green-striped jewel case is about five feet away). As such, I have no opinions or comments.


    As for a question.. I'm wondering about your thoughts on a couple of games that I think are highly overrated in the "RPG community". First, Valkyrie Profile. I played and enjoyed the game, but I don't think it's the godsend that most people think it is. Second, Paper Mario. I didn't play the game for that long (I only own a PS and PS2), but what I did play was extremely mediocre. Not that fun and not that innovative, with a boring story.. I honestly think its rave reviews can be attributed to RPG-starved N64 owners who were happy for just about anything at the time. What did you think about it, if you had the chance to play it?

    Thanks,
    Dave

    Aegis:
    I'm gonna pull my "I Didn't Play It" card out again for VP, but I can actually comment on Paper Mario, which I own. I'll agree that the story's trite, and the game as a whole, although different, isn't all that innovative. However, I found PM to be one of the most fun RPG I've played in awhile because of the platformer elements and the more interactive battles. Diff'rent strokes, I suppose.




    End of the Road:

    As I usually end up doing, I'm going to close very briefly. But just you wait. One of these weeks I might surprise you with numerous paragraphs of text at the end of the column. Until then, though, do like the great Brad Lohr once had you do and send some mail to Gramblebang.


    Andrew P. Bilyk thinks that Mondays off school are good Mondays indeed.

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