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Opening the Floodgates
 
Ask JD Saturday July 4 - 5:50 pm EST


First Order on the table. Ryan is doing tomorrow's Q&A. DON'T send him any letters on the "Concerned Parent Letter" topic, as he has stated on numerous occassions he won't touch these kinds of topics. So send them to Brad (Editorials) or to me.

What a strange day yesterday was. I expected a lot of email from the letter in question. I did not, however expect the monstrous amount of emails that flooded my email box. About 95% of you enjoyed the letter finding much entertainment value in it. The remaining 5% that commented on the letter, either hated it or accused me of pulling a "Stephen Gohan." Before we start the Letters I'd like to address the 5% and the many who also asked, "was this letter a joke?"
I can't for say, for certain if this was a joke or not. Many of you believed that it was and even began pointing out facts why it was fake or one aimed for controversy alone. I'll leave it to you readers to decide. I will say this however, like many of you I felt there was, to some extent hints of sarcasm and satire.
To the 5% asking "did I write this letter" or am pulling a "Stephen Gohan", it really is up to you, to decide or not to. Let me clearly assure you readers that I did not write this letter or have some planned machination for entertainment, controversy or entertainment value. That's not the way I conduct things. I don't need gimmicks or what not, like my predecessors or colleagues to make an interesting or informative Letters Column. You readers provide me with the ample material I need.

It is also obvious that the letter was gonna stir up something, bad or good I knew not. Which is why I carefully weighed the pros and cons of printing such a letter. In the end the overwhelming majority found it entertaining and thought provoking. Which was what I was aiming for. Let me also say this is not going to be a daily occurrence. After all this is mostly geared to Q&A. With any given forum such as this Letters Column, I do believe it fit for any sort of opinions, debates, ideas or questions. Any letter that I receive will get a fair opportunity to be printed. Thanks again for all the comments. Oh and Happy 4th all.
One last thing, due to the amount of letters printed the font size is reduced today.

 
Vagrant Story
(Excerpts)
Hey JD,

I think I'm going to hit on a bit of everything from your collumn on Saturday. First off is Vagrant Story. The length is a definate issue, but here's the deal. It was never said that this was an action RPG. If it's an RPG then yep it's really bloody short. However action or adventure games generally take about that long (Resident Evil comes to mind) and we didn't exactly complain about how long that was. Now an an actual question to go with my rambling: Do you think that people will complain about the length even if the game itself proves to be an excellent one?

Horribly long email part three. I'm not sure if the screenshot is for real, but that doesn't matter. If it didn't exist in the actual game, you can change the ROM (for emulation) to say whatever you want. I've done the same thing several times myself. I know a couple of die-hard FF7 haters that changed the graves in FF1 to read "Cloud" "Tifa" and "Barret". Hope you guys actually print this one. Tired of sending email that never gets a response.

-Aaron Roudabush aka WolfSamurai "Only in the Fires of Hell can the Swords of Heaven be forged." ---WolfSamurai

JD:
Clearly Length is an issue on this one, at least for me. The story and game environment definitely sounds and looks intriguing. In the end, yes, people will let the shortness slide as long as it has a good story or gameplay. As fanatic as our RPG community is, its definitely gonna get a fair share of complaints regarding the 5-6 hour length. Myself included, maybe. :)

As for the Dragon Warrior graphic from yesterday, that certainly is one of the more viable explanations. Lastly I do try my best to have each person's letter/s printed at least once. Due to the incredible amounts of mail we get, you will have to forgive us if your letter isn't printed, but keep sending them in.

 
Genesis RPGs?

Hey JD,

I just impulse bought a Sega Genesis and i was wondering if you could help me. What are the best RPGs for the system other than the Phantasy Star series? Also, since I bought PS 2 used, I didn't get an instruction booklet. Do you know of any sites that have pics of the maps and stuff? Thanks.

-Evil Genius

JD:
Most of the good RPGs went to the Sega CD. For the Genesis of course there is Phantasy Star 2,3,4. Also a number of the Shining Force games made it to the Genesis. Don't forget one of my favorites, the predecessor to the Shining series, Shining in the Darkness. There was also Sword of Vermillion by Sega. Those are probably the top ones I can think of. Am I missing anything else?
PS 2 can be a little tough without the maps from the Hint book it came with. I have no idea if any of these are available to see online? Any suggestions for him/her?

 
Lunar Magic School - Two sides

I'm responding to yesterday's letter about whether or not Lunar: Magic School will make it to the United States. I asked Victor Ireland of Working Designs if it would and he said no because it sucks. Hehe that is all...or is it? Okay 1 more thing, have you ever heard of a band called The Flys? They rock! Okay that is all.

-Elrond

JD:
There you have it, a second hand opinion, uh er... straight from Mr. Ireland himself???

Ahem, Lunar: Magic School BAD? I hardly think so! L:MS, while no L:SSSC, still is a very fun and worthwhile game with some very interesting characters (Elly and Lena and Senia, oh my!). Play the game before you report on the quality or lack thereof of an RPG.

-Makou

JD:
Well as I stated yesterday, I reported only what I've heard. I made no mention of my personal opinions on the game. Perhaps I may play that game one day, chance permitting.

 
FF8 Packaging

Hey JD,

Someone inquired about FF8 being in a sepcial package or not. Anyway, I have the import F8 and it DOES come in a double jewelcase, along with instructions and stuff. Just wanted to point out that a 4 cd game can fit in a double CD case.

-M M

JD:
Oh, doh. It slipped my mind to mention yesterday, that FF8 does indeed come in a Double Jewelcase. If you can even call that special packaging? Square really is going all out for us fans, eh?
 
Star Ocean 2, worth it?

JD,

Star Ocean 2 any good? Star Ocean or Lunar?

-Cruis

JD:
A letter can't get more to the point than this can it? Star Ocean 2 is quite a good game, what it lacks in monumental story more than makes up in gameplay, if you're a "gameplay" person. More often than not I prefer Story based RPGs. Lunar SSS gets my vote hands down. Which is not to say Star Ocean is bad. The game has some great graphics, music and battles...just not a gripping story, at least not yet. I'm at the beginning of Disc 2 (btw the ending of Disc 1 was cool wasn't it?). So far Star Ocean would get a 8.7/10 in my book.

 
Dragon Warrior Picture Opinions?

Yep. It's real. I remember wondering about that gravestone of Cid's in Dragon Warrior 2. Was DQ2 made before Cid was a part of Final Fantasy? Is this just coincidence? I think so.

-Scrappy

You probably got tons o' responses to this, but Im gonna answer it anyway. That DQ pic is real. Enix and Squaresoft have always been rivals in the RPG industry, but Enix is usually the one to put little "jabs" like this in their games, so it's not surprising they would have a tombstone reading "Here lies Cid". I personally get a kick out of it :) Just think if they would quit fighting and join teams, they would be THE ultimate RPG company. *drool* Just think... "Dragon Warrior Tactics".

-Sewer

I don't remeber either, btu the woderful world of rom hacking makes text changes a simple thing. Love your column. Thanks.

-krelian

JD:
Worldwide Conspiracy? Enix shall live again!!!! hahahaa...

 
Gwendolyn Snope "Concerned Parent" -- readers counter (Excerpts)

The concerned mother who wrote in definitely hit close to home with me, because this is something I have struggled with for a long time. I am a Christian, living in a Christian family, and although I easily reconcile RPGs with my faith, my mom does not exactly see eye-to-eye with me, to say the least. I've had experience debating this topic, so let me clarify some things.

First off, RPGs are not about sorcery and magic. When you scrape away everything else, they are games focused on storyline above all else. <snip>...

Second, take a look at the fans RPGs have produced. We are not a bunch of slack-jawed drooling videogame nuts, neither are we Satanists. For the most part, we are usually above average in school, and instead of whittling out free time on useless stuff, RPG fans draw beautiful fanart, write marvelous fanfiction, think up provoking editorials, and compose and arrange music. Mostly classical music, I might add <snip>...

... Yet I am active in church, have written a few essays on Christian apologetics, and I even sit in on adult Sunday School classes instead of going on retreats and ski trips with the youth group. I can reconcile RPGs and my faith, and I think if you understand what they truly are, you could too.....
By writing your letter, you only managed to lower the typical RPG fan's opinion of Christians even more. If you wish to write me, my email is chocobo13@hotmail.com. Respectfully,

-Arpad Korossy

JD:
Well said, amiable yet eloquent.

JD.
.......
I HAVE determined this concerned mother to be nothing more than a knowledgable teenage boy with a knack for writing and a desire for chaos. First, I'll present my evidence, then, I'll tie it all together in a closing paragraph.
Right off the bat, I could detect something wrong with this email. The tone was off for a very conservative Christian mother. First, 'she' knows way too much about obscure relgions and cultures that she says are offending. Why would she study something so offending? Beats me. Also, her mannerisms don't coincide with the charachter 'she's' playing. They constantly capitalize words that need not be, drawing attention to them to silently lend emphasis to their words.
Also, the name of her son, Timothy, was a blatent generic name ripped from tradition (Tiny Tim, anyone?). The name, also, was a tip off. Snope? Say that phonetically, and alter it a small bit and it sounds like 'Snoop'. But what really, really tipped me off was the fact that they had a hotmail address. Traditionalist Christian women wouldn't have enough knowledge or trust in an internet based email site. They would use what was given them when they recieved their account, so that person would have had a @mindspring.com or @aol.com instead of a hotmail address. Also (me being a horrible little snoop when I smell something fishy), said _I_ forgot my password for concerned_mother ID. I was rewarded with the question 'fsdf.' What sort of mom would have that as a question? Simple: no mother would.
This boy is obviously a good writer, but he lacks practice in every aspect of the sell. His logic has too many holes ("This Information Superhighway that is only good for turning our children against God and country" but they still have the internet) and the characters not convincing enough. But, on a good note, he researched his topics. Snope, whoever you are, email me at kirin_male@email.com I'd like to here from a fellow con of emails, even if yours were...obvious. But, you do have ambition.

-Kirin, the Master Slueth. (Don't mess with me!) Fiasko ledesle sannhett.

JD:
You clearly did some investigating, Mr Sherlock?

Dear JD,
I think the Editorials section needs to learn to distinguish between genuine extremist viewpoints and obvious fabrications written solely to get attention and stir up controversy.
First we had Stephen Gohan and now we have "Gwendolyn Snope." For goodness' sake, "Gwendolyn Snope" sounds like a name out of Monty Python's Flying Circus. "Concerned_mother@hotmail.com"? I have no doubt that this is a real address, but find it difficult to believe a real person would create such an address in all honesty. "My little bunchkin Timothy"? "Dr. Laura is always right"? Obviously, the author is versed enough in the parlance of the extreme right to know all of their inflammatory terms, but why would a "concerned mother" write to the Q&A column instead of to the maintainer of the site itself?
Let's take a look at RPGamer's recent history. During Michael Greenhut's tenure as maintainer of the editorials section, the section was having together scraping enough editorials to merit a full update. Lo and behold, along comes "Stephen Gohan," spouting about the need for censorship and the "proper" role of women, and the section receives over 100 rebuttals by the next update. Now we have a new maintainer who's stated that he wishes to have a controversial "theme" editorial included with each update-- isn't the timing of these "contributors" a little too convenient?
Unfortunately, I have no doubt that people will take the "concerned mother" letter seriously and provide both this column and the editorials section with more than enough fodder to support it for the next few months. We shouldn't have to resort to impersonating inflammatory viewpoints to garner opinions from players. If the editorial section is at a low point, perhaps it's because of a paucity of controversial issues in the RPG gaming community. Looking through the archives, the two single issues which generated the most controversy prior to Gohan were the "completeness" of FF7 (more specifically, the death of Aeris) and the portrayal of a corrupt religious hierarchy similar to the Catholic Church in FFT. Both controversies have died down in the months following the release of their respective games. However, the gaming industry has always gone through cycles of reform and complacency; controversy will come our way, given time, and players should not feel a need to force it. Sincerely,

-Azusa Kuraino

JD:
I believe the readers already have made that distinction on what is genuine or fabricated to create controversy. Since this is the most stinging letter I received on the "Snope" letter. It is only befitting that it be printed. Every letter I receive, be it critical or not, valid or invalid will get an equal voice. Or at least thats the aim of my Q&A's.
Regardless of that fact, you make some good points. Clearly many of which I had pondered before deciding to print the letter. Your point just as the other 5% of the letters I received are clearly off based in the assumption that I'm doing the "Stephen Gohan." While I don't blame some of the readers' cynical attitude after that event, I assure you the letter had nothing to do with me, or was coaxed at all by me, or even a machination of mine. I printed it solely on the fact as stated in my opening. Brad's choice to use it for an Editorial was completely his choice. It is after all an interesting letter.

Jadey;

HAH HAH HAH HAH HAH That has to be the funniest thing i have ever read. Who do you get to write these long "controversial" letters for you? Or do you do it yourself? Never have a read a letter in rpgamer's q&a that has made me laugh as much as that one. It's great to know that in times when our freedom and independance are constantly being attacked, some of us still have a sense of humour about it. Thank you, i needed that. Anyway, good job, see you later.

-thom

JD:
I apologize for the length of the 4 letters on this topic, but it was only fair that I share with you the 4 pervasive responses I received. Retort, Cynicism, Criticism and Praise. I'm glad the majority of you enjoyed it, more importantly many of you thought about it.

 
Square's Agenda?

Hey JD,

Square may indeed have a secret agenda with its religious content. Why? The answer lies in your current poll. Moogles are cute creatures that dance and say "kuppo". I thought it was all fun and games until I read the book Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. copyright 1952. In the book a Shah uses the word "kuppo" and it means, get this, Communism. Square is secretly communist! They first used moogles in FFA for gameboy (so I'm told) which came out in 1991. Trying to shore up a fallen system they made it cute and lovable, and then we became addicted just like they hoped. Think of the complaints when moogles were side creatures in FF7 and missing in FFT. We want moogles, which is perhaps Square's evil plan. Hook us on a cute version of communism. Now the plots of some games make more sense: Look at how much capitalism was bashed in FF7, Shinra, the evil corporation was always in the way of the heroes, and in the end, destroyed. Message: Capitalism and corporations are bad for society. The church in FFT, lied to everyone. Message: Don't trust religion. I'm sure there are many other pieces of hard-line communist propaganda in their games, but I'm too tired to think about them right now. PS Yes, I know that Square is itself a big corporation and them being communist is really impossible.

-Knut

JD:
Does this mean we have to stop buying Square games?

 
Lucca and Marle?

Dear JD

Is it just me or does Marle from Chrono Trigger and Lucca sort of have a thing for one another. The way those two get ideas together and are both so friendly it just seems that they, you know, like each other. Don't think this is just some dumb kid saying this. This is a serious thought of mine.

JD:
Where would you get a crazy idea like that? Too late....dumb kid alert!!
Anyone agree with this kid?

 
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Ton O' Quickies
MAN, you would NOT beleive!!! Look at this man!!!!!!! LOOK!!!!!! There's a beaver swimmin' in my swimmin' pool. Boy, is he patriotic!
- Sean Rozner
I'm saluting the flag as I write.
don't you think it would kick ass if chrono cross really was chrono trigger part deux(hot shots part deux) get it? Dumb. You did make me laugh though.
POOP. Get that out of your mind, you spoony bard!
- Robert De La Whoop-ass
Son of a Submariner!
Hey Jack Daniels,
Its your fault I have this bruise on my head from falling out of my chair laughing at that semi-editorial today!#@#$ May the Lord burn your raggedy ass in hell. :P
-Al
Glad you got a kick out of it.
Hey Jd, you knew that letter about the concerned mother was sarcasm put to the extreme right? Because you didn't really make any mention of it.
-Jet
Yes not to mention satire, I think? Wait maybe it's real? I purposely made no comment so that your opinions would not be affected by mine.
Jeff,
My response to the "concerned mother" letter can be summed up in one word: TROLL.
-Brian Sebby
I say Ogre.
JD,
You just kick major %$#. You're the best!
-Amanda

If you say so. :)
 

 

What a weekend. I'm all tired out now. ;) Thats the bottom line for this week. Cya all next weekend. Peace.

DQ Fact or Fiction?
Is this Fact or Fiction?

Questions? Comments? Praises or Flames?
JD aka Weekend Dude
"Ride a broom in three days! Guaranteed to work or you'll suffer an incredibly painful fall!"

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