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The Burden
 
 
Thanks a bunch, Thor. Take all the fun of being a Norse God, but leave all the disgruntled old ladies of western religion who for some reason or another spend the prime of their day reading this column to yell at me instead. Or blame me for their grandkids' poor grades, their bad luck in bingo or the occasional death of their siamese sheep in England. Dammit, that's your department! Oh well.
 
Uh-oh...
Dear young sinner,


I'm an aged game-player, and I must say I'm appalled at this "Zee-noh-gears" thing my grandson bought. It's even more sinful than "Adventure" for his "Atari 2600" that advocates the existence of multi-colored demons as well as an extremely anatomically insulting weapon used by the hero. And for advocating these games as well as mocking the severity of Satan's fiery breath, you will roast eternally in the deepest chasm of the innermost level of hell itself, in the very kitchen and kettle of hell itself, dangling and impaled by Satan's fingernail as he [truncated here due to gratuitous length and repetition]

Michael:

Oh, go away. I've already tricked Ben Lansing into taking my place down there(kyahaha!), and he's working on switching with Falwell(gyahaha!).

 
Legaia ate my [pants]
Dear sexypants Michael,

What's your impression of Legend of Legaia so far? Think it's tough? Yeah, I thought it was a pretty tough game too. That's why I took the time to make a big ol' webpage about it on my gaming section. Not that I'd be trying to promote my MASSIVE page to the rest of the RPGamer fans out there. Oh no! 1 Gigabyte of both legal and illegal files isn't good enough to be linked, is it!

From
Pat Gann

Michael:

I've gone a tad further, and my opinion stands; it isn't insanely difficult, but it always keeps you hanging on by the skin of your teeth. Be prepared to level up mucho, though not as incessantly as, say, 7th Saga. Heal often. Yada yada. I still haven't been killed off, though it's been close.

 
Coming Soon: a better, spiffier 'Coming Soon' logo
Dear Micheal,

Just like everyone else who's not daring enough (or just chicken) to import PSX games cause it's illegal, I'm on pins and needles (which really hurt) waiting for Final Fantasy VIII to come out in the States. But why is it taking so long to get here? It's Japanese release was back in early February, and it's American release is supposed to be in late August or early September; that's seven months. Does translating the text into English really take that long? What else does Square do with the American version that's so time consuming?

- Christopher Kane P.S. What does the X in PSX stand for?

Michael:

Originally, the continental lag was supposed to be no more than 2 months or so. Why it's stretched to the usual Japanese-US delay period of nearly a year I'm not sure - my guess is to avoid the embarrassing translation errors rampant in 7("attack while it's tail is up..." [I attack] "...it's gonna counter attack with its laser!" [it does, and I die - a loser is me!]) as well as possible modifications to the difficulty. Until then, try acupuncture instead.
(And the X doesn't really stand for anything, it's just an archaic acronym that stuck for some reason or another)

 
Trenchcoat analogies

This whole deal with the black trenchcoat mafia came into my head while staring at my FFVII instruction booklet... Sephiroth wears a black trenchcoat and went around killing people because he thought he was better than they were (although it's the other way around with the shooting, they were shooting people who thought they were better than the trenchcoat mafia were, being 'outcasts' as they were). Was Square in that lawsuit? (Not that I would blame video games on it, though.... Ridiculous.)

~Seiferoth

Michael:

FF7 is, from what I've heard, one of the games being attacked for this. If that's the case, it's pretty sad. Parents are the ones to blame for things like this, not videogames or trenchcoats. Some parents are clueless when it comes to raising kids and pretend not to notice when their self esteem diminishes and their emotional instability manifests itself in the wrong ways. They just don't spend enough time listening to them and raising them properly, then blame the game industry for their laziness and expect money out of it.

 
bloody quote

Bloody hell. The quote is from BoFII. In the circus tent where they're displaying Spar. Some little kid says it. Or so I believe. So gimme a prize.

Michael: Very good, Mr. Uh...[enter a name for this character: 8 character maximum]?
You win a $50 bill. Meet us at the top of the empire state building tomorrow at midnight and wear pink gym shorts. And bring all your friends who flooded me with the same answer, they'll get one too.

[We gave them each a bill for $50. A sucker is them!]
 
the wave

Q&A guy who isn't a Nordic God,

I've heard video games take a lot of crap lately. Is there any sort of organized movement by gamers to say video games aren't the problem? Just thought ya might know.

- Randvek

Michael:
Not that I know of, but...oh, what the heck. I may as well start one. I've already gotten one or two, so if you want to argue our cause with a razor edge, mail me an editorial about it. But you'll have to make it good, as I only plan to post the 2 or 3 best ones on this subject. Also, please leave the default topic so I can distinguish them from the rest of my e-mail.
 
Video games can save lives!(well, at least play a part)
Hi Michael,

I just wanted to say, that video games saved my life, too. About a year and a quarter ago, when I was 13, I was, like, depressed and on the verge of suicide, and I needed help but wouldn't get it. Then, when walking home from school one day, two friends of mine were talking about video games (they weren't my friends then, but they are now). I decided to actually say something for once and I ended up borrowing FF7 from one of them. So, well, basically, that saved my life.

And to this day, whenever I'm feeling stressed or down, I just go and play a video game. I don't know why no one has ever realised this before, but video games are a great way of releasing stress, as well as being an anti-depressant.

~Jedi Terra

Michael: I know the feeling, JediTerra. I remember being 13-14, and naturally I was very much into videogames. Final Fantasy 1 and 2a(4) found permanent places in my heart that year and probably helped me through the deep depression of impending adulthood that descended upon me in highschool a couple of years later. Along with books, they helped me keep my sanity. Of course, friends would have also been a welcome addition to such help. Ah, the hellish days of highschool emptiness.

Anyhow, you see my point. Just like the rest of technology, videogames in themselves aren't the problem; it's the people who wield them, and how they're used.
 
Zelda oddities

I was talking to a friend about translation woes, and among them he said something very odd. He said he'd heard from someone in the know that Zelda 64 as we know it a pale shadow of the japanese version- something like 1/3 to 3/5 of the game was removed... Gannon wasn't the end boss of the game in that version and the game continued.

I disbelieved him and continue to do so, but have no facts to go on, just my knowledge of the previous games and instinct. Can you help?

Michael: I doubt it. I haven't heard that, and 2 people thus far have strongly denied anything like that. What your friend might be confusing Is the Zelda add-ons/extensions planned for the 64DD, and its American future is still uncertain. Although seeing as how the N64 has a much wider a non-preteen audience here than in Japan, withholding the DD from American shores seems idiotic.
 
the lies of Neo-fantasy

Ever wonder why there is less fantasy for the buck with each passing Final Fantasy? Gone are the days of fascination with wizards and knights and dragons and elves in Japan. Replaced by a load of Neo Tokoyo malarcky. Fantasy has died, the ever so closing of the century has killed our urge for that of the past (dragons did exist at one time) in turn of the future. The Hobbit has been replaced by the Jetsons. Tis a sad day indeed. Another dark age lurks in the not too distant future.

Tad Ghostal, Red Mage

Michael:

Indeed. First the elves and dwarves slowly died off; FF1 had many elves and dwarves. FF4 had one elf and many dwarves. FF5 had no elves and five dwarves, and they were gone in FF6+. Then the moogles came and went, turned into a mere summon spell or arcade character/stuffy in FF7. The world turns from deliciously mystical and unlike reality to something grounded in it.

I'll spare a repeat of my ancient editorial, and end with this: it's true that fantasy shouldn't have to have elves or dwarves or anything stereotypical to be considered fantasy. What it should have is a world and atmosphere as un-reminiscent of our own as possible, else the purpose of fantasy is defeated. We play these sort of games to temporarily escape the real world, not be reminded of its grungy culture. In my book, all FF up to and including 5 abide by this golden rule. While FF6 and 7(and most likely 8) are undoubtedly excellent games, the mystical edge that found its way into our hearts from the first 5 is gone. A small nicety, but a point nonetheless.

 
I am [Error 404: name not found].
Hey Mikey,

I was playing Zelda:Link's Adventure (Zelda 2 ;P) for NES a while ago (new game mind you), and I came across this dude who says, "I am Error." what the heck does this mean? Did the dudes that made this wanna be funny, or is there really a live bug crawling around in my video game cartrigde that makes the big, fat, bulky dude say that?

Michael: I remember playing Zelda 2 and speculating this very idea at the tender age of eleven. Truth be told, this "Error" is mentioned by another townsman later on, and if you talk to him again he gives you some advice. His name, however, still remains a mystery to this day. Perhaps it was a premonition of the N64, or just a way of humbling himself as a lowly buttnut townie sprite before the greatness of Link. Or maybe if you pronounce it Eh-ROAR! Or "Ay-raur" it kinda sounds medieval.
 
art thou in a pickle?
Ask Michael
(destroyer of teen angst)
 
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Somebody asked last week what kind of Japanese characters were used in Seiken Densetsu 3. They use Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji(the most complex). Oh well, not quite deserving of a big heavy quickies bar.
Michael's mirror

a moment of silence for the innocent victims of those jerks and their parents who would give all us gamers a bad name.

For once, I'm glad to not be pushing homework or studying to a dark, vengeful corner of my disheveled mind where it can grow and rot my style. I just need to find a summer internship, and I can once again don the mantle of full-time slacker.
Until tomorrow,

RPG Darwin Award:

In Zelda: A Link to the Past(or any other, for that matter), normal game physics don't apply: yes, picking up a bomb after throwing it and attempting to cuddle it as the fuse shortens does result in death. Giving Link a female name also doesn't fit very will with the rescue-the-princess template. Ask Pteryx if you don't believe this.

Shadow Zero Attack Mega! Michael "he thrusts his fists against the posts and still insists he sees the ghosts!" Greenhut

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