[an error occurred while processing this directive] On my old computer, I couldnít even run these games...

First, before anything else..."The Dig, anyone? Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis? The 7th Guest? These games all had solid, event spectacular storylines."

You SO rock!

7th Guest was hard as hell...but I kinda played it when I was eight, so I'm not sure anymore. Freaky, too. Indy straight out kicked arse...and that punk one-handed freak Brink and his life crystals...hoo boy...the days when I actually PLAYED PC RPGs...

Anyway.

1. Why does EVERYONE seem to like Skies of Arcadia? I recently picked it up for Gamecube, and my GOD do I hate it. The dialogue and story are ridiculous, the battle system is a joke (save up for special attack, rinse and repeat, and oh yes, change the color of your weapon if you so desire), and though the idea for the world is slightly cool (we're all floating in the air), the game does a TERRIBLE job of pulling off the concept. I'm maybe a third through...does it get better?

2. Sword of Mana is a remake of the Americanized FF Adventure/Legend/whatever, which I never bothered to play. Is the battle system going to be similar to the future incarnations of this beloved series? Speaking of which, is Seiken Densetsu 3 (such an AWESOME GAME) ever going to come to the states in the form of a little black cartridge?

3. Ya know what movie rocks? Spirited Away. I saw it last night. Miyazaki is a genius. To all reading this letter...SEE IT NOW! Uhm, and Iron Monkey, too. That was great."There are 10 types of people in this world...those who know binary and those who don't."

- Feep

Andrew:
Hahaha! You freaking nerds! *huuuuuuuuuuuug*

1. Whoa now. I hate Skies of Arcadia too. The crummy set up for the battle system, lifeless characters, and a world that could have been a thousand times cooler. And need I go into the embarrassing bad airship battles? >_<

2. I played Sword of Mana at E3, and things are definitely looking up in the battle department, even if the character portraits are painfully genderless. As for Secret of Mana 2, no idea.

3. Yes, Spirited Away is amazing. Good of you to notice.

 RAGE!

Instead of my usual "Fallout 2 has already done everything people are complaining about needing to be done in RPGS" spiel, (though it applies here as well...) I'm gonna pose some comments and questions,and hopefully some of the heresies I am about to commit will not enrage you or the other readers.

First off: Planescape Torment. It truely kicks ass. So what if the main character is butt ass ugly? RPGsare supposed to be games, not hentai dojinshi fodder! Im absolutely SICK of these barely clothed femalecharacters that look like they belong giving lap dances at a Tijuana strip joint, and their malecounterparts made to look as effeminate as possible so the fangirls can do their yaoi. Maybe its justbecause the Internet seems to be a breeding ground for everyone to loudly proclaim every sexual fetish they have, but when playing FF10, I found the targeted fetish for every single character in the party. It seemed like the cast was designed more for people to "relieve stress" to than they were to be characters in a story.

(If you were just saying the cover was poor, I would have to say horrid cover art hasnt hurt too many games over the years. Otherwise Megaman would have never gotten where he is today...)

Games telling a story: Frankly, I put story in a game slightly behind graphics as how much importance I place on it. As long as the game is fun, I could give a damn about the story, provided its not complete ass. Maybe its because I am an "old fart" when it comes to electronic RPGs, cutting my teeth in early 1988 with games like Ultima, Wizardry, and the Bard's Tale,which really had a miniscule amount of story, and most of it was in the instruction manuals. I can sum up the first game in each of those series like this: There is a big evil wizard doing naughty things. Go kick his ass. But those games were a blast, and if you can get beyond the ultra simple graphics, they are still a blast now. And they are TOUGH. (And the fact electronic RPGs haven't seriously evolved past Ultima and Wizardry 1 made in 1980-81 should make us all angry. For you kids who want a history lesson on RPGs, check em out. See where stuff like the Job System, Vehicles, and such got their electronic start!) I really don't care about the story as long as the game is fun. Now, a good story can enhance a game the same way as nice graphics can, but if all I want is story, I will read a book or watch a movie. And if gameplay is good and story is bad, you getMetal Gear Solid 2. If gameplay is bad and so is the story, you get Final Fantasy 8. I am sure everyonecan come up with their own examples of this. PUT THE GAME FIRST. THEN WRITE THE STORY AROUND THE GAME, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND. Its why I am so fed up withmost console RPGs...

Morrowind: I am afraid I cannot recommend this game. Gameplay, while INCREDIBLY freeform, is rather dull, and if you like story, this game really doesn't have one of merit. NPCs are lifeless, and the world is basically something to kill stuff in for no reason other than to get powerful. Its like an online RPG with less excitement, and nobody to socialize with. Bleah.

Last topic, since this message is already far too long anyhow... Dungeons & Dragons. You know WHY D&D and the D&D style is so prevalent on the PC? The same reasons Final Fantasy style has a stranglehold on the Consoles. That's what people want, and they get mad if anyone strays too far from the core formula. Its even worse with paper and pencil gaming. D&D's control in that market approaches Windows OS like levels of market, and its getting WORSE. Its so bad I have beenforced to run D&D games and subvert it into whichever genre I want to run. My current D&D campaign has Hobbit Ninjas, Tyranids (from Warhammer 40K), Zombie hordes ala a George Romero flick, Innsmouth from the HP Lovecraft tales and Cthulhu Mythos fame, and giant robots and laserguns as soon as I can send the players into THE FUTURE! People refuse to play or tryanything different. They won't play other fantasy RPGs, and they won't play other genres with the D&D ruleset. Ive tried.

People hate change and most seem to want the same damned thing over and over and over again...

Im sorry this letter went on for so long, and I am sorry if you or anyone else was offended by any of my comments. I would like to hear from you and others on some of these topics though.

-Bloodcat, an RPG old fart who apparently doesn't get it...

Andrew:
1. I love how you imply that most gamers spend their time wacking off to their games. ^_^

2. Games telling a story- Youíre right. Without a good gameplay system, the story falls flat, no matter how brilliant it is. Iím not saying some stories wouldnít make good games, but too often game designers expect us to swallow boring gameplay and banal NPCs in exchange for a story that takes up very little of our playing time.

3. Youíre right about the majority of humanity demanding to eat their own vomit. However, that doesnít mean the formula canít be shattered, it just means it has to be done in a throughly impressive way. Like Earthbound!

 Damn it.

I'm amazed no one suggested this for your webcomic search: the Cartoonist's Choice Awards (http://www.ccawards.com). This is the Oscars for webcomics, and anyone given an award (or just nominated multiple times) is worth at least a look. Good stuff, and they still have archives from the previous ceremonies if you've already got the current batch.

- ChocoMog ZERO, who needs to check out "Nowhere Girl" himself

Andrew:
Checking the awards for the site has completely destroyed my belief that anyone else in the world is fit to judge anything but me, and possibly Johnny Depp. Oh wait, he wants to buy his kids drugs. Nevermind.



Quickies

Plain and simple.

8-bit theatre.

Go. It's good for you.

Itís shit like this thatís baffling. I donít know anyone who reads my column that doesnít know about this comic, and yet I still get monthly emails telling me itís the lolingest thing on the internet. Bizarre.

Hello;

White Lights should look at ZoneAlarm (www.zonealarm.com) which, at least in one version, will block various forms of annoying ads, including a setting to block ads that don't render in x seconds (a user setting).

-Wesley

Thanks for the link up, Wesley. Oh, and interesting use of that there semicolon.

The Final Grumble:

Alright. What do you folks think? Am I crazy in my belief that Weekend Q&A needs to get some pretty beat into it? What kind of stuff should I put it in?

Andrew "This rarely has a point either" DuffClaire Belton

Has anyone ever seen "Rising Stars of Manga" in an actual bookstore?

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