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 See how "gooder" I am than my predecessors.

Ergh, so many "Sunsoft re-released FFL1-3" replies! Must. Fight. Urge. To. Flee. But more about that later, for now...

It's Thrusday, and you know what that means! Or, rather, you will a week from now. I suppose I should explain how Thursdays work to all you non-psychics out there: Since the word "Thursday" was inspired by my name (Huh? There was a God named "Thor" too?) I'll cut loose and be as odd as I want. This means all the wacky, freaky and just plain egotistical stuff you won't see any other day. Since I'm still getting the hang of this, today's column will be normal (or as "normal" as it ever is). So stay tuned next Thursday for the first official Thursday Thorsday Madness: It'll be a sight to remember. (Hint, hint.)

Neglected, but not forgotten.

Isn't Squaresoft weird? FF7 had all these commercials. After that you think they might have made some great commercials for their next big hit Xenogears or the next FF, Final Fantasy Tactics, but they didn't (if they did, I haven't seen them). I did see commercials for Parasite Eve, Bushido Blade 2 (only once though), and Brave Fencer Musashi. I think Xenogears is better than all of these, but Square doesn't hype it up. Why do yo think they did this for Xenogears and Final Fantasy Tactics?

-- JVN

Thor: Square didn't really need to advertise Xenogears. After all the hype about whether Xenogears would censor the religious content or not (which wasn't really all that risque, leaving some to wonder if it was really just a Malkavelian advertising scheme) we were so gung-ho to buy Xenogears we didn't need commercials. Take a look at the "What RPG do you want the most for Christmas?" poll--more people wanted Xenogears than Zelda 64! That doesn't necessarily mirror the average gamer's opinion, of course, but it tells me that anyone who knew "RPG" wasn't just a weapon in Duke Nukem knew what Xenogears was.

As for Tactics, well, there wasn't that much to show. Square knows that the key to advertising is to exploit people's stupidity by showing pretty FMV instead of actual game shots, and FFT only had that snazzy intro. (Oh, and FFT isn't really a Final Fantasy game so much as a strategy game which borrowed from its mythology, i.e. Moogles/Summon spells/dragoons.)

Oldies but goodies. Or at least inexpensivies.

I'm looking into expanding the number of systems I own, with aging/dead systems (and get 'em nice and fairly cheap, fwafa). Anyway, it's easy to decide what RPGs I'd look into for PlayStation and Saturn, but do you happen to know anything about RPGs for other semi-recent, but never-hit-it-big systems, like, say, Game Gear, Turbo Duo, Atari Lynx, etc.? Even if by name only. Fun fairly cheap stuff = good.

Finally, and to not be upped by a "Big Don", I took the liberty of finding Merriam-Webster's definition of Ask. Unfortunately, it was hella boring.

Then I decided to check out Thor...

Main Entry: Thor
Pronunciation: 'thor
Function: noun
Etymology: Old Norse ThOrr
: the Norse god of thunder, weather, and crops

Well don't that beat all. Thunder, yeah, totally expected it. But crops as well. I guess that would give him a fighting chance against El Seed, eh?

-- Joshua Slone

Thor: Joshua has been writing since day one, an' I finally got to print one of his letters. Never give up hope, kids! There's always tomorrow. Ok, moving on: For the TG-16/Duo you have Cosmic Fantasy 2, the first CD RPG released in America, and Y's III: Wanderers From Y's. For the Game Gear, there's Dragon Crystal, Shining Force and Defender of Oasis. I haven't a chance to play any of these games but the abysmal Dragon Crystal, so I can't vouch for any of 'em. Buy at your own risk--though I've heard Shining Force and Cosmic Fantasy 2 are quite good.

My badguy could beat up your badguy

(FF7 Spoiler Alert)

Kefka is a better (worse?) villian then Sephiroth. Here's why...

Sephiroth is not evil. He is being controlled by Jenova. The reason he kills is to gather Lifestream energy. Knowing that everyone's going to die someday anyway, he is able to rationalize murder to gather the energy now, instead of waiting. He does not even value his own life, but considers himself a vessel for Jenova power.

Kefka, on the other hand, is a true psycho. He doesn't even ATTEMPT to rationalize why he kills. He does it because it's FUN. No reason except personal enjoyment. He knows that he is mortal as well, but with his power, he doesn't care. To him, personal mortality is something a long way off, and not to come from a bunch of rebels. He shapes the world to suit his will, and thus controlls the fates of anyone unfortunate enough to have survived the Fall. If Sephiroth had this kind of power, he wouldn't do anything with it except for the advancement of Jenova.

Sephiroth is possessed. Kefka is truly evil.

Thank you.

(Also--Kefka is a whole lot more memorable!!! How could one forget that laugh?!?!)

-- Blackjack

Thor: I'm not even going to try and debate Final Fantasy 7's storyline, 'cause it was only moderatly less confusing than a sequel to Naked Lunch written by Sam Keith and directed by David Lynch. I will, however, quibble with the "Kefka was a more evil" argument.

Sephiroth was the Norman Bates of the RPG world. He wasn't necessarily controlled by Jenova--long after you flush Jenova down the proverbial toilet, Sephiroth still wants to play God--he's more of... affected by her. Kefka, however, was a stone cold lunatic. Had he not held power in the Empire, he would have been picking off kittens with a BB gun and sculpting statues of Big Bird from horse manure to pass the days.

Where am I going with this? Well, I don't agree with the rationalize/psycho argument. When you think about it, psychopaths have done a lot less damage than those who are sane, yet self-justify evil. The Crusades, the Holocaust and the Salem Witch Hunt were not overseen by unfeeling madmen, but rather normal men and women who felt that what they were doing was right. Scary, huh?

Grrrr(l)!

Greetings to the Almighty Thor from the Land of Corn and Soy! (To all you city slickers, it's called Indiana. ^_^)

1- After mentioning a couple anime series in your collumn, I'd guess that you were an anime fan. (Who isn't?:) If so, what are some of your favorite series? It always seems that every RPGuru despised Sailor Moon... Hmm....

I'm not really a die-hard Anime fan, but I do enjoy the genre. (I'm too poor for those costly OAVs, grumble.) My favorites are: Slayers, Ranma 1/2, Record of Lodoss War, Akira (manditory), the Mermaid series (I love disturbing stuff) and some other series/OAVs which I can't remember right now. Oh, and, er, I'm not a Sailor Moon fan. I know this will offend like, everyone, but it's always reminded me of Thundercats, Power Rangers, or one of those kind of shows. (Maybe the DiC version just bites--I have no idea.)

2- What is this "Draw" system that's used for magic in the FF8 demo? It has been mentioned several times here, but never really been explained.

Your biggest RPGrrl fan, ^_^

--GreatGamer

Thor: RPGrrl?! Ahh! GaayGamer! Help! Run! It is too funny! Down, Gilber--er... Sorry, painful flashback. Not to offend you, being my biggest RPGrrl fan and all (I'm honestly shocked any girl is a fan of mine), but I think "RPGirl" sounds better. The term "RPGrrl" seems to be spreading like wildfire--not that there's anything wrong with that. (Except it sends me into a painful flashback every time I see it, have some compassion!) Anyway, here's the Quick 'n Dirty (ooh!) Lowdown on the Draw System:

First you select "Draw" from the menu and target a baddy. You're then given a list of spells you can steal (or "borrow", if you're a Kender--kidding). You can either select a spell and blast your enemy with it right away--using the enemies own magical strength, or select "Stock" and steal a random number of spells, which you can use later. Stocking takes a full turn, but spells you save for later are cast with your own magic power, rather than your enemies, making it useful if you're a mage... I guess. (No! No, this isn't right! I want magic points! Boo!)

...Ahh well, I suppose we should give it a chance before deciding if it's a good thing or not. Who knows? Battles in the complete Final Fantasy 8 might be smooth as a babies bottom or as rough as one of my poorly constructed sentances. Only time will tell.

The Great Sunsoft Conspiracy

The Sunsoft/Gameboy Final Fantasy issue is pretty simple. Sunsoft just licensed the games from Square (who originally developed the games, of course) and published the recently re-released re-releases, which were then distributed by somebody called Electro Source. I'm not surprised that this happened, on account of the recent resurgence of the Game Boy and the silly prices the games were commanding on the used-game market, but I am surprised that Sunsoft was the outfit that did it. I can't remember the last game they published in the US; their Albert Odyssey for the Saturn was of course published by Working Designs in the US. Well, hum, I guess I haven't been paying enough attention. Looking at their web page, www.sunsoft-games.com, they did Chameleon Twist for the N64 and handled the Playstation port of Riven. But, curiouser and curiouser, there's no mention of the FFL/FFA re-releases on said page. While I'm at it, you write a good column. I hope the subtle back-and- forth between you and the Double Agent doesn't develop into anything significant, though. That kind of sniping back and forth between websites gets tedious quickly; it's a bit reminiscent of Tony Schiavone knocking on RAW, y'know? :) Cheers to a fellow Mick Foley booster.

-- Rev. Dr. David Francis Smith.

Thor: Well, I've learned my lession. Next time, I'll make it very, very clear exactly what kind of feedback I want. See, I knew that Square released the GB Final Fantasies and Sunsoft later re-released 'em, I just didn't know how Sunsoft scored the license. 94 letters later, I'm sure of one thing: Phrasing questions is more important than life itself.

I received so much feedback, I was able to patch together a nifty little history of how Sunsoft got around to releasing FFL1-3 and FFA, in informational, rather than chronological order:

  • Square releases SaGa 1-3 and Seiken Densetsu in Japan.
  • Square ports them to America as Final Fantasy Legend 1-3 and Final Fantasy Adventure. There were no known changes to the games as far as storyline goes.
  • Square severs its ties with Nintendo and jumped in bed with Sony. Nintendo contacts police and complain about the noise.
  • Square releases Final Fantasy 7, which sold enough to make the world take notice: RPGs were now hip.
  • Last summer Sunsoft buys the license from Square and re-releases the gameboy Final Fantasy games. How Sunsoft of all companies managed this is unknown. Rumors of a kidnapped Moogle surface.
  • Square gets royalities (this is a guess, people), Sunsoft gets high sales, and Nintendo squeezes even more life out of its Nosferatu of a system, Gameboy. Everyone is happy--
  • --except Thor, who read nearly 100 letters telling him Sunsoft re-released the games (as opposed to how they got the license) simply because he didn't phrase his response right the previous day. What a jackass.
There, I hope that clears everything up once and for all. As for the "back-and-forth", it's non-existant. I drop countless referances daily, I won't make a habit out of that particular 'target'. :D

This man is obviously insane

Dear Thor,

1. What's with the invisible text after your closing?

What text? All I see is the "back" button...

2. Do I win a prize for finding it?

Yes, you win this lovely new ivory colored jacket! Try it on. Good, good. Now, wrap your arms behind your back so I can secure the saftey belts...

3. Isn't Thor related to Odin in Norse mythology?

Yessir! Odin is Thor's father.

Have a nice day.

-- The Fever

Thor: ...Mankind referance? Naw.

The best little game in Texas

Hey Thor,

You know, I've been kind of bothered lately by all these people claiming that the new Zelda game is the greatest game ever made. Now, I own it. I beat the hell out of it, got everything available for Link, and watched the ending...My big beef is that, every year now, some game comes out that people call the greatest game ever, and I am no longer willing to accept it...I love Zelda 64, don't get me wrong, but in the end, it seemed to me to be just Zelda with better graphics, less dungeons and without the original Zelda song...I think maybe we should start doing a best game of the week, or month or something, cause in a month or so, Final Fantasy VIII comes out in Japan, and everyone will call it the best game ever...or at least until something new comes out.

-- Ken

Thor: "Best game ever", eh? Well, at least that's better than calling it "perfect". A lot of people go through what I like to call Coolass New Game Syndrome, where they really like a game for a few days before realizing it's not all they thought it was. I suggest--at most--calling a game "Best [Genre] of the year". So, in Zelda 64's case, it'd be the Best adventure game of 1998. And unless you're talking to a really hyper MGS fan carrying a Glock, you should be safe.

"RPG Dude"? I like it!

Hello RPG dude,

First of all, congrats on the permit! Second, you are the coolest Letter answerer guy for two reasons: 1) You like Metallica (Lars is God) 2) You're a WWF fan (Two words: Suck It!) This leads me to two questions:

1) What is your favotire Metallica album and song?

Ride the Lightning/Call of Ktulu. RtL was as eloquent as it was "kickass", and no song has captured anything--love, hate, life, death--the way Call of Ktulu captured H.P. Lovecraft's style. Truly a wonder.

2) Who is your favorite wrestler?

-- Evil Genius

Thor: It used to be The Undertaker--that guy is tall, charismatic and agile--but now I'm leaning towards Mick Foley, and have been for months. I'm really shocked he's been so popular lately. And he got there without ripping off Austin's act, unlike The Rock. (Remember when Vince carted Rocky off to jail? I was like, "Gee, I liked this better the first time I saw it... When Vince called the cops on Steve!")

...I'd better move on before I piss everyone off by talking about wrestling too much, but thanks for caring, 'Genius, heh heh.

Quickies:

Some Dude (he didn't sign his letter) wondered if Nobuo Uematsu's Phantasmagoria had anything to do with Sierra's Phantasmagoria. Nope! It has no game-ties whatsoever. The title was just a coincidence. (By the way, Phantasmagoria means "an exhibition or display of optical effects and illusions". I guess Sierra just picked it 'cause of "Phantam" and "Gore". // Frostu says: "You're up there with The Great Jay from PSMonline in your great "letter's" section. =P But now you're # 1 since he left. ^_^"... are you guys trying to make be blush? That's the nicest thing anyone's ever said to me. // // Does the "DX" in Zelda DX stand for "DeGeneration-X", wonders one unnamed reader? Er, most unlikely. I don't think Nintendo is the WWF type... It could be meaningless, like the phantom "X" which fixates itself to PlayStation's acronym from time to time. // According to The Pete Man and countless others, the FF2j "Goddess" of mine is named Maria. Guys, I know she wasn't actually a goddess, I meant, um, body-wise ;)

Thor Stuff:

Boy, today was hectic. All those Sunsoft/Square corrections! I swear, that is the last time I comment on a question without looking long and hard at my answer. I can't really blame anyone other than myself, so I'm withholding my mint chip cookie privileges today. Saay, just one more Thor Q&A for this week, so get those questions, comments and rants in quick before I'm off for a long rest this weekend. (I know I won't be able to resist reading my Ask Thor letters even on my days off--I'm addicted.)

Just for the record: I like Kefka better than Sephiroth, although Seph did display a good deal more power, like the famous "snake" scene, and Super Nova.

...ahh, the flames are starting to roll in. Three average "U SUK" letters and one really weird one from a fellow who accused me of being "Like all the other letter answer guys", an Atheist and a Darwinist (which he called a "religion") because--get this--I was against censoring Relm in Final Fantasy 3.

Yeah, I don't know either.

- Thor "Yes, this is my real name" Antrim
Once upon a time there was a princess, but she was ugly, so nobody kidnapped her.

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