Warning: Don't feed the letters
||Have a question? Wondering what a "question" is? |
(Just keep your distance, and don't make eye contact.)
| ||Nothing, again.|
(It came down to Zelda 64 or this. Guess which I picked.)
| ||See how many typoes you can count! The archives await.|
Out of no'er, they came! A'galoppin' and a marchin' like the'as no tomorra!
A 'uge flock of letters, neigh more'n a 'andfull containin' any questions!
I feaa for m'very life! An--<cough><hack>, excuse me.
Anyway, yesterday turned out to be even more evil than Monday. Not only did
just about every single letter spawned twelve or so responses. Whee.
While there's nothing wrong with long letters, they're more than a
bit dangerous--in flocks as large as these, they tend to eat the tourists.
A question, nearly extinct these days.
i Was wondering if you knew anything about Star Ocean 2 coming to the US?
Iheard that there were companies biding for the rights to it but there has
been no futher word about it.
Good news: SCEA will release Star Ocean 2 in America sometime after April.
Well, that went nicely.
International House of Fantasy
how come the u.s. and jap versions of final fantasy 7 have 3 discs, and
the international version has 4 discs? did we get gipped out of stuff, or
what? also, what language is the international version in? id have to go
out and get a copy if its in english... thanx
When Square took seven or so months to port Final Fantasy 7 to America,
they didn't just write a really poor translation; they added more than a few
features, as well as tweaked some elements of the gameplay. (This is
old, old news, I won't get into it.) Anyway, since only Japanese can
get better games than Americans, and never vise versa, Square re-released
Final Fantasy 7 in Japan, with all the tweaks and a bonus CD filled with
fluff. (In other words, it added nothing to the game, but was fun to mess
around with--pictures, info, that kind of stuff.)
Hey, a serious answer! Is that three drinks, or two?
Hi, how "are" you?
You want short questions? Well, take this medium length one instead.
What's the deal with RPGs using excessive quotation marks lately? FFT and
Xenogears both use them ALOT, for no good reason. You know what I'm
talking about. In FFT, it's like "What is this 'freedom' you're 'talking'
about? Don't 'you' know I'm just 'using' 'you'?" And in Xenogears (Have
you played the game yet? You said you havent, but then you've been
displaying some knowledge of it...) the Gazel ministry uses quotes 'up to
the Wazoo', and for no particular reason either. Why? Why I ask you?
Remember those funny symbols in Wild ARMs? Those were sort of the Japanese
equivilant of quotation marks. They don't quite work the same, though. It
seems to be emphasis and quoted words get the magic symbols. I figure
that in the rush to translate, some translators just search/replace instead
of actually reading the script and adding/removing quote marks/symbols where
appropriate. So whether a character is quoting Nietzche, or just asking for
extra cheese on his pizza, the end result looks the [same].
And speaking of that, why do games nowadays use normal quotation marks
around dialog, like in XG and BOF3? I mean, if you're seeing the guy's
portrait and it says "FEI" over the dialog, you probably know it's dialog
and not narrative, right? So why mess up the frame by putting "quotations"
around all the text? I must know the truth.
There's just no getting inside the mind of a translator. They're strange,
inhuman creatures. They drink dangerous ammounts of mountain dew, they
spellcheck incessantly but always choose "Skip", and they even use proper
grammar now and then! You're right, though, those particular quote marks
are redundant. (Now, watch people write in and defend Square's use of
"proper grammar". Proper grammar... Square... that'd be a first. :D)
A jolly good letter. Bit o' a spot o' tea?
Salutations O Regular Weekday Columnist:
In response to shinyhat's accusations that square has been
over-Americanizing their games when porting them to America, I say
"Pshah!" Did he think that they all miraculously speak ENGLISH? Hmmm...
do I see England anywhere on the Map? No... And unless we're prepared to
read "Midgarian" or whatnot, we'll have to deal with our own metaphors
spewing forth from a people who couldn't possibly know what "Swiss Cheese"
is. Square added the metaphors, analogies, etc, to make the game come
alive... for the most part the way we speak is based on shared
assumptions. We already know what swiss cheese is and don't need it
explained to us. And if we removed these from all games we'd end out with
generalized games, that don't use the full arsenal that is, the English
Good point. I'm sure there are tons of Japanese referances/analogies/etc. which
didn't make it to the American versions. Or, sadly, in the case of FFT... did.
Don't get me wrong, I love the game to death. I just wish I could understand
more of the storyline than, "Oh, that little guy's stabbing that other little guy."
Someone should play the game through and write "Final Fantasy Tactic's Plot For
He doesn't mean "PlayStatation". It took me a minute, too.
Any word on if there's gonna be any new PS games for the Dreamcast?
-- Psycho Mike Hasko
No plans as of yet. The Dreamcast looks pretty RPG-heavy so far, though,
so keep looking. Since Final Fantasy 7, people are starting to realize
the way to stay afloat in Japan is RPGs. And dating sims. And monster
sims. And, uh, horse racing. Allrighty then.
I'd like to make a comment on your comment concerning that other guy's
comment (yay for me). Frankly, the reason why sex is censored is pretty
obvious. For whatever the reason, many individuals, especially parents,
think naked indivudals engaging in a very natural action is worse than
exploding cars or lots of guts (I think it stems from the old practices of
women revealing nothing more than their face and hands and any "where do
babies come from?" questions being answered with the existance of a
stork). Dang, that was a long setence. My grammar instructor would be
thrilled if he ever saw this. Anyway, it also has to do with the newness
of mature themes in games. I mean, if you just take a look back, it
wasn't long ago that 90% of games involved "Happy Fruit Trees" and any
adult who openly admitted playing a game was pelted with dried banana
chips (mmmm...banana chips). Most game companies are not willing to cross
that perverbial 'line' of what's OK and what's not until another one does
first. And that first company won't come around until the whole industry
has been given time to mature, to become a more accepted from of
entertainment and to get the balls to try some daring things that some
might not 'approve' of.
(Got your attention, didn't I? Xenogears spoiler alert, by the way.)
Then again, I'm not sure if I'd completely enjoy a more loose approach
toward sex. I mean, just look at FFVII. To think what some of that stuff
would have been like if the designers were let loose. Beastility would be
the least of your worries, my friend.
Gaah! FMV of the Honeybee Inn scene! Gaah!
I'm never playing Final Fantasy 7 again. You're mean.
You mentioned in yesterday's column that the ending to Xenogears had
been edited. Is this really true? At what time-stage was the editing made?
Is the Japanese ending somehow different? Do you have any information on
this? Inquiring minds want to know :)
Lets just say you see a lot more of Elly. It wasn't pornographic, it was
more of "art" nudity. Natural, and unprovocative. The scene was cut because
Square wanted a teen rating instead of a mature rating. So, because of ESRB,
America received a censored Xenogears. Are you starting to realize why I hate
As for my two cents on the whole sex issue, I think Xenogears was
about as far in the right direction as I want. We now have bare-chested
male characters (Fei and Ramsus) getting out of beds in which (presumably
also unclothed to some extent) women are still sleeping, which in all
honesty is about explicit as I need to see, yet still tasteful. I mean,
after all, if I don't want to see my male or female friends do anything,
why should I want to watch it in games I play? I tend to think of the main
character as "him" rather than as "me," and I figure that, as the great
William "Princess Bride" Goldman says, there's times when we're all
entitled to a bit of privacy, even video game characters :) Besides, I
suspect it takes a skilled and sensitive writer to do a tasteful sex scene
that isn't bawdy (for want of a better term) at the same time. Perhaps no
RPG author has considered themsleves up to the task yet.
No, you're right, that's a fine limit for the average RPG. I wasn't asking
for hardcore porn, just for some variety. We'd have "kiddy" games where kissing
is the most it'd ever get, the current flock of FF7/Xenogears calibur scenes
where it's hinted at but never really talked about, and then maybe a mature RPG
or two, where sex is handled as openly as death, violence, drugs and all the
other stuff Square was bold enough to "discuss".
A little side note: As a writer, I've done one love scene. (I think sex tossed
about haphazardly ruins a story faster than stale dialog.) I handled the subject
by keeping the reader around for the kissy-stuff, and then sliding attention
away once the characters, ahem, wanted to be alone. The best way to deal with
sex in literature is to make clear
the events leading up to, and after, just not during. See Stephen King's
Salem's Lot for a wonderful example of how to deal with sex between the lead
characters in a mature, frank and tasteful way. King's the man.
"Take that! Now you've got a cold! Eat that, foul dra"
-- The last words of Dreklar, Grey Mage
I was just wondering, when you play roleplaying games such as Final
(any of them really) do you ever find yourself using the effect spells
more than twice during the whole game? I really love the idea of being
able to make your enemies fall into a deep slumber, or blind them, or
paralyze them, etc etc...but I never seem to find a use for them when I
play the game (expcetions are the mage master in FF3 where berzerking him
is helpful) Spells such as sleep just seem really useless to me. I mean,
c'mmon, you cast sleep and the thing doesn't attack for maybe 2 or 3
rounds (max) and once you hit it, it wakes up...big deal. I've never cast
an effect spell to save my butt...ever. If I cast Fire 3 they all die and
I'm happy. The same goes for spells like Confuse...if and when you can
manage to get the damn thing to actually affect the target, it turns on
it's comrades it does...oh wow....4 damage or something. (Again, getting
hit ends the spell) It seems like a waste of MP (not to mention code) and
I yearn for more games like Dragon Warrior 1, where putting an enemy to
sleep was often the best way to keep from getting skewered. What do you
think Thor? I think it's about time for some new debates and opinions.
"Effect" spells are some of the most useless bits of fluff I've ever seen.
In earlier RPGs and AD&D (no coincidence, Final Fantasy was heavily
influenced by AD&D) sleep/confusion/charm/etc. were widely powerful.
In the old days--I refuse to call them "good", they're no better than the
present, they just had different problems--you could count on spells like
Sleep or Charm to kick some serious monster butt.
Today, RPGs are much
easier, so you don't have to worry about your characters dying in two hits.
This means that just blasting the hell out of the monster is a lot better
than bothering to put it to sleep. Who needs defense when you can off the
sucker with a single blast of Fire 2?
Only one game in recent memory has made good use of "Grey" magic: Final
Fantasy Tactics. Nothing beats the primal surge you get when you talk
an opposing Ninja into joining your side--perminantly.
A friend of mine has an even more twisted belief on the vague plot of
FFVII. Before you put this E-mail in the recycle bin, just read it once.
A. Aeris. Does anything seem strange to you? She "walks around" in
the streets, and she seems to be the only source of income for her and
her mother . . . do you think she makes a nice yearly profit selling a
few flowers for 1 gil each? Come on! I think that "sweet innocent
girl" look is just a, well . . . you know. She "Walks on the streets"
for crying out loud! In a city as liberal as anything you'd find in
And people called Tifa a "slut"?
Don't judge a book by its cover, I guess, heh heh.
B. Tifa. She's -ahem- well endowed -ahem- and she works in a bar . . .
in a very skimpy skirt. Now, we're supposing there are no "Hooters"
restaurants in the world of FFVII, so as soon as Cloud and co. go out
the door . . . well, let's just say that was why when Barret chased the
people out of the bar they were all guys . . . and the name of the bar
is "7th heaven" . . .
First Aerith, now Tifa? Is there nothing you hold dear?
C. The game can be made to think Cloud is gay. You heard it. You dis
Aeris and Tifa, choose the right room in the "Honeybee Inn", have only
guys in your party, try to go "all the way" with Don Corneo (Oh, man .
. .) and the game rewards you with (taa daa!) a date with Barret! So
the computer must think, "Well, he's rejecting all heterosexual stimuli
. . . he must be gay!" Demented stuff.
I hate to break it to you, but your PlayStation doesn't "think" anything.
If you dissed Aeris and Tifa, choose the right room in the Honeybee Inn, had
only guys in your party, tried to make mad-whoopie with Don Corneo and
went on a date with Barret... maybe it's time you, ahem, had a talk with your
Well, this letter wasn't meant for posting, so I just thought I'd bring
your attention to this (WARPED!) point of view.
True story: I skimmed the letter, put it in "Good Questions", marked it
"Red" so I'd remember to print it, converted it to HTML, gave my
responses and then saw that last paragraph. You know, I think
I'm starting to miss Monday.
ESRB. No sir, I don't like 'em.
(Final Fantasy 7/Xenogears spoilers)
About the ESRB rating of Final Fantasy VII, I think it is omewhat
defensible. I don't know about the games you have mentioned that are
Mature and should be rated Teen, but FFVII could be rated Teen according
to the ESRB standards. First of all, the ESRB says that it includes,
"Comic Mischief, Mild Animated Violence, and Mild Language." I checked
their site. According to their description of Comic Mischief, it can mean
gross or vulgar joking. This could easily include some of the humor,
including Tifa and Aeris's threats to Don Corneo.
A threat isn't a "joke", dude. Trust me. I've got the restraining order
to prove it.
As for the Honey Bee
Inn, it is not required to vivit it, nor do you gain any benefit from it.
Getting picked by the Don only gets you out of a fight with his cronies,
and doesn't get you an item or anything. Therefore, I think the ESRB
rating is fair.
That's got to be the goofiest argument I've ever heard. The Honeybee Inn
may be optional, but it's there. Getting picked by Don may not hapen
that often, but it happens. If a hidden track on a music CD contains
profanity, you can bet your bonnet there will be a Parental
Advisory sticker on the cover. According to ESRB:
COMIC MISCHIEF: Scenes depicting activities that have been characterized as
slapstick or gross vulgar humor.
SUGGESTIVE THEMES: Mild provocative references or material.
Go back and read my little Final Fantasy 7 Maturity List. When Hojo tried
to force Aeris and Red XIII to mate, it was most certainly not an
attempt at humor on Square's part. It was, undenyably (at least I hope...)
With the recent
influx of letters
concerning the ratings
given to Squaresoft
games I'm quite
surprised that no one
has pointed out the
standard. Why is it that
fighting games get a
Mature rating when
there isn't all that much
blood, and Xenogears
could show Timothy
being shot and a blood
soaked Fei, and get off
with a Teen rating? Is it
because fighting games
actually show the
punch? I think that there
is an unspoken and
that RPG's be "clean".
I was absolutely
shocked when Fei and
Elly had (dare I say it? ^
_~ ) sex. Not because I
was appalled or
anything, I thought that
within the context it was
a good plot
development. I was
usually RPG's treat
mature themes like 3th
graders who have just
found out where babies
come from! To me it is
only an obscenity when
games (as well as other
forms of media) treat it
as such. Fei and Elly
are in love, but they
wouldn't dream of being
right boys and girls?
Don't get me wrong,
I don't think that Cloud
and Tifa should've
snuck a quickie in the
room [Note: Actually, they waited until after they left the airship -- Thor], but would
Xenogears have been
as emotionally powerful
if Fei had faced losing a
friend instead of a
lover? With all the plot-
based RPG's out, you'd
hope that people could
simply rate these as
they would a movie.
FF7 would've gotten an
R for language and that
protruding from Aeris'
would probably have
barely made it under the
PG-13 line because no
actual violence or sex
was shown. Sounds
simple enough to me, so
what's the problem. .
other than Sony's
-Casey (Who mentions
that she is an RPgirl
only because the name
could go either way ^_~)
Believe it or not, the only person who fully agreed with me on the ESRB and
sex rants was this here painfully cool female.
Ask Thor: Knocking down stereotypes since January, 1999.
Quickies that satisfy
kupek made a Xenogears FMV transcript. He rocks, hardcore.
An Unidentified Writing Person has just flown past my window,
screaming the following: "Faye Wong is a singer from Hong Kong and Fei
Fong Wong is a play on a Chinese Military Hero of some sort who killed
lots of people with his barehands, or something to that effect. So there."
Well. Neiner neiner.
Andrew Dausman said the following: "As you are the moral compass for many
who play RPGs I have a question. Is it OK to play RPGs yet at the same
time crave a game entitled, 'Mog's Funky Hip-Hop Spazztania?'" No. It's
wrong. Very, very wrong. Wash your brain out with soap, and just you
wait 'till your father gets home!
Well, Kira Cyana, it seems most people think your quote came from
the classic cartoon The Real Ghostbusters. If you have never seen
the show, the fanfic/videogame you saw it in was probably making
And finally, Kain sez: "
Just a side note to Tad Ghostal about his ranting about no one using guns.
He seems to forget that Vincent uses a variety of guns, too. So it isn't
just Barret that is using guns. Geez, Thor, I can see if a petty reader
would make such an oversight, but how did you miss that :-) ?"
Technical difficulties. See below.
A few of--nod to Kain--might have noticed yesterdays column was a bit...
unstable. This was because my ISP up and decided to suck, making my
connection to RPGamer.com slower than your average Beyond the Beyond fan.
After blowing my usual lengthy but strangely ineffective proofreading time
doing battle with the server, I gave in and handed my .html files over to
I didn't get to play any videogames today. Not an ounce, a drop or even
a smidgen. Tomorrow, I will own the Fire Temple. ROAR!
Since I kinda sorta forgot to print it, here is the link to
Mark Yohalem's infamous
editorial I was refering to two or three days back. Happy reading.
Oh, yeah, I just wanted to say this 'cause I think it needs to be said:
Thanks, guys. I dig your letters, I dig your comments, I even dig the
stuff in Unfit for Print. Keep sending 'em in, and I'll keep printing
'em. I'll miss you most of all, Scarecrow.
...being nice always makes me feel dirty, so I'm off
for a shower. Night, guys! (I'm nocturnal, remember? Sheesh.)
- Thor "Scrubbing his way down to original sin" Antrim
I just couldn't stand being as rude and unthankful as Tony Schivani anymore...