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 Xenogears
(Right now I am playing a fun Sony PlayStation Role Play Game by the name of 'Xenogears'. It is by the name of 'Xenogears' and is fun. I am playing it.)
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OK, I've got shocking news and unshocking news. I'll give you the shocking news first: 90% of the letters I received today were comments about my little rant. Now the shocking news: 90% of those letters agreed with me. That's right, I didn't even get many flames. (Two or three, the rest were pretty level-headed defenses of Xenogears.) Did we slip in the Xone and someone forgot to tell me about it?

Part of your balanced breakfast

What does NPC stand for??

-- Matt Elder

Non Player Character. Anyone in an RPG who doesn't join your party at some time. So far, so good.

Miyamoto Musashi wielding Masamune and Murasame!

Um, hello...

I was curious. You know how Square gets most of its names of characters and enemies and stuff from mythology and legends, right? I was wondering where the names "Murasame" and "Masamune" come from. Also, where was the Masamune in FFVI? (Maybe it was too busy being carted to Chrono Trigger to make its appearance in FFVI.) And how did the Masamune end up being Sephiroth's weapon? I thought it was just a weapon for good guys... (and gals.)

Why do I even care? I could be doing something more constructive!! Oh well.

-- OzziePants

Either the swords are totally unrelated the sources are unknown, or...

The Murasame and Masamune blades were forged by two competing Japanese swordsmiths. The swords were plunged in water as a test. Since leaves passed around the Masamune, but were shreaded by the Murasame, the Masamune won the competition. From then on Masamune was associated with holiness; and the Murasame with all things cursed. (Yeah, I don't get it either. Kooky Japanese swordsmiths.)

One interesting note is that in Final Fantasy 7, Sephiroth wielded the Masamune and Cloud used the Murasame. Overanalyze at will, guys.

Mirror, mirror...

If I'm going to complain about anything in your rant it's that you say we have to drink a Dr. Pepper. I don't like Dr. Pepper! I'm a Sprite drinker and that's the way I'm going to stay. I'm not going to complain about how you feel about Xenogears because it's how you feel. Everyone's entitled to their own opinions. Now, I have a question for you. The reflect spell doesn't make any sense. If you cast reflect on a character, and then cast a spell on that character, the spell doesn't go back to the caster. It goes to the enemy. I, at first, didn't care about such trivial matters. However, I've been writing a story lately and had to have someone explain the reflect spell to someone else. It was then that I realized that I don't have any clue as to why this little discrepancy is. If it just has to do with the angle of the magic or what, I don't know. Could you possibly answer this question? Thank you.

-- Evil Lover Extrordinare (Evil guys rock!) >8^()

Yeah, man! Evil guys do rock! All my life I've liked the badguys more than the good guys. Well, with the exception of Dr. Doom. He was really kinda lame.

The short answer: "Because of the Fanatic's Tower in FF6."

The long answer: "I can only assume whoever created the spell wanted it that way. Be it a Final Fantasy 6 Esper or an AD&D Wizard, magic spells were invented by something, otherwise instead of spells we'd just have raw, unformed energy, like Spellfire."

The retarded one-liner answer: "You know you want me, baby!"

Meow! =^.^=

Dear Thor, Did you know that the one thing that made me deturmened Chrono Trigger was a better game than Final Fantasy 6, was the cat in Chrono Trigger. Cats just add so much to video games not just video games but RPGs in general they just add a genuine and unique feel to RPGs they are so cute, who can resist? I beleive they belong in fantasy/sci-fi RPGs more than any other animal. I was so happy to see all those cats wandering around in that house in wutai village in Final Fantasy 7, it just warmed my heart and gave me a good attitude about the many battles Yuffie was about to face. I also loved all of those cats wandering around in Xenogears' villges. I hope there will be many future RPGs that include those cute fluffy creatures.

-- Joseph Witham, The "Cat loving RPGamer"

Heh, you know, one could say Joseph is quite fond of p... ahh hell, I just can't bring myself to say it.

Xenogears spoilers
(Warning: Not an actual spoiler, read at your own risk.)

Heyhey Man with Too Many Titles,

I agree completely (with your rant). "My father? You mean my dad?" is quite possibly one of the most pointless lines ever.

Xenogears: Bringing new meaning to redundancy since 1998.

I just have one Odd Question. You haven't finished Xenogears yet.. right? How do YOU feel about everyone mailing you with spoilers for it? Me, I'd be pissed as hell.

Yeah. I hate spoilers. They really hurt. A deep, deep hurting. Kind of like the feeling of an improperly executed Jack-knife Powerbomb. You guys have been wonderful, though. With a few exceptions, you're all kind enough to warn me of spoilers. This allows me to skim parts if the letter is another "opinion on the pile", such as today's Xenogears debate. (Of course, if the letter isn't one of many, I'll read it. It's not like I could tell if you were making things up or not, though, heh heh.)

P.S. Hi Chandra-san! ^_^

-- A.E.Isthill, whose alternate personality is Psycho Mantis

Hi, mom!

Now you can complain about your own translaton!

Anyway, some dude wrote in about all these great ideas he had for making RPGs with RPG Maker. If he wants to start making them _now_ instead of waiting for when (or, more appropriately, if) RPG Maker comes over the ocean, he can check out VERGE. Lots of people have made lots of FF4-esque games using this engine. It allows you to design magic, weapons, enemies, character sprites, tile graphics, music... since there's so much leeway with this engine, you might need an entire "production team" to make games for it, but it's definitely worth the effort. The VERGE site is at www.verge-rpg.com

-- Capheine

Thanks, Capheine. Now I can finally get working on creating my dream RPG: Final Fantasy 3. It's exactly the same as Final Fantasy 3, only Edgar is replaced with me, and I end up with Celes at the end of the game instead of that overly-defensive dork, Locke. Treasure hunter my arse.

SaGa Frontier 2(!)

Hey Thor,

The reason why Square has decided to do SaGa Frontier 2 is pretty obvious. Square's main concern is the Japanese market. In Japan, SaGa games have sold really well including SaGa Frontier. If you check the list of Japanese million sellers found in The Magic Box (I currently don't have the URL), you will notice that SaGa Frontier is listed in it. That means that SF was a Japanese blockbuster, and therefore Square would be inclined to do a sequel whether us North Americans liked it or not.

-- SJL

Interesting. Like I said, Square might honestly not care how well it does in the US. They could just release it here with no advertising. It's not like they'd be in any danger if the game didn't sell well: Selling a CD game is far less risky than a cart 'cause of less investment, and Square isn't exactly in any desperate need of money. Still, it's kind of silly to ignore the US market. I just wish Square would... wait, hold that thought for the next letter.

I mind Another Mind. Snickersnork!

Hey Thor,

What do you think about Another Mind? I think it's interesting to see Square doing a game that's really different from their usual fare. It would be interesting to see this game in the U.S. because we usually just get RPGs, Fighting games, and similar (ok, not similar, but I don't want to list all of them) genres, while there are a lot of different genres that haven't been tested here. Would you want to see games like this come to America or are you more interested in seeing more and better RPGs?

-- Jasconius

Sure, it's interesting, but it doesn't do me any good. Not only is there no chance of anyone translating Another Mind, the very style of the game makes importing and playing it with a printed fan-made translation (basically) impossible. I don't want to sound selfish, even though I am, but I wish Square would finally, well, give us Yanks a little attention.

I mean, Zelda 64 sold one million in Japan and five million worldwide. So yes, there is a market outside of Japan. Making a game which you could translate and sell across the globe is a better choice than making a game which will only sell in one country, I'd think. I don't mind Square developing non-RPGs, I just wish they'd develop something the rest of us could get a chance to play.

You like me! You really like me! (Or, at least, agree with me.)

I still can't believe almost all of you agreed with my Xenogears rant. I expected to be flamed--nay, charbroiled. Maybe I should start writing editorials.... naw, I think I enjoy ranting in a less formal format, heh heh. On with the feedback:

Dear Thor:

I was shocked and amazed with your accurate descriptions of the Xenogears translation! You hit the problem right on the head- it wasn't BAD, it was just extremely dull. (not the game or the plot, but the way it was worded) Perhaps Square should have a english teacher come through after the game is translated to make it sound nice! heh heh.

Oh yea, I don't like Doctor Pepper. That stuff is nasty.

-- Sugoi

I really liked this guy--up until the last line, that is.

***

Anyways, I'd just like to put in my 2 cents *ka-ching* Ok. I liked Xenogears. Alot. I'll admit that the dialogue isn't all that great in parts. This doesn't mean it's a bad game, and it also doesn't mean that ALL the dialogue is bad. The example that you gave, for one thing, was from a NPC. How often do all of the NPCs in an RPG have earthshattering dialogue? How many of the people you happen to run into on the street have consistently good dialogue? Anyways, Xenogears is a beautiful game in terms of graphics, music, plot, and gameplay. It is proabably my favorite RPG. Why let the occasionally bad dialogue ruin your experiance? The character says something stupid. Deal with it!! People say stupid things all the time! I should know :-) Just get over it and enjoy a great game.

-- The Man from Ganymede

What's with people starting letters with "Anyways"...? TMfG is right, for the most part. I mean, if you can endure Xenogears' dialog, by all means, do so! However, the bland and wordy dialog isn't exactly... occasional. :D

***

Yo Rantmeister,

Believe it or not, I'm actually going to have to agree with you (more or less) with Tuesday's Rant, although probably not for the exact same reasons ...

You are right. The script in Xenogears is horrible. It's not horrible on a poor translation, "You spoony bard." level, but on a content level. Xenogears is one of the best role playing games that I have played in years. Period. What makes it especially engaging is its' story. But, I think that they could have expressed everything in much fewer words. Like a lot.

My biggest problem with the script in Xenogears is it's too #!&@ long! I have never played an RPG with this much text. Ever. There are segments in the game that take a looooong time to go through, that are topped off by a battle at the end. If you lose the battle, you gots to go through it all again.

Personally, I'm a very fast reader. I always set my message speeds to the fastest possible in a game. But, for some strange reason, this text-heavy RPG has decided to leave that feature out (or if it is in there, I'm just being dense and can't find it. I get that way sometimes ...) It's annoying (for me) when I am forced to read text at the speed presented by the game. With a game that has this much text, sometimes it turns into a chore.

If this letter should happen to get printed, I'd like anyone that reads it to not think that I'm trashing Xenogears. I love the game. But, this is a critique (a foreign word for some people) and Xenogears is far from perfect.

Think about it, won't you?

-- The Famous Teddy Z

A little editing never hurts. It's painful for an author to trim down his or her work, but it's almost always a good idea. I quote from The Elements of Style: "Omit useless words!" I've never heard better advice in my life. Well, except for "Drop that cup! It's not lemonaid you idiot!"

Please note that I won't be printing any more "Xenogears has dull/wonderful dialog" letters. I'm sure after the rant and these three questions--one agreeing with me, one disagreeing, and one kinda in the middle--my readers have heard quite enough.

This letter is Unfit for Print, alright?

I definitely agree with your rants about Xenogears script, they do rant on too much. But I want to bring up a little pet peve that has been annoying me forever:

"Alright."

Square, if you're reading this, "alright" is not a word! Look it up in the dictionary; I guarantee you won't find it. I mean, it's all right (heh) to write it in an email or a chat room, but to have it in a published video game, come on! Why am I annoyed by this? I don't know. I'm not even that big on grammar! Possibly the same reason people are annoyed by "Off course" and "I got a good feeling!" (actually, some are rather amused by those mistranslations). Xenogears and the Final Fantasy series are two that use "alright," among many others. (Don't get me wrong; Xenogears and Final Fantasies are my favorite games.)

Oh, I should go now so I can do step 5, drink a refreshing can of Dr. Pepper. Aaaaaaaaah!!

-- Crono & Dekar

Sometimes it's better to just keep your mouth shut and not complain. This is one of those times. For future reference, it's always a good idea to do at least a little research before writing in...

Taking Crono's advice, I looked up "Alright" in the dictionary. And, um, found it. See for yourself, here's the link to Merriam-Webster. Though there's a bit of controversy surrounding it, "Alright" is most definatly a word. At least according to one of the most respected dictonaries in the world. (Not exactly the McMahan Guarantee, was it?)

Besides, it's perfecltly fine for characters in stories to say "alright". Heck, it's a lot more natural than "all right". You'll never hear anyone answer a question with "off course", but you'll most certainly hear someone say "alright"--as opposed to, say, "All (pause) right".

Quickies that'll make your mouth water

Lord Wombat asked: "Do you plan to purchase, or at least rent Saga Frontier 2?" Yeah, I'll rent it, if only to check out the insane graphics. So far, I really dig the graphics style. Most unique look I've seen since Yoshi's Island. Or Storybook. Or whatever the heck they ended up calling it. // Deuce wrote: "Yeah, the Japanese version also had those voices in the Sister Ray firing sequence. No difference at all." Thanks to everyone who wrote in. I guess that kid wasn't sneaking into Ian's stash after all. :D // Rob Emes wrote: "You gotta love Sega's sense of humor, releasing the Dreamcast on the traditional SCEA-big game date." Sega reminds me of a repressed Cathloic school girl sometimes. "Tee hee! I'm Sega! I'm just so naughty!" Well, fine. So that's the only time Sega has ever reminded me of a repressed Cathloic school girl. Sue me. // And finally, an unnamed RPGamer wrote: "Hello". Yes, that's it. And I thought I was scared when that dude drew a bullet wound on my forehead.

Thor Stuff

I wasn't flamed! I wasn't flamed! Whooohoo! Who's da man? That's right, me! Yeehaw!

Gloating rocks.

Anyway, I'm glad ya'll liked my rant. As I said yesterday, expect more on a somewhat weekly basis. I'm full of complaints (and constructive ideas, I promise), so stay tuned every Tuesday or Wednesday. Or Thursday. Heck, just make RPGamer.com your start page and read Ask Thor after every meal!

I'm gone. I've got to get up early and buy Garage, Inc., then get home and rush some Xenogears before I start checking mail. Er, actually, I forgot to mention all the cool stuff I'd do in between. Like make out with my beautiful girlfriend, and perform the Tree of Woe on Wild ARMs, and "bench 200", and design a better game than Shigeru Miyamoto, and turn water into...

Oh, forget it.

- Thor "Huh? What? ...?!" Antrim
One of additions were true. Guess which. :D

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