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Welcome to Thursay Thorsday Madness! We've an unusually large column today, and there's a big surprise at the end Something I've been promising for a long time. I won't say what, just be sure and read everything, or you might miss it. (Well, either that or skip to Thor Stuff. Cheater.)

How To Waste Time

Hey Thor

You remember that bonus dugeon in Lufia 2. It had 99 floors and you looked for these things called "Iris treasures." I havn't played lufia 2 in years but its been nagging me. What the heck happens when you get all the treasures and get down to that godforsaken floor 99 or 100? I always thought maby you'd get to fight that nuetral sinstral guy.

-- Fizban "Wheres my hat?" Palidine

Nada. Nothing happens. It's just for bragging rights -- though I don't suggest you literally brag about it. I can almost see it now.... "Hey guys! I just spent six weeks accomplishing nothing!" 'Hey, that's great to hear. Now take a freaking bath already.'

Where's Warrioldo

When are they coming out with the new Dragon Warrior. They use to release them the same time the Final Fantasies came out, but the makers blew that. I played the DW series on NES and now I think it would be awesome Playstation series. WHEN?

-- ADAM

Time was, Dragon Quest (Warrior) used to rule supreme. Not even the Final Fantasy series could beat it in Japan. Then after Dragon Quest VI came 'round, Enix followed it up with... nothing. Final Fantasy VII came and went, Final Fantasy VIII came (but hasn't exactly "went" yet), and still no more than a handfull of DQVII pictures. After being delayed twice, the new release date is fall '99. In Japan, of course. Blarg.

The end of the world as we know it

Do you think there will ever be chance for another Phantasy Star for DC? Sega is building a reputation of bringing back older characters into games for DC, and also that Phantasy Star compilation was released so I would guess that could be a sign.

I think releasing Phantasy Star V for the Dreamcast would be a brilliant business decision from Sega. So, no, there's no chance.

One other point is, have you ever wondered why everybody is certain a Chrono Trigger 2 is coming? I've talked to somebody who says it's confirmed, but I still believe it's only a rumor, though I do think it will eventually happen. Even Square's FAQ on their site says they arne't doing it now because they don't have the time. Keep up the work, umm...hehe, bye.

Chrono Trigger 2 is kind of like the armageddon. Deep down inside, we all know it's coming, just not when. And though some might deny it, they're probably not only saving $50 for CT2, but they've already made plans to try and get some just before New Years Eve.

Just in case.

Fun.

Excuse me, but as a representative of the Generosity-Disadvantaged Association of America, I must strongly request that you immediately remove every trace of the word "niggardly" from your column! This is a horrible word that has plagued us cheap people for hundreds of years. >From medieval Britain to colonial America we have been taunted and tortured by that awful term! Happily, its similarity to other slurs has seen its use decline greatly, but your usage risks a new explosion of this word! If you have any concerns, call me collect at 439-1210.

-- A. Longbottom, founder, GDAA

Hilarious. That's all I'll say. Hilarious. I just feel really sorry for anyone who's phone number (minus area code, of course) is 439-1210. This could be the biggest disaster since 867-5309...

Advanced Final and Fantasy

Mr.Antrim,

Although I actually missed reading last Monday's column on Monday, it came to my attention that there was one Deathstalker who was curious as to what sort of mechanics people had devised for paper-based RPGs. Well, I'm one of those people who've been doing just that. For nearly seven years now, I've been working on one such game. Although I can't really hand over the nitty-gritty of my mechanics immediately, I can say this:

Initially my damage generation was fairly small and un-FF-like, but later improvements saw the development of a mechanics system that more closely emulated & manipulated the hundreds and thousands of Hp that the later FF's had. More importantly it was capable of doing so quickly, efficiently & without the players needing to be walking calculators or math geniuses. (Or using a wheelbarrow full of dice.)

Of course there's more to the game, which was originally based off FFIV(II) alone, which has since grown to encompass some of the aspects of all of the FF series save for the 7th & 8th installments. Most recently came better defined range & area that corresponded with that of FFT. Just to give you an idea how much it's grown, the first book was 54 pages long.

The most recent complete version (The 5th Revision) was 304 pages in length, the 6th Revision, when finally done, will probably break the 400 mark.

Throughout it's development, I've also been in contact with Square since about 1994. Beginning with James Gillis at SquareSoft Inc. in Redmond, switching to Jun Iwasaki and Kenji Mimura in Costa Mesa (Who promptly rejected my idea, BTW), all the way to Square Co. Ltd. in Japan, where I've talked with various different people, including FF's creator Hironobu Sakaguchi. The folks in Japan are alot more open then their US counterparts, but you can also pick up FF keychains, watches, cards, notepads and a host of other liscenced FF stuff there as well.

I'll see if I can a up that publicly playable version in the next couple of weeks so that Mr.Deathstalker and anyone else interested can give it a whirl.

-- Respectfully, Jeremy Baker

Hey, that's magnificently cool. Anyone out there who is a fan of both pen and paper role playing and console RPGs are most likely drooling right now -- I know I am. (But then again, what else is new?) Good luck with Square, Jer. I can't wait to take a peak at that demo...

Just imagine: You're playing a Moogle, riding on your trusty Chocobo (played by a friend, never stops complaining about being "nothing more than a freaking horse with feathers"). Suddenly enemies deactivate their cloaking devices -- that's why you can't see them on the world map, you knew that, right? -- and swarm. You hop off Jenny (or "Chokobra", in the game) and slip on your flaming claws of burning fury death +3. What follows is messy, gory, disgusting, and fun as hades.

Oh, and you gained two levels. Congratulations.

Arguing art. Almost as productive as arguing politics

I figure I might as well explain why I like Amano's art.

The first and foremost thing is its uniqueness. It isn't classic videogame art. It isn't silly cartoons, 'it's all the same to me' anime, or anything like that. Don't get me wrong, anime style is pretty cool, and the only good Saturday morning cartoons when I was growing up were anime. But Amano's work is very different in that respect. I have a lot of respect for an artist who handles a pencil the way he does: it's very assured and unafraid. He isn't scared to "mess up", and therefore the marks that aren't exactly where one would expect them only serve to make the drawings better. I have myself taken this concept to heart and it has improved my art. Neither is he afraid to show his own style.

I agree, the faces of most of the characters look a lot alike. That simply tells us that faces aren't his area of intrest. It's plain to see that he enjoys making clothing and backgrounds. Personally, I gloss over clothing. Amano glosses over faces. I do like the faces he draws, though. They are the most Japanese looking I have ever seen. A lot of Japanese videogame art looks like an attempt to draw more American looking characters. I don't know why that is. But I respect Amano for that.

Well, that's my rant for today.

-- Princess Artemis

***

Having started this debate, I wish to end it. Amano and Nomura are really different in style, so far different, its not really fair to compare them. Amano, even though he does Anime films, is more of an artist. His character designs are art in his style. Most people either love or hate his style, and it can change. My first real exposure to his work was the FF6 Nintendo strategy guide, and I thought "What the hell's with all these fruity drawings of all my favorite characters!! Locke looks like a fag! And Terra's blonde?!? What?" Then I got more information, and found out he designed all the characters. Over time, I grew to love his art. His art is very European, not Asian, and it is also very Goth. And you have to like these things to like his art. And yes, you can like goth things without actually being a Count Chocula yourself. Nomura is more of a Anime/Magna type. Cloud is the classic anime hero, funky hair and all. Tifa... well Tifa is your typical girl in skirt with insane proportions. Seph is a classic grey haired suave villain. Barret is what the Japanese perceive as an average black American. And who but a Magna style artist could design a character as goofy and trite as Cait Sith? So, though I'd really rather have back Amano, I am happy with Nomura's work, it looks like he improved his talents for FFVIII (I mean, come on, just look at Rinoa), and its not really fair to compare the two.

-- The Wandering Gambler

I like the idea of Amano going Goth. I can almost imagine him sitting in a dark room... The Cute posters plastered everywhere... Marilyn Manson blasting in the background... black lipstick and fingernails... kinda makes you look at him in a whole new light, doesn't it?

Like apples and oranges. Like fire and ice. Like Americans and Canadians.

um... well I read your column today (wednesday, although it might be tuesday's column) and your quickies mention that "So-and-so wants to point out that Maeda is Chinese, not Japanese"... I hope that's a typo. It should be the other way aroun; since the original claim was that he was chinese, this quickie wouldn't make much sense. But I just wanted to point that out.

Yeah, my bad. That's what I get for not quoting directly. Maeda is most definitly Japanese, it says so several billion times throughout the game, which is exactly 503 less than the number of times I've goofed.

Hey, it's that id dude!

Dear RPGamer staff and readers,

Since brevity is the soul of wit, I'll try to be concise. Please accept my sincere apology for the unprofessional manner in which I disappeared from this column and the gaming world entirely. The reasons for my vanishing act are many and complicated, but my resignation did not have anything to do with pressure from the staff or readers--you were always supportive. I should have known all along I could not juggle this column, school, and my personal life/ambitions/whatnots, but like a fool I made promises I couldn't keep. It may not matter to you that I left, now that you can enjoy such a talented replacement, but I had to write you for my own peace of mind. I don't care if you found me funny, dull, inspiring, insipid, mawkish, enlightening, or emetic: I'm concerned about the sober fact that I let you down. I'm very sorry.

In case you want to know, I'm doing well--if a little stressed--and my life has taken many exhilarating spirals. I'm still learning (we always will), and I count my brief sojourn writing for you full of invaluable lessons. Thank you for the great memories. If any of you would like to banter with me, here's my e-mail address (joreid@vt.edu). It would be wonderful to hear from any of you. We can talk about anything you'd like, as long as you don't ask me about games. :) Anyway, I've cluttered Thor's column enough, but one last thing: If I can sum up this letter and my career here with one word, let it be love. Love is the answer. Don't ever forget that.

Respectfully yours,

-- Josh Reid

Now, see, that's the real difference between Josh Reid and me. I don't even know what sojourn means. :D

Just the facts, ma'am. Just the facts.

If FF7pc sold 185,000 copies, I must say that is pretty damn good considering it was released in June. The numbers Thierry Nguyen posted had most the year to rack up sales. Hell, some (maybe most) great PC games don't post numbers like FF7pc. In addition, a shit load of the sales would probably go to profit, due to most of the cost went to just porting.

Also, in light of these numbers, the sales in dollars of the top 25 best selling PC games (PC Data) ranged from $31,000,000 (Starcraft) to $2,200,000 (Nascar w/Tracks; it sold 225,000 copies). If you take the average cost of Starcraft ($42), FF7pc could have made $7,770,000. Pretty damn good considering this is only a port.

-- The Red Scare

So we might actually get FF VIII-pc after all. Huzzah! Not that I could play it, or anything. Heck, I couldn't even play Final Fantasy VII on my computer. But then again, that's what my trusty PlayStation is for. <sniff> <sniff> Hey, do I smell a little... Thurday Thorsday Madness? That's right cats and dogs, the rest of the column will be weird, self-serving tripe which I will most likely enjoy more than any of you. Aren't you glad we have these little talks?

Thor's girlfriend. Well, not really.

Congrats on your new girlfriend. ;) I thought she looked like a mage of some sort until I scrolled down to the bottom and saw... an arm-cannon on her left hand? The only magic-using cyborgs I know of are Faerite cyborgs in my soft sci-fi Gama-co future, and they usually have a lot more implants than that... and usually don't wear mage-type outfits or have funky (but still pretty) hair colors like that. So, what *is* her story?

-- Pteryx

Hey now, leave my girlfriend alone. Love isn't bound by any one RPG mythology!. And didja ever stop and wonder if she's from Shadowrun? Why, mages with implants are quite common there. Or! It might not be a arm-cannon after all. She might have just got her hand stuck in a magic Pringles can. Didja ever think of that one? Eh? No? I rest my case.

I know what you did last summer

Hello... "Thor." I know where you live and I know what you eat. I know everything about you; all of your little secrets, all of those things you try to keep hidden away. I know things your parents, your peers, and your girlfriend doesn't know. I know what you did last semester.

I know where you sleep and I know where you don't. I know everything about you. I know things about you you don't even know. If I were you, I would be very, very afraid, lest you find yourself visited upon in the midst of the night by a very unwelcome stranger who goes by the name of The Keeper of Death.

Fear me, "Thor." I am your worst nightmare. I am he who stalks the sinful. I am he who delivers justice. It is my divine right to bring retribution to all poor Lambs. And that means you, "Thor."

-- "The Man With the Mole on His Chin"

Help! The guy who translated Xenogears is after me. What, don't you see it? The clues are everywhere: He quotes words for no reason. He repeats things over and over again. He... um... well, he just is, ok? Geez, all I ask for is a little fun and everyone jumps down my throat.

Gossipy nosiness

Hey Thor,

I feel kind of odd asking about this. Honestly!! It feels like I'm really prying. Here it goes. I've been reading the column since it was on square.net. I have to admit, you are probably the best Q&A guy so far, and, er . . . you seem like an intelligent guy, skilled with a pen. It does seem, however, that you have way too much time for an 18 year old. I was wondering, do you go to college/school? I guess I'm asking because I think I would lose respect for someone who seems like he should (receive a formal education) and doesn't, and I'm probably also asking because I received this disgusting little habit similar to gossipy nosiness from my mother.

-- Jen

I don't remember if I've already gone over this in detail, but I guess I'll just rant away and see what happens. I don't believe in college. In my admittedly short existance, I've met two types of college students. The first is the obsessive type, who puts his or her life on hold while working their way through college. They're a tired, beaten down lot, who are usually intelligent and frustrated with the redundancy and general useless of a good chunk of tests.

The other type I've met are the slackers. They take fun courses. They don't really care about the future so much as the now, and are in college more or less for something to do than to learn. Now, neither of these groups are bad. I'm friends with a few of each, in fact -- though only one is as exaggerated as I've made 'em out to be.

The point of all this is that I don't wish to fall into either of these categories, or even somewhere in between. I'm happy writing for fun, and I get by fine without much money. I've always been more of a "Get a few friends over and game" kinda guy than a "spend spend spend!" kind. And while I might take a few courses on writing, I'd never want to write for a living. It's simply too unstable, especially today when "job security" means they change the locks to your office after firing you.

Anyways, it's not that I'm against the idea of people going to college, it's just I've no interest whatsoever. Hope this answers your question, you lil' snoop you. :D

What's that tingly feeling? Quickies, of course!

that'dbeme whines, "Hey man, you said that Citan's wifes name was Susan and his daughters was Kim, thats not right! Shame shame shame! His wife is Yuri, and daughter is Midori. SHAME!" Um, hehe. No comment. Believe it or not, I actually received several letters like this. // AK said: "What should I do some guy on your forum is stealing my handle (AK)." I suggest The Club. It's cheap, effective and comes in a variety of colors. // Someone pointed out I typo'd "reviving" yesterday. It's true. I usually just spellcheck the answers, the Quickie responses are too trivial. And I'm too lazy. // CyberMan X said to tell AK that calling someone names doesn't usually make that person see your point. He then apologized for using the term "Jap" and resigned from office. // And finally, Stifu said: "ok i checked the archive: 1430 typos. If you don't believe me count for yourself." I can't tell if you're joking or not, but if you're serious... you are f'n insane, man. :D

Thor stuff

Last chance to get those Thor hacks in, on Friday I update the Archive for the final time. Well, for a while. I'm sure the fun is starting to wear off for a lot of you... and I'm dying to try something. Check back Friday to see just what. :D

I've lots of goodies for ya'll today. Mostly fun miscellany. Lets see. First we have an awesome Thor comic book by Zipflint. As a huge fan of black mages, I must say: Kickass.

TearDragon, the cool cat who created Anime Thor designed a line of Final Fantasy VIII-esque Thor merchandise. (You know, like how you can buy Cloud's jacket for $800?) Here's the "Thor" trench coat, just $50,000; and the Stuffed Katerina doll, which retails for around $5.32.

The last fan-item today is Caige's funky Thor RPG character sheet thingy.

And now for the surprise: I finally got my pictures scanned. Enjoy.

Thor Antrim looking quite pissed. Or at least disinterested.

Thor Antrim, grinning and wearing a silly hat

So, uh, there. Hope the whole mess wasn't built up so much everyone is disappointed. 'Cause the penalty for being disappointed with my looks is death by Yuffie. :D

- Thor "I haven't dyed my hair red in six months. I think it's stuck." Antrim
You know you want me, baby.

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