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Monarch on the Shore

Andrew Long - May 20, '04 - 1:04 EDT

SO ANYWAY, I OPENED THIS UP TWO HOURS AGO, all set to fabricate a rant about how great Tasnica was out of thin air, when it struck me - Tasnica is actually a pretty lousy excuse for an RPG town. For one thing, it's wedged way the heck in the middle of nowhere, stuck on an island and without a real town as such to call its own. For another, it's in Secret of Mana, and while I personally love that game, I'm hard pressed to find too many other people who feel the same way about it. Finally, the store is under a freaking staircase, in a freaking castle, which makes very little sense since if you want to attract customers, sticking yourself in a closet with Aunt Gertrude's wedding gown is hardly the best way to go about advertising your presence.

Still, Tasnica is the home to that shadowy ninja character loved by Thor, so I suppose it can't be all bad. Nonetheless, I should never have considered it as worthy of discussion. The appropriate brain cells responsible for this outrage have been targetted for destruction by stiff brandy at sundown. In other news, for kicks, I shall translate selected letters into various languages, and then translate them back to make them even more incoherent!




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05-20-04
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Mommy, Where Do Chocobos Come From?



What level is Shoe? 38
Hooked on Warcraft again
Oh, what a world, what a world
I am, however, back to level 13
Super wow!
On the downside
I can now play with level 30s
How terribly emasculating
My e-wang will never forgive Blizzard

Did I say 'selected'? I meant 'ALL'!


Hey Castro.

Still evasively the assassination plots of the CIA? Those wackeymoordenaars of sovereign LEADERS and bringers of despots. Anyway, I love definite fantasie. I love especially that song thats in most of definite the fantasieŽn near the beginning. It goes: DA duh duh duh DA duh duh duh duh duh duh duh duh duh you weet which song that is?

To be gnarly.
Viva cuba and material.
Tad Ghostal

ENGLISH-DUTCH-ENGLISH ANDREW
Well, the only song can I think of that if that is the song goes where those crazy psychadelic brug-kruist with credits which and silhouettes save moodily staring in the zonsondergangspelen shortly after you princess Sarah of certain keesification at the hands of beam pixellated to roll away. And yes, I only keesification said what the Dutch see that think.


I feel like chicken tonight: no dice, last night's noodles instead


Cast,

If you want to see sex in games, all you need to play is Shadow Hearts. After one scene with that acupunturist, you will be laughing your butt off. Of course that is male/male innuendo. That is really the only one I can think of. Final Fantasy games aren't that dirty, I mean "ooh soft" isn't that bad. Square isn't really that explicit, if people wanna be obsessive and read between the lines then yeah, I guess it could be sexual. But a lot of it IS romance.

~Dragonmaster Tron

ANDREW
I never said I necessarily wanted to see sex in games; I mean, if it advances the plot in a meaningful way, then sure, it's all well and good, but if Square ever hires Russ Meyer to do a Final Fantasy, then I'm so taking up ultimate frisbee or something equally lame in retribution.


Okay, perhaps one was enough..which is why I'll do two


Castolure, thus, with its anniversary of ASV PoV behind us, we move ourselves ahead with a song in our hearts. Errr..rather, a song that cries out of its interiors. Sections, I would love being in the topic this week, but he seems that I am I am of the creativas things to write. If not, in the recent notice of Shroudie, I am going to function for the president of the classroom! May mishaps starts! 04-'05 votes Shroudie for ' presidency of the senior! What on topics? Hmmmm.. FFVII:AC-related? Tifa, new project, too much like Rinoa? If.not this... FFXII, system of the battle, a taking stops backwards the classic days of the trigger chrono. Not only this, but to far it more realistic. Perhaps I could ask for to some that announces of my friends of the friend, huh? Well, moreover, I am choosing it my personal intern. The controversy waits! Pay for stalkers of Castomel, It ' hid one

ENGLISH-PORTUGUESE-ENGLISH ANDREW
Hey! What you are trying to make, me starts all associate with some wild political party or another one? I mean, certain, I I will endorse its functioning for the president of the classroom, but kickbacks is only had ones serious involved. The majority of stalker exalted or not, you still started to come above with the bread keeping me happy. Quimby Vote!

You got funk, you got style...


Well Castomel, on the heels of last week's "Rise of RPG sex," theme, I'd like to say that it's replaced one thing that's missing from new RPGs, which is really something that's needed in games. Style. FFX is very realistic looking. Same with FFXI, FFX-2, FFXII, Xenosaga 2, and an assload of other new games. I mean hell, if I wanted to see reality, I'd turn the TV off. I watch anime and play games because they're NOT real. Realism in games is all well and good when you want to play, say Rainbox Six, Splinter Cell, Ghost Recon (Can you tell I'm a clancy fan?) and other games of that breed. But when you've got people liing in a clearly unreal world (Oh crap! Zane's dead! Wait, nevermind, I have a phoenix down,. it's cool,) then I'd like a more stylized appearance. That's what makes people like Dragon Warrior, it's anime appearance. Earthbound was a smash hit because it played into the goofy cartoon look, and brought that over to it's story and dialogue. You know, that game actually had a serious plot behind it, but it was never depressing because of the goofiness that it caried itself with. Kingdom Hearts, had it been done in a photorealistic style, and without the disney references, would've been dark and brooding. Instead, Square and Disney got away with making a saga about adolescent insecurities, betrayal, love, the innate darkness in humanity, and overpowering envy into a fun story that a family can enjoy.

ANDREW
Yup, sadly, entertainment execs figured out somewhere along the way that Dawson's Creek outdraws Futurama, and as a result, now we have the OC, along with any number of crapulent teen dramas. Hell, TV networks are even trumpeting their creative genius in modelling crappy teen dramas after other, crappy teen dramas - for example, the erstwhile My So Called Life is getting an evil twin this fall, apparently geared towards guys instead of the "he's so dreeeeamy" crowd (which means, of course, that the aforementioned swooners will be able to sucker their boyfriends into watching said drivel more easily, presumably due to a higher T and A quotient.) This, naturally, means plenty of money is involved, and while the people who make video games have made remarkably bad decisions in the past, they've also made many more unspeakably evil choices, and thus it was that the inclusion of this stylistic copout came as easily as it did.

Now, I'd like to say something about the Bible's references to Witches and Wizards, and Sorcerers for that matter. In the Bible, these people are those who courted the power of fallen angels, Demons, as they're called, to perform acts that were an affront to God. Now, some people freak about Harry Potter, without knowing anything about it. My stepfather's one of them, he says he'll never see the movies or let his kids read the books. However, he LOVES the Lord of the Rings, and it's Wizard Gandalf. Why the difference? It;s easy to see that Gandalf is on the side of good. Crap, he even dies, and is sent back by God (Illuvatar, but same thing) to save the world. In RPGs, "Witches" and "Wizards" are judged by their actions. Many "Black Mages" and "Black Wizards" have SAVED THE WORLD in FF games. So they're good, right? Saruman the WHITE planned genocide. And he's bad. This is how people need to judge things, on their own merits.

And one last word about sex and marriage. No, marriage won't work for everyone. As a Christian, I can say that it SHOULD, but it just doesn't. I think we can all agree that it's bad for children to be born to irresponsible people, or into a broken home. But don't think that every married couple can be good parents. There are as many married people who shouldn't procreate as single. Now, I'm convinced that I and my girl could be good, responsible parents. But we're not married, so (ed: no?) fooling around. My aunt is getting married soon, to a total schmuck, and I think that neither of them can be good parents even then. So, while the ideal is everyone finding their soulmate, and living happily ever after, i'll never pretend that the ideal is what's actually happening. Still, I don't need towatch people have sex, or see their bodies displayed in my games, to know it's happening. Well, Cast, take care. And don't let people take games too seriously, okay?

From your pal, and one who is TERRIFIED of the Giant Squid, Kenny the C.

ANGRY SQUID
Sppoolllbbbooorlll! YOU ARE RIGHT TO FEAR ME, PITIFUL MORTAL! NOW BOW DOWN AND FEED ME OFFERINGS OF SHRIMP, LEST I SMITE THEE WITH INK!

ANDREW
Oh, come on. Just because he's afraid of you doesn't make you anything special, and I just gave you a barrel of shrimp.

ANGRY SQUID
DID I SAY SHRIMP? I MEANT PLANKTON! YES, GREEN, DELICIOUS PLANKTON! PLEASE DON'T WAKE THE DRAGON! HOW'S THE FEEDBAG THESE DAYS?

ANDREW
So anyway, thanks for sharing, Kenny C. I tend to agree that people should be judged on merit, but if that ever happened, I rather imagine there'd be a rather sharp increase in lynch mobs, since there's a sizeable portion of the population who equate judgment with retribution (it is in the Bible, after all - reap what you sow, and all that jazz.) Besides, then I'd actually have to do honest work. Let us never speak of this prospect again, and in exchange, I vow to fight seriousness as it relates to the taking of games to my utmost ability. I should probably warn you, however, that I tend to take games far too seriously myself, so I won't actually try very hard.


Geez.. When you put it that way, it sounds awfully depressing, aside from the boozing part, which I can safely say I pulled off without a hitch


Hey! Happy Birthday, I just turned 23 myself. Our lives are a third over. Let's get drunk!

Now, don't really have any other reason to write in. As far as other elements being sacrificed for more sex in games....um...I guess they're sacrificing non-sexiness? Honestly, I thought FFX-2 was pretty fun. Not fun enough to play it again like I usually do with games after I finish them, but an entertaining diversion for a few days. Yes.

What I REALLY, truly, burningly need an answer to, is, where did the fun go in Harvest Moon? It's getting less like fun and more like running a farm, which I suppose was the point, but I enjoyed the farming is fun idea more than I enjoy the farming is work one. Am I alone in this?

ANDREW
No, I think I'd definitely rather play an enjoyable game than one that perfectly mirrors whatever the heck it's trying to perfectly mirror. For instance, a fighter would hardly be very entertaining if you actually had to catch your breath every time you took a flying roundhouse to the face, or ended up in hospital for third degree burns after a brush with Ryu or Ken. If your beef is strictly with Harvest Moon, however, I offer the simple expedient that has served me well lo these many years: don't playthe damned games.

Anyway. Yes. The DS and the PSP. I'll be getting both, because I'm in Army, and they pay for all my living expenses, which means all my money is MINE MINE MINE!! So yeah. Both.

HolyDragon

ANDREW
Sweet! It's nice to know that somebody other than Halliburton benefits from George Bush's gross misappropriation of funds. Vote Quimby!


More birthday leftovers - though I remain cakeless ;_;


Castopawn, I don't put back games simply because of what is said on the label about "Mild Sexual Themes" or whatever. While themes like that bug me if they're over-the-top like FFX-2's dress thing, they certainly won't stop me from playing a good game. The game's rating is usually the only thing I look at. Teen games are generally very mild and I don't even bother checking why they're rated that. I do check Mature games, but if the game sounds interesting and I've heard good things about it I still get it anyway. It just seems a little silly to miss out on a good game because of what the box says. PS: Oh yeah, and an early Happy Birthday since you aren't doing Monday's column. I think...
-Roku

ANDREW
Thanks for sharing, Roku. An eminently practical line of reasoning there, although to be honest, ratings have never really bothered me one way or the other. I guess it's because in general, crappy reputations tend to precede things much more pointedly than skimpy clothing and hot dressphere action (though I suppose FFX-2 might have been the exception to the rule, at least if you don't like the game, which I can't really even say, having never played it and thus making this entire analogy highly suspect. Go me!)

Of Tidus and lame ratings


On the subject of concerns about games marked as containing "mature sexual themes":

The entire ESRB is on crack. Seriously. They put all the ratings in a big hat, draw some at random, then smoke lots and lots of crack. Take, for example, .hack//Infection. It is also designated as having "mature sexual themes", for one scene. The scene in question is, in it's entirety, this:

Natsume: Wow, thanks for helping me! I don't have anything to give you...I know! I'll repay you with my body!

Kite: What?

Natsume: I mean, I'll join your party. That didn't come out right.

[End Mature Sexual Content]

Let us all give thanks to the brave souls at the ESRB. Bravo.

Also, would it surprise you at all to learn that Tidus' American voice actor is a complete dork?

-Dahne

"FF7 remains one of the most popular in the series. I don't really understand. No voices, no blitzball.." "*collective groan from the audience*

ANDREW
Actually, that wouldn't surprise me at all, seeing as how I'm predisposed to hate him bitterly. And if you're actually serious about that exchange, I think the ESRB needs to haul its collective ass out to the curb so that they can be mulched like so much rotting plant refuse. And eggshells - I just bet they smell like rotting eggs, those stuffed shirts!


The nebulous fanfics department deigns to take shape briefly, naturally to give me what for


Andrew,

I really, REALLY ought to give you what for for ragging on Rydia, but I'll leave that by the wayside for the moment. Something's been bugging me for a bit now, since E3's come and gone, and I feel I need to get it off my chest.

Now I can understand that RPGamer hasn't mentioned the Rifts game announced for the n-Gage yet. I mean, come on, it's the n-Gage. Did anyone really go to the Nokia booth? Also, it's not even entirely certain that the game is going to be an RPG-- after all, just because it comes from pen & paper roots doesn't mean the game will stick to that style. But taking a look at the description-- multiple non-linear stories which converge into one overarching plot-- doesn't that sound an awful lot like Saga Frontier?

ANDREW
Disturbingly so, much like the conviction I have that our very own translator, rudyxx, has been to the booth you speak of.

A relatively obscure license, emulating one of the most reviled Square games of all time, on a joke of a system.

What, they couldn't flush the money down the toilet fast enough?

I'm not going to say outright that the game will suck. We haven't heard anything more than plans at this point, and who knows-- it may be the greatest portable RPG ever made. My point is they still have time to think out some of the design choices a little better, and maybe put it on a system that people would actually want to play. I'd personally welcome the chance to play a Titan Juicer again, just not on a $200 plastic taco.

Anyway, that's my little rant. Back to writing new missions for my d20 Modern campaign and reading fanfics.

John Z.
Fanfic Dept, RPGamer

ANDREW
These fanfics you speak of... Will they ever be posted? I wouldn't ask, you understand, except that I get letters about the lack of fanfics anytime the section stops updating for longer than a few weeks. Apparently, people just can't get enough of those Auron/Amarant crossover slashfics!


YOU 'DREW
QUICKIE I
Steve, Steve, Steve,
how could you possibly forget about the Star Wars games??? Knights Of The Old Republic! Rogue Squadron! Any LucasArts game made prior to 1999! I'd pick one of those over a GBA Simpsons game any day.

--Jim Martin

Andrew:
Marcus, Marcus, Marcus, safen up!

So there. How do you like it, jerk store?

QUICKIE II
Castopresent,

HAPPY 23rd BIRTHDAY!!!!
Love always,
Shroudie

Andrew:
What? No naked pictures? No surprise moonlight kidnappings?
I don't think you could have given me a better present ^_^

QUICKIE III
Hey Andrew
Sex in RPGs? Look at Tales of Phantasia. Its filled with it.
The Batman

Andrew:
Sure thing, Giant Beer.



DA LAST GRUMBLE

So, because I've been copping out or leeching off you guys so very often lately, I've decided once again to come up with a real topic for your edification. On that note, then, I encountered the following while surfing the interweb: this delightful send-up of an alarmist site pointing out how delightfully scarce cheap oil will shortly become, drawing humorous parallels between that particular site's argument and the recent hubbub created by Nintendo execs desperate to find some sort of cachet for their little two-headed monster. The article in question is written in a satirical fashion, but it's based upon some fairly concrete articles suggesting gaming as we know it needs to innovate, and fast.

Anyhow, my question to you is this: have you been concerned with the relative lack of innovation in gaming of late? I mean, we've talked about how every freaking game released in the past year or so is a sequel to something or other, so it's not like this is coming out of left field or anything. I'm also curious as to what your thoughts are on the possibilities raised by this article - broadband gaming, the death of consoles, the outgrowing of video games by their oldest generation of players - so let's have another rip-roaring discussion that might just last two days for want of time or energy on my part! You know you wa-nna! Also, tune in tomorrow for a letter dragged from english through spanish and then russian and then french and then back through polish and finally into its original english.

castomel@rpgamer.com
Andrew Long will knock you all down!

I'LL PROVIDE THE ANSWERS, YOU PROVIDE THE

QUESTIONS


Kee! Kee!

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