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questionanswer&andrew


Water Torture

Andrew Long - August 26, 2004 23:53 EDT

SO ANYWAY, having never owned an N64, I have hitherto been in the dark over Nintendo's grandiose exercise in sadism, the Water Temple. Now there are those of you, I know, who will say "but the Water Temple is easy!" or "you're just a big dumb idiot!" or "gridiron, your car expectedly going to came act now!", but to you I say, V.icodin half of.f exjkgher! Also, I have spent the better part of the past two weeks of my gaming life struggling to repeat that sloshing sack of stupid chambers, continually visiting and revisiting rooms even when logic, cold and hard, told me I was wasting my time and could be making much better use of it losing at Warcraft to people who say things like "LOL u suck ggnorekthxbye", which is an enriching experience, to say the least.

Rejoice, however, for with almost no help from a walkthrough, other than to save my frayed brain the trouble of retracing my steps (or rather, drawing a map, as the more industrious among us have done) I have emerged out the other side, and now hate the iron boots in WW twice as much, and may or may not spend the next 72 hours of my life attempting to cast them into the ocean. That is clearly a flawed plan, however, for it leaves virtually no time at all for me to complete this column!

So I guess I will have to live with my iron boots, may they rust and tarnish, because I would never desert this space for the sake of deepsixing some annoying footwear. I will, however, deep six some annoying footwear at some point, because it seems like an appropriate means of shoe disposal, and besides, somewhere, somebody with a fishing pole is just aching to pull up an old smelly boot.

Incidentally: you may or may not have noticed a few letters popping up in both my column and Google's recently. You may also have noticed that we now share a common email address for Q&A. Set your minds at ease, therefore; it is merely one of us or the other either taking a second stab at a question for the sake of providing a second point of view, or else just me not clearing out letters that get posted in a timely fashion. That is all.




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In the last Q @ A Gryphon said Wakka was horrible. And i agree with him completely with Wakka's constant use of the word "Ya" was a sure garuntee that Wakka was retarded. Not only that but he was so closed minded to everything. And his constant babble of atonement. And the whole time the people he looked up to were the bad guys. Even when they tried to kill him he still didnt get it though his brain lacking skull (one to many blitzballs to the head i guess). All i could say is that im glad he didnt talk much during FFX-2. DIE !!Wakka DIE!!

-Tonberryking (If i had my chefs knife Wakka will die!)

ANDREW
This has been a test of the emergency ranting system. Had this been a rant of substance, you would probably have an urge to say something right about now. As it is, I think you should all join me in backing slowly away from the Tonberry...


When readers attack, part two


NeoCarbuncle mentioned that Tales of Symphonia had a very unique plot. I have to wonder whether he has simply never before played a game, read a story, or watched a movie in his life, or is just very gullible to plot twists.

I won't give spoilers. But I will say that every time I saw the potential for this game to blatantly steal a major plot twist from another famous game or famous anime, I began rooting out loud for it to happen every time there was a cut scene, much to the amusement of Player 2. Even more amusingly, every single thing I rooted for happened, leading my cohort to believe I had the ability to bend reality to my will simply by cheering it on.

ANDREW
When you get right down to it, most RPGs steal their plot points from anime to some degree; Evangelion is routinely pillaged for its themes (and sometimes its robots) and other games are downright based upon various series. Ultimately, given the level of creativity inherent in most anime by the time episode twenty rolls around, the outlook for inspiration in games isn't terribly good. Of course, I generally avoid anime like the plague, so feel free to flame me like the dirty Philistine I so clearly am if you just can't get enough of those episodes of Sailor Moon where they almost (but not quite) tilt the camera up her skirt.

So, a free topic day. At the peak of your Mountain Dew consumption, how bad was it? Just a moderate fixation, or a full-blown rock-bottom junkie? In the past year and a half I have become highly addicted to Pepsi, to the point where seeing a can of it immediately triggers in my brain the assumption that the can is mine, and I have to consciously remind myself that I do not own the company. I have become fixated with the idea of buying caffeinated water and using it in recipes in place of normal water, e.g. caffeinated pancakes, or double-caffeinated coffee. Of course, my mental instabilities hardly are exclusive to my addiction to stimulants, considering that I MUD so much now that when talking to people in real life, I think the word "gossip" before each sentence. And when playing a female character in a MUD, MMO or P&P, my mind's voice has a higher pitch. I wonder if I should be carted away.

Artificially,
LockeZ

ANDREW
As through some miracle my general tendency towards obsessive-compulsive behaviour does not lend itself to addiction, I only ever ended up guzzling six or eight cans a day at the height of my binging days. This should be mitigated, however, by the fact that I also drank a good litre of juice every day up until the point when my pancreas imploded, leaving me the Diet Coke-swilling husk you see before you now. There is also the small matter of Canadian soft drinks containing less caffeine than their American counterparts, meaning that while I definitely absorbed way too much sugar for my own good, the caffeine levels were disappointingly low, which is probably why I'm not hooked on coffee.


Okay, "open topic" !="start catfights"


Floating Islands are good, aren't they? I'd like to take a cheap shot at the guy who said that there was ONE good RPG that had a floating island. Dude, FF6 rocked. Chrono trigger rocked. Skies of Arcadia rocked. Breath of Fire was good. And the Lufia series was very fun. I hereby dub thee "Dick the Schmuck," which thou shalt be known as for all time.

Castity Belt, let me ask a question, not about RPGs, but about the column in general. Do you think that it's becoming more of people ranting about things, with you in the background, or is it staying an actual Question and Answer column? Because I seem to notice this trend...

ANDREW
Well, I try to mix it up, but sometimes people just wanna rant, and sometimes they wanna ask questions. As this is already perilously close to a Donny Osmond song, I think I'll just leave it at that.

Back to that other guy. Gilgamesh sucked.

And back to the questions! Are there any zombie themed RPGs out there? Because it seems to be a big topic in fantasy themed things, like Warcraft, and many other RTSes, but plays as just a division of the Generic Monster Army (GMA) in any given RPG. Why is that?

ANDREW
Zombies, you say? If you stretch it, you could count Secret of Mana, since the inhabitants of Pandora and the Northern Empire town are just one step away from eating brains before you come and show Thanatos who's boss. There's also the entire Koudelka series, which while not related to your run-of-the-mill zombies still has some pretty impressive "ye poweres of undead darknesse" behind it, to say nothing of its being a bunch of games that people truly love to tack the reprehensible adjective "Lovecraftian" onto.


And speaking of Shadow Hearts, here's a very special Unfit for Print


shadow hearts,great game blah blah blah.i am so angry with the push"give me artrithis"ring.i have read a letter from some time back and checked the faq's but to no avail.i did what u told the other bloke but i cant get the thing to move at all even though i was tapping X like a madman.so yeah any way how to get the thing to move cause my tapping x is not workin.

ANDREW
I recommend giving into your anger, because I can feel the hatred coursing through you. You are already lost. Your soul is mine! AHAHAHA!

...Alternately, if it irritates you so much, toss it in the microwave and move on.


Okay, I admit it: I only got mad cuz he said "-san"


Concerning Mistwalker and Sakaguchi-san, I'm actually looking forward to their games. All I know is, back in the day, I used to squeel like a little girl whenever a Sakaguchi influenced game would come out. I mean, just about every game he's had a role in turned out pretty damn good. Come on, Chrono Trigger, FF4-FF SMILY_.png(ed huh?) just the ones I thought were really good), FFT, even BF Musashi was pretty decent.

I think he really knows what he's talking about when he says he wants games to affect the gamer as a novel or movie would. In truth, that's what got me started in RPG's in the first place. Because instead of just simply roaming around shooting things, RPG's gave me a reason to be roaming around slashing things. That's what made it click for me, and if Sakaguchi-san is going back to basics, then I'm jumping in on the bandwagon. He's never failed me before (well except for Spirits Within but that was actually ok IMO) and I think he's one of the few people left who actually knows what we want from RPG's. All these damn new 3-D games are killing me, it would soooo kick ass if Mistwalker came out with a totally old-school 2-D RPG.......hey, it worked for Disgaea.

Mnkyking

ANDREW
Oh, not that tired old chestnut again... Three dimensions does not a bad game make, just as two dimensions does not a good one guarantee. While Sakaguchi's heyday was unarguably during the SNES era, as you yourself mention, BFM was a pretty entertaining game, and honestly, just because 3D gives developers an excuse to focus on graphics doesn't mean that every game that comes out in 3D is horrible. There are dozens of perfectly entertaining 3D RPGs out there, and while some of them don't quite fill the nostalgia void in quite the same way as FFVI and CT, the stories you say you're sticking around for have undeniably evolved far beyond "OMG Golbez.. IN A NEW FORM!!1"

All that said, yes, it would be truly kickass if Mistwalker were to produce a 2D RPG. Four Swords proves you can keep things flat and still have them look very, very good, and having only two dimensions does eliminate a lot of unnecessary clutter (besides, if you're a diehard 3D fan, it's not like the cutscenes have to follow suit.)


Aw, great... now you've got ME doing it!


Hello, I have been wondering for the longest time why translators consistently change people's, item's, and places names. Of course, I do know of space constraints, but I still imagine it would be less work to think up new names for most everything than to actually do what their job title makes people assume they do. I mean, look at the Breath of Fire series and Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht. The Breath of Fire series never really got a terribly great translation. Names were changed drastically at first (A GREAT example: "Rinpoo" changed to "Katt" with a "K" and two "T's"... And "Danc" changed to "Karn" and was mysteriously recolored with a lighter skin tone, both in the fields and main menu, and the space constraint issue doesn't apply to this name, so why they changed it is beyond me. Oh. And "Gilliam" to "Bo."), scenes were edited out, people gave you wrong directions, next to no swear words, if any (if there were actually never there, then never mind on that last one then), and so many other things that I sometimes get a headache just trying to remember all the real names and the like. I think that Ted Woolsey guy is to blame, but I won't swear to it.

ANDREW
First off, if you can't think of why they could possibly want to rename a character dubbed "Rinpoo" then your grasp of the English language, or at least, of Nintendo's target audience and their likely perversion of such a name, is woefully inadequate. Along those lines, sometimes a name that sounds perfectly fine in Japanese just doesn't have that catchy ring in English. I'm not suggesting that "Katt" is a particularly great replacement, but you have to understand, some sounds just aren't conducive to certain languages.

Secondly, Ted Woolsey is indeed to blame, but it's not his fault that he was forced to abide by Nintendo's draconian censorship policies of old. That's why you don't see cursing, and that's why scenes get cut - because Nintendo, apparently operating on the theory that North America is populated strictly by raving Christian fundamentalists who go up in flames at the slightest diversion from strict church doctrine, hacked out anything that could be construed as the least bit objectionable to this demographic. By and large, this was a wise idea, as WASP soccer moms were at the time (and remain to this day) a particularly vocal group prone to maddening media onslaughts against video games that could be sparked virtually any time society's collective failed parenting tactics needed something to be blamed on. Thus, Nintendo kept the virginal-soul-corrupting content to a minimum, and lines like "Spoony Bard" and "Son of a Submariner" were born.

Now, of course, things have changed; all semblance of mainstream gentility has vanished, and music, tv, and indeed, some video games now extoll the virtues of pimping and killing and hardcore nudity with brazen flagrancy. Do I wish we were in a kinder, gentler time? Well, in some ways yes, since that kinder gentler time involved much less work, but then again, there's something to be said for freedom of speech, as you yourself have mentioned.

All the "translators" of the first episode of Xenosaga were all Japanese, so I would assume they would know their own language. If I am being biased, racist or the like (Which is hard not to do nowadays, due to people just waiting for someone to "slip up.") then I apologize. Yet they all seemed to have never played Xenogears, and thus, names like "Rosesist S" were replaced with "Ether Pack S."

ANDREW
Honestly, is this really a problem for you? What the fun is Rosesist, anyway?

Names of attacks were changed around quite a bit too. I believe if people buy RPG's, they know what to expect more or less. So I believe they should leave everything intact if they absolutely can. Also, on a related note: Why was the localization as botched up as it was in Tales of Symphonia? People's and item's names were changed. Like "Refill" to "Raine" "Collet" to "Colette," and "Pine Gummi" to "Pineapple Gel."

ANDREW
To clarify: Japanese is a language in which words are formed through grouping syllables; thus, "Collet" isn't actually what it looks like in Japanese; it would probably be closer to "Koretto" or something like that (disclaimer: I am not an expert, so don't bother writing in to correct me, first year Japanese majors. I am providing a broad generalization, nothing more.) and when you get right down to it, since English doesn't rely on this system of forming words, it's only natural that some names and items would be changed around to reflect that difference. Ultimately, it's the same thing anyway, so again, WHAT DOES IT MATTER?
The voice actors were reading off of paper while in Japan they were talking to each other... And there was no voice acting during skits! They didn't even have the reading off of paper voice acting! And where did the Sound Test go!? I wanted to listen to that one boss theme so much...! And also because Namco just had to rename "Tales of Eternia" to "Tales of Destiny II" (They would've been bought either way considering that American "Tales" fans will take what they can get over here from that series...!), We never got the real "Tales of Destiny 2" when it was eventually made! (Almost as if they were mocking us for our error... Nah.) I think I have made some type of point here... Somewhere... Thank you for your time and patience of my ranting and raving. Try to have a nice day, whoever might be reading this... And thank you again. (May I have some sort of confirmation that someone besides my self has read this? If it's not too much to ask of course...)

ANDREW
I'm pretty sure nomenclature wasn't why we missed out on Tales of Destiny II... Once again, I ask you guys to consider the possibility that sometimes, games don't make it over from Japan because they SUCK. Plain and simple. Sure, you get your occasional uh, "lost gems" like SD3 and that unfortunate stretch of Dragon Warriors that came out during Enix's difficulties in North America, but by and large, what stays in Japan usually has pretty good reason to, at least in terms of mass appeal.


Oho.. Stealeable topic off the starboard bow!


Hey Cast,

Here's a weird one for you...if you had to pick a song from an RPG that you think would have mainstream success if given words, or a rock sound or rap beat or whatever, what would it be? I would have to say that a grunge version of the song that plays when you fight Bizarro Sephiroth in FF7 would be the first thing that springs to mind for me. Hey, I think we have our topic for the weekend!

Robust Stu
Gold Reviewer/Swell Guy

ANDREW
Bearing in mind that mainstream success and musical quality are generally mutually exclusive terms, I would suggest that any of the fine buttrock stylings of Nobuo Uematsu would play well to a certain crowd. If I had to select one track in particular, though, I could see Celine Dion doing a perfectly horrific job of butchering Aria de Mezzo Caraterre. Why am I coming up with such horrible ideas? Possibly because I've been subjected to a steady diet of soft rock every day at work for the past four months. I'm sure any non-soulless person can relate to how this could breed a healthy contempt for all things pop.


YOU 'DREW
QUICKIE I
Dear Pumpkin:

OK, so I was sitting the other day reading on the couch (yay holidays!) with the Olympics on in the background. They were showing synchronized swimming pairs, and half way through the american pair, I was "...wait, I know this song. WTF?" Anyway it was Liberi Fatali. WTF.

Actually, I don't have a question. I just wanted to say that because I have nothing else to do while sitting here waiting by the phone.
Love,
Scar/Rob

Andrew:
Thanks for sharing, Scar. Actually, I wanted an excuse to mention this, so you played right into my hands. While I didn't see it, I won't be quite as dismissive as Google was of the possibility of it having been Liberi Fatali, because based upon around ten independent eyewitness accounts, I have reason to believe that it was, in fact, Liberi Fatali. Strange choice for synchronized swimming, to be sure, but hey... Score one for Uematsu... I wonder if he got royalties :D

QUICKIE II
Google (or Cast or whomever),
The quote is from Legend of Zelda Links Awakening. The "special medicine" refills your heart gage when it goes down to zero, kind of like an autolife thing. Does that warrant a tilde? ~
-Naia

Andrew:
I'll show you whomever.. NO TILDE FOR YOU!

QUICKIE III
Sorry about my over-use of the word fabulous,
but that's my universal word when talking about acting. On topic, Disgaea, I saw one screen and needed it like burning. Actual question, the idea of Mist Walker starting up is cool, you think there's any chance we'll actually get some of those games? Anyway, time to fulfill my burning need.

-WildDrac

Andrew:
I think there's a good chance, provided the games don't suck. Sakaguchi is a fairly high-profile name, so I'm sure he won't have too much trouble picking up a publisher, especially if he's actually got some reason to be creative.



DA LAST GRUMBLE

All right, then. For tomorrow, I'd like you all to either outdo me in feats of horrible pop-music meets RPG fare, or else come up with something that might actually sound decent. I'm fairly sure, however, that not everyone will agree with my opinion on games that get left in Japan, so if there's a game that never made it over that you've always wished you had, feel free to write in about that too. Don't disappoint me, guys! Fill my heart with music!

castomel@rpgamer.com
Andrew Long is alive - with the sound of music!

I'LL PROVIDE THE ANSWERS, YOU PROVIDE THE

QUESTIONS


Oh, if only I didn't know all the words... Curse you, grade five school play!

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