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questionanswer&andrew


Yertle the Deferrtle

Andrew Long - September 3, 2004 01:55 EDT

I ADMIT, I PROMISED A VERITABLE EXTRAVANGZA of turtle-related mayhem today, but for a number of reasons, none of which I can make public(thank you very MUCH, Kobe Bryant's accuser!), I have been forced to move this fantastic prizewinning event to Sunday. I will confess, part of my dilemma stems from the utter paralysis I now face; you see, my inbox is crammed to the rafters with letters, and while I am by no means complaining - I hope you continue to cram it thusly - I am a little bewildered as to how to proceed, given that my prior policy of printing everything I get seems slightly unfeasible now. I have also been poisoned courtesy of a local Taco Bell, and so my mental processes are not, shall we say, firing on all cylinders currently (though on the upside, I somehow managed not to puke all over the place at work, which I'm sure my coworkers were very grateful for.)

Even so, we have a fine assortment of randomly themed letters, given that "Name a Turtle" isn't exactly the most specific set of stage directions a person could come up with. Yes, this column is a stage and by gum, we're all players, so let's roll up our sleeves and talk about the death of kings or something, cuz quite frankly I'm boring even myself here so any change in topic will be welcome!




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A fascinating history of semantics


I just wanted to say that marrying cyberpunk and sorcery does not make steampunk. Steampunk is a genre basically invented, or at least brought to the mainstream by the same guy who made cyberpunk; William Gibson. His novel "The Difference Engine" was one of the first books that dealt with a world where "computers" and other types of high technology came about, in somewhat different forms, before the Industrial Revolution. Hence computers are big cog-driven machines the size of football fields, and airships/zeppelins are the only way to travel in style. FFVI is set in a very steampunk world, but with the addition of magic/fantasy elements. Magitek, especially is what makes it steampunk. Robots brought to life by magic rather than true high technology. Chrono Trigger has a few steampunk elements, what with Luca making that goofy-ass robot in a basically Victorian era, but thats the only thing. FFVII is also a little like that, with Mako energy allowing technology to advance very far very quick, but it seems as though the FFVII world was in the midst of the Industrial Revolution when Mako came out, so its a tough call. Anyways, Zelazny is great reading, and a blend of tech and magic, but its not steampunk. If you want steampunk, start with William Gibsons the Difference Engine, and Paul J. McAuley's Pasquale's Angel.

ANDREW
Thanks for... no, actually, I take that back. I really think I would have been better off not knowing any of this, and you still haven't really explained a) what cyberpunk is in your terms, b)why marrying it to sorcery doesn't make it steampunk, and c)why on earth you care so much about such meaningless designations. "Cyberpunk" and "Steampunk" and heck, "Science Fiction" and "Fantasy" are just different buzzwords for the same thing, speculative fiction. Certainly, I suppose that mindless subcategorization has its place, but in the end, you just KNOW that some annoying reviewer's going to mix them up and put the wrong one on a game box or dust jacket, so why lose sleep over it?

Yes, Andrew certainly does hate his buzzwords


I was wondering, how reliable do you think the Internet Movie Database is for information on videogames? Take a looksee:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0390163/

It lists Hedy Burress as appearing in the English Dub of Kingdom Hearts II, as Yuna. Square-Enix hasn't officially announced her as a character yet, to my knowledge, and I believe Auron is the only confirmed FF character. Oddly enough Yuna is the only one listed that doesn't have an 'unconfirmed' tag, while Auron does. Any guess if their info is accurate? And here's hoping she doesn't show up 'kiddie-fied' like Tidus and Wakka did, if she's in it at all.

On a side note, it also lists Richard Epcar and Michael McConnohie as reprising their characters in Xenosaga II (Ziggy and Margulis), which is good, they were awesome.

-Spoony "Tompkins" Bard

ANDREW
I wouldn't be too worried about Yuna being kiddified - remember, KH2 is going to be deep, dark, and angsty, and if there's anything that pokes a big hole in angst, it's cheerful friends with bad hair that can summon giant flaming balls of death to kill your enemies. As to the veracity of IMDB, the site is generally quite a useful resource on the movie side, and while its video game information is as yet not quite as fleshed out as the film side (for instance, Hitoshi Sakimoto is credited as composer for FFT, but then the FFT page does not include him under the credits) it does appear to be fairly comprehensive, and is certainly accurate for the most part.

So yes, I think there's probably a good chance that Yuna will appear, and now that I've said that, it's almost guaranteed that she won't!


Who is this "Eike" you speak of?


I might have sort of missed the discussion of voice acting in videogames, but I think it's fair for me to jump in and say this:

The best thing about voice acting in games is that it opened a whole realm of things to make fun of. Anyone remember playing "Shadow of Destiny"? Best worst game I've ever played. I'd be a happy gal if they ever decided to make a sequel... just as bad.

Eike: "Am I...DEAD?!" "Life... is a wheeeeeel of changes. No: death, teaches us how to LIVE!"

My fondest memories of video games always envolve sitting around a really, really poor game with a good friend and cracking fun at it the entire time. With actual voices, you've got all sorts of possibilities! Let's not even drag Tidus into this discussion. Too easy. ("Likeicare! Hmph!")

So, in that sense, I'm all for shoddy american voice acting! Let the lip mis-synchonization begin.

-t.

ANDREW
"So bad it's good" is one of the major reasons I leave the voices on in games, but some things just translate better in text - for instance, can you really imagine someone voicing Kefka and saying "Hate hate hate hate hate hate hate... Burn everything up!"? It just wouldn't be the same.


So, it's going to be one of THOSE days, eh?


No one liked FFVIII because it wasn't FFVII? FFVII wasn't even that good of a game. I can think of at least 3 Final Fantasies (IV, VI, and IX) that were vastly superior in many ways to FFVII. The characters in FFVII were heinous, as was the main boss. I'm sorry people, but Sephiroth was a personality-less guy who was on par with Seifer (god i hate that guy, how the heck do you cut Odin in half???).

And FFVIII sucked for many reasons, but the two most blatant ones (the only ones I can remember because I've tried my best to forget that game) were these:

1) The draw system. Lets stay in a VERY EASY boss battle for 2 hours while we draw over and over and over again because he's the only boss that gives us Curaga (or whatever).

ANDREW
Or alternately, let's play a little Triple Triad, easily the best minigame in any FF game, win some cards, and use them instead, because drawing is only one of several ways to get magic! Honestly, FFVIII did afford people the option to make it excruciating, but if you actually play around with it a little bit and you know, learn the system - which is admittedly more complex than "stick shiny rock in hole", but then, we're supposed to be smart, aren't we? - playing the game can be fun, and even challenging if you put the summons away.

2) **MAJOR SPOILER** Oh wait, we were all in an orphanage together? And the main antagonist was our nanny? And our boss was our nanny's husband? And we can't remember any of it? BECAUSE OF THE GUARDIAN FORCES? NO!!!!! I mean c'mon, what the heck is this? Soap Operas and softcore porns have better stories than that crap.

ANDREW
Actually, the antagonist wasn't the nanny at all... The antagonist was some evil old demoness of a thousand years who had a fetish for body snatching and just happened to choose the nanny. And call me Peg Bundy, but I for one liked the orphanage business, as deus ex machineriffic as it was.

I don't really have a question, but seeing as how this is a QNA and we'd hate to go against that, I'll think of three really quick...

What is your name?
What is your quest?
What is the average air speed of a laden swallow?

The man, the myth, the legend

Gryphon

ANDREW
I could tell you the answers to all three, but then I'd have to kill you.


Week-old anticipation


Neither Star Ocean 3 nor PB interest me that much. SO3 looks kinda... average and I'm not that into strategy games... And then the fact that Shin Megami Tensei 3, Digital Devil Saga, Baten Kaitos, Paper Mario 2 and the plethora of other junk that I desperately need to survive are coming out within the year kinda cancels everything else out.. Why are all the companies releasing everything NOW? Dammit, where were all the games during my birthday, I got barely anything...

About Nintendo needing an RPG series, doesn't Fire Emblem count? It isn't first party (methinks) but it's still a Nintendo product...

ANDREW
Ah, you are correct sir! FE, while it seldom ventures outside its Japan-lair, is indeed a full-fledged RPG series and is made by Nintendo to boot. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Playstation!

And to the guy that complained about ToE being changed to ToDII, I believe that was a copyright conflict with the He-Man series... Eternia being it's universe and all... The actual ToD2 wasn't supposed to be all that good anyway... Worst plot in the series, I've heard...

ANDREW
See? Even when I'm blowing smoke out my ass I'm still right! Sometimes I scare me!

And I'll ask a question for the sake of soaking up time: What do you think of Fable? It seems really overhyped to me and after reading the IGN it doesn't sound nearly as good as it did, and took out a lot of features that I was looking forward too... The combat sounds rather bad too...

Many niceties,

The Pantswench

ANDREW
Fable seems like it's going to be a pretty decent game that will fall flat on its face because the reality can never match the unearthly amount of hype that has issued forth from the developers. I'm sorry, but until I see all the wonderful stuff that's being promised, I'm going to reserve judgment.


Mmm.. more old soup


I was reading yesterday's Q&A and saw the letter from Pfeizer regarding "Final Fantasy VIII." I was writing to let him know that yes, there are other guys that like the game. I say only like because of some of the flaws in the game that have prevented me from beating it, though I am on the last disk. Sure, I could handle having to use a Guardian Force for every attack in a boss battle, even though it is annoying, I could even stand the, "Hunt down monster pieces to build new weapons," but what I can't stand is the inconsistency in level ups.

For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, Square, fro my understanding, attempted to fix the problem of ridiculously weak monsters by using a system that links the hit points and overall power of the enemies to the level of your lead character. This system has been used before, most notably in "Lunar: Silver Star Story," but it has a fatal flaw. Instead of basing it on setting a limitation on the monsters, such as they stop leveling after your main character reaches a certain level himself, or that the power of the enemy is based off of the party average level, they set it entirely on Squall who reaches level 100 far earlier than anyone else in your party. This, at least in my feeble mind, was a hug turn off because almost every fight turned into a boss battle, especially since my next highest character as a level of like 50.

That part aside, I loved the story of the game, which is why I mainly play RPGs. Sure a few of the parts were cliche or just obvious plot twists, the overall story was really good, up to the last disk, I admit I don't know the ending yet and a bad ending would ruin all of it. Anyway, I'm just writing to say once again that "Final Fantasy VIII" is a really good game that I feel is hampered only by the unbalanced difficulty level toward the end, and the phenomenal success of its predecessor.

General Janik

ANDREW
Am I the only person who figured out how to play FFVIII properly? I had Squall and Zell at level 100, Rinoa at level 92, Quistis at level 87, and no other character lower than level 70, so the only battle that really gave me grief was Ultimecia, who was, for lack of a better term, a bitch to defeat. In the end I only managed it by having Squall constantly attacking with limit breaks, while Rinoa and Irvine traded off Full Lifes.


Unfit for Print


Yea, Hi

I'm a bit confused about sumthin in FFVII... My friend gave me some cheat code stuff that can bring Aeris back to life, but another friend told me it doesn't work. O.o My question is:

Does it work or not? can you actually bring Aeris back to life in FFVII?!

Confused about crap...

ANDREW
No, no, no, no! Aeris is as dead as a mackerel with a poisoned stake through its head, floating in a puddle of cyanide, which sits beneath a giant magnifying glass about to set the whole thing on fire, and she stays that way no matter what you do. Now please, do us all a favour and go feed your annoying friend that fish.


YOU 'DREW
QUICKIE I
how do I get past the gards
or 2 get to the old man delivering the milk ?

Andrew:
Sorry, please try again. Better yet, remind me which Zelda game you're talking about exactly, since for the life of me I can't think of one in which there is a milkman.

QUICKIE II
Starocean 3 will be awesome.
Starocean 2 was an amazing game. Universal mode and that last boss...

Andrew:
I was with you riiiight until you said Star Ocean 2 was amazing. Then you made me sad, for awesomeness SO2 is not.

QUICKIE III
I think Avril Lavigne singing that song from Final Fantasy 8
would be pretty darn terri-err...crappy. But am I alone in thinking that the opening theme from Kingdom Hearts was one of the worst mistakes Square ever made? All of my friends went and downloaded it, leaving me with nothing but broken perceptions of their former respectability. It's not fair.

As for good combinations...hmm. I would have to think really hard about that. I mean, seriously Andrew, that's a tough call. Anyway, about games I wish would have come over here: the original Star Ocean, Radical Dreamers, SM3, Front Mission 1 & 2, Romancing Saga Series. And probably some others.

Anyway, until next time.
Xion

Andrew:
Thanks for sharing, Xion. Incidentally, if you're an Avril Lavigne fan, enjoy this while you can... She won't be appearing here again for a long, long time.

QUICKIE IV
I have never been swayed to get a game just because there was a commercial or something with...
oooh shiny lights *drool* but seriously I have never played a game just because of advertising. I have played a game because of p2p (person to person) hype, and that has been disapointing. Really really dissapointing. I do have stong will aginst tv comercials and magazine advertising. I have little to no P2P will thoght so if some one tells me a games really good I ight get it jus ton dat. okay well yeah JOJO

Andrew:
Hmm. I hope your friends never tell you to play in traffic...



DA LAST GRUMBLE

For tomorrow, as we await the exciting commencement of the turtle naming derby, I will of course be accepting further entries, but I figure a real topic might do us all some good, so hey - I got into the Matrix Online beta. Does anybody care about that game still, cuz frankly, I forgot I'd even applied! Oh, the irony...

castomel@rpgamer.com
Andrew Long wonders why a beta test requires a credit card number...

I'LL PROVIDE THE ANSWERS, YOU PROVIDE THE

QUESTIONS


WHY MUST TACO BELL BE SO VERY BAD?

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