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   and JWH  
Googleshng - February 16 '01- 2:00 Eastern Standard Time

Have you ever had to spend five hours just trying to get your computer to start up? If not, be glad, if so, uh... darn. Hmm, thought I was going somewhere with that. This was one of those days full of highs and lows. Low #1: My comp was quite sick this morning, high #1: I fixed it then plowed through hard mode of PSO solo. Low #2: Another 3 hours of comp fixing. High #2: Well, there's a link to it later in this column. Anyway, here's JWH.

JWH: I'm back!
<insert groan here>
Yep, you get to deal with me for at least one more column. I must say, though, you people disappoint me. No Snatcher? No imports of Persona 2? Oh well, you're forcing me to dig deeper on the wanted list. Let's see...what do I want? Well, it seems that it's going to be a speed competition, because the only other game I can think of is Grandia 2. New copies preferred, but I'm not THAT picky. Get on those e-mail programs and tell Google that you want to send me games! You could even just buy a copy off of the net and ship it to me! A guest host slot, going for the low, low price of only $50. Goog has to be wondering why he even let me do this in the first place. Snatcher and Persona 2 are still fair game, though....

Anywho, time to wreak my havoc!

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MMORPGs vs. PSO
Greetings, Lately you've been praising PSO a whole lot, and yet, I vaguely recall you saying you've never played an online MMORPG like Everquest and never will. Is there actually a difference between the 2 types of games? My theory is you'd get addicted to EQ faster than..... something thats pretty damned fast I guess (got nasty cold, out of wit). Question now, heard anything about that rumor of the DC price dropping from the now great price of a mere 100$ to the amazing price of 50$??

JWH:
I feel qualified to answer this one because I'm addicted to PSO, and my best friend is a MMORPG player. There is a HUGE difference. PSO is closer to Diablo 2 than it is to Everquest. You hack and slash, with or without friends, and chat a little bit. With Everquest, it's more of a life style. Everyone exists in the same world, as opposed to the 4 people in a game for PSO. Role-playing takes on a larger role. They're really not even in the same genre.

As for the price drop, it just dropped to $100! It's called patience, look it up...

Googleshng:
That sounds about right. PSO is an actual game, whereas a massively multiplayer RPG is, when you get right down to it, just a chatroom with orcs in it.

 
Why do so many of these find their way into print?
Hey (monks sing) GOOG-LE-SH-NG AND J-W-H
How dare you ignore me. JWH, I am not coruppting monks and there are other's who have singing monks. Also I can't give you JWH those things you requested but I'll let you borrow the monks or even a pardon. Since you're in college you could use my furniture with the presidental seal I'm hiding in exchange for some new scandal-skills an undisclosed person is teaching me. Goog, when's the next rant coming up since I'm a big fan and you can use my scary pic ideas. If you don't post this I'll use a bizzare spell summon. "The Godfather himself, supplier of concrete shoes, come forth to crush thy foes, MARLON BRANDO!!!"
Imperial Mog

JWH:
I swear, Mog, you make less sense with every letter. There could be a question in there, but my brain exploded halfway. So let's just pretend that you asked...um....what my favorite game was! That's the ticket!

The answer is Final Fantasy 6, btw.

Googleshng:
My plans for this weekend include posting a rant, playing AD&D, watching 12 hours worth of anime, and doing a bunch of other things. Will I succede, or will Fate smack me around with a... uh... you know... one of those things! Tune in next week to find out!

 
The 3 kings
Hi there.

Do you have any idea when DQ7 will be coming out in America?

Also, in FF9, what do the chocograph peices do? And what do the writings mean? I've been looking for Alexandria Plains, but I can't find them!

One more...

Why do you like SoA so much?

JWH:
I was actually talking about this very issue the other day. Frankly, unless Enix is planning on releasing it like a month after they announce it, I'm beginning to think that they lost all semblence of intelligence and have decided to not bring it out here.

As for the chocograph pieces, they allow you to find treasure on the world map using your chocobo. Get on the world map, get your chocobo, go to where the chocograph tells you to go, and dig.

As for SoA, it's just a damn good game by the makers of Phantasy Star, which is one of the greatest RPG series ever. As a side note, PSO2 is great and all, but I want Phantasy Star V!

Googleshng:
The metal slime pointing a gun at my head is instructing me not to answer your DQ7 question. Moving on, while JWH just described Chocographs, Chocograph PIECES are something else entirely. There are 6 of them in total, once you have them all, just hop on your gold chocobo, fly to the 6 locations mentioned on them until you see a shadow on the ground, sit under it, and pop a pepper. I won't spoil for you what happens then. Finally, the reason I like SoA so much is that, quite frankly, it is one of the best RPGs, if not the best, in every possible respect. Wonderful plot, wonderful gameplay, wonderful pacing, wonderful characters, wonderful atmosphere, wonderful music, wonderful cinematography, wonderful setting, wonderfully brought together, and there's a few more wonderfuls I could mention but, well, you get the idea. Plus, for the record, I have yet to find anyone who disagrees with me on this point.

 
Cosplaying
Cosplay rocks! I am going as Sailor V at an upcoming con. Have you ever tried cosplaying, Goog?

-Rinoa the Resistance Fighter

JWH:
I tackled this issue last week, so I'll just ramble on about a random topic here. You know what most annoyed me about the Lunar remakes? The music. I own the Sega CD versions of the games, and the music was way better. Don't give me this remixed crap. Also, what was up with the sewers? They were like a million times harder in the original when only Alex could use magic and Ramus was a useless waste of space!

Googleshng:
Yes, I TRIED cosplaying once. Last year my cousin and I were going to go to ACen in a huge Ohmu costume, which he ended up building to only fit one person, so I was stuck without one. This year hopefully I can through something senselessly elaborate together though! As for Lunar, as someone else asked, but that letter seems to have vanished, in the remakes, they added anime scenes, changed all the music, and changed the plot around a bit. I've heard from a few people that the original music was better, but I haven't heard it myself.

 
Smashing!
Yo
About the Sega Smash Pack thing- I think I recall reading somewhere that it will be released in March sometime. It's also "Volume 1" so there will probably be others following.
About the 2 controller ports vs 4 thing- the biggest thing that pisses me off about the PS2's two ports is that while reading EGM around the time the system came out in Japan, there was an interview with some Sony rep, and he said that they decided to use a motorized tray-loading system for the disks instead of a top-down method like the DC\PS1\everything else is because "it's cool." And when asked about the lack of 4 controller ports, Sony reported it was mainly to cut costs on the already expensive system. So, they're trying to cut costs and yet they still opt for the expensive motorized tray stuff because it looks cool. mkay.

-SuperGreen

JWH:
Ahhh....the Sega smash pack. It would be great to pick up if I didn't already own Shining Force and Phantasy Star 2. Hopefully more will come out, because beyond the PS and SF series, I don't own many Genesis games...

As for Sony...well, due to the fact that Square has sold its soul to them, they have mine by default. Thus, unless one of you poor souls would send me a PS2 (No takers? Damn...), they're going to get my money.

Googleshng:
Someone else told me the solo smash pack went on sale in April. Anyway though, yes. Sony made a number of big mistakes with the PSX2. The side loading thing is a tad unsettling too. Normal PSX CD doors break down too easily as is, and trays aren't known for their durability in my experience.

 
Console Wars
Just curious: I understand your being pro-Dreamcast, because most people have absurdly decided to take sides in the console war. But why are you anti-PS2? It really does show through all your comments. I have been a fan of RPGamer for a long time because you focus on the games, but too much of the Q&A has been system war crap. I own both a DC and a PS2, and I like them both in there own ways. DC has PSO, but Shen Mue and SoA never really struck me as very great. (Actually, I hated Shen Mue. Having to put a controller down to walk away for 20 minutes until the game time is right so a person can show up to tell me who to talk to next never appealed to me). So, do you think you could try to be more neutral in the future?

verbal

JWH:
People have natural preferences, at those preferences will come out when they're asked opinionated questions. This isn't a news section. It's a Q&A section, which does not have to be neutral. You read this column to see how Google responds to questions posed to him. If you don't like his opinions, there's no law saying that you have to read it. There are quite a few other letter columns on the net (for the moment), so you can go read any of those.

Googleshng:
This may surprise a lot of you, but I actually agree with verbal here on a lot of this. A couple weeks ago I actually said to myself sonething along the lines of "If I see one more letter about the PSX2 vs. the DC I'm going to snap" which actually I did, but it was during the period where I couldn't update for a huge pile of reasons, so you all missed out on my temporary madness. For the record a total nervous breakdown can really clear your head and I strongly recommend it for anyone under too much stress. Anyway though, the point is, I don't like console wars arguments. much like with politics, most people have this habit of being overly passionate, overly loyal, and outright refuse to be objective about a thing. In the end it doesn't really get you anywhere either. There isn't a person on this planet who can tell you what system will have the most new games on it 3 or 4 years from now. You can talk about what system is theoretically capable of having the most technically advanced games, which is the most cost efficient, which you're planning to buy no matter what due to your own personal reasons, but it isn't really going to change a thing unless you can talk to a huge number of people at once. As an example of how you can't predict this stuff by the way, look at the PSX. It's the weakest system of it's generation in terms of specs, made by a complete newcomer to the game industry, it's one of the least durable game machines ever built, has no first party software to speak of, and the early games on it were pretty much all garbage. Yet somehow, despite any predictions you could make, here it is, totally dominating all the third parties and cranking out games like crazy, well, that's ending now, but you know what I mean. Of course, the problem is that people, especially those with strong opinions, love debating. So every day I have a huge pile of letters on the subject, and I end up having to print one or two, and respond. Hopefully this will all die down once a game comes out that everyone gets. Meanwhile, I'll just sit here playing devil's advocate and pointing out facts like that right now you could pay $300 for a PSX2 and have nothing to play on it for a year of two, or you could spend $100 on a DC, play some of the FANTASTIC games on it that you'd otherwise have to go scrounge up used somewhere or just miss out on, and then, once some really great PSX2 games finally DO come out, the price will have dropped to something much more reasonable like $100-$200. Saves you some money, gives you more options for buying games, what's not to like?

 
Huh?
Dude, how many flames do you get over your name? I know about 90 people who would kick your ass for using it.

Christoph

JWH:
Wha? What the hell are you talking about? People would kick my ass for using my initials that I was born with? Ooookaaay.

As for your question, I've gotten nary a flame over my name. Course it helps that I haven't publicized my e-mail address......

Googleshng:
I'm confused too. Jumping White Hedgehogs? Just Working Here? Juggling Wild Hens? I don't see the offensiveness.

 
Rereleasals
Hi, I would really like to know a lot more about what Square has instore for the re-releases of FF7,8,9 on PS2 mostdefinetly FF8. Is there going to be voice overs? What >are they going to do to soup it up. I am literaly obsessed with Final Fantasy 8, I love that game. Please if you have any info let me know.

JWH:
We know nothing about the remakes at the moment. There will be some tweaking, because it'd be pointless otherwise, seeing as you can already play FF8 on your PS2....

Likely, it'll be a graphical upgrade ala Super Mario All-Stars. They may add voice-overs, but it's all speculation at this point.

Googleshng:
There are two reasons to rerelease a game. To reflect on one's classic works and caringly recraft them to appeal to a newer audience, or to make some quick cash without making a lot of effort. Considering that one of these games JUST CAME OUT, I think it's safe to assume Square is doing the latter. Therefore I doubt you'll see anything new about the PSX2 remakes except for, presumably, higher poly counts and smoother textures. As soon as word comes though, we'll have a news story up with all the details for you.

 
It stinks! No wait, it's good.
Well, I figured you might as well like to see this too then, if you are at all a fan of Jay Sherman.

http://www.shockwave.com/bin/shockwave/entry.jsp?menu=shows/critic

New short episodes of The Critic! It's a shockwave thing, but I'm assuming you'd guess that my the main part of the Addy. Enjoy!

J

JWH:
Screw the Critic, it's all about the Simpsons!

"I bent my Wookie..."

Googleshng:
That's just plain surreal. New episodes of The Critic, with the original cast, in the form of 10 minute shockwave episodes, with lousy animation. Not as good as actual new episodes with length and an animation budget, but still pretty darn cool in an unsettling sort of way. In other news, Kermit the Frog has been making TV appearences lately, like on The Daily Show, the host of which is at CC's school today, and Thor updated his page this week... THE DEAD WALK AMOUNG US! AAAAAHHHH!!!! Ahem.

 
FF10
What gives? There hasn't been any FF10 bashing yet! While it looks like a really cool game, it just wouldn't be Final Fantasy without someone claiming that it will be the worst Final Fantasy of all time. So even though I couldn't be more hyped over it, I guess I have to carry on the tradition, so here it goes.......

Why do the characters have to look so real? I WANT the hero to be God-only-knows-what!
And why are they changing the battle system? They won't get rid of MP will they? I hated it when FF8 ditched MP. 'Course, I hated it when FF9 brought it back also...
And what's with this FMV? We don't need FMV! Back in my days, we got by on pixels! I still remember the Japanese Final Fantasy 3. Thought the kid was an onion the first time I saw him, but that's how all Final Fantasys should be!
Knowing Squaresoft the voice acting will suck.... it always does.
Well, let's all get ready to waste our money on Looser Fantasy 10, you poor decieved boys and girls......

- Lord Sephiroth

JWH:
And what the hell is this with gameplay? I want to watch it, god forbid I actually have to pick up a controller. Frankly, I'm also insulted at the idea that they're actually using graphics for it. When I think of the perfect Final Fantasy, I think of a blank screen, dammit!

...the scary thing? Square could have Final Fantasy X just be a blank screen, and it'd still sell 500,000 copies....

Googleshng:
Wow, you two sound more jaded than me! Impressive! For the record, people HAVE been bashing FF10. Specifically, people have been bashing the character designs. With very good cause too. Does anyone like this generic punk style? Anyway though, since, as I said, I like playing Devil's Advocate, I am now placed in the position of defending FF10. Interesting. OK, let's see... while graphically it seems like a turnoff, Square's new policy of squeezing everything they can out of those two little Fs includes yanking all their staff who have been working on spiffy non-FF games to come help out, so there should presumably be some fresh no exciting gameplay concepts, and with luck, they might even be fun! Still, what's sad is that JWH is right about that blank screen bit, and what's sadder is that I would still have to buy FF10 so I could answer the flood of questions I would get about that blank screen. 8)

 
I need to start counting how many letters I toss to guests.
hey goog

It seems that you just can't catch a break these days. First, you're sick for a while, so you can't do the column and brighten all of the readers' lives. Then you get back and you're mail server is screwed up, so due to lack of adequate mail, you can't put together one of your usual super high quality columns(I mean c'mon, you printed one of my letters for toad's sake). You must be cursing your luck. Anyway, maybe I'll ask a question...or four.

1)In your opinion, what is the most under-rated RPG?
2)Same beginning...most over-rated RPG?
3)Why will none of the special guest hosts ask for a game that I have and would be willing to give up?
4)This is a bit of a philosophical question. Why?

I asked chesh the first two a while back and I don't really remember you getting those recently. Anyway, have a nice column and weekend.

Russell "sephiruss" Goss

JWH:
1.)Hmmm....my answer is probably different from most other people. Persona 2. It's one of the best games I've ever played. It took out all that was wrong with Persona 1, while making everything that was right even better.

2.)Chrono Trigger. I've beaten it 8 times, I love it, but I don't understand the people that call it the greatest SNES RPG ever. For one thing, it's WAY too short (I beat it under 22 hours my first time), and it's not that challenging. It's a great game, don't get me wrong, it's just that it's not as good as those that worship it claim it to be.

3.)Because it's all a conspiracy to deprive you of your God-given right to guest-host. However, I've upped the ante. Do you have a copy of Grandia 2 lying around? Hell, if you really want to assure your spot, get me a copy of Record of the Lodoss War AND Grandia 2!

4.)I was hungry, that's why.

Googleshng:
Then on top of all that it took my comp 5 hours to start up today. Woo. Anyway, on to your questions... most underrated is actually a pretty tough call, but based on personal conversations, I'd have to go with either the original Vandal Hearts or Kartia. People consider both of them really mediocre but Kartia has such cool and original gameplay concepts, plus the whole spells affecting the terrain deal, and VH has the best level design of any TRPG ever made, hands down. Note, had you said the most unnoticed game, I'd have said Koudelka, and had you said the most overbashed game I would have said Mystic Quest. As for the most overrated RPG, that's easy. Vagrant Story. Now, VS has SOME good points. The artistic style is flat out cool, and the story is pretty nice, but, well, it's a dungeon crawl with a detatched plot and overly complex game mechanics which make bosses become gruelling, taxing, boring affairs. However, have you ever seen a Vagrant Story fan? I guarrentee just for saying this here that I will have at least five VENOMOUS flames in my box, and at least two of those would call me a moron for "not understanding how the mechanics work". For the record, I understand completely how they work, but they're still overly complex and don't really work in practice. Moving on... well, have patience, or buy old obscure games you don't want... no wait, that'd just be stupid... well, having patience isn't stupid, but you know.. bah! Next letter! 8)

 
Smashy Smashy!
ey Google, did you like Front Mission 3? Out of all the RPGs from last year, from FF9, Chrono Cross, Vagrant Story, out of all of them, the RPG that has got me completely hooked on playing it then and now still is FRONT MISSION 3! I know it sounds weird, but the story line, battle system (just like Final Fantasy Tactics), 22nd Century setting, number of hours it takes to beat, the wanzers, have got me completely hooked on this game!!
Also, where are the other front mission games and why haven't they been released in the US? With Square talking about re-releasing FF4 and Chrono Trigger, why doesn't Square release Front Mission 2 and Front Mission Alternative to the Playstation to the US? And will Square make any Front Mission games on the PS2? Someone's gotta back me up on this!

JWH:
Front Mission didn't really come over because they generally feature a US like country fighting Japan, and the US is the devil. Square didn't really think that American gamers would take to this idea. However, it should be noted that Capcom made a game called 1942 where you played an American pilot fighting the Japanese in World War 2 and released that in Japan, so you never know...

Googleshng:
I've been laying FM3 myself recently as you may have noticed. Really a nice game that one. Anyway though, don't hold your breath on any more coming over here. Square's no nothing-but-FF philosophy hurts that a bit. On the bright side though, the original Front Mission is pretty much THE easiest game to import. The menus are all in english, you get to assign each character an english handle, and all the parts/weapons are in english, so there's no language barrier to worry about. In fact, the only text in the game which isn't in english is plot stuff, which follows the same structure as FM3's, and is summarized in web pages in the game. Speaking of importing mecha TRPGs by the way, my best friend who is currently in Japan decided to torture me by mailing copies of Sakura Wars (think FM3 but you have to take your pilots out of dates), AND Super Robot Wars (a TRPG with all the mecha from Eva, Gundam, and a few other things), to a friend I never see who never even plays console RPGs anymore. Rar! Ahem. Let's move on.

 
One last big push...
Dear Googleshng and friends,

I have a few questions which have either clawed at my mind, or are driving me insane as we speak, or have already done so.

1) When in FF8 is "Maybe I'm a Lion..." played?

2) Is Melodies of life (ff9) sang by Faye Wong?

3) Do either of you proudly boast, (if you actually do this) that you listen to, and LIKE video game music?

4) Who is your favorite character out of all video games? (also which game if not painfully obvious)

5) Do you ever feel embarrased that you work on a RPG site Googleshng? More curiosity then anything, I know I wouldn't but ya know.. I just wanted to know.

6) What is your favorite all time quote from any video game?

Ahh well.. There. Now my brain hath been emptied on your table.

Captain "GET AWAY FROM ME YOU SPOONY VULCAN!!" Cid Highwind

JWH:
1.) I have no clue, and my apathy towards doing research leads me to play pick a random scene. Hmm.....in the sewers?
2.) No. Easy, ain't it?
3.) I don't boast, but I do like. I burned a CD of all my favorite FF tunes (Dancing Mad, baby!), and I mourn the death of Napster because I no longer have easy access to game music.
4.) That's a hard question. Hmmm...I'd have to say two people. Dillon and Orwell. From Final Fantasy Tactics. They were the two regular people I started with that lasted the entire game with me. By the end of the game, I'd used them so much that I gave them their ow
n personalities. Dillon was the anal-retentive summoner, while Orwell was the slacker ninja. 5.) Why should he be embarrassed? It's a professional looking site, that is run in a professional manner. Maybe if it was a tiny homepage that said "poopy" every other page, then he should be, but RPGamer is actually given professional courtesy by gaming companies, to the degree they send out review copies of their new games to it.
6.) I tried to fight it, but I gotta say it. "You spoony bard!" It's going to live with me for the rest of my life. When I'm 80 and senile, I'll be in the old folks home screaming "I'm a spoony bard! I'm a spoony bard!" Someone just put me out of my misery now...

Googleshng:
OK... I could answer your first question no problem except for the little fact that I don't have the money to throw around on soundtracks, thus I never know the names of any songs in any RPGs, and while I know half a dozen people who could answer that, they all fell asleep about 6 hours ago. I'll have to sneak this answer in in the morning or something. <sneakysneakysneak> It's played while you fight the second to last form of the last boss. The answer to your second question, as JWH said, is no. I can't pick just one favorite character or quote, there's too many choices, although Myau from Phantasy Star deserves some credit for being a talking housecat, and finally, why the deuce would I be embarrassed by the fact that I help run a major, respectable news site dedicated to one of my favorite things in life? It's not like I ever even come into contact with non-nerds or anything.

 

The Last Laugh:


JWH: Well that's it. Based on the fact that I'm asking for a game that is readily available in stores this is also likely my last turn. It's been fun. Seeing as I can't think of anything to say right here, I'd like to say hello to Jim, Mora, Starba, Loki (Sorry!), Eiko (I don't blame you!), Gunblade (Good luck!), SERGE, Gol, and 2Xtreme (This weekend, I promise I'll be on!). Oh, and for those who are e-mailing Goog as we speak about securing their guest-host slot: PS2 trumps all, followed by Snatcher, Persona 2: Innocent Sin, Grandia 2 AND Record of the Lodoss War for DC, and finally Grandia 2.

Google: I think that's one of the longest columns I've ever ended up posting. Either that or I just got more distracted than usual and it took forever. Anyway though, it was, as usual, fun, but now I must be going off to torture CC some more now that I've turned him into a Magical Girl. I also have to sleep, play PSO with demanding folks, throw a rant up, and do a couple more things which at the momment slip my mind. This'll be a pretty busy weekend.

Oh yes, one more thing. Tonight, as has happened several times before, a random person (by the name of Ultros, tada, your proof) from out there in reader land got curious while playing around with one of the various chat-type programs I have running in the background while working on columns and such, and greated me simply with "imposter?" Now, while I hate to come off as anti-social, this sort of thing happens a lot, and it's honestly a bit rude to randomly wander up and start interrogating someone you don't know about who they are. Plus of course in my case there's the matter of my being constantly busy with one thing or another, so there's the added distraction factor. Anyway though, to make a long story short, while I have no problem talking to random readers, the only time I have time to do so is when I'm seperated from my computer, so you'll have to go stalk me at anime central this year or something if you really want my attention. 8)


Googleshng "It stinks!" @rpgamer.com
I've been visited by 3 ghosts, but they didn't really take me anywhere...

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