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Googleshng - October 19 '01- 2:00 Eastern Standard Time

Hello 30 degree weather! I missed you! Now if only these leaves would hurry up and change colors. Anyway, here's Lin.

Lin: Yeah, I'm back again, but this is the last time. I promise. I'll be getting a nice little copy of Earthbound in the mail soon so I'll happily lock myself up in my room with my darling SNES and stay in there for a week. Yeah, so I better answer these questions before I get distracted...

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Challenge

Dear Googleshng and Lin -
A letter yesterday caught my eye, the one about video game difficulty. Funny, considering I was wondering that myself that very day. One thing comes to mind when I think about video game difficulty: Metal Gear. I had both metal gears back in the day, they were impossible in every sense of the word. On the other hand, Metal Gear Solid can be beaten in two hours with your eyes shut, hands tied behind your back, ball gag in mouth, and ears taped shut. It has been a long time since an RPG, or ny game for that matter, has truly challenged me. Even the mega-muku bosses of the Final Fantasies can be beaten with time and patience. Have either of you heard of any RPG that requires tactics and good planning, rather than just a lot of time devoted to leveling up? On an easier-to-answer note, I'm trying to plot out my budget for the next few months. Can either of you suggest any RPGs that have gongle-loads of gameplay involved? I want an RPG I can rack 60 hours or more on before beating it.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I just ate 40 McNuggets on a bet and I'm not feeling so hot. As long as I can keep it down, I get 20 bucks, but it's going to take all of my concentration to do.

-SirLarr "Let the music play, down at Fraggle Rock!"

Lin:
Yeah, I agree that tons of recently released games have been extremely easy compared to the dear games of older systems. The recent Final Fantasies have been no real challenge... I remember the Front Mission 3's final battle was quite a challenge (and very fun) and you can't really level up in that game either. Lots of strategy too unless you max out all your weapons... but then your metal rank lowers. It's all about balance. But then, I love FM3 so I'd suggest that to anyone and everyone. However, I haven't been playing my games lately (bad Lindsay) so I asked my friend Adam to suggest a game as well. Here's what he said:

"I'd choose Final Fantasy Tactics for that. Its got LOADS of strategy in which leveling up isn't really that big a deal. And with how long the game is, you'll probably rack up way more than 60 hours. Plus I believe it jus got re-released on greatest hits so you won't have to go on ebay and buy it for $70 ^_^ Its also got a really deep story and such, so yes, get FFTactics."


And I'll vouch for the strategy aspect of FFT. ::sighs:: I'll never get the hang of that game.

Googleshng:
While a good many TRPGs can put the strategic decisions back in RPGs, for a more traditional game, you should really check out Skies of Arcadia. First it has the added challenge given by having a shared pool of points required for all spells and special moves, meaning you can't simply have each character go all out until they run out of MP. Next there's the airship battles, where not only do you have to plan out your actions in 4 round blocks, every airship battle, even the random ones, is dotted with chances to make complex strategic decisions which can give a serious upper hand to one side or the other. For example, between rounds in one fight, the player is given a chance to try and pull a U-turn or cut the engines. One of these places you right behind the enemy ship, and able to us a devastating attack, while the other leaves you very exposed to enemy fire for the next several rounds.

 
Games of past and present.

Lin:

1. What RPGs are you looking forward to the most?

Lin:
Hmm... well, right now, I'm not really drooling over anything except for Golden Sun for my precious GBA and Suikoden III for the PS2 (which I am lacking). I'm also a bit excited about FFX if only because of how cool Lulu looks.

Googleshng:
I'm probably forgetting something, but Hoshigami, Arc Collection, and, much to my surprise, Dragon Warrior 7 are topping my list at the moment.

2. What was your impression of Chrono Cross? Some people love it, others hate it. I'm part of the former.

Lin:
While I was playing Chrono Cross, I adored it. I'd play it for hours on end. After I beat it, though, nothing really stood out in my mind. It's all just kinda jumbled together. But I still suggest the game to customers because I still feel that it's an awesome game... I just can't remember why.

Googleshng:
Same here. While playing CC, I found it really enjoyable, mere months later, I found myself looking back on it as a rather sub-par game. The best way I can describe it is that the whole is less than the sum of its parts. The graphics, music, variety of characters, and originality of gameplay are all very intriguing, but when you put it all together, it's just plain dull. Either that or it's a combination of the terrible interface and less-than-impressive "good" ending.

3. Another Earthbound fan? Yes, Earthbound fans unite! You're not getting my copy though...

~Torwyn

Lin:
:P I'm already getting a copy of Earthbound. It was mailed off yesterday. Yay.

Googleshng:
It's amazing how many things you can write in the blank in this next sentence. "Earthbound is the only RPG where __________." I can't think of a game with a stranger plot. More confusing yes, stranger no.

 
Chinese Mythology

Hi Google,

I finished reading The Journey to the West recently (Hsi yu chi). I also finished Saiyuki soon afterward. I _highly_ recommend that if you do decide to sink money into an English translation of Journey to the West, that you choose the translation written by Anthony C. Yu available from University of Chicago Press. (I got mine at fatbrain.com)
This translation is highly praised and, having read it myself, I attest to its completeness and descriptive power. The book is riddled with footnotes so that when a Chinese idiom or saying is employed by one of the characters, it is explained at the back of the book so you don't have to guess. The book contains all the poetry and all 100 chapters.

Other translations are often:

- missing upward of 30 chapters, or
- missing the poetry, or
- not a faithful translation (ie, very interpretative.)

So, if you do order Journey to the West, get this one. :) I really enjoyed it and spent many hours reading it. (It is quite a long book actually *_*)

"Romance of the Three Kingdoms" is online at..

http://www.threekingdoms.com

Finally, for those who liked Suikoden, don't forget to check out "Outlaws of the Marsh".

Well... start reading :)

Ashley

Lin:
Oh, yay. Suikoden. heh...

Googleshng:
I still have to wonder why there are so many games based on Chinese myths, and yet we still don't have an Illiad TRPG.

 
Recommendations

Hey wassup GOOGLESHNG!!

This is my... ((counts on fingers)) second time sending in something. But uhm... about Saiyuki...

The game is actually very accurate. Since I'm Chinese and I know a lot about Chinese mythology ...

Except I don't recall Goku ever transforming into a giant ape...

Oh yeah, I have a few questions, too.

1) Saiyuki, Tales of Destiny 2, or Hoshigami? I can get two...

Lin:
Hmm... well... I don't like suggesting games that I know nothing about. I pass.

Googleshng:
I'm in the same boat as you, and I'm opting for Saiyuki and Hoshigami. I'm a bit biased about the gameplay styles involved here though, so you might be better off snubbing one of those two for variety's sake.

2) I just finished Rurouni Kenshin, so what should I watch next? Escaflowne? Love Hina (very comedial anime. I did dubbing for the Christmas special here.)? Flame of Recca? Tell me !!!!

Lin:
I've heard very good things about Escaflowne... I want to watch that one after I finish Cowboy Bebop. Of course, everything depends on what kind of anime you enjoy. I'm big on sci-fi so I'd suggest Cowboy Bebop or Serial Experiments Lain.

Googleshng:
I really need to dust off that anime reviews page in a dusty corner of my hard drive. I'd add Trigun to your list too.

3) If you're wondering why I'm sending this to you in the middle of the night, it's because I live in Singapore. Hope my English is good enough for you to read! ... that's not a question, is it?
Oh well. Thanks, Google...!

Laters!

-Shinichi Kudo
"Uh...I'm the Rurouni formerly known as Battousai..."

Googleshng:
Example #5487 of someone speaking english as a second language better than most natives and apologizing for it. I'm not even sure how much of an exaggeration that number is either, it happens a LOT around here.

 
Sega and such

g and lin, (nod)

Thanks for answering my questions about you yesterday, google. A dozen dozen games...wow. Anyway, here are a few more Qs, unrelated this time.

1. What is your favorite system (based on controller, games, etc.)? I've always said SNES, hands down, though I'm really, really liking the GBA.

Lin:
Ooh, my fav system has always been the SNES as well. I mean, there is nothing I love better than sitting down to a lovely game of Final Fantasy III or Mega Man X. And the controller... probably the only controller to fit my hand properly. Yeah, I love my SNES.

Googleshng:
My favorite controller of any system is the Gamecube's. It's unbelievable how comfortable the sucker is. As far as games go though, that's a very tough call. When you get right down to it, I like different systems for different reasons. The SMS I like for it's very tough games. The SNES I like for it's collection of well-aged classics. The N64 has so many wonderful party games. I can't really talk about anything newer since, well, I haven't had years to reflect back on them.

2. That was a superb idea you had the other day about Sega porting Saturn games for the GBA. Do you think there's any realistic hope of such action? I'd love to play some of those games.

Lin:
Ah, I've just started to learn the wonders of Sega. My mommy always thought that Sega was evil because they allowed blood in Genesis games... but now, I can play whatever I want. I'd love to see some Saturn games on the GBA... and with Sega developing for lots of different systems right now... who knows?

Googleshng:
Well, I wouldn't have mentioned it if I didn't think it was feasable. Of course there is the slight stumbling block that Working Designs published most of Sega's first party hits here, and they've since gone their separate ways. There's still a good number of games I could see making that hop though.

3. Why do you think Sega consistently produces successful and enjoyable software but unsuccessful and less-than-enjoyable (at least as far as price and availability are concerned) hardware?

As always, thanks for bending your respective ears.

-jaraph "believe...believe in me"

Lin:
::raises eyebrow:: Well... uh... I think this question confuses me. Nah, not the way you asked... just the way I want to try to respond. I want to point out the Genesis and the Dreamcast (because I adore the Dreamcast), but then... I think about all the other systems... and that's where my brain hurts. I just think Sega has made some bad decisions. Oh, and enjoyable does not necessarily mean successful.

Googleshng:
Well, the SMS didn't even have a chance against the NES' complete domination. The Genesis actually DID have a notable day in the sun. After that, they picked up this reputation for dropping a system at the drop of a hat with the 32x, Sega-CD, and Saturn all released in a row. As for why the Dreamcast tanked, well, as far as I can tell, that reputation somehow managed to follow them despite their best efforts to bury it. I don't know what you're talking about calling the hardware expensive though. Heck, you can already buy a new DC for less than $100. Now, Sega SOFTWARE, that has a record of being costly. Phantasy Star 4 hit the shelves with a $100 price tag, and the original was a bit steep too.



Quickies

Can I have a cheeseburger?
-Nukkus

Lin: Would you like fries with that?
Google: You can, but you may not.

The Last Laugh:

Lin: Ah, goodbye my dear readers. But, before I go, I shall shamelessly promote my domain which is home to my own personal site as well as the sites of some of my friends (including Adam). Not really much to look at, but I'd like some traffic. Anyway, I had fun and I hope I wasn't too boring for your tastes. ;)

Google: So ends another chapter in the long long Games-for-guests Saga. Now off to the magical land of weekend disappearance I go!

Googleshng "zzzzz" @rpgamer.com

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