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Googleshng - October 5 '02- 2:00 Eastern Standard Time

Well, the secret's out. Over the weekend, I'm placed inside a special cryogenic pod to ensure my eternal... uh... something. Anyway though, this weekend between this unfortunate gap between Chesh's return and his fill-in's departure, and today's guest host having some technical difficulties, I was put in storage too early, and tonight I was thawed out and put on the emergency generator to fix things.

Alan: You know, both days I've done Q+A now, I've recieved absolutely no copies of klez for that day. Considering I usually get upwards of ten, it's either an omen, or just highly ironic. So, I'm back again, your friendly local not-so-neighbourhood Englishman, to answer a variety of your questions. And probably get mocked a lot. But that's pretty much par for the course for me.

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Fanfics the first!

Fanfiction, like all things, tends to have more idiots involved in writing then sensible people. That's why I like it, terrible fanfiction makes me laugh in it's splendid crappiness. It's so pathetically written and the author thinks he/she is just SOOO special because they can't come up with their own ideas. Ha!

Time for some chuckles, think I'll head to fanfiction.net

Alan:
In defence of Fanfic.net, while there are an incredible number of really bad, N'Sync-ficcing writers on there, there are also a lot of hidden gems tucked away there. It's nice to be wandering through the fics there then suddenly find one good enough that you realise later you've just read through hundreds of K of text and completely missed everything else you planned to do that evening.

The trouble is moderating the content, and fanfic.net's way too large to vote on every fic. Meanwhile, public voting could be possible, but way too prone to abuse by disgruntled authors.

Googleshng:
Having nothing really to say here, I was planning to parade more old Scary Pics around, but it seems my server is currently down. DOH!

 
KHC

Hey Googleshnger and TSG,

Wow.

After seeing the commercial for Kingdom Hearts and listening to the soundtrack, I'm hooked. And I'm also hooked on this "Chobits" series which include a large number of references to porn and sex. Sooo....

I have two very personal questions for you two.

1) Do you guys like Kingdom Hearts?

Alan:
I'd been looking forward to it for ages, and the importers I use were getting called every day to find out if it were in or not at one point. I have to say that despite some flaws, including the camerawork and the fact that a Square game took me less than thirty hours to complete, I'm not disappointed at all. The mixing of the two universes was really great:- the Square characters look like Square characters, and the Disney characters look like Disney characters, but they're working together!

Though I would just like to know why Sora needs such extremely large shoes.

Googleshng:
I have a distinct lack of both Kingdom Hearts and money at the moment, but I am innately drawn to insanity, so the former will most likely be remedied before the latter.

2) Do you guys like Chobits?

Thanks, your replies will truly enlighten my day and make me invariably happy.
Laufingboy.

Alan:
I've never seen Chobits, so I wouldn't know. But everything I've heard about it is good.

Googleshng:
My knowledge of Chobits is limited to 3 words: "Hentai by CLAMP." As I understand the focus of hentai to be illustrations of anatomy apart from eyes and hair, this concept doesn't seem right.

 
WA

Ever play Wild Arms? It's just that I've noticed something a little later in the game. I'm not sure at which point it happens, but Rudy becomes a god. He has so many guns that his damage overwhelms everyone else. He also has the best health and defense. In one turn Rudy can do 9999 damage with a gun, Jack, at a level 42 with his best guardian does around 2000-3000 with his best attack (not counting Force). So, my point is that Rudy is the power house, Cecilia is the healer,...and Jack is just there. Is this just my game or what?
-AlbinoMonkeyKing

Alan:
I guess that's just your game: in mine, Jack was the strength twink, doing a truly incredible amount of damage a turn, while Rudy ended up never taking any serious damage thanks to a ridiculously high defence.

Googleshng:
You're pretty much both right, although Albino here is comparing a very resticted and costly special attack with the attack command (I think) and that isn't quite fair. In a single round late in the game, Rudy tends to do more damage than Jack if you use something like Twin Orbs and get lucky, but when you're just attacking Jack is stronger, faster, and dagnabit he has Hanpan!

 
Fanfics the second!

I happen to be a rather prolific author of fan fictions. I write pure The Legend of Zelda fan fictions, and extensive crossovers, and I'd just like to know what make fan fictions so darn abominable.


Let's use your Legend of Zelda reference for the moment. I am a great fan of that series. I am a fan of the characters, the worlds, and the overall vision behind it. Then there's you, and other fan-fiction writers like you, who feel the need to change this world, by adding elements of your own. But then, it's not The Legend of Zelda anymore, it's your little version of it. You could write your own fiction, with your own characters, but instead, you take Link and Zelda and the rest, and you make them something they're not.

Alan:
That's one of the things about fanfiction. No author should - I'd say is, but many don't - say that their fanfiction is the be-all and end-all for a particular fandom. When it comes down to it, a piece of fanfiction is one person's interpretation of a world and the characters in it. It's not necessarily what the character is actually like - purposefully OOC fanfiction exists, on a what-if experimental basis. Often it's just as good as the game, or better.

Googleshng:
Dagnabit. Both sides are covered here, so I'll just have to debate a related topic with myself!
Goog: If the writeres of fanfics are able to write decent stories, why don't they just create their own characters instead of using other people's?
LeShng: Ah, but there is merit in the use of others' characters! Would Irresponisble Captain Tylor be as amusing if it did not contain Jason?
Goog: Touché my arbitrarily French adversary!

First off, every single day we twist around somebody else's story to suit our own needs. How many times have you heard a particularly interesting story on the news, or a tidbit of gossip you wish to tell a friend? Do you use the newscaster's exact words? No. You tell it in your own way, perhaps giving more emphasis to one particular area of the story and maybe leaving out bits altogether that you feel are unimportant. This is twisting around the story, and yet do we ever hear people complaining how that makes them sick? Certainly not.


This is a flawed argument. I hear a story on the news, so I tell a friend about it, but I tell it my way, this is true, but I'm not changing the story, I'm telling what I remember. Some things stick better than others, and some things mean more to me than others, but the story is still the same.

If you think fan fictions are wrong and shouldn't exist, you might as well go the next step and say straight out that fan art shouldn't be done either, as it is changing the style and the way the original artists had intended for the characters to be portrayed. I don't think very many fan artists, such as myself, would be too happy to hear this. As a matter of fact, some of the most beautiful works of art I have ever seen have been fan art. And I have seen a lot of art.


Why would I want to do that? Fan-art and fan-fiction are two very different things. You may be drawing the character differently, but it's still the same character. Draw a picture of Zelda, and she's still Zelda. Write new words for Zelda to say, and she's what you've made her.

Alan:
Personally, I don't agree. To me (remember, this whole argument has a big 'In My Opinion' sign over it anyways) fanart is just the same situation as fanfiction; you're taking an established character, and you're rewriting them. Or, more accurately, you're writing your own interpretation of them. Fanart has the same rules: you're taking an established appearance and visual style, and putting your own interpretation and visual style into the mix, with better or worse results.

Googleshng:
I agree on the equating fan fiction to gossip bit. If you flesh that anaology out it'd be like if you heard on the news that Microsoft was being sued being a monopoly, and then started telling people a story about how before becoming a billionare, Bill Gates used to run around beating orphans to death with a shovel.

However, the only difference between fan fiction and fan art is that one is text and the other is images. And you know, this whole 4 way discussion thing is pretty confusing...

By writing fan fictions, the authors keep the story alive for not only their readers but themselves. It helps them grow closer to the characters and even make friends with them. Without fan fictions, some games would lapse into the two-dimensional waste of randomly slaying monsters, just because they happen to be there. There would be no point to that or any game.


So you're saying that you improve these games by coopting the characters for your own fiction? I'm sorry, I just don't see it that way. I love the games the way they are. I really don't need fan-fiction to expand on them.

Alan:
That's fair enough, but that's your opinion, and you aren't everyone. Just because you don't need to expand on a game doesn't mean everyone doesn't. Other people like to try to think up what happens next, or like to try to answer the unanswered questions, or just like to play around a bit in the world. Along the way, maybe some characters get some more personality, or change a little. People change anyhow.

Googleshng:
Now here I have to take the pro-fanfic side because life would be so much less amusing if I couldn't sit around with people pondering how Dr. Wily plans to take over the world by putting robots in empty rooms at the ends of theme levels which were evidently already sitting around.

Unlike a lot of people, there are some of us that play RPGs because we like the plot and characters, rather than thinking, "Ooh! I get to shoot people with a tank! I'll go buy it now!" Fan fictions are a way to more fully immerse ourselves in the game, and to bridge the long gap between releases.


I play almost all games for the story. In fact, every hobby I have is done for the story. Anime, manga/comics, gaming, reading, all of it for the story. Just because I don't like it when people take those stories that I hold dear and use them for their own purposes, that does not mean that I don't like the original stories, in fact I would say it's the other way around.

Yes, we may be using other peoples' characters. Everyone is allowed to place their own interpretation on events and people's behaviors. Psychiatrists do it all the time. There may be interpretations on characters that a person does not agree with. This does not necessarily make them wrong. They are just different.


There is a difference between interpretation and manipulation.

Alan:
And not all fanfiction is manipulation. In fact, it's often easy to tell a bad fanfic by the way it feels all stilted, and people randomly do things for no reason. That's manipulation. But believeable reasoning sequences behind a characters actions and a bit of extrapolation from the choices and actions of that character within the game can make for an enjoyable experience.

Googleshng:
I believe I'd said this bit before, but if you play games for the sole sake of story, you need to seriously adjust your hobbies. I'm all for having a good plot, but if that's all you're looking for, you're a lot better off just reading books.

For brevity's sake, I will end here. I just wanted to make a point that you shouldn't condemn fan fictions as being abominable. Perhaps you have never experienced the joy of being an author or the awe after reading a singularly beautiful story, written by a fan fiction writer. If so, then perhaps you should start reading or writing. You may find yourself with a true passion for whichever one you choose.


I've actually read many fan-fictions, and I actually liked a few, but these were ones that took place in the same world as is inhabited by the original characters, but use original characters, and, for the most part, original settings. I really don't have a problem with people writing stories based on previous works. Just leave the characters alone. They're not yours.

Alan:
Ultimately, whether someone likes fanfiction or not is just a matter of opinion, same as whether a person likes anything. Some people don't like it, and that's fair enough. Some people do like it, and that should be fair enough as well. Bottom line, if you don't like it, don't click on my section link. But don't begrudge others the chance to.

Googleshng:
My final word on the subject is this. I don't see why the existance of a given work of fan fiction should bother anyone. Fan fics exist on a lower tier of reality than their source material, and therefore can be easily dismissed as having no connection whatsoever to the book/game/show/movie you like. The only time it should ever upset you when a terrible story is set in the same world as something you like is when it has official permission to do so. For example, Highlander 2. That's when you have to denounce it as not being canon in your own little world and people looking at you. Of course, with that particular example even the creators went on to cover their ears and shout "Lala! It didn't really happen!" so let's all pretend I used something else. Like, say, Alien 3.

 
Fanfics the third!

Just little rebuttle to the fan fiction debate.
I agree with the original statement. Fan fics just bother me. Only the original author can really understand the characters personality on a level in which they can actually say what the character would do/might do/is doing right now.
As far as the argument that they fan uses his/her own stories to grow closer the character... if you want a character to be close too, write your own story. Create your own character.
And as far as the news story theory... thats mass media, and not really comparable to writing a fan fiction. Using a metaphor is a really easy way to make an argument for anything, even if there is no basis whatsoever.

Wil "Princess" Swirls

Alan:
I pretty much said it all in the previous post: when it comes down to it, an opinion is a personal thing, and there's always gonna be some people who like something, some people who dislike something. I just happen to like it enough to maintain a section on it. Plus, I get lackeys to whip.

Googleshng:
Many characters' actions actually come about based on input by a good half-dozen sources actually, which can throw a wrench in that "only the author" bit.




The Last Laugh:

Alan: Handy for a fanfic debate to spontaneously start up 2 days before I do Q+A, huh? Nonetheless, defending what I do is always fun. Bear in mind I'm only here for today, so if you want to reply to me it's probably better to send your mail to tsg@rpgamer.com rather than pester Goog. In the meantime, it's flu season in England so I think I'll get back to curling up on a ball in my sofa and having a stomachache. Toodle-oo.

Google: How sad is it that I'm excited to see a new infomercial? To be fair, it's the sequel to the one where the guy rants and raves about how eating coral will keep the acid in your blood from killing you and cause you to "grow a new brain!" Sadly he's not raving nearly as much this time out.



Googleshng "Puchu!" @rpgamer.com

Queen Alien=Unbelievably funny.

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