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Googleshng - August 31 '04- 4:00 Eastern Standard Time

OK. So right when it was supposed to be showing the final episode of Betterman, a series I have really come to enjoy, the channel which shows anime at 4 AM spontaniously switched to Lain. If I had any desire to watch this series, I would have watched it a long time ago. Subtitled. In order. Without randomly skipping episodes, or switching spontaniously to a new series. It's not possible to follow it in this fashion. Also, key word if. I like weird artsy confusing shows as much as anyone, but only when they make me believe that all the weird disjoint nonsense early on is actually meaningful and gradually building into some big mindblowing revelation down the road.

Mind you, it's fine by me if you're just throwing up weird random garbage at me with plans to go back and look at it towards the end of the series and come up with a rationalization for it, you just have to bluff properly in the meantime.

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Cyborgs and Sorcery

Goog:

I find that my favorite settings for RPGs are what some term "steampunk" or "cyberpunk", Chrono Tigger being my favorite followed closely by FFVI and FFVII. Lately I have really been trying to immerse myself into these settings but am having a lot of trouble. I think the biggest dillemma I'm finding is that almost every RPG made has some sort of fantasy setting and deviates from the "high fantasy" theme, but there are pretty much NO books written along these same lines. I mean I litterally spent hours in my local bookstore trying to find a book that combines swords and sorcery with robots and airships and the stuff we RPGamers have come to expect from a good RPG. Why do you think these settings are so abundant in the videogame industry but so very scarce in the written word? If you could reccommend any titles that even somewhat resemble these types of settings I would be eternally grateful.

PurpleDrag0n

Googleshng:
First, let me interject here. I can see calling FF6 steampunk, and you can ALMOST call the first few hours of FF7 cyberpunk (dingy distopian city, guy with a gun for a hand, big evil corporation controlling everything), but Chrono Trigger? We've got a land of the lost setting, a magic floating city, standard middle ages stuff, standard fantasy stuff, and a post-appocolyptic wasteland. No *punk here.

Getting to your question there though, the reason you see so many settings like that for RPGs is that a decent percentage of RPG developers are really really really really really into Laputa: Castle in the Sky. The reason you don't see a lot of books with a blend of fantasy and magic going on meanwhile is that your bookstore sucks. First and foremost, there's a fair amount of fiction out there based on Shadowrun, and if you can find a better marriage of fantasy and cyberpunk than that, my hat is off to you. Next we have pretty much everything ever written by Roger Zelazny. Then I'm pretty sure there's the Discworld series, the entire Space Opera genre is a close enough fit... I could go on like this for a while, but I think I've given you a good start here. Particularly if you grab this and this.

 
Hyrulian Fashion

Now i know what you are thinking "this guy learned the power of the mail button when will we hear the endo of him, this is the second question already"

but this time, i have a realy realy realy realy good question, i whas playing TWW yesterday and something came to my mind, and kept poking me in the ribs, well i searched online but couldn't find the answer, so here it goes..

If most normal people in the game wear pants, why does Link wear a skirt? and a green one for that matter, a blue one would go way better with his master sword. :D

Googleshng:
Link doesn't wear a skirt. He wears a tunic, which is basically just a shirt that tends to go down past one's belt a bit... and white tights, which actually is also pretty standard when it comes to that sort of style historically.

On a related note to this though, it's pretty much established that male cartoon characters have to wear a shirt if anything, but not pants, and female cartoon characters can get by with a skirt and no shirt. So from where I sit, Mickey Mouse is a crossdresser.

 
I've been waiting for someone to ask this for years.

I don't see how you can accuse Legend of Dragoon of being "formulaic," when your favorite RPG (according to your bio) is Skies of Arcadia. Is there anything more redundant than intrepid teenagers out to save the world by way of collecting six Elemental Whatsits and whipping the ass of a white-haired baddie?

Googleshng:
Maybe not my favorite, but's it's in the top five yeah. In any case, here's an answer I've been waiting to give someone forever.

It's not a question of concept, it's a question of execution. Skies of Arcadia takes the basic story structure of pretty much every RPG ever made, and then fleshes it out with a lot of original details and twists, along with a nice sense of style and humor. Legend of Dragoon meanwhile is just 60 hours worth of clichés playing out in exactly the same fashion, heck, exactly the same order, as they have in countless other games, without one single original concept or twist thrown in to set it apart.

Now mind you, that doesn't necessarily make it a terrible game, just incredibly formulaic. I mean, if I want to point out an example of what the average RPG is like, LoD is what I'd point to, and at the time it was released, most new RPGs coming out were weird stuff like Valkyrie Profile, so it was easy to appreciate at the time. It's just that I have absolutely no reason whatsoever to ever consider touching it again is all. Well, that and if I had to deal with all of someone's sentences containing "Mr. Dart" again I'd be tempted to slash my wrists, but that's another matter entirely.

 
Remember kids, brevity is the soul of wit.

First off, you don't have to put this into QNA, I just wanted to talk to you about this, if you want, just e mail me back, but I'd really appreciate a response by e mail.

Wow, I just read the QNA you answered about what games the European guy should start with and you like the same games I do, it's insane. Most people don't like Wild ARMs but I LOVED numbers 1 and 3 (couldn't get past the fact that in number 2 you got your main morphing ability so soon, seemed like you should get it much later, although I probably shoulda given it more chancE). I never beat 3, but that's because lately I haven't been able to finish many games (too many to play).

I love the BoF series, but with Dragon Quarter, the battles started to really drag on me, they were all very similar in nature and you had to fight each one the same way...I got just past where you can transform into a dragon, and then got into something else.

Vandal Hearts ROCKED, I loved that game, I've beaten it twice, probably do so again sometime in the near future.

Currently playing Valkyrie Profile, amazing game. I got really far into it once before but stopped because I realized I couldn't get the best ending (read a FAQ on endings) and that pissed me off so I stopped, but playing it again now (i'm a major Norse mythology buff too).

Disgaea was an insanely funny and fun game. I only played to the point where I could start changing jobs into samurais and such. However, I stopped, because it really annoyed me that you could switch your swordsman to a samurai, just to learn the EXACT SAME SWORD SKILLS OVER AGAIN. I didn't like that, I like variety, change, etc...

I haven't played Koudelka or Shadow Hearts. I was going to take advantage of the pre-order deal where you pre order Shadow Hearts: Covenant and get Shadow Hearts free.

Anyways, I was wondering why you liked these games? Especially Wild ARMs 2, Disgaea, Koudelka and Dragon Quarter. Should I have given Wild ARMs 2, Disgaea and Dragon Quarter more of a chance? I enjoyed all of them, they just had things I couldn't really get past. Also, is Koudelka necesary to play before Shadow Hearts? What system is it for as well?

What other RPGs are you into? Did you like the Suikoden or Tales series? how about Lunar?

Timothy

Googleshng:
First and foremost, let me just go on record stating that Wild ARMs 2 is most definitely NOT one of my favorite games, thanks to the seriously misbalanced game mechanics, and the most unforgivably wretched translation I have ever seen mangling the plot beyond recognition. 1 and 3 are great though.

That said, on to these other games.

BoF5 you really should give more of a chance, it has some very interesting concepts in it, and you stopped way too early to see them.

Your problem with Disgaea is just plain odd. First off, if you're the sort of person who likes to open all the secret stuff, you should be keeping one character from each row of classes, not transmigrating all around like that. Second, aside from the spellcasting types, humanoid characters don't get new abilities from their classes, they get them from their weapons. Fight with a sword, you learn sword skills, fight with an axe, you learn axe skills. If that doesn't float your boat, special characters and monsters all have their own unique skills too, so you could just use them. On top of all that, if you actually use the weapon specials you have, you shouldn't be losing them when you transmigrate people to begin with.

Finally, Shadow Hearts is a direct sequel to Koudelka (which is for the PSX incidently), so I'd recommend playing it first if you can, but you can live without doing so if you can't.

As for other RPGs I'm fond of, I can see about 40 without even turning my head right now, so let's just go with "most of them."

 
Nitpickery

Hello

Why do people say that the job system first appeared in FF3? It was their since number one. Sure #3 was the first to let you change once you obtained new jobs. But like a lot of the concepts in the series they slowly build up from previous releases. One thing that FF3 did start were the lovely Moogles. Although so far they have yet to utter *kupo* , but I have just reached where they are in the game.

Zumbi

Googleshng:
Well, you could pick everyone's class initially in 1, and you could change classes on the fly in 3, but FF5 was the first one where you could learn abilities as one class, switch to another, and still have access to them, so in my book, that's where it becomes a big deal.

 
FF10ery

FF10 and Koudelka spoilers ho!

I read this message like a hour ago and I had to come back and respond because it is just killing me right now.

1. Just because Auron is unsent doesn't mean he is a zombie. Anyone who played the game would know that you can turn him into a zombie ( You would find this out many times if you fight Yunalesca without protection ).

2. Concerning the voice acting, I agree that Tidus does sound whinny throughout most of the game and other characters do have less than perfect voices. But the fact is that you shouldn't be complaining about the voices, rather you should be happy that there are even voices at all.

Of course you don't have to believe what I say or even care, because this is coming from a guy who thinks that Yuna's voice is actually pretty good.

Sincerely,

Befriender of Tonberrys

Googleshng:
Uh, no. I'll take reading text over listening to irritating voice overs any day thanks. Do it well or don't do it at all.

I must however fully agree that Auron is indeed not a zombie. He's more of a ghost. Still undead though.

And you know, while we're on this subject, two more things need pointing out.

First, the entire plot of Koudelka revolved around a zombie actually.

Second, nobody brought up Planescape: Torment. Now THAT'S a game with zombies. Zombies you can hit on no less!




The Last Laugh:

Someone pointed out to me today some PC game that's shipping out. Their description of it was pretty much word for word a game concept I've been working on for quite some time, and have mentioned once or twice in this column. Coincidence or not, I have to get stuff out the door faster.



Googleshng "Hello. How are you?" @rpgamer.com

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