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Keep it up! March 29, 2005

Googleshng - 4:00 EST

Now, when I say "Keep it up" I'm talking to RPGamer's server keeping itself accessable. This month of router trouble or whatever it is is quite bothersome.

Oh, and by the way, just to test the waters a bit, I through up these uncut (and unopened) DVDs of Shaman King Vol. 1 and Shaman King Vol. 2. So if you know anyone who digs that series, point'em that way.




L E T T E R S
Dese Tree Wise Guys


Harro...

I was reading the qna today (march 28) and one guy talked about novelists writing rpg's. Well, I agree with you in a way, 90% of stuff sucks, I read a lot of books and a good 75% of them are mediocre if I'm lucky. Anyway, someone I think should be writing RPG stories is Kaoru Kurimoto. That author writes the Guin Saga, those books are an RPG waiting to happen.

And I was confused by the wiseman reference in Chrono Trigger and the letter. Everyone says that its a reference to the bible, but I've never seen the wise men named, nor that they were even stated to be men (the title used was a gender-free Persian one). So what's your take on that? Where do they pull that from?

Sucks about the lawsuit, what do you think Sony's going to do now for a hardware gimmick? I'm all for light up consoles with smoke effects myself.

Finally, for some reason this last year seemed really light on RPG's. Everything was "try our new MMO kiddlies" What is with the whole MMO field? I'll admit, I play World of Warcraft, but it's an exception to my general dislike of the entire genre. What's the big draw to play something that you have to pay for continuously and can never finish?

William Kennedy aka WildDrac

Googleshng

I think it mentions their names in one of the sequels. Like Bible Gaiden, or Jesus Strikes Back, one of those.

Anyway though, I honestly can't tell you what the appeal of MMORPGs is. I think initially people get started by means of morbid curiousity, misconceptions, or the belief that THIS game will be more than just a bunch of people mindlessly character building in a shared environment, and then they stay because mindlessly character building in a shared environment is actually really addictive.



Didn't I say I didn't want to discuss this topic?


Hiring writers for designing games is a bad idea. Every once in a while, you find a gem. But for the most part, writers are bad at putting their work to anything other than a book. Most writers are even bad at that. You get a few, like Kevin Smith, or Sam Raimi, or whoever. But, the majority of the time, the writer wants to conform the medium to the story he's used to writing for books, instead of conforming the story to the medium.

You're much better off having a video game designer who's been in the video game field for 20 years and can visualize every step of the game design process design the game. Sometimes, like Arthur C Clarke, a well-known author will have some good ideas and is an excellent consultant.

As far as Orson Scott Card goes? Sorry, bud. The only decent thing he wrote was the Ender's game series, and even the majority of that is bad (Ender's Game, and Shadow of the Hegemon being the only exceptional ones). Case in point? Go read Folk of the Fringe.

Googleshng

Well, the thing about Orson Scott Card is, lately he's been REALLY letting games influence his writing. In some places, Shadow of the Hegemon reads like a log of a game of Civ 2, and that's not a coincidence. Thus, a logical fit.



Misdirected Questions


Andrew,

First, after I sent you that letter, I looked more closely at a couple of faqs for Growlanser 3, and it DID say something how Annette could be an Aspiring Chemist. So, I wanted to apologize for wasting your time with that one....so, sorry. heh heh

Second, earlier you mentioned about how quickies aren't dead, just that they don't fit into the format. Is it possible to fit them into the white bar on the right of the column? If they're quickies, then each reader's question and your responses should be able to fit into that tight a space, right? Just wondering...

Third, why don't you blacklist who call you Andy or ask about Shadow Hearts 3 when either one means you curse them to hell? No, but seriously, why not post a disclaimer about that or something at the top of your column?

Finally, about movies made from video games...do the reason they suck because it's a lot more fun to play the games and be entertained by interacting than to watch the movies and be sick to your stomach about how disappointing the game-movie is because you already played it and the movie doesn't size up to it?

Velvet

Googleshng

Well, first it should be noted tht I'm not Andrew. Second, it should be noted that all Q&A letters get dumped into one bin, and I wouldn't really appreciate not being able to get letters from people because someone was sick of certain running gags.

Anyway, movies based on videogames. Short answer, no. Movies based on videogames are absolutely terrible no matter how you look at them. While there are several games that could easily be translated to a movie with no real effort. Anything with a fair deal of dialog, not too much repetition, a nice atmosphere, and a length of around two hours or so. Resident Evil or Silent Hill 2 could become movies in a snap using transcripts of the games with some puzzles hacked out. For some reason though, any time a movie based on a videogame actually comes about, it's handled by some buffoon who doesn't know the first thing about making movies to begin with, and then goes the extra mile of writing his own script that fails to resemble the source material in any way.



Persona


Dear Google,

Being a latecomer to the genre who's not terribly enamored with the selection offered on the PS2, I find myself combing the used games bin for elusive RPG gems that all veteran RPGamers swear by. I come upon the names of obscure RPG series dropped in conversation and then pop on over to my nearest EB and snatch up any cases with the names of said series on them. As you can probably guess this has led to a number of bad purchases over the years, namely Alundra 2 and Vandal Hearts 2.

Having been sufficiently burned from these past experiences, I have resolved to do some detective work before plunging into a new series. The series in question is Persona. I've heard the name before, usually spoken of in reverant tones. Gamefaqs lists the first game as getting a PSP port and I'm debating whether it's worth plopping down a couple hundred bucks for. Now before dishing out my dough, I just want a basic rundown of the series: What's it about? What are some unique features exclusive to the series? What kind of RPG is it? Is it a series with more emphasis on gameplay or storyline, or does it have a healthy balance of both? Are the two games connected and should be played in order for best effect or are they standalones that share the same name as well as certain features (a la Final Fantasy)? Are both games A-okay or should I avoid one of them like the plague (like the aforementioned Alundra 2 and Vandal Hearts 2) or are they more like the two PSX Suikoden's (one of which is miles better than the other but I won't feel cheated by either game, the same for which cannot be said about its lackluster PS2 titles)?

I think I've covered all the bases. Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.

Googleshng

OK... first off, Persona 2 is actually in the form of 2 games, one of which never made it over here. The one that did seems to have been fairly well received though.

Meanwhile, the first Persona I had the experience of playing first hand, and uh, well... it sucked. A lot of running through extremely sloppy first person mazes, fighting or talking to various monsters (depending if you feel like getting any experience or anything), and periodically throwing away your old sets of spells to try out new ones, all while putting up with loud echoing footsteps and laughter in place of music, and your party constantly shouting the name of the game in combat. So uh... I'd stay away.



Bad Metaphor.


'Warrior on the Wind' was a bastardization of Nausicaa. The film was "Americanized" (much like early FF) since apparently 1980s Americans could not handle concepts like environmentalism in animated form. Anyway, if I recall correctly, Miyazaki was horrified by the hack edit of his baby and he didn't let another film of his be released Stateside until 'Princess Mononoke' when the contract stipulated that there would be no edits.

From nausicaa.net: "New World Pictures felt it could only be marketed as a kid's action movie, so they cut out about a quarter of the movie (the parts they felt were "slow moving") and garbled the storyline in the process. NausicaŠ was changed to "Princess Zandra". The voice actors and actresses said later that they were never told what the story was about and so the acting was substandard. Miyazaki was horrified when he found out what they had done to his film, and Ghibli asks everyone to forget that this version ever existed. Fortunately, New World Video's rights to NausicaŠ expired in 1995."

But Disney did sit on the film for a full decade, that is true. As for questions:

Do you think the PSP can take on the DS (and N-Gage, I suppose) for dominance in the handheld market? This does feel slightly like PSX vs. N64 (disc vs. cartridge) rehashed, and that worries this old Nintendo fanboy.

Your thoughts? (And yes, it is really really early, so I am seeking your gut feeling as an "industry insider.")

-Herandar

Googleshng

Hahaha no. The whole CD vs. cart thing with consoles was a question of being able to hold more information for less cost being a priority for developers. PSP discs cost about twice as much as DS carts do, so that doesn't work in Sony's favor. Then you've got concerns like the defective controls, unprotected screen, and the discs popping out, not to mention the starting price... there's no way you can unseat someone with all that weighing you down.

I'd prefer to answer questions on games than hardware though if it's all the same to you.





C L O S I N G
Googleshng:

Auctions up there. Another column tomorrow. Hungry host. Bye.

googleshng@rpgamer.com
googleshng@rpgamer.com


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