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Q & ABUSE
ADAMANT WHEELBARROW
Chapter VI: In Which the Inferno is Visible
2007.11.30

Lusipurr - 20:15 GMT

Idiots! Fools! Boobs all! I am returned to your wretched company here in the RPGulag.

I don't know what happened on Wednesday, so you really can't blame me for it. I wasn't asked to be here, so naturally I made every effort to be as far away as possible. However, my replacement apparently thought it would be wise to express himself in terms of courtesy and kindness. Moron! Don't get used to it. I intend to remind you in the most savage terms what sort of horrible little cretins you are. As for Sensei, my dependable men are searching for him even now. When they find him, they will educate him as to the error of his ways.

It appears my appeal for letters--not of my own volition, but because I was ordered to do so--has worked. I have nine letters here today, most of which are quite long. I appreciate your zeal. I also appreciate the new signature graphic. Well, at least I would be appreciative, but I seem to be incapable of gratitude. So, let's just get down to business, shall we?

I will now address your tiresome and annoying questions.




And they're off!
Fanboobs


Lusipurr,

Hey ive finally decided to send my second letter and figured you would enjoy bashing me so you get to deal with this one. I just felt i needed to throw my personal opinion on a few topics into the mix.

1) Halo RPG- Dear lord please dont ever let this mess be made. Why would someone want to make a game that is targeted at gamers of a genre the largely doesnt care about the Halo franchise and more then likely wont buy it anyways? I am all for companies branching out and trying new things but they need to stop trying to take their major franchises and ruining them by completely switching genres (kinda like FF: Dirge of Cerberus) and running the risk of killing said franchise.....on second thought feel free to make it and heres hoping the Halo IP dies a spectacular death.

Lusipurr

Even if Halo RPG was the most sophisticated and wonderful RPG ever developed (and trust me, it wouldn't be), out of principle, I would refuse to buy it. And also because of spite.

I don't see why every company needs to have a finger in every pie. Is it not enough to be good at what they do? Do they feel the need to also be mediocre at the things they do not do? It's senseless lunacy.


2) What makes a game and RPG- like you said yourself Lusipurr this is an endless arguement with everyone and their brother weighing in on which games are RPGs and which are not. Why do people really care if GTA or Legend Of Zelda are RPGs or not? If you like the game just play it and stop the pointless debate cause in the end not everyone will agree. Sheesh what happened to the good old days where a shooter was a shooter and platformer was a platformer without any rpg elements.

Lusipurr

I think this is a symptom of that 'finger-in-every-pie' mentality. The idea seems to be that if a comapany includes RPG elements in a shooter, this will somehow appeal to RPGamers who otherwise might not have purchased it. For my own part, I can't recall ever thinking, "Oh wow! Quake has a life metre! I have to pick that up!"

Long may the topic of 'what is an RPG?' rest in peace.


3) Final Fantasy 7- While i personally loved this game myself i have seriously grown to hate it now thanks to all the fanboys/girls. Back when i played it when it was first released i spent 16 hours playing it the first day. Now though with all the cries for a remake and the fan art and fiction and etc. etc. i can't look at it with out seeing mindlessly dull fan art or trashy Cloud and Aerith romance fan fictions. So to all the FF7 fanboys and girls out there i just want to say I hate you all and thank you for ruining a wonderful game for me.

The End

VoodooStyle

P.S. Feel free to bash me unmercifully Lusipurr because i need a good laugh

Lusipurr

I was there the day my local shoppe got Final Fantasy in back in 1987. I played it unceasingly until I owned an SNES, and I still have it in the original box with all the inserts. I mention this so that when I say, unabashedly, "I love Final Fantasy VII," people will not make the immediate assumption that this is because it is the first RPG I played.

Final Fantasy VII is really an excellent game at the most basic level. What faults it has are largely minor. Many companies could stand to learn from this premise. Make an excellent game at the basic level, and then add in the other stuff. Don't make a rubbish game and then try to improve it by adding in extra stuff. A cake without icing is still cake, but no matter how much icing there is on a cow pie, it is still a lump of turd.

That out of the way: yes, the rubbish fanfiction (nearly all fanfiction is rubbish) is entirely irredeemable. Don't let it ruin the game for you, though. If you do, you've let the gibbering dolts win. They may slaver over their keyboards rattling off absolute garbage, but until they've driven someone away from an excellent game, their influence remains--like their creativity and intelligence--insignificant.



In Defense of Cait Sith


Lusipurr,

So, I can't quite decide how I feel about you, Lusipurr. On the one hand your sarcastic comments and straight through the bush insights are refreshing and quite humorous and your taste in RPGs is nothing short of superb (if forced to choose my favorite videogame I too would choose FF: Tactics as the closest to the pinnacle of perfection), but on the other hand, you appear to have this inexplicable appreciation of Cait Sith. I mean, seriously, were you dropped on your head as a child? Ignoring for the moment the fact that he's a traitor (which only a mentally deficient monkey can possibly do, but not knowing you very well I'll give you that benefit), what does Cait Sith have going for him? He's a cat doll on top of a weird moogle-ish creature. It's possible you see something endearing about that combination, but regardless of whatever good qualities you ascribe to him, I have to fall back on my original point: he's a freaking traitor! Whatever excuses he spews forth, his actions directly contributed to the loss of the black materia and the subsequent death of Aeris. There is no forgiveness for Cait Sith.

Lusipurr

Idiot! Fool! Dolt! You have no idea of what you speak!

Whilst Reeve Tuesti's activities as Cait Sith may have contributed to the death of Aeris, it is certain his decision to betray the party was made with only the best of intentions and without any foreknowledge of what would happen to Aeris as a result. When Shinra's evil hand in events was uncovered, Reeve fought against it. He saved Marlene and assisted in guiding the WRO to repair the damage which his company was responsible for. And, let the record show that Cait Sith made his amends in the bottom of the northern crater, risking [mechanical] life and [stuffed] limb to defeat Sephiroth and save the world. He can be, and should be, forgiven.


In other news, I'd like to ask your advice and since you're the current Q&A host you're obligated to give it to me (note: I have no expectations of it being good advice). I've currently run into a store of free time and I've been debating starting up a MMORPG again. In the past I've played EQ, EQ2, and WoW as well as Guild Wars and Sword of the New World, but I feel the desire for something new. Point of fact, I'm being increasingly drawn to FFXI. My only hesitancy is that from what I've heard that game is an incredible time sink, filled with immature-munkinism players, and really a more of a power gaming numbers game. From my understanding, you're rather into FFXI so what's your take on this word of mouth that I've been hearing.

Lusipurr

All MMORPGs have their share of immature morons. They are drawn to such games like moths to a flame. I will say that the players in FFXI are generally the most mature of the lot, whereas WoW and EQ are down there at the bottom of the barrel. There is some power-gaming to it, but again, I find WoW at high levels much worse. Generally, there is quite a bit of flexibility in what you equip your L.75 character with, provided that you are being reasonable. Don't stick a sword on your melee-deficient BLM and expect it to go down well with everyone.

As for FFXI being a timesink, there's a bit of truth to this. If you want to do the big-boy stuff, you'll have to make some time investments. For example, Dynamis groups meet regularly (usually twice a week) and for several hours at a time. The levelling to get to this point isn't brief either, but it is also not as gruelling and awful as some make out. If you ask the opinion of a player who has reached and participated in the endgame (like me) they'll probably tell you not to worry too much.

It is hard, but it is refreshing and not crippling difficulty. If you are competent, you will probably find it entirely within your capability. If you are an idiot, beware.


In conclusion, after giving it much thought I have to say that my favorite videogame song is "Exceeding Love," the opening song from Suikoden III. While the game didn't live up to my expectations, the song has always conveyed a feeling of the foreign and the desire to understand the differences of cultures and the struggles that are birthed through that understanding. Basically, the song really epitomized the story of the game for me and I remember it even though I've forgotten most of the game itself.

Koala Bob

Lusipurr

An excellent answer. Suikoden III was a memorable and enjoyable experience, and I remember the opening sequence fondly. Your explanation of it is satisfactory, so I see no reason to add to it. Well done.



Mac Attack


I'm glad I finally read Article IV, Paragraph 3, Subsection 14 of the RPGamer Q&A Charter, because that now means you must post whatever crap I send you. Ah Lusipurr, how I loath thee, let me count thy ways. I guess I don't loathe you enough, sending you a letter and all.

To answer your question for a few days ago, my single favorite piece of video game music is tough to narrow down, but I will. Mine is the Ending Theme from Final Fantasy X. While the ending itself wasn't the greatest ever, I love that piece of music.

Now, I turn the tables. Time for you to answer MY questions.

Lusipurr

The end of Final Fantasy X was rubbish, but the music was so good that it was almost capable of redeeming the ending. Almost. A side note: I arranged the ending sequence and performed it on piano with a small student ensemble for a 'holiday recital' when I was employed teaching music. It was the hit of the night and not, I fear, because of my performance. It is timeless music capable of appealing to everyone.

One of my students performed the Piano Collection version of To Zanarkand in that recital. It was also an enormous success.


Other than Final Fantasy XI, what is your current favorite RPG? What games outside of the RPG realm are you most looking forward to? What is your favorite piece of video game music? Don't you hate it when people refer to non-lyrical video game music as songs?

That's all. Now be off and answer my questions or else an extra editorial will be required of you!

- Macstorm

Lusipurr

These columns count for my editorial quota, of course!

As for favourite RPGs, Final Fantasy Tactics gets my vote in the strategy department, and Final Fantasy VII gets my vote for the non-strategy contingent. As I've mentioned, both are excellent games with only a few minor faults.

My favourite piece of game music? You think I'd tell you? You are mistaken. When someone says it, I will let you know. You are welcome to guess.

And yes, I absolutely cannot stand when people refer to music without lyrics as songs. These ought be referred to as compositions or pieces or whatever their musical terminology (sonata, concerto, symphony, waltz, &c.) happens to be. Songs have words. I'd go even farther and say that for it to be a song the focus needs to be primarily on the lyrics.

Don't you have some work you ought to be doing? Stop wasting your time writing letters!



Evicted!


Lusipurr, Master of RPGs -

It's funny, our group was just kicked out of a house this summer for playing D & D. But I don't feel any more evil...

Lusipurr

Not yet, you mean.


I personally found the character of Vaan to be much more irritating than Tidus. I don't fault Tidus' voice actor for being whiny; that was the character being portrayed. I think that that Vaan is attacked less because he seems to fade into the background fairly early as other characters take the forefront. At least Tidus had some character development. So who do you feel was the better main character for their game?

-iehley

Lusipurr

Tidus is one of the most obnoxious main characters in the history of video games, possibly the worst amongst Final Fantasy games. I really detested Squall from Final Fantasy VIII, but I never wanted to turn the game off because of him. As for FFXII, Vaan isn't much of a main character because the focus was never meant to rest on him as the only main character. To the producers' credit, they tried to develop the party as a whole, and I think they did this very effectively.

I'd have to say that Tidus is much worse than Vaan. No contest.



Bad Monster


Hello Lusipurr, J_Sensei, or anyone else who receives this letter!

Now then, someone asked for most favorite piece of music from a game? Gah...Do you have any idea how hard it is for me to pick only one? Ah well, If I had to pick only one, then it would have to be "Sad Monster", the theme for the battle against the first form of the last boss in Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles. The battle itself may not have been very exciting (you could literally beat it by just whacking it repeatedly), the music was something else entirely. It's so epic and dynamic with it's bagpipes, heart-pounding drums, what sounds to me like an organ and other instruments I can't quite identify. The blend is just so original and it makes the otherwise uniteresting battle against Raem more exciting than it really is. All the music in that game is just wonderful, but "Sad Monster" is perhaps my most favorite.

Lusipurr

That piece just moved along at far too stately a pace for my taste. There was no sense of the frenetic, not enough anxiety. It felt more like the theme for a giant Scottish castle than a rigourous battle to save the world.


Hmm, let me think...there hasn't been much with me lately, RPG-wise. I bought Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn but that sadly is still sititing on my shelf, along with an un-played copy of Baten Kaitos Origins, both waiting for me to finish Phantasy Star Online Episode III. I've been keeping myself busy with Children of Mana, though I've been eyeing both Luminous Arc and Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings, DS-wise. So many games so little time, but I'm hardly the only one going through this.

Lusipurr

What are you going on about? You have too many games? Get to the point, bub. I don't have time for this idle prattle.


Now I have two questions for you, whoever this is. First off, which game would you say made you an RPG fan? I asked this of Sean last time, but it's interesting for me to see which game was it that made a person say "hey, these RPG things are pretty fun! I want to check out more of them!". Also, have you ever avoided a game, thinking you would hate it only to eventually try and and ended up lovinng it? For me, that was Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean. I was so afraid of the game's battle system that I put it off for years before giving it a try and loving it. It seriously is an underappreciated game.

Yeah, that wasn't my best letter. I do apologize for it, but I wanted to send something else than just me explaining why I think "Sad Monster" is such an incredible track. Ah well.

Strawberry Eggs

Lusipurr

Final Fantasy for the NES made me a fan of RPGs. I had played adventure games before it--the original Legend of Zelda, for example--but these did not really change my focus away from platformers to more difficult pursuits. When the original FF hit stores, I was already hyped because of a huge Nintendo Power examination that had painted it to be like a choose your own adventure book. This it was not, but it was engaging, fresh, and exciting. I played through it again and again. Looking back on it, I find it hard to understand what I found so impressive about it. I can only conclude that, back then, there was nothing better to compare it to.



GTAgain


Hi whoever's next,

So have you been watching this Rise Of the Videogame show on the Discovery Channel? This last one was all about story in videogames, and they went through Mario, Zelda, Kings Quest, Some Sega Game JuMeSyn Would Probably Recognize But I Didn't, Final Fantasy 7, and finally, wait for it, patience, okay it was GTA. Yes GTA was the peak and it was edgeyoumacational TV so it must be true. All right, I may have skewed that a little to fit my needs, but still an amusing show if you like videogames.

If I mention GTA here again in the next year someone smack me,

Kezzy

Lusipurr

The only reason such an awful game is so successful is because it plays to the rather awful popular culture currently in vogue. Calling it the peak of videogame design is the height, the very height, of absurdity.



JuMusicSyn


Oh, very well.

My favorite music track shifts with the sands of time, yet currently I declare its title to be 'To Judge or Be Judged,' the theme of Wendolo in Super Robot Taisen Original Generation 2. I fully expect a swift and complete reprimand from you, so sally forth Lord Lusipurr.

JuMeSyn

Lusipurr

I don't play rubbish games, so I'm not familiar with the piece you have chosen. How about picking a composition from something that doesn't suck?

Try harder!



Purr Tails


Lusipurr... is that purr like a kitty?

Never noticed that until now. Feel free to abuse me and my letter in any way you see fit. For some reason, I love you columns. Similar sense of humor? Check!

Lusipurr

Yes, that is as in a cat 'purr'.

If it took you all this time to figure that out, you're horribly, horribly dense. We should probably use slices of your brain to insulate nuclear reactors.


Anyway, I'm just wondering if you are versed in the Tales games. I'm currently playing Tales of Legendia, and I actually think it is the best out of the Tales games I've played. Keep in mind I haven't played Abyss yet, which I hear is supposed to be the best in the series so far. I have played Tales of Destiny, Destiny 2, and Symphonia. Anyhow, I seem to remember that when Tales of Legendia got released, everyone said it was horrible, and it received average to below average reviews. I, however, feel that it has great character development, above average story (so far), and isn't as predictable as the other Tales games, atleast those of which I've played. Granted I'm only about 25 hrs into it, and therefore can't draw a final conclusion on the game, but I still feel as if it was treated unfairly? Any thoughts? Help me feel better about this quality game!

Mr. Snuggles

Lusipurr

I have tried on several occasions to enjoy various games in the Tales series, and I have failed every time. If you are looking for someone to counter the bad press which any Tales game has received, you shouldn't look to me. I don't really care for the series as a whole.

Why not play something else? Blue Dragon is loads of fun.



Preferential Treatment


Hey Lusi.

ok first off you asked about favorite rpg music and i'm here to answer. my favorite overall rpg music has to be wanderer in time from Final Fantasy 6. especially the vocal version. i do aswell as console mmo and pc rpg but a text based aol rpg and my character plays the flute line from the vocal version quite alot.

Lusipurr

Some of our readers may not be aware, but "The Wanderer in Time" is the name of the Final Fantasy Pray vocal arrangement of "Terra's Theme" from Final Fantasy VI.

This is an excellent piece of music and, accordingly, many versions of it have been recorded, officially and unofficially. My favourite rendition is that included in the "Opening Theme", available on the Final Fantasy VI Grand Finale disc. The key change at about 6.45 gets me every time. Your choice is admirable.

I am surprised to hear that people still roleplay on AOL. I was under the impression it had degenerated into nothing but unwieldy attempts at cybersex.


now for a question. Which do you prefer in an rpg? supper happy sappy storylines about unicorns and rainbows.. or the shin megami tensei games? i personally prefer smt overall.. and i loved digital devil saga. i mean just look at it.. your health and mana refills partially after each battle.. though this isn't a new idea even at the time atleast in it you knew why it happened... because you kill AND EAT!! everyone

later days

Otaku Nick

Lusipurr

My favourite storylines are those of the aforementioned Final Fantasy Tactics and Final Fantasy VII. The darker, the better. Betrayals get major points, especially if there is political intrique and manipulation of the manipulators. The more convoluted and surprising, the better. Have I mentioned how much I love the story of Final Fantasy Tactics?

Any game featuring cannibalism to refill life and mana is at least worth review, if not purchase.



And they're on! (my pants, that is)

Nine letters today. Let it never be said that I fail in my duty.

There are rumours on the internet lately about reviewers being expected to produce favourable reviews of games in order to keep their jobs. I want to let you fine people know up front that this isn't how it works here. We know that a lot of our readers trust our reviews. If we lied to you and you lost money because you bought a rubbish game on our recommendation, you might leave and not come back. We are cautioned to avoid being biased and to rate games very fairly. You might not always agree with what we say about a game, but you can be sure that the reviewer is being totally honest about what they think. In short, you can trust our reviews to be free of any pressure from The Man. Except for me. Everything I say is a lie.

What do you think? What's your take on the state of video game reviews? Are you sick and tired of seeing craptacular games getting 6 and 7 ratings? Or, do you think the system is just fine? Let's hear what you think and how you'd do things differently.

You may or may not have noticed that I have abolished the Quickies section of the column. Frankly, I didn't feel it was doing anything. I never really get quickies--they are usually just things that I pull out of the IRC channel. Rather than waste my time (and column space) inserting quickies, I felt it was better to eliminate them entirely and use the space for more letters. That's what this column is for, after all.

Also, I was surprised that everyone suggested RPG music as their favourites. There are excellent pieces out there from non-RPGs, and I was looking forward to at least one or two of these. Mega Man, Katamari, is anyone there? My own favourite must remain, it seems, secret. No one has even mentioned the game it is from. Shocking!

Earlier this afternoon my citadel's security perimeter was breached by several young men, their dog, and a small child holding a balloon. They escaped before my guards could apprehend them, taking the remnants of Sean Kepper's cybertronic circuitry with them. What could it mean?

I must now return to my library, there to continue my research into the literature of one Dante Alighieri, poet of the early Italian Renaissance. You, on the other hand, are free to indulge in this game or that until our next meeting. I look forward to it with the greatest anticipation.

Farewell, dodos!

~Lusipurr

p.s. To Maxime Viventi: Merci beaucoup pour la signature graphique. Sans rire, j'ai vraiment faire apprécier. Ciao!



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