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Let's Face it, People are Stupid January 20, 2006

Josh - 7:34 CST

I'm sure you're all aware of the accident we had on Thursday. Yes, it was an error, and yes, we goofed. If anyone has ever applied for a news job here, you'll notice that one of the requirements is to create some news stories based on random prompts. One of them was "Square Enix announces exclusive deal with Microsoft for the 360," and I honestly have no idea where the Shigeru Miyamoto one came from. Either way, they're there to provide us with a gauge of how well the submitter writes, rather than a test to see who can come up with the best idea (it IS a -news- job). It was a slow news day, so we decided to train with the fake stories. And well, shit happens. You deal with it, you move on. But (yes, there's a but), apparently people on the Internet are unable to tell when something is ficticious. There are a ridiculous amount of blog sites out there who caught wind of this, probably due to Google News scanning our news feed, and enough people read it who -actually believed it was REAL-. That's just amazing, to me.

Anyway, the point of my ramblings is that I'm fully aware there are a ton of people out there who don't like the site (or me, or other staffers), whether it's due to the news, the layout, the columns, or whatever. That's fine. The same people can also feel free to start their own damn website to compete with ours. If you think we have a problem, feel free to let us know. In fact, if you'd like, go ahead and email me about your comments/criticisms/suggestions. I'll make sure to pass them along. I'll be the first to listen to what you've got to say, and I'll also be the first to tell you that you're right or a complete idiot. I'm certainly reasonable, so if it's that hard for you to do the same, well...

We're always trying to improve, and our goal is to provide the best RPG coverage out there, period.

...ok, enough ranting. Let's go.




L E T T E R S
Why does everyone remind me that I'm not playing that game?


Hey Ouro,

Messaging in just to show my love for Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon 2 which just so happens to be the answer to Luca Question 41.

Josh

I enjoyed its simple gameplay the short time I played it (my brother lost our copy somehow). It definitely had no challenge, nor was it complex in any way, shape, or form. I never played the first one, but the second one is at least worth a play, in my book.

Anyways, since I restarted playing it once again, just wondering whether you've played Digital Devil Saga? Also, what do you think about secret bosses who were characters or regular bosses and enemies in previous games in a series. For example. Garr Kelvin, Farah, and Meredy in Tales of Symphonia(characters from Tales of Destiny and Tales of Eternia,) the main character in La Pucelle on Disgaea, and the one I'm attempting to defeat currently, Hitoshura on Digital Devil Saga(the hero of SMT Nocturne.)

Josh

No, but I've been trying to find it for months. Any store I walk into has something along the following conversation:

"You have Shin Megami Tensei: Whatever?"
"No. We never do. Go away now."
"You know what? You smell."
"Well I'm going to go home and play DDS once I get off work." "Well, you...you...dammit."

Cameos are generally always cool. The Nippon Ichi games are pretty good at it, and I wet myself several times while playing Xenosaga III. It's just one of the nifty things that the developers put in that make the game that much better, despite how little of an implementation it is.

Do you ever do this also? Right now I have DDS2, Shadow Hearts Covenant, MS Saga, Mobile Suit Gundam Fighters Lotus(import,) Resident Evil Outbreak File 2 and Grandia 3 that I haven't even opened yet I just recently went back to and finished SMT Nocturne, Brigandine Legend of Forsena, Shadow of the Colossus, Mobile Suit Gundam Encounters in Space, Devil May Cry 3 SE(in Dante Must Die) and now SMT DDS. Alot of those games that I haven't opened are more than a year old and when I think about playing them, I'm always in the mood to play some of my older games.

Josh

Yep. I've had Wild ARMs 4 and Radiata Stories (which is opened, but only played for about 10 minutes) sitting on my shelf for the past year or so.

I've also been playing Jump Ultimate Stars on and off ever since it came out. The game is an import, but it's been one of the most fun fighting games I've played in awhlie. While it's not as good as such games as Virtua Fighter 4, DoA2, DoA2 Extreme, DoA4, DBZ Budokai 3, and Ehrgeiz(not because FF7, I love this game for it's detailed fighting system) the game is multiplayer through WiFi(even if you live in the US) and is just plain fun. It's great to set up your deck of characters, switching out and playing four player against people who are actually good. If you own a DS and have a router I'd recommend it to you(I'd recommend it to everyone reading the column as well.)

Josh

Ehrgeiz was a good fighting game? I thought it was pretty dull, to tell you the truth. However, I'm a fan of any massive-multiplayer fighting or racing, so this is doesn't sound like a bad idea to me. Now, as long as the gameplay is good, then we'll be set...

Lastly. Second time I've ever played Phantasy Star 4 since the Sega Channel. The game ages very well, storyline is still humorous while also being good with the gameplay being really good as well. Although I've played it before, since I played it on the Sega Genesis Collection I've finally beaten it. The ending felt like wtf, then after they made you think the ending was going to suck, it turns out to be really good. The only problem I had with this version was one time I played for quite some time and then I saved the game and turned the PS2 off. The problem with it was that even if you save, if you don't exit to the Sega Genesis Collection menu, it won't auto save the system data and you're pretty much screwed out of your save file. This made me have to replay alot of what I already did a second time. In short it sucked, but I enjoyed the game from start to finish so it was worth it.

-andrew- -kupomogli-

Josh

That's good to know, at least for me. I hate replaying anything, so much to the point that if I die on a boss that was far from a save point, I'll go do something else for a few hours while I find the drive to go back and do something AGAIN. Though, I kinda miss those old RPGs that forced you to fight your way through a dungeon before fighting a boss, without a chance to heal and/or save.

I plan on getting the PSP version at some point so I can go live out all the Phantasy Star goodness that everyone keeps telling me I've been missing.



Hm, I suppose some people have to be playing this...


Hey

You know, now that it’s been about three months since its release and the initial commotion died down, I wanted to talk about FF XII and the series in general.

Josh

I suppose we can do that. Can we do that?

Sprint Guy

*nods*

All right.

First off, I went into the new installment very skeptical. Very skeptical indeed. Now, I must say, based on my opinions of the demo, I did not think the battle system would be worth it. But S-E definitely gave me something to smile about. I was sad at first that the ATB system was gone but they just put a lot of time into fully thinking (ok I know its flawed) it out. It wasn’t half assed as I was kind of assuming that it would be. This leads me into my one real complaint, like many others; that the story was sub-par for a FF. As mentioned the other day, that “World of Ruin” moment wasn’t there. Vaan and Penelo, besides the first 5 hours or so of the game, just didn’t fit into the story. Where was “You just took Zak’s memory to mold your own personality” or the “Coin toss between Sabin and Edgar” moment of the character development? There wasn’t a moment like that at all really. Now despite the lack of character development, the story of war, in general works. They just didn’t have the character development to back it up!

Josh

I agree that the story was pretty dull, but if you look at it from another angle, it's STILL better than many RPGs out there. I don't know whether to feel sad about that, or what. Vaan had a purpose, though. He wanted to be a Sky Pirate, and the whole thing was just one big adventure for him. Penelo, on the other hand, was just baby sitting him. She really had no purpose. Balthier and Ashe were the only two characters who had real, consistent plot attention, though.

The story of the game was a study of relationships. Familial (Vayne and Larsa, Vaan and Reks, Balthier and that other guy), Marriage (Ashe and Rasler), and Societal (Dalmasca and Arcadia) all were central to the story. It was pretty neat, but unfortunately, pretty shallow in the end.

Now onto my second area, I will be the first to admit I’m a pretty big fan of Square (here come my credentials so you can’t question me about where I’m coming from). Every system I have acquired, has been the dominant platform that they chose. I know it’s a tad shallow in a way but oh well. I’ve been playing FF since I was in a baby crawler (and unfortunately, yes, I have pictures to prove it). I have been a loyal fan to the series and Square in general. We can all admit that they hit the nail on the head the earlier generation of FF’s. But that is just it…am I the only fan that thinks the series should of died a long time ago? I mean come on, Sakaguchi-san was the father of Final Fantasy! The series should have died when he started to leak out of the development. I know I may be wrong, but what was the last title he ACTUALLY took a decent part of development? Final Fantasy 8? 9? Or perhaps 10? No it wasn’t 10 because I know for a fact his name was just slapped on there because of the fact he was the founder. Final Fantasy XII didn’t even say his name (although I’m sure that had to do with him leaving them for Mistwalker)!He played next to zilch in FF 10’s development.

Josh

He may haven't done anything in regards to FFX, but that was a stellar game. He was there for the beginning, and laid the groundwork for the rest of the series. It's like teaching someone how to cook. You teach them the basics, give them the formula, and once they're able to figure out how to mix everything properly, they can go ahead and try experimenting with the given recipe. So while he may be gone, it's clear that he showed S-E what they needed to do to keep the series alive.

Why has the franchise become such a greedy whore? I know S-E has some brilliant minds working behind those desks and they should use them on creating new and innovative series. Now I am not knocking any game in the series or saying FF XII’s system wasn’t innovative because it was a nice change of pace but the series as a whole just should be put to rest. Or maybe instead of creating new ones, take a 3-4 year break and do remakes (3D or otherwise) of such cherished gems like the older FF’s. Not the first 2, but more particularly 4 and 6. Or even then, instead of milking more money off the name, do a remake of Secret of Mana (oh man I will shave my head bald if that day ever comes) or some of the other games that they made that never made it stateside. Or how about this, we’ve seen chocobo games, how about a cute lighthearted game about Moogles. Now if there was anything that didn’t get enough attention, its them!

Well that’s it for my rant, thanks for listening.

Crys

Josh

Oh God, not more remakes. I know everyone is clamoring for a remake of FF7, which probably wouldn't be so bad, but let's NOT remake FF1-6 AGAIN. I do think they should remake, or at the very least, re-release games like Chrono Trigger and Secret of Mana, just because they were really good, and didn't get enough attention. But new Final Fantasy games are not going to go away any time soon. They are big money makers, like you said, but does that really mean that they're greedy whores? Each game has been relatively well done, and have earned their places towards the top of Games of the Year lists. What if they took FFXIII, and instead decided to call it something else outside the series' name? First, let's assume that it will be as good or better than FFXII, just for the sake of the argument. Then, people will second-guess themselves because they won't know the name, and may not pay attention to it. Many stellar games have been killed before their prime because of poor marketing, or lack of consumer interest outside of what they normally know. So, actually, the Final Fantasy name has really been there to sell games to a wider audience. It's not really a -bad- thing, but sure, it all boils down to "people are afraid of going outside their comfort zone."



Digging into the Matt inbox...


Hey, Matt.

I've got to agree with you about the New Super Mario Brothers. I chainsawed through the majority of it one night over at a friend's house, and I honestly felt like I'd done all this so much before that there wasn't really anything new here. No real test of the reflexes, no strategy to it. I gotta admit getting a mega mushroom and pulling a total Godzilla on the level was fun, though.

Josh

I thought the game was pretty easy, too. Nothing in it like World 8-2 of the original Mario game, hehehe. Ah well, at least it felt good to play a side-scrolling Mario game again.

But this is RPGamer's Q&A column, so let's talk RPG's. Lately I've been playing Suikoden V. Very nice plotline there; the politics are intriguingly complicated and serve to keep the game moving, and they also develop familiar Suiko themes like authority, loyalty, the balance between duty and freedom, family. Family! Hey, here's some food for thought: what do you think about family in RPG's? I can kind of see why it's often dismissed in RPG's, as it allows for more individualist protagonists with a lot more freedom, not being tied down to obligations and duties. But on the other hand, everyone has parents, which gives familial situations a universal kind of relevance, and the efforts RPG makers take to create "individualistic" heroes end up contrived or cliched (man, another mysterious amnesiac with no personal ties?). I found that in Suikoden V, when so much of the action revolves around the Prince's family, I felt more invested in events that had import for them, and Lyon's background as an orphan (for example) had a unique spin on it from the contrast. What's your take on the family thing?

-Jackson Ferrell

Josh

Families are integral to many plots in many RPGs. Either there's some estranged sibling that has strayed from his ways, or the main character is an orphan and his parents are being made to do the end boss's bidding, etc.

I like the idea of families existing in RPGs. I want the main character to have a less selfish goal than "doing something for himself." I want the characters to love their families, to fight to protect them, etc. If done properly, I can only think that having close familial ties could only strengthen a character's identity. You then would know all of the intimate details of who he is, was, and the rest of the game will take care of 'will be.'



Potpourri!


Dear Matt

It's been ages, hasn't it? Well, if you need any more letters, I can shoot you one.

1. Square Enix + PSP = BFF??

I don't know about BFF, but the release of Final Fantasy Origins on PSP for the series' 20th anniversary does show something (I say "Origins" instead of "Dawn of Souls" because it would likely include the same cinemas as the PS1 game). Still, I assume that PSP owners may be a little less than overjoyed by this announcement. They'd probably prefer a port of FFVII instead of FFO. Come to think of it, 2007 is the tenth anniversary of FFVII, isn't it? Then I say that if Square really wants to buddy up with PSP fans, they should release a port of FFVII for the PSP as a tenth anniversary celebration of the game, in addition to the series' twentieth anniversary release of FFO on the PSP. Would that make sense?

Josh

BFF - Big, Fat, er...never mind. Gotcha.

Eh, it could work. I'm sick of ports, to be honest. Yes, I'm looking forward to FFVI, but only because it's my favorite game in the series, and it hasn't been ported well yet (FFA -sucked). Besides, now it's portable. On the other hand, FFI and FFII have been ported FOUR times - PSX, Wonderswan, GBA, and now PSP. That's just ridiculous.

2. Final Fantasy XII: Yay or Nay?

Yay. Definitely yay.

Josh

*applauds*

3. Console Wars: Who is destined for glory and failure?

By the looks of the current state, it's a dead ringer between the Xbox 360 and Wii, but MANY things can change in the next few years. I'll stick my usual practice of not getting a new console until about two or so years into the new console war's lifespan to see which is the most worthwhile (and possibly benefit from price drops). Yeah, I'll fall further behind the times, but hey, I can't get everything that I want.

Josh

The Wii will win for the next few months, until Halo 3 comes out. Then the 360 will have a period where sales will literally destroy everything else. I'm still hoping that the PS3 does something great, but...it's definitely hard to tell.

4. Wait, wait, the PS2 era isn't over yet! Upcoming PS2 RPGs.

Not just upcoming, there are dozens of PS2 games from years ago that I want to play (there are half a dozen of these from the previous year alone)! Furthermore, I'm planning on getting my PS2 modded in the near future to play Japanese-exclusive RPGs. I'm confident enough in my ability to read the language now to consider doing it. That's all the more reason not get a next-gen console just yet, as the opportunities that a modded PS2 opens up are huge. I am aware that the PS3 a backwards compatible and region-free, but until the bugs on those features are FULLY stomped AND the PS3 library improves, a modded PS2 is lot more attractive then buying a PS3 right now.

Josh

Yeah, the PS2 isn't going anywhere any time soon. A nasty thing Sony could do is to stop maufacturing PS2s, causing people to purchase the PS3 if they want to play PS2 games. But that would be mean, and people would riot. The PS3 library is dismal, though PS2 didn't have anything too spectacular at launch, either. But hey, if you want to delve into the import realm, then you've just embraced a library exponentially larger than the US market. Good luck!

And a question: What's your take on all this HD-DVD vs. Blu-Ray movie "format wars" going on, and why is it that gamers care so much about it?

Alan

Josh

Ok. Here's the deal. As far as movies go, I don't really see much of a difference, except that Blu-Ray discs cost more to produce than HD-DVD. But, formats usually get cheaper over time. Remember CD-Rs?

As for gaming, the same issue of money applies, but as for content, there's no contest. A DVD holds about 4.7 GB (single-layer), or 9 GB (dual-layer) of data. HD-DVD can hold 15 GB (single-layer), or 30 GB (dual-layer). A Blu-Ray disc, on the other hand, can hold 25 GB (single-layer), or 50 GB (dual-layer) of data. Also, they've also been experimenting around, and a 200GB disc was developed for Blu Ray. However, that probably wouldn't work in the PS3 due to the six layers it has, but it's still pretty damn cool.



QUICKIES


Hey Ouro, just two question, whats World of Warcraft? And whats the full meaning of MMORPG!

Bainick doesn't play MMORPG's

You don't know what World of Warcraft is? Good. Run, as fast as you can! Be free from its tortuous grasp!

And, MMORPG = Massively Multiplayer Online RPG. Or, E-crack, if you'd prefer.



S E G U E

Aurelius claims the PSU shirt!

Bucket will be cohosting on January 22.

Arros Raikou will be cohosting on January 29.

JuMeSyn, let me know when the best time would be to do a Hosting position. Sundays/Mondays are preferable.



T H O N G
Combat Log

Luca Phase:
Luca Blight takes a moment to rest (19.7% HP remaining).

Movement Phase:
Bainick moves to Tile 18.
Leaper moves to Tile 50.
BLG moves to Tile 40.
Arros Raikou moves to Tile 15.
Arpijy moves to Tile 47.
Vicissitude moves to Tile 41.
JDX moves to Tile 53.


Previous THONG Rounds!

Selections for characters can be found at the following sites:

Suikoden Characters

Suikoden 2 Characters

Click here for the rules and lists of items and prizes!

Click here to see previous trivia!

Luca Blight

Great, now Ouro outranks me.

Answer to #L41: F. Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon 2
Now that's a game I haven't heard in a long time...a long time.

#L42.
Which spell do you learn the latest?

A. Hard Ball
B. Acid Rain
C. Lance
D. Reflex
E. Corrosion
F. Revealer

THONG Question

Answer to #41:D. Aguro
I suppose this wasn't that hard. He is one of the main characters in Lufia, after all.

#42.Difficulty: Easy, Potch: 150
The following settings are the five areas of a Diablo II, in order: Plains, Desert, ________, Hell, Highlands.

A. Jungle
B. Arctic
C. Cathedral
D. Suburbs
E. Mountains

C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

Bucket is cohosting on Monday, so please send her some mail! Also, I'll need to sustain my pitiful inbox for tomorrow as well... :)

I'm totally going to bite off of Matt here and suggest some topics. Some may be stolen, but hey, I'm the weekend guy. I get leftovers. Mmm...leftovers.

  • Any series you'd like to see a sequel for?
  • Any games you're playing that you think other people should be playing? Why?
  • Give me some inventive ways to use my DS stylus.
  • We've got that Wiimote thingy. There are plenty of videos out there of people using it to do goofy things. What would you like to see it used for in a game?

Aaaaaand, I'm spent. See you tomorrow?


ourobolus@rpgamer.com
***Josh is heading to Auburn again.


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Quote Archives!

Josh's Top Distractions:

Air Force Training

Not Ailise. ^^;

Current Order of Game-Playing:

1. Final Fantasy III

2. Castlevania: PoR

3. Disgaea 2

4. Bully

5. GTA: LCS/VCS

Novel Progress:

2,788/70,000 words

THONG Players:

1. Roku
Flik  TP: 2
550p

2. Bainick
Hero 2  TP: 22
3950p

3. Leaper
Antonio  TP: 5
2275p

4. Macstorm
Mazus  TP: 1
1050p

6. BLG
Sid  TP: 27
6375p

7. Arros Raikou
Kage  TP: 21
6625p

8. Xlash
Gijimu  TP: 0
200p

9. Donovan
Clive  TP: 2
900p

10. Slimey
Gadget  TP: 11
2000p

11. Bucket
Millie  TP: 20
2600p

12. Draconn
Mondo  TP: 6
1575p

13. Genjuu
Pesmerga  TP: 6
1575p

14. Alan Tse
Hoi  TP: 14
5425p

15. TheBluick
Fu Su Lu  TP: 0
0p

16. Gouden Draak
Rubi  TP: 1
725p

17. Slashlen
Lorelai  TP: 10
900p

18. JuMeSyn
Odessa  TP: 21
3650p

19. PureLunatic
Viktor  TP: 11
1575p

21. William.T
Killey  TP: 6
4775p

22. Arpijy
Hix2  TP: 16
1375p

23. Spiffyness
Badeaux  TP: 2
525p

24. Reivax
Kasim  TP: 1
200p

25. Carabbit
Viki  TP: 7
1975p

26. Vicissitude
Clive2  TP: 16
875p

27. JDX
Kuromimi  TP: 7
1925p

28. Kupomogli
Kinnison  TP: 7
875p

29. Aurelius
Kahn  TP: 4
3000p

30. Omm
Yoshino  TP: 2
1225p

31. Aylee
Luc  TP: 14
4450p

32. Tabor
Ted  TP: 4
2100p

33. TvsAdam
McDohl  TP: 2
875p

34. Sundoulos
Hai Yo  TP: 15
3475p

Anyone else?

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