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ASK OURO
Denial of Service June 11, 2006

Josh - 9:18 EST

Well, I finally finished my first paper. I honestly have to write something like a thesis every week. Mini-theses, if you will. And it's all in the style of technical writing (i.e. Not Normal). Ah well.

Today, we have two players break free from the pack! What will happen next??

On another, stranger note...my day has been very...surreal. It's not something I can post here, but...I just am standing by my thought that humans are naturally out of their minds. That's not always a bad thing, but still. O_o.

Oh. World Cup FTW. End of story.




L E T T E R S
You're easy breezy, and I'm Japanese-y.


Hi Ouru.

It's important to remember that it'd be more difficult for Japanese people to write more western (westerner? whatever) settings. I live in Israel and while I'm pretty knowledgeable regarding US culture, I'm not completely fluent with all the different terms. And I think Israel is closer to the US than Japan is, so it might be tougher there.

Secondly, there have been exceptions. For example, everyone will probably mention the Shadow Hearts series, the latest installment taking place in what appears to be pre-WWII New York. Also, I don't think there are that many strictly-eastern RPGs. Most of them are medieval, futuristic or some combination of many genres. The first RPG I played with a real eastern feel, for me, is FFX.

As for settings I'd like to see, I think it's always good to diversify, as long as things are done properly. Anything in the world can be turned into a good story in the hands of a skilled writer, be it aboriginal mythology or stories in the african savannah...

Zohar

Josh

I don't think that there's a problem with the Japanese developing games based off of Western culture. For instance, they've pumped out games like Parasite Eve, Shadow Hearts, Wild ARMs, hell, even the Harvest Moon games (someone explain to me if you've seen a farm like that over in Japan...seriously)! There's evidence of our influence everywhere over there, from words in the language, to the cars, to the technology they use. Distance is only a minor factor in influencing another culture. Sure, it's a big thing back when distance was a major obstacle in moving around, but now with planes and ships and even the internet, we can circumnavigate the globe faster than ever, and distance minimizes its role as a problem.

Yeah, there also haven't been TOO many Far Eastern RPGs. Uh...I think Sudeki was one(?), the Persona games took place in a modern version of Japan, and definitely Jade Empire.

Ultimately, yeah...most games are some strange combination of Western and Eastern Architecture with some strange mythos gathered from all the different ones across the planet. The historical aspect would be a nice change of pace, but it also limits the developers in certain areas, which is why I think they are lax to accept the task.

Thanks for writing in!



Destructive Swimmers.


Dear Ouro

TV's Adam brought it up on Friday, and there are indeed a lot of DS games that have subtitles that abbreviate to "DS". There's Lunar: Dragon Song, Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, Resident Evil: Deadly Silence, Advance Wars: Dual Strike, Guilty Gear Dust Strikers, Mr. Driller: Drill Spirits, Dig Dug: Digging Strike, and Tenchu: Dark Shadow. I'm probably forgetting some more, though. Can you think of any more, or maybe even some original ones of your own? I think that some game titles could end in "Dark Side," "Dangerous Storm," "Dynamic Smash" and "Diabolical Scheme." If the trend keeps up, I wouldn't be surprised if someone made a "Dirt Scooping" or "Derriere Slapping" game. *shudders*

Anywho, I've been wondering. Drakengard 2, Lunar: Dragon Song, Enchanted Arms, Lost Magic, Astonishia Story; what's gotten into Ubisoft lately? What made them decide to start publishing RPGs so often now? Don't get me wrong, I greatly appreciate them for doing this for us, but I still wonder why and how they decided to become a leading RPG publisher all of a sudden these days. When I think Ubisoft, I normally think FPS rather than RPG, heh.

Alan

Josh

Yeah, well that's just idiotic executives being...uh...idiotic. I've actually had this list for quite some time, because I'm a very bored individual who spends his time making lists of ways to use an abbreviation. No, seriously...I sleep.

  • Ditch of Sewage
  • Diptheria Sweat
  • Dysfunctional Savages
  • Delicious Smear
  • Dawn of Shawn
  • Day of Shikaka
  • David Schwimmer

And if they EVER...EVER make a Friends: David Schwimmer game, I will personally fly to whatever company committed the infraction, find the CEO, and drop a vat of flaming turtles on him. Then I'll grab his cute secretary and hit the road.

Ubisoft...Ubisoft...nope. Not ringing a bell ^^.

...OH! -THAT- Ubisoft...heh, sorry, thought you were talking about an old ex of mine who stole my puppy and my digital watch. Yeah, what's going on with them? They've been known for Splinter Cell, Rainbow Six, and Brothers in Arms recently (and let's not forget Winnie the Pooh's Rumbly Tumbly Adventure). Maybe they're just trying to branch out, since they've rarely touched the genre before. I wouldn't call them 'leading' yet, since some of those games haven't even come out yet. Well, whatever...as long as they try to put out some quality stuff, I'm all for it.



And our brave hero roasts the disabled man...


Good day sir Josh,

Okay, it must be said that your link last weekend prompted me to rewatch the episode. After which I have temporarily determined that Punch RockGroin is my favorite. That will change on the next viewing I'm sure.

Josh

Aye, mine change often. Roll FizzleBeef is good, too. ^^

What happened to the topic of mobile RPGaming? As if I had a great deal of fascinating reflections on the subject - but I can't say my cell phone ever appealed to me as a platform of any variety of gaming. My Motorola model was bought three years ago and was cheap then, so nothing sophisticated can be played on it (unless Blackjack with that CHEATING DEALER is a model of sophistication). Frankly I doubt the cell phone can be made to work as a comfortable console without enlarging it past practicality. Who wants to stare at that tiny screen for serious gaming?

Josh

I don't think anyone was paying attention, cause I literally opened the floor for mobile-game bashing. That's like asking someone if they'd eat their neighbor for $50...who wouldn't?

Most mobile games are stuck over in Japan, and they have a much larger obsession with mobile phones over there. Trust me. It's like crack. I've seen phones that they can program to wipe their...uh...windows. The screens are way too small, there's no way to comfortably hold most American phones in a way that gaming is even an option, and sound is out of the question. Next!

If I ever advance past primitively pedestrian dial-up or ire-inducingly inconsistent wireless Guild Wars or WoW may be on the horizon for me. But as those are my only connection options at present I don't think the games could be taken advantage of.

More MST3K madness: should Matt be told about The Final Sacrifice?

Josh

::patpats::

Um...sure. I don't see why not. ^^

Now, with regard to historically-based settings I can speak a bit, given that I majored in history. The biggest problem for any developer to overcome is the fact that descendants of groups involved in the prospective setting just might look disfavorably upon any attempt at even-handed portrayals. Take the US Civil War for instance; there's a hot-button issue guaranteed to inflame neo-Confederates. Unless the developer cared to invest enough time to let a story play out from both sides of the conflict, there would be no way to avoid the player either fighting Confederates (or if the developer REALLY wanted to screw with people, Yankees). This would cut into sales immediately but might provoke really nasty reactions from descendants of the CSA who haven't quite come to terms with the times they live in.

World War II comes to mind as possessing a universally-vilified enemy in the Nazis, but aside from a few strategy titles I don't remember any RPGs set in the timeframe; just the now-ubiquitous first- and third-person shooters. If a developer wanted to mess with actual events the Soviets could be made the enemy, although Communism-nostalgists and prideful Russians would object. If an RPG made Napoleon the villain the protests from French persons would harm the ears of everyone forced to listen. Making the Kaiser the villain conveniently ignores how culpable the rest of Europe was and justifiably prompts German protests.

I suppose what I'm saying here is, real-world considerations dictate quite a bit of how reluctant developers are to tread into Earth's recent history.

JuMeSyn

Josh

Columnists Note: I completely and utterly suck at anything history-based. Carry on.

A Neo-Confederate? Is that like someone who doesn't realize that the North won? I used to call those people, "The guy who sits next to me in U.S. History and forgot to read page 132 of our book and bombed the test."

The thing you're looking at is war. War doesn't lend itself to the RPG industry, since it's more than a team-based effort...it's a large-scale group effort, on something along the lines of 100,000+ times the size of your average RPG party. Since the goal of war is to win something due to the actions of a huge amount of people, just telling the story of, say, 5 people who did something magnificent is really just not the way of addressing the issue. In most RPGs, the player's party usually does something like save a kingdom or save the world...something that historically, doesn't happen. It's the giant groups of people with weapons that do it.

Well, there have been a few games (at the very least, the Bond games), set in a world where the Russians are the enemy, specifically during the Cold War. Sure, you aren't going after Stalin or Lenin, but hey, it's a bit similar.

Like I mentioned, I don't think it's a matter of developers worrying about a specific ethnic or cultural group so much as the RPGs we are looking for just don't work with a war-driven timeframe.



Raikou! Raikooooooou!


Hi there Ouro

First off you misspelled my nickname ^^;; it's Raikou not Raiku but as long as you remember it's me when I cream the staff and snatch the prizes I won't care

anyway now for that there collumnahamahama, in regards to modern era rpgs there is SMT

In regards to other modern day rpgs, if somebody will fund me I've got a few entertaining stories floating through my brain, me personally I perfer the stories and settings that aren't heavy fantasy based, there's only so many orcs and dwarfs before you just want to scream, though I really don't like the overly Sci-Fi themed ones either because of the made up scientic jargon

Anyway for a question, what should replace the fantasy standards of elves dwarves and orcs to spice the genre back up?

Arros Raikou

*has got 70 degrees to the right at 1:30 full of ROFL BBQ ZOMFG PWNage finscoskfscky particale jamma radiation* or some other ridiculous bs

Josh

Yeah yeah...I fixed it :P

Shin Megami Tensei...well yeah, that series has been set in more modern times, definitely (*hugs Persona 2).

Replace fantasy standards...hrm. Well, creating a race isn't generally hard. As long as they keep them different from the general characteristics of elves (long ears, wisdom, agile, pretentious as all hell) and orcs (green, ugly, smelly, brutish, complete lack of pretentiousness), then it shouldn't be too bad. I think the Weevils from South Central Earth should rise and get an epic series of their own! Rise, I say!!



Don't forget Altered God of WarBeast.


Hi Circulus Snake,

Personally I think it would be interesting to have some variety in the fantasy setting. We haven't seen much of a Greek setting outside of action games like God of War or Altered Beast. Who doesn't want to take a party into Hades and have Aphrodite as a love interest? :p I think it would be interesting to have more futuristic RPGs too. Star Ocean doesn't really count because you spend much of your time on medieval planets. Xenosaga was interesting, shame the battle mode didn't work out so well...

On another note, what is the idea number of characters in an RPG? Note I do not say party members, but characters, as in total characters recruitable. I recall FF6 had a lot of characters, 14 if my memory serves me right. Chrono Cross had over 20, maybe even 30 characters, and the Suikoden series has 108! Personally, I think once you get over the dozen, it gets hard to create strong memorable characters with depth and attention. I preferred games like FFX which had 7 characters and required you to use them all in battle. In addition to that, they all had their own personalities and backstories. Do you like many characters or a few?

Gouden Draak

Josh

Greek would be cool. I mean, enough RPGs use the Greek or Roman mythos in their games, they might as well make some more games from that timeframe.

Chrono Cross had way too many. I grabbed Serge, Orlha, and Glenn and used them for most of the game. I honestly didn't care about the others. Suikoden has always been odd for me. I love the games, but I've never had the desire to get 108 characters. At that point, they don't really seem like characters, so much as items in a collection that I need to find (Gotta Recruit 'em All! Sui-ko-den!). I think any more than 6 and you start to spread the backstory thin, while any more than 10 and you're pushing it. There are exceptions of course, like Final Fantasy VI, which remains one of my favorite games, and they managed to have an awesome backstory on 11 of them (Mog, Umaro, and Gogo don't have much). That's a pretty good effort, in my opinion.





T H O N G
Combat Log

Gouden Draak moves 1 space to tile 4.
Bainick moves 1 space to tile 4.
Wonderslime moves 3 spaces to tile 6.
Powerlord moves 1 space to tile 4.
Arros Raikou moves 3 spaces to tile 7.
Bucket moves 2 spaces to tile 2.
Bucket casts HASTE!
Bucket moves 2 spaces to tile 4.
The Bluick moves 1 space to tile 1.
Chinroku moves 1 space to tile 1.
Alan Tse moves 1 space to tile 1.


For lower resolutions, click here

Presenting...

THE HOPEFULLY OUTSTANDING NEW GAME!

Or, THONG for short. For now, the prizes will be limited to Guest-Hosting opportunities, since this is essentially an experiment. I'm positive that it will turn out well, though! Now, for the setup:

This is the game board. If you ever talk to CactuarJoe, make sure to thank him for the wonderful job he did! Thanks Joe!

If you want to join: Please send me your top 3 choices for characters for your game piece. A list of them that can be used can be found here. Please only choose from the "PARTY" or "NPC" links. Also make sure that the character has a left/right-facing sprite, and a front/back facing sprite. Thanks!

  • Everyone begins the game on START.
  • For every letter you write in, I will roll a 3-sided die (I'll use RPGamer's resident Random Number Generator, DiceyBot). That will determine how many spaces you move.
  • You may only get credit for one letter, per day - max 3 per weekend. Timestamps will be checked, and only letters sent during Friday - Monday before my column will be counted towards that weekend. Letters sent at other times during the week will not count until Saturday.
  • Letters must be addressed to me, at either qna@rpgamer.com or ourobolus@rpgamer.com. Letters will get credit even if they are unanswered, or even if Matt answers them.
  • If you land on a Spell Tile, you MUST use the spell listed on the Tile. Spells and their effects are listed after the rules.
  • The Trivia Tile MUST be landed on before you may enter the FINISH Tile. Answering the trivia question correctly will automatically grant you entry into the FINISH Tile, and you will receive the prize.
  • If you reach the Trivia Tile, another reader who is participating in the game will ask you a question. However, the person who lands on the Tile decides WHICH reader asks the question, as well as WHICH RPG from which the question will be asked (e.g. "Wonderslime wants Bainick to ask him a question about Chrono Trigger").
  • If the person who provides the question has not played the game, they may use anything necessary to come up with a question. Failure to provide a question over 2 days of my column will result in the same effect as if the receiver answered the question right, and he/she will progress to the FINISH Tile.
  • The Prize for this initial board will be 5 Guest Hosting positions. Once those are completed, a new board will be created, probably with more prizes.
  • The effects will go as such. Movement->Spells Cast->Effects. Everyone will move at the same time, all spells will be cast at the same time, and all effects will happen at the same time. Attack spells will be cast at the beginning of the day after they were landed on.

Spell effects are as follows:

  • Bolt 1: Player chooses another player to push back 1 tile.
  • Bolt 2: Player chooses another player to push back 2 tiles.
  • Stop: Player must send in a letter to lose the 'Stop' status, at which point he may send in a letter the next day to resume rolling.
  • Haste: Player receives an extra roll which will make him/her advance 1-3 tiles.
  • Slow: Player receives an extra roll which will make him/her retreat 1-3 tiles.
  • Merton: Player chooses another player to push back 4 tiles, at the cost of Player moving back 2 tiles.
  • Roulette: I roll a 20-sided die. Any players standing on that numbered tile are pushed back 2 tiles.
C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

Note: Remember, you can join in THONG at any time! The board is designed to allow newcomers to use their spells and letters to rise up and knock others back! It's an equal opportunity game! :)

Anyone else up for historical references? Please, nothing to detailed, because my knowledge of history is quite limited, and I loathe searching for historical data. I'll just assume you're right, anyway. :P

Thesis #1 done! Tomorrow, I get the problem for Thesis #2! Woo! Woooo! wooo...wo....woo!...woo..woo...zzzzzzzz...


ourobolus@rpgamer.com
***Josh will cast Roulette tomorrow! Hehehehehe...


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6. Bainick
Mog

7. Angel
Celes

8. Wonderslime
Gestahl

9. Powerlord
Ultros

10. Vicissitude
Wedge

11. Bucket
Relm

12. Donovan
Setzer

13. Roku
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14. JCIV
Umaro

15. Arros Raikou
Sabin

16. The Bluick
Imp

17. Chinroku
Owain

18. Xlash
Duncan

19. Alan Tse
Siegfried

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