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Black and Blue July 29, 2006

Josh - 8:33 EST

It's come to my attention that not having a stove or an oven in this place is rather driving me nuts. I can't cook! Whatever shall I do?@?@ I need my gourmet cooking skills to alive! So, I've had to resort to TV dinner type foods, as well as fast food, because I don't have the time or energy to think up something to shove into the microwave. I hope I get out of here soon enough to rectify this situation. ;_;

And, for the announcement you've all been waiting for...

There will be new prizes for the next THONG round! I should have several items from E3, a few games (!), as well as the usual guest host and full host spots. I'll explain several of the new mechanics.

  • Instead of sending a letter, I will have a trivia question each day. Get it right, you roll 1d3.
  • Answering the question will also net you 100 potch for buying items. Simply trying the question will get you 25 potch.
  • Every player will choose a board piece (this round is Suikoden based), and a RUNE. Each rune contains 3 spells that you may use whenever you like, provided you have amassed the necessary THONG points (TP) to use the spells.
  • You gain TP as you move along the board.
  • A tentative list of runes/spells can be found here. Start planning now, but they may change slightly before the actual game starts.

So, hopefully that should fix many of the bugs with this game, and I hope to see as many of you play as possible!




L E T T E R S
Typing with nine fingers is rough.


Hi there once more Josh,

Gosh, I only mentioned Chrono Trigger because I enjoyed it so, and also because Matt hasn't played through the whole thing and isn't terribly enthused about it - so I needed to share with someone who also understands the beauty of the game. But since you quibbled with my decision to veer away from lesser-known RPGs - here goes....

Josh

I don't remember quibbling...I didn't say I wouldn't -welcome- the discussion of a diverse range of RPGs. Quite the contrary, I'd love to hear about all sorts of different games we've got going out there. It's just that lots of people have played the well-known ones, so we get back on that track, so...etc., etc. But anyway, you were saying ^^;?

7th Saga. Never played it, reviews indicate it's one nasty mother. Have you any inside information to steer me towards a playthrough, or no?

Josh

Man, I never got anywhere in that game. Fighting was incredibly dull, not to mention really really hard. If you want to play it for the nostalgia factor, then that's a good enough reason. Other than that, I don't think there's any reason I'd try to go back to it.

Seiken Densetsu 3. Stupid me, I only played through it once (and that was on a cartridge - hooray for not understanding a damn thing that was happening!) and need to play through at least twice more. Yet no one seems to mention it in Q&A when it was very good and a worthy followup to Secret of Mana. Is it just the language divide?

Josh

I loved Seiken Densetsu 3. I beat it with Duran, Angela, and Hawk, and I need to find a copy so I can play it through with the other 3 characters. I'm sure the largest reason people haven't played it is because without some sort of access to a Super Famicom and the cart, the only way to play it is through a translated ROM on an emulator. However, I'd recommend this game to ANYONE who can get their hands on a copy.

Warsong, and its Japan-only sequels the Langrisser series. Where'd they go in Q&A? Definitely a novel battle system I've not seen the like of in any other series.

Josh

I can't remember which Langrisser game I played, but it was in Korean. The battles were a blast, and I found it funny as hell to see the two armies charge at each other and see the dead guys fly through the air over the armies. ^^ I'd also recommend this game, but I can't comment on the story, 'cause...I didn't understand enough Hang'ul to read the game.

Sakura Taisen. Maybe it's because I watched the anime series (laugh if you will - I got into it) but I want these to be released in the English-speaking world!

Princess Crown. Pretty and enjoyable action-RPG on Saturn that just got released for PSP - in Japan. What's the likelihood of its entering the English-speaking world this time around? Hell, I dunno.

Josh

These two I've never played (and I've never heard of Princess Crown), but I can honestly say that most of our readers here have probably not imported these games, thus we have the current state of Q&A. It's been forever since I've played a Saturn, and I never got the chance to play many RPGs for it. But, I'm all for getting some decent RPGs over here for the PSP, so whatever they got, tell 'em to bring 'em over!

Since we seem to be low on prospects of Sega returning to the classic Shining Force battle system anytime soon, I refer you to the brilliant Shining Force III! Undoubtedly you do not own the Saturn (nobody seems to nowadays...) but having played through all three scenarios five times I can vouch for their addictive properties. And Shining Force Central has translated transcripts of the story in Scenarios 2 and 3, to make up in some small way for Sega of America's outlandish lunacy in failing to translate those. Factoring in all the other mistakes made by Sega with regard to the Saturn, I feel no compunctions whatsoever in shouting to the skies once more: Damn you all to Hell!!!!

Josh

I loved the first two Shining games an incredible amount, but I sadly did not get to play the third incarnation and its different chapters. From what I recall, it was an entirely different battle system than the original games...something like a first-person dungeon crawl, right?

*scratches his head furiously*

Ah well. I hope they bring all 3 scenarios over to some new console, just for the sake of all those that never got to play the last two.

You have no interest in history and yet you know about Joan of Arc - interesting. Can this be traced to Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure? Anyway, if Joan of Arc is getting her own game I think a few other historical figures deserve one. Why not Alexander the Great? Although if it's based on Oliver Stone's movie I will personally picket stores urging its destruction, because nothing I have seen in the past 20 months surpasses the vitriolic hatred that movie stirred in me. You'd better live up to the advance reviews with World Trade Center, Mr. Stone!

Godzilla vs. Megalon is a blast. Sad little child-me saw it, oh, 18 years ago now probably, and loved it. About 5 years ago I watched the MST3K version and loved it even more. "Godzilla, a tree? That's not like you!" What to Do on a Date is quite good, I agree. Just be prepared for the Corman-fest called Swamp Diamonds that follows it. Nothing like a Roger Corman movie to suck the life out of the room. I have to mentally prepare myself to see that movie again - Corman movies hurt.

I strongly suggest Rhino release Zombie Nightmare on the next box set. That one is great (Tia Carrera being very easy on the eyes), and it was filmed in Canada!

JuMeSyn

Josh

Hey now, just because I don't care about learning about history doesn't meant I don't know any of it. Plus, I took four years of French, and ended up remembering a bit of French history. I remember a lot of what I hear (I have a phonographic memory), so even little tidbits of history get stuck in my brain from time to time.

Alexander could use one, as could Caesar and Napoleon! I can't imagine how that would work, especially since I'm still floored at the strangeness that is Jeanne d'Arc. Gotta love historical fiction. ^^

I need some more cash, 'cause I'd love to get as many of the MST3k box sets as possible. I'll be sure to be on the lookout for that Roger Corman movie, though...sigh...I hope it's not as hard to watch as that made-for-German-Tv version of Hamlet they had...THAT was hard to sit through, even with all the jokes.

Thanks for writing in again, JuMeSyn! I'll make sure to turn this into Chapter 23 of your Q&A novel I've compiled ^^.



Living in the past?


Overload Ouro,

I've had a recent bout of desire to play some old school games. I played through Final Fantasy 1 again as part of the GBA two pack. I also finally finished Wind Waker, and though that it not too old of a game it got me in the mood to play through the GB Color Zelda games, Oracle of Seasons and Ages.

Do you ever have desires to replay RPGs? Whenever I do, it seems like it is mostly the older titles that I want to playthrough. I've never sat down and said, "I'm bored, I think I'll pop in Xenosaga Episode II." A lot of older titles just seem to be easier to pick up without having to invest a lot of time into them. I love that.

- Macstorm

Josh

I have a tendency to play through games multiple times. It's usually older titles, and I'm positive the reason for that is just that it's been longer since you've last played them! I don't want to go back and play Xenosaga II, a game I just beat recently. I'd rather go play Illusion of Gaia or something. I like to reacquaint myself with past games, because I'm afraid that I'll suddenly get stuck in some mode where I have to play the newer games because they have better graphics, etc. There's just too much nostalgia that keeps me coming back to where I came from.

How about the rest of you? Ever find yourselves coming back? Why?



Welcome back, mon ami.


Greetings good sir! I can't believe what has happened to this Q&A: I lost interest when, about 1-1.5 years post-Thor Antrim, there was all but no energy left for Giggleman or The Dirty Googler or...I dunno some combination of slime imagery and general sliminess I won't comment on cause the drudgery put me to sleep.

Anyhow, you (and your army of RPG fans) have 180-ed this little subpage something fierce! A general message of congratulations on your salvation--and several thousand hell-yeahs on the THONG you so eloquently place at the end.

Josh

Well thank you for the kind words! We try our best to keep you guys entertained, especially since this is the area of the site where we update daily with your guys' thoughts on RPGs today! Matt's goofy, I'm evil, it all works out in the end.

Observation/Possible Question time: I don't know how good for gaming the internet has been. Back in the day, unless one paid for Nintendo Power, even hearing about a game was a cause for alarm. You either heard about games through word of mouth or had to rent them...or, by the time SNES was the fad, buy anything Squaresoft (man I wish it still worked like that...). I remember calling Toys'R'Us asking for Final Fantasy III and having the guy recommend I ask for the upcoming Chrono Trigger. No idea what it was, and upon playing it could not have been more blown away/content. Even once playing the games, you had to beat the game yourself--there was no easy option for "cheating" ones' way through. When I first started RPGing (DW1 baby--had to get my brother to help me read it) the only way one could get through a sticking point was to pay close to a dollar a minute on a tipline or to buy a strategy guide.

Now, if you want to know everything about a game you're interested in, there's RPGamer....if the info isn't here? Check Gamespot of google search. If you wanna get through a game? GameFAQS. If you want to buy friggin' gold to therefore invalidate the joy of playing a game...only so that said lazy-ass can measure up to an invisible online pedigree of non- n00Bizm? Ebay or countless other measures I'm sure. (WOW is absurd--try speed--much safer, still bestowes the false euphoria, and will keep you awake during the same constant hours.....) Ever since the mid-late 90s, problems haven't existed if someone is capable of typing their query into google (and yet they made Ask Jeeves for those who couldn't even do that...we're so laaazy!) their problem is as close to solved as anyone else in the world has gotten it.

Josh

Man, I remember that...I didn't subscribe to Nintendo Power, unfortunately. I just pinched them from my friends and read them on their dollar. I remember sitting there looking at the level layouts for Super Mario 3, and I didn't even own a Nintendo! Video games just fascinated me, I wasn't even really aware of the fact that I was looking up the -exact- way to beat a level in a game.

I do think that the internet has made gamers a little less hardcore in some respects. I am adamantly against looking up ANYTHING about a game until I've beaten it once. I do have some exceptions, such as not having the instruction manual and needing to figure out something mechanics-wise, or there are cases of complete insanity - Unlimited Saga. I will never buy gold or anything for an MMORPG, just because that's such a lame market. There are ways to make money in many MMOs that just require some thought, rather than mindless grinding or buying it online. Learn some basic economics, undercut some prices so that you sell your stuff rather than someone else, and make some dough! ^^

Don't get me wrong--I'm proud to have grown up in the age where the internet became...well, became the modern world and economy. It's phenomenally interesting to look back at and I love having the tool available...I just seem to have to use it. I can't get stuck in games anymore--I'm on gamefaqs in 5 minutes. I have spoiled my initial wow in every game I've gotten since Final Fantasy 7. While every aspect of 7 was incredible to me--I knew nothing of the immense, pre-rended beauty that awaited--I knew the name of every main character, the group the main characters worked for, the name of the enemies, the nature of the worst characters in the game, and even the name of the main characters sword for FF8 6 months before it came out. I knew all the rules for FF9's card game prior to the japanese release. I've never even played FF 10 and I could go toe-to-toe in a gameshow with an FF 10 vet--hell I don't even own a PS2 and I can tell an owner how long it'll be before theirs breaks!

Knowledge is definitely power, but knowledge and mystery/amazement/wonder actually work against each other, and that was the one thing that videogames used to offer that they...just don't anymore. I've been trying to isolate why all my old RPG experiences were rich and yet it feels like hand-stand-walking between countries to try and even finish current ones (most of the reason I opted Gamecube over PS2) and this might at least be part of the reason. I dunno for sure but Tales of Symphonia, while as a sum of its parts seemed like I should have liked it, remains 14 hours tapped and will probably never exceed this limit.

I don't know if anything in that rambling mish-mash of english bastardization constitutes as a question...or even a complete, coherent thought...

Josh

I award you no point, and may God have...just kidding. :P

Yeah...it's a sad lot. There's a difference between figuring out something about how to -play- the game, and how the game pans out. Spoiling a story for me is inexcuseable, and I will hunt you down and toss a flaming turtle at your family. Spoiling something about an item you may find is less of a problem, since the option exists that I would have found it eventually, and if I didn't find it, and still managed to beat the game, no harm done.

It's in my best interests (and hopefully many RPGamers') to shy away from as much knowledge of a game as possible before playing it. Play the game as it was meant to be played - with a fresh eye, not expecting anything. Trust me, you'll have more fun that way.

Anyhow, KEEP DOING WHAT YOU'RE DOING (and tell Matt and your frighteningly-comfortable-and-good-at-writing-for-the-public cohosts the same) with Q&A--I'm definitely gonna start reading again. If only Sound Test still had the participation it used too I'd start tracking again...

Til I stay up late again--
Doby G.

P.S. The D.S. Lite Web Browser. Awesome. Need it.

Josh

Glad to hear that you're back with us, Doby. Might I suggest participating in SOCK and THONG? My next board will be up in the coming weeks after this one finishes (and we're nearing the end). As for us doing what we're doing...I don't think you'll have any worries about that. ^^



Kick him in the lightsaber and run away!


Hey Ouro,

I recently saw the movie Clerks 2, and I saw one scene where one LOTR fan recognized another, and then laughed at Randall for being a Star Wars fan for saying the only real return is Return of the Jedi, not Return of the King. This got me thinking about how people sometimes have to defend what's passionately important to them, so my question for you is has there ever been a moment where someone has said something misconceived about a video game and you just had to correct them right them and there to say something correct about that game?

Well, that's all I got, so Brace Yourself for next time as I'm Dropping Daylight...
BLG

Josh

I'll be the first to admit that I'll correct someone who calls it FF3 instead of FF6. Just force of habit, I guess. I don't really defend any specific games, unless someone says something that's just completely wrong. I know that there are some die-hard fans out there for countless games, and I'll tolerate them correcting me about something as long as they aren't a jerk about it.

As for specific moments...hm. I had to convince my roommate that Guild Wars took skill to play, rather than grinding for items. He's now put almost as much time into the game as I have ^^.



I would KILL for Fallout 3. And a Klondike Bar.


Hello,

When asked what is the single best game in the world, I awnser Fallout 2. My question is, what happened to the people that made this classic? I know that Timothy Cain and a few other guys went on to create Troika Games and the brilliant RPG:s Arcanum and Bloodlines, but where are they now? Are they working on any RPGs maybe?

Also I heard that Bethesda Softworks bought rights to Fallout 3. Any news on that? Are they still making it? Whats your toughts on the whole matter?

Josh

Ah, Interplay, we hardly knew ye. Interplay has been having bankruptcy issues since some time in 2004, including getting evicted from their offices for a time. Currently, Titus Interactive has control of the company, and Brian Fargo (Interplay's founder), has long been gone. They really aren't a company anymore, sadly.

(Little known: Interplay still has the rights to a Fallout MMORPG, but since they don't have, well, anything to make it with, chances are it's not coming any time soon. ;_;)

HOWEVER, Fallout 3 is being developed by Bethesda Softworks! They've been at it since 2004, and it supposedly uses the same engine as Oblivion, though we can probably expect an update to that by the time they release it, which has not been mentioned yet. So...I'll be sure to tell you all the information I find when it actually happens, because I cannot wait for this game. Both Fallout games deserve their place in the Video Game Hall of Fame as masterpieces!





T H O N G
Combat Log

Alan Tse casts MERTON on BLG!
BLG falls 4 spaces to Tile 10.
Alan Tse falls 2 spaces to Tile 13.
Ourobolus casts SLOW!
BLG falls 3 spaces to Tile 7.
BLG moves 2 spaces to Tile 9.
Macstorm moves 4 spaces to tile 20.
Bainick moves 1 space to tile 20.
Roku moves 4 spaces to Tile 20.


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 4-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 MAY use the spell listed on the Tile (excluding Haste, Slow, Roulette, and Stop). You do not have to, 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.
  • If you are on the Trivia Tile, you are invulnerable until the first question has been completed.
  • 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. Spells are cast only if the character is on the space at the -end- of the day.

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: The next time Player sends in a letter, it will take 2 days for the roll to take place.
  • 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. Can only be used twice.
  • 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:

Wow, we've got 3 people on the Trivia Tile. Should they make it, there will only be one slot left for guesthosting!! It's crunch time people! Who will make that last slot!?!

Also, I must remember to thank Sean for generously providing us with some games for SOCK and THONG. He's actually getting rid of his RPG collection, and is willing to negotiate the trade with any willing RPGamers! For a list of his games, click here. To get in touch with Sean, give him a shout at BuddyWingnut@yahoo.com, and he'll tell you more.

To repeat what I asked earlier (I was actually asking myself this question today before I read Mac's letter), what makes you come back to games? What do games bring that provide some sort of replay value?

I'll see you all tomorrow!


ourobolus@rpgamer.com
***Josh jammed his finger good the other day.


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At least I can move it now...man, I suck at basketball. ^^;

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Josh's Top 3 Distractions:

1. World Cup

2. Writing a thesis a week

3. Running 8 miles

RPGs I'm currently playing:

1. Grandia III

2. Xenosaga II

3. Romancing SaGa

4. Radiata Stories

5. Wild Arms: ACF

THONG Players

1. Carabbit
Fairy Esper

2. Gouden Draak
Blue Dragon

3. Macstorm
General Leo

4. Genjuu
Shadow

5. Carlisle
Ghost

6. Bainick
Mog

7. Angel
Celes

8. Wonderslime
Gestahl

9. Powerlord
Ultros

10. Vicissitude
Wedge

11. Bucket
Relm

12. Donovan
Setzer

13. Roku
Locke

14. JCIV
Umaro

15. Arros Raikou
Sabin

16. The Bluick
Imp

17. Chinroku
Owain

18. Xlash
Duncan

19. Alan Tse
Siegfried

20. AcidKnight
Figaro Soldier

21. soulofbass
Gogo

22. BLG
Maduin

23. Eric
Edgar

24. Leaper
Wolf Esper

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