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Thing a Thong of Thixpenth August 26, 2006

Josh - 6:53 EST

Whew. I can feel it getting closer...the coming of THONG 2 is nearly upon us! I'm hoping to start the game on Saturday (I want to give the people who haven't signed on some time to get started), so get ready, all youse guys. Anyone can write in with their choices for characters and their Rune choice, now!

You ever stare off into space and listen to the same song over and over again for absolutely no reason whatsoever? The other day I popped up Utada Hikaru's "Keep Tryin,'" and I couldn't stop listening. I don't get it. It's just so CATCHY. I don't understand the words, the video is really silly, and I really didn't like any specific part of the song so much as the whole thing just sounded good. My reasoning may be flawed, but...eh. This isn't the first time it's happened, either. I've zoned out to entirely too many songs, just continuously listening to them. But, I digress.

That wave is coming, too. Disgaea 2, Xenosaga 3, Enchanted Arms - to name a few...so many games, so little time. It's a conspiracy! And the only way to stop it is to...use whatever implements I can find in my immediate vicinity and beat the developers to death with them!

Lawnmower

Here, use me! I'm silly!

Oh, yes! Let's go...onward to victory!




Oh...and letters, too. I guess.




L E T T E R S
Why? Why? Why?


Hi, Josh,

Draconn's note about the Sega Genesis Collection prompted me to look it up on EB's site. I order all my games online because the closest store to me is over 50 miles away. $2.99 for shipping is much cheaper than the gas. Anyway, it's available for preorder for $19.99!!!!!! It's the deal of the century!! Needless to say, I went ahead & ordered it. Thought everybody should know how inexpensive it is.

Have a great week.
Jbumi

Josh

I know, it's a great deal. However...

The PSP version costs $29.99. What the hell is with that? That really doesn't seem fair, what with my PSP keeping me company this coming semester ;_;



Do you hear what I hear?


Hey, You were asking if any one has recognized any music having been lifted from other places on the 25th. The only one I can think of is in FFVI. While fighting Kefka's minions at the end of the game you can hear Bach's Toccata in D Minor (its also the creepy tune you hear in a lot of the really old vampire movies, usually played on an organ). I also noticed "It's a Small World" in DQVIII and, having suffered through the ride at Disney World, made me like the game a lot less. If I remember any else I'll let you know.

Adam

Josh

I do remember "It's a Small World," surprisingly. It seemed a rather odd placement, but I trudged through its misery and conquered my foes! Unfortunately, there wasn't a select group of ethnic children that attacked you, as having Jessica Puff-Puff them, followed by having Yangus take a swing at them with his scythe would have been utterly fantastic. Not that I promote infanticide, but just to get them little things to shut up would be quite the minigame. :)

I don't recall the Kefka thing, though. I remember something in the FFVII commercial that was played in the States. I think Gotterdammerung was played during it, and it took me a second to catch it, as it was strikingly familiar.

And, if you do find more, please, by all means, share it with the rest of our readers! We'll be waiting!



Run for your life! Seriously.


Hello Matt,

Matt's Answering Machine

I'm sorry, Matt's not in right now. Please wait until the next Overlord is available to take your inquiry. Thank you.

Josh

Yo.

I have been waiting until I had enough to write about, and this past week has given me more than enough topics with which to share my $.02. Starting with the big one being, how much fun it is to go back and play older games. Reading what you had to say about Dragon Warrior and what Strawberry Eggs had to say about Phantasy Star, really struck me as being oh so true.

Recently, I went back and played the original Final Fantasy. While playing that game I noticed the exact same things that the both of you mentioned. Things like being able to go almost everywhere right from the start and getting your butt handed to you by monsters you shouldn't yet be fighting, having that feeling of wanting to go just that little bit further, and having a limited inventory and/or limited money with which to buy items. All of those things are what make those older games so intense and unnerving when you go back and play them now.

For example: When I was exploring Marsh Cave, I used every item I had just to stay alive. Upon finishing everything and leaving the Cave to head back to Elfland, my party was poisoned in a battle. What was I to do? My white mage was already dead and I had no more healing items or anything left to cure the poison ailment. My only hope was that I could make it back to Elfland while running away from every battle along the way. Along the way back to the village, all of my party members -with the exception of my fighter- had died by about halfway (and even fighter was barely hanging on for life with me counting down his HP with every step taken). I was actually really scared due to the fact that I didn't want to lose about an hours worth of work. But, my fighter did make it back to the Inn at Elfland with just 7HP left (at which point I let out a huge sigh of relief).

The point of the story is that, you just can't find excitement like that in most (if any) RPGs anymore. Those life/death moments and the real fear which comes along with the fact that games back then were primitive and unforgiving (the exception being DW and the half of your money thing) has gone away and been replaced by games that give the player plenty of money, more save points, and cheaper MP heal spells.

Josh

Oh, thank you. Thank you oh so much. You have no idea how much I miss this about older RPGs. While I do think there are some problems with the "accidentally walking into an area with much stronger monsters without fair warning" issue (it's just rather silly to just wipe suddenly, without having saved in awhile, potentially), the fact is that I rarely have been in any situation where I'm feared for my life recently.

I was playing Grandia 3 recently, and I still have the habit of conserving MP and such because there is probably a boss waiting for me at the top of this tower, and when I get there...there's a save point that also heals you. Great. So I think I intentionally make the game harder on myself to make up for this shortcoming, but it just bothers me that developers seem to be catering to ease rather than challenge.

What say you, Grandpa?

Grandpa

Eh?

I remember, back in my day, when we could only cast two Cure spells before we had to either use an Ether or run out of the dungeon! We also had to walk FIFTEEN miles into the dungeon to find the boss, and then we had to walk back out, fighting all of the monsters that were still alive, WITHOUT SAVING!

Now...where's my Ensure, you ruffian!?!

Um...here ya go. Drink up, the doctor said something about a Youth in Asia, whatever that means. I'm sure you'll need your strength.

The last dungeon of Dragon Warrior 4 was so long...so very, very long. Finally getting to Necrosaro left half of your party depleted of everything, so it was a rather mixed blessing to get to fight him.

And let's not forget the boss fight in FFIII where you MUST be in Mini status. Man that can be difficult.

The second topic I wanted to mention was the "music sounds like it comes from something else" thing. Right now I am playing Grandia, and just a couple days ago (after I got done with a short gaming session) my mom asked me what game I was playing. I told her what I was playing (Grandia being a game she has never even heard of) and then (out of curiosity) asked her why she wanted to know. She said the music sounded a lot like that of the original Sonic the Hedgehog game. I thought about it for a few seconds and then started laughing, due to the fact that it really does sound kind of like those old Genesis Sonic games. Kudos goes to my mom for even remembering what Sonic sounded like in the first place. I was quite amazed.

Josh

Indeed. That's quite impressive. My mom knows the Mario theme. That's it. Oh, and the Final Fantasy victory fanfare. I did get her to play "Waltz for the Moon" on the piano, though. That was my crowning achievement.

Of course, I also did manage to convince my Honors English teacher in 10th grade that the "La Resistance" song from the South Park movie was a wondrous, inspirational piece about self-sacrifice for a bigger cause. I'll never forget the look on her face when I finally told her what it was from. ^^

Lastly, I wanted to mention that of all the games people have been talking about wanting to get this holiday season, nobody has mentioned SMT: Devil Summoner. I understand lots of people really want the FF, Xenosaga, (etc...) games (myself included), but I just thought more people would be looking forward to this game too. Persona 3 has been bumped back to early next year (from what I have heard), so this new SMT is the best thing for those of us RPGamers who like the darker themes these games offer. I guess that is why Atlus doesn't sell games like other companies though, which doesn't bother me due to the fact that I always pre-order Atlus games. I mean, it won't be me spending more than the retail price (due to instant rarity) for these games on Ebay later.

Thanks for reading,
-thinkfreemind

Josh

I've been looking at Devil Summoner and am a bit intrigued. I have YET to play any of the SMT games after and including Nocturne, just because I can't find the bloody things anywhere! I mean, if a game is incredible, and I KNOW it's incredible, then I may go online and shell out the money required. However, I'm cheap, and usually stick to bargain bins and such. You can imagine my luck in finding these games in there. ^^;

I may have to pick this up, if only to satiate myself from the lack of the DDS titles in my collection. Don't worry, thinkfreemind...there are plenty of readers and hosts alike who are pining for the SMT games, whenever they arise.



And then he said, "Where did my button go?"


Hej, jak sie masz Josh?

Josh

Why dost thou torture me so? Behold my diction!

I wouldn't have resorted to this... but you had to bring up McDonald's. You have seen Super-Size Me, correct? I hated Ronald McDonald solely for being a clown long ago, I hate Hamburglar for being stealing valuable Saturday mornings long ago, and I hate the corporation for producing such crappy food! When their food is crappy by the standards of fast food - that's just sad. For bringing them into the picture, I give you this:

'Double double your refreshment, double double your enjoyment, ooooh no single gum double freshens your mouth liiike - DoubleMint, DoubleMint - gum! There's no single gum like it!'

Josh

I didn't see Super-Size Me, but I know the concept, and I did read Fast Food Nation (great book, and is also one of the reasons why I stand by In-n-Out Burger as one of the best fast food restaurants anywhere). Without reading or watching anything, McDonald's food just plain sucks. It's just horrible tasting, and I don't understand why I ever liked it as a child. If I have to eat crappy fast food, I'll head to Wendy's or Taco Bell (mmm...Cheesy Gordita Crunch...).

This kicks off my Nineties Nostalgia moment! Let us all bask in the glory that is Seinfeld. Of course any attempt to translate Seinfeld into any sort of game would be a horrendous travesty punishable by being dragged from a moving helicopter over the woods, but as the finest sitcom ever made its place must be assured.

Ren & Stimpy! The duo had a few decidedly mediocre-to-bad 16-bit moments of glory, but when all the really weird stories of that series are thrown into consideration a workable RPG just might be produced!

Beavis & Butthead! Ummm - any attempt to put them into an RPG would have to either surround them with more intelligent party members or be in some sort of dream wherein they actually understand how to apply themselves. Grunge! Music games seem to have this covered though. 16-bit! Whatever happened to console manufacturers boasting broadly about the bits used by their machines?

.... And the moment is gone. Dziekuje!

Josh

Oh dear god, a Ren & Stimpy RPG? Just...leave. Go. Stop talking and go.

Instead of Beavis and Butthead, there should be a Bill and Ted RPG. Period.

Because bits don't matter anymore! Remember the Jaguar? It was 64-bit before anything else was, and NO ONE bought it. Well, ok, that guy in the corner over there who cries himself to sleep every night does, but seriously. It just stopped being a factor in purchasing.

http://rpgfan.com/pics/princess-crown/index.html

Battles are NOT like those in Act Raiser. Having played them both, I know this. Princess Crown is closer to a fighting game than a straight action game, with movement being handled roughly as a fighting game would do it (jump by pressing up, block by pressing away). I'll walk you through a sample encounter to illustrate just what Princess Crown's fighting system is like.

Tramping through some nasty tower I just got into, I come upon a random encounter with a Myconid (the enemy name flashes onscreen in English, incidentally). I slash at it and hit it with Gradriel's sword. I slash again but the Myconid counters me, although for less damage than I dealt to it. It then jumps me. I get hit with its mushroom hallucination attack, which makes me see first a lady pop out of the Myconid's top and then a hulking, muscle-bound guy. These figures attack until I duck and attack (press down and attack, this launches a sword dash) to finally hit the Myconid again and knock the hallucinations away. Around this time my fairy friend, who fulfills a number of functions, flies in and hits the Myconid for a bit of extra damage. I see the Myconid approaching this time and hold B, which brings up a quick choice of options: Side Step (to try getting behind the enemy) or Back Step (to get away). I choose Side Step and after a moment to turn around smack the Myconid again. At this point my Power meter, which constantly charges throughout battle, is out for a split second and I back away. Power is necessary to swing the sword and to Side/Back Step. Since I'm now a distance away, I open up the item menu and select the M8 scroll, which freezes the Myconid and drops a big rock onto it for nice damage. My Power meter is sufficient now to get over and smack it again, and now I hold the attack button down so that Gradriel goes into her followup attack which completely drains the power meter but smacks the Myconid around something fierce - fiercely enough that it dies. At which point I get a display telling me how much experience I just got, what items the Myconid could have dropped and which it in fact did, and a treasure chest popping out of where the Myconid's corpse came to rest. Opening the chest I get some gold, which I walk around to collect, and an item, in this case a fruit which will heal me somewhat. Three bites of the fruit and it's gone. If I leave the fruit on the ground, incidentally, a goblin will come and swipe it. Any items the player cannot grab in time, the goblins are quite happy to take!

Josh

I knew you were gonna provide me with a lengthy retort the moment I made that assumption. Heh, open mouth, insert foot, eh?

That seems like a really interesting system, actually. Hybrid genres always intrigue me, so I'm always on the lookout for when someone does it right. Thanks for clearing that up, JuMeSyn! ^^;

There is quite a bit more to say about the system, but this should dispel any overt similarities to Act Raiser you might have thought of. There is a fair amount of challenge from certain encounters also. Dragons in particular are nasty opponents - an early Dragon boss creamed me twice before I went all-out gaining a few levels to take it down - barely. Enough Saturn stuff for awhile, since you're very inexperienced with the system. I call upon you, Lord Ouro, to justify me trying to find Secret of Evermore via eBay! Keeping in mind that a friend loaned me a copy 5 years ago, minus the manual, and I had essentially no clue what to do - I came upon the first boss and died pathetically more than once before giving up. How is the PSP's battery life? Have you run out of juice at a bad time yet? I think Gremlins could make a fine RPG. The concept is sound, all that needs to be done is making a workable party system. Thoughts?

Josh

Secret of Evermore is worth a playthrough. I actually have a copy of it...somewhere...probably in storage somewhere. If you liked Secret of Mana, you'll probably like Secret of Evermore. The gameplay is roughly the same (although with a bit more emphasis on the magic system), and the story is fairly quirky enough to keep you from being bored. Besides, you get a toaster dog that shoots lasers as your sidekick in the fourth world, how cool is that?

The PSP does seem to have a fairly low battery life, something along 5-6 hours. While it has only run out of juice at one moment for me, the nice thing is that the system effectively has a 'save-state' mechanism that reloads the game from where you were playing. Very handy for on-the-go playing.

Gremlins could be interesting, on a sort of Earthbound-ish level. I always pictured it as a State of Emergency/Dead Rising type thing where you just run around destroying the little buggers ^^.

Actually, same with Ghostbusters. The Sega Master System Ghostbusters title entertained me long ago - and think what could be done with the concept now. Dis/agree?

Josh

And Stay-Puff as a summon! I like it! Behold my sticky, yet tasty power!

What is the likelihood that you'll ever hunt for a Saturn on eBay? While I'm not the most informed about RPGs coming out for current consoles, there are many games I have purchased and not played yet on the older systems that make me unlikely to take the plunge anytime soon. You can join in the fun of not caring about release dates!

Josh

Likelihood? Uh...I have absolutely no idea. I'd really only get it for a select few games, and even so, new games are coming out left and right that I desire to play, and it just seems like it would be a neverending cycle of never playing it. I might borrow someone's at some point, but...I honestly have no idea. >_>;

Counting what is coming out this holiday season, the Gamecube will possess what worthwhile RPGs? And what less-than-worthwhile RPGs?

Josh

Well, the only two that are coming out before the holiday season it seems are Baten Kaitos: Origins and Super Paper Mario. So far, I hear nothing but good things about the Paper Mario games, and the Zelda games are fun too. Lessee...Skies of Arcadia, PSO I & II, and the Harvest Moon games are the only things I can think of that are exclusive to GCN. Nintendo is about to hit that mode where they will slowly concentrate all of their effort onto the Wii, which will be out fairly soon. I cannot wait for Twilight Princess!

Does the Xbox 360 intrigue you at all? I will admit to a few glimmers of interest from me, as I have an action-gaming side to satiate from time to time. And Blue Dragon, from the fleeting glimpses had thus far, looks compellng. Too damn bad the backward-compatibility thing isn't universal. While I'm on a Microsoft curve - do you know anything about Knights of the Old Republic 1 and 2, and/or Jade Empire? These seem to be the most constantly praised entries into the RPG world on Microsoft hardware thus far (did I forget Morrowind and Oblivion? By golly, I might have!). Unless you count Fable. Or Sudeki.

Josh

360 is fun, Enchanted Arms is a little creepy (and not in a scary way...just...go find a trailer and you'll see what I mean), but I don't really see it as an RPG machine. Sure, I'll grab some action games or some FPS games when I can, but that's about it.

KOTOR and its sequel were very well done games. I played through most of the games and enjoyed them both (PC). If you like Star Wars set with some oddly-reminiscent-of-D&D-rules, then you're in luck! I hear Jade Empire was fun, but I have yet to get my hands on it. Fable sucked, horribly. Sudeki was lame. Morrowind was good, but I recommend playing it for PC. Oblivion is essentially the same.

By the way, Leonard Maltin gave Blade Runner 1 1/2 stars. The same rating he gave John Carpenter's The Thing. The same rating he gave Friday the 13th, Part 1. And he gave Diabolik 3 stars. Do I need to say any more?

Do widzenia!
JuMeSyn

Josh

Well, this is why you just can't trust critics!

"It stinks!"

*listens to Hideous Control Now...or was it Henny on the Road Now?*





T H O N G

Previous THONG Rounds!

I learned a few things from the last round of THONG. The letters thing didn't work for all of the casual players, so I took a hint from Matt's brain and reverted to trivia! Seems to be a bit better! I hope this encourages many of you to play!

Selections for characters can be found at the following sites:

Suikoden Characters

Suikoden 2 Characters

Round 1 players have first dibs on characters until Aug. 25th. After that, anyone can take their pick!

Rules:

  • Every player must select a character and a rune. The runes are designed to be balanced, so no one rune is better than all the others. Runes are unlimited in supply, and the option to change your rune exists somewhere on the new THONG board!
  • You may change your rune as many times as you wish BEFORE the game begins.
  • New runes and items may be added over the course of the game.
  • Everyone begins the game on START.
  • Every day, I will provide one trivia question. Answer it right, and you get to roll 1d3, which determines how many spaces you move.
  • As you progress down the board, you will pass some TP+1, TP+2, and TP+3 tiles. You will gain THONG points (TP) whenever you pass over these tiles. These points can be used to cast THONG spells, described later.
  • Spells may be cast at any time, provided you possess the necessary amount of TP.
  • TP for each player is capped at 29. To gain more TP, you must cast a spell.
  • Answering a question correctly will also net you 100 potch for purchasing items. For simply trying the question, you get 25 potch.
  • When you get near a prize that you want, you must email me to let me know that you want the prize. You may wait until after you have passed the prize if you wish.
  • I will provide a trivia question of variable difficulty whenever someone is going for a prize. The question must be answered correctly to claim the prize.
  • Once a prize is claimed, that character is sent back to START.
  • And remember, have fun! You may pound on each other as much as you like, and there is some strategy involved...so do your best!

Here is the list of spells and their descriptions:

Berserker Rune
CostNameEffectRange
4 TPGalePush target back 1 space.One
7 TPRushing BlastFeeling unlucky? Roll the max amount!Self
15 TPBlind RageRoll twice and knock everyone you pass back 1 space.Self

Thief Rune
CostNameEffectRange
4 TPDrainSteal 1 TP from target.One
7 TPMega DrainSteal 3 TP from target.One
15 TPPower LeakRemove a total of 10 TP from target(s).One to Five

Trickster Rune
CostNameEffectRange
4 TPLurePull target 1 space towards you.One
7 TPFreeze TrapStop all players who land on target tile for one day.Tile
15 TPFlame TrapAll players who land on target tile receive 1d2 rolls per answer for 3 days.Tile

Protector Rune
CostNameEffectRange
4 TPDispelRemove any harmful status effect on caster.Self
7 TPWallNullify one spell cast on you. Lasts 2 days or until hit with spell.Self
15 TPReflectReflect spell cast on you towards the caster. Lasts 2 days or until hit with spell.Self

Pyro Rune
CostNameEffectRange
4 TPInfernoPush target back 2 spaces.One
7 TPFlame BurstPush target back 4 spaces.One
15 TPFire StormPush two targets back 5 spaces each.Two

Manipulator Rune
CostNameEffectRange
4 TPFloatTarget does not receive TP when passing over tiles the next time they roll.One
7 TPToxicAll players who land on target tile lose 1 TP per day for 3 days.Tile
15 TPForceForces target player to randomly cast a Lv 1 or Lv 2 spell at a random player.One

List of Harmful Status Effects:

  • Frozen: Target cannot move for 1 day.
  • Burn: Target suffers from 1d2 rolls rather than 1d3, for 3 days.
  • Toxic: Target loses 1 TP per day for 3 days.
  • Float: Target does not receive TP when passing over tiles the next time they roll.

List of Beneficial Status Effects:

  • Reflect: Target reflects the next spell back at the caster. Lasts for 2 days.
  • Resist: Target resists the next spell cast on them. Lasts for 2 days.

Item List
ItemDescriptionCost
EtherRestores 3 TP.600 potch
ScannerShow 1 player's items and their Rune.600 potch
Lunar CurtainTake half damage for 3 days.1000 potch
Steal RingSteal 1 random item from a player.1000 potch
Power Drink2x damage for one day (attack spells only). Take one day to recuperate.1200 potch
Gold Hairpin1/2 TP cost for one spell, one day.1500 potch
RandomizerCast a random spell, no TP cost.1500 potch

THANK YOU TO ALL WHO PLAYED. ROUND 2 WILL ARRIVE SOON!

Look for new prizes, including games, E3 swag, and your standard slew of hosting options...as well as some interesting other items....^^

C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

Vicissitude will be cohosting on Monday, guys, so make sure to send in lots of mail for answering! They've earned this spot, so now's the chance to harass them! :D

In the meantime, have there ever been points in games where you'd drive yourself mad trying to figure out how to beat a boss or solve a puzzle, and then finally, after great lengths, overcame it? Let's hear your stories! Till tomorrow!


ourobolus@rpgamer.com
***Josh had a very good night last night!


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And I was all like "Yeah, cool," and they were all like, "No way, dude," and I was like, "Shut up," but they wouldn't, like, shut up!

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Josh's Top 3 Distractions:

Absolutely...nothing!

RPGs I'm currently playing:

1. Romancing SaGa

2. Radiata Stories

3. Wild Arms: ACF

THONG Players:

1. Roku
Flik  TP: 0

2. Bainick
Hero 2  TP: 0

3. Macstorm
Mazus  TP: 0

4. Genjuu
Pesmerga  TP: 0

5. Leaper
Antonio  TP: 0

6. BLG
Sid  TP: 0

7. Arros Raikou
Kage  TP: 0

8. Xlash
Gijimu  TP: 0

9. Donovan
Clive  TP: 0

10. Slimey
Gadget  TP: 0

11. Bucket
Millie  TP: 0

12. Draconn
Mondo  TP: 0

13. TheBluick
Fu Su Lu  TP: 0

14. Gouden Draak
Rubi  TP: 0

15. Slashlen
Lorelai  TP: 0

16. JuMeSyn
Odessa  TP: 0

17. PureLunatic
Viktor  TP: 0

18. Alan Tse
Hoi  TP: 0

Did I miss anyone?

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