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The Voodoo That You Do December 2, 2006

Josh - 7:55AM! EST

Well, that was an amazing time up in NYC. I say that because anything is better than the hell of driving in NYC traffic and the New Jersey Highway Systemô. If you've ever had the misfortune of having to, say, give up a piece of your soul in order to navigate the torrents of automobiles and jagoffs who think they deserve a license, then you may have a glimmer of understanding what it was like to go through northern Jersey. Not only did I have to deal with that, but as I've only been to NYC once before this adventure, I still wasn't really aware of the borough division. So when I got Mapquest directions, they decided to take me to Brooklyn rather than Manhattan. This wouldn't have been this much of a problem if there were signs around that actually directed you to the individual boroughs, instead of having signs that merely read, "New York City." Luckily, it was a 244 mile trip, and the first 220 miles took me roughly an two and a half hours. :)

Then, after making Alicia wait (oh yeah, she's our co-head of news), I managed to find a parking spot on 45th and 8th. She was at Grand Central Station, roughly on 42nd and 3rd. So I waded the 8 blocks to get to her, and then we started on our way to Carnegie Hall (after going in the wrong direction for a few blocks...while I normally have a good sense of direction, it was shot at this point), up on 52nd and 7th. We had a lovely dinner (mmm...Prime Roast Beef au Jus), and then mulled over to the symphony, which was fantastic. All in all, it was an amazing night, and definitely worth the 500 miles of driving and lack of sleep!




L E T T E R S
Randomness!


Hiya Ouro!

Heard from the Matt-man that you were running low on the letter love, so I am here to provide you with... tada!

ABCDEFGHI
Z       J
Y RPGS   K
X       L
W       M
VUTSRQPON

Multiple letters about RPGS! Okay, bad pun I know. Just thought I'd throw that out there.

Josh

*groan*

Okay, I guess I should really write about RPGs to fulfill the obligatory letter requirements of such a column.

Josh

They aren't THAT obligatory.

Matt

Quiet, you. I came first, and I say they are! Now get me my teddy!

;_;

As most people during the week know, I'm playing FF4:A for the GBA. I'm liking it for the most part, but there are a couple of nit-picky things I've run into. Most noticably is the shortened space for holding items. My goodness, as if the item screen wasn't short enough in the original, it's even shorter now! On top of that you get so many different items to cure status ailments (whatever happened to stocking up on Remedies the cure for what ails ya?) from treasure chests, the item screen chokes up real quick. I've had to, heaven forbid, use the Trash command to actually make room for some important found treasures. *sigh*

Josh

Yeah, I know that feeling. I've had to use that Fat Chocobo a number of times, because I'm such a packrat. I HATE throwing things away, and I hate selling things unless I know I'll never need it again. This is why I always have a ninja character, since they have a ton of stuff to throw by the end of the game.

Unfortunately, while many games out there make item space limited for some sort of challeging reason (Resident Evil, etc.), FFIV did it for space requirements, I believe, and rather than adding to the challenge of the game, it just made it somewhat irritating.

Other than that, I'm happy to play the game again, and this time without the lag load of the CD version. I'll have to say that I'm still partial to the original though, faults and all. How about you? Have you run into a game that has been remade again that you found that you still like the original better, despite the new 'improvements' made upon it?

Josh

Wild ARMs. Alter Code: F was...ok. I still need to finish it. But I loved the original, and some of the stuff they added just made the game a lot less fun. Give me just Rudy, Jack, and Cecilia any day.

As for FFIV, I like the new version. At the very least it's the "Hard Mode" version, so I can't just breeze through it like I did the original. Be that as it may, FFIV is nowhere near one of my favorite Final Fantasies (it's actually near the bottom of my list), so it doesn't really matter! ^^

So that about wraps this up. Oh! I know the discussion is still going during the weekday about what RPG tattoos one would get and where, has it come up here yet? If not, I'll start it; if so, I'll continue. If I were going for tattoos, I might get the stylized pair of wings that adore Rionna's blue over-shirt tattooed to my back. Or even better a Pug or Master Pug (Tonberry to you post FFVI players) on my shoulder.

Hope you get more tidings in your inbox!
MagRowan ^_^

Josh

Nope, hasn't hit the weekend yet. I kinda wish we'd get more segue in here, but for some reason it seems like different people read different hosts' columns. Ah well.

Ooh, a Pug. That'd be nifty. I actually liked that idea of Kefka's Demon Tower that the one guy mentioned the other day. I think that would be really cool if done properly. As for what I'd get...

Maybe a Behemoth/King Behemoth from FFVI. A Zohar, maybe. Hell, a Bahamut from the proper game would be pretty cool.

Thanks for adding to the inbox, Mag!



It's only a problem if you admit it!


Ouro,

I heard that the qna email box was kinda low, and since I'm currently trying to distract myself while my roommate heartlessly steals the TV and plays FFXII through parts I haven't seen yet, I figured I'd write in with some questions for you.

Josh

I never understood why my little brother liked watching me play videogames. 9 times out of 10, I was further than he was, and he would just stare at the screen, somehow enjoying it. I could never stand to watch him play a game that I wanted to play later.

Bloody grr...now he's loudly exclaiming about whatever cool thing he's seeing, need to put some headphones on to block him out. At least this way I can listen to some of the great videogame music I have; you can't go wrong with the remix of Terra in Black.

Okay, first question. Have you ever encountered the hypocrisy of non-videogame players? In particular, I know people who will get home from work and just veg in front of the TV for hours before going to sleep. When I tell them that I played a videogame for a couple hours before bed, though, they act like I'm wasting away my life. When did television become a more worthwhile expenditure of time? I always felt like I was getting some sort of interaction out of playing a videogame but while watching TV my intellectual stimuli was completly null and void. I don't know, maybe I just missed something...

Josh

There are two sides to this argument that I can present, both of them fairly logical.

1. With videogames, you are actually doing something. You aren't just sitting there on your ass, you are actually participating in some endeavor that requires some form of manual dexterity. Sure, it might range from mindless shooting in an FPS to an insane puzzle about Shakespeare from Silent Hill 3, but the point is that you are working your brain to perform an action, rather than letting your brain merely react to the pretty pictures in front of you.

2. However, with TV, some people can multitask (God knows I do). They can watch TV, do the dishes, get some work done, etc. If you're playing a video game, you're pretty much stuck doing that.

Personally, I don't think there's any problem at all. TV is certainly not any more or less of a "waste of time" than videogaming is. In fact, the only thing I would worry about it the extra pain on your wallet, as generally, owning a videogame system is more expensive than just a TV alone. ^^;

Question #2! When I talk to friends about the next gen consoles and when I look over some sites about them, I find that my friends and the majority of the fellow viewers of the videogame sites are really pysched about the future of the Wii. But! whenever I look at the economic views for the next gens, it seems like the Wii is always on the bottom end of things. So, how is it that the Wii seems to be more popular amongst videogame players and yet it's predicted to fare poorly against the PS3 and the Xbox 360?

Josh

I actually talked to my ex-gf yesterday, and she (Note: This is the girl who at one point didn't understand why I enjoyed videogames. And then I got her to play Worms: Armageddon, and all was forgiven) told me that she was actually looking forward to the Wii. I was literally floored.

You want my opinion on all this? I think the same thing. I think that, right now, the Wii will pull ahead and at the very least tie Xbox360 for the lead. The Wii has one advantage going for it, and that's the "age-range" that surrounds its games and functions. There are stories of families getting together and playing WiiSports for some time. That's insane! Awesome, but insane! Everyone right now is looking for a way to play this little white thing, and at some point they are going to. But it won't last. Why? Nintendo. Nintendo has a habit of almost exclusively mass-marketing its largest names: Mario, Zelda, Metroid, etc. Yes, people will eat those up EVERY TIME. However, even though the system will ultimately have some third-party support, it will pale in comparison to the PS3 and Xbox360.

Honestly, in two years, I think that the PS3 will be a force to be reckoned with. Most of the bugs will be dealt with, the price will have dropped a bit, and Sony will again regain control of its massive third-party support. The Xbox360 will be a close second, especially following the release of Halo 3, where it may very well be first for some time.

Numero 3-o. What are all the wonders of the modern and ancient world? I always get them confused and I want to put the Great Wall of China into the ancient world but I think it's actually modern. And this does relate to videogames! I was just playing a friend's copy of Civ III and it got me to thinking about them.

Josh

Well, the only ones I can remember off the top of my head are:

  • The Colossus of Rhodes
  • The Great Pyramid of Giza (the only one left)
  • The Hanging Gardens of Babylon
  • The Statue of Zeus at Olympia

And the other three I couldn't remember...

  • The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
  • The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
  • The Lighthouse of Alexandria

Yeah, the Great Wall of China, while awesome, apparently isn't ancient enough. Or something. USA Today recently ran a special where they had a bunch of experts from the American Society of Civil Engineers pick out the 7 Modern Wonders:

  • The Empire State Building
  • cN Tower in Toronto
  • Channel Tunnel
  • Golden Gate Bridge
  • Itaipu Dam in Brazil
  • Netherlands North Sea Protection Works
  • Panama Canal

Hm...it didn't even make THAT list. Odd.

Do you know of any recent Tactical RPGs aside from Disgaea and it's ilk? I could never really get into the Disgaea games but I really want to play a decent tactical game. I'll probably borrow Ogre Battle 64 from someone simply because I've never played it before. It could be worthwhile, who knows.

Alright! My roommate has finally gotten off the TV, so I'm going to abandon you for FF XII. Sorry about that, but I gave you 4 questions so my job is done at least for the day.

Peace out!
Koala Bob

Josh

There was that Tactics Ogre game for GBA a few years back that I enjoyed. Breath of Fire V is very much like a Tactical RPG, and it is an absolutely sterling game. Stella Deus was...all right. It doesn't break any new ground, but it's a solid TRPG. And, since I never miss a chance to pimp this series, you -can't- go wrong with Fallout and Fallout 2. :)

Hope to hear from you again, Koala Bob!



Comparison shopping.


Ouro -

I see that you're playing Okami, and as someone who was thoroughly enjoying the title, I feel I should warn you. Beware of Zelda. Seriously..

After a couple of years with Twillight Princess on pre-order I really couldn't help myself. I actually spent a cold, foggy night outside the local Target to get a Wii, just because I couldn't stand the thought of owning the game finally and not having a system to play it on. It was worth it. This game is just flat-out the funnest game I've played in a long time. And that's the problem.

You see, playing through Okami, I really felt like I was playing something very unique. The graphical style, and the use of the brush techniques go great together, and the way you use the brush techniques to solve puzzles in the game was very cleverly executed. Everything about the game just felt very fresh.

But now, having been unable to resist dipping into Zelda (I usually try to have just one console title and one portable title going at any given time), I find that Okami just feels like half a game. I think because of the similarities between Zelda when you're a wolf and Okami, which to me go beyond just the controlling of a wolf, it just feels like Okami comes up short. Like they had seen an early build of Zelda and just took the wolf portion of the game, leaving you without all the fun of playing as Link, and no motion control.

I guess I don't really think anyone was actually ripping anyone off. I mean the style differences alone make Okami a unique game. Really it's just high praise to Zelda for making a game that I was thinking of as an all-star title and making it look so average. And I do intend to finish Okami, I really do, but man. Zelda.

kezzy

Josh

I fully understand where you're coming from, and I've actually had this feeling from Day 1 of Okami.

Okami is a great game. And, like -every other- Action RPG, the initial thought is to compare it to Zelda. Plain and simple. After playing the game for a bit, I realized that it was amazing in many areas, most notably the style of the artwork and the brush system, but the actual fighting and puzzles just aren't on par with Zelda. Okami is a very easy game, and while I've never really found any Zelda games to be particularly difficult, it's pretty simple to just breeze through Okami, unlike Zelda.

In the end, Okami is a marvelous game on its own, and yes, many aspects of it do pale in comparison to Zelda. The best thing to do is to consider it its own game, and try to put that comparison out of your mind. That's like comparing every other standard RPG to Final Fantasy. Sure, you could do it, but there are so many reasons to just appreciate what each individual game throws your way.



Oh god. The voices...they suck!!


This is absolutely fascinating.

Couple of notes about Grandia - this game might just be the longest it's taken me to play through since Skies of Arcadia (fair warning - you CANNOT finish SoA in under about 50 hours first time. I took something like 75 thanks to getting lost repeatedly). And I like recognizing the Japanese voice actors - Feena is Akane in Ranma 1/2 as well as Erica Fontaine in Sakura Wars 3, Rapp I'm pretty sure is InuYasha, Baal seems to be the guy who voiced Cell in DBZ (yeah, the show runs way too long, but he's a great voice actor) along with Dracula in Symphony of the Night.

Josh

Oh God, yes, Grandia is a terribly long game. I always ended up running around in that game far more than in any other RPG.

DBZ...*shudder* I never, ever liked that show. Personally, while Akira Toriyama has some good drawing ability for stills and things such as DQVIII, I just thought it was really bad for DBZ.

Stinking punk outbid me at the last second on Tengai Makyou 4. But I'll get it! Do you hear me, eBay lurkers? I WILL BEAT YOU!

Quick note on Sakura Wars - I think my review of the first one will be up this weekend. The second one, probably late December given how much Roku has to deal with at this season. But giving a scan over my text should help you figure out some of what I'm talking about regarding the series. I've reserved all my diatribes against Shining Force III Scenario 1's voice acting for Matt thus far. But now, you get to hear a lot at once! http://shiningforceacting.ytmnd.com/ I'll take it by character: Synbios (the hero of Scenario 1), Basanda (boss), Noon (mage), Spiriel (boss, then recruitable in Scenario 3 if left alive), Vandal (boss), Ratchet twice (steam-powered mech fighter), Eldar (bird warrior), Noon twice again, Masqurin (starting mage), and Synbios again. Please - give me detailed commentary.

Josh

Wow.

Ratchet and Synbios are the worst. That was tremendously horrid. As for a detailed commentary, I think the best way to put this would be in the form of a quote from some MST3k episode (I don't remember). Some guy was doing terrible voice work, and Crow says, "I. Put these. Pauses. In my own. Script. And I'm. Sticking. To Them." ^^

Oh, and I've known how to use the internet fairly well for awhile. BUT - isn't there some saying about two heads being better than one, or two pairs of eyes? Sure I can search, but the possibility is quite real that you can find something I missed!

Josh

If two heads are better than one, than why do too many cooks spoil the broth? Adages are like nipples on a male. There's no real reason to have them. :)

I'll check the camera status once I can access another computer. Ever since I managed to delete some Windows operating systems on my mother's computer, she doesn't want me doing much with it (no comment on how that came about...). And the library computers are forbidden from accepting foreign inputs. Blargh.

Josh

My grandma, despite knowing that I will soon have a computer science degree, as well as building my own computer, doesn't like me touching her computer for fear of having it explode or something. I don't understand it.

Another good historical villain: Genghis Khan and/or Kublai Khan. The Mongols can probably be blamed for the Middle East's taking a negative trip in comparison to Europe for the past 700 years, thanks to tearing up the irrigation system of the entire region. Also whenever a city didn't surrender immediately, the Mongols would kill everyone in it when they took the place. Don't ask me how they did that in cities of a million people, but they did. And if a city did surrender, they leveled it and threw all the inhabitants out into the countryside.

Josh

Not a bad idea. But where's the panache? Where's his motivation? Where's the deeper meaning driving him to achieve his goal of destroying everything? How can the player relate to that?

Besides, how many boards would the Mongols hoard if the Mongol hordes got bored?

Everyone who sent letters for me last week - thanks! It was fun to cohost and actually give coherent answers!

I saw the little creature!
NOOOOO!
JuMeSyn

Josh

And it was good having you! You'll just have to find some way to sneak back in for a cohost some time later!





S E G U E

If you haven't noticed already, I've included PICTURES of the items I HAVE. Matt is donating Riviera, so there's no pic of that yet, though. Just go to the rules page and take a looksee.



T H O N G
Combat Log

Luca Phase:
Luca Blight will attack tomorrow!
Luca Blight is learning a new spell!

DAMAGE Phase:
Leaper falls to Tile 40.
Aurelius falls to Tile 39.

Movement Phase:
Leaper moves to Tile 43.
Arros Rakiou moves to Tile 9.
Slimey moves to Tile 29.
Draconn moves to Tile 45.
Alan Tse moves to Tile 23.
Slashlen moves to Tile 48.
JuMeSyn moves to Tile 33.
Arpijy moves to Tile 41.
JDX moves to Tile 48.
Aurelius moves to Tile 40.
Tabor moves to Tile 50.


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

I didn't have enough time last weekend to perform all the EVIL I wanted to!

Answer to #L34: B. FF Legend III
Despite the poor grammar, the question read: "What game was the final boss's name Xagor?"

#L35.
In which game can you find the number 17 fighting the number 18?

A. Chrono Trigger
B. Septerra Core
C. Xenogears
D. Granstream Saga
E. Final Fantasy IX
F. Lunar 2: Eternal Blue

THONG Question

Answer to #34:B. Blindfold
While the Puff-Puff has been around for awhile, when you are -receiving- one, you are wearing a blindfold! *points at DQVIII's hidden scene*

#35.Difficulty: Easy, Potch: 150
Which of the following singers has not made some sort of vocal track for a videogame?

A. Utada Hikaru
B. Melissa Williamson
C. Joanne Hogg
D. Sayuki Torimoto
E. Mio Kashiwabara

C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

Ah, good to be back.


ourobolus@rpgamer.com
***Josh has an awesome holiday dinner tonight!


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I made the cheesecake!

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Back to the backlog!

Current Order of RPG-Playing:

1. Final Fantasy XII

2. Final Fantasy V Advance

3. Okami

4. Disgaea 2

5. Wild ARMs 4

THONG Players:

1. Roku
Flik  TP: 2
550p

2. Bainick
Hero 2  TP: 16
2525p

3. Leaper
Antonio  TP: 29
3200p

4. Macstorm
Mazus  TP: 1
1050p

6. BLG
Sid  TP: 16
4875p

7. Arros Raikou
Kage  TP: 16
5475p

8. Xlash
Gijimu  TP: 0
200p

9. Donovan
Clive  TP: 2
900p

10. Slimey
Gadget  TP: 11
1800p

11. Bucket
Millie  TP: 15
1800p

12. Draconn
Mondo  TP: 20
2350p

13. Genjuu
Pesmerga  TP: 6
1375p

14. Alan Tse
Hoi  TP: 14
5225p

15. TheBluick
Fu Su Lu  TP: 0
0p

16. Gouden Draak
Rubi  TP: 1
725p

17. Slashlen
Lorelai  TP: 18
1775p

18. JuMeSyn
Odessa  TP: 20
3625p

19. PureLunatic
Viktor  TP: 27
2350p

21. William.T
Killey  TP: 1
41750p

22. Arpijy
Hix2  TP: 17
3000p

23. Spiffyness
Badeaux  TP: 2
525p

24. Reivax
Kasim  TP: 1
200p

25. Carabbit
Viki  TP: 7
1975p

26. Vicissitude
Clive2  TP: 1
1800p

27. JDX
Kuromimi  TP: 4
1700p

28. Kupomogli
Kinnison  TP: 7
875p

29. Aurelius
Kahn  TP: 26
2725p

30. Omm
Yoshino  TP: 2
1225p

31. Aylee
Luc  TP: 14
4250p

32. Tabor
Ted  TP: 19
2700p

33. TvsAdam
McDohl  TP: 2
875p

34. Sundoulos
Hai Yo  TP: 15
3475p

Anyone else?

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