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Q&AK
That masked man returns!
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   I'm Brian Glick, and I'm back with another temporary installment of Q&AK, until the esteemed Andrew "I've-been-abducted-by-love-crazed-girls" Kaufmann returns. In case you missed yesterday's issue, please email questions directly to me for the duration of my takeover. Oh, and are you wondering about the titles of these issues? I once had a major role as the Lone Ranger in a dramatic production at school. It was a novel, crazy experience. Now let's never mention this again.

Q: In response to Lemur, the one asking why there was nudity in BoF3, but not profanity:
   Another reason that certain games may have nudity and/or profanity and another may not is because of the translation company. A recent thread in the USENET newsgroup alt.binaries.emulators.nintendo was a discussion on the differences between Final Fantasy 4 (hardtype), FF4J Easytype, and FF2 US. Some of the differences between the US and Japan versions (BOTH from the Easytype version) was a nude dancer and a Porno Mag item. The first reason for these differences is that Square's (or SquareSoft's, I can never remember the difference) American branch is a completely different company than its Japan branch is. By the same token, Nintendo of America is a different company than N of Japan. NoA decided that to have its "seal of approval" (anything without that "seal" wasn't allowed to use the typical cart design, and would be forced to use one of the poor devices like one american company did with a bunch of bible games), the version would have to have certain "differences." Often these differences required removal of profanity, nudity, religious references, references to death, etc. In some games, certain categories got away, while others did not (In FF2US, they removed the entire programmer room just to get rid of the PornoMag)
   The second reason why profanity may have been removed but nudity kept in some games is that some text may simply be "lost in the translation". Surely you've heard of this phrase. Basically, when you translate words or phrases from one sentence to another language and/or back, you may end up with words that just don't work right. A classical language class I took had one such problem: to say in French: "You're a pain in the ass" to keep its effect you would say "tu est casse-peies", which if brought back to English, becomes "You hurt my feet." Very different, huh? A lot of swearing in one language may not translate right, so some people have to use whathever words are at their disposal (also remember that not all text translators are very good at the language they're translating to).
   Third reason: Japanese culture is a lot more lenient with nudity (and many of the other topics mentioned in reason #1) than American culture is. Remember the episode of the Simpsons where the housewives went to boycott Michalengelo's David? A caricature, yes, but the point is there. America still views video games as a thing for kids (read: under 14), and with that viewpoint, violence, profanity, and sexual content are considered a "bad thing". So mothers groups and those awful evangelists (oh and lets not forget our senators who want to find the next thing to blame so they can get re-elected) pitch a hissy fit over the content in these games. As a result, NoA, SquareSoft (USA branch), Capcom USA, decide to make changes ahead of time rather than risk bringing the hammer down upon themselves.
   Darn shame too. I'm playing a translated version of FF4 hardtype (J2E's newest version of the translation), translated as it should have been, and the difference is noticable: Cid and Edge get into an argument when Cid accuses Edge of sleeping with Rydia (And this argument uses the crude comments you'd expect, too). Also, remember the Sylphs that nurse Yang back to health? And how you use his wife's frying pan to wake him up? I think a better word for them is Nymphs ("We gave him our love, what more could he want?")... (Also on a technical note, the Tower of Bab-Il bug is fixed in this latest version.)
   -Talis

BG: That's a great letter you wrote, Talis, and it brings up a lot of good points. A couple additions, however...Squaresoft of North America is, technically speaking, a totally different company than Square Co. of Japan, but the two companies are obviously one and the same when you get down to it. One point that you touched on when mentioning why certain games have objectable language or nudity removed is that in order to get approved by the company, certain material that is deemed offensive to the North American audience must be removed for the game to be published. It isn't necessarily because of the translation company itself, but because of the feared backlash against the game if "offensive" material were not removed. Your other points are also quite true...I'm hoping translation companies will wake up and start "Americanizing" their text to a much greater extent, similar to the work that Working Designs has done.

Q: Why do you think Square is taking Final Fantasy away from Anime style? They did so good with Anime that I'm going to miss it. I'm sure I'll get over it once I see the game, but I'd like to know why they're going away from Anime.
   -Erik

BG: I think the change from an anime style in Final Fantasy 8 is part of Square's trend towards more realism in their games. Final Fantasy 7 had incredibly realistic movies and backdrops, but the characters themselves, for the most part, were the short, awkward-looking polygons that didn't really merge too well with the realism around them. I personally didn't mind this too much, but I personally feel FF8 will benefit with realistic human beings. It won't be as "cute" a feel to the game, and I think Square will compensate by making sure there's a large share of whimsical moments, as always, to avoid an unfriendly atmosphere.

Q: So, I'm watching Comedy Central, and I see a biography of the late(?) Andy Kaufman, a stand-up comedian who played Latka in the TV series "Taxi," and also, as part of a comic stunt, challenged women to come on stage and beat him in a wrestling match. He then proclaimed himself the Intergender Wrestling Champion of the World, and was only defeated once, but it was by a guy, so it didn't count. I also hear that Jim Carrey is starring in a movie about him later this year. So my question is this: is Andrew Kaufmann actually Andy Kaufman, who some say just faked his own death all those years ago?

BG: Let me take this opportunity to put this rumor to rest. Andrew Kaufmann is not the kind of guy that enjoys arm-wrestling women as a way to get a few laughs. Andrew Kaufmann is a womanizing babe-magnet that has women's arms wrapped around him, and not struggling to smash his into a table.

Q: OK, if I buy 14 copies of Final Fantasy 7 for all of my friends, how many CD's will I have?

BG: Math! Oh, how I love math! My studies of calculus and trigonometry never seem to satisfy my craving for mathematical challenges.
   The answer is...42 CDs! I do believe you have stumbled across the real reason why 42 is the Meaning of Life, the Universe, and Everything. After all, take the 7 from Final Fantasy 7, multiply it by 2 (why 2? Because there's two hosts of Q&AK now, of course), and then multiply it by the number of CDs (3, for those who haven't purchased this revolutionary game), and you get 42.

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