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Allan Milligan

Pink. Lots and lots and lots of pink. That's what filled up my mailbox today. Dozens of letters about rose-coloured glasses and why we do or do not see through them. And, as expected, people aren't exactly seeing eye-to-eye. What one letter-writer said was "obvious" is apparently quite the opposite.

There were also a bunch of letters about the literal meaning of "Nintendo", no two of which were quite the same.

In short, nobody's agreeing about anything today. Surprise surprise. And just wait 'til you see what's coming at you tomorrow... tee hee hee...

Snobbier than thou

Do some gamers look back at old games with rose-tinted glasses and place them upon pedestals? Maybe. Do some gamers hold onto the idea that they are "Original" or "Hard-core" gamers and place *themselves* on a pedestal? Oh, most definitely. It seems to me that there is a certain amount of snobbery going around, where one must find older games to be superior to the newer RPGs to avoid being called a "Bandwagoner" or "Newbie" in derision. Quite why people feel the need to look down upon others in such a fashion for the sake of being able to say "I've been playing FF/DQ/Z for far longer than you, so I obviously know what I'm talking about", however, is something I can't truly understand.

- G.Lawler

Allan: Okay, I'll admit it. I'm a gaming snob. It's not something I'm proud of most of the time, but I cannot deny that I've been snobby about games in the past. Mind you, being called the RPGuru doesn't exactly help curb my self-important streak, does it? :)

But it's certainly not an isolated phenomenon, and yes, it's damned annoying. Does anyone have the right to place themselves on a pedestal? Does having completed all six Dragon Quest games give you the right to deride others? No. It's something you might be proud of, and might qualify you as a good source for help in playing them, but it's no Victoria Cross, and it's no mark of distinction. I'll take an intelligent, nice person who's only ever played Quest 64 over a jerk who's finished every RPG ever made any day of the week.

Women in RPGs, 'n stuff

Heya Allen, er... Allan! Welcome back. I've done some thinking while you were gone, so that means *GASP* questions!

1) First of all, have you noticed a pattern in RPG women these days? I mean, they have to be either a) beautiful and strong (like Tifa) or b) beautiful and helpless (Aeris) What happened to the average looking women that weren't all that beautiful? And what happened to all the female gamers out there? I'm all alone! *sniff*

2) How much wood could a chocobo chuck if a chocobo could chuck wood?

3) Do you happen to have ANYTHING against Sailor Moon? Hmmmmm?

4) What kind of name is Squall? I can deal with Cloud, Cecil, and Crono, but what kind of name is Squall? It sounds like a name for a new type of Silly Putty. Which brings us to a new theory...

5) The C Theory! The biggest thing since The Bridge Theory! Have you noticed how many games by Square have names with C at the beginning? Cloud, Cyan, Cecil, Crono, Celes, just to name a few. Is there some weird pattern to this? Is it some kind of code from Alien Invaders? We could only guess...

--GreatGamer

Allan: 1) Yes, that's certainly a depressing trend, that says a great deal about the gender balance of the gaming community, but one thing... what happened to the average looking women? Er... there were average looking women in RPGs? When? Who? Aside from the basic Crone archetypes, attractive women in RPGs are almost as common as spunky teen swordsmen. And, as near as I can tell, they always have been. What are some counter-examples? I'm genuinely curious.

2) Hear that wet sound? That's the sound of a joke dying.

3) Besides my abject hatred of the show, the character, and everything it repesents? Not at all. Why do you ask?

4) Squall is a stupid name. The Square people need to lay off the crack.

5) ... right.

A cunning plan

Hey Allan,

Did you notice that RPGamer is an anagram of "Mr. Grape"? Of course you have, because you and the rest of the RPGamer staff have been pulling a cruel trick on the RPG fans of the Internet! Yes! Mr. Grape is indeed the boss of FF8, isn't he?!!!! Ahhhh... I see I'm the first one to decipher this riddle. I can't wait to see what this Mr. Grape has to offer.

- Faz

Mr. Grape: Damn you, Voltron Force! I've been found again, long before my plans have been fully formed! I'll get you for this, Faz, if it's the last thing I ever do! I may not appear in FF8, but by gum, you'd better watch your back! Mr. Grape will return! Mr. Grape will triumph! NYAH HAHAHAHAHAHA!

Allan: Mr. Grape is being treated for his tendency for speaking about himself in the third person. Nice job, setting him off, Faz. Now we'll never get him out of the toilet stall...

One big sandwich

Dear Wise One

My friend Dan and I have an opinion and a question for you.

1. In response to the "are sequels judged harshly" I would have to say no. Although I think that FF1 is better than FF2j this proves nothing since I think that FF3j is way better than FF1. I also think that Dragon Warrior 3 is way better than Dragon Warrior 1. My judgement of games is based on their overall quality not mere chronology.

2. Dan writes: Frequently the counterman at a sandwich shop will ask, "Do you want everything on it?" Well, what if you had a sandwich with literally "everything" on it? In other words, how large a sandwich would you need to accommodate all matter in the universe? And, as a corollary, image and inconceivably immense being capable of eating this almost infinity capacious submarine sandwich. If this colossal creature began eating at the instant of the Big Bang, by what century would he be done consuming, digesting, metabolizing and excreting this hypothetical hoagie? And would this humongous hero, by its very nature, exhaust time itself?

- From the minds of James the Wise and Deadly Dan

Allan: I posted this just to share the mental image of a giant hoagie destroying all of time.

Glasses so clear, they're opaque

RPGuru, after much thought, I think I have come to the end of a long personal debate, and thought you might like to hear some crazy ideas to old problems =0):

I have the solution to the problem of looking at games through rose colored glasses without a shadow of a doubt. The reason that people are always deciding that the previous games are going to superior is only a way of preventing dissapointment. What good would it do to say that a new game coming out is going to be so incredible only to be let down after the game was over. I did that exact same thing with Final Fantasy VII. I heard about this game about eight months before it came out (I preordered the US copy in February), and after all of the anticipating, I was just plain dissapointed with the ending. By putting older games on a pedistal, it is not only lowering expectations, but at the same ime remembering what makes a good game stick out in our minds(story over graphics usually is the best combo).

Thanks for your time in listening to me.

- Kevin Egan

 

Anyway, about more important things, seeing games through rose-colored glasses (note the lack of a u there), I think this is very much true. People always are eager to find flaws with new games when they come out, and compare them to the games they've played before. Finding these new flaws and seeing that the old games don't have them makes us think the old games are better, I think. I mean, we've pretty much gotten over the old flaws by the time the next game comes out, and the new fresh flaws in the new games annoy us because of that.

Only after a game has been out for quite a while, say a year or even two, can people truly objectively (or close to it, as we will always be prejudiced in some ways) look at a game and consider its flaws compared with other games.

- mizu

 

I probably shouldn't spen this much time talking about beer, but I think that drinking is another good example to illustrate the point that was made in the rose-coloured glasses letter. Imagine the first game as a good stiff drink. You drink a lot of this good stiff drink, and then someone hands you something different. It doesn't matter how good that drink is, it isn't going to be as good as the first because by this time, your taste buds are too drunk to care. Tell me if I am being in any way coherent. . .

- I_Am

 

Hey there Guru, long-time reader, first time writer. I'm responding to that arguement about putting earlier games on pedastals. I suppose I agree, to a point, that this would be true. I myself enjoyed the earlier Final Fantasy games far more than Final Fantasy 7, mainly because I enjoyed the character development and stories better. But that does not mean that I enjoyed all prequels better. Seikendensetsu 3 (sequel to Secret of Mana, JP only) was a much better game, I felt. Also, I enjoyed the latest SaGa better than my Super Famicom versions.

When we discuss this issue, I suppose there are many factors to be thought out. For example, I was much younger and more impressionable when I played FFII and FFIII, so I suppose it was much easier to get attached to the characters. However, and I think this is the big thing, we feel that a sequel should be better, that it should build upon what was there before. If a sequel to a success is just as good as that success, then it is, in society's eyes, a failure. We are always changing the judging scale to try and fit in new variables such as different technology, different approach, or even simply more time. So, do we always view older games as better? I don't think it's an absolute, but naturally, it's easier for us to say that an earlier game was better, because we expected less from it.

- Daniel Hamamura

 

I would have to diagree with the pedestal theory. When I played FF, the original for the NES, I enjoyed playing it and thought it was one of the best games ever. It was the first RPG that I ever played but I don't think that it is better than every other RPG I played after it. I have played FF2, FF3, FF7, FF Tactics, FFL, FFL2 SoM, and all of the Zelda games and all of these (except for maybe the gameboy games) are better than FF.

Allan: Man, this topic sure did chew up the column, didn't it? My opinion is that yes, we do place older games on a pedestal, sometimes just to make ourselves sound like "hardcore gamers" (anyone boasting about the glory of Hylide is full of it), sometimes due to nostalgia and emotional immediacy from the original playing of it, and yes, some games really deserve the eternal praise of millions. But it's really not a terrible thing. Rose-coloured glasses can make the world seem brighter, sometimes.

Swooned

I have my own theories to death in battle versus permanent death. Your answer involves the fact that the characters are only "swooned" or "wounded." I would disagree on saying that the lousy character is dead. But, when dying in battle, the character is only "mostly" dead. When the character dies permanently, then they are "all" dead. This was characterized in a intersting little movie, "The Princess Bride", in a nice little scene with Miracle Max. There is something you can do when a person is "mostly" dead. There is only one thing you can do for an "all" dead person: Search for loose change.

-The Red Scare

(An extremely liberal Democrat, searching bodies for loose change)


Allan: Dead vs. "mostly" dead. I like it. Much better than saying they're "swooned" or whatever. The fact that it's a Princess Bride reference makes it all the cooler. Loved that movie.

Nintendo's meaning, sorta

"Nintendo" translates very roughly to "the place where we leave it up to the gods and do the best we can." Now *that* is indispensable information.

- Little Chiba


Allan: No two translations exactly agreed, but this is generally the gist of what most of them said. Others narrowed it down to associating it with a casino, while others put it as a "hand of fate" sort of thing. Hokay, says I. (Note: this is sort of a moot point anyway, so further mail on the subject won't get posted. Thanks.)

Quick 'n Dirty Tidbits: Naveed asks where the "Why the Andrews Aren't Updating" skit is to be found (there's a link on the 10th's RPGuru column), Aeon wants to know what the point of Harvest Moon is (to raise a farm, I guess - here's a FAQ for it, if that helps any... I got bored and stopped playing it, myself...), Squirrel Lord sends another letter that leads me to suspect that he's actually RPGMaster! in disguise, Stinger wonders where the Imps went in the FF series (damned if I know), kymion asks what it's like to live in Canada (sort of like the US, but with better health care and massive taxes on everything), MrPeepers asks which Pokémon he should get (go for Red - be a rebel), Bryann asks why Japanese companies make stupid moves regarding US releases of games (nobody's perfect), the Last Paladin asks if importing a game and playing from the script is worth it (I've done it a few times, but it's not as much fun as playing it in a language you understand), and TheDocta sends a long explanation of why Zelda 64 will suck which is *really* hard to read. Paragraphs, lad. Paragraphs.

Hopefully, tomorrow's column will cover a slightly more diverse range of topics. I received 77 letters today, fully 40 of which were about the rose-colored glasses topic, 24 giving translations of Nintendo. Not exactly a diverse selection, but I've already got one letter hand-picked for tomorrow, so hopefully we'll get diverse tomorrow. Until then, TTFN!

- Allan Milligan, waiting to see what Kang wants

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