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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
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.
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
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...
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
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
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.
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
- 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.
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. . .
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.
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
- 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