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Allan Milligan

Well, this is a change of pace. Less than sixty letters today, a near-record low generally, and less than half of what I ended up getting yesterday. Much cozier.

And now, the letters...

A World of Illusion

Well, since I know how much you like long letters, I've decided to drag out the soapbox and discuss...World As Myth. Now, for those of you not familiar with it, World as Myth is the belief that every story that is written, every book, every bit of fiction, creates a new universe centered around the characters and the events in that story. I'm not quite sure who pioneered this theory, but I know that Heinlen used it a lot in his books. How does this work in RPGs, you ask? Well,since RPGs are basically interactive stories, if you apply the World As Myth theory to RPGs, then you could say that every RPG ever made has spawned its own universe, where the characters are very real, and all the events of the RPG happen, and the characters continue to live out their lives as they normally would. Also, it means that you, me, and everyone else on this great big rock are all part of some incredibly vast RPG. So right now, some person in some other world could be playing "Earth: Land of The Internet" or some other odd game, and all of our actions, and everything that happens in our lives, is controlled by a person playing that game. And whenever you finish of the final boss with one incredible attack, a very real person in some other universe is dying because of you. Think of this the next time you kill Kefka.

Thank U Drive Thru,

Tedman

Allan: You know, this would explain why I get the hell kicked out of me all the time: my random encounter rate must be through the roof. Say, anyone know where I could import a Moogle Charm?

Why 3D games are great

I remember playing the old-school paper and pencil RPGs where the game master would tell us that we had twisted a man's arm behind his back, lifted up, and broke it. Or that a man in a dark corner reached down and removed a concealed object from his boot. This is very vivid, at least for those of us that have any kind of imagination, and it is exactly what 2D RPGs lack. Little square blocks can never really illustrate such complex or subtle actions.

Now take Final Fantasy VII. Square mapped out a whole slew of maneurisms (yes, very much repeated, but hey, they're cool) for each character. Cloud has his pose, and his victory dance; Tifa bashfully moves one foot behind the other and demurely clasps her hands behind her back; Yuffie shadow boxes; Sephiroth throws things. While Square did a fine job of emulating behavior in previous SNES titles, such methods fell short of the true intent. They were limited my space, and tile size, and realism.

I will also address the point brought up about the roughness of the 3D models in FF7. My answer to this is that in many seens the camera is zoomed out, and obtrusive limbs and enormous eyes help make the motions noticeable at a distance.

That's my two bits. 3D helps us to visualize the action and it makes the whole experience more enjoyable. Perhaps if 2D games game with screenplay's, so we could figure out if those happy-looking sprites are jumping, shouting, or crying. Not all 3D games are better than their 2D counterparts, but the 3D trend gives them that much more potential.

- Jesse Sweetland

Allan: Interesting points, good letter. Next! :)

Plea

THAT was your big surprise? Mister T? I never guessed it would be THAT lame (no offense). If you really have nothing better to do with your ime, why don't you try answering my 101 questions that AK was too lazy to try?

- Jonathan Weng

Allan: I thought it only fair to post a letter in opposition to the Surprise, seeing as I so shamelessly plugged it today. The fact that Jon here is the only one who wrote in to say he didn't like it made the choice pretty easy, admittedly. As for your 101 questions, well, I feel no obligation to answer a huge number of questions that are, in your own words, "not answerable logically." If you don't care enough to write reasonable questions, I see no reason why I should care enough to answer a hundred and one of them.

Development Teams

Sup, Allan? Well, nothing much here. Well...why do so many people not know that Square has their own teams for different games, which means, most of the time, for different games, there are completely different people to make the game. Like Final Fantasy Tactics, it wasn't the same group of people that made any other Final Fantasy game, let alone any other Square game? And it was definitely not the same team that made Parasite Eve. The team that developed Parasite Eve, for soem reason, wanted X to be Accept and O to be cancel. Yea, many of the Bio Hazard 2 (Resident Evil 2 in US) team is supposedly the makers of Parasite Eve, at least most of the game (story and stuff). I'm not sure if that's true, but of course it seems to be likely with the setting and all, eh? Different teams equals different sets of rules and stuff. So people need to face it, not the same team develops every Square game. Well, here are my real question:

Why does it seem that people don't know that different groups of people develop different Square games? There may be some people from another team, but not most of it.

Allan: (remainder is snipped for space reasons) Well, there are two main reasons for this. For one thing, most of Square's development teams are in flux a lot of the time, unlike other groups liks Sting, Quintet and G-Craft. Members of one Square development team often work with other groups, muddying the waters more than with some other companies, where things are more clear-cut.

Secondly, many people simply aren't terribly interested in who develops the game. They care whether it's good or not, and when a company publishes a game, the developer is beside the point, to a degree. Parasite Eve is a Square game, and if it's crap, Square is the one who takes the flak for releasing it, not the Executive Producer.

Whatever happened to escapism?

Hey, Allan. Why do many gamers prefer old school RPGs than some of the newer, more dazzling ones? I have another slant to offer on this issue, although many gamers may disagree with me.

I want to talk about content. I certainly did not enjoy AVALANCE's ittle fiasco to the hoar house. I was offended by Barret and Cid's foul mouths. Not to mention the numerous sexual innuendos. This really put a damper on my FFVII experience. It is undeniable that there has been a shift of content in RPGs being released in the US over the past few years. I understand that games in Japan had long contained this kind of stuff but have been censored when coming to the US. Is that such a bad thing? I'd take a clean game suitable for all audiences than a more controversial one any day. This is what I miss about the old school RPGs.

You want to talk to me about realism? Fine, I hear that kind of crap every day. Why would I want to see it again in my RPGs when I enjoy them as an ESCAPE from reality?

I don't think I'm the only one out there who feels this way. nyone else who is insulted by some of the content in RPGs these days mail your stuff in and let people know how you feel. Thanks for allowing me to share my opinion, Allan. I appreciate it.

--JOJO

Allan: You're welcome. And now, I'm afraid that I totally disagree with you. While not all of the "mature subject matter" now filtering into RPGs is handled well, the fact that it's suddenly possible at all makes me extremely happy. I do not see any reason why games should be confined to subject matter appropriate for a ten year old, especially given the older demographics of RPG players. Diversity, to my mind, is one of the greatest things in life, and while I would be getting annoyed if every single RPG being released was Thrill Kill with a menu system, I'm quite glad we've got the gamut to choose from nowadays.

My advice to you, JOJO, and everyone who feels the same way, is to read the ESRB ratings on games before you buy them. FF7 is rated Teen, indicating mild-to-moderate mature themes and subject matter. So don't buy it. Simple as that. Buy something that does meet your escapist requirements. Put money into that company's pocket. Show them that you *do* want these sorts of games, and they'll listen. Money talks, after all.

Death is... not a big deal?

FFV is the best game ever. True, the graphics are cheesy, but look at the job system. The characters are identicical, but they can be different jobs. There is little character development, but it has a great story. Also, unlike FFVII, they kill a main character without affecting gameplay. Galuf is replaced by Kururu, who is completely identical. For those who haven't played FFV, imagine that after Aeris's death, a new character joins with the same weapons, same stats, same level and same limit breaks as Aeris. A character's death certainly adds to the story, but FFV did what FFVII failed to do. Kill a main character without affecting gameplay.

Allan: Wait... it's a GOOD thing that Galuf's death counts for nothing? A major story event that's supposed to interest and involve the player, and it's good that it has no meaning or lasting reprecussions? Well, that's a... unique... perspective, to be sure...

Lucca returns?

(Xenogears demo spoilers)

Greetings Oh mighty Guru of the RPG ( I've always wanted to type that).

I the great and powerful Xhead has made a discovery about Lucca the ugly chick (Yes I know I already sent this info to AK, but I have questions now so keep reading). She's in the Xenogears demo that comes with Parisite Eve. Lucca's in the counciling center in Lahan village next to the save point (now comes the new part).

1) Do you think this is a revelation from Square that Crono Trigger 2 is coming soon? I mean her sprite self is really detailed and all...

2) Don't you think the battle system in Xenogears is sweet? I think it makes random battles finally fun with all the combos and everything ( there's no real reason for these parentheses (did I spell that right) I just love them so much).

3) What do you prefer in an RPG, Anime, CG grafics, or both?

4) Do you like parentheses as much as I do (there's that word again).

5) One time I went to a restraunt in Canada and I paid in American dollars. Was I ripped off?

_-Xhead

Allan: 1) I doubt it. It's probably just a cute little easter egg, a wink at longtime players. I'd love to be proven wrong, but I somehow doubt her appearance is a hint at something that big...

2) Yeah, I did have a lot of fun with it. Mind you, it helped that you were in no danger of dying, it being a demo and all. But it was still a lot of fun: I'm always in favour of new and different combat systems. Cool beans.

3) Either. I'm not particular, so long as it looks cool.

4) (Not really.)

5) If you paid for the meal with a 1:1 exchange rate of the dollar, then hell yes, you got ripped off terribly. Many restaurants do, however, accept American currency and do the exchange for you, so that wouldn't be that so bad.

Sales Figures

Okay, I personally think FF5 was an excellent game, but that's not the point of this e-mail. "dman6" wrote in to your column and said that FF5 was the best selling FF game to date in Japan, which of course is not true.

FF5- 2.4 million--he was right about that... but

FF6- 2.55 million BEFORE the October '94 release in the US

FF7- 3.24 million BEFORE the September '97 release in the US.

Thought you might wanna post this up for everyone to see...

--BWA--

Allan: I was hoping someone would send in something like this. Thanks, BWA, and the others who provided sales stats.


Quick 'n Dirty Tidbits: Anthony sends us a link to the Pokémon theme song lyrics (they're... unique...), someone asked if Xenogears supports Dual Shock analog control (not that I can tell), SoM Lord asks what name FF8 will be released in America as (FF8), Long Ba Le wonders if imported Gameboy games are playable on a US gameboy (so I've been told, though I've not tried it myself), Lakitu wants to know if Suikoden 2 includes characters from the first game (yes, check the Konami Artwork here at RPGamer for at least one example), I_am wonders why there are so few voices in RPGs (the desire to keep disk space usage and loading times down, keeping the ability to change your characters' names, and in the US, a lack of a consistent voice actor pool to draw on all contribute).

"What would happen if Mr. T and ET got amrried and had a kid; they'd have Mr. ET! And he'd sound a little something like this: I pity da foo' who don't...phone...home..."

(Quote by The Magnificent Slurp)

- Allan Milligan, off to bed

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