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Joshua Reid

I've heard it said that a little luck will go a long way. I never thought, however, that fortune's wheel would spin me this far--it's left me dizzy. Yet here I am, trying on the the mantle of RPGuru. It's a good feeling. A powerful feeling. A tranquil feeling, although I know all hell will break loose any minute now.

Before I enter this column wholeheartedly, I wish to commend Allan Milligan for his exemplary performance in this challenging position. His shoes will be hard to fill. I enjoyed his ceaseless wit, and wish him the best--especially with Emma.

To everyone who applied along with me for this position, I must tell you that the staff had a very hard time deciding on me, and I hope I do not disappoint. My suggestion for next time would have to be this: bribery helps (by the way, my new staff-mates, your checks are in the mail).

Shall we begin? :)

I bet your first question is "who is this new guy?" The next, "will I like him? Will he be funny? Does he know his stuff?" I can answer the first query for now, and let you determine the rest as the weeks progress. My name is Joshua Reid, but my friends call me "Roach," my sister, "Jose" my brother, "dork," and my mother, "the abomination." You can call me whatever you want behind my back, but in your letters, please address me as Joshua, Josh, Roach, RPGuru, or even better RPGod, or RPGdiety, or something in the same elaborate, venerating vein. Be creative, boost my ego.

Just in case you care, I was born and raised in Blacksburg, Virginia, a town as dead and hopeless as the Atari Jaguar. The only redeeming facet of this hamlet is it birthed Virginia Tech, which national statistics have dubbed one of the most alcoholic colleges in the nation. Go Tech! I study Literature and Film at this university, and during my off time I enjoy reading, writing, jogging, wine, women, and song, not necessarily in that order.

Relating to video games, I have been playing them for about eight years, every system from Pong to Playstation. I enjoy them so much that I'm designing an RPG in collaboration with a childhood friend. The more I learn about the technical, theoretical, and marketing aspects of video games, the more entranced I become. I view video games, and RPGs in particular, as an art medium, and wish they would be treated as such.

But enough about me! Let's talk about some games! Right now, before it is too late, I must warn you about the evil developers of Xenogears. Subtly hidden in this wonderfully designed game, there is a catalyst that can ruin friendships. I'm talking about that pink thing, that anime refugee, that intrinsically evil creature that hides beneath a guise of idiocy. You will know it by its cry, "chu chu." And what does this seemingly innocent crabbit have to do with the severance of friendships? Square lets you name it. When you are given that naming screen, please christen that bloated bunny after a most hated enemy, a childhood bully perhaps. Use the freak as a dehumanizing agent, a humiliating judgment. Or just leave it as Chu Chu. That would be fine. But--dear Lord, Buddha, Zeus, whatever--don't name that beast after anyone you hold dear. Imagine my astonishment when my best friend shows me what incarnation I have taken in his Xenogears party. In his FFIVj, I was the Dragoon, in his FFVIj, the Samurai, but in Xenogears, I'm a crabbit. A crabbit! I go "chu chu!" I don't think even the Washington Redskins know this level of mortification. Even Vesuvius, before it frothed all over hapless Pompeii, did not tremble with as much fury as I. Every "chu chu" I heard, every "chu chu" I read, every time I saw that offending pink crabbit, I was nettled to the core. Take heed, my fellow RPG enthusiasts. This Chu Chu is not to be taken lightly. I never knew Square was capable of such psychological torture. Even now I hear its infernal "chu chu."

Zeke, if you are reading this, take heed--revenge will be mine.

I'm very excited about this new position. I've read many of the past columns, and the questions you send are a myriad of colorful writings--from the ludicrous Mr. Grape theory to serious issues like gender portrayal. It will be a pleasure and a challenge to tackle these letters. I'm ready for them. Drown me in commentaries, questions, theories, musings, poems, threats, and whatever else you want your peers to read and me to respond to.

The Golden Age of RPGs is past, and a Renaissance climbs before us. Some companies, like Namco, cling to tradition, while others, like Square, strive for perfection. BFM, Zelda, and Lunar approach. Dreamcast rises out of the Saturn's ashes. FFVIII looms, the gaming industry booms. There is much to talk about. Let's hear it.

-Joshua Reid, waiting for the avalanche.

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