The floodgates are
Send questions, commentary, marriage proposals,
death threats to
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
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
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.