I can't hear you!
Sometimes you feel like life is trying to give you a
hint. As if the black cats, falling pianos, and death
threats from God ("Keep it up Josh and I'm gonna get Old
Testament on your bottom") weren't enough, I just received
confirmation of my lot in this particular existence from my
most recent fortune. After a pleasing Chinese Buffet, my
friend and I snap open the crisp cookie skin with playful
My friend read the following (highlight hidden text for
answers), "you are the chosen one."
Here was mine. "Game Over. Try
again in the next life."
Greetings oh great and powerful ruler of the RPG
Greetings oh blatant buttkisser!
1) It's "Ozzy Osbourne" not "Ozzie Osborn" (Someone's
been playing too much CT "Ozzie's in a pickle":)
Mi spellcheker iz om tha blits.
2) Does anyone have the lyrics to the Celes theme for
FFVI (they were presented in the opera)?
The lyrics for the opera are right here, on your
favorite gaming site! http://www.rpgamer.com/games/ff/ff6/text/info/ff3opera.txt
. I'm a big fan of the opera scene myself. I've
noticed Square's tried to recapture some of the drama in
other Square games (FFVII, Parasite Eve), but none of them
were quite as moving as FFVI. The only problem with the
Celes' song is the voice actor. She sounds like a drowning
I'm still waiting for "Aria de Mezzo Caraterre" to
become a popular Karaoke tune. I memorized the lyrics once
and sung it to a girl I admired, Sarah Julldecker. I admired
her so much because she could stand the sight of me without
regurgitating her last meal in protest to my person. I'm
sure the shrieks she emitted during my rendition of Nobuo's
classic was due to my singing voice--likened to a
combination between Michael Bolton and a distressed
Orangutan--and not the beautiful language.
3) Hey, let's make an RPG where you are born, go to
school, get good grades, try to balance a social life with
your homework, entertainment, and work. After that, you can
become an adult and have all sorts of jobs! We can call it
"Life". Original no? The entire point of RPGs is that
they're an escape from reality. If it were just like life,
why play it? We can live it. Which is usually more accurate
anyway. We need to be put in a unique role to create an RPG.
This role is usually of a military leader, ruler, idealistic
zealot, or someone who knows something who gets caught in
the wrong place at the wrong time (someone needs to explain
Cloud:). There's my -1^(1/2) cents or imaginary money for
all you math minors out there.
I must disagree. Life can unfold like a RPG. Why just
yesterday I attacked a bunch of giants . . . or were they
Fair Weathered Final Fantasy
Regardless, here is what I have to say. It concerns Final
Fantasy... specifically the more recent ones. All I ever
hear from people is how much they hated FFVII. "Oohhh, I
hate it, it sucks so bad for so many reasons, blah blah
blah, whine, gripe, etc." I just thought that I would point
out the fact that everyone was saying the exact same kind of
thing about FFIII/6j when 7 was still on the horizon.
Meanwhile they had nothing but accolades for FFVII at the
time. "Oooh, it's going to be sooo great, it will be the
best game ever... etc." This is exactly the same thing as
what is happening now. Everyone is saying how much they hate
FFVII, how bad it sucks and all the while saying how amazing
and flaw-free FFVIII will be, or at least how superior it
will be to FFVII. STOP the STUPID SLANDERING! I think it is
time to stop and think about what you are doing when you
bash a game you once thought was going to be good.
Just for the sake of beating the issue to death, it is
like comparing a 1968 Volkswagen Beetle to one of the newer
1999 model VW NewBeetles. Sure, the old one had charm and
people who owner one often loved it. But let's face it, they
had their serious flaws. People still love them though, and
I do as well. They are cute and they capture a time period
in automotive history, and heck, for the market that they
were aimed at, they weren't THAT bad. Then, compare the new
one. It has a lot less usefulness, a lot more price, but it
is a much better vehicle from a technical stand point, and
Getting back to my original topic, you could say that the
older games are like the old Beetle... we love them despite
their flaws. Sure FFII/4j was dumbed down and had a terrible
translation, but how many people would say it is among their
favorites of all time? LOTS. You can say as much bad stuff
about FFVII I'm sure... but many people love it, despite
it's flaws. Just as FFVII was, and FFVIII is now, being
compared to past games in the series. This is pointless.
Interesting discussion, but pointless. It is like comparing
the old Beetle to the new one. The only thing that they have
in common is their manufacturer, a vague resemblance and
their nameplate. Just like the Final Fantasy series.
Nemesis Destiny, RPGuardian
Joshua: Well, that's an original comparison. All
this talk about VW Bugs makes me wanna go punch somebody!
It's our nature Nemesis, to be skeptical of change, or
swept up by the hype; scorn tradition, or revel in
nostalgia. Humans are a paradoxical, oxymoronish bunch.
These conflicting traits are a curse, but at least it makes
Questions From The
Am I the only 14 year old out there who likes RPGs ? All
of my friends think that an RPGs are point and click games
ala Dragon's Lair. Maybe the explanation would be that I'm
in a town full of impatient rednecks that only want to see
senseless blood and gore in mindless button mashing
fighters. I mean these hicks could care less about a story
line or character development. Or is it that I'm old beyond
my years? I'm thoroughly laughed at by my peers because of
the fact that I play RPGs. Are all RPGamers suffer the same
horrible fate of being social outcasts? We'll show them one
day when we're rich and famous and they're trying to get a
job at McDonalds.
That's a constructive way to project your pain. Please
don't decide to solve your troubles with a .22 rifle. You
can't play RPGs in prison. And don't forget to read my "Top
Ten Reasons Why RPGamers Are Better Than Normal People." And
remember, you've got friends here.
Anyway enough rambling.
1) What is the funniest game you have ever
Spice Girls. When I saw the trash before my eyes, and
realized to what extent a company will go to exploit a
fabricated fad, and what this fact says about the media
industry and life in general, I laughed bitterly for three
Madden football games have always put me in stitches,
because of all the unplanned craziness that can occur. Plus,
when you play with a friend, it's always funnier.
2) Do you agree that action and racing games are made
only for those moments when you're having trouble with an
RPG and need to take a breather to ponder the situation?
The purposes of non-RPGs:
Shooters: To fulfill your cathartic need to kill lots
of things. (Josh's Pick: Time Crisis)
Puzzle Games: To make yourself think you're clever and
to beat your friend mercilessly (Josh's Pick: Puzzle
Fighting Games: To beat your friend mercilessly
(Josh's Pick: Bloody Roar)
Racing Games: To beat your friend mercilessly (Josh's
Pick: Grand Turismo)
Sports Games: To beat your friend mercilessly and make
yourself the overpaid star you always wanted to be! Josh
Reid signs 2.5 mil/year contract with the Broncos and
catches 150 passes for 20000 yards! yeah! (Josh's Pick:
Action Games: To pretend you are beating your friend
mercilessly. Hey Dave, that cow is you! Har Har, watch it
fly! Doh! You just flattened the princess! ah shucks! (name
that game) (Josh's Pick: Metal Gear Solid and Resident Evil
Dating Simulations: To pretend you are smoother than
your friends. (Josh's Pick: Haven't played any
3) Did anyone else like Final Fantasy VII, or does
everybody have to hate it because it has some translation
problems which really didn't bother me?
Final Fantasy VII was a good game. There, the
Guru has spoken. Case closed.
You didn't list a question here, buddy! Here, I'll
make one up.
4) Hey RPGuru, I think you're the coolest and all
the girls in my town think you are a big stud.
Aw shucks, thanks, but I'm not worth the praise. My
momma taught me to be 'umble.
5) I have $60.00, and I'm torn between Lunar:SSS or
Xenogears. I've never played Lunar. What should I do, Buy
Xenogears now, or bite the bullet and wait for Lunar to come
out to get all the cool stuff that comes with it.
Here are you options:
1. Ask your parents to buy you Xenogears for Xmas and
buy Lunar yourself when it comes out.
2. Buy Xenogears now and beg, steal, work, save your
way into a Lunar game in January, if it ever comes
3. Find out if you can borrow Xenogears from someone
(if there is anyone in your town who has it). Lunar is more
of a collector's item, so it's something you may want to
4. Take your $60, start a lemonade stand (this is the
best time of the year to do it because you have no
competition) and make enough money to buy BOTH Xenogears and
5. Insult one of your hick neighbors. Call him a "cow
tippin' straw eater" or something suitably ambiguous, but
seemingly insulting, and let him beat the living hell out
of you. Then sue. Use the extra money to buy as many games
as you want.
Lunar won't have the graphics Xenogears has, but
Complete does have a more classic fantasy setting and some
startling characters. Plus, with the music CD, art book,
etc. it edges out Xenogears in value. If you wait and buy
Lunar, you can get Xenogears later on sale. But then again,
what will you play now? You're in a pickle.
6) Are Victor's favorite bands Black Sabbath, Marylin
Manson, and Alice Cooper by any chance?
Actually, he's not the baddie you all think he is. I
caught him listening to the Little Orphan Annie soundtrack
Victor: Lies, Lies and flies. Flies on your eyes,
watch the Dickinsinion death hover above your sallow orbs as
dark mists enter the windpipe.
Josh: Creepy. I'm being threatened by my own Id.
The Isolated social outcast RPGkid
P.S. I happen to like Ozzy Ozbourne and no I didn't get
killed at his concert, and being a serious (serious, as in
not doomed to play that stupid Nirvana intro over, and over,
and over....) musician I agree that The Chrono Trigger guy
is better then Uematsu (hope I spelled that right). The Zeal
Theme is the best piece of RPG music ever (Yes, even better
than the Prelude).
The fact that you enjoy Ozzy Osbourne puts your music
taste into question.
1) What do you know about The Legend of Legaia? It is
currently the #1 Playstation game in Japan, and I was
surprised to find that it was an RPG and that I had never
heard of it. Apparently it is an RPG by Sony. Have you heard
of this game, will it come out in the U.S., and if so
Published by Sony, developed by Contrail, makers of
Wild ARMs. Polygonal, CGI cut scenes, young protagonist. It
appeared in October, and a U.S. release is unconfirmed. I
would bet my index finger, however, that it's gonna make it
2) Are there any other promising RPGs coming out in
the near future?
Every major RPG publisher seems to have calmed down a
little since they've stacked the shelves for Christmas Rush.
It's all quiet on the Western Front. But hey, if you're a
Saturn owner, don't forget to pick up the last RPG, Magic
Knight Rayearth, which I've been hearing about for about
three years or something. PC RPG lovers should give
Bladder's--I mean Baldur's--Gate a try, as well as Ultima
Online's challenger, Everquest. Early next year, Shadow
Madness, Blood Omen: Soul Reaver, and Lunar Complete are my
early picks. Middle to late 99 will be fast and furious,
though, I guarantee it.
3) Is Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time worth buying
an N64 for?
Zelda is worth renting a N64 over. If you don't plan
on buying any other N64 games, then don't do it.
4) What are Square's plans for 1999?
To sell a lot of games, I'm thinking. :)
Their main priority for the U.S. will be getting
FFVIII over here, and finishing FFIX in Japan. Also, there
are lots of games (Ehrgeiz, Front Mission 2) they still
need/should to import this way, still more games to develop,
and a movie to work on. You can bet they'll have lots up
their sleeve, they're as busy as a beehive. I've already
heard news of a new shooter appearing in Japan, early 1999.
And there's those Chrono 2 rumors humming about. It's all a
big exciting mystery. If the U.S. Squaresoft homepage had
didly, I'd tell ya.
I'd like to express an issue that I've noticed ever since
I've started reading your column regularly, which is the
subject matter of your letters. Besides the incessant
ravings and unusual questions which add character and comic
relief to the column, all I've ever heard people talk about
is the story of a game, or the quality of the translations,
or the status of incoming games. I realize I am writing to
an English Major, but being a person who plans to go into
Computer Programming/Physics, I think that game mechanics is
just as important as story and plot.
Without game mechanics, the game is nothing. A game where
you push a few buttons between cinema sequences isn't a
game, it's a movie. Story and plot add a lot to the game,
true. I loved the masterful writing in FFVII, and that Cloud
had to overcome himself before he could overcome Sephiroth
and save the world. However, if the battle system wasn't so
well done and the Materia system so ingenious, the game
would be fun to watch, but not to play. The Legend of Zelda:
the Ocarnia of Time does not have a story nearly as good,
but the play control is impeccable, and I can hardly put the
What do other RPGamers thing about this? How important is
game mechanics? Do any other RPGamers lose sleep over trying
to figure out how a game calculates damage? Aside from that,
will Victor ever say anything coherent? Oh, one more thing,
before anyone gets the wrong idea, FFVII was the best Final
Fantasy I've ever played, and I still love it. I'm still
eagerly waiting to play Xenogears and Parasite Eve. If
Square keeps it up, FFVIII can only get better!
Joshua: I couldn't agree with you more, David. My
background makes it easy for me to spotlight story and
character development, but carelessly leave the technical
side of games on the wayside. This happens because I don't
know much about game mechanics. I don't know how damage is
calculated, what goes into the control, etc. I better learn,
however, as should all aspiring video game designers. Even
those of us who just play games to have fun shouldn't ignore
all the hard work people suffer through to build the
foundation of our game. Game mechanics provide structural
integrity for a RPG--vibrant characters, stunning graphics,
and enthralling story may gloss the superficial appearance,
but the package will all crumple like a house of flimsy
cards if not cemented with good game mechanics. Game
mechanics are the seemingly little things that take so much
work and imagination and make so much of a difference in the
total quality of the game. Game mechanics are the offensive
line of a football team: Arguably the most important part of
the offense, the ball starts with them, and the play depends
on their performance, but they aren't recognized
accordingly. Thank you, David, for pointing out my grievous
omission. :) I'd love to talk more about game mechanics
issues in the future.
The translation of Final Fantasy 6 (3 US) was a bit odd.
The original Japanese script was used as a guideline for
what needs to happen. A good portion of the text was left
out, in the form of small sub plots, and townspeople. The
plot is all there, though at times it isn't as heavy as the
FYI: English is INSANELY space intensive compared to
Japanese. 1 Japanese Kanji character will take about 2-3
bytes... the average English word is... 1-12 bytes... it
I'm sure I'm...what...number....5 to have sent you an
answer to this...but here goes:
We are not missing half the story.
What was meant by this evil dope-smoking friend was that
there was twice as much text in FFVI then our FFIII (makes
it easier instead of writing "Japanese" and "American" over
and over). Because, yes, Japanese text can say more than
English in less space. The plot, however, is NOT changed
very much (jokes and EXACT dialogue are different....but the
plot is the same..unlike FFIV where Cecil is actually an
orphan raised by King Baron). We are not "missing" anything.
Think of it like this......there are the same number of text
windows. But the Japanese version can fit more words in each
window....so they're wordier and we're concise.
The next letter writer must have thought we were
talking about FFIV, but it's relevant I suppose.
Here's the scoop on what you lose in the English Final
Some plot details - Not half the plot, but many details
were left out in the translation. For example, Cecil and
Kain were orphans who were raised by the king of Baron.
Originally Kain was to become a Dark Knight as well, but he
wanted to follow in his father's footsteps and became a
Dragon Knight (Dragoon is really an incorrect translation
since it means a person who fights on horseback and on
Lots of cool items - Remember those neat fire and
lightning bombs that Cecil used during the intro? Well, you
can get those and many other neat items that were cut from
the English version.
Censored material - The giant ball that was going to
crush Rosa was originally a sickle. After you save her a
frame was also cut where Cecil and Rosa kiss, so we only see
them hug. Also there is the 'King's Pub' of Toroia (think of
it as a precursor to the Honey Bee Inn) and the infamous
'porno book.' Also some cursing was cut and some hints that
Cecil and Rosa might have been sleeping together.
Aw MAN! No fair! If I had only known this for the
Difficulty - The Japanese version is far harder than the
More VI, IV stuff . . .
As for half of Final Fantasy III/VIj dropping into the
ether when the translation was made... well, they're right
about the text, at least. Japanese RPG text is written in
phonetic spelling, spelling which doesn't require the use of
any spaces. So you can get some pretty significant
compression right there, from one-half to one-third to even
more, depending on the word in question. Seiken Densestsu 3
used not only this phonetic spelling but also compressed the
hiragana (or is that katakana? Can't keep 'em straight) to
half normal width, making it possible to put truly ludicrous
amounts of text in the game. An English translation would
have to reengineer the cartridge or leave out significant
parts of the story, neither of which Square was particularly
eager to do. Thus, no translation.
And I do know that Final Fantasy II removed a lot of
things from Final Fantasy IVj Hardtype, including some of
the subtexts and attacks. All the characters could actually
do something USEFUL for the party, and Cecil had a nice
special move at the beginning which I think he uses only
against his Paladin self in the English version...
Well, that's all I have to say for now...
I'm so glad my readers are so knowledgeable. :)
I was just thinking (since you mentioned it) how long I
spend per week on RPGs...When I bought Xenogears, I spent
about 3 8hour sessions a week for 3 weeks playing it until I
beat it...and I bought it the day it came out!! All this
while working 60+ hours/week and taking classes. (and I
still managed to find time for my girlfriend!)
Joshua: That's pretty amazing (the time for your
girlfriend comment), but I bet you started calling her Elly
didn't ya? Admit it!
Hey, does anyone have cool/funny RPG Love stories? I'm
interested to hear them.
You seemed to be struggling for a way to describe Umaro
from FFVI in your Dec. 3 column. I believe that the word you
were searching for was, perhaps, 'yeti'. Or, in relation to
the term 'bigfoot', 'abominable snowman'. I write this
because it has always been my understanding that 'sasquatch'
and 'yeti' are two different things entirely. The term yeti
is a Sherpa (Nepal) word, yah means rock and the means
animal. The yeti is said to exist in the snowy Himalayan
Mountains and is feared by the people of Nepal and Tibet.
Conversely, the sasquatch is said to wander the forests of
western North America. The word sasquatch is of Salish (an
Indian tribe of British Columbia) origin means 'wild man of
the woods'. In a final note, I am by no means a scholar of
this particular subject. For some reason I seem to be privy
to certain bits and pieces of TUI (Thoroughly Useless
- E. Kael Lucarde
Joshua: No problem E. Kael, I was just recently
initiated into the TUW hall of fame for this daily column
(TUW standing for Thoroughly Useless Writing).
Well, to clear up any misconceptions of our furry friend,
I looked up Umaro in the "Roleplaying Character Dictionary."
Here's what I found.
U-maro (oo-mah-row) n. 1. A large, strange beast
wandering around the mountains of Narshe. 2. An
incomprehensible grunt or cry (Was that an umaro you just
uttered?) [Narshian Dialec, Umaronin. composition
of Um, useless, and aronin , creature]
"Random Insanity Picked Out Of My Mailbox" or RIPOMM.
Pronounced rip 'em. Or R.I.P. 'em:
Googleshng thinks Phantasy Star (1987) was the first
console RPG. I can't find any ones released earlier. What do
Oh joyous life! Haha! Why am I beaming like the morning
sun? Adam Cederblo and otaking have informed me that a
Famicom version of Maison Ikkoku exists! I now have an
honorable quest! There is a God! Thank you readers!
Joel, is going to Thunder Bay, and he wants to buy an
RPG. I suggest FFVII if he hasn't bought that already. Maybe
he can pick up two bargain binners (Suikoden, Wild ARMs) the
price of one new game.
I can't believe this. My Id is more popular than me.
Victor not only has a fan club, but he's even had a couple
date offers (Katana, he wears bright pink. Is that ok?). I
think maybe he should run for congress. Heck, if a pro
wrestler can get in, so can Victor.
RPGuru archives will be updated soon. Probably tommorrow,
barring nuclear holocaust.
-Joshua, reading Dostoyevsky and loving it.
"Behold the turtle. He makes progress only when he sticks
his neck out." -James Bryant Conant, American diplomat. For
the person who contributed that quote, I'd like to ask them
a question . . . Where's my deacon?