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The Oracle
 
A Christmas Column
 
The Oracle, Brad Lohr - December '99- 01:00 PST

Ho. Ho. Ho. What's up, ladies and gentlemen? It's Christmas morning, so I'm thinking you're reading this after the large festitivies... here's to gettin' everything you wanted..

Seeing as I'm writing this here at like just before midnight on Christmas Eve, I don't know what's gone on yet.. I'll be doing the family thing.. eatin' the food, drinking the cider, (I totally dig the apple cider, yum)..

Anyhow, to start things off.. I've been catching a lot of flak recently for this whole 'girlfriend' thing. Here's a letter sent in today, and well, it explains itself...


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Brad Now Playing:
Vandal Hearts 2
Should time permit.
 
In Brad's Head
 
I've been naughty and nice this year.
 
What happens when Santa is naughty?
 
... this is really going the wrong way.
 
I like my flamed Brad Medium Rare.. yeah, just right.
*** This Letter has No RPG related content whatsoever, if you only read this column for RPG related material and hate the fact that Brad is a real person with a personality, please skip down one full question. And have a nice day. ***

Dear Brad,

I've been an avid reader of this column (for the most part) since Thor was host. Over the past year, RPGamer has gone major changes with the Q&A columnist, and I must say, I've enjoyed any one of them more than you. I've been "upset" with your ego for some time now, and your somewhat sexist views of women. However now, I am truly offended, and somewhat hurt. You are doing a "mail in your girlfriend" contest. This offends me for several reasons. First off, why can't girls send in their boyfriends and explain why she likes them? Second off, it's to flaunt off how attractive your girlfriend is! I don't know how your girlfriend Heather feels about you doing this, but if I were her I would be TRULY offended, and wouldn't have said another word after I saw how you were flaunting me on your Q&A. RPGamer Q&A should be for *RPG Q&A*, and NOT for people to flaunt off their girlfriends! I'm sure there's plenty other places they can do that, or do what Thor did and make your OWN webpage to do that, but keep RPGamer Q&A for Q&A, like Thor did.

So Brad, try answering some questions for a change instead of talking about your life, get rid of the stupid contest, and let Googleshng do it more, because he/she is quite good, and holds no bias towards any particular gender. I am quite offended, but most likely this will go into the trash and not get another word. But oh well, I've said my peace and I feel better now, but you should feel ashamed of yourself. Or are you masking it within your ego? Hmmmm......

Regards,
Sarah

Brad:
Alrighty then. I'm usually pretty low key about stuff, but this is pretty blatant, and well, ergo, I reply in the same. What the heck are you smoking, eh? You say you've been reading since Thor, yet you can't remember how Thor's personality made his columns so good? That his ego is what brought the people back? I know him personally, we've never met, but I've hung around and talked with him for years now, and I'll tell you that I haven't had an ego like that in years. Even in my most egotistical state, I match not to Thor. And you know what? That's his charm. He can tell you just how cool he is, and you just nod. Because he is cool. He's a fun guy, and it works for him. Maybe I'm just not that cool. I can handle that. But I'm not gonna let you sit there and say, "Hey, you suck, because you've got an ego. Thor doesn't suck! Thor ONLY answered questions".. I mean, there's a lot of memory-clogging drugs out there.. but that many?

Point 2. I'm not sexist. I respect my girlfriend completely, and treat her well. She herself entered that contest, posting that picture of herself, in that state. I did not do so without her permission, I wouldn't have even known of the contest were it not for her. I think she's the coolest thing to ever walk through my life, and you're harshing me for saying it. This isn't pure business. This column would suck if there were no personality. I don't run it that way, and I never will. Part of my column is me.

Point 3. Mail in your girlfriend contest being sexist? I'm sorry I didn't mention that gay men could not enter in their boyfriend. I'm sorry that people who love their teddy bears couldn't enter those in. But factually, there aren't that many gay, teddy bear lovers out there... and unless I'm grossly mistaken, female readers don't exactly make up the greater part of my reader base. I -wish- (and doesn't every video game playing guy) that it were a half half split. But it's more likely to be a 90-10. My main objective in not mentioning that girls should mail in their boyfriend paragraphs was to discourage guys from mailing me a picture of themselves and do something hokey, just to get printed. I never said as a woman you could NOT enter in your boyfriend, I just did not explicitly say that you could. If someone had entered their MOTHER in this contest, with a paragraph or two about how their mom was the coolest woman in their life, I probably would have printed it. I think that's cool. You're coming off like a rocket, trying to defend someone who needs no defense. She'd walk from me in a second if I were exploiting her. She's a big girl. I'm proud to be with her, and I'm gettin' a vibe that you're just pissed nobody's proud like that of you.

Point 4. "Try answering some questions."

"Try reading the column." There is one letter which mentions Heather yesterday, and that letter also contained a question, which I answered. In fact, this right here is taking up a lot more time and space in my column that has nothing to do with RPGs than any question I think I've ever printed. But there are others who've expressed these opinions, and well, I wanted to get it out in the clear.

Sorry to have taken up so much space in this, and I may have gotten a little off handle, but hey, you wanted it printed, you implied such in the letter.
I like pizza, Steve. And girls. They're cool, Steve

 
New SKEWL vs Old School debate..? Not really
Greetings oh wise and mighty Oracle.

First of all, can you please do the links to the preveious updates right? I find it anoying when I miss a day, I have to go all the way back in to the archives. Anyways, some RPG stuff.

I am beside myself on this. Been a while since I beat an RPG (not counting those few times my guys got deleted on a couple games right when I was at the end by some jerk). In your opinion, should I beat older ones like Dragon Warrior 1-4 (a couple of which had my guy deleted by that same jerk), Final Fantasy 1-6 (beat part 1 and almost 4 and 6), Lufia 1-2, Chrono Trigger (which I did beat but liked enough to do again), ect. Or the newer crop like FF7 (still on the first disc), FF8, Grandia, Xenogears, ect. If I beat the older ones, then I get them out of the way. But I could always beat the newer RPGs and go back later. Any opinions?

BTW I have a good paying job, so money is no object when it comes to getting RPGs :)

Brad:
You know, I'd say go with the older stuff first. The older, the better. Not meaning that older games are better... just start as old as you can. When you do that, you'll not have the spoiled nature of someone who is fed all these graphical niceties, and you'll be able to enjoy the older games in all their glory. They really WERE lots of fun. But they're harder to play, after stuff like FF8 comes out, and the people actually look like people. Go back, have some fun with the older stuff, and work your way forward. That's what I say. And btw, Dragon Warrior 2-4 are some great games that are horridly overlooked. I love DW4 a lot.

 
You're crazy, Steve. It's okay.
Oracle,

Before FF8 was released in Japan, I remember seeing a FMV pic of Edea on a boat in some river, and I remember it vividly(so I am not crazy, because I do remember!) was this from another game or am I just crazy? Secondly, FF8 says it takes 12 slots on a memory card, you ever had this happen? Do you know what it's for(I have asked many a Q&A people, but they didn't know). Have you heard anything about RPGmaker? I have not heard anything in months about it, and I want it!!! Also, what do you think RPG of the year is? Many sites have been running poles on this, but a lot don't include Suikoden 2, which makes me made, cause I loved that game(graphics don't mean nothing compared to plot and trying to get all 108 stars!) Marry Christmas

Kahgani

Brad:
The only boat/FMV shot that I can remember is of Squall at the very beginning of the demo/near the beginning of the game.. or possibly the scene with Edea in the parade..? I think you're crazy ;D

As for the '12 slot' thing.. I'm pretty sure my FF8 says 15 slots on the back, which seems misprint-ish to me, or them saying you can save up to 15 games on one card. This time, they're crazy. As for RPGmaker.. well, it won't be here till it's here. It sure is taking its time, and, well.. such is life, I guess. No firm date that I've heard. As for RPG of the year, it'd be a hard match between Star Ocean 2 and Suikoden 2 for me. I'd probably lean Star Ocean 2, though, because well, I loved it. Earlier this year I would have held off judgement until VH2 came out.. but I've been .. how to say, unfullfilled, by it. Which makes me sad. :(

 
o/` I picked up some rocks... while I stoood on my head..
Let Leiji Matsumoto know that anyone that had a soundblaster card with Soundfont capability (and I think at least 4MB soundfont memory) could hear the voices. I had an AWE 64 w/MB of soundfont memory and I heard them just fine. You can even go through the games soundfont's files and play them at your leisure (you can make it sound pretty funny). By the way, which is better...Yoda or The Saga Begins? I prefer Yoda my self....Y O D A yo oh da......

-One Winged Ange-AL Yankovic

Brad:
There you go. The specs on hearing the voices in FF7PC, and then the question ensues.. but come on, Saga Begins was a good song and all... but "Yoda" is his all time #1, in every fan poll ever done. The song kicks butt, and I fear the chance he may ever make a better one.

 
Pronounce it "moOOoooT"
Heya, Brad!

Heya, you.

I have a couple of names from RPG's that are driving me insane because there are SO many different ways to pronouce them! Please help! Here's a few:

Please note beforehand that this is just how I say these names, and should not be considered correct. Unless you agree with them. In that case, you're right.

Sephiroth

"Seff-ehhhh-roth", not "Seffy-roth"

Celes

"Cuh-Less", (Heard it pronounced "Sell-ees" before as well)

Yuffie

"Yuffy", like a Huffy bike with a "yuh" instead.

Rinoa

"Ruh-noh-ahh"

Quistis

'Kwis-tiss"

Edea

"Eee-dee-uhh"

Jenova

"Jen-oh-va"

Cait Sith

Now this one has an actual japanese pronunciation of "Ket Shee", but I call him Cait Crocksmoking Smith. Cuz I don't like him. :)

Strago

"Stray-Go", or mostly Grandpa.

Delita (that one is REALLY bugging me!)

"Duh-lee-ta".. it's like velvita.. with a D... and without a couple v's... and.. uh.. I like cheese... (and my favorite from FFT, "Beoulve" (Bay-oolv) It's french!

Dollet

Another french lookin' one to me. "Doh-lay"

And the hardest of all, that makes me strain my lips trying to pronouce it....

Elw. You know- the Elw from Wild ARMs. Any ideas?

'Eeeewwwwwllll" is how I say it. It's probably wrong.

Thanks a lot, Brad!

No sweat. It's what I'm here for, no?

Luv, -Princess_Terra (at least it's easy to pronounce THAT one!)

"Ter-uh" .. yeah.

P.S. I would send you a pic of my girlfriend and say how cool she is, but it's kinda hard to do that, since I'M a girl. :) Then I'd tell you how great my boyfriend is, but not having one right now makes that pretty hard to do, huh? ;) Oh well. Anyways, please post this! ...Or I'll spend my entire Christmas holidays trying to figure out how to pronouce "Delita!" Thanx!

Do you have a teddy bear? Send a pic of him and tell me how cool he is.

 
Have a very berry .. vocal.. stuff. </strawberry shortcake impression> (now it's getting perverse..)
First of all, Merry Christmas!

Now, FF8PC uses MIDI because FF8 for PSX uses MIDI!! The reason it sounds so much better on PSX is because the PSX MIDI synthesizer is SUPERB while the MIDI on the PC version is software generated (i.e. very poor).

Remember, with MIDI, you can do a wide variety of things. With the right samples, you can even have voices in your MIDI songs. It may be hard to believe, but "One Winged Angel" for FF7 PSX is a MIDI using very "vocal" instruments.

Brad:
As a second part to this question, someone also adds:

In yesterdays Q&A someone was complaining about FF8 pc version demo using midis you can get a really good midi driver at http://members.xoom.com/_XMCM/newnx/rpgmaker95/miscfiles/yamahaxg.ZIP Its amazing how much it improves the sound of midis.
So, well, go for it.

 
Y2k RPGs.. mmmm...
Big Mighty Oracle,

Just wanted to know which RPG, you're looking forward to most. Damn, I'm going for Saga Frontier 2, but I know everyone and their mom is going to say Chrono Cross is going to be the best. Peace out, G.

-XenoFreak

Brad:
I'd love to be different, but I'm really looking forward to Chrono Cross. :) Sorry.. I just go for that "buttload of characters" style of game. And well, CT rocked.

 
Magimaster sez: "You go boom!" Vlad sez: "Ow! Very pain!"
Hey Brad,

I am finally drawing to a close my first time through Final Fantasy VI/III on FFAnthology. I am at the Magic Tower, all my people are at level 50 and have all learned Ultima. I struggle all the way to the top, get the Gem Box Relic, then fight the Magimaster. I kick his ass thoroughly with Ultima. But, right before he dies in one of those last ditch attack things he casts Ultima on me and kills all of my people, then disappears. His Ultima takes like 7000 HP from all my people whose max HP is about 4000. How in the name of God am I supposed to beat this? Just level up until all my HP is above 7000? it's really cheap that I can kick his ass but he has some pansy attack at the end to kill me. I mean, I really beat him down it takes like 5 Ultimas for him to die. What should I do?

-Kev

Brad:
The key is Life 3, baby buddy baby boy! Cast it on at least one character a good couple rounds before the Magimaster takes a dive, and you should be okay. Of course you could just up your character's levels to around 80 or so.. but then you'd have like 4 economizers, and a Gem box would just be really naughty. Not that I don't know someone who did this exact thing like LAST WEEK. His name was Kev too. What an odd world.

 
Ramza Be Ramza.
Funny; I was looking through Square's webpage before reading your column. In one of the sections, there was a question about the ability to turn Ramza into a Dark Knight. Quick answer: "No." Admittedly, there was a longer answer on their webpage, but that's the gist of it and I'm too lazy to go back and copy/paste it.

Brad:
That's what I thought. That's what I said.. go find it for yourself if you don't believe him/me/everyone else. :P

 
Get your batteries here, yo!
Someone asked, so I shall answer:

Some game places like Microplay will replace the battery at the cost of the battery.

In Dragon Warrior 3, to reveal the fake King Samano, you must have the Mirror of Ra. it is located in the cave south of the Castle of Samano.

An opinion question for ya while I'm at it, it's kinda been on my mind for the past while.

People are constantly going on about what they want or should ask for for Christmas. Keep in mind, the holiday is a religious one, and we shouldn't be constantly going on about WE should get and all that... What is your opinion on how Christmas has been comercially had the hell beaten out if it?

And have you seen the movie "End of Days"? That movie rocks... Arnie's the MAN! :-p

- Shade "Dojo, Casino, it's all in the mind!" Eagle

Brad:
Thanks for the info on the batteries and DW3.. as for the religion thing.. well, I'm a pretty big capitalist. If they didn't have Christmas, they'd have a whole bunch of other things to make people buy. It's the way of the system. I'm not particularly religious myself, yet I still celebrate Christmas as a time of gift giving and receiving, and well, in everyone's defense, I'll say that as a kid, Christmas isn't as much about giving as it is receiving, mostly because you don't have the real means to go out and do the REAL giving. Most people at 15/16 aren't able to go out and spend $300 on Xmas gifts for their entire family/friends/etc.. and so their ability to give what they really want to give is slightly hampered. Or maybe we're just a big lot of selfish capitalist pigs. Irregardless, I love the smell of capitalism in the morning. Here, here!

 
 
Quickies

What's this 'girlfriend' thing? Am I missing out on something? I guess I should stop playing FF8 sometime, maybe I'll find out....
- Lord Veniteo

Back in the video game testing cage, Steve! Dinner's not for another 3 hours!

Dec. 31, 1999.

When the lights go out on New Year's, that's not Y2K... THAT'S LAVOS.
-- M. P. Halpin

The day of Lavos already went by, dude... and you know Lavos wasn't exactly Y2k safe himself.. (.. rains down destruction from the heavens!)

Guess what, Brad? I just bought Phantasy Star 2, 3, and 4 at my local video store for $8 each!!! Lucky me, eh?
Bilsto likes monkeys named Steve

Dude. That does rock. I like Phantasy Star games. I'm tempted to buy a Genesis just to play those three. I won't buy a SMS for the first one, though.

Hey isn't JD Canadian or something. I know one of you is. I'm Canadian and I don't care. Well so long, I got to go oot and aboot.
Fuhrmania

Er.. I'm trying to think, and I'm not sure any of us are Canadian.. JD and myself are Californian, as well as a couple others.. but I can't think of any canadians in the bunch... maybe it's just late.

I wanna make a bet! love,
monkeyboy

.. alright, well, let's see if the person who comes out of the weapon shop is male or female. You choose.

Words from the Wise One:


Well, there's Christmas for you. Sorry I got pissy, but that's just how life is sometimes.. I really won't let it bother me today. Trust me... ;D Anyhow, I've gotta get to bed, it's lookin' like an early morning, of course.. you know how those little sister's are.. wanna open presents at like 6:00am if they could get away with it...


Brad "I'm searching the city, for Sci-Fi Worchestershire sauce.. wah-pah!" Lohr

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