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In the PSX

 

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Unburden your soul to
Joshua Reid

Hi. Welcome to December.

Don't Add Insult to Injury

My friend, there are several RPGs out there that have flaws. Those which are listed in the "worst RPG poll" currently being taken are the main ones. And I would definitely like to say that while games such as the 7th Saga and Saga Frontier definitely have their bad parts, they have many unique and fun elements. This is the key, people: FUN. We play these games for ENTERTAINMENT. Those among us who continually blast RPGs (FFVII debate case in point) just because the plot doesn't suit them or the graphics aren't up to their par or would have preferred the story written a certain way, need to step back a second and realize that they are playing GAMES. No game is perfect; if that was possible, what would be the point of making more? This is why Square and other companies continually release more and different games; because there are different ways to make a game and people have different tastes. Myself, I'm probably not going to pick up Brave Fencer because I'd prefer to leave action games to the professionals like Konami; I'd be happy to save the world from Sephiroth over and over again, because while perhaps the game could have been done better, every aspect of the game was, in my opinion, good. And that's why I play it; because I find the game to be fun. If you don't like a game, don't spend your money on it, so I don't have to hear you complain about it. Negative reviews are fine, I appreciate those. But continuous blasting of a multiyear effort goes far beyond the call of duty, my friends.

-Marc Novakouski

novakouskim@hartwick.edu

Joshua: In the middle of all this game bashing, critiquing, and nitpicking, it's encouraging to see that someone knows the true point of video games--to have fun. All of Saga's flaws don't amount to tiddlywinks as long as you enjoy playing it. Sometimes zealous critics (like myself) lose sight of this important fact.

Movies, Tactics, and Losers

Hello! Just a couple of questions/comments here...

1) So I hear that the Final Fantasy Movie is being produced with Pixar's assistance with Square. You know, this concerns me about the overall quality. If Pixar plays a heavy hand in this role, I'm a bit worried we'll get a mass media sellout product with no critical value at all in its storyline (because while "A Bug's Life" displayed mastery over CG, it had one of the most cliched plots ever). I mean, the Final Fantasy video games have produced (especially the most recent ones) stories based on themes, ambiguity, and questioning values- a lot of deep thought. Whereas the only resemblance the movie may have to the rich content of the video game is the name and some magic spells. It would be like turning "Akira" into "Armageddon" content-wise. Sheesh, even the early CG shots reflect nothing that is Japanese/anime. What do you think? Am I overly concerned?

2)People trash Square for their awful translations, but I played FFTactics for the first time and it was perfectly clear, and it definitely enhanced the story. Like that part when Algus says Miluda and the Death Corps are undeserving animals- what a rat! Wasn't FFT's translation superb?

3) Are we RPG players geeks/losers/social rejects?

Joshua: 1) I doubt that Square will let a company like Pixar take over their creative decisions. Pixar has proven its CGI prowess with Toy Story and A Bug's Life, so I assume Square wants to use them for a strictly animation resource. I have no desire to see a watered down version myself, but I don't think you need to worry too much.

2) I was particularly struck with FFtactics adept use of:

A. Clever names like "Draclau." It's amazing what a couple rearranged letters can do.

B. Appropriate adjectives like "a gang of _tortured_ thieves is trying to sneak into this town."

C. Prosaic, pithy, postulates like "never believe in never."

D. Frightening threats like "surrender or die in obscurity"

But overall, I agree with you--the massive script was surprisingly well translated and maturely written: It tackled class, religion, characterization, and more.

3) I can't believe you just said that. RPGamers never were and never will be the bottom of the social barrel, that's reserved for the Hanson fan club.

In case you don't believe me, here's the Top Ten Reasons Why RPGamers Are Better Than Normal People

10. Normal people steal, kill, and drop bombs on one another, we do it in video games instead.

9. If our teachers ever quizzes us on FF geography, or Suikoden politics, we have a definitive edge.

8. We can withstand prolonged torture. Anyone who has played through FF Mystic Quest can testify to this.

7. We find real-life solutions in our games. For instance, if your mother is bothering you, make sure she falls into a time warp. Problem solved.

6. RPGaming, and video gaming in general, increases eye-hand coordination.

5. We've saved the world at least 12 times, so we know how it's done.

4. Ever get in a fight? Just dazzle and devastate with all the blitzes, sword techs, and moogle dances you've learned during your gaming career.

3. We have mastered soul-shattering insults like, "you spoony bard."

2. Our bodies are accustomed to sleep, food, and companion depravity.

1. Because we are, darnit.

Love At First Sight

Hi, I am sooo happy you signed my guestbook. But there is another thing . . . About the love of my life, he came into school today wearing a ZELDA T-shirt. I was incredibly amazed, cause he's not a loser, but a very popular guy. But anyway, I struck up a conversation with him about the game and we had this incredibly long chat and I got his phone number! I'm totally happy now . . .

So anyway, please put this on the page to show that Zelda T-shirts *are* good to wear in public :)

-Lauren

http://home.nycap.rr.com/beast/index.html

Joshua: Hear that everyone! Don your Zelda Ts with pride! Show off those strong thumbs and index fingers!

Let's all sign her guestbook huh? See how many entries we can clog her page with!

RPGamer Quotes

I think you should have some sort of contest for guessing the source of the RPGamer quotes that you have in the page title. It's driving me crazy seeing this oh-so-familiar quotes looming up there, and not being able to figure or find out where they came from. Put it in your RPGuru column or something.

-Shinyhat

Joshua: Dude, I have no idea where most of those quotes come from. I gave up long ago. But if any of you know the answers, I'll post your name at the bottom for kudos.

Q&A

Greetings Rpguru. I got a couple of questions for you.

1: Have you played Kartia? I've played A LOT of RPGs and so far, the character development and storyline has never been so great. And you get to play two very different and wonderful storyline in the same world. Come on, tell people about it, I'd like to see a sequel, but so far no one speaks about all the non-square RPGs.

2: Other RPGamer staff members often referred to the To-Do list. What is this list? Couldn't you share it with us? What's next on RPGamer? Oh, and will there ever be a new link section on RPGamer?

-San Saradiart

Joshua: 1. I haven't played it yet, because I can't afford it just yet, but so many of you have expressed your adulation of this title that I'm going to have to give it a look-see.

2. Okay, just to show my benevolence to all my readers, I'll post the RPGamer to do list, right here!

RPGamer To-Do List

1. Find some free time.

2. Give that great new RPGuru a raise.

Well, that's it. Actually, there is a lot of stuff planned for this site, but I have to keep it under wraps for now. :) I'll snoop out the status on the new link section for ya.

The Never-ending Game

Everyday I check into the RPGuru section to read up on your great column. Yet everyday I am smacked with the same old thing: "In the PSX- Xenogears" How many hours have you logged on that game? I mean, you ARE the mighty RPGuru, are you not? Shouldn't you shave ten to fifteen hours off the estimated completion time and then brag to us how you beat so-and-so a game in less than four days after it was released? Ah well, no one is perfect. Maybe you should take a day or two off and beat that game? By the way, what do you think is the toughest Squaresoft boss? I've played tons of Square games and the only person I've ever had trouble with was Einhander's last boss, Hyperion, on hard mode.

-Francis Werner

Joshua: But I don't want to beat Xenogears! I'm having too much fun watching Chu-Chu die, over and over and over again! Besides, I still have to win that Spit game!

With school, work, this column, my therapist sessions, food, and sleep hemming in on my time, I can only play in 15 minute snippets. Maybe once Exams blow over I'll be able to do some serious gaming. I never thought I'd be playing less RPGs once I took this position, but that has been the case. :)

Toughest Square boss huh? It would have to be BossX from SaGa frontier, because you have to play through Red's scenario to get to it, and that's just plain difficult to stomach.

Einhander was just too rough for me (my luck with shooters is like my luck with women--zilch. But, just like the much fairer gender, I love them anyway. Darius Gaiden rules.) but I did find Emerald and Ruby weapon difficult at first, even though they weren't really bosses. I sweated over Zeromus too, until I discovered the crystal trick (duh Josh). Oh, PE's EX mode boss is no joke, from what I'm told. WrexSoul wasn't my favorite until I tried X-zone in desperation. How about you readers? Toughest boss? Why?

To Fence Or Not To Fence?

I have recently been contemplating whether or not to buy Square's fairly new release, Brave Fencer Musashi. I have faith in Square and I have loved everything they have put out up to this point, but between the demo on the Parasite Eve disk, and some reviews that I've read, I'm not sure about it. Could you tell me, your personal opinion on the game, maybe compare it to some of Square's other work, and also tell me, if it's not a "great" game is it still good enough to buy it just for the Final Fantasy VIII playable demo?

Thank you...

-Scott

Joshua: Here are my comments

1. BFM can't really be compared to other Square games, because it's their first attempt at this style. It's more Zeldaesque than anything else (saving the princess, getting powerups, real-time action, night/day). The content is light and much more toned down than other Square titles.

2. If you don't mind rampant silliness and a plot as deep as a kiddie pool then BFM shouldn't bother you.

3. If you like funky hairdos, then you'll like Musashi.

4. If you don't like California valley girls, you won't like the princess.

5. If you want a good laugh and some great action, you've come to the right place.

6. Rent it first.

Always rent a game you're not too sure about. Even if I like it (I do), you might not for whatever reason. Don't buy it just for the demo (even though the demo's a must play) because no one hour demo is worth 50 hard earned dollars.

Evil Is Good

I've got a question for you: Why is it that all RPGs have to do with "The epic battle of Good Vs. Evil", with the "Good" side being controlled by the player, and winning 98.9% of the time? I hate to compare everything to Final Fantasy, but in Final Fantasy VI, the Returners broke into the Magitek Factory and proceeded to destroy it. Now, since they were controlled by the player, it seems to me that what they were doing was OK, 'cause they "beat up the bad guys". But what if the Empire was right? What if the Espers were an evil race who tricked the Returners into destroying their enemy, the Empire? How were they supposed to know? This little example brings me to my point: Why isn't there an RPG out there where you can play the bad guy!? That would make a great concept, depending on how you deliver it. The player takes the role of the "infinite evil" (like Exdeath in FFV, Zemus in FFIV, or Jenova in FFVII), and manipulate those puny mortals into bringing about the apocalypse, creating a monument to nonexistence (paradoxical as it may sound), or whatever machinations you can and will dream up. I would like Victor's input on this one. It's time for a change.

-Nichabod Potter

Joshua: While most RPGs have had the typical Good v. Evil plot, some have taken much liberties with the characters. Ever since Ultima you've been able to commit pretty vile acts (kill townspeople). Daggerfall lets you gain membership into evil guilds, Legacy of Kain focuses around a vampire for goodness sakes (the ending especially explores the good and evil context), Tecmo's Deception (no really RPG, but kinda close) features setting deadly traps and creating beasts, Dungeon Keeper (strategy, but still cool) follows the conquests of evil, Seiken Densetsu 3 had an alignment system, If I'm not mistaken, as well as many other games.

I like your take on FFVI, you can use your perspective on many games. Suikoden, for example. You rebel against your father and the king and set up your own army to oppose them. Is that good? And what about the Rebellion in Star Wars? Thanks to their provocation, many planets vaporized and people died, whereas if they had not meddled, the Empire could have continued its philanthropic efforts to employ people in Kessel mines, bring technology to backward alien races, propagate order to the galaxy, clean up the universe for saver hyperdrive travel (Yavin in the way? Break out the Death Star), and provide Dark Side tutelage for anyone seeking a quick way to improve their self-esteem (make fun of me will ya? *choke attack*)

Well, you asked for Victor's input, so I guess I better ask: Hey Victor, what do you think of a Villian-centric RPG?

Victor: Hell yeah! Bananas on rye!

Well, that just about sums it up.

Queries

Oh, Great and mighty RPGuru.....

I have some questions for you, that I, as a Master of video games, cannot answer, though my queries are mostly trivial.

1. Have you ever noticed that Squaresoft cannot keep the Masamune straight. In the Final Fantasies, it is a curved, Samurai sword, the Blade of Black. In Secret of Mana, and Crono Trigger, it is a Holy broadsword! The Masamune is a blade of pure evil(Sephiroth's), but its the only thing that can kill Magus(Frog's)! What's your opinion?

2. Is it required that all Squaresoft main characters have outrageously freakish hair?? Crono, Cloud,etc.?

3. How come in FFII(4J), black Chocobo's can fly, but in FFVII they can only cross mountains?

4. Didn't you think it was a tad unnecessary for Smithy to look like Santa Claus?

5. Are Victor and Vincent related, or Seph for that matter? Zeromus?

6. Are you really Canadian?

7. Why do all Canadian's say EH! ?

8. On a final note, I would like to challenge you to a quiz contest. "Stump the Guru" or "Guru Vs. Master" Are you up to the challenge? Make sure you post this so everyone can egg you on to accept my challenge! One rule . . . no PC RPGS or anything below FFIV! Be thou willing to accept mine challenge? [letter edited for C content].

-Brett, The Ultima Weapon X

Joshua: 1. I think it is the name, not the sword, that Square desires to remain faithful to. I think the CORRECT version of the Masamune is a blade of pure evil, because that's what a little elf told me, and besides, the Hakkenden (Japanese Anime) portrays the weapon as such, and it's supposed to be based off a Japanese legend.

2. Yes. The girls (Tifa, Aeris, Marle) love it, and I think it scares the monsters. I'm waiting for the day they use it for a weapon, Rose style. I keep waiting for one of them to appear on a [] gel commercial.

3. All that inbreeding has sterilized the gene pool. They devolved. It happens. Drive through West Virginia to see what I mean.*

4. Uh . . . yeah, gratuitous even.

5. Let's ask Victor. Hey Victor, who's your daddy?

Victor: Doris Day.

6. What gave you that impression, eh? Actually, I'm 100% American, I'm so ashamed. I wish I were Canadian. Good hockey blood up there.

7. Eh? I never noticed, eh? Why do valley girls say, like, "like?", and yo, rappers "yo"? Why is my neighbor's dog running over Mrs. Eldlemier with the lawnmower? Why do birds sing? Why do fools fall in love? Nobody knows. It just IS.

8. Will I accept your challenge? Er. . . gosh . . . I'm stumped already.

*RPGamer would like to inform its readers that any disparaging remarks about West Virginia or residents thereof made by our Guru are from his own demented psyche--we do not assume any responsibility or liability for his commentary.

"Random Insanity Picked Out Of My Mailbox" or RIPOMM. Pronounced rip 'em. Or R.I.P. 'em:

Nobuofan, all I have to say is that Buffy's well . . . whoa . . . buxomly. :)

Eric Reuter, who caught the flu from my column, I hope you feel better soon. :)

David Fizban Lechich and other Everquesters should check out the Everquest page. And yes, I have read some Dragonlance novels. Sturm was my favorite.

Stephen Keller adds to my rant on Character Development by saying that leveling up is an important facet of that process. I agree.

Hey Chandra! A.E. Isthill has expressed his interest in your person.

- A.E.Isthill

James the Wise has this to say: "In January of 1999 Natsume will be releasing a color version of Harvest Moon GB for the color Gameboy. In this version there will be a new addition that allows the game to continue playing when you turn of the Gameboy. Apparently you must befriend the farm sprites so that they will take care of your farm when you're gone. Are they NUTS! I don't want the game playing itself for me! I would like to start a petition to send to Natsume telling them not to include this in the game. Please e-mail me at magitower@yahoo.com if you want to be on it. Send me your real name and e-mail address. I will accept names until December 18. United we stand, divided we fall! Also on a lighter note, Natsume will be releasing a much better sequel to legend of the river king. It is called legend of the sea king and fixes a lot of the problems which were apparent in the old one. For instance you have a boat in this one and trading and selling fish is more of the goal than collecting them.

 -James the Wise

A salubrious salutations to my fellow English major, Alan Brooks! Keep the faith!

-Joshua, calling it a late night.

"Wah, I struggle," -Joshua Reid, after finishing his column so late in the night.

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