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Messages - Ramza

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Single-Player RPGs / Re: A JRPG About BOOBS!
« on: May 16, 2018, 05:12:03 AM »
There was indeed a Cho Aniki JRPG, on WonderSwan.

I reviewed the soundtrack for it too. :)

General Discussions / Re: PS4 or Vita?
« on: April 26, 2018, 12:14:08 AM »
they are not making games for vita anymore really. In the us anyway.

It remains a great outlet for Visual Novels. :)

The Soundroom / Re: Annual soundtracks of the year?
« on: March 23, 2018, 11:03:13 PM »
Yo. The upcoming thing Neal's talking about? It's so legit. You'll love it. :)

I love posting in this thread I made.

Here, I wrote about every single piece of music published for the TV Anime. And also mused more about why I love this show so much...

RPGFan Music Discussion / NieR Automata Arrange album -- too good!
« on: February 12, 2018, 09:00:17 PM »
Haven't self-posted in awhile. But um...

This. You should be listening to this. Track 10 is crazy good. Most of the tracks are crazy good.

(the unreleased disc, however, can generally be ignored. Unless you think it's fun to listen to the CEOs of Square Enix and Platinum Games saying stuff to the rhythm of a song).


because Amazon discontinued their premium channel "Anime Strike," Scum's Wish is now available to all Amazon Prime users at no additional cost.

So like ... go watch it. Seriously.

Also ... I picked up the Japanese DVDs for vol.4 and vol.5 because they contained the OST as bonus CDs (in two parts). I also picked up opening and ending theme singles, LE version with DVD music videos. I will probably write reviews of all this on Original Sound Version. Because um ... the music is part of what makes this TV Anime so amazing.

The Soundroom / Re: Favorite Albums of 2017
« on: December 16, 2017, 07:12:53 PM »
copy/paste from my own facebook feed...

*The actual time period here is Dec16-Nov17, so anything that comes out next month I will consider in 2018. I think this is similar to how many awards shows do it.
**This list does not include any kind of soundtrack (film/TV/game), or fully instrumental albums. (if it did, it'd just be NieR for all slots)
***List is ranked from 10 to 1, with 1 being my favorite of the year.

Please consider making your own list, or at the very least, responding and telling me how wrong I am!

10. "Divide" (Ed Sheeran) -- This is the obligatory 'add the album to your list to keep mom happy' item. (haha Cathy Gann!!). But honestly, Sheeran is a great musician, and he seems like a decent human. The new album has lots of good tracks on it. My personal favorite is "Castle On The Hill." It's nostalgia-fuel to create nostalgia-gold in your brain.

9. "DAMN." (Kendrick Lamar) -- I'll probably catch heat for this from some friends, but I thought this album was significantly less impressive than Butterfly. Honestly, I'd take the 2016 "Untitled Unmastered" over this, if only for the fantabulous "Untitled #3." Some songs feel ... over-produced. Heck, just look at the credits on wikipedia. Too many cooks spoiled the soup? (… ) ... anyway, the big winner for me was the song and music video for "DNA." The lyrics are powerful, and the whole concept/conceit of the video is great. Plus, Don Cheadle. Also worthwhile to me are LOVE. and XXX. (U2, ferreal?)

8. "Hopeless Fountain Kingdom" (Halsey) -- I'll be honest. I wanted to rank this higher. But then, I also wanted what would have been "Badlands Pt.2" ... and that's not the album she was ready to make. There's a lot to love on HFK, but the recurring theme seems to be about failed relationships. And that can become tired territory, especially in the top40 radio scene that Halsey managed to break into (and honestly, bless her for having that opportunity!). The big radio hit "Bad At Love" sells the message best, but at least half the songs tell the same sad story. Another of those songs is "Eyes Closed," which happens to be my personal favorite off this album.

7. "Reputation" (Taylor Swift) -- Somewhere between herself and other creatives who contributed to this album, this is the closest thing to a truly thematic or "concept" album TayTay has dropped to date. And I really like it. In some ways, it's a kind of thematic cousin to Gaga's "Fame." This is an album about the projected versions we carry of ourselves and others, and how those projections do and do not overlap with the real ... if there IS an objective "real." For a mainstream pop artist to engage with the central themes of postmodern humanism so well, and in such a catchy way, is a valuable thing all its own. There's also a great blend of soft songs and intense pieces. For me, though, the best song remains the first single that dropped, "Look What You Made Me Do." Sure, the chorus is garbage (fun, syncopated garbage!). But the album's theme is most explicitly expressed in the lyrics and in the video... especially in the Taylors-chat at the end. Oh, and these lyrics!!! "Honey, I rose up from the dead, I do it all the time!"

6. "Something To Tell You" (HAIM) -- Sophomore slump? I DON'T THINK SO! This sister-trio brings back all of the best elements of '80s pop and tosses aside the garbage. The whole album is produced in a way that says "shiny-and-new!" But it's not gross, saccharine, or over-produced. These three girls may not have the depth of lyrical content that some of the other artists on this list are packing, but that's okay... the *soul* of the songs are what hooks you as a listener. I don't usually appeal to the ephemeral in trying to sell someone on quality of music, but it's all I got. Yes, some songs are heavy on repetition (debut single "Want You Back" is especially guilty). But even that is awesome ... and its video, done as a single take in the early hours (4am, maybe?) walking the empty streets of LA (probably still cordoned off) ... incredible choreography. But for even more choreography, check out their latest video (linked below), for "Little of Your Love." Lead (?) vocalist Danielle is wearing a Stevie Nicks t-shirt, so, bonus points!

5. "Everything Now" (Arcade Fire) -- Many critics and long-time fans have been badmouthing this album since its July 2017 release. And I just don't understand it. The most cogent argument I read for why the album "fails" is that in trying to push a message about hyper-consumerism and how vapid the world becomes in such an environment, the message and messengers are caught in their own trap. I think, however, such an argument takes a myopic view of the *annoying* tracks (like "Infinite Content" or alternate versions of "Everything Now"). Maybe they're not there to be enjoyed. I skip the the "Infinite Content" tracks when I listen to the album now ... but maybe that's the point? Being overwhelmed by the production of "content," first-world problem though it may be, is INDEED a problem. Gamers need only look at their Steam backlog (thanks, sales and bundles). The fact that I'm curating a top 10 albums for the year reminds us that thousands of new songs are published on the internet *daily* -- we cannot possibly hope to listen to all the recorded music in a single lifetime. This, too, is annoying! And for some, it can lead to despair. This is why I so very much value the album's twin-songs "Creature Comforts" and "Good God Damn." If you want to understand how and why I call these songs 'sisters,' listen for yourself: -- CC -- GGD

4. "Planetarium" (Sufjan Stevens, Nico Muhly, Bryce Dessner, James McAlister) -- Sufjan and a crew of familiar names (especially McAlister, what an amazing percussionist!!) did a concept album on our lovely solar system. It's crazy good. So easy to get lost in this one. You really owe it to yourself to listen to the whole album in one sitting. But I'll give you a sneak peek (for your ears?)... the outro, the messenger, the closest planet to the sun, "Mercury." ~~~ "...and I'm ____"

3. "Pulses" (The Fast Feeling) -- Somehow, this one flew under the radar for Five Iron Frenzy fans. Which is a shame. But it's not too late! Go get this album. It's sick. What we have here is an electro-rock quartet starring Leanor ("Jeff the Girl") Ortega Till on lead vocals, drums by Andy V., lots of instruments and backup vox and composition by Scott Kerr, and one Matt Langston (not an FIF member, but still awesome) on keys and guitar. Pulses has 10 tracks on it, and they're all solid gold. This was the first album I heard in 2017 that I thought "this is top 10 material," and it held a solid spot as music flooded the market all through the year. Everyone needs to hear this. Below, check out track 6, "Sunnydale" (the song title is a reference to the hometown in Buffy, but I was informed that the song title was the working title in its instrumental form, and they never changed it ... title and Buffy reference do not have any bearing on the lyrics).

2. "The Upper Hand" (AllttA) -- So Mr. J. Medeiros and 20syl teamed up and dropped this album back in February. Since then, they've also released 9 songs sequentially over the past few months in their "Facing the Giants" series. But ferreal, if you didn't pick up "The Upper Hand" yet, and you even *remotely* enjoy hip-hop music, you need to check this out. Medeiros has always been an amazing lyricist -- he intuitively writes lines that he seems to know how he'll deliver on the track ahead of time, so he can vary the rhythm, meter, stressed syllables, everything. And Syl? That man makes some of the best music out there, especially in the Euro-scene IMO. For something smooth, check out "That Good Ship."

1. "Native Invader" (Tori Amos) -- Is my bias showing? Look, this isn't Tori's best album. I don't know if she'll ever top Under the Pink, Scarlet's Walk, or even Boys for Pele (my personal top 3 in her discography). Nonetheless, Native Invader is a masterpiece. Originally intended as a man vs. nature album, Tori experienced two other major events during the songwriting process: 1) her mother's stroke, putting her in a non-verbal state and now requiring a high level of care; 2) Trump elected president. These things may, prima facie, muddy the waters of the original theme. Upon further listens, I found the themes beginning to harmonize, to call and respond to one another. Favorite songs here are "Cloud Riders," "Up the Creek," "Bang," "Climb," "Mary's Eyes," and the bonus track "Russia."

I don't know which I'm more impressed with: the tech, or your ability to perform. I thought the violin and guitar solos on the Seaboard were impressive ... and then you go and just f*cking nail the piano section. To quote the guy that watches Garth do the drum solo in Wayne's World: "You're ..... amazing, dude ...."

Viet food is pretty good in the D.C. area.

I live in the sleepy town of York PA.

I steer clear of "pan-Asian" restaurants. But if you can narrow it down to *two* nation-state/ethnicity groupings? I can work with that.

Hence, the Viet-Thai Cafe in York.

There are a few Thai places in the county, and for the most part, they're all good (and very much my favorite of all). But Viet-Thai is simply one of the best "ethnic" restaurants around. They really do it right.

For something else that's good due to its authenticity, there's El Serrano. IIRC they have two locations: home base is in Lancaster PA, and then their lil-sister restaurant is here in York. The make what has become known generically as "Mexican food" (central/south American, writ large). BUT, the owner is from Peru, and they make some specialty Peruvian dishes, which they mark on their menu as such. This ASPECT of the restaurant is great! But there are really only 5 items that are Peruvian, and then the rest is ... quite generic.

So, overall, Viet-Thai if anyone is in my region.

And yeah ... if you go to Philadelphia, you want Ethiopian restaurants all the way.

And if you go to Durham NC, you want the "Bali Hai" Mongolian grill. So good.

General Discussions / RPG Limit Break -- EPIC!
« on: May 16, 2017, 12:36:41 AM »
As our story stated here:

In about 4~5 hours, ALUNDRA speed-run starts. I'm drooling. Trying to decide whether to sleep 4 hours, or just stay up like a madman.

Please consider donating, as well. 100% of donations go to NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) -- they do great work with education, advocacy, and support group formation. They have helped me, and now they're helping me help others.

Also, $25 puts you in the running for a Nintendo Switch + Breath of the Wild. So ... yeah.


RPGFan Music Discussion / Re: NieR: Automata OST
« on: April 26, 2017, 11:51:26 PM »

I'm glad that NieR:Automata's soundtrack meant so much to you that you chose to join the forums. And I appreciate your taking the time to cite the review I wrote.

I have played at least 300 RPGs to completion now. And I have written reviews for over 1000 RPG soundtracks. NieR and NieR Automata shine as some of the brightest stars among them for me. For all newcomers who ask me for recommendations, that's where I point them to. For people who have been around the block, but haven't played NieR / Automata or heard the music, I heartily push them towards it. I do not do this with most games. This level of passion, I reserve only for those games & soundtracks that bring that level of passion *to* me. So ... NieR / Automata, the Zero Escape games (less so ZTD, definitely 999+VLR), maybe Lunar 2 and Persona 3 (Portable for female protagonist!). And Alundra.

That's about it. :)

Again, glad you came on to comment, hope you stick around for the long haul! It's a fun place we got going here.

Patrick "Ramza" Gann

So, for the past four months, I have been working with a friend (our friendship being forged in the fires of Roguelikes) to make our first Platinum Trophy "Road Map and Trophy Guide" at

Some of you may remember Ryan "Aeliana" Mattich, one of RPGFan's past staffers. He's gone on to be one of the top Sony-trophy hunters in the world. And he's also written definitive guides for dozens of games.

This one is my first, and it might be my last. Again, it was co-written. It took 15,000 words on the main guide, 2,000+ words for four supplemental "mini-guides" that are frequently used, and approximately 40 spreadsheets (across 4 workbooks) shared via Google Drive that cover all 900 items and all 300 monsters.

I gotta say ... I'm pretty proud of this. Also, the game is only like $20 at this point. So if you like Roguelikes, IMO it doesn't get better than the Shiren franchise. It's Japanese Roguelike in its most essential form.

I don't know that I'll ever do any walkthroughs this ambitious again ... though I'm toying with the idea re: Touhou Genso Wanderer.

In the meantime ... hope someone gets use out of this. Most people didn't even attempt the Plat, and nobody was going to write the guide ... so WE wrote the guide and we are proud!

Patrick "Ramza" Gann

Single-Player RPGs / Re: Nier 2 for PS4
« on: April 12, 2017, 12:28:05 AM »
IronMage, THANK YOU! That's kind of where I thought it was going. It makes you wonder where someone else thinks they're going... :)

Endings C,D & E
Spoiler: show
Glad they got a delete save data option in there somewhere (I did not delete mine at this time -- gotta do the side-quests). There were some good reveals at this stage and I was really hooked by this point. Loved A2 and the drama that went with her; wish we could have learned a bit more about her history and what she'd been up to pre-Automata. Her relationship with 9S was really good and a bit part of why I was glued to the ending, but I think 9S and 2B's relationship was just a little too weak to make his anger at A2 fully justifiable. Easy enough to let slide though. Oh, also, loved briefly visiting the library from Nier and the explanation of Popola and Devola.

Spoiler: show
I loved going back to NieR's library room as well. That was a great scene. I also loved Devola and Popola's return, and their feeling guilt as a full *model* of androids ... some kind of collective guilt,
 that they choose to atone for. It's powerful. AS FOR A2, who was originally just android #2 in the first phase of YoRHa ... there is this stage play that came out a year or two before this game just called "YoRHa" -- I can't find the video with subtitles, but earlier in this thread someone posted the full screenplay in English. It goes over YoRHa's first big assignment, ending with the Pearl Harbor fiasco. Jackass, Anemone, A2, and the Commander are all first-gen members of YoRHa. It's because A2 learns about YoRHa's true purpose (lying about humanity) that she defects. It's unknown to me if the others know and are continuing, or if they just think A2 is nuts. Also, I believe in the naming convention "A2" being like "et tu" as in "et tu, Bruté?" since A2 is labeled "The Betrayer." This is similar to 2B being "To Be, or not to be" -- yet another Shakespearian reference. In the YoRHa play, by the way, all the characters are named after flowers. Anemone, alongside being a "sea anemone," *is* the name of a flower.
 Dahlia was another one. There were a bunch. But one just gets simply nicknamed "white" in the Stage Play YoRHa. So when Jackass and Anemone talk about "White," that's the Commander.

Spoiler: show
  • What was the point of Adam & Eve? They seemed to have no real overall plot relevance once you get to C & D.
  • What was up with the Tower? In Ending C is seems to just collapse on its own? I understand it was there to shoot 'stuff' into space, but I still didn't really get the overall purpose of doing that.
  • Did we ever find out how the aliens died? Did I miss that?
  • Who is the voice speaking to 9S and A2 in the tower and why is the male voice represented by two girls in red dresses?
  • Who started Project Yorha if humanity is dead and even the Commander doesn't know everything?

Spoiler: show

- Adam & Eve. They are the first two manifestations of the machine's attempt to essentially "hijack" humanity. In C/D they're dormant ... you kinda killed them, but the main networked machine (Girl(s) in Red) keeps their code & memory, which is how they're all goin' to the moon together.

- Collapsing tower ... I think it's designed to collapse with the launch, and the launch happens in C/D/E no matter what. Just think about the towers and whatnot that come down when we launch rockets into space these days. I think the machines knew it'd be like that when they were building the place, which may have been going on for thousands of years. Also provides for a nice climactic ending: crumbling buildings are the stuff of endgame scenarios. :)

- Adam states quite clearly that the machines killed all the aliens. He didn't say how, or how long it took, or if machines are on a home planet far away and those machines ALSO killed aliens, or what year(s) the genocide happened. But if we are to believe Adam, they're all quite dead. It's important to remember what we know about these so-called aliens: apparently, they had a plant-like cell and organ structure ... so, too, do the machine cores, and so, too, do the Android black boxes. I don't think Androids always had black boxes (Devola/Popola pairs didn't have them...? If they did, I think that's what Dev/Pop would've *used* on NieR and crew in the first game!). The YoRHa androids get them once the YoRHa program begins, but they are definitely reverse-engineered based on machine cores, which were reverse engineered based on the structure of these apparent aliens. The existence of these aliens remains one of the big shoulder-shrugs. There's no supplemental material that talks about them ... yet. I have my own theories.

- The voice speaking to them is the networked machine, which is personified as the Red Girl(s). The Red Girl(s) are the visual representation going as far back as the YoRHa Stage Play. I think if you study them, though this is my opinion, it looks like Yonah wearing a red dress. I could be off base. In any case, play through the game again and you'll see that the Red Girl(s) are always watching. They appear in the 9S ending (B), watching you there. In a scene before the YoRHa satellite is destroyed, when you descend on a flight unit to earth as 9S, you can see one of the red girls watching you.

- Who *started* YoRHa? That's a really good question. I don't think the stage play gets into it. What we can say for sure is that it wasn't created by anyone who serves in it, unless they had a full memory erase before entering it. My best guess? A handful of androids that weren't in YoRHa but who had a crazy plan to re-motivate their kind decided to invent YoRHa as a sort of noble lie ... I think this is Yoko Taro's version of "tell society there is a God so they will behave" -- in this case, behaving means surviving and fighting against machines, not passively letting them kill you all. Taro stated definitely that no matter what ending was "canon" in NieR, all humanity would be dead (it's D by the way, where all memories of NieR are wiped, though Emil seems to remember, envision him juuuust during the end of the super-optional fight, which you probably still need to do...). Emil *was* human, but the Hamelin group made him human+Maso (the crazy energy black-dust shit that came from Drakengard), hence creepy-head. This lets him live on, and he sees humanity die out. There is a Japanese graphic novel that covers this, and even goes into a scenario where Emil and Kainé fight some asshole who is manufacturing "evil androids" -- Kainé dies in that battle. Anyway, YoRHa's design and existence comes about because 85 million Emil-duplicates can't hold off the aliens forever and *someone* has to come up with an alternative. It IS possible that Emil, or Emil with some android co-conspirators, design YoRHa in an attempt to give Emil some reprieve so all his clones don't go batshit crazy and destroy everyone. His self-preservation needs (including memory) had to kick in at some point, and it's only after YoRHa really starts fighting back that Emil can catch a break. So that would be *motive* for Emil to design it. And then forget he designed it, because his memory is shit. So... literally no one would know it was all a lie. Except A2.

An additional question to consider: what happens when red girls / Adam+Eve / possibly 9S (in code form) reach the Moon? Consider the hexadecimal code I pulled from the liner notes of the soundtrack. Remember, the MACHINES think they're gonna find a bunch of humans. 9S knows that all they're going to find, at best, is a tiny repository with partial human DNA and maybe some databanks on human history and culture that couldn't be found elsewhere. UNLESS there's a double-lie and a real human made it ... but again, Yoko Taro doesn't lie, that wouldn't happen. DOUBLE-BUT! "The End of YoRHa" is complicated, because the game states at some point that a handful of YoRHa soldiers are actually stationed on the moon to protect it ... they apparently don't know the truth that it's the only thing there, but they think they're supposed to guard that area for the sake of humanity. Those androids could become key players in some future story.

ONE LAST THING -- with 1mil sales, SE might regret the apparent fight they had with Yoko Taro about expansions / DLC. If they regret it enough, we might be lucky enough to get a stand-alone A2 scenario telling the story of the Pearl Harbor mission. Which would be so epic.

Single-Player RPGs / Re: Nier 2 for PS4
« on: April 10, 2017, 05:30:18 PM »
SO, I received my copy of the NieR: Automata OST in the mail today. And one thing I noticed was something special in the liner notes. Yoko Taro, ever the bizarre one, decided to leave *his* message to fans in Hexadecimal code. (Source: -- you need a vgmdb account registered to see the image). Here it is, for your pleasure:


If you use *this tool*, (hex to text), it gives you a unicode message in Japanese: -- might not want to do this til you reach true end.

in spoiler tag below I have the original Japanese, and then a VERY ROUGH (first-blush Google Translate) English conversion. If anyone would like to make a smoother English version, that'd be great.

Spoiler: show

「れたその場所は、まるで天国のようだった。憎しみ悲しみもなく、ただ暖かいひだまりのような場所。でも、 そこに入る許しは得られるんだろうか?原罪すら持てない、人形の」


ENGLISH (Google Translate):

"That place where it was was like heaven. There is no hatred grief, just a place like a warm hoarse. But, can we get permission to enter there? Dolls can not have original sin"

- From the last record left in 9S hardware memory -

A thought:

Spoiler: show

Yoko Taro isn't just adding a little character flavor to 9S IMO. I think Yoko Taro, despite wearing the Emil mask, might identify with 9S in many ways...

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