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2671  The Rest / General Discussions / Battle of the New Atheism on: October 25, 2006, 11:38:13 PM
Or it could be because you don't hear the words "thousands dead" in regards to almost any religion on Earth besides those three.

Hinduism's led to some recent killings, but I suspect it's more social/political than actually religious.

2672  Site Related & More / RPGFan: The Site / MOMO in Xenosaga 3 reviews. on: October 25, 2006, 11:24:44 PM
you're right. imdb confirms it. :(

I took my info on the VA thing from what the earlier editor says. I feel ashamed, but I am glad you caught this. I'll go make edits in both reviews now. :)

2673  The Rest / General Discussions / 1up feature: Curse of the Sequels on: October 25, 2006, 12:06:52 PM
Another shitty sequel is Alundra 2. Do I even need to explain this one?

Now THERE's a bad sequel. Good Lord, why was Alundra 2 even made?

2674  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Anyone playing Baten Kaitos Origins? on: October 25, 2006, 01:31:47 AM
Anyone playing Baten Kaitos Origins?

...I am. I'm loving it, and I'm hitting myself on the head for not playing the first one.

I just wish the subtitle hadn't been taken away. They released the first one with the lengthy subtitle "Eternal Wings and the Endless Ocean", so I would've liked to see the "First Wings and the Heirs of God" subtitle stick with this game as well.

Anyway, the card battle system is apparently quite different from the first. It's still challenging, and still meaning LONG battles. But yeah...I think it's fantastic. Expect a review from me shortly.

Anyone else giving it a try?

2675  The Rest / General Discussions / Battle of the New Atheism on: October 25, 2006, 01:28:33 AM
I have little to say in reply that wouldn't start a flame war...

So I'll just say this.

Anyone on the board agree with Mr. Dawkins?

2676  The Rest / General Discussions / 1up feature: Curse of the Sequels on: October 24, 2006, 04:15:54 PM
The only games on the list that belonged there were:

PoP: Warrior Within
Deus Ex: Invisible War (maybe...I didn't like the first much either)

That's about it.

The logic behind the arguments is backwards. It wasn't the first game plus some add-ons, but rather a new deal...whoops!

And how "FFVIII" is even a direct sequel to FFVII is beyond me. Here's something that SHOULD have been on the list: Dirge of Cerberus. :P

Finally, IMO, MGS2 killed MGS1, especially in terms of story. Crazy crazy crap.

2677  The Rest / General Discussions / Confusion on: October 20, 2006, 11:30:20 PM
What John says is true. For your source:


They were very up-front with us in saying they had no intention of bringing it to the U.S.

And if THEY don't plan on bringing it, I doubt anyone else will. I doubt they'd be allowed to if they wanted to anyway.

I'm told it's a mediocre game anyway, so just be glad we're getting GU (which looks MUCH better).

2678  The Rest / General Discussions / Most profound english paper evar (bitchez) on: October 19, 2006, 09:02:07 PM
Last citation was tubgirl.

This guy hated the greeks. Anal sex this, anal lube that.

I wonder if it is 4chan'ed or real...

2679  The Rest / General Discussions / Wii pre-orders start tomorrow! on: October 13, 2006, 03:06:47 PM
My little bro and his friends ran all around the suburbs of Philadelphia today trying to preorder two Wiis. They finally got two at the King of Prussia mall...the last place they expected copies to still be around.

Yeah, preorders are fun!

2680  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Xenosaga Episode III: Also Sprach Zarathustra on: October 13, 2006, 02:13:44 PM
It would all be so simple, if we just could agree that Xenosaga Episode III is a game, nothing more, nothing less. I did not bother to read the last few pages of this thread in their entity, but I'm wondering, why you just can't let Pat (Ramza) enjoy the game.

Well I think the biggest problem may be that I've gone and called the game "art"...that it is more than "just a game," because it's *that* good and very different from what I'm used to in a game.

So...I think that's why people are arguing with me. It's possible that I'm in the wrong, but so far I still think I could have a valid point here. :)


PS - sorry for the word "twat"...I usually don't get that upset...it's just that I think it's very important that we don't think other people can't "get" us because they're different. I think, in their writing, it's what they choose to display as what gets us. They do it to be interesting, and the fact that they generally don't allow God to be a *good* sentient being...I dunno...but I guess that's a good point (though Romancing SaGa has God as good and sentient! Great conversation you can have with him at the end of the game!).
2681  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Xenosaga Episode III: Also Sprach Zarathustra on: October 13, 2006, 02:15:35 AM
It'll get too confusing if I continue the trend of responding to each and every statement with a counter. Though it's more thorough, we'll both end up getting lost. Though, Bogatyr, I do appreciate you doing so!

I'll just make a few quick statements, mostly in defense of myself:

Exactly. All about Xenosaga is average. That hardly accounts for such marvelous experience as you implied it was.

Actually, reading your post now, which is far more restrained then the previous ones, I really don't know why you made such a deal about the game. Yourself seem to agree everything smells average and shallow in this game.

Just because something is deep - which Xenosaga isn't, and youself said in the beginning of your post that it is shallow, which confuses me now - it doesn't mean it has to be serious all the time

You've definitely misunderstood me on this point (inference/implication problems). I said that the characters had everyday-style conversations and conflicts (though they're in these inflated fictional settings), and I admitted that some of them may be mediocre. Now, you claim that I've done a 180 and gone from calling Xenosaga an amazing work of art and actually arguing that it is "average" and "shallow." The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

My love for the series comes primarily from its surprising contrasts in who finds humanity worthwhile and who likes to use humanity as toys. Speaking of!!!!

You example of a "Nietszchean" villain is Voldemort?! I take HP is another deep and dense story? You got to be kidding me?! Do you think just because someone thinks along these line: "There are those too weak to attain power, and those who are willing to make sacrifices to hold it" he is an übber Nietszchean character? You think his philosophy was that shallow? You think it all comes down to "there is no good or evil, so everything is allowed, as long as you are willing to do what you must"? Dude, there are all kinds of lowlife, small-time criminals out there who think exactly the same, and they are not in the least Nietszchean".

When I call Voldemort a Nietszchean Villain, I do not mean to say that Voldemort thinks and acts like Nietszche. That's pure nonsense, and that is certainly not what I meant. From the bit of lit. crit. that I've come around, when people talk about "Nietszchean Villains" or "Orwellian Dictators," they're refering to characters from stories written by those authors.

Nietszche himself argues, I believe in his essays Der Wille Zur Macht and/or Jenseits Von Gut und Boese, that a mankind freed from the shackles of religion will produce two generic kinds of people. Guess what those two were? "Those with power, and those too weak to grasp it." Voldemort says this, and hence is a Nietszchean villain. That doesn't mean I think Harry Potter is some immaculate work of art--there's plenty of interesting stuff in it, though I am worried about how it will end (endings mean A LOT in my mind)...but yeah, HP to me is not nearly on the level of depth as Xenosaga.

So do you get my point here? I wasn't even praising the HP series, I was just pointing out that "pop culture" references back to classic statements can help make "pop culture" ... well ... art!

You are right that there are all sorts of lowlife criminals who thought the same way Voldemort did. Nietszche saw that and wrote about it. It's just a part of his writing...not who Nietszche himself was. I know that, you know that, we don't need to argue that.

Dude, to someone to sympathize with Allen, he needs to be a complete and total loser.

Look a-fricking-round. That's the world we live in. I worry that, indeed, you *are* too high and mighty to see the plight of the common man. There are lots of "total loser" guys out there, agreed? And I bet a few of them played this game (don't take the easy jab at me: I'm happily married with a son on the way).

Dude, you said this game had an AMAZING plot, so deep and complex that some "morons" probably couldn't get it and trashed it. I expect a little more other than archetypes - the ones most recurrent even - from such a game.

You should be pleased to know that you're probably fairly more cultured than the writers and cast of the TV show XPlay. I wasn't calling you a moron, as we've established. :)

And Xenosaga certainly does more than dish out archetypes. For starters, it blends and intertwines them in a way that is beautiful in its own way. You seem to have this extreme dislike for modern Japanese pop culture, as though "older" equals "better." It is one more culture, and its blending with these older themes not only make it more palattable to today's audience, but also make a new perspective for us to consider the cultures and religions of the past (and present...not saying any religions are *dead* per se).

Xenosaga, along with the archetypes and their blending, ALSO makes solid use of emerging scientific concepts: ones that go well beyond "popular science." With the dual blessing/curse looming upon us that is genetic engineering, the talk of the intrinsic worth of cloned individuals is another topic WORTH considering. What are *these* creatures worth to us? To God? The novels of the past can't do much to touch on that (Mary Shelley's Frankenstein goes into it a bit, since man creates its own creation there...)...so we needed something for now. I'm sure others have said plenty, but I was startled to see the subject treated so well in the game.

Yes, you can ascribe meaning to all sorts of things, but meanings are dished out in layers of complexity, no doubt about that. So far, games - JRPGs are no exception, quite the opposite - have been in the lowest layers.

A true elitist you are. Though plenty of JRPGs *are* on the lower (dangerous to use superlatives here) layers, I don't think Xenosaga is, for the reasons I've tried to convey. At the end, I think I'm missing it. There was a feeling, an inkling, a premonition, that there is something very "right" about this story. When you beat it, tell me if you share this inkling. It's so hard to describe, I'm probably incapable of doing it without mapping out all my thoughts ahead of time. To me, that suggests the meanings here ARE dished out in layers of complexity, and the layers stack medium-to-high with Xenosaga.

Haha. Ethnocentric little twat? Aren't we getting angry?

Yup. I got angry. Unfortunately, reading the rest of the paragraph, I didn't get much happier...

Well, if Takahashi is any indication, I don't think they can.
Anthropology course? Well, if I wanted to write a book about the theme I surely would; just like this Takahashi fellow should had taken some classes on western religion and philosophy so he would not make a total fool and pretentious "twat" out of himself.
And I am saying some BASIC knowledge, because the intrincacies of one's culture - as you call it - can't be understanded by an alien after a few introduction lessons. I dare say, it can't never be comprehended, unless you spend some long years living with this people to truly know it "wholly".
In his case, and that is truly unfortunate, he lacked even the most basic knowledge, which can be enough to fool some Japaneses who know nothing about it, but when the game reach our shores, it's hard to keep the farce.

No, no, and more no. The fullest, most deep understanding of a culture is certainly only held by those native to it...partially because they are what DEFINE it (I am with the school of, say, Clifford Geertz on the definition of culture). However, even the "armchair anthropologist" who gets his knowledge from books and discussions can pick up plenty of basic knowledge and wield it in a way that is fitting to foreign cultures.

My suspicion (I could be wrong) is that you don't like the Judeo-Christian symbolism particularly because it does stray from an authentic, orthodox understanding. I also suspect that Takahashi was and is well-versed in the now-dead (or renewed in a masked guise) GNOSTIC understanding of Christianity. The third episode, certainly, would assert this. As for Takahashi reading the DaVinci Code, I'd remind you that Takahashi had this whole thing planned out before the book was published.

The man knows absolutely NOTHING about my religion and my culture - maybe he thinks so inside his head.
I could sweep the floor with him. I would gain nothing discussing with him for any ammount of time.

What Takahashi doesn't know is merely your perspective on your religion and culture. What he DOES know is factual history and plenty of literature on the subject. That goes a very long way, whether you'd like it to or not.

I think the difference between us is that you believe Voldemort is the utmost Nietszchean villain, and I take this for the BS this is.

Contribute to the betterment of humanity? You are on drugs dude.

I didn't call Voldemort the utmost Nietszchean Villain, quit putting words into my mouth. As for contributing to the betterment of humanity, I cite an oft-quoted motto from Episode III: A single human thought can change the course of history. Unless you're a fatalist, it's probably a worthwhile statement. As for being on drugs? Yeah, I'm on happy-pills (Paxil, Xanax, whatnot) because I had a nervous breakdown near the end of college. I hated taking them because I thought it made me weak-willed. And maybe I am weak-willed, and maybe I only think this game's amazing because I have some glossy sugar-coated perspective of the world now. But I'd LIKE to think I find Xenosaga to be an amazing game because, despite its "awkward" bend of JPop Culture and religion/philosophy, it has a strong truthful statement about the nature of humanity and the universe that many other stories don't even dare to tackle. I don't think it's pretentious: I simply think it is good.

Well, besides the obvious fallacious nature of your "point", let me assure you why games won't ever be pieces of art, in the manner of the ones mentioned above: It is a huge industry, concerned solely about making money. First aim is to make money, second - far behind - is to pass on a message, maybe, if "we are really inspired to do so". None of the great geniuses had making money as their priority, meaning their pieces was 100% genuine. The message was the one and only aim.
Ain't that ironic that the game we are discussing is a winner example for my point? What happened between the development of the first and the second game? In fighting, money vs creativity. Do I need to say how it all ended, and who had the last word on it?

You're right, it's an industry, and it is a SHAME that money was the last word on how this series played out. But the man behind it all, Tetsuya Takahashi, was clearly *not* interested in the money, but rather his story-telling. I think that may be why I find so much more in Xenosaga than I do in most RPGs.

So, leave your illusions aside and wake up to reality.

No. I refuse. Your reality sucks because it doesn't give anyone a chance to find the good in what may be quickly tossed aside as garbage.

So you need to offer me more to convince me games are as much art as literature is. Otherwise, you just have a half assed sophism, which can be easily twisted to prove many other things.

Okay, fine. How about this: I don't think the content (and, more importantly, the meta-message) of Xenosaga is made to simply construe a point that seems veracious but is ACTUALLY just twisted crap. This isn't propaganda, nor is it a persuasive sophist speech. Finish the series and see what I mean. As an Orthodox Christian, you'll likely agree that the nature of the entire story is "true" within your worldview.

This, of course, is only what makes it capable of impacting how others think...and helping them see things "rightly" may only be one such bonus. I still argue that if literature is a form of art, than videogames, or at least their scripts, may be added to the ranks as "art" for the same reasons.

Books basically. Or my Churchs theology. Those are my sources. You want me to list all of them? I mostly read Russian literature, but I am not all that much ignorant on western classics either. That should give you a fair idea.

It certainly does. I have plenty of in-person and online-only acquaintances who are Orthodox Christians. Nearly all of them show your level of intelligence, but you are the first to be so keen on stubbornly arguing against the things I've had to say. Dare I say it...I respect that about you a lot.

Other than the standard Dostoyevsky that's required reading in many colleges today, I haven't read much Russian Lit. Orthodox Christian theology, on the other hand, is something I love, though I still struggle to understand it compared to any other sect of Christianity. I've found myself strongly attracted to Catholicism, though I remain Evangelical Protestant.


Well, I screwed up. I ended up responding to each one of your statements (pretty much), though I said I planned not to. Looks like it's egg on my face now.

With all this writing and thinking, I'd like to see you submit a reader review (or heck, apply to staff if you like talking about videogames a lot) to counter my Xenosaga III review (which will be up any day now). You can pull me off my high horse and expose the Xenosaga series for the "pretentious" show it really is. Go ahead, do it. Most people will probably agree with you anyway. I still stand by my claims, and my extremely high scores I gave it.

2682  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Completed RPGs of 2006 on: October 12, 2006, 01:39:52 PM
For anyone who's finished Enchanted Arms: is it a game worth buying? I haven't played a decent RPG in a long time, and I'm looking for a new 360 game.


I gave it an 84%.

I think it's exactly what you're looking for! A "decent RPG" and a "new 360 game." The game took me about 45 hours to complete, and that was with minimal subquest completion. The developer, From Software, has a track record of making totally awful RPGs, so this game was a big surprise to me.

Everyone who bashed the game did so because it didn't do anything revolutionary. Big whoop. It's a standard RPG.

Keep in mind that most launch titles or early-console-life RPGs have absolutely sucked in the past. Enchanted Arms is the first Japanese RPG for the 360 (except FFXI, which is a port), and it's a great game. Definitely give it a go.

As for the topic itself, here's what I've completed in '06 to date:

Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny (PS2)
Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories (PS2)
Enchanted Arms (360)
Final Fantasy XI (main plot) (PC)
Final Fantasy XI: Chains of Promathia (PC)
Kingdom Hearts II (PS2)
LostMagic (DS)
Shadow Hearts: From the New World (PS2)
SpellForce 2: Shadow Wars (PC)
Steambot Chronicles (PS2)
Stella Deus (PS2)
Tao's Adventure: Curse of the Demon Seal (DS)
Xenosaga III: Also Sprach Zarathustra (PS2)
2683  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Baten Kaitos Origins on: October 12, 2006, 02:37:03 AM

funny that I just spent a whole hour arguing with you about the merits of one MonolithSoft-developed title, but we're both going to (hopefully) be fully enjoying another one.

Within the first hour already, the plot looks to be very fast-paced and exciting. Hopefully it doesn't have the almost mandatory slooooooooooow middle section.

2684  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Xenosaga Episode III: Also Sprach Zarathustra on: October 12, 2006, 02:21:51 AM
The Japanese really don't understand Christianity.


add yourself as part of the audience for the rant I posted above:

*takes in a deep breath* ... *exhales the breath and prepares for a sermon filled with curse words*

Go take an introductory anthropology course, asshole. Who in God's good and holy name are YOU to suggest that a Japanese person is unable to comprehend the intricacies of Judaism, Christianity, or any other Western religion? You ethnocentric little twat! Get some brains and come back when you're ready to talk sensibly!

Let me reiterate:

all because someone grew up in another culture, that doesn't mean they cannot take the time to study it. It seems to me that Takahashi's understanding of Judeo-Christianity is far beyond the "Evangelion lite" many chalk it up to be. The deeper theme of sacrifice and redemption is written ALL OVER Xenosaga (whereas it's hardly found in Evangelion)...basically, as one who has steeped himself in Western religion since day one, I think it's safe to say that I can judge Tetsuya Takahashi as one who "gets it."

2685  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Xenosaga Episode III: Also Sprach Zarathustra on: October 12, 2006, 02:17:50 AM
But really, saying I probably "don't get it" just because I have many other preferable sources for dwelling into "human issues", is just, well, cheap?

It certainly would be. That's why I said:

I think you either don't get it or else you think you're above it.

Which is why YOU said:

Honestly, I am above these video game attempts of depth. I mean, if I want to determine the "meaning of my existence", I won't look for it in a video game. I can think of many other sources that I would rather look up to.

So I don't know what that final jab in your last post was all about...

Anyway, that's great that you think you're above a "videogame" attempt at depth. What Xenosaga does is take normal, even shallow characters, with their own sets of motives and wills, and meshes them into a plot that looks not entirely different from what we see today.

Certainly there is *nothing* groundbreaking about any statement or character revelation in the entirety of Xenosaga. Xenosaga is built on history, culture, art, philosophy, and religion. It is a collection of allusions (not ILLusions, ALLusions) with the framework of an average Sci-Fi story.

Let's take a look at your criticisms:

Shion pseudo convoluted relationship with her brother is typical pretentious nonsense. Typical common sense and cliché disguised into profound human emotions; I hardly think a game with characters like that idiot who is in love with Shion - Alex or whatever - and that robot maker is serious enough to make me think about the "meaning of my life", not to mention Jr with his stupid lines. There are too many stupid characters to mention. I would also like to mention - and I am sure I am not the first one to empathize that - that nonsensical and confusing biblical, philosophical or whatever references hardly account for a truly deep storyline.

Let's begin with the obvious jab: thank God you're not the one writing scripts for any videogames. I don't even know what the first semicolon is there for, as the two sentences don't seem to have any common ground.

Now then, let's break this bit of stream-of-consciousness complaint down into pieces and consider what it is you have in mind:

Shion pseudo convoluted relationship with her brother is typical pretentious nonsense.

Refer back to the quoted definition of "pretentious." You're using the word well out of context. The player is not made to assume that Shion's strained relationship with Jin is some all-powerful, all-consuming force that drives the story. It's one element of the story. You may not like the way in which it is executed, but it captures one of the more fundamental problems of human nature: sibling rivalry. This part of the storyline is not meant to be some incredible display of human depth or emotion; rather, it exists to help further along character development. The reasons for their strained relationship are fleshed out in the final chapter, by the way, and the situation is resolved in a way that is definitely moving, to say the least. This isn't your typical soap opera, the sort of thing that one *may* be qualified to call "pretentious."

Typical common sense and cliché disguised into profound human emotions;

You're the one who tacked on the idea that these human emotions are "profound," not the creators of the game. Indeed, they are the stuff of everyday life. The difference between this game and most others that emphasize story is that this game has a plot that considers the *worth* of these everyday "common sense and cliché" events...are they even worth having around? Is humanity worthy of existing if all it amounts to are these consumerists with sentimental drivel leaking out of their lips? It's a very important question to consider, and not at all pretentious!

I hardly think a game with characters like that idiot who is in love with Shion - Alex or whatever - and that robot maker is serious enough to make me think about the "meaning of my life"

It's Allen, and "that robot maker" is Kevin (just to clear up who I'm about to talk about...). The substory regarding Shion and her two possible mates (Kevin, who supposedly died, and Allen, who is exhorbitantly effeminate and bashful) is not within itself something that should make you think about the meaning of life. This argument is essentially a non-sequiter and otherwise nonsense. That wasn't the point of my statement, nor does it follow any sound line of argument.

The purpose of the little love triangle, again, fleshes itself out in the third title. Up until then, I too was annoyed to death by Allen; he, however, becomes a major player by the end, and is someone with whom many "underdogs" and "hopeless romantics" may sympathize. And, there's nothing wrong with that. As for Kevin, his story alone is worth checking into; he holds an interesting past.

not to mention Jr with his stupid lines.

All because the game is deep doesn't mean all the characters have to be scholars. Jr. represents raw aggression: the kind of kid who will shoot first and ask questions later. As a person, he too plays an important role in the tale that Takahashi weaves. That doesn't mean Jr. has to sound like frickin' Nietszche himself! (indeed, Nietszche is quoted more often by the villains, including Margulis in the first episode and Wilhelm throughout the series).

There are too many stupid characters to mention.

Giving up, are we? Let me rattle off some not-so-stupid characters, and why I think they aren't stupid.

Albedo -- so you have the ability (or curse) to keep yourself essentially immortal. You regrow all body parts, including head and heart. One day, you discover that: oh crap, I'm the only one who does this! As a result, you go crazy and begin to despise your creator, your friends, everyone. Albedo's motives are definitely what you could call "deep" and certainly not "pretentious." He's one of the best villains in the series, and his redemption is probably the most beautiful (though Virgil's is also good).

Febronia -- alright, we have a woman who was essentially created in a lab. She's one of the "realians," and she's been built with a purpose. However, regardless of the purpose her creators intend for her to have, her will is one of a peacekeeper: gentle, loving, healing. She and her "sisters" (Cecily and Cathe) represent something that is indeed beautiful about the human spirit. If you're missing the point here, then maybe you *aren't* above it but rather *below* it.

MOMO -- I could draw similarities to Febronia and MOMO as they are both realians (people designed with specific purposes). However, I think MOMO's most important aspect is that she has been modeled as a replacement for a naturally-born girl who died: Sakura Mizrahi. Joachim, the father of Sakura and creator of MOMO, is an insightful character in and of himself. But MOMO is special because she knows that her existence is "second-rate;" yet she remains optimistic with her attempts to get to know her mother and learn about her father. She may have a whiny voice actress, but as a character she is certainly a worthwhile member of the cast.

Ziggy -- it's unfortunate that pretty much ALL of Ziggy's past is buried in a cell phone game that won't come to the US. Luckily, it all gets fleshed out in XS3's massive database (it's almost a book in and of itself!). But...the man essentially committed suicide, then thanks to some organ donor program was forced back to life. Here we have a man who hates his former self and tries to repress his memories, to the point where he can't even remember why he took his own life. But the reasons are there, and of course, they come out before the series ends. Gee, sounds like such a stupid character to me!

Note that very few of these character bios make them sound like "original" concepts. In our day and age, it's very difficult to invent ANYTHING truly original (assuming you're a Christian, which it seems you would be based on your post, you should know this: Ecclesiastes claims there is nothing new under the sun). What makes these characters so wonderful is what they say, what they choose to do, and what they are forced to experience in Takahashi's fictional realm.

I would also like to mention - and I am sure I am not the first one to empathize that - that nonsensical and confusing biblical, philosophical or whatever references hardly account for a truly deep storyline.

Well, that's great that you can feel free to label the references as "nonsensical" and "confusing," but until you take the time to flesh out what it is that makes them nonsensical or confusing, your point is invalid.

As a pre-emptive strike, here's a look at what makes the religious and philosophical references of Xenosaga TRULY deep and worthwhile for the thinking person:

the two key philosophers in Xenosaga are Nietszche and Jung. Nietszche's prime argument was that, if God does not exist (as it was apparent to him that God was a creation of human consciousness), then there is no higher power governing humanity, and humans ought to consider themselves free to do as they please. A true Nietszchian "villain" in modern pop culture may be Voldemort, who tells Harry in the first book/film that "there is no such thing as good or evil, only power and those to weak to take it!" Similar statements are made by Margulis, a power-driven man who is blinded by his own religion. As a character, he himself is a paradoxical man who subscribes to religion and allthewhile puts himself in a place similar to Nietszche. Luckily, that paradox irons itself out in the end when Margulis learns his religion really was a fabrication, much like Nietszche predicted.

Jung's theories are used much more practically, such as to explain the existences of the specialized URTVs (Jr. Albedo and Gaignun), or to talk about collective consciousness and the nature of the U.M.N.. Takahashi's concept of God, if there is one, is one of a generic "existence" that is all and touches all. Call it pantheism, call it New Age mysticism...whatever it is, it's largely based on Jung's modern concepts.

As for the religious references, feel free to just name one and then tell me how it's nonsensical. There are plenty, but anyone who takes the time to think about them ought to see how they enhance the story rather than convolute it.

Let's look further at what you said!

Really, you think Jr's "I hate you" lines are showing some kind of revolutionary display of human feelings? Come on, give me a break.

No, I won't give you a break. Those lines are not a revolutionary display of human feelings, and I never said they were. They are a display of human feelings, but they are certainly not revolutionary: nor are they meant to be. Jr.'s anger, if you weren't following, is generally roused by the villains to unleash a "Red Dragon" wave within Jr. that can be used for all sorts of lovely destructive purposes. The real-life application here is that allowing yourself to go out-of-control may make you more powerful, but when you are not in control of your own will, someone else may freely make use of you with their own will. It's a common lesson, but it doesn't hurt to have it as a lesson within Xenosaga...does it?

Or KOS-MOS whole "I am a robot but I have feelings", surely that's a ground breaking theme... I think not.

It's not a groundbreaking theme. It's an archetype. We see it in Pinocchio and plenty of stories before that as well. Is there a problem with Monolith Soft using this archetype to help the storyline move into even more interesting territory? (I am refering to what happens in XS3 here...).

Well, it is beyond me how people may find some games to be so serious and full of philosophical meaning.

Generally, people who do find it are looking for it. I confess, I'm one of them. You can find meaning (or ascribe meaning) to all sorts of things. Even if you don't like to do it, it's probably good for any person to try it as an exercise in thought and...dare I say it...belief.

Who is this Takahashi, what he knows about my religion anyway? He is just a nobody when it comes to these themes, and I don't give a damn to his pretentious and superficial outlook about such issues totally alien to Japanese Culture.

*takes in a deep breath* ... *exhales the breath and prepares for a sermon filled with curse words*

Go take an introductory anthropology course, asshole. Who in God's good and holy name are YOU to suggest that a Japanese person is unable to comprehend the intricacies of Judaism, Christianity, or any other Western religion? You ethnocentric little twat! Get some brains and come back when you're ready to talk sensibly!

Who is Tetsuya Takahashi? Well, Tetsuya Takahashi was a former Square employee who started in graphics (for SNES titles including FFV, FFVI, Seiken Densetsu 3, and Chrono Trigger), but eventually caught a break and created Xenogears. He then went on to found Monolith Soft and did created the Xenosaga series. (source: wikipedia).

As for Takahashi's knowledge of religion and philosophy, I only wish I had the resources to pay for the flights so that the two of you could meet and discuss things, because I'm sure the man knows a hell of a lot more than you do.

That's why I like storylines which rely on surprising major plot twists, exciting moments and the like, because I don't care for the whole superficial way they treat issues much beyond what can be encompassed in a game, which should only entertain.

And HERE surfaces the fundamental difference between you and me. You believe games can and should ONLY entertain. They are essentially time-killers. They cannot contribute to the betterment of humanity, and they sure as hell shouldn't be called "art", right? Well here's my take on it:

Videogames, particularly RPGs, have text. You know, writing? Though different from a book, these videogames can and do tell stories. Many a non-fiction writer has pointed out that some of the strongest points, some of the best arguments, are made better through a work of fiction than by some sort of philosophical diatribe. David Hume wrote fictional dialogues, Camus presented his philosophy through very depressing novels, and our old pal Nietszche was certainly fond of switching (without warning) between himself as the speaker and some fictional "other" as the speaker.

If a story can impact the way others think, and if literature can be considered art, so too can videogames encompass this feature. The presentation of a story is only one facet to a videogame, which is a multi-faced multimedia experience, covering not only the realm of literature, but also fine art (graphics), music, and tactile stimulation (the controller in your hands). If all of this is created and used only to entertain, then we are all going to hell in a handbasket. You sound like Cipher from the Matrix, you know? Just give me a good time while I'm alive so I don't have to think about how shitty my life really is. I can only pray that videogames (particularly RPGs) will be seen as something more than sheer escapism by our descendants.

That's like Salvatore, if he would just drop trying to sound smart and philosophical with his skewed vision on good and evil, which Drizzt is always tiring ourselves with, and would just focus on high adventure and battles descriptions - which is what he is good at - I would enjoy his books a lot more.

Pleasure is the ultimate goal, then? (If only I could enjoy his books more!!) There's a weighty question for you. Maybe Salvatore's skewed vision on good and evil *aren't* worthwhile, but Salvatore is just one man. I don't have much experience with his work anyway, but I think it's safe to say that you present yourself as more of a refined hedonist than one who has genuine respect or understanding of the arts.

(Surely, that's quite a bold assertion to make, given I only know you from a few rambling paragraphs made against one particular videogame. But, should you want to prove me wrong, go ahead!)

A final question for you:

I mean, if I want to determine the "meaning of my existence," I won't look for it in a video game. I can think of many other sources that I would rather look up to.

List them, and tell me what makes them superior, to say, Xenosaga, which is essentially a story written by a fairly intelligent Japanese man and then incorporated into a videogame which has its own elements of strategy and puzzle-solving.

And indeed, I never said anything about Xenosaga aiding you in DETERMINING the meaning of your existence. Certainly, I would hope I'm not saying that the meaning of life can be found by playing Xenosaga. Far from it. But it certainly does stimulate us to ponder the question, and it perenially reminds us that, however much despair we face, it IS a question worth asking from time to time!

Unless you take time to answer me coherently, I think we can all assume that I take your low opinion of the series far more seriously than you would like me to. In the end, I'd still say that it's egg on your face for making plenty of poorly supported statements.

OMFG I'm in a message board argument guyz! That means it HAS to degrade into a flame war and never get us anywhere! (oh wait...behind the computer we're all still people...let's have this mean something, k?).

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