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5416  Media / The Soundroom / Heavenly Guitar on: June 26, 2007, 06:58:48 PM
I tell you, independent luthiers create some really magnificent guitars and basses.  They can create some pretty ridiculous stuff too, but whatever.  Some of the custom stuff Neal Moser of Moser Guitars does is pretty crazy (we're talking extreme pointy metal axes.)  The melty top stuff seen on Conklin guitars and basses is pretty amazing.  

It's more than just Fender and Gibson.  I love a lot of what independent luthiers are doing.  I love the body designs on Bud LeCompte's basses.  Scott French does some interesting body designs too.  

And if you're going to talk about wild body designs, you gotta mention Ritter basses.

Playable art.  Jerzy Drozd even bills the basses his workshop builds as "Playable Art."
5417  Media / Single-Player RPGs / The Very Saddest games... on: June 26, 2007, 06:35:58 PM
Just remember kids, when you point a finger at someone, you point 3 back at yourself. Before telling others to lighten up, take a good look in the mirror. Perhaps you need to lighten up yourself before making that demand on others. :P

In any case, I too notice that many people associate death with sad.  But in some storylines, death can be a joyful thing.  I mean, when the wicked witch of the east was killed in Wizard of Oz, everyone rejoiced, danced and sang "ding dong the witch is dead!"  Or in any given RPG, we're pretty darn happy when the bad guy dies at the end.  

Or even in tarot readings, the "death" card means transition.  Like the death of something making way for the birth of something else.  Death can actually be a very positive card in tarot readings.  

Then again, as I've said many times in this thread, the saddest moments I've experienced in storylines (video game or otherwise) came not from deaths, but rather from stories of tragic lives.  There are stories I've experienced where the most tragic character with the most heart-wrenching storyline is one who cannot die and has had to endure an often miserable existence for a wickedly long time.  

Most emotionally charged video game for me is still Ever17.
5418  The Rest / General Discussions / GamesRadar Feature on game length on: June 26, 2007, 06:22:10 PM
With time being an issue for me (what with school, jobs, other stuff), it's when I love games like Chrono Trigger that aren't too long (maybe around 15-20 hours or so) but have amazing replay value, especially letting you carry over your levels and equipment into a subsequent playthrough for an easier/quicker runthrough.  

Many love adventures I play have an initial playthrough of 10-15 hours, but extensive replay value and an ability to fast forward over previously viewed stuff.  Graphic adventures (point and click) tend to be under 30 hours also, and can have damn good stories.  

There are some RPGs that feel artificially lengthened, almost like using one can of paint for an entire house.  Grandia 1 and MS Saga certainly would have been tighter were they around 25 hours or so rather than 50.  MS Saga's cracker thin and simplistic story did not warrant a 50 hour game.  

For me, a game has to be really special for me not to be completely sick of it by the 45th or so hour.  Usually when I get sick of it, I break out the ol' GameShark and whiz my way to the end so I can still get some closure on the story.

If an RPG is going to be 60 hours, I'd at least want an option for a VERY easy difficulty level so it doesn't get more tedious than it has to be.  That way I can more enjoy the experience rather than making it feel like work.  Grinding= chore.  And no deception like with Odin Sphere, where "easy" difficulty is most certainly not easy.

I wouldn't want to pay $50 for a game that only offers me 15 hours of gameplay unless it has really good replay value.
5419  Media / Single-Player RPGs / The Very Saddest games... on: June 26, 2007, 06:11:42 PM
I've had major parts of stories spoiled for me before.  A good example is of the pivotal event that occurred on page 396 of Harry Potter 6.  I knew about it well before I read the book, but then that just made me more interested in the events leading up to it.  What happened, how did it happen, and what happens next?  

I remember reading a comic strip where a character reads a book backwards because everyone always spoils the ending for her.  Then when someone says "nothing happens in the beginning" she gets mad for the beginning being spoiled for her.
5420  The Rest / General Discussions / This is both hysterical and pathetic. MySpace vs. Facebook! on: June 26, 2007, 08:43:06 AM

I could not help but point and laugh at this.  For a PhD student, this idiot woman's total ignorance of the basic statistical concept of population distributions is pretty sad.  

Duh!  Facebook requires an attachment to a school to become a member whereas MySpace is open to the general public.  So of course one's going to have a more narrow population distribution than the other.  Didn't you pay attention in your basic statistics classes?

Someone fails at PhD life.  

Not only that, but what the fuck kind of organization even funds this kind of research?  The mind boggles.
5421  The Rest / General Discussions / GaGaGame Journal #5 on: June 25, 2007, 10:14:57 PM
I'm still in the Gnosis Cathedral Ship in Xenosaga.  Man, this dungeon is long.  Heh, having Gameshark codes that give me unlimited items and have Shion & Kos-Mos at level 99 make the going smooth and easy.  

I'm a wuss.  I'm playing this for the story.  I want an easy ride.
5422  The Rest / General Discussions / GaGaGame Journal #5 on: June 25, 2007, 03:58:21 PM
Quote from: "Marshmallow"

Neal: The story in CC really seems to be driven by the setting--the El Nido Archipelago, as opposed to individual characters. A few are fleshed out, but sometimes this is done in clumps and so. Regardless, I'd say Chrono Cross is very worth playing to completion. I believe it gives quite a bit more insight into the Chrono world as a whole.

I probably should've adopted that mindset of the world being a character more than its inhabitants.  After having played some Shin Megami Tensei games (I'm talking the core SMT series, not Devil Summoner, Persona, etc) I can better respect games where the setting gets the lion's share of the development.  SMT1, SMT2, Nocturne have very little character development or character fleshing out but the world/setting develops a lot and becomes quite fleshed out.
5423  Media / Single-Player RPGs / if it's not broken dont fix it... on: June 25, 2007, 03:51:53 PM
Don't get me wrong, I do respect the Dragon Quest titles and have enjoyed some of the games.  One thing I like is that it retains the traditional turn-based gameplay.  Not broken and doesn't need fixing.  Still, there will be people out there who think the series is stagnating because it hasn't "evolved" from the "archaic" turn-based structure.  

And though FF has been experimenting with more realtime and semi-realtime combat systems (i.e. FF12), it's going back to the tried and true ATB for FF13 (or so has been reported.)
5424  The Rest / General Discussions / GameIndustry.biz writer rips into Manhunt 2 on: June 25, 2007, 11:13:17 AM
As I edited into my prior post, in a perfect world, regarding censorship, each "thing" would be taken on a case by case basis.  However, that would confuse the hell out of legislators who want a more simple one-size-fits-all blanket.  

It doesn't work, because of various individual and cultural differences of what should and shouldn't be acceptable.  What flies in New York City is very different from what flies in the midwestern Bible belt.  And in the case of Manhunt 2, it contains material that doesn't fly in England and got banned.  This whole case is what it is and I'm sure Rockstar will still reap the monetary benefits from this publicity.  Forbidden fruit draws attention like moths to a flame.

The whole issue regarding censorship on all levels (personal, academic, political, media, whatever else) is a complex one and though the letter of the law seems more black or white, the reality is an enormous grey area.
5425  The Rest / General Discussions / GameIndustry.biz writer rips into Manhunt 2 on: June 25, 2007, 11:01:30 AM
Why am I reminded of that Simpsons episode where Marge successfully crusades against Itchy and Scratchy but when the advocacy groups want her on board to ban Michaelangelo's David from making a tour stop in Springfield, she declines saying "I think everyone should see Michaelangelo's David."  Then there's a huge argument about what is art and how Marge praises Michaelangelo's David yet demonizes Itchy and Scratchy.  

That Simpsons reference is more of a commentary than anything else.  Still, censorship is a complex issue because while many of us would like each "thing" taken on a case by case basis, it will confuse the hell out of legislators who want a more simplistic one-size-fits-all credo with regards to it.  

One thing I see in this thread is that while many of us do not want to see censorship in our media (be it music, movies, gaming, etc.) and/or want to showcase video games in a less immature light, using games like Manhunt 2 as bastions is probably NOT going to strengthen our case any.

As for the banning in England, it is what it is.  I do not know enough about their laws to make an approving, demonizing, or neutral judgment call one way or another.  And the simple fact that this banning is causing such an uproar is just the kind of free publicity that Rockstar thrives on.  Rockstar does what I deem "shallow shock" which is shock simply for the sake of shock.  For all we know, everything surrounding Rockstar could be a whole bunch of elaborately engineered publicity stunts.  (That's obviously taking a silly extreme viewpoint, but still...)

TANGENT: Meh, I just think Rockstar Games is pandering to the lowest common degenerate denominator in much the same way that many Japanese developers do with their often degenerate hentai games.  Seriously, the stuff you find in many of those games is some of the sickest, most twisted filth shit in gaming.  And there are more H-games than most anything else in Japan, if I'm not mistaken.
5426  The Rest / General Discussions / GaGaGame Journal #5 on: June 25, 2007, 08:14:41 AM
everluck- I know CT's Frog/Glenn is not the same person as CC's Glenn.  Just like there's more than one person named Glenn in our world, and not all of them are alike:P  I was referring to CT's Glenn
who was a green-haired squire for Cyrus who got turned into a Frog by Magus.
And there is an ending in Chrono Trigger where
if you fight Magus in 12,000 BC when he asks you if you'll fight him, the Frog curse is lifted and Frog appears as Glenn in the ending... and Lucca thinks he's hot.  The Frog turned into a prince, eh?

With all this talk of the Trigger/Cross connections, I just may have to give Chrono Cross another chance.  I can definitely see that painstaking care was put into that game, just like the prequel.  Although I still think CC's battle music is awful.
5427  The Rest / General Discussions / GaGaGame Journal #5 on: June 24, 2007, 11:14:50 PM
After seeing the anime ending for the PSone remake of Chrono Trigger on YouTube, that "major plot twist" in Chrono Cross makes more sense.


The whole Kid= Schala thing.  I remember people were in an uproar over OMG blond!  In the anime ending of PSone Chrono Trigger, Lucca finds an abandoned baby girl with blond hair and a large blue pendant... just like the one Schala wore.  Somehow, Schala must've used her powers to become part of the flow of time and be reborn in another era... as Kid for whom Lucca is "mom."  I guess Magus/Janus must've died trying in his search for Schala, since Frog/Glenn is now human again; something that could only happen once Magus dies.

I could be talking out my ass though, since I never finished Chrono Cross.  I just couldn't get into it.  Still, I am aware of the debates about the game.
5428  Media / Single-Player RPGs / if it's not broken dont fix it... on: June 24, 2007, 11:05:59 PM
Re: "If it ain't broke..."

To expand on that whole concept and take it in a different direction, sometimes I think that many modern RPGs tend to go overboard with making various in-game "systems" (be they character growth systems, battle systems, magic systems, whatever else) needlessly complex or twiddly.  

I can definitely name some RPGs that had really twiddly, needlessly complex systems that felt very tacked on and only there to add unnecessary complexity.  That's been my biggest complaint with FF12 and I've talked about it more than enough times.  A more intuitive, streamlined system would have served the game better than that wacky and almost nonsensical license board.  

I'm all for experimentation, innovation, upgrading, etc. but not when there's no method to the madness.  A Shin Megami Tensei game has some pretty complex gameplay systems, but the complexity fits in the context of the game's world.  

One could say Final Fantasy is a series very guilty of "fixing what wasn't broken" in many of their later titles.  And will you look at that, FF13 is reported to return to the Active-Time battle system, for what it's worth.  Some people may even say that the Chrono series is guilty of that.  I applaud Square for taking some innovative risks with Cross (particularly with the complex battle system), but I just couldn't get into Cross like I could and did with Trigger.

On the other hand, if you follow the "if ain't broke, don't try to fix it" credo to the letter, then you get series like Dragon Quest.  Fine games, they, but there really hasn't been much innovation in that series.  It's pretty much the tried and true Dragon Quest formula that people know, love, and are familiar with.  Like a comfortable old pair of shoes.  But others might say it's stagnating because Dragon Quest games generally do play it safe and don't fix what ain't broken.

There should definitely be a balance between staying true to the formula but still spicing it up to keep it interesting.  If you deviate too much, people complain that it's too different from what they're familiar with.  If you don't deviate enough, people complain that it's a retread and rehash of the same old formula and why can't "they" do something different.
5429  The Rest / General Discussions / GaGaGame Journal #5 on: June 24, 2007, 07:53:17 PM
Quote from: "Marshmallow"
Swordian users can only equip Swordians, and they can't switch ownership among themselves like in the PS1 version.

Are you serious?  That's a big flaw since late in the game (the PSone original), Stahn can partake in an optional monster battle tournament and the 3rd monster, a wyvern, absorbs fire attacks so if Stahn's equipped with Dymlos, he's screwed.  

As for my game journal, last night I finished Chrono Trigger (did all 7 sidequests, got the "true" ending) and immediately started up a new game.  Chrono, Marle, and Lucca have just arrived in the future.  I'll play it more when I visit the folks again since my SNES is at their house.  I want to try for the ending where
everyone's a reptite because Ayla never defeated Tyrano.
 That's my favorite ending.  My other favorites are
where Lucca and Marle rate all the guys, and the one where Frog becomes Glenn again and Lucca thinks he's hot.

It's rare that once I finish a game I immediately want to replay it, especiall an RPG, but Chrono Trigger is like digital crack to me and many others.  Definitely IMO Square's finest RPG and easily a favorite of mine.  

In an era where RPGs seem to be getting more and more needlessly complex, it's nice to play a fun classic that isn't bogged down by complexity &/or needless difficulty and is just fun and smooth to play.  

Right now, my Chrono is around level 94, Frog & Robo are 91, Magus is 82, and Marle, Lucca, & Ayla are all 90.  

Now that I'm back at my apartment, it's back to Xenosaga.  I'm at the part where the Elsa docked at an anti-military spaceport and Shion wants to warn Cherenkov that his military decorations will get him an ass whupping.
5430  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Greatest line in an RPG ever! on: June 23, 2007, 12:17:41 PM
Not necessarily a line, but in Chrono Trigger when you bring Chrono's friends to his house to meet his mom, the conversations she has with Frog and Ayla are the funniest.
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