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5416  The Rest / General Discussions / This is the most disgusting thing you will ever hear of. on: December 01, 2007, 11:38:16 AM
As long as you and your sometimes vindictive self don't pull crap like this when you're a doctor, Ashy-poo...

This is completely disgusting, yet oddly hysterical as well.  I mean mistakes like this should only happen in Hollyweird and not the real world.  For the really depraved, how horrible would it have been if it was a girl who had to poop out of her hoo-hoo?

"Kenny, we replaced your heart with a baked potato and you will die in about 3 seconds."  Although the squirm/cringe/sick/vomit/eww worthy medical procedure on South Park was Wendy Testaburger getting implants.
5417  The Rest / General Discussions / Reviewer fired over Kane & Lynch review...? on: November 30, 2007, 08:16:03 PM
Didn't one of the articles say the guy was with Gamespot for 10 years?  Being fired over ONE bad review in that span of time raises a red flag or two with me.  Did the game's developers sink that much revenue into Gamespot for advertising and the review lost Gamespot so much revenue to can a 10 year employee?  

I think there's a lot more to the firing than the review.  Maybe the review was the straw that broke the camel's back.  

Who knows?  Either way, I feel badly for the fellow.  I mean, to get canned and have that one bad review be the event most connected to it sucks.  All anyone's going to remember is that review and not all the other good stuff he's done over his decade there.
5418  The Rest / General Discussions / So I just bought a DS... on: November 30, 2007, 04:08:29 PM
As far as graphic adventures go, Trace Memory, Hotel Dusk, and the Phoenix Wright games are the best.  There are the Touch Detective games as well, but those are not as good.  I liked them personally, but most people weren't keen on them.  

Trauma Center is a good DS game, but be warned that it can get pretty difficult pretty fast.  If you or your family are into more offbeat stuff, Cooking Mama's great fun.  Elite Beat Agents is fun too (it's a Parappa the Rapper type game), but many of the songs are not very good.  

Personally, I think the DS is a tad weak in the RPG department but strong in other genres.  I hope Tales of Innocence makes it to US shores.  That game looks awesome.

DR- +1 on Rocket Slime.  I loved that game.  It was so much fun.
5419  The Rest / General Discussions / Help Jimmy with his honor's thesis...please on: November 29, 2007, 08:28:38 AM
Alright Jimmy, I have a better idea of what you're looking for.  Anything in my lengthy post would still stand.  Not that I suggested anything beyond what you already had, save Grandia II, FFX-2, and possibly Diablo and Wild Arms 1.
5420  The Rest / General Discussions / Help Jimmy with his honor's thesis...please on: November 29, 2007, 12:08:40 AM
So let me make sure I have this straight.  You're looking at video games that, in and of themselves, have strong portrayals of religion (real or fictional) and perhaps commentary within the narrative?  

But then there comes the tangent of religious portrayal being in the eye of the beholder.  Take Doom for example.  That game has some fairly surface level religious symbolism (i.e. hell, Tower of Babel), but the game was contraversial for its "Satanic Content" so while the game never had religion as a focus of its narrative (there wasn't much of a narrative to even speak of) and did not express an opinion on religion one way or another, it still provoked the ire of religious folks for having "Satanic Content."  

I hope I'm not overwhelming you with ideas and considerations, but when writing a thesis level work on a concept, there really is a lot to consider and even the simplest concepts can be viewed from multiple angles and perspectives.  

It never hurts to brainstorm
5421  The Rest / General Discussions / Help Jimmy with his honor's thesis...please on: November 28, 2007, 11:05:37 PM
Religion in video games?  This will be even broader than you might think.  

You have things like the following:

- Positive Portrayals of Religion in RPGs
- Negative Portrayals of Religion in RPGs
- Religious Symbolism in RPGs
- Killing God (which was Pat's editorial)

Religion in RPGs can be a challenge. It could be things like using a church in Phantasy Star to resurrect fallen allies and the priest says "may the Gods be with you." It could be things like how some RPGs pit you against God or religion (i.e. Grandia II, Shin Megami Tensei I) whereas others like Wild ARMs 1 put religion on your side.  Others such as Final Fantasy 7 have religious symbolism (i.e. Sephiroth thinking he's an immaculate conception from Jeonva) but don't express an opinion on religion one way or another; just that lowly humans are unfit to handle godlike powers.  

If you are going to talk about religion in video games, Grandia II is one that beans you over the head with its anti-religion message.  Even after you kill Pope Zera and the world rebuilds, it's godless and everyone is happy being free from those shackles.  Before even that, the church in Grandia II tends to have intolerant views, such as when Elena decries Mareg's belief system as completely wrong.  Or that people like Ryudo who live their lives on their own terms without the "guidance of God" are heathen who aren't living their lives the 'right' way.  

But in a game such as FFX where you break open the truth about Yevon to the people, many like Wakka still cling to their shattered faith.  FFX-2 has a New Yevon faction and the opposing Youth League.  New Yevon is proof that many in Spira could not have faith in a non-religious world.  There's one guy Beclem who's hardcore atheist and harshly admonishes the Besaid Aurochs for doing "ancient meaningless traditions" such as praying.  There's also the issue of Dona and Barthello.  They were tighter than teeth and gums in FFX, but when she joined the Youth League and he joined New Yevon, it wasn't pretty.  Interesting that no matter how close you are, where you place your faith can tear even the closest people apart.  

There have been negative portrayals of Christianity in the 16-bit Shin Megami Tensei games, but any religious commentary is less pointed in recent titles and those games tend to take cues from other religions and belief systems (namely Hinduism), not only in terms of the beings and personas you obtain but in some storyline stuff as well.  The personas and demons you can invoke in Megami Tensei games come from a variety of world mythologies and religions.  Still, the whole idea of negotiating with demons ("dealing with devils") to share their dark magics and power with you found in early Megami Tensei games does go against Christian principle.  

The bottom line with SMT1 was Law path= side with YHWH and kill Satan.  Chaos path= side with Satan and kill YHWH.  Neutral path= side with nobody, kill both Satan and YHWH.  

Digital Devil Saga utilizes mostly Hindu constructs in the demon forms of the heroes (Varuna, Agni), place names (named after the various chakras such as Muladhara and Vishuddha), and concepts (Karma, Nirvana.)  I haven't played those games enough to comment on religious themes, but they are strong even if there is no pointed opinion.  

And this is not even going into the whole "Dungeons and Dragons = Satanic!" brouhaha from the 1980s. The use of Hell and other such constructs is not uncommon in video games, Japanese or otherwise.  Diablo comes to mind.  

There are I'm sure a ton of non-RPGs (like many action games) that utilize religion in them.  I'll need to be more awake to think of some good examples.

EDIT: Come to think of it, most video games with religious content that I can think of tend to use Christianity as a basis.  Is it because it's the most widespread religion in the world?  Megami Tensei is one series that comes to mind that utilizes aspects of many other belief systems such as Shinto, Buddhism, Hinduism, and more along with Christianity (including Gnosticism which long preceded Catholicism.  Some scholars posit the polytheistic Gnosticism as an early "primitive" form of Christianity.  I don't know enough about it to say anything of note, but I do believe that Gnosticism is related to Catholicism and Christianity as we know it today.)
5422  The Rest / General Discussions / Game Journal #9999 on: November 28, 2007, 08:33:54 AM
I'm working my way through Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology.  It's a fun game, but it's really a Tales MMORPG without the MMO.
5423  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Suikoden Favorites on: November 26, 2007, 10:14:29 PM
I'm not a big Suikoden series fan either, but there was one thing Suikoden 1 had that I'll never forget: the music.  The soundtrack in that game was so good.  The Gregminster town theme is still one of my all time favorite town themes.  And I do respect the scope of the series, meaning that instead of 5 meddling kids saving the world from an evil empire, you get to build your own hulking army.
5424  The Rest / General Discussions / Game Journal #9999 on: November 25, 2007, 05:03:28 PM
Since I've decided to leave my Playstation 2 at my folks' house and have been visiting them this Thanksgiving break, I've been spending some time with Digital Devil Saga.  Because I'd been concentrating on doing titles that other RPGfanners hadn't covered, I definitely missed out on some gems.  

The Digital Devil Saga is probably the one duo of games I most regret missing out on the first time around.  Definitely 2005's RPGs of the year.  The DDS games are not games I can play in large (read: 3-4 hour) chunks at a time, but certainly ones I can stick with for a long (read: 60+ hour) haul.  

Right now I'm in DDS1 getting my ass kicked by a pair of Archangels in the Solids' Citadel.  This wouldn't be so bad, but I don't have a repellent mantra and that section of the Citadel has no battles so I can't train and build new mantras.  They're beatable, but I'll need strategery.  The preceding boss, Bat, was a weird one.  I couldn't predict his patterns, so I mostly just waited till he was vulnerable and hit him with everything I had.  

I'll be leaving Digital Devil Saga tomorrow when I go back to school, but I'll be continuing with Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology.
5425  Media / Single-Player RPGs / about tales of abyss storyline (spoiler!) on: November 24, 2007, 05:03:18 PM
Eh, worst plot in a Tales game is easily Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology for PSP.  It's basically a single player, offline Tales MMORPG without the MMO.  Character creation and the battle system are fun, though.  

Abyss does not have a bad plot (it's arguably one of the deeper Tales plots), but it does have issues with pacing.  Most Tales games have very fast moving plots with few lulls, and Abyss' plot does drag in places, more so than any other Tales game before it.
5426  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Help suggest Games like DQ8 on: November 23, 2007, 08:27:02 PM
I'm not sure if the ATB of Final Fantasy is what he's looking for in terms of traditional turn-based.  Sounds to me like being pounded on by enemies while flipping through menus isn't his idea of fun.  

But FFX is true turn-based and it was one of my favorite FF games for the system.
5427  Media / The Soundroom / The absolute worst, yet best thing you'll ever hear on: November 23, 2007, 08:21:48 PM
Sounds like someone's never been in a regularly gigging band or seen Spinal Tap.  All kinds of mishaps can occur at a gig, and you just roll with the punches.  Even the acoustics of a room can mess up your tone and even intonation.  I've played rooms where my bass sounded really blatty and others where with the same adjustments on my amp it sounded really clear.  

It doesn't matter how good a performer you are, stage mishaps happen.  I've only been in local bands and I've seen my fair share.  I can only imagine the magnitude mishaps happen on world tours.  I'd say a gig that goes absolutely perfect without a hitch is the exception rather than the rule.  

And regardless of the playback being in a different frequency, the band rolled with it and the crowd was cheering and having a grand old time.  And isn't that what rock & roll is all about?
5428  Media / Anime, TV, and Movies / Recently Viewed Movies Episode 2: The Vampire Bites Back on: November 23, 2007, 01:19:42 PM
I just caught Howl's Moving Castle on TV yesterday.  Gorgeous movie, but a total WTF acid trip.  Calcifer and Turnip Head rule!  I definitely have to see it again to make more sense out of it.
5429  The Rest / General Discussions / Best worst video reviews on: November 23, 2007, 01:13:47 PM
Quote from: "Hathen"


So they not only don't finish the games before reviewing them, they don't even read the damn manual? :P


That's a valid criticism for most any media outlet.  Outlets like Weekly Famitsu, EGM, even online sites that cover multiple genres of game typically only spend 3-5 hours with a game before reviewing it, because of the sheer volume of games to review.  Plus, if a company sends a media outlet a game, many times its a prerelease build or sample copy disk/cartridge alone and not a retail copy with a manual and all the trimmings.  

That's part of the reason RPGfan reviews don't always come quickly, because we actually spend time with the games.  I know I like to beat games before reviewing them so I can say whether or not the ending's a worthwhile payoff.
5430  Media / The Soundroom / The Cores on: November 23, 2007, 01:07:13 PM
My favorite "-core" band is easily New Jersey's own Burnt By The Sun.  I'm normally not into "-core" because of the lacking melody and tough-guy vocals, but I love BBTS.  Mike O's lyrics are awesome and the band has quite a bit of musical talent.  When Mike O does public speeches or interviews, he's quite eloquent and knowledgable.  

And I have to show some New Jersey pride for Dillinger Escape Plan and God Forbid too.  Luddite Clone was good too.  Too bad they were such a short-lived band.  Ain't no metalcore like New Jersey metalcore.

When someone says grind, I think of bands like Pig Destroyer or Cattle Decapitation.
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