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5476  Media / The Soundroom / Song of the Moment Part 7,894,673,589.3 on: January 17, 2008, 08:30:58 PM
I'm really enjoying Ontamarama.  It's such a chaotic video game.  "Spirit of April" is probably my favorite song in the game, though all the songs are good.  Hence, it's my song of the moment.
5477  The Rest / General Discussions / Game Journal #9999 on: January 17, 2008, 06:33:57 PM
Is anyone else here playing Ontamarama for DS?  If you like games such as Parappa, Gitaroo Man, or Elite Beat Agents, Ontamarama is like that.  Sure it's short, the controls can be loose, the gameplay is a bit cluttery, and easy mode is pretty easy to complete (if challenging to master), but Ontamarama has the one thing that keeps me coming back to a game like this: fantastic music.  I absolutely love the music in this game.  I totally want the OST to Ontamarama.
5478  The Rest / General Discussions / Opinions on the PSP on: January 17, 2008, 02:43:12 PM
One of the biggest complaints about PoPoLoCrois on PSP was the loading and I didn't think the load times were that bad; I play a PSP slim (got the Daxter bundle.)  

One thing I really like about the PSP is the large and well-lit screen.  Definitely the easiest-on-the-eyes handheld to play for longer periods of time and if you have an HDTV you can get the adapter to play on the big screen.  Oh yeah!  

Castlevania: Dracula X Chronicles is easily the best value for the system.  And even if the RPG lineup isn't super strong now, it's going to get better.  Both the PSP and the DS are strong in the non-RPG departments.  The PSP has some darn good racing games like Ridge Racer and Burnout Legends.  The DS has some good graphic adventures (i.e. Trace Memory, Phoenix Wright) and rhythm/beat games (i.e. Elite Beat Agents, Ontamarama), though Gitaroo Man Lives! for PSP is awesome, especially if you missed it on the PS2.  And both are great platforms for puzzle games.
5479  Media / The Soundroom / Song of the Moment Part 7,894,673,589.3 on: January 15, 2008, 07:14:11 PM
Song of the moment is Meridian's Tear by Cea Serin, a prog metal band from Louisiana.  I've been putting that on the past few nights as my bedtime music and this is 10 minutes of prog metal awesomeness.  The lyrics throughout the album are often stream of consciousness, but there's a method to the madness.

“always behind while building to none
Behold a beginning that’s swept up in one
(twisting in pair)
magnificent minds and the furious blind
tremble in calm for the days left behind
(within…meridian’s tear)”

Born from disease, misled to echo
Shaping delusions while memories grow
Filled with the sense to follow the cast
But blessed with the will to raise ill of the past

Trained by the word and hand to complete the strand
Encircled by a frame to abide the name

In every face lies the presence of one
In every voice cries the answer to come
Within the language of time, form, and thought
Replies the aware of what has been taught

Guided by a reason, to become or to betray
Embodied to a boundary that’s inner tides turn to portray
For every word that bleeds to beg, to vow, a plea to be
A cross to bear for a life chased but never free

from zero to end lay the stain of bonds left to mend
A subtle decay for the faith that remains of the day

See the shade
Of a wordless being, forced into seeing
Trace the way
Through inner resign and endless design

C3: In every choice lies the presence of one
In every breath cries the answers to come
Within the language of time, form, and sound
Betrays the aware of what has been found
Behind the seasons, an end to a change

(see the shade Where wisdom is broken of a wordless being forced into seeing,
Within the language of all that can be trace the way
Replies the unspoken through inner resign and endless design)
5480  Media / Single-Player RPGs / where does this sterotype come from? on: January 15, 2008, 02:06:45 PM
Quote from: "Tomara"

MOMO is the exception though. 1. She uses some kind of enhanced compound bow. 2. Xenosaga weapons do not make sense. Period.

And Mooncalf's parody fiction strikes again.  You may find aspects of this one quite amusing since there are many things in Xenosaga that don't make sense:  http://mooncalf.org/library/parody/thingsthatgo.html

But I still think the gunblade takes the cake for most nonsensical weapon. I mean the recoil from firing a revolver requires stiff shoulders for control or you could possibly hurt yourself, so when you attach a blade to it and fire while your shoulders are moving... that can't be good.    

As for the topic, another part of the portrayal of women in video games could also be due in large part to the majority of game creators being male and effective female characters are quite challenging to write, even for skilled writers.  But I still think that because proverbial fantasy RPGs are based on medieval times of yore with castles, dragons, and flowing robes that the gender roles of characters within them are congruent to the gender roles that were par for those historical times.  Obviously, gender roles have changed over the centuries and become less defined which is why sometimes the contrasts in fantasy RPGs may seem rather archaic to us.
5481  Media / Anime, TV, and Movies / Guilty pleasures (the movie/TV edition)... on: January 14, 2008, 10:34:59 PM
When my 3 year old nephew was visiting and we were watching the Good Night Show on the Sprout channel, I was like "whoa, that Nina chick who hosts this programming block is hot!"  I've always liked PBS kids shows, but Nina gives me a guilty reason to watch that programming block.    

I think all of us have been guilty of watching stupid TV shows, stupid movies on TV, or cheesy music videos we normally wouldn't watch simply for eye candy.    

And if you want to talk about the ultimate guilty pleasure show, Baywatch.  Busty lifeguards in tight red swimsuits running in slow motion?  That's guilty pleasure fanservice viewing right there.  It's no accident that it's colloquially known as Babewatch.
5482  Media / Single-Player RPGs / where does this sterotype come from? on: January 14, 2008, 06:07:48 PM
I think women as mages (particularly powerful ones) has been part of legend and mythology for eons.  I'm not just talking deities like Kali (powerful, vengeful, frightening) but even characters in Arthurian legend like Morgan LeFay.  What was frightening about LeFay was not her magic, but her intelligence, her cunning, her ability to manipulate so many people.  And what about the witch hunts of yore?  "Witch" is typically female and I'll bet any witch that got hunted was feared for her intelligence and for thinking differently/more progressively.  And even real women in history such as Elizabeth Bathory who didn't wield magic as we know it, but delved into the dark arts, used intense manipulation to "put a spell on" nobles around her, and was probably regarded as some kind of demon.  Like many women in history, she was frightening because of her cunning.  

And in fantasy, what determines a good mage?  A high INTELLIGENCE stat.  So it goes back to a simplified delineation of man= stupid meathead and woman= capable of using her brain to manipulate arcane magic.  

And I ask, just because a healer may be physically weak, does that make a healer "weak" period?  I think not.  If I were to put myself into an RPG archetype, I'd totally be a support healer.  You can't have an effective entourage without one.  Back when I used to play PSO, I was always a healer.  I value a good healer over a tank any day.  And is "nurturing" a "weak" trait?  I don't think so.  Why should a woman or a man be considered "weak" if they're nurturing?  Doesn't it take a ton of strength to genuinely care for and about others?  

A topic like this could open up various cans of worms on the idea of gender roles in the past and present as well as gender roles in terms of different cultures.  And many gender roles we see in media like RPGs feel archaic or too cut-and-dry for some because in the reality of 2008, gender roles are not as clearly defined as they were back in the 1950s.

Ash- the idea of a female assassin is sexy in a way.  Why else is the "girls with guns" anime and manga genre as popular as it is?
5483  Media / Single-Player RPGs / favorite hero and boss from any game on: January 14, 2008, 10:10:43 AM
Strongest female antagonist in an RPG that I can think of is easily Maggie/Pandora in Revelations: Persona.  Maggie does things that not only piss of the characters, but will piss of the player as well (i.e. making you go through a 12 floor dungeon twice in a row.)  And since
much of the game takes place within the psyche of a suicidal teenage girl with abandonment issues, having to face physical manifestations of her own worst enemy- herself
is pretty heavy stuff.  Go figure, the other main adversary in the game (the Japanese version at least) is the Snow Queen if you take that branch instead of the Takahisa "Guido" Kandori branch.  Kandori's a pretty interesting villain in his own right.  

It's too bad the writing in the US version of Persona was butchered, but future MegaTen games released in the us such as Persona 2: Eternal Punishment, Persona 3, SMT: Nocturne, DDS 1-2, Devil Summoner Raidou Kuzunoha all have excellent writing.

Speaking of Persona, I really liked Maya Amano in Persona 2, both as a side character in Innocent Sin and the main heroine in Eternal Punishment.  I shared a lot of personality traits with her and since I used to work in publishing, I could relate to her that way too since her career is a magazine editor.  I like that despite what she went through in her past, she remained a cheerful and positive person and did not become an angry and belligerent harpy.
5484  Media / Anime, TV, and Movies / Recently Viewed Movies Episode 2: The Vampire Bites Back on: January 13, 2008, 04:31:33 PM
I just saw Bad News Bears on TV.  I'm talking the original 1976 version with Walter Mathau and Tatum O'Neil in her best role ever and NOT that piece of rotten garbage remake from '05, which was one of the worst remakes ever.  

The Bad News Bears is probably one of my favorite sports movies of all time.  The kids have so much character, and that great dialogue... man, with all the political correctness baloney (bologna= lunchmeat, baloney= BS) nowadays, there's no way they'd make a movie like The Bad News Bears any more.  Who couldn't like that little spitfire Tanner and his foul mouth?  The frustration the kids felt and the way they expressed it felt real to me.  

One thing I really like about the movie is that there's no real good guy or bad guy.  Everyone is a flawed human being and they make no bones about their flaws, Buttermaker especially (he's certainly not a likeable character, but he's genuine.)  That's what gives the movie heart and depth.  

Definitely a classic in American cinema as far as I'm concerned.
5485  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Azure Dreams.. any good? on: January 13, 2008, 04:06:08 PM
And no one's mentioned that even for its time, the graphics in Azure Dreams were an eyesore?  Retro graphics are one thing, but Azure Dreams just looks a complete mess.  It's almost painful to look at.  

It doesn't help that, as mentioned before, the game itself is a complete mess too.  You couldn't pay me enough to play that pile.
5486  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Popolocrois... PSP on: January 13, 2008, 03:57:43 PM
Maybe it's because I'm playing it with one of the newer PSPs (the silver one I got with the Daxter bundle) but the loading is pretty unintrusive.  Sure there's brief loading to battles and between locations, but it's nothing I haven't seen before in 2D RPGs for the PSone.  But, yeah, loading times on the newer PSPs are shorter than they were with older PSPs due to hardware upgrades.  

Nutshell: PoPoLoCrois is like a Mello Peep candy.  It's teeth rottingly cute, but doesn't have much of a taste.  It's not a bad game, but there are plenty of better PSP RPGs that could have been brought over from Japan.
5487  Media / Single-Player RPGs / GOTY? on: January 13, 2008, 10:04:07 AM
If we're doing biggest disappointment of 2007, I think you all know what mine is: Monster Kingdom: Jewel Summoner for PSP.
5488  Media / Single-Player RPGs / GOTY? on: January 12, 2008, 03:59:44 PM
So what would others have picked as their Game(s) of the Year 2007?  What are other peoples' top fives and why?  

My honorable mentions:
Castlevania: Dracula X Chronicles (PSP)- A remake of Rondo of Blood; the original Rondo of Blood; and a retranslated Symphony of the Night with new English voice acting, the option for Japanese voice acting, and more Maria in all the games?  Sold!  Best value for any PSP owner's money since you can't really go wrong with two of the best Castlevania games ever.  By default, this should have made my top 5 since I adore SOTN, but I wanted to spotlight new titles over remakes.  Plus, I wasn't fond of having SOTN as an unlockable instead of accessible from the get-go, because Rondo is quite difficult.  

Naruto: Path of the Ninja (DS)- This was my pleasant surprise for 2007.  I never expected a Naruto game to be as good as this one was.  The story, writing, and characters are what really did it for me.  I couldn't believe that this brief game showcased more depth and development in its cast than many big name RPGs.  

Piece of Wonder (PC)- Ahh, Hirameki's swan song.  This strategy-RPG/love-adventure hybrid is far from a fantastic game, but it is the closest thing to Sakura Taisen that US audiences have ever seen.  Both the love adventure and SRPG components could have been tighter, but the game was fun and added some nice interactivity to love adventures.

Super Paper Mario (Wii)- That beautiful parody sequence of dating sims/love adventures is enough for me to honorably mention this game.  We need more satirical love adventures and dating sims with nerdy lizards.
5489  The Rest / General Discussions / POLITICS: I like Ron Paul on: January 11, 2008, 04:01:17 PM
Well, it looks like I won't be voting for Bill Richardson in the primaries.  He was IMO the best candidate out there, but he's dropped out of the race.  Too bad because he has impressive experience in all areas a president needs experience in.  I've heard rumors that Fred Thompson may be dropping out too.  

Anyone catch any of the South Carolina republican panel stuff?  As much as I dislike Ron Paul's policies, I must say when he's in a debate or panel discussion, he is the voice of reason.  I liked when he said that with everyone's buzzword being change, he called everyone out on whether change to them means just tweaking what's already in place or just completely cleaning house and putting something new in there.  

I can see Ron Paul support increasing, but I still predict it'll be McCain vs. Romney for the Republican ticket.  

I don't like how the media is spinning things.  Since when was experience a bad thing?  The media is trying to spin things as if those candidates with experience cannot bring about change.  I think it's candidates with experience who know what's going on can bring change.  America is going through some rough times and I want a leader in charge who actually knows what s/he is doing.  I don't want a drinking buddy or rock star, I want someone who will run the country efficiently.  

I'll be voting for Clinton in the primaries.  I'm still not impressed by Obama.
5490  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Worst Hero & Villain on: January 11, 2008, 10:15:30 AM
Pat, I disagree with your read of Necron.  For me, Kuja could not be the final boss because even if he dies, Terra would still chow down on Gaia, like how Unicron or Galactus eats planets since it is a conscious being.  So to me, the party still had to kill this worldlike planet-devouring entitiy and Necron was like the core of it.  All that jibberish Necron said?  I thought it was just stuff to try and make the predator intimidate the prey for an easier kill.  But it backfired.

When Zidane defeated Kuja, he saved Kuja.  When Zidane and company defeated Necron, they saved their home world of Gaia.  Even at the very end, Necron decides, "okay, this prey is too strong for me to try to kill and eat.  I'd better move on to an easy prey planet to eat."  

In any case, this is how the final battle against Kuja should have gone down: http://mooncalf.org/library/parody/eikosboyfriend.html (EDIT: This is probably my favorite of Mooncalf's parody fics.  Be warned, other fanfics on her site are NSFW.)  

And I think the fact that Tidus is a jock is what divides people on him.  But to me, that protagonists like him and Squall evoke such strong ire out of people makes them appear more "real" because let's face it, not every hero is likeable and we often do not get to choose who our heroes will be (I'm talking in real life as well as fiction.)  But you know, as much ire as Tidus and Squall may draw, you can't deny that they are memorable protagonists.  They remain talked about for years after their time.
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