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338004 Posts in 13838 Topics by 2212 Members
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5536  The Rest / General Discussions / The Obession with Story/Movies in Video Games on: June 10, 2007, 12:31:29 PM
In terms of money and the whole "needing the latest greatest hardware in order to realize a story's vision," it's ironic that the most story-oriented genres I've played actually have lower hardware requirements than most other games, and still manage to look great.  

Seriously, look at the system requirements of any graphic adventure (American, European, Japanese, whatever) and you'll notice that they have system requirements that even us plebians without the latest Alienware PCs can easily pony up... even with a computer bought years ago.    

http://hirameki-int.com/appc/products/e17/index.html (Ever17)

Of course, Japanese visual novels have not really evolved much graphically since ye olden days.  It's still 2D character portraits atop prerendered backdrop stills.  No polygons, no Odin Sphere level spritery.  It's a timeless look as far as I'm concerned.  It's a timeless look as far as the Japanese are concerned, which is why present and future visual novels will continue to look that way.  Ain't no polygons or FMV cutscenes in Memories Off #5: Encore, I guarantee you that.
5537  The Rest / General Discussions / Manchester Cathedral upset over Resistance: Fall of Man on: June 09, 2007, 08:53:19 PM
Wait, does this cathedral in Manchester even remotely think they'll WIN the case if they sue Sony?  Get real.  

As for the article as a whole, it's the same old story we've heard before from the more uptight religious people blaming popular media for society's ills without getting all their facts straight.
5538  Media / Single-Player RPGs / The Very Saddest games... on: June 09, 2007, 08:01:49 PM
I have to say Ever17: Out of Infinity.  That game took me on an emotional roller-coaster where I pretty much felt multiple emotions fairly intensely at one point or another. The moments surrounding Tsugumi sucker punched me the most, but there was a lot going on with the other characters as well.  Except for the one true ending for the game, pretty much all the "good" endings are actually pretty sad.  The bad endings are sad as well, obviously.  The music helped too; there is an air of tension and/or sadness in all the pieces, even the happier ones.  

When I was younger, yeah, I got emotional during the death scenes in Phantasy Star 2 and 4, but Ever17 was a game I played as a (jaded) adult, so for the game to have the kind of emotional impact on me that it did is something.  It's obvious I f'n loved the game.  My review doesn't do it justice.  

http://www.hirameki-int.com/appc/products/e17/index.html should have a downloadable demo of Ever17 so you can decide for yourself.  It's the official US site for the game.  Thanks Hirameki.

Re: Megami Tensei.  In the Shin Megami Tensei subseries, death is handled VERY nonchalantly because in the greater scheme of things the death of one person doesn't really matter during a global catastrophe.  However, the Persona games deal with death in a more human, and dramatic manner.  Persona 2: Innocent Sin's flashbacks to the characters as kids were really emotional.  

In terms of contrast, Odin Sphere comes to mind.  The visuals are bright, colorful, and cartoonish, but the tale(s) told are surprisingly tragic.
5539  The Rest / General Discussions / Sadistic Flash game on: June 09, 2007, 04:57:04 PM
Game is evil.  2:01 in the video is LOL.  That's it.

Say, wasn't there a Japanese dude who hated video games who created some NES game that's impossible to beat?
5540  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Wild Arms series on: June 09, 2007, 09:25:28 AM
So... Wild Arms?  

In terms of getting the earlier titles, remake or not, just get whatever one(s) you can find more easily and are less expensive.  Accessibility and cost, baby, yeah!  

The remake argument can be made about "OMG George Lucas ruined Star Wars with his multiple remakes!" but that doesn't stop them from being fun and entertaining movies.  

And isn't having some fun and being entertained what gaming is all about?  I've only played the first Wild Arms game and some of the 3rd and though they're not "top tier" or "groundbreaking" RPGs, they were pretty fun and entertaining.
5541  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Suikoden General topic on: June 09, 2007, 09:10:40 AM
Internet quibbles and technical difficulties aside, back to Suikoden?  

I'm in the minority too regarding this series.  I do think Suikoden is a fine series whose passionate fanbase speaks for itself.  However, I couldn't really get into that series.  The series certainly has that intangible mojo that speaks volumes to all you Suiko-fans, but that mojo didn't quite speak to me.  That's the only way I can explain why I'm not really into it.  

The one thing I really like is that the Suikoden games portray war on a more realistic scale than other RPGs.  Threat against the world from the "evil empire" and the evil head honcho at the helm?  Form a big ass army.  Certainly a more sensible move than facing an empire with just 4-6 other kids.  

There's no accounting for taste and you all know that mine can be pretty weird sometimes.
5542  The Rest / General Discussions / The Best Intro to ANYTHING Ever on: June 09, 2007, 08:36:57 AM
That's funnier than most practical jokes.  

"You're going to jail"
2 days later
"You don't have to be in jail any more."
2 days later
"Sorry, just kidding.  You have to go back to jail."
5543  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Greatest line in an RPG ever! on: June 08, 2007, 12:35:59 PM
Oh, another line I liked was one Kasumi Shindo said in Exodus Guilty vol. 1: "Love is just another word for monopolistic greed."  I liked it because it beautifully captured the essence of that character.  The line itself without context is somewhat lame, but when you look at it within the context of the character- who he is, what he is, why he is what he is, why he has such a twisted world view, and all that it makes sense that he'd think that way.

...but I still have a soft spot for "eagles on pogo sticks" so that will always be my favorite.

EDIT: I'm surprised no one mentioned this gem yet.  "I farted, sorry" from Earthbound.  The dry wit and comic timing in the game is golden.
5544  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Games I wish I would have finished ~ with a twist on: June 07, 2007, 10:59:43 PM
If the puzzles weren't so freakin' evil in Alundra, I would have liked to beat that game.  The story was really good.  No amount of Gamesharking could help you in this game if you weren't dextrous enough for those baneful puzzles.  

FF12 is another one I wanted to finish, but couldn't.  The story and characters are great (Basch was cool), but after 8-10 hours, I was bored.  I did not find the battles fun at all and the license board felt very tacked on and like an arbitrary overcomplication of a skill-building and equipment interface that didn't need to be arbitrarily overcomplicated.  I found the game very tedious.  

I spent 75 hours on Xenogears and was on the cusp of the final dungeon, but I was bored to tears by then, I was ready to toss the game out the window, and I never beat it.  I don't regret it one bit.  Especially now since I could see the final battles and the ending on YouTube.  The storyline is stellar, but man was that game tedious to slug through.  

It's all subjective, though.  I mean, I'm nuts about games like Persona and Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne and others think those games are tedious, yet I found them compelling to play.  

But for me, if I'm reaching burnout on a game and running out of time and patience to finish it, I'll Gameshark it.
5545  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Trusty Bell/Eternal Sonata - Sad as hell? on: June 07, 2007, 10:41:26 PM
Would your average Madden fan even look at Trusty Bell?  Nope.  But folks in places like RPGfan prefer stories that impact our emotions in some way, be it in a novel, movie, TV series, RPG, graphic adventure, oral storytelling, whatever.  It's the emotional moments in our games we remember the most.  

An RPG set in the unconscious dreams of a dying man?  Pretty morbid concept made even creepier that it's bright and cheerful.  There have been other RPGs that have applied similar concepts too:

Persona delved quite deeply into the unconscious.
A healthy portion of the game takes place within the psyche of a near-suicidal girl, and whose idealized self travels with the party.  We see other manifestations of her 'self' throughout the game too.  I refer to the Sebec & Mary/Maki path and not the Snow Queen path.
 The Persona 2 games explored the darker aspects of the Jungian Collective Unconscious, so it was more about the psychoses that exist in the masses rather than in an individual.  

Alundra involved entering peoples' unconscious minds and helping them face their nightmares.  I remember some of their stories being quite tragic (the puzzles were evil, though.  I could never beat that game.)  

In Xenogears, we have a character with a legitimate mental illness (dissociative identity disorder).  Yes, they softened the portrayal of the disorder a bit, but it was a bold move to go there.  

In terms of tragedy, Ever17 is harbored by a disastrous event and the characters all have tragic tales and even some tragic backstories.  'Tis a emotional roller-coaster of a tale (and one of Hirameki's top selling localized titles in the US.)

And regarding the death of Aeris, remember that it was many gamers' first foray into RPGs so it hit them hard since they'd probably never played a video game with that kind of involved storyline where characters die never to return.  For some us veterans, we'd seen similar things before
I was emotional during Nei's death in Phantasy Star 2 and got misty-eyed during Alys' death in Phantasy Star 4
.  But also remember that FF7 came out TEN years ago.  Ten years is more than enough time for people to get over the death of a video game character.  So perhaps it's about time for video games to explore concepts of death and dying even further.

Exploring the unconscious mind of the dying seems a pretty interesting angle.  And besides, aren't we all tired of the JRPG standard of: "simple farm boy who happens to be handy with a sword goes on a fetch quest but when he returns finds his village burned by the evil empire because they were looking for a pendant his parent or guardian gave him to enact a world conquering or destroying plan.  Farm boy then vows revenge on the empire, explores the world outside, meets a mage girl who falls for him but is too shy to say something, meets other people to aid him on his quest, does a whole bunch of questing to discover the secret of the pendant, finds an airship, plays mini-games, beats the bad guy, saves the world, gets the girl, and everyone lives happily ever after."
5546  The Rest / General Discussions / New Sodom wants to ban the Blue Angels on: June 07, 2007, 10:16:07 PM
Well, if SF politicians are going to be a bunch of whiny little sissies about this whole thing, then I'd hope the Blue Angels take their show to another venue where they'll be appreciated, welcomed, and that new gathering place will be a hotspot.  To not have a Blue Angels show this year because some leftist politician wants to appease a couple of misguided peacemongers is, well, silly.  (I think the whole Iraq war is a blunder, but misguided peacemongering and slapping the military in the face is not cool.  And personally, I think grounding the Blue Angels is misguided peacemongering and slapping the military in the face.)  

San Francisco's loss.  The Blue Angels are f'n awesome.  Let them fly.
5547  The Rest / General Discussions / Game books on: June 07, 2007, 02:52:03 PM
Lard- yes, I remember some of the monster art in Fighting Fantasy books giving me nightmares as a kid.  And I remember going "holy shit!  Could I really win a fight against that thing?"  Man, those were the days.  

I adored gamebooks as a kid since, well, this was the pre-Nintendo days.  I liked that gamebooks were interactive and I had some control over the outcomes.  The bus ride to school was a long one so a whole bunch of us would trade gamebooks like Time Machine to read on the long bus rides to school.  I used to check out CYOA books a lot at the school library.  

When I started reading Fighting Fantasy books, it was like "whoa!" because they were more mature and heavier reading than CYOA and other such books.  As usual, I lost my copy of Rebel Planet during one of my family's house moves so I may try tracking that one down again.  

I wouldn't be at all surprised that my love of RPGs is borned from my love of gamebooks as a kid.  Or better yet, that my love for Japanese style graphic adventures stems from my love of gamebooks since those are CYOA style games.

EDIT: Re: "kids don't read."  They read Harry Potter pretty voraciously.  But since the last book is coming out next month, they'll go back to their illiterate selves in no time.  

And re: the violence, it's amazing what was permitted in the 80s as far as "kid" stuff.  Cartoons in the 80s like Inhumanoids would be deemed overly nightmarish scary violent for kids today.  And even standard Choose Your Own Adventure books could get surprisingly violent at times so when I first read a Fighting Fantasy book, my jaw dropped at the more descriptive violence.  I was scared of it at first because I didn't want an ending where I died a horrible bloody death.
5548  The Rest / General Discussions / Game books on: June 07, 2007, 09:07:17 AM
I loved gamebooks as a kid.  Choose Your Own Adventure, Time Machine, Find Your Fate, Which Way, Endless Quest, and the like.

I also remember FIghting Fantasy like Demons of the Deep, Seas of Blood, & Rebel Planet (I agree with gamebooks.org's reviewer that Rebel Planet is one awesome gamebook) and Way of the Tiger stuff like Avenger, and others where you had to roll dice during battles, select your skillset, and such.  It was like single player D&D.  

Good stuff, gamebooks.
5549  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Japanese RPGs you've spent the most time on? on: June 07, 2007, 08:49:52 AM
Longest for a single playthrough?  Easily Persona 2: Eternal Punishment.  The clock stopped at 99:59 but I think I clocked in 110 hours.  Most games I get burned out on after about 50 hours, but with Persona 2, 50 hours felt like I had only been playing for 50 minutes.  

Longest in terms of replays?  I replayed Revelations: Persona four or so times.  I think I sunk 200 hours into that one.  

Longest number of hours I've spent on a game in one sitting?  8 hours.  During one night many years ago, I played EVE: Burst Error from 9pm Friday night to 5am Saturday morning, only stopping twice to use the bathroom.  I was so compelled by the story that I couldn't stop playing.  

Longest period?  Phantasy Star Online.  I spent 500+ hours on that game.  It's the first and last online RPG I've played.
5550  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Greatest line in an RPG ever! on: June 06, 2007, 03:46:23 PM
I think some of the best lines have come from changing characters' names in Final Fantasy games.  

In FF7, if you rename Barret "Mr. T" (which I'm sure most, if not all, of you did) then you get gems like:
Aeris: Thank you Mister Mr. T
Barret: Don't call me Mister Mr. T.  That don't sound right.  

Or in FF8, one of the board members back in the day renamed Griever to "YourAss" so then Ultimecia would say "I shall now junction myself unto YourAss."  

And I know someone here must've renamed Squall to Emo Kid in FF8 and laughed when Emo Kid says "I'm more complex than you think" to Quistis.

In FF9, I just had to rename Amarant to F4G0T (the aforementioned board member renamed Cloud that in FF7 to seek funny lines) just so he could introduce himself as "the Flaming F4G0T."  And later on it was funny seeing Eiko say "F4G0T, are you being a bully again?"
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