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5596  Media / Single-Player RPGs / the first couple hours in midgar on: December 31, 2006, 05:37:46 PM
I'm with you, bro.  Midgar was my favorite part of FF7 too.  I just wish more could have been done with it.  The whole gritty urban environment is great.  That's one reason I love Megami Tensei games like Persona so much; the gritty modern and post-modern urban environments are so cool.  To me, all the coolest stuff in the game happened in Midgar and the rest of the game was mostly a standard RPG wild goose chase after an elusive villain.  

I love how in Midgar, the villain was not some sorceror madman, but a corporation exploiting the planet's natural and human resources.  Then the villain became Sephiroth and the thing became a fairly normal RPG.  

Most people do say that the game opens up when you leave Midgar, and while that's true, I wanted more Midgar.  I wanted more gritty tight-knit urban corporate political cyber/steampunk.

Midgar was cool, but a LOT more could have been done with it.  The true potential of Midgar was not realized.  

--

I felt the same way about FF8 as well.  It started out with the whole school environment and school ties.  I'm always a sucker for stories set in schools and all about school ties and all that.  That's one reason I love the Harry Potter books so much, because Hogwarts school is such an interesting environment.  

But I didn't get to spend enough time in the school.  Granted, disk 1 was awesome when it was tight political intrigue, but then it just became what Professor Gast calls the "Blair Witch Fantasy" and it became more about bombast and less about the simple things.

The Garden schools were cool, but a LOT more could have been done with them.  The true potential of the Garden schools was not realized.
5597  The Rest / General Discussions / Saddam Hussein Executed in Iraq on: December 30, 2006, 10:55:01 PM
Quote from: "Dincrest"
I was actually more scared of his son Uday.  That guy was one of the sickest sadists to ever walk this Earth.  

Well, so Saddam's sons were killed in recent years and now dad's gone.

But just because he's dead does not mean a thing.  From the bowels of hatred can easily spring a new successor.  One man (and his sadistic sons) are dead, but the plight of the Middle East is far from over.  

If people want to sing "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead" and party like it's 1999, let them.  But personally, I don't think anything's ended.  Everything's still beginning.


Addendum: Personally, I think Saddam Hussein and his sons deserved to die, especially given the disgusting atrocities they've committed against humanity. Faith, belief systems and all else aside, there is absolutely no justification for the absolute sadistic and prolonged torture and gross humiliation of human beings, and the Husseins were some of the most twisted, sadistic torturers to ever walk this planet.
5598  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Completed RPGs of 2006 on: December 30, 2006, 10:27:08 PM
My list of beaten games for 2006:

2006 releases:
-Exodus Guilty vol. 2: Past
-Exodus Guilty vol. 3: Future
-Contact
-Touch Detective
-MS Saga
-Children of Mana
-Yo-Jin-Bo: The Bodyguards

non-2006 releases:
-Ai Yori Aoshi
-Aveyond
-Exodus Guilty vol. 1: Present
-Hourglass of Summer
-Tea Society of a Witch
-Trace Memory

and though I had beaten Ever 17: Out of Infinity multiple times in 2005, in '06 I managed to get the true endings for everyone and the true final ending, which was amazing to say the least.  

Ever 17 notwithstanding, the best 2006 release I played was easily Yo-Jin-Bo.  But the best overall game I played in 2006 was Hourglass of Summer.  It got an Editor's Choice award from me.  I think Hourglass and Ever 17 are the only two games I've ever given Editor's Choice to.  

Honorable mention should go to the Exodus Guilty series.  Sure the gameplay is lacking in the US versions (the JP version is more interactive), but the storyline is probably the best storyline I've experienced in a video game.

Biggest disappointments for 2006 for me were Children of Mana, Contact, and Tales of Phantasia (I've not beaten it, but I have issues with this version.)  But the worst overall game I played in '06 was Ai Yori Aoshi.  Normally, I like the games Hirameki chooses to localize, but Ai Yori Aoshi was complete garbage.
5599  Media / Brush and Quill / Book Thread Continued on: December 30, 2006, 07:00:20 PM
I found Slaughterhouse 5 really boring.  I'm not a Vonnegut fan.  I've read some of his short stories and found them pretty meh.  

Anyway, I finally finished The Amber Spyglass, book 3 of His Dark Materials.  Man, that book was a chore to read.  It dragged a lot and I fast forwarded a lot just to get to the stuff I needed to understand the ending.  I usually NEVER do that and read books attentively all the way through.  

The Golden Compass was good, if a bit slow in the beginning.  

The Subtle Knife was excellent; easily the best book in the series.  

Either way, Will Parry and Iorek Byrnison are the coolest characters.  Will rocks!
5600  Media / Anime, TV, and Movies / Recently Viewed Movies on: December 30, 2006, 10:59:35 AM
And no one watched "A Christmas Story" during the holidays?  For shame, people.  One yardstick I measure Christmas by is not by how much I consumed, but by how many times I watched "A Christmas Story."  I saw it 4 times.  

And if you didn't watch it, you'll shoot your eye out. :P
5601  The Rest / General Discussions / Saddam Hussein Executed in Iraq on: December 30, 2006, 10:51:35 AM
I was actually more scared of his son Uday.  That guy was one of the sickest sadists to ever walk this Earth.  

Well, so Saddam's sons were killed in recent years and now dad's gone.

But just because he's dead does not mean a thing.  From the bowels of hatred can easily spring a new successor.  One man (and his sadistic sons) are dead, but the plight of the Middle East is far from over.  

If people want to sing "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead" and party like it's 1999, let them.  But personally, I don't think anything's ended.  Everything's still beginning.
5602  The Rest / General Discussions / 4# lanruoJ emaG on: December 27, 2006, 11:40:45 AM
I started Yo-Jin-Bo, a Hirameki digital novel that came out in October but I'm just getting around to now for review.  

So far, I'm liking it.
5603  The Rest / General Discussions / James Brown has left the building. on: December 25, 2006, 04:25:38 PM
James Brown is a musical legend.  So what if he did a lot of bad/disagreeable shit in his personal life?  Most legends have.  Name one legend who hasn't done bad shit in their lives.  

Remember, greatness never came to those who followed the rules.  

He was a visionary who revolutionized music.  He was an absolute perfectionist who put some of the strictest demands known to man on his bassists (I read an article in Bass Player magazine earlier this year about all of James Brown's bassists.)  

I'll bet Bootsy Collins is crying right now.  He was one of Brown's bassists and has become a legend in his own right.  

I have the utmost respect of the contributions James Brown has made to music.
5604  The Rest / General Discussions / Swag thread on: December 25, 2006, 04:19:52 PM
Quote from: "KeeperX"
Quote from: "Dincrest"
Rotosound strings for my bass


Roundwound or Flatwound?


Rounds.  They're the RS66 Nickels (not the steels.  I don't like steels.  Steels are too harsh on my fingers and frets.)  

I'm not a big fan of flats because they're high tension and really stiff.  I want to try Thomasik-Infeld Jazz flats since those flats are said to be low tension, but they're so damn expensive.  I refuse to pay $50 for a set of strings.    

I like using SIT Silencers pressurewounds (great compromise between round and flat) but I'm trying to get a more raw sound from my Warwick.  I've never tried Rotos before, and Rotos are that one string everyone has to try.
5605  The Rest / General Discussions / Happy Holidays/Merry Christmas on: December 25, 2006, 11:18:49 AM
I use Happy Holidays because to me it's convenient.  It's a catch all for Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year's, Posada, Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa, Festivus, and whatever else people decide to celebrate in December, regardless of what I think about it.    

I'm all about convenience, ease of use, stuff that makes my life easier/less complicated... I'm a lazy son of a submariner.  

But if someone says Merry Christmas or whatever else to me, I'm not going to bite their heads off or anything.  I'll just be happy that someone smiled and wished me well.
5606  The Rest / General Discussions / Swag thread on: December 25, 2006, 11:13:18 AM
Me am gotted:

The best present of all from Santa: a B in my multivariate regression course.  That class was evil.  The other best present I got was that my family is supportive of my choice to leave the PhD program in Ed Psych in favor of following my heart and going for an EdM with certification in school counseling.  I'm so excited about being a guidance counselor when I grow up.  

Santa rocks!

Material swag:
Sony CyberShot 7.2 megapixel digital camera
$100 Amex gift card
$150 cash
Perry Ellis sleepwear
Joseph Abboud shirt (for formal wear)
Rotosound strings for my bass
5607  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Dawn of Mana Impressions on: December 23, 2006, 06:01:55 PM
The ragdoll physics and ricocheting enemies and player sound a lot like combat in Children of Mana.
5608  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Dawn of Mana: Might not be an RPG? on: December 22, 2006, 07:20:40 PM
Quote from: "Professor Gast"
but at least you can't accuse the guy of not trying to be creative :P.


No doubt, but creativity isn't always the best thing in terms of public interest and business.  

Look at auto makers.  Chrysler is one of the more creative US marques, but they reinvent their vehicles too often.  Reinventing too much does not allow the consumers time to become familiar with the product.  On the other hand, GM almost never redesigns and their stuff always looks dated.  

Of course when you look at the human factor, creative individuals always want to try new things.  Like when popular bands play shows, the fans want to hear all the "old" stuff they're familiar with while the band is probably sick of playing that stuff after playing it at 100+ shows in a row and wants to play some fresher stuff... then the fans boo and hiss loudly because they're not hearing what they want to hear.  

In other words, it's important to look at things from the perspective of an artist AND a consumer.  And I'll be honest, I could care less about the artists' whims in the Mana series.  The games have all sucked since SD3.  I'm ranting purely as a consumer because I'm not getting what I want out of the commodity.

So normally, I'd just say "fuck it" and look for a new commodity to suit my whims.  But in this case, I had to revisit Mana since I volunteered to review Children of Mana for the website so some old disgruntledness reopened:P
5609  The Rest / General Discussions / 4# lanruoJ emaG on: December 22, 2006, 07:09:22 PM
12 hours into Children of Mana.  I'll hopefully be done with this soon so I can do the writeup for the site and start playing those Hirameki games I really want to play.
5610  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Dawn of Mana: Might not be an RPG? on: December 20, 2006, 11:08:04 PM
Quote from: "Fadedsun"
Can't square just stop trying to change the Mana series around so much?

They know what the fans want, just give it to us already!

They should just put a port of Secret of Mana on the DS with global wi fi. Everyone would love that.


I have to agree.  The Mana series has IMO gone to shit ever since Seiken Densetsu 3.  2 and 3 were amazing.  The team behind the Mana series really need to ponder the old adage "if it ain't broke, don't try to fix it."  Because they've been repeatedly fixing something that was never broken.  

I'll one up you and wishful think for not only a DS port of Secret of Mana (no 3D remake; keep it 2D) and bring Seiken Densetsu 3 to the US (again, in 2D.)  It's wishful thinking, but whatever.  

Legend of Mana was either innovative or clunky depending on your perspective.  I fall in the clunky camp.  

Sword of Mana was pretty and I liked that you could play the girl's storyline.  But the gameplay was clunky.  Good ending, though. (I watched the ending on YouTube.)    

Children of Mana?  Repetitive dungeon crawler with worse sprites than Sword of Mana... and it's on superior hardware!  The game's fun in the way that PSO was fun, but like PSO it doesn't live up to its namesake series.  In addition, the lack of full wi-fi support really hurts Children of Mana, since that game screams multiplayer.  

And now hearing that Dawn of Mana takes a page from Time Stalkers (one of the most reviled RPGs out there) and resets all your stats back to zero and takes away your weapon skills after each chapter?  No thanks.  If I earn something, I want to keep it.  

I have no idea what Square-Enix is trying to pull with this series.  It keeps badly reinventing itself into bigger and bigger piles of doo doo.  

The majesty of Seiken Densetsu 2 and 3 has been lost for years.  And it seems like Dawn of Mana may not be the beacon of hope Mana fans were hoping for.

I'm sure it will be a fun game for what it is, but it won't "be Mana."  To me, Seiken Densetsu 1-3 are butter and everything else in the Mana series is margarine.
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