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Congratulations to Andrew Barker! RPGfan Editor of the Year and now Chief News Editor!
340914 Posts in 13932 Topics by 2222 Members
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5611  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.
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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
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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."
5612  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.
5613  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.
5614  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.
5615  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.
5616  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?"
5617  The Rest / General Discussions / GaGaGame Journal #5 on: June 05, 2007, 10:58:52 PM
Odin Sphere- I'm still in Cornelius' quest; I'm at the part where he's about to go to the fire kingdom.  His story seems to be faster going than Gwendolyn's tale and IMO more enjoyable.  That guy can bulldoze his way through throngs of baddies like mad; he's definitely more suited to my playing style.  

I'm going to need to make a whole bunch of praline chocolates for upcoming boss battles since with a Moon Pendant, my level 24 Cornelius has 641 HP (583 without the Moon Pendant.)  

I'm looking forward to seeing how Cornelius' tale ends.
5618  The Rest / General Discussions / GaGaGame Journal #5 on: June 04, 2007, 07:19:54 PM
The dating sim/love adventure parody in Super Paper Mario was awesome.

Anyway, in Odin Sphere I completed Gwendolyn's storyline and got past the first boss in Cornelius' storyline.  I prefer the way Cornelius handles.  His spin attack is awesome.  I feel like I have more control over it than I did with Gwen's flying leap attack.
5619  The Rest / General Discussions / Where did the effeminate male look come from in Japan? on: June 04, 2007, 07:13:01 PM
...in many cultures, for some doggone reason women were not allowed to act in stage dramas.  In Shakespeare's times, all the womens parts were played by young men and boys.  Yeah, imagine the first showing of Romeo and Juliet...

However in more modern times, androgyny seems to impart an air of mystery and a "huh?" factor.  Whether it's David Bowie, Boy George, or Marilyn Manson.  The whole androgynous male appearing akin to a "beautiful" woman is something that will almost always raise an eyebrow.

Even in ancient Indian art, it was not uncommon for the male Hindu gods (and even some male humans) to be drawn with long hair, lipstick, and adorned with jewels.  It's been suggested that the Japanese art took a cue from that so while the Japanese went ga-ga over the bishounen, Indian art mostly abandoned that in favor of "manly" looking men.  Japanese culture has had a fascination with Indian culture for a long time (and Indian culture is much older), so it's not too far off to suggest that they borrowed a few things here and there.
5620  The Rest / General Discussions / Where did the effeminate male look come from in Japan? on: June 04, 2007, 03:43:02 PM
I looked up bishounen in wikipedia and I'm sure doing searches using the term bishounen may find you more comprehensive information.  

Apparently, there is an art history context presenting males as very beautiful, almost like angels.  

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bishounen

The idea of the "beautiful man" is not exclusive to Japanese culture, though.  In Greek historical culture/mythology, beautiful young boys were desirable.  I believe even Hercules had a golden-locked young boy he spent quality time with.  And I don't think I need to mention glam rock.
5621  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Greatest line in an RPG ever! on: June 03, 2007, 11:22:15 PM
You could do an entire thread of favorite Ryudo quotes.  My favorite Ryudo quotes were "Princess, the powers of darkness aren't coming this way to tell us about the neighborhood bake sale.  We have to get out of here NOW!" and "What's up with you and this 'cleansing' thing?  Somehow I doubt your soldiers are carrying soap and bubble bath under their armor."  

I'm generally not a big fan of the Grandia series (the battle engine in the Grandia games divine; everything else is mediocre at best) but II was easily IMO the best Grandia game and Ryudo did have some zingers.  I'm with you Dice in the fact that Ryudo stopped being interesting when he stopped being a jackass and became a nice guy.  

But my favorite quotes from games under RPGfan's coverage come not from RPGs, but from graphic adventures.  One quote I found amusing in The Longest Journey and still find amusing is when you point to a book on April's desk and she says "I'm part of the should be reading more but [don't really care] generation.  We embrace our illiteracy."  The part in brackets is one I can't remember verbatim.  Some of The Longest Journey outtakes are priceless, especially the one where Abnaxus' voice actor says "...and our three female children, Abratha, Ablexe, and oh you've got to be kidding."  

But my favorite quote has to be from Grim Fandango when Glottis gets some sweet hydraulics for the car and says, "Manny until now we scraped along the ground like rats.  But from now on, we soar... like eagles.  Yeah, like eagles... on POGO STICKS!!!!!"  

And another Glottis quote I use when interacting with my friends' cats, especially when they meow to me, is "is that you kitty?  Don't talk kittty.  Juuuuuuuust ruuuuuuuuuuun."  It's not a clever, deep, or profound quote by any stretch, but I like it because it's one I actually use and people think its funny when I say that to their cats in the Glottis voice.  No, they don't know the video game or anything, but it's too silly for them not to laugh.

EDIT: An RPG quote that I thought was awesome but never even made it into the game (though it was featured prominently in the promo soundtrack CD) was when Kyleen from Thousand Arms says, "Are we going to do anything fun, or are you just going to stand there with your thumb up your butt?"
5622  Media / The Soundroom / The Beatles on: June 02, 2007, 05:42:49 PM
Tangent:  That brings up one reason I didn't work out with my old band.  They all creamed their pants over Oasis and I hate Oasis with a passion.  I always thought they were talentless, overrated hacks who wrote shit songs and the only thing they were good for was to point and laugh at them for beating each other up.  I with the brothers had just killed each other off and spared us from the crap that is Oasis.

Worst fucking band ever.  

Money is not the sole driving factor of musicians.  The Beatles never set out to make money, change the world, or revolutionize music.  They just wrote the music they believed in and the rest followed suit.  If you go to local venues (especially basement shows) to see local bands play, most of them are all about playing the music they believe in.  Money's just a nice bonus.  Touring bands who play underground are lucky if they even get some gas money from a basement gig.  But they still do it because they love to play.  

Money IS howere, the sole driving factor of major record labels, radio stations, and channels like MTV.  Why do you think there are so many bands signed to majors that all look and sound the same?  Because it's what's trendy and what's trendy sells.  With record labels, it's all about looking good with a guitar rather than being able to actually play.
5623  Media / Anime, TV, and Movies / Anime/Manga Journal on: June 02, 2007, 05:31:53 PM
I finally finished watching Noir.  Episodes 20-26 were some of the most edge-of-my-seat anime I've ever seen.  The series always kept me in the hotseat waiting to see how things would resolve themselves at the end and the ending was at once satisfying yet also not happy.  

Many anime endings leave me feeling cheated or virtually "blue balled" if you don't mind me being crass.  But not Noir.  That alone earns is serious points in my book.  

I'm now ready to say that Noir is my favorite anime series, because unlike other "favorite" series, I want to put the first volume back in and watch it all over again.  Other series I've seen where I was like "whoa that was awesome" I didn't want to go back and do it all over again.  

Everything about that series was perfect for me.  The plot was solid and easy to follow, but was not a shallow throwaway plot either.  The pacing was absolutely perfect and kept me interested and compelled from beginning to end.  If it had been paced any faster, I'd have been like "huh, what just happened?" I personally think that the people who say Noir is slow paced or boring have ADD or something, because I didn't find the pacing slow or boring at all.  In fact, I found some of the quieter moments in the series the most interesting, for example
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the episode with Kirika and the painter and where Kirika had to relearn that being marked for death means that getting close to people and having any semblance of a normal life is a no go.  And Kirika always longed for some sense of normalcy.
 The visuals were terrific (Mireille is still the most gorgeous anime character I've ever laid eyes on), and the music was always awesome.  

If there was one thing this anime had, it was style.  I loved how they only showed blood selectively otherwise it'd have been more splatter than art.  

I definitely want to check out the other BeeTrain girls with guns anime.  I believe the Madlax boxset's coming out later in the year and I look forward to the US release of El Cazador de la Bruja.  I've heard mixed things about Madlax, but so far I've heard good things about El Cazador..

Still, my favorite girls with guns manga will always be Gunsmith Cats.  Bean Bandit's f'n awesome.
5624  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Which Shin Megami Tensei & Devil Summoner Games in US? on: June 02, 2007, 08:07:45 AM
Another one was Revelations: The Demon Slayer on Game Boy color.  That game wasn't very good, though.  I've heard other Last Bible games were better, but those stayed in Japan.
5625  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm on: May 31, 2007, 05:24:04 PM
In looking at our own reviews and stuff for it, even our resident Gust-lover Pat/Ramza didn't like Atelier Iris 3 as much as the other 2 or Ar Tonelico.  

One thing to note about the Atelier series, be it Atelier Marie, Elie, Lise, whatever, is that they're more driven by the alchemic gameplay and have rather bare-bones plotlines.  Atelier Iris was the first of the Atelier games to actually add meat and depth to the storyline.  Atelier Iris 2 had a deeper storyline than its predecessor (even if the characters were not quite as endearing.)  But it seems Atelier Iris 3 is veering back to the more alchemy/less story paradigm.  

But that may not be a bad thing for fans.  Speaking purely for myself, in Atelier Iris 1, I spent more time doing alchemy/item creation than actually advancing the plot.
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