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1  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: JRPGs are total shit, WRPGs are THE shit on: July 09, 2009, 06:06:37 PM
Irony: I started playing RPGs with AD&D circa 1980. I played it for about four years, then stopped. Stopped playing video games too. About seven years later, I ended up buying an SNES as part of a plan to establish credit, and I started to get back into gaming. Around that time, I bumped into an old friend, and I mentioned to him that I had just bought an SNES. He said, "Oh! Hey! You need to buy this game called Final Fantasy 2, it's so awesome! It's exactly like D&D! Remember D&D!?" So I did buy FF2. And I HATED it. Since he said it was "just like D&D", I assumed I'd be creating my own characters from scratch and be free to do whatever I wanted and go wherever I wanted, looking for quests and such. But no, I had to use their pre-made characters and I had to follow their story and go only where the plot dictated. It had abstract turn based combat, everything was based on numerical stats, and it was vaguely LotR-ish, but other than that... fleh. I hate hate hated it. But for whatever reason, I kept at it. Long story short, here I am almost 20 years later, and I can't stand WRPGs, most of which offer all of the D&D elements I thought FFIV was so sorely lacking back then. WoW and Elder Scroll, ugh, they seem so tired and old fashioned to me now. And all I can think about is FFXIII. Yep. Irony.
2  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Final Fantasy XIII release date revealed!!! on: January 21, 2009, 02:59:30 PM
All this news did for me was remind of why I started importing Japanese games 13 years ago. I was never going to wait for the NA release anyway, **** that noise.
3  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Chrono Trigger DS on: January 07, 2009, 08:22:56 PM
I was going to pick this up, until I saw that it was $40...
I guess I can justify $40 for the FF3 and 4 remakes, as they were remade...CT DS is basically a port with a new dungeon or two...come on SE, but I guess I can't blame them since they'll sell a boatload at that price.

Bearing in mind that it was $80 when it was released in 1995, I don't have a huge problem w/ the $40 price tag. IMO it's worth it just to have a near pixel-perfect portable version of CT.
4  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: New FFXIII & Versus Scans on: January 07, 2009, 05:09:28 PM
Versus on the other hand looks like a wank-fest for bishonen fangirls.

I couldn't agree more. Ever since the games were announced, it's seemed to me that there always been more excitement about Versus than FFXIII. And all I can think is "Man, there must be even more FF fangirls than I thought..."
5  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Did FFVII ruin RPGs on: January 02, 2009, 04:18:19 PM
You DO realise Final Fantasy IS the mainstream of RPGs yes? :P

Actually, this is kind of bugging me in that it wasn't really trying to be hip until recently, either with X or VIII.

I don't see it that way. Taken in context, FF was always "trying to be hip." The whole thing started with D&D, which believe it or not was "hip" once upon a time. In the late 70s and into the early 80s, there was this whole thing where everyone was going to Renaissance faires, The Hobbit cartoon was on TV, the Ralph Bakshi LotR animated feature was in theaters, everyone was into the "medieval fantasy" thing. It was a fad, it was definitely hip. D&D became huge, and it spawned the first RPG video games like Wizardry and Ultima. Dragon Quest didn't suddenly appear out of nowhere, it was capitalizing on the risiing popularity of medieval fantasy RPG PC games in Japan. And Final Fantasy capitalized on the rising popularity of Dragon Quest. They might not have seemed to be hip outside of Japan at the time, but they were without a doubt "trying to be hip". Ironically, I'd have to say VIII and X deserve credit for going off into new directions rather than play it safe.
6  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Did FFVII ruin RPGs on: December 30, 2008, 01:54:57 AM
Wow, this is incredibly nostalgic for me. Before rpgfan.com, there was lunar.net. And as I recall the first time I came to the lunar.net forum was in late 1997 or early 1998, and the first thread I posted in was something like "Is FFVII ruining RPGs?" ^_^

Speaking as someone who's been part of the RPG community since AD&D first became a fad (yes, I'm that goddamn old) and who has been an FF fan since FFIV in early 1992, I will say this- if FFVII ruined anything, it was the fanbase. And if I may point the finger of blame, it wasn't the "n00bs" who were at fault. It was us old school fans.

I saw some seriously pathetic, immature ridiuclous b.s. go down shortly after FFVII came out in North America. From where I was standing everything seemed was hunky-dory prior to that. You had your Nintendo diehards who worshiped Dragon Warrior and Final Fantasy, and then there were Sega fanatics who insisted that Phantasy Star and Lunar were the best of the genre. I honestly don't remember any in-fighting or bickering over whether FFIV was still better than FFVI or anything like that. The FF/RPG fanbase was small, tightly knit, and got along great. When FFVII was first announced, everyone was happy as pigs in shit. When it was released in Japan in early 1997, a bunch of imported it and were absolutely blown away, overjoyed at how new and fresh it was. I suppose there must have been some griping from a few who couldn't get into the new "modern" setting and style, as opposed to the pseudo-medieval style of the previous FFs. But by and large, it seemed like virtually everyone in the FF fanbase had a positive attitude towards FFVII.

Months later, FFVII was finally released in North America, and it was an overnight sensation. The FF fanbase EXPLODED at a geometric rate on a daily basis. This is when the trouble started. A lot of the old school fans weren't happy that all of a sudden their private little jacuzzi was crowded with newbie fans who had never played an RPG before. And rather than welcome them and try to offer advice or whatever, they immediately tried to drive them away. "You think FFVII is great? Well how would you know, you've never even played an RPG before. You have no idea if it's great or not, you just like it because of the commerical that shows a bunch of fancy CG FMV that has nothing to do with the game. FFVII actually sucks. FFIV and FFVI were the good FFs, but you never played them because you were too busy playing stupid mindless games like Mortal Kombat II or Contra or whatever. Get out of here, n00b! Go play Goldeneye!" I knew people who had loved FFVII when they played it as an import and said it was the best FF so far, the best RPG so far, suddenly do a 180 degree turn about a month after the English version came out and said it was complete crap and an insult to FF. I was pretty disgusted and disillusioned in my fellow fans.

For all of FFVII's success, the backlash that started back then never really stopped. It continues today. And I've never been able to take it seriously. Yeah, FFVII is definitely guilty of being overrated by over zealous fans, but it seems to me that that all started as a reaction against the backlash. Talk about a vicious cycle.

Anyway, to this day I still think that FFVII is great, even if it hasn't aged gracefully. It really didn't bring anything new to the table in terms of gameplay, but it definitely revolutionized the presentation. Unfortunately that also gave rise to the whole "Graphics don't matter!" attitude, which I've always found to be incredibly stupid. It becomes more and more obvious every day that more and more of today's RPG fans started long after FFVII came out. Just the other day I saw someone claiming that FFVII was never considered to have great graphics, even when it was new. I told them that in its day, FFVII was known for being a graphics showcase thanks to its pre-rendered backgrounds, CG cutscenes, spell special effects, summons, etc. They said "Pre-rendered graphics?! Since when was that anything to brag about?!" Priceless.
7  Media / Single-Player RPGs / new FFXIII trailer on: January 16, 2008, 02:54:06 PM
Wow, after all this time, I never would have expected to see even this low level of excitement for an upcoming FF. Warms the cockles of my heart. =P I'm excited as hell, but that's just par for the course for me. Ever since FFVI came out, I'm been a helpless blob of fanboy putty in FF's hands. I go nuts for every "proper" FF in the series. I tend to ignore all of the spin-offs, including FFX-2. I think FFXIII looks fantastic, and I love the character designs so far. Not too bizarre, not too generic. If Mr. 33cm looks like anyone, to me it would be a cross between Seifer and... I dunno, Barret? Lightning's design screams "HEROINE" to me. Too NPC-like? Hair too washed out? *scratches head* If you say so, I guess. But like with FFVIII, what's really drawing me to FFXIII is the world. What little I've seen of it and what I've read about Pulse vs. Cocoon is really interesting to me.

FFvsXIII, so far that isn't doing anything for me. Yeah yeah, very dark, very bleak, brooding bad ass lead character. Yawn. But I'm sure I'll get more excited about it once FFXIII is out of the way. I can only really get hyped about one FF at a time.

Hidoshi- so you're a character designer. I have to say, you remind me of my brother in law; he's a professional editor. And whenever we watch anything on TV with him in the room, he sits there and provides constant and endless criticism of whatever happens to be on the screen at any given moment, and none of us "lay persons" have any idea WTF he's talking about. He sees things that no "normal" person would ever notice in a million years. To his credit, he's won a lot of awards so I suppose he earned it. If I may ask, which characters have you designed?
8  Media / The Soundroom / Video game 'zines. on: January 08, 2007, 06:03:53 PM
Quote from: "Britton"
I dug that copy of Blip i have out. It's a No. 1 issue, released in '83.

Ha ha, mine's older! =P
9  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Final Fantasy VI Advance on: January 06, 2007, 03:30:35 AM
FFVI had arguably the best graphics of any SNES game (because a lot of them were actually digitial scans of painted artwork) but then just a few weeks later Donkey Kong Country was released, with graphics entirely composed of SGI pre-rendered 3D images, and suddenly FFVI's awesome visuals were forgotten.
10  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Revisiting FF7 on: January 06, 2007, 03:09:40 AM
to the best of my knowledge, barret's ebonics weren't present in the original version of the game and only added by the translators in the english script.

That's true. In the original Japanese script, Barret just "talked tough". He used the lowest level of politeness, in almost all situations, which is what virtually all "tough guy" type characters do in Japanese games and anime etc. You could take lines from the Japanese dialogue of Barret, Cid, Zell from FFVIII, Sabin from FFVI, Edge from FFIV, Waka from FFX, Samanosuke from Rurouni Kenshin, Bart from Xenogears and mix them all up and it'd be almost impossible to tell which lines went with which character, unless you knew their dialogue by heart. The ebonics was just another dumb idea from the translators at Sony. And for the record, tons of people have complained about it.

In a similar situation, Laguna in FFVIII comes off as a dumb airhead in the English version. In Japanese, he just sounds relaxed and informal, not stupid. Yet another misguided translation decision.
11  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Revisiting FF7 on: January 06, 2007, 02:38:43 AM
Nobody complained about Barret? Are you kidding?
12  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Revisiting FF7 on: January 05, 2007, 08:33:25 PM
So, why haven't some purists stepped in to take on the project of re-translating the Japanese version?

Actually, there was such a project going on at RPGamer years ago. But almost immediately people noticed that the re-translation seemed like little more than a slight re-wording of the official translation, there was virtually no difference at all. So the project died.
13  Media / The Soundroom / Video game 'zines. on: January 05, 2007, 03:29:56 PM
I never heard of Blip. I thought the first video game magazine was Electronic Games, no relation to Electronic Gaming Monthly which started close to 10 years later. The first issue came out sometime in 1981 and I convinced my mom to get me a subscription. I still remember the cover of the first issue, it was a photo of a model wearing tight Jordache jeans playing a Centipede arcade game. A couple of years later they changed their name to Computer Games or something and then after a few issues they just disappeared. I had every issue, and as I recall I threw them all away years ago when my parents moved and I had to get all of my old crap out of their garage. Damn it.

My favorite was Next Generation, which started in 1994 to cover the Jaguar, 3DO, the then-upcoming Saturn and Playstation... They were great, setting out to be the first gaming magazine that was truly aimed at adults. But after a few years they went downhill and they became almost as lame as GamePro or whatever. They changed their name to NextGen and then thankfully they died. At that point I switched to EGM and I've been getting it ever since, though for the last few years I've often wondered why I bother.
14  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Revisiting FF7 on: January 05, 2007, 01:43:11 PM
Ah, this brings back memories... I remember the first time I came to Lunar.net, FFVII had just come out and the forum was essentially just a huge free for all where people were listing a myriad of reasons why FFVII sucked donkey balls and why Lunar should rightfully be the most popular RPG in the world instead. Good times! =P

i say this because the game does a piss-poor job of explaining various aspects of the plot to you.

That actually isn't because of the translation. The original Japanese version of the script was just as vague on important things like the origin of Jenova, Sephiroth, Cloud's history, the Cetra, etc. The story is told in way where the player needs to put some effort into sifting through misinformation to find the truth. If you notice, "misinformation" is sort of a theme in the story. Almost every character believes something that turns out to be false.

Cloud believes he was in Soldier.
Aeris believes her white materia is useless.
Tifa believes Cloud wasn't in Nibelheim five years ago.
Red XIII believes his father was a coward.
Cid believes Sheila ruined his life.

Some of them are kinda iffy...

Barret believes terrorism is justified.
Yuffie believes stealing is OK.
Cait Sith believes... eh, I got nothing. =P

Anyway, this is a recurring thing in the story. Gast believed Jenova was a Cetra, and it wasn't until Ifalna set him straight that he realized that Jenova was actually an alien. Then years later, Sephiroth finds Gasts old notes which are almost pure misinformation, and he comes to believe that he himself is a Cetra too. To reach the truth, the player has to stumble across the old videos of Gast and Ifalna in Icicle Town, and not everyone finds this key information. This has lead to tons of confusion over the years. Bad decision on the part of Square? Maybe.

(BTW Another good one is that Hojo believed Cloud was the failure in the Jenova project, when actually he was the one and only success.)

Most of the shoddy translation errors occur in unimportant scenes like "So that's how I'll fool them." "So that's how you fooled them." "Do, now what?" "Off course!" etc. The translation was done by a team of people at Sony. The leader of the team translated all of the key plot exposition scenes and he did a fine job, relative to the original script.

There is one thing they did in the translation that was flat out a stupid decision; they changed "Sephiroth copy" to "Sephiroth clone." And technically, it wasn't even a "translation" issue, because the word "copy" was already an English loan word in the Japanese script. They just arbitrarily decided that they didn't like the word copy and changed it to clone, even though a clone is a very specific thing and none of the subjects in the experiment were clones in any correct sense of the word.

All in all, I think FFVII is unfairly judged on both sides of the spectrum. On one hand you have retarded fanboys who seem to honestly believe it's the best game, the best THING ever created by mankind and it can never be surpassed or equalled. On the other hand FFVII is an easy target for a lot of undue criticism from people who are irritated by FFVII's popularity and think lesser games don't get a fair shake because of it. Obviously, I happen to think FFVII is a very good game. I think a lot more work went into the writing of the story than a lot of people realize or give it credit for.

The comments about the dialogue seem pretty nit-picky to me. Personally I think the dialogue from the first hour of the game comes off as far more natural and better written than Woolsey's FFVI dialogue, which someone described it as "lively". To me it generally comes off as "Saturday morning cartoony." =P
15  Media / The Soundroom / Song on FFV OST, "Harvest", DRIVING ME CRAZY on: January 05, 2007, 01:55:41 AM
My girlfriend is playing FFV Advance a few feet away from me. This song started playing, and it was instantly totally familiar to me, even though I'm not very familiar with FFV. I do own the OST though, so I went through the songs and it's called Harvest. She said it's the music that plays when you're in Kelb.

The thing is, I'm almost positive there's a Mitsuda song that sounds exactly like it. Something from the Xenogears OST or Chrono Cross OST, but I can't figure out what it is.

Does anyone have any idea of what I'm thinking of? It's really driving me nuts!
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