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334830 Posts in 13711 Topics by 2200 Members
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1  Media / The Soundroom / Metalheads = smart lol on: April 06, 2007, 09:36:59 AM
I've read several well-researched articles and books that pretty much state that a large part of an individual's taste in music is determined by what they are exposed to early in life.

Also, a sign of musical mental maturity is a kind of cross genre acceptance; there are of course going to be certain types of music that you prefer to listen to above any others, as well as those you will never like at all no matter how much you hear them, but I think having a "large musical palate" is a good indication of mental development and culture.  For example, virtually every "popular" musical form that developed during the hey-day of so-called classical music was encorporated in some form or another into "serious" classical pieces almost instantly.  The fact is, most "classical" composers weren't elitists; they appreciated many different genres of music;   anyone with even a limited knowledge of the Western musical tradition would be aware of this.

...and I think you'll find that many if not most of the greatest figures in any musical genre are fans of more than just their own limited style of music; heck, I even once read an interview with Metallica where they said something to the effect that without the musical innovations of Richard Wagner, heavy metal wouldn't even exist...interesting thought.
2  Media / Brush and Quill / Book Thread Continued on: April 03, 2007, 10:32:15 PM
I put all the books I was reading before on hiatus, since I felt the strong urge to reread:

Pushkin's complete prose fiction
A few of my favorite short stories by E.T.A. Hoffmann
Dostoyevsky's Demons (commonly called The Possessed)
Chekhov's short stories (well, not ALL of them...there are just too damn many...just my favorites)

Also reading for the first time:
Goetz von Berlichingen by Goethe
Quite a few short works that I have never read by Tolstoy (along with a few of my old favorites)

On the horizon:

Dance, Dance, Dance by Haruki Murakami (which is the only one of his fictional works available in English that I have not yet read at least once)
The Red and the Black by Stendhal
The Wild Ass's Skin by Balzac
This really thick anthology of Turgenev's works that I checked out of the library
What is the What by Dave Eggers


And yeah, I really do read that many books at once; a chapter or two in one book, then move on to a few sections of other works before I come back.  Yes, it's very inefficient, but it's how I like to read.
3  The Rest / General Discussions / Tragicomic: 1up feature on video game stories on: April 01, 2007, 08:33:37 AM
Ah, it's refreshing to see a topic where I don't have to say much of anything at all, since everything I WOULD have said has already been well-stated by several people (several of those posts (as well as certain parts of the original article) sound EXACTLY like posts I've made on other message boards). Kudos!  But, just for the Hell of it, I'm going to respond with something anyways:

As one gifted (or cursed) with a highly analytical mind, I think it is important to point out that just because a story is entertaining or memorable doesn't mean it NECESSARILY succeeds aesthetically.  When people refer to a game's "story", they almost invariably are using the word "story" to mean more than just "the content of the plot"; they are also implictly referencing strength of characterization, thematic concerns and presentation, tone and atmosphere, structural balance, etc. whether they are aware of it or not.  When evaluating a game's story by aesthetic standards, all of these elements have to be considered.

One area where the article was off-base was comparing a melodramatic scene in FFVI to a Harlequin romance...as if that was what all melodrama ammounted to from a literary standpoint.  This is BS.  An absolutely ENORMOUS number of novelists considered to be literary masters dealt almost exclusively with the melodramatic plot: Dickens, Dostoyevsky, Hugo, etc.  The content of the plot, in literature anyway, is mainly a springboard for two things: the author's development of the novel's themes and characters, and...well, you have to have SOMETHING to write about....

...man, I got up too early...if anyone reads this, sorry for not measuring up to my usual level of relevance and coherence.
4  Media / Single-Player RPGs / A New FF game to be announced...? on: March 31, 2007, 05:38:44 PM
Quote from: "Thoren"
wow. The displeasment with FFXII wasn't just because they were "following the tradition" of making a new battle system each game, it was because they changed it so drastically. Its true there's a difference in the battle system with each game, but they've always stayed true to the turn based style.

I know you can slow FFXII's Battle system down to make it sluggish, with freezing between each command to strategize, but if you use gambits and have it at full speed with Battle Mode Active, it's actually a really well made system. The problem is that it just doesn't feel like a traditional Final Fantasy, aka turn based with a twist.


I don't know if you were responding to my post or not, but in case you were:

1) I made none of the points that you are attempting to refute in my post; you either misread what I did write, or are attempting to read between the lines.  I also made ZERO references to a specific FF title, but was rather making my point as broad as possible.

[Edit: I don't think that the general thesis of this following argument is that far off base, but after doing some research, I stand corrected on several points that I make; I won't say what they are, but rather leave it to my fellow posters to mock my erroneous claims.]
2) I'm not sure if you intend 'turn based' to mean what it is commonly accepted to mean, or if you are using a different defintion.  By the standard definition, only FFI, FFII, and FFIII are turn-based.  If you broaded the defintion to mean that the game pauses whenever it is a players turn to act, then you can include FFX as well.  In FFIV-FFIX, the battle system is termed active time battle, and basically each character gets to input commands when their action timer reaches zero; you could technically broaden the scope of the "turn-based" definition to encorporate these battle systems as well, but this causes a problem with your argument.  With the definition of "turn-based" stretched to its limit, how is FFXII any less turn based than FFIV-IX?  Sure, you can input commands at any time, but each action still involves an action timer to ensure that the battle's input system is not exploited...thus, the characters in FFXII have "turns" as well.  For all practical purposes, the ONLY significant difference in the base battle system is the fact that the characters auto-attack unless alternative commands are given...nevertheless, the auto-attacking is still limited to the characters taking turns of a sort.  I am not a FFXII fan, but nor am I a detractor; regardless of whether one likes or dislikes the battle system of FFXII or not, in all fairness, the actual battle system is as big a deviation from the "FF norm" (if there truly can be said to be such a thing) as, say, Draw/Junction/G.F. was in FFVIII.

There is nothing wrong with liking or disliking ANY FF game for any reason; disliking FFXII because of the battle system is perfectly all right, but claiming that it deviates from the "FF norm" is a losing argument.

[Edit: Losing argument? Hah! I lose the argument, regardless of whether my conclusion is right or wrong, because according to SE, my definitions of their battle systems are not entirely accurate....sorry for wasting everyone's time on point #2.]
5  Media / Single-Player RPGs / A New FF game to be announced...? on: March 31, 2007, 02:40:51 PM
Why is it that most people say things like: "[Relatively recent FF game] had an awful battle system. They should make a new game with FF[insert number here]'s battle system."

...or maybe...they could do something NEW?  You know, like virtually every FF since the very beginning HAS done?

I mean, part of trying something new means that, yes, it may not work as well as what has come before, but considering that practically every FF makes significant gameplay changes, why should the quality of FF[r] have anything to do with ones expectations for the quality of FF[r+1], FF[r+2],...,FF[infinity]?

Simply put, every FF tries to do something new, there is absolutely NO precedent for them retrofitting a new game with an older battle system.

Now, coming around to remakes: I can understand maybe tweaking the more outdated FFs' battle systems, but encorporating the battle system of a completely different FF into a remake seems to me, well, stupid.  If they remade every FF in the next few years, and overhauled each one to have the battle system of FF[enter your favorite number here], congratulations...now you have every FF playing like your favorite one.  Call me a purist, but I don't really think that this is a good idea...at all....
6  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Cutesy-ness on: March 31, 2007, 02:24:12 PM
Macross wannabes? LOL.

I mean, I see your point, but Haruhiko Mikimoto's artwork is nowhere NEAR as bad as the Castlevania DS artwork.

Here is an example of Mikimoto's Macross art:

If you think that this is not representative of his typical art, do a google image search with his name.

Even though his characters have "anime faces" his overall art style is much more in common with Ayami Kojima's than it is with whoever did the CV DS games.
7  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Parody classic moments from JRPG history! on: March 31, 2007, 01:39:58 AM
I doubt anyone will bite, but nevertheless....

This is a thread where you can mock your favorite (or least favorite) JRPG scenes.  Be funny, scathing, thought-provoking, amusing, any and all of the above, whatever.

Also, to prevent spoilers please put your parody in code with the name of the game before the start of the coded section.

Example:

Xenogears:
Code:
Grahf: Fei! I am your father! ...and your old mentor! ...and you, from a previous life!

Fei: That's not true! That's IMPOSSIBLE!

Grahf: Search your feelings! You KNOW it to be true!

Fei: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

(Fei runs out of breath and starts breathing heavily; long silence)

Fei: Um, Grahf...er, Dad...man, this is awkward...uhhhhhhh, should I call you: ...me?

Lacan: You can call me Lacan.

Fei: ...okay...er...Lacan?

Lacan: Yes?

Fei: This is kind of a lot to take in at once, you know?

Lacan: (shrugs) I guess.

Fei: ...can you answer me just one question?

Lacan: Sure.

Fei: You revealing your true...uh...identities...uhhhhhh....

Lacan: Go on.

Fei: Is that...like...one of those really cool plot twists in stories and stuff...where you're like: "Oh...My...God!  I totally didn't see that coming!"

Lacan: I suppose you could say that.

Fei: Well, you see...part of me wants to say that...and then part of me wants to say: "This is the most retarded thing I have ever heard."

Lacan: What did you just say?

Fei: I'm asking you...is this cool...or just stupid?



NOTE: Fei's use of the word "retarded" is immature and offensive.  As punishment for this faux pas, he will be forced to learn his final deathblows at a point in the game in which out-of-Gear combat is completely useless.


*sigh* Hopefully, I'll get a response....

*crosses fingers*
8  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Cutesy-ness on: March 31, 2007, 01:31:52 AM
Ayami Kojima is the ONLY Castlevania artist as far as I'm concerned.  The new art doesn't look like Castlevania at all.
9  Media / Single-Player RPGs / A New FF game to be announced...? on: March 30, 2007, 09:05:07 PM
Quote from: "Sapphire_Fate"
Quote from: "Eusis"
Quote from: "Sapphire_Fate"
Good god no. Don't bring back Gambits. ._.

That was one of the best ideas for AI ever. Unless you seriously prefer selecting 'OFFENSIVE' and having them defend all the time or similar stupidity. I can see though not wanting the same battle system, but of all the parts to reuse Gambits have to be.

I'm not going to go into it, because there's too many people that like XII here. I'll just say that as far as 3-person battling goes, I prefer the system in Granado Espada better. Take that as you will.


Not trying to beat a dead horse here, but you seem to be getting Gambits and ADB (active dimension battle) confused.  ADB is the battle-system used in FFXII, whereas Gambits were the completely optional ability to have characters perform actions automatically when certain conditions were met.  It should have nothing to do with whether people like FFXII or not.  A completely optional gameplay element shouldn't be that big a deal to anyone.
10  Media / Single-Player RPGs / A New FF game to be announced...? on: March 30, 2007, 08:37:20 PM
I'm not really sure what the problem people have with Gambits is.  I mean, its a completely optional feature; no one has a gun to your head saying "use the f***ing gambits!!"  I personally never used them, and didn't find their presence as a potential option disturbing in the least.
11  Media / Brush and Quill / Book Thread Continued on: March 30, 2007, 07:17:18 PM
Nothing wrong with liking Lemony Snicket!  I took the time to read the first 5 books about a year or two ago, and I thoroughly enjoyed them.  One of these days I'll finish the series, but I have SO many books on my agenda, it's not even funny.

So if anyone gives you crap about liking A Series of Unfortunate Events, just tell them that you know of a guy who prefers 19th Century Russian fiction to just about anything...and even HE says Lemony Snicket rocks.  (Hmm, now that I think about it, there is a certain grotesque humor to the books that reminds me of Gogol, and the overriding bleak fatalism definitely has a Russian character to it....lol)
12  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Great pretentious crap sequels. on: March 30, 2007, 04:22:58 PM
Quote from: "Leyviur"
Then this completely negates your earlier argument of CC's 'stupid philosophy' because by your definition, 99% of every story in existence has 'stupid philosophy' as well.


I'm not sure if this was directed at me or not, but if it is, please quote the sections of my earlier posts that cause a contradiction with my later posts.  I do have a tendency to argue both sides of an argument with myself, and there have been quite a few times that I have expressed seemingly contrary opinions due to the fact that I do not find all disagreeing viewpoints to be necessarily mutally exclusive.  Incidentally, when presenting a viewpoint, it is pretty much common practice to act as if one is correct in his or her analysis, but this doesn't necessarily mean that those opinions are held as strongly as they are presented.  Very few of my personal beliefs and opinions are "set in stone," and one of the principal reasons I enjoy discussions of any sort is to refine my own ideas.  There is an expression, "Gold fears no fire," which basically means, since fire not only melts gold but also removes impurities, that one should not fear adversity, as it not only damages, but also refines.  I personally think ideas are like this; every idea should be challenged, so that the idea can either be refined or discarded for a better idea.

Try to name a great thinker who wasn't wrong about SOMETHING (I don't think it can be done)...and then consider: these great thinkers are the best minds that humanity has to offer...o.O!
13  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Great pretentious crap sequels. on: March 30, 2007, 12:48:33 PM
Um, every story that involves humans pertains to "the human condition" in some way, however small.  To be sure, XG and XS are more directly and thoroughly concerned with "the human condition" than CT and CC are.  Nevertheless, CT and CC are more relevant to "the human condition" than say, Mario Bros. ("If someone you know is in trouble, you should save her") or a Steven Segal movie ("If you need to accomplish a goal, you should kick a lot of people's asses").  And remember, just because something pertains to  "the human condition" doesn't mean that its message regarding humanity is intelligent, profound, or even remotely relevant to the real world.  For example, I could say: "The best way to improve humanity's emotional well-being is to stop killing each other and instead concentrate on wiping out endangered species."  This statement pertains to "the human condition" as well, but it's so wrong as to be offensive to the mind.

All I'm saying is: 1) EVERY story has a message, no matter how banal, erroneous, or stupid it may be, and 2) if the story involves humanity in ANY way (whether it involves humans, anthropomorphic animals, aliens who pretty much act identical to humans, etc.), it pertains in some way to the "human condition."
14  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Great pretentious crap sequels. on: March 30, 2007, 02:39:21 AM
Quote from: "Tria"
I despise how [just about every Japanese RPG...period] make themsel[f] out to be more important and thought-provoking than they actually are.


Fixed.




Don't get me wrong, I love JRPGs with a passion...but honestly, none of them are really THAT deep, not even the ones that are commonly percieved to be intellectually engaging or profound.  ...well, I suppose I'm what you would call "well-read" and even "cultured" (man, I hate where I'm leading this line of thought already), so I admit my opinions may be a bit...different from that of a person with a more limited cultural palate (*sigh* which makes me sound like an elitist prick, oh well *shrug*).  All I really mean to say is that there really are profound books, movies, etc. out there that when measured up against a "profound" JRPG, the later almost envariably is cheapened by the comparison.  Granted, video games are still extremely young from a cultural perspective, and I believe that one day they WILL measure up to the masterpieces of the novel, cinema, theater, etc., but they haven't yet reached those hights...at least, IMHO.

Now, I was thinking the other day about a work of literature that I could compare to the level of 'literary' or 'intellectual' achievement in the most 'profound' JRPG narratives, and it hit me: That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis.  I used to love that novel when I was younger, and I still like the book even today, but I have to admit it is also heavy-handed, structurally something of a mess, and basically full of odd quirks and backwards ideas (but then what do you expect from an extremely conservative Christian like Lewis?).  If you don't want to go through the trouble of reading the novel, I looked it up on wikipedia and found a rather nice little synopsis, character bio sheet, and thematic analysis:

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

Even though Lewis' thematic concerns are pretty much different than that of an intellectually ambitious JRPG designer's would be (I mean, one was an Anglican; the other is most likely nominally Buddhist and/or Shintoist, but really an atheist/agnostic in practice), I personally find the overall "depth" of the novel to be more or less on par with such RPGs as Xenogears or FFT.  And also note, that while That Hideous Strength has its share of fans, almost nobody considers it to be "great literature" or even "great sci-fi or fantasy."  It simply just isn't that deep.
15  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Great pretentious crap sequels. on: March 29, 2007, 11:24:31 PM
Hmmm, I would personally say that time travel, alternate timelines, parallel universes and the like have more to do with imaginative speculation than either physics or philosophy.

Mind you, I don't disagree that there are elements of both science and philosophy in the IDEAS that form our current understanding of time travel, multiverses, and whatnot.  But ultimately, those subjects are more of a "what if..." and a "if we take this 'what if...' as a given, then how can we explain it?" than a "let us use the scientific method to determine truth about the universe" or a "let us use reason and logic to determine the truth about the universe." (My, that sentence sucked...let me try expressing myself better)

Starting over, it seems to me that such subjects, though intellectually stimulating with their implications for physics and philosophy, are more or less the product of speculation first and foremost...I mean, there's no empirical evidence for such things so "pure" science couldn't arrive at a theory of the multiverse through experimentation via the scientific method alone.  On the other hand, I suppose one could conjecture such things existence using metaphysics, but I think an epistemological approach would pretty much negate the value of such metaphysical inquiry.

Well, I'm neither a professional physicist or philosopher, so I'm certainly quite open to being wrong...and I don't DENY the relevance of physics and philosophy to such ideas.  It just seems to me that both of those fields are really more about the knowable, explorable universe, than about what currently only exists (as far as we know) in our imaginations.  It's just my opinion, but I find such conjecture to somewhat cheapen the human quest to understand what IS, and although I certainly don't think it is WRONG for scientists and philosophers to explore such fields, their undertaking is only faintly more credible than, say, "Quantum Physics and the Locomotion of Angels" or "The Ethics of Dealing with Mystic Doppelgangers."

On a final note, to those who would say: "Well, it is certainly possible for such things as parallel universes to exist; why shouldn't scientists and philosophers explore those fields?"  If they really could, I wouldn't have a problem...but all they can really do is speculate, not explore.  And mind you, what is commonly called the supernatural, if it exists, is merely not yet understood science, but I certainly don't place much merit in scientists who attempt to "explore" the supernatural.  I mean, God MIGHT exist, but do you really want money being shelled out for scientists to study THAT?

I dunno, others probably think differently, and again, I am no expert....
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