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RPGFan Editorials - November 11th, 2000

Wow... it's been several weeks, I know. But submissions have been rather... slow lately. For shame, start writing more! :)

This week, we have three editorials, and the first one is bound to make you laugh, or really piss you off. The second editorial is a counterpoint to the commentary given to us by Aux from the last update, regarding Final Fantasy IX's graphics. The final editorial is about Square and the innovation they put into games.

This update's song of the moment is FIGHT!! Ver. 1, from the Grandia II: Deus soundtrack, which arrived at my doorstep just this afternoon. I'll say it right now, the music is sweet, blowing away anything and everything I have ever heard from any other game. Expect a soundtrack review really soon!


Homosexual or Anti-Social?

I've played through Final Fantasy VII several times now, and one thing is becoming more and more apparent. Cloud Strife, the main character, is clearly showing homosexual tendencies. Now, while there is nothing wrong with that, being that it's his choice, I just feel sorry for all the efforts Aerith, Tifa, and Yuffie are putting forth through the course of the game.

The evidence proving this theory is provided several times throughout the game. First off, no red-blooded heterosexual man would be caught dead dressing as a woman, let alone the fact that he also goes through the hell of getting the underwear and makeup at the Honeybee Inn, and you don't hear him put up any kind of fight when the guys at the Honeybee Inn do what they do... in fact I think he enjoyed it. Then at Don Corneo's, he flirts and damn nearly kisses Corneo. If not for Aerith and Tifa's timely appearance, we might have been witness to some action we didn't want to see. Next, while traveling through the game, Cloud returns none of the affections the three girls show towards him, but he feels plenty of sympathy towards Barret at North Corel. When you reach the "date" sequence at the Gold Saucer, Cloud has to be dragged out of his room to go with one of the girls, and the very fact that Barret can go on the date is proof enough for me. During Yuffie's date with Cloud, she kisses him, and Cloud doesn't even respond to that! I mean c'mon... he seems equally not interested in Tifa or Aerith as well. Finally, when Aerith dies, Cloud shows very little emotion, seemingly less than he did during the sequence with Dyne and Barrett when he felt for Barrett...

Now does this prove Cloud is a homosexual? Maybe. He also could just be extremely anti-social, but if that was the case, he would never have shown any feelings for anyone. We all remember the guy from the Honeybee Inn, Muki. When Cloud sees him in Costa Del Sol, he has no reaction. After what that freak Muki did at the Honeybee Inn, it would have been GO TIME!!!!

Now I know many of you Final Fantasy fans probably are pissed that I'm bad mouthing Cloud, but I have played through FF7 several times, and this conclusion came to me rather quickly. Cloud is a flaming friend of Dorothy. Like I said earlier, that lifestyle is his choice, nothing wrong with that... good for him... I hope he and Barrett are very happy together. It's just a damn shame that Yuffie, Tifa, and Aerith are wasting their time on the spikey haired goon.

But what are Barrett and Cloud gonna tell Marlene???

- beans

Parn:
I'd like to mention first off, that this is actually an article that beans wrote quite a long time ago for his own homepage, and I had asked him if I could post it since I found this to be extremely funny. Obviously, he gave me permission, as you folks are reading it. :)

Keep the hatemail to a minimum folks. This is all in good fun.

 
Counterpoint: Final Fantasy IX - Old School Graphics?

Iíve heard this basic argument before, as Iím sure we all have, and it always annoys me. Donít get me wrong, I understand where the argument is coming from. The introduction of 3D graphics has brought about an increased importance on eye candy in games, so much so that developers seem afraid to use 2D, for fear of losing sales to more visually impressive games. Still, I donít think itís accurate to say that 3D graphics can ruin a game . . . or prevent it from being old-school.

First off, letís examine the idea of "2D is better than 3D." Well, if thatís the case, is painting inherently better than sculpture? Of course not. Rather, painting and sculpture, like 2D and 3D, are simply two different mediums that work toward the same goal: producing an experience for the viewer. Certain games lend themselves to one medium, while other games lend themselves toward the other. Now, in this point I can somewhat sympathize with 2D purists. Because developers are so "locked in" to using 3D, they can easily use it on projects that might naturally lend themselves the other way. Still, this is no reason to completely dismiss the use of 3D, it just means that it shouldnít be the only option.

Another problem I have with the pro-2D argument is that it seems to assume that developers during the 2D-only era had it "right," while developers of 3D games now have it "wrong." This idea overlooks a major factor: in both cases, developers were trying to push the limits of the technology they had. Yes, thatís right, the early Final Fantasy games, just like 7, 8, and 9, were made with the idea of producing "good graphics," not "good 2D graphics." If the teams that created the early FFs had had access to polygon capable systems, do you really think that ALL of those games would have been made purely in 2D, ignoring the other possibilities? Doesnít seem likely. In other words, every developer wants to make a game that looks good, itís just that developers long ago were restricted to 2D by the technology of the time.

While all of this is well and good, the issue still remains: can FF9 truly go back to the FF roots if it is made in 3D. I think so. You see, Final Fantasy isnít about a particular kind of graphics, itís about the feel of the game as a whole. Final Fantasy 8, I admit, seemed to stray from the "feel" of the earlier games, but not because it had 3D graphics or because the characters were more realistic, but rather because it just lost some sublime quality that the Final Fantasy games have traditionally had. Because of this, FF9 is not doomed in itís quest to be old-school simply because it is 3D. If you play FF9 and at some point you find yourself thinking, "hey, this reminds me of playing FF6, way back when," then guess what . . . youíve got something old-school on your hands, thatís all there is to it. In closing, let me say this, 2D is not superior to 3D, 3D is not superior to 2D . . . and most importantly, youíre not superior to anyone just because you prefer one or the other.

- Sir Samus

Parn:
Some interesting points made, and I'm inclined to agree with the point that if developers had the ability to use 3D graphics in the past, they more than likely would have made use of them. I'll say right now though, and this of course is my own personal opinion, but if Grandia 2 is any indication, having played through the import, 3D graphics are definitely THE choice medium for RPGs of the future. The level of detail in the towns, dungeons, and other places is simply amazing.

 
GO Square!

Innovation and inspiration, aren't these two wonderful terms? Players could (more or less) enjoy a lot of these two in our beloved videogame industry over the past few years. Innovations, ranging from the menu here, menu there, menu everywhere junction system of Final Fantasy VIII to Lara Crapt...eh, Croft's sixth last relevation on PSX. Inspirations, ranging from such great masterpieces of movie adaptions like Gremlin's Men in Black to the outstanding FF7 clone Shadow Madness. Nice, isn't it? OK, let's be serious, even if it's only for a few seconds. The situation isn't so bad. After all, we still have Square and Konami, who don't only rely on either sequel squeezing or copying ideas of others. Square's 2000 US line-up was more than rock-solid featuring games a la Vagrant Story, PE2 and above all, Chrono Cross, being not only audiovisually impressive, but also highly innovative. These innovations include the real time action RPG hybrid battle system of Vagrant Story as well as its great counterpart out of Chrono Cross. Upcoming games like FFIX, FFX, the Bouncer, ZOE and some others promise a similarly enjoyable electronic entertainment.

If you think about inspirations in the RPG genre on PSX, well then, you will probably sooner or later realize that many developers lacked a lot of it. The results were and still are tons of mediocre games, like Star Ocean 2, Lunar, Thousand Arms, Legend of Legaia, just to mention a few. Most of these games didn't come up with new elements or ideas, and if so, those were badly executed. That left our excellent friends from the Arco Tower, and yeah, Square has shown everyone how to make great games; need examples: Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy Tactics, Xenogears, Parasite Eve, Vagrant Story, Chrono Cross and probably Final Fantasy IX. All these games have two things in common: They were all innovative in many ways and they are remarkably complete games, which still feature the best stories of the genre.

Thus, ladies and gentlemen, pay your respects to Square for being the only merciful company, who provides us poor RPGamers with innovative and great games. God praise Sakaguchi-san and company!

- Ikari Gendou

Parn:
No real comments from me, as I've only played two Square games to date (Final Fantasy VII and Secret of Mana), and am working on my third now (Chrono Trigger), other than, expect a counterpoint or two from someone who probably likes the games you find mediocre, and who also probably doesn't like the innovations you like in the Square games mentioned. Too much difference of opinion in the world. :)

 
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