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The Triumphant Return (or not)
January 16, 2002

Wow, it's neat to be doing the Mailbag again. It's even nicer being able to do it when you have more time on your hands, and when you're not in a hurry. I hope you all had a great Christmas and New Year - I know I did. So yes it's true, RPGFan's most overworked and underpaid (as far as real life jobs and Christmas are concerned) staffer has survived the hell known as Christmas season. Of course, I had to sift through all the spam in Chrono's Inbox to get to the letters to start writing.

For those of you who care, a brief update of where I've been... the most obvious being, I handed this section to Chrono temporarily as I faced down tirades of tired, cranky and $20-bill-waving customers all by myself for weeks and weeks on end. This, coupled with my own Christmas shopping (20 people on the receiving end of my generosity), a brief trip home to see my family, and a not-so-brief visit from Chrono so we could have a late Christmas, kept me busy for quite a while. Chrono and I did intend on writing a new column while he was here, but Devil May Cry, Metal Gear Solid 1 and 2, and Final Fantasy X kept us away - as did Fellowship of the Ring, the best movie I've seen in years. I hadn't played games this much in a long, long time, so it was great. Oh yeah, and Christmas wasn't bad either - I did get to see my sister whom I don't see very often (and other family of course) and I got tons and tons of awesome stuff from everybody. I was so spoiled... I love you all. ;_; *cough*

Of course, I've kept up on what's going on at the site despite my hiatus. I love the fact that I can go to the boards now without cringing; Chrono made an awesome holiday layout; and we've been keeping up with news and media as good as ever. (Well, not we... more like everyone else on staff. :P) And of course, the Mailbag and the great job Chrono did covering my butt. My personal favorite is the heavily-MGS2-influenced update. Let's face it, there would have been no updates until today had I not decided to do that. So hey, a nice, big fat thanks to Chrono for taking on a fairly big task for me.

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E-mail Daniel, unless you're a scammer from Nigeria.
 
 
And to start off, a letter of random... stuff.

Hi. I always go to this site because I think this place is the best for RPG sources. I'm a big Final Fantasy fan. Started with Final Fantasy 4 Easytype for SNES when I was younger, then Final Fantasy 7, Anthology, and I later became a huge old school FF gamer. I get really ticked off seeing so many gamers only playing FF7 through 10. I think they're really missing a great lot. I tried making a website named "Final Fantasy Fan" (It's in RPGFan's links section) to have 'newbies' to FF learn more about the earlier Final Fantasies (1-6), and the two missing US Final Fantasies (2-3), I'm another old school gamer wondering, "When the hell is Bandai releasing Wonderswan here? And where's our FF2 and 3?" Well, anyway, that website bombed, Homestead.com now wants us to pay for making a site (Dammit I don't want to spend my Christmas money on a site)! Well, what do you think about FF newbies? Wouldn't you want more real fans of Final Fantasy to talk to? Now, to what games I got for Christmas.. (and other little things)

Final Fantasy X- Of course I got this, awesome game. Best FF game on the Sony systems! I also bought the guide with my Christmas money (I'm sorry I cannot find all the Al Bhed books without a guide, I missed two already damn! Do you know if you can get the one on the ship going to Luca again sometime in the game? And can I learn the Jecht Shot again later in the game for Tidus? I didn't do that one part right.)

Gundam: Journey to Jaburo- Really my older brothers, as he is a big "mech" fan. Pretty good game. Quite tough sometimes, controls aren't that good.

Klonoa 2- Not opening it yet until New Year, as my Mom told me, she did spend a lot of money for lots of gifts.

Spiderman- Got it from my cousin. All right game, Peter Parker's character model scares me though. Quite challenging.

A New wallet- Needed one, my old one was cheesy

And 135 bucks in Christmas money, already spent it on an extra Dual Shock 2 controller and as I said before, FFX strategy guide. I also got other little things. Well, be seeing you. Happy New Year!

-Patrick K.

Schala:
I must admit your website concept was a great idea, since the older FFs IMO, are some of the best ones. I never liked those kinds of web hosts anyway... and I do admit, I enjoy talking more about the earlier FF's, but that's just me. I guess I never wondered about the WSC myself, since uh... quite a few local import stores sell it. (God, I love living on the West Coast.) Plus, Bandai has apparently decided not to release it here.

Since you got the FFX guide... does it tell you any of those things? If not, here goes. You can go back to older areas with the airship, but getting the Jecht shot... well, we're not sure. Oh, and since one of the books is on the boat, you probably can't get it if you didn't then. Looks like you have to start a new game... sorry man. :P

I didn't get too much game-related stuff for Christmas, but I did get Golden Sun from Citan, the Xenogears wall scroll from Sumi and the silver metallic Eva (04) from Chrono. I don't care though, cuz I have lots already. Plus I bought myself the FFX calender - which is very very very nice. if I started listing off everything I got, this update would never make the end of the day. So Happy New Year to you too, even though it may be two weeks late.

 
No Virgina, there's no such thing as flying squirrels or talking dogs.

Chrono and/or Schala

A while back ago I read somewhere that some kid could not take the flying squirrels in Suikoden seriously because they looked like squirrels, flying squirrels.

I don't remember really caring much whether or not they were squirrels, flying squirrels. Either way they weren't unstoppable powerhouses.

Anyways, Rpg's have been for the most part based on fiction. Would it matter if the main hero was a talking dog named scruffy, or a bunny named Fee Fe?

Or it could just be that Suikoden was more often than not a serious game. I guess it could be acceptable in a more lighthearted game like Kingdom Hearts.

Wait...was that really a question?

"Though if Sephiroth is indeed that cool, and he is, he wouldn't trip in the first place..."

Point Taken

Rpgfan Fan

P.S. I never sent in my monster design for the Jade Cacoon 2 contest.

Schala:
While I have yet to try my hand at either Suikoden game, flying squirrels certainly sound... interesting. And obviously yes, RPG's are in fact based on fiction, which makes their stories even better, and allows them to come up with as many weird characters as possible. And hey, some of them provide great comic relief, right? Remember some of the Chrono Cross characters? Some were just amusing to look at - but that's besides the point. If I wanted something more realistic, I'd step outside and walk down the street.

And besides all that, if I ever saw any of those characters (especially Lucky Dan from CC) in real life, I'd probably have a heart attack. :P

 
Recommend... Beyawn the Boring? *cough*

Since they cancelled Earthbound for the Nintendo 64, I was wondering do u have any info on whether or not they're going to release it for the Gamecube. Y do u guys like listing release dates for games that may never even see the light of day in the US? Some such examples would be Fire Emblem for GBA or all those Wonderswan color games/ the wonderswan color. And do u think Lufia for GBA will be way better than the one recently made for the GBC? Thanx for the answers.

BYE-

P.S. Do u have any idea where i can find Wild Arms and Tales of Destiny for PS? Would u recommend Beyond the Beyond for PS? thanx

Schala:
If you look at our release dates more closely, we list Japanese AND US dates. We list TBA for some US dates, because it's not confirmed nor denied that the game would release in the US. There is no word of a future Earthbound at the moment, but you know we'll have the news, because... that would obviously be big news.

I've heard not-so-good things about the Lufia for the GBC, but Lufia for the GBA would probably be better at least graphics-wise... it's hard to say anything about it though, really - there's been little news on it thus far.

And BtB? Sure, I'd recommend it... just as much as I'd recommend the Spice Girls PSX game.

 
Don't you love being told that you have the wrong kind of taste in music?

Hey,

I had this question, it has been bugging the hell out of me for quite a while, and I am finally bored enough to take out the time to ask it. Well, where I am from, the only people that really play RPG's are the goths, punks, and emo kids (me, I'm somewhere in between the punk and emo scene). All of us obviously don't really consider Nobuo Uematsu and Mitsuda (Whatever the hell their first name is) are as great as you people on these boards say they are. I honestly HATE videogame soundtracks. If I had a synthesizer, I could easily write a soundtrack to a game. I play bass and guitar (Somewhat guitar), and the bass riffs are horrible and simplistic, I could come up with better stuff than that with being deaf and handless, and the guitar riffs seem to be ripped straight from (horrible) 80's music, the game that sticks out in my head the most with the horrible/annoying guitar is Grandia. While it is one of my favorite games, the music SUCKS. I am wondering how people spend so much time in college and yet suck so horribly at composing music. I can't help but think of "NERD" whenever I hear someone say they buy soundtracks to games. How can anyone spend 30 bucks (or more) on soundtracks when the music is half-assed and horrible? Well, anyhow, I drown out my TV with At the Drive-In, A.F.I, and many other bands because I hate game music. What REALLY got on my nerves was the fact that I HAD to listen to FFX while playing it because of all the voice dialogue. Usually, I would wouldn't care because most games with voice acting would have the text at the bottom of the screen and would only continue when you press "X" or something. But FFX moves along when it wants to, forcing me to listen or miss out on key parts. This is just too annoying. Well, the music/sound/voice acting is litterally making me hate the game, I know that sounds shallow as hell, but it's true. The story is amazing, and the gameplay is great, but I ****** hate the stupid music. You all really need to get a better taste in music. I am not saying you should listen to what I listen to, but anything is better than that game music crap. Good Day,

One ******* pissed off reader.

Schala:
Thanks for letting us all know that we who like video game music have bad taste in music, and that this is a verified fact. I for one, tend to have rather unconventional taste in music, listening from anything from Celtic to Japanese. Some game music appeals to me, some doesn't. Mainly, my favorite VG music consists of Celtic influences (FF Celtic Moon, Xenogears Creid, Chrono Cross, and the Metal Gear Solid ending theme). A lot of game music can be comparable to movie scores - after all, the Metal Gear Solid 2 composer does write scores for movies as well. I know a lot of people who love RPG's but don't care for the music - some even hate it - but it's a big relief that they respect my choice of music and don't complain about it, because I do them the same favor when it comes to their music. If someone (or even a lot of people) chooses to buy music you hate well... it's going to happen anyway, so just let it be. As long as you don't have to hear it, why care?

So if the music bothers you that much, turn down your TV. I've played FFX and it isn't that hard to pay attention to the text without listening to the voice acting.

 
Would your stories rival that of the great Kojima?

First things first: I've been actively checking out the RPGFan site for a little over a year now, and would like to commend you and everyone else on doing such a great job. Without you guys, I'd have one less site to routinely visit instead of aimlessly searching the internet.

Now, to business: Look here. I'm pretty sure you can help me. I'm a little crazy right now. See, I done likeded (that's a word... really) RPGs for a long time. I was late getting into them (I played FF1 back when FFVI was on the verge of coming out), but have loved them nonetheless. However, the first game that really REALLY made me cry, was Phantasy Star IV. I remember coughing up all my birthday money for that little gem, and popping it into my Genesis. Sure, it wasn't FFVI. But I loved that game. Why? Not just because it was fun, or because it was challenging (I was the kid who thought infinite money in FF1 would secure my the best weapons and spells, thereby allowing me to whip up on the last boss at a paltry lvl 25+. Curse my youthful ignorance). I loved that game because of its story. I was mad when Alys died. Hella mad. I've been affected ever since.

I read a lot too, and combined with PS IV's story, I became a story junkie. Chrono Trigger, FFT, and Xenogears only fueled my love of a damn good rpg plot to even higher levels. Lunar on the PSX put me right near the edge of the cliff. Valkyrie Profiles made me jump.

Now, all these plots sicken me. Final Fantasy VII and beyond have all disappointed me... ESPECIALLY Cloud the wussie. He wanted to be someone else so badly, he actually lived a lie. Come on now people, that's not cool! In real life, we call that DIMENTIA!!! There was a point to this... oh yeah

Does anyone know how I could break into the plot writting business for RPGs? I mean, I have written in clubs, and put together so many short stories that I just *KNOW* I can write some of the best plot stuff to ever hit a console. Hell, I've just sketched out a plot worthy of taking Final Fantasy Tactics off the mantle of best political thriller. Please, someone somewhere HAS to know of a way I can break into that industry. And before you try to knock me off my dreambox, I'm in college, but am not an english major. If people with degrees in English can write crap, then I can write stellar stuff with a degree made in my room with kindergarten scissors and cardboard paper.

So... uhh... yeah. I want in on the RPG industry so I can write plots worthy of RPgamers EVERYWHERE. I mean, yeah, Star Ocean was fun, but do any of you REALLY remember what the story was all about?

----
Sincerly,
Mike, soon-to-be-plot writer extraordinaire

Schala:
First, I applaud you for having such, um, great aspirations. Depending on how serious you're about it and how much you're willing to put into it... well, when there's a will there's a way, right? Anyway, enough of the sappiness. I can't tell you how to get into the writing business - best I can think of is mailing your stories and ideas to game companies, but I don't know what good that would do. I do however feel the same about stories... after playing so many great games like Xenogears and MGS, not to mention watching some great anime, made me crave even better storytelling. I'm one of those chicks who cries during the sad points of RPG's (especially two Kid scenes in Chrono Cross), and gets bored during an all-too-simple plot.

Thank God, I'm not the only one who didn't like Cloud. His wasn't the most well written character Square has made IMO.. far from it. Now Fei from Xenogears... there's a well-written main character with real psychological problems. And I don't recall SO's storyline... mainly because I never played it. Oh well.

 
Ooh yes, the barrage of FFX letters shall begin.

Dear Chronologist,

Okay, so I got my copy of FFX a few days ago. Things seemed normal at first, but a few aspects of the game disturbed me a little bit, and I would like to know if these aspects were going to be changed in the "official" release of FFX later.

1. Where are the text boxes?! Why are there no text boxes? Okay, this may seem a bit late, but I don't understand the absence of text boxes - they are basically a staple in RPG-dom! That ugly plain text on the bottom of the screen is certainly not a nice alternative.

2. How come the mouths aren't synched to the dialogue? You'd think that Square would put some effort into enhancing their new Facial Expression system thingie by actually making it look like the characters are speaking what you hear in the US version.

3. The menus? Ack! Ugly? No! OOGLY!! Gimme a break here guys, did the fade effect fail along the way? And what's with the yellow and pink?

4. The lack of customization...this one was terrible. No controller config (meaning I can't set my confirm button to O as I usually do with FF games), no window config (because there ARE NO WINDOWS!!!)...basically, just the simplest config menu you could have, but even lacking in important parts. Disappointing.

I was really surprised when I started realizing these (what I consider) flaws, and quite disappointed in the lack of thought into these aspects of the game, aspects that I consider pretty significant since you look at them throughout the entire game. Sure, the gameplay does satisfy, but now the game seems even less like an FF game, and even less like an RPG even...I don't know, I'm just confused - Is this the same game that is going to be "officially" launched soon?!

Thanks,
aux

Schala:
Sorry, no Chrono here. I ousted him out of my section 'til next week. Since Chrono hogged FFX ever since we bought it (okay okay... in reality, I opted to play Devil May Cry and MGS2 instead... doesn't mean I love FFX any less!), my knowledge of FFX is temporarily limited... though I still have enough to say here. I do agree about the menus - the color scheme is just too strange for me, though I guess I could get used to it after I play the game more. The text box thing doesn't bother me too much - as long as I can read the text as it is, I don't care. Personally, I'd rather see the screen than have the text box block a good chunk of it. And finally, I don't know for sure, and I haven't even been paying attention to this, but the mouths may have been synched to the Japanese dialogue. So if you think they're way out of sync here, then you should play Xenogears. *cough* Obviously, these won't be changed for the real release, since uh... there is/was no time in between. And maybe it's me, but I honestly don't see how these things overshadow what's overall a great game - perhaps the best FF in a long time.
 
Closing Thoughts

Well, that wasn't so bad, was it? Days off are a lovely, lovely thing. (Ie. don't be surprised if the updates are mostly on Wednesdays for now.) We realize today's edition was pretty long, but what better to get me warmed up after two months? Chrono and I do have a bit of a backlog of letters, but we'll get to them all, don't worry. But this doesn't mean you should stop writing in, or even hesitate. Now that you've met your reading requirements for the day, you can go back to writing more letters now... yes, NOW. With the whole tirade of RPGs released in the months before Christmas, what was your favorite? What disappointed you the most? What surprised you the most? Or is there something not yet unleashed upon us that you think will blow all of these recent releases away? Let me know... actually, let Chrono know, cuz he's here next update.

Schala (cschala@rpgfan.com)


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