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Good Things Come...
Monday, March 4, 2002

Yeah, the update is up a bit late. Nearly a day late, even. While I hate to make excuses, that's just what I'm about to do. For some unknown reason, my long-awaited computer came in yesterday (which I paid for...oh, a month and a half ago?). How it arrived on a Sunday, I don't know. How I missed the phone call at 1:45 and got the message at 5:45, I also don't know. In the end though, come 7:45, I was home unpacking this lovely electronic marvel. Unfortunately, due to file transferring, forgetting e-mail passwords, and other minor annoyances that arose in the 24 hours that followed, a Mailbag was the least of my concerns. Luckily, everything seems to be running smoothly now, save for my now-former text editor, which apparently was updated since the version I used, and has some weird cosmetic side effects as a result. Hopefully i can get my GoLive 6 upgrade soon.

Now then, apparently my comments about needing more letters last time fell upon deaf ears. Either that, or there's a very widespread epidemic of misunderstanding my topic things here. Proof of this is in my second letter today, and random comments I've heard elsewhere. So again, I'm going to try and clear it up. Okay, writing in on topic is not, I repeat, not mandatory. It was merely something I started as a way to encourage more people to write in, and give them something to write about in case they were low on ideas. If anyone out there wants to write in about their thoughts of the new Zelda, go right ahead. Have an opinion on Dell's anti-terrorism tactics? Well, the latter wouldn't really fit the spirit of this column...but it's an amusing read in any case. Anyway, the point is, write in about anything you want, on-topic or not. If enough people write in ON-topic, those will usually make up the majority of Friday's updates, but if not, regular letters still go up. Plus, there is two other updates each week, so there's plenty of room for letters, on any topic. In fact, there's so much room this week, I'm skipping Wednesday's update. Them's the breaks. Oh, last thing: We're not stuck on using whatever topic I come up with either. As I've said, if anyone has a better one, let me know.

I hope that clears things up. If not, well... I'll probably just do away with the topics altogether, since it doesn't seem to be encouraging people to write in as I'd hoped. On that lovely note, let's move on to some letters.

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E-mail Daniel, unless you're a scammer from Nigeria.
 
 
Final Fantasy rant ahead

Hi. I thought I'd write since you're low on mail. So I'll just want to say my opinion on Final Fantasy 8. It was one of the best games of 1999. Maybe people hate it simply because it's "bad" for a Final Fantasy game(which is still good compared to many other series' best titles). Expectations were so high after FF7, that any miner flaw in the sequel would make it a huge disappointment. We should realize that FF8 made people want FF9 even more. If SQUARE didn't take chances(like with FF8), the FF series might not be as popular.

To tell you the truth, I liked FF8(although without the incredible music, maybe my opinion would change). The story was sometimes silly, but the characters seemed to stand out very well, more so than any other FF(except maybe 10). Squall just seemed more realistic in looks and personality. What did you think?

Oh, and I did play FF6 all the way through. I'm trying to figure out what all the fuss is about. Besides the awesome soundtrack, I wouldn't say it's the best game in the series. Maybe it's because I played it after 7. Or maybe it's because I'm a younger gamer. Older gamers are typically nostalgic gamers. I don't know! Please tell why people think it's the greatest?

- Ryan KALCHIK

Chronologist:
I've said a lot in here that I did like FF8, to a point. I agree with you that it's a good thing (so I think) Square takes chances and actually INNOVATES with the FF series, which, let's face it, is more than a lot of developers do. Doing things as differently as they did in FF8, it was pretty predictable that it would end up being the subject of more than a few debates. Now, while I do like the game, some aspects of the system were very tedious (drawing, junctioning, especially when rotating characters in your party). Plus, I didn't think any of the cast, save for Squall, Rinoa, Laguna, and a few others, were handled well at all. Most of them had no backstory, no reason for being there, and *shock*, they ALL came from the same orphange, and they ALL happened to forget this. That's beyond bad in storytelling terms. While I'm not a big overall fan of FF9, FF9's characters and their development was miles ahead of FF8.

Final Fantasy VI... perhaps some love it as it was the last 2D FF game. I hope not, since that's a lame reason. If the plot, gameplay, etc are good, I don't think it matters if it's told with little sprites of polygonal models. Anyway, I absolutely love FFVI. Unlike 8, the entire cast (except for 2 characters) was superbly-done, and by the end of the game (before, actually), you really feel as if you know them. The soundtrack is arguably one of the best in the series, especially when heard arranged on the Grand Finale album. Really though, I think FFVI's strongest point probably was (besides music) the characters. That's why I liked it anyway. And nostalgia? Well, the only reason I and other gamers may be nostalgic about it was because we had good reasons to like it in the first place. Plus, I think I was about 13 when I played the game originally, so I was young at the time as well.

 
Read the FAQ, it's your friend.

I'm glad theme topic days are only once a week. They should stay that way, but I do suggest not having the theme day being Friday. Fridays are supposed to be relaxing, carefree, and lazy. Themed topics seem organized, structured, and require too much thought to be given Friday's mailbag editions. Besides, weekly topics in general seems kinda "soup-Nazi-ish" to me:

Chronologist: Friday's theme topic day. This week's topic is RPG linearity, pros and cons.

Me: But I have just discovered how RPGs can cure cancer!

Chronologist: It's FRIDAY! On-topic letters ONLY!

Me: But...

Chronologist: No letter for you! NEXT!

- L. Le

Chronologist:
Further proving my rant in today's intro...

As I've explained, topics are mere suggestions on which to write in on. Also, Friday is not 'topic only'. Since new topics start and old ones end on Friday, it just makes sense to post of the previous week's topic-ed letters at the...end of the week, don'tcha think? While switching the 'new topic' day to Monday may work better, the fact is, if everyone is under the impression their letter won't be posted at all unless it's on-topic, it won't really matter.

 
Pikachu, I choose you!... to be my backup!

Why there should be more Musical RPG's

Recently, I had the chance to play Rhapsody. For those who don't know it was a PSX RPG in which you controlled a girl named Cornett, a puppeteer, who sets off to save the prince. It also involves a lot of singing scences, which are neat as well. Playing through this game, which basically reversed the stereotypical roles of the male hero and the damsel in distress. I found this very refreshing, to see the fact that there is the ability to produce a very fun game without following the 3 major ideas ( Not saying that these are the only RPG plots, just some of the most prevalent ideas to date):

Saving the Planet

Saving the Farm

Raising a monster

Even Pokemon has now realized this as well, giving players the option to choose between a male main character, and a female main character. And I am not saying that this was the first time where you had the ability to play as a female character. But this was the first time I saw a female character portrayed as the one who needed to save the prince, who was also strong and bold, Terra does come to mind as a main character who also exhibited these qualities, but only after a few pivotal points where she had to be forced into her role, Cornett need not. So, I believe that in this modern day, not only to keep the ideas fresh, but also to turn a larger profit. Now I know, I still want my Final Fantasies and other games, but really, a lighthearted RPG once in a while will do you good. Now when will they have an openly gay character in an RPG, that's what I am wondering.

- Professor McFlurry

Chronologist:
I dunno, for awhile I thought Squall might have been gay, with how much he was pushing Rinoa away as she shamelessly threw her hot, sexy body at him. But then, as I learned, he was just an idiotic anti-social moron that never had a girlfriend and probably sat in the back of the classroom never speaking, only thinking of how his life is pitiful and what bad thing was going to happen next.

Needless to say, I hated Squall for most of the game, and quite frequently wished he were real so I could smack the bastard. But, moving on...

While I heard Rhapsody wasn't all that fantastic (though my source on this IS questionable), original concepts are always a Very Good Thing™. And again, as you said, a break from the serious-ness of other games (and the real world) can be a priceless thing.

 
This seems familiar...

I've heard rumors since the beginning of the PS2 about Final Fantasy re-releases. Is there any fact to these, and if so, does the US have any chance of a release? I would love to see FFVII relive its old glory days with renewed graphics and a few CG cutscenes. So much was left out of the US version, I hope they put all the extras back in. (Reviving Aeris!) If you for some stupid reason haven't played FF7, forget all I said.

- SGood44729

Chronologist:
How many times have I been asked this... I do not know. Anyway, first off, you could NEVER revive Aeris, not in the US one, not in the Japanese one, not the the Japanese re-release called Final Fantasy VII International, not ever. Yes, there's that 'Aeris' ghost' glitch in the church, but the whole story about being able to revive her is just that, a story. I wouldn't have minded some truth being behind it, since I loved Aeris, but it just ain't gonna happen.

As per your other inquiry, don't count on the FF re-releases. Square mentioned them once, and never again. If they happen, they happen, but at this point, I don't think they're happening.

 
Drew Carey throws away Treasure shooter; more at 11

It was long ago and far away since I've last written a letter to any person anywhere. See, I've been living in a cave, feeding off bugs and discarded scraps from Drew Carey's trashbin, with my only connection to the outside world being my computer and a copy of Radiant Silvergun I found underneath a rock. Yeah, I know. Sounds strange doesn't it? But I can assure you that I do consider Radiant Silvergun part of the outside world, despite having found it under a rock. Maybe it's one of them special albino cave species of CD.

But being as this is an RPG site a shoot-em-up doesn't take well here, does it? Oh well, so why don't we talk about Working Designs' latest invisibility act, the Arc the Lad Trilogy? I'm sure you heard of it. It was only begun shortly after Magic Knight Rayearth was released. Or was it shortly before Magic Knight Rayearth was announced? Either way us folk have been waiting a damn long time. Here's to hoping it's better than Dragon Warrior 7 (And IMMEDIATELY I lose half the fanbase. Pfeh!)

And what about Xenosaga? I don't quite get it. It has NOTHING to do with Xenogears, and yet is placed before the events, wassit? So that means It DOES have something to do with Xenogears, right? And as far as I know Square was never paid royalties. Which could only mean some under-the-table deal was done, otherwise Square'd be suing Namco out the wazoo and claiming for the birth certificate of Yasunori Mitsuda, who coincidentally is all that Square had should something ever happen to their resident Demigod, Nubuo Uematsu. Maybe Namco will fix the dreaded s-l-o-w-e-r t-h-a-n d-i-r-t text problem of the original game. Then again, Namco's idea of a prime mascot is a cheese wheel with eyes whose lived way past its freshness date.

Maybe I'm missing something here. Maybe I should just shut up and play more GTA3. Either way I'm tired and need sleep. MC King Kong Mushi is my GOD!!

-TheFreak
The Ghost of Groupies Past

Chronologist:
Why don't we not talk about Arc and say we did? Great.

I never did understand those comments about XS having 'nothing' to do with Xenogears. Xenogears was part 5 in the storyline, XS is part 1. I mean, honestly... what a joke. Also, keep in mind Square and Namco (and those Enix people) all own a little bit of each other, so I don't think either of them has any desire to sue the other. As for Mitsuda, in case you don't know, he left Square awhile ago, and works on his own now, explaining his involvement in games like Sacnoth's Shadow Hearts, and Sony's Tsugunai. Of course, as witnessed by Chrono Cross, he has no objections doing work for Square still. (Let's hope he does Chrono Break's score as well)

 
U R NOT e

Chrono,
I see the future of RPGs on the next consoles where most people see it. It seems that the consoles have divided themselves into categories, as happened last generation. Those who want to think will use the Playstation 2. Those who simply want to blow stuff up will try the X-Box. Those who are under the age of 13 will have their very own Gamecube. As for myself, i wish for the future of RPGs to reign in on my very own VIRTUAL BOY!

Just a little crazy,
KeeperX

Chronologist:
I think the PS2 is the place for RPGs, simply because it's been out longer than the other 2, and more companies have had time with it. And since making RPGs can be a long process, well... Xbox, I won't waste space commenting on. Oops, guess I just did. GameCube, I think, has a bad reputation, as the N64 did before it. While the N64 kinda deserved being called a kiddie machine, Nintendo has changed a lot lately, and the GC is anything but. While there's still cartoony games on it, there's two major reasons this doesn't make the GCN 'just for kids'. One is that the other systems have the exact same type of games. Is PS2's Jak and Daxter realistic and full of mature themes? No, it's comical and technically 'childish'. Does that make it a bad game? Hell no. Does anyone take note of this game and others before condemning the GC to a 'toy'? Also no. And Xbox for that matter, has such games as Mad Dash Racing and Cel Damage. Sadly, unlike Jak and Daxter, these DO suck. The thing is with Nintendo's stuff, first and second-party at least, is that while it visually is not 'gritty and mature', they're fun. Smash Bros. Melee is about as far as you can get from realism and seriousness, but it's the most damned fun I've had with a game since... well, the N64 version. I think if a game can be made to be an enjoyable experience, realism is of no matter. But hey, if there's too many people, mainly males, who think playing a game like Smash Bros. or Yoshi's Island somehow compromises their masculinity and causes them to feel ashamed, who's really the one with the problem here? Not Nintendo, that's for sure.

By the way, if nobody knows, the title of this letter was based on one of the earliest marketing campaigns for the PlayStation. I hated those ads.

 
Closing Thoughts

Another one down. Here's hoping my ranting and raving didn't turn people away, and also that my comments on the topic thing are heeded. If not... oh well. See ya next time.

~ Chronologist (chronologist@rpgfan.com)



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