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Eternal Recurrence
Friday, March 8, 2002

Wow, ever since my... well, 'rant' last time, I've been getting a fair amount of letters again. While that's all well and good, I've been thinking about the whole topic thing more, and have a revised system for it. While, as I mentioned over and over last time, anyone's free to write in on anything, the topic's gonna stick around. However, instead of planning Friday updates based solely on the on-topic letters, I'll just sporadically put them up during the week. This should help having a more regular 'three updates a week' system, instead of 'two regular updates and one themed one'. Who knows, maybe it'll work better. The FAQ has been updated as well, noting this.

This past week has been interesting... near-constant minor issues with my new computer have made it hard to get things done. While it's great, and I love it and all, I did spend the past 2 years and 2 months fine-tuning stuff on my last computer, so I guess I'd just gotten used to everything running smoothly. On the plus side, the only actual downside right now is the lack of ability to print documents. Luckily, I don't print often, but the printing utility quitting upon my trying to choose a printer isn't a good thing. Once I find a solution to this, everything (I think) should be good.

Now that I've finished talking about my evil Mac, I'm happy to say that tonight, all you lovely people (and even the not-so-lovely ones) get a more regular-sized update. Topics vary, and there happens to be a few on this week's topic dealie. So without further ado, or rambling on my part, here we go.

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Slime - a low-cost alternative to butter.

Grrr, you saw through my deception AND my typo! Well, no matter, Mr. THE Chrono! This time around, my quizations will be more nefarious, in that they shall not be trick questions, but rather ones that shall tax your very abilities, as well as those of your lowly staff members! So riddle me this, graphics boy, this is another Enix question. In all the Dragon Quest games, how many different types of slimes were there? And while you're at it, NAME them for me. Oh, and do be a good boy and don't forget the Dragon Quest Monsters games, mmmmkay? Good luck, mailbag peon. Ph34r my trivia skillz!

Guy Incognito

Chronologist:
Well, after a bit of searching on GameFAQs, I got a pretty long list. Forgive me for not possessing the knowledge myself, but I was never really into the DQ games. Here we go:

Slime, Bubble Slime, Heal Slime, Drakslime, Slimeknight, Metal Slime, HealAll Slime, King Slime, HealAll Slime King, Wing Slime, CureSlime, Gold Slime, Slime Emperor, Numb Slime, SpotSlime, TreeSlime, Slime Snail, Box Slime, Fang Slime, Rock Slime, Slime Borg, Sloppy, Spot King, Metabble, Metal King Slime, Slime Behemoth, Marine Slime, Combine Slime.

Wow...28 slimes. I think we all know why it's taking Enix so long to make new games in the DQ series: They spend years coming up with new slimes. And frankly, with THAT many, it must just get harder and harder to come up with new ones every game. Now, I'm off to finish more letters, and then await the announcement of Dragon Quest VIII: The Slime Wars. Maybe they can make a spin-off series called Slime Quest or something. You know, starring a slimy... well, slime.

 
Letter number 2

Dear Chronologist,

You really do like your customized windows... I guess there's a reason they include those sort of options in games.

As far as this week's topic goes, I figured I had better write in since you had no update today (Monday), presumably because of a lack of letters.

I think the PlayStation 2 will end up being the dominant console of the current generation. It has the advantage of following its highly successful predecessor (not to mention the ability to play all of its games), and it was on the market a year before its surviving competition (though I enjoyed the few RPGs we got for the Dreamcast). With that sort of foundation, I would be surprised if the Xbox or GameCube surpassed it.

My hope is that the better RPGs continue to go to the PS2. Of course I'm being selfish because I don't really want to spend the money on another system if I don't have to.

Competition does everyone good though. It would be even better if we got to see more quality games on all three consoles. I'd be more than happy to buy an Xbox and/or a GameCube if that were the case.

Well, unfortunately that's about as exciting as my response to this week's topic is going to get. Take care and keep up the good work!

Regards,
Vi

P.S. I hope you got your computer...

Chronologist:
You have a knack for frequently writing in and sharing your opinions, only for me to realize they're frighteningly similar to my own. Except the window customization thing at least. Though, while I agree (and I think most people do) that the PS2 will probably be on top, especially in RPGs, thanks in large part to Square, Namco, Enix and others supporting it, I wouldn't mind seeing more RPGs (or games period) on GameCube, if only because I'd like to see it succeed after the ill-fated N64.

And Xbox... who knows. Maybe it'll have RPGs, even good ones. I've said it before though, unless something -amazingly good- comes out for it, I'm staying away from it.

 
Topic this, topic that.

Wow, my letters just keep getting printed don't they? That was 5/5 for me. I would've read the FAQ, but that would require, you know... time and effort on my part. All kidding aside, I was half joking with the whole letter anyway (did it make you chuckle at all?). But I'm sure a few people really did misunderstand the weekly topics issue. When you ask for more letters on a slow topic, that does seem to give the impression that more people should write in ON topic. Some topics just won't generate that much response: how many people really wanted to discuss customization? (Heck, the most customization I ever do is exchange the accept and cancel buttons back to the SNES defaults). Yes I know: you're only one person, topic is optional, if the topic's boring we should suggest better ones, yadda yadda. I guess that's just the cross you bear as the mailbag guy to put up with this kind of petty complaints. But we appreciate it... most of the time.

- L. Le

Chronologist:
...*glare* You better.
 
Mmm, cheese...

RPGfan mailbag person,

Hello how ya doing? Anyway enough small talk I have a couple of short questions. First is it true that Namco, Squaresoft, and Enix are really making a game together? that just seems like it would be a good game. Moving on i was wondering if Squaresoft has any plans to release its Wonder Swan set for the FF games and the Romancing Saga in America because I might just be being idiotic but I don't believe i have ever seen a Wonder Swan in the USA. Lastly I was wondering if its true that a possibility for an Akira RPG has been scraped and only a pinball Akira will come out. Well thanx for wasting your time with my babbling.

_-Embassador of Cheese-_

Chronologist:
Well, Square, Namco and Enix haven't announced any plans to jointly develop a game, no. Enix did team up with Game Arts for Grandia Xtreme though, so who knows. Considering the deal between the aforementioned three companies, it's not entirely out of the question to expect a game, but, you never know.

The WonderSwan is actually made by Bandai. Square just happens to support it a lot (sadly). Mattel (of Barbie and Hot Wheels fame) was going to bring it out here awhile back, but they ended up passing on it. Bandai was then going to to the honors, but it seems they decided not to in the end. Though with the Game Boy's success, personally, I don't think there's much of a market for the WS here, especially without much support. For that matter, I don't think the WS has much of a market share in Japan either, though that info may be wrong. You could always import the system, since they're not terribly expensive. Though if you want to read what you're playing, tough nuggets.

I don't know about an Akira RPG. All I know is the pinball game on PS2. I think it's supposed to be coming out in the US by THQ.

 
Speaking of making people laugh... well.

Ha ha ha ha ha. It is I, the great Oak Tree named David, here to bother you as you answer e-mail after e-mail, day after day. I shall forever haunt you by spouting various Religious lines and mathematical equations.

Actually I have some relevant things to say pertaining to the topic. I myself own an X-Box, and while Project Ego is one heck of a tantalizing object, it's rather obvious that with Square and Working Designs [Oh no! I said the forbidden words!] on their ship, plus various other companies, Sony and the Playstation 2 have the RPG community under their thumb. However, should Microsoft manage to wave enough money into someone's face like Sony has, we could see great games on the X-Box. The Gamecube? Don't make me laugh. Golden Sun for GBA is great and Castlevania games are wonderful, but realistically speaking, we all know that when Square wants to be great, they can be downright unbelievable.

What console would I prefer to play RPG's on? The X-Box! I own it! I damn well would like to see it kick the PS2's ass, because I really don't want to shell out the cash for another system. [though my X-Box was free...]

Now that relevance is no longer required, allow me to give the world the true secret to success in life across the generations, and that is....woops, outta room.

-David Oak

Chronologist:
I'd say the PS2 could come out on top...er, continue to be on top, because of support from Square, Namco, Enix, Game Arts and Sega, for example... but Working Designs? I mean, personal preference aside, they'd need to actually announce an RPG for the system before they're to be included in that list. And honestly, with all their fine-tuning and subsequent delays, they wouldn't be able to even release that many games for it. RPGs anyway.

Xbox... I'd like to make fun of you and that box, but I'd rather not be flamed, so I'll leave things at that. :P

 
It's editorial time, kiddies!

Hey Chronologist!

Considering your topic on what console has the brightest future in terms of RPGs, I actually have three systems come to mind: PS2, Gamecube, and Game Boy Advanced.

PS2 is the easy one. With Suikoden III, Star Ocean 3, Wild Arms Advanced 3rd, Final Fantasy XI and more coming out all within a year, the future looks bright for the PS2. Many people dislike Final Fantasy XI for the direction that Square is taking it, but I'm keeping my faith in Square. They wowed me with Final Fantasy IX, even though I wasn't very excited about it at first, so I'm not really worried about Final Fantasy XI. If I know Square, they won't let their most important series go down the sink. Wild ARMs Advanced 3rd looks promising, and it looks like it's correcting all the major problems of the last 2 installments (which I absolutely loved, thank you very much). The only thing bad that could happen now is if Sony translated the game.

Chronologist:
I have mostly unwavering faith in Square. I mean, I hardly cared about FFX, which has now become one of my favorite RPGs ever. Although, I never did fall in love with 9 too much. I don't think they can possibly do anything to FFXI now to sell me on it. I at first wasn't interested, then I was, then not. That auto-fighting thing really turns me off. I guess we'll see, but I don't see myself buying it. Wild ARMs 3 (for short) though, I think looks nice. I've been meaning to play the first one for the longest time (my brother has, so I've seen just about the whole game).
Gamecube is an unlikely candidate for RPGs, since there's no RPGs on the system as of now. But because Sega is now software only, they've started work on some of their finest RPGs for Gamecube. Skies of Arcadia and Phantasy Star Online are the ones that stand out most to me. True, Phantasy Star Online will be releaseed on XBox as well, but how many other real worthwhile RPGs will be released on XBox? XBox really doesn't cut it in my opinion. However, Sega really butchered the attempt at porting Grandia II to the PS2, with its messed up graphics and glitches on the new console, so we'll just have to wait and see.
Actually, Ubi Soft ported Grandia II, not Sega. As for GC, let's not forget titles like Lost Kingdom (aka Rune), Zelda (kinda), Evolution Worlds and Kameo. Kameo only counts of course, if Rare is still working on it.
Game Boy Advanced has a chance to bring some truly worthwhile RPGs (besides Pokemon) to the handheld front. I wasn't really impressed by Game Boy Advanced all that much at first, but the recent release of Golden Sun has made me believe that the GBA can actually do a lot for RPGs. If Nintendo were to release Fire Emblem in the U.S., it'd probably sell like hotcakes. That's good, in case you're wondering. I mean, I haven't played a handheld RPG that has engrossed me as much as Golden Sun. Even the Zelda series (which I think is overrated) has never managed to hold my interest for over 10 hours or so. Golden Sun held my interest for 50. And it's still counting.
I thought the GBA was always pretty impressive, but I never realized HOW good until I played Castlevania: Circle of the Moon. That's possibly my favorite handheld game I've played (and one I suggest anyone with a GBA buys), and I can't wait foe the next one this summer. Golden Sun, I should be able to play soon, when I get it. I really would like to see a new Zelda on the GBA though. They could do some cool things with it.
If I really had to narrow it down, though, I'd have to say that Playstation 2 has the most potential for RPGs in the future. Not only does Sony have Square (thus having most RPG players on its side), but it also has the support of many other companies. Sony has a major advantage in the RPG front. I hope they don't mess it up.

Am I right? Only time will tell. Who knows? Maybe XBox will come out as THE system to get when it comes to RPGs in 2003 or 2004, and then I'll be eating my words. If I do eat my words, though, I want some salt and pepper to go along with it.

Hey, that was more like an editorial, wasn't it? Sorry Chronologist. This was ... a really long letter, huh? I just like writing. Well, this is Four Winged Angel, signing off.

-Four Winged Angel "So it's decided! We'll go and check it out. Let's get some FOOD."

Chronologist:
I don't think you'll be eating your words there. Unless Xbox suddenly gains massive popularity in Japan, I don't see many Japanese RPG companies doing much for it. Sadly, GC isn't getting a wealth of RPGs either, compared to PS2.
 
Exactly what I was thinking...uncanny!

Okay,
To answer your first question, although the Gamecube is coming out with a lot of promising RPGs, I think the ps2's rpgs will sell better. For one reason:Final Fantasy. Well, that's the only rpg that my ps2 loving friend has heard of.
Second Question: GAMECUBE!!! Have you played pikmin? The graphics are wicked (1), Shigeru can probably think of some far-fetched, but cool story line that goes for an rpg. Except it will probably be like Oiram and Igiul's trip to the carrot kingdom (In other words, a copy of some other game). Oh well.

~Amy M

Chronologist:
Well, your PS-loving friend needs some diversity then.

As for your second question: No. No, I have not.

 
Great, now I have MUD on my shoes.

Chrono,
You tell me i don't need to write in-topic? Uh, oh, you know what this means? You get a friggin essay on MUDs, now.
Player-made stories, Midevil characters and 9th grade humor. It must be a Friday night DnD game, right? Wrong. It's part of one of the most overlooked fathers of modern video game role playing games, the MUD.
Text-based and player-made?! It must suck, then, right? Wrong. Just as players spend thousands of hours playing MMORPGs, just as much time is spent MUDding. Over the past four years, i have spent a great deal of time MUDding. 1202 hours on my immortal character alone. But do you ever hear of "Materia Magica", "Age of the Ancients" or any other game like that? No.
MUDs and MMORPGs can be compared to the movie industry. MUDs are the independant movies, they were around before, they're still there, and sometimes they're way better than anything the big boys can come out with. MMORPGs are your Jerry Bruckheimer films. Huge budgets and glitsy graphics, they must blow MUDs out of the water, right?
I just want to spread the word of these great things that have stood for nearly 25 years, since the first MUD debuted on a college mainframe computer. Be a Rebel, play the games made by the little guys sitting at their computer just like you.

-KeeperX

(PS: For links to many MUDs, visit the MUD Connector, at www.mudconnect.com. If you wish to simply jump in to a mud, visit Age of the Ancients at www.ancients.org [I am Keeper] or Materia Magica, at www.moongate.net [I no longer play here, but it's an excellent MUD])

Chronologist:
Non-visual stuff still ain't my thing, no matter how popular or good they may be. But then, such is my life, being an artist and designer and all that jazz. I just need visualization, preferably good ones. I mean, I CRAVE it. I can't sleep at night without-

Anyway. If anyone's interested in MUDs, check out those links. if I were a MUD fan, I'd say thanks. Since I'm not, I'll thank you in advance on behalf of anyone who gets into it by way of here. How's that sound?

 
Macs and DeLoreans - Now you're talking!

Dear Chrono,

Although my roommate won't admit it out loud, I know she would be jealous of your new computer. She's a graphic design major who thinks that the Mac is God's gift to artists, and even though she criticizes the design of the new IMac ("It's so cheap looking, it's not cute at all! The old one had that cute little handle... I want one of the old ones! No, wait, I want a G4 Cube"), I know she secretly covets one (she also secretly covets a PC, but that's just because she's frustrated with the fact that she can't open her documents on anyone else's computer).

Chronologist:
Cute or not, being able to adjust the screen, and the incredibly small footprint of the iMac make it worth every penny, in my opinion. Actually, if you do get the chance to ask, I'm curious about these supposed un-openable documents. There shouldn't be anything you make on a Mac that a PC won't open, if you do it right.

Oh, and the Mac IS God's gift to artists and designers. Don't you forget it. :P

Anyway, on to RPGs. I guess I'll address your little topic. I think that out of all the consoles, the PS2 has the brightest future for RPGs. It's the most established console and has all the established developers, it doesn't have Nintendo's reputation of being a kiddie console, and it has a much larger ownership base than the X-box does. So, not only will we get all the Square games courtesy of Sony, but we'll also probably get all of Game Arts' games (like the long-rumored Lunar III, if it ever materializes), not to mention fine games geared towards older gamers, like Shadow Hearts and Xenosaga. Now this is all fine with me, since I have a PS2. I do, however, hope that the Gameboy Advance continues to have good RPGs. The first RPG I ever played was Lufia I, so I definitely understand the beauty and appeal of 2-D graphics. Golden Sun was a great game, and I can't wait to see what Magical Vacation is like. I guess that since I'll always have a fondness for 2-D games, I'm excited about the prospects of RPGs on a next-gen 2-D console, even if it is handheld and has a terrible screen and a terrible speaker (but that's what headphones and a reading light are for).
It's too bad Magical Vacation still hasn't been picked up for a domestic release. Plus, according to Nintendo Power, there's no plans for Nintendo to even do so, which is weird, since it sure seemed like they planned to release it here before...

Of course, there's the next Castlevania and Lufia coming out, along with who-knows-what-else. Oh, and Pokemon, if that gets your motor running.

So with regards to the PS2's bright future, I hope that there will be an announcement from Square very soon about the future of a possible sequel to FFX (weren't they supposed to make some huge announcement about their upcoming titles a few weeks ago? I'm anxious to hear about Chrono Break... I need more Chrono goodness). I loved everything about the game, but the ending just made me feel cheated. I remember how upset I was during most of the ending to FFIX, but then in the end everything worked out. I kept hoping during the ending to FFX that it would end in a similar deus ex machina fashion, but it didn't. So, I do hope that Square will break their trend and give us a direct sequel, now that we really need it. Perhaps it can make up for FFIX, which seems only to be part of the Final Fantasy Series so that Square can use the name to sell more copies. I know I won't be buying or playing it, as I can't afford to pay a monthly fee just to play a game. I am looking forward to Kingdom Hearts though... the concept of the main character fighting with a giant key does scare me, but the whole concept is intriguing. I have no doubt that it will look good, but will the story and game play be good?
Yeah, I don't know what happened with Square's announcement. Here I was all geared up for a new Chrono game too. Maybe at E3. I really think, as do most other people it seems, Square IS doing a direct sequel to FFX at some point, as it deserves. Really, with their finances being drained from that failure of a movie (though I didn't think it was so bad), being able to re-use resources from FFX in a new game could give them a best seller for a minimal cost.

Kingdom Hearts, frighteningly enough, I want to play as well. Maybe it's because of the fact it's one of only two games they have this year (that we know of), or two games, at all. Maybe it's because I was a Disney fan before things got bad. Or maybe it's because the style and extensive cameos really intrigue me.

Finally, before I go to bed, a time travel note. This is no joke. There is a DeLorean that lives up the street from me. A real DeLorean. I don't know how some college student got their hands on one, but they did, and it is parked up the street all the time. So, if you can produce the time circuits and the flux capacitor, perhaps I can talk to my good neighbor and get him/her to donate their vehicle to science. Maybe we can even make it fly? After all, Doc Brown did take his to the early 21st century to get the flight circuits installed. Otherwise, if we can't turn this DeLorean into a time machine, I will have to keep hunting for gates and working on my designs for a gate key. Perhaps not the most fruitful use of my time, but it is far more entertaining than all my history reading.

Until the future,
~Sarasa

Okay... you ARE aware you must either steal or get a picture of that car for me, right? I've seen a scant few in my life, and only one was actually painted, which was odd. (Red even!) Much appreciated. :P
 
Closing Thoughts

It feels good to be back in the groove. Though tonight's groove (ie work) would have been finished a LOT faster if I wasn't hanging out on IRC while writing it. This explains the hour-late update. But then, since normal update time is midnight on Friday, I doubt many will notice this. Note the new topic, suggested by PR goddess Sumire this week (which does not mean you're obligated to write in on this topic, I will yet again stress). Next week I might have something new and different for everyone, so look for that. Until then~

~ Chronologist (chronologist@rpgfan.com)



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