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I Like Pie.
Friday, May 17, 2002

Have you ever had that feeling where you were really looking forward to something, and you're not disappointed but... you don't really know what to think? Don't get me wrong, Star Wars wasn't bad at all. It was awesome, and I especially loved that scene where a certain someone goes into action. :P Though I do kind of question the lack of development in a couple of villains, and Anakin's actor, but eh. It's still much, much more worth the admission price than Ep 1 ever was. I still liked Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi better... that's just me. I have the same problem with the Kenshin motion picture (titled here as 'Samurai X' ...ugh). Good storyline and all, but both the Japanese and the English voices... just didn't do it for me.

Anyway, I'm at the end of Metroid II and the Metroid Queen basically keeps handing my arse to me. :P Bleh, I can't wait to see Metroid Prime next week at E3, even if I may not be able to play it in the long run. Oh well, there's Metroid IV... it's hard to believe that E3 is five days away. :P Too bad I still suck at SSBM...

Lucky for you guys, you get another whole nine letters. And whether this part could be considered lucky or not, is up to you, as most of them happen to be short ones, much unlike last time.

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Program games? Nah, I just play 'em.

Hello there, it's me again^_^. So less people sends letters nowadays, huh? (change the topic:P) I was just thinking..what do you do in this site? Talk about RPGs and stuff? sure sure... what if you make something of umm... like a GAME! y'know, I know you're all good at computer stuff and probably know how to program(do you?). Why don't you gather many people and make an RPG game. You're all expose to RPG. If you're hard on getting good staff members, why don't you look and try at least... pleaaaaaaaaseeeeeee I'm begging you guys.....^_^; Okay okay I'll tell the truth. Let me get this straight*AHEM* I'm an ordinary person who just plan to make a..(PC game of course) a RPG and I'm too frustrated to find members who knows how to program, gather them up to form a group and so on... and I'm aLOT more frustrated bec. I don't know either -_-; but that is not my job bec. my role is to character design(or artist)I can make the landscape or I'll make the icons( another problem is the midis *sigh* I want to compose but I don't have the keyboard!!!!) or any kind of "ART" involved in a game...*whew* sorry if the letter's too long^_^; I beg you guys...bye!
Schala:
As I said in my last update, my letter flow went from a flood to a drought and a flood again... cool. :P Oh, and by the way, just because we're good at computer stuff doesn't mean we know how to program. Only a few of us do actually... There's a few reasons we probably wouldn't make an RPG... most of us don't have the time, and most of us don't have the skills, and there's no doubt some of us aren't exactly interested. But well, you never know. :P Most people who want to make an RPG just opt for RPGmaker (for the PSX, PC and coming soon for the PS2... yay) and work on an RPG from there. Heck, I'm sure there's lots of people out there willing to work on helping develop a game, you just have to find the right places. Not that I know where they are, myself. Maybe look up game development forums or newgroups or some such.
 
MGS2 sure is purdy, but the story...

I'd like to make a comment regarding your question "Are graphics all of a sudden all that matters in a game?" The answer to this question has mixed answers.

I'll use the internet as a way to start (don't worry I'll get to the games). The internet is one big graphical interface. Without the point and click picture interface it would most likely not be as widespread. Same thing with magazines. When I buy a magazine I usually glare at the pictures and skim the articles. Email's current day style has developed into a more visual communication rather than just standard english :P [please excuse the previous emoticon - I hate using them so much!].

The latest thing in games I notice is the simplification of words. An RPG that uses this modern day style of approach is Golden Sun. Icons over the characters heads represent ideas and emotions that we all understand. Voice acting in games is becoming more popular and a lot better developed in games. Although I don't think words will ever truly become obsolete from games its something not many people are wanting to find time for.

So in a way you can see, as a society we have developed a visual communication style [partly because everyone has to work so fast and hard anymore]. Games sell by their graphics so it is important for a game to have good graphics these days. A publisher won't front the money to a game company if that game doesn't look visually appealing. Designers are forced to make these decisions. If a so called pro-designer is unable to take risks with respect to new visual styles we as gamers will be stuck with the same old styles, not because they can't come up with new ideas but because they don't have the 3 million dollars it costs to make the game themselves. The publishers take the risks.

Most people look at me oddly when I say I like The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past better than Ocarina of Time. Whether it be the amazing attention payed to the overall color schemes or the simpler synth quality music, there is just something about that game that I find more magical than the adventure Ocarina of Time provides. I really think it is the freedom, I as the player have in A Link to the Past vs Ocarina of Time. The more realistic the music gets, and the more three dimensional I see graphics getting the more a game seems to incorporate cinematics that create a story and the less I see myself in that game. I even was a bit disappointed with Final Fantasy X. I believe the graphics in that game were amazing and beautiful, a breakthrough in visuals. I believe the gameplay suffered for those graphics. There were some new things to enhance play but how much of the story was mine? How much was left to my imagination to finish? I had very little gaps to fill in with my own imagination. I couldn't even really picture myself as the main character. Now do I see myself as a plumber with a huge nose and a cartoony face? Of course not, but when the character is left simpler the human mind adds in the missing features all on its own. And this is why I believe Miyamoto chose the cel-shaded look over the three dimensional. Not to mention cartoons are his roots. He would have never got the job at Nintendo if not for his artistic ability in cartoons!

I don't even know if I answered what I started out to answer but hope this means something to someone.

The rambler,
Jonas Holderman

Schala:
If someone was to ask me, 'are graphics ALL that matters', I'd say no. If they asked me if graphics do matter (as in, at all) I'd say yes. As to 'A publisher won't fund a game that doesn't look visually appealing'... well, Dragon Warrior 7 was released, was it not? :P Publishers look at many things before deciding to fund a game, graphics being one factor. Of course, if it looks bad enough, they'll still say no, but I'm sure that most developers these days are doing what they can to make their games look good, in order to compete. I bet Namco had no problem funding Xenosaga. :P

'Of course not, but when the character is left simpler the human mind adds in the missing features all on its own.' Often, this is the intention of the developer when the main character doesn't speak, his actions are left entirely up to the player, or his personality is basically stripped away so the game feels like you're playing from your own perspective instead. Which is why it surprised me that, after Super Mario RPG and Chrono Trigger, Terra eventually spoke in FFVI after having the slave crown removed. FFX's gameplay, to me, didn't really suffer from the graphics. It was good gameplay, but it still suffered from various things, like the story. Whereas the main character is supposed to represent you, the player, in some games, in FFX Tidus tells you his story, and as the game suffers from Xenogearsitis, (where often you watch more than you play), it sometimes just feels like watching a show or movie. I do think voice acting and graphics in many of today's games tell the story better and all, but there's a point when things get too cinematic. And well, it's not uncommon to prefer some classic 2D games over some of today's.

 
Zelda Rage? Yay. :P

Dear Schala,

Zelda for gamcube looks childish and I am raged by this frist nintendo ruined Yoshi than Mario and the entire gang and now Zelda I have no forgivness left for nintendo.

Jeff,

Schala:
Wait, how did Nintendo ruin Yoshi? I never got to play any of Yoshi's games... and Mario? Elaborate please. :P Last I heard Mario 64 was rather impressive - even today, a used copy still goes for $30. And again, there's no reason to say Zelda's ruined - not just yet. All we've seen is what Link looks like, and nothing else, like gameplay, etc. I suggest trying the game... (whenever it gets here) first.
 
Another cool series I didn't get to play.

Hi!

I've studied the Release dates section and ..whatz that...? Wild arms 3 scheduled for July 10th...????? Is this an official date..? where do you know that..??? Please answer me,I'm a wild arms Fanatic. :-)

Thx!

Greetz from Vienna

Judecca

Schala:
...The release dates are usually confirmed or announced by the company itself, or found through game retailers listings, and updated by the latest information we hear. In the case of Wild Arms, I believe it was in GameStop's listings. Note that means it isn't official, but I'm betting on a confirmation at E3 next week. Just... look here for the news.
 
Oh, but that was so long ago...

sure im still gonna buy zelda, cos itll be great. i just woulda liked it 10 times better if it had the spaceworld graphics.

Matt D

Schala:
Yeah, the Spaceworld graphics looked really really good... but mainly like the N64 Zeldas with enhanced graphics. I guess Nintendo suddenly wanted to try something different - let's hope for their sake that it works.
 
Mitsuda's Fangirl: She'll Never Die!

Uematsu or Mitsuda, who do you think is better? They're both great in their own right, but I prefer Uematsu. His ability to create a song from any musical genre is unsurpassed. Mitsuda is catching up, but he tends to have weak battle tracks IMO. What do you think?
Schala:
...Eh, I grew more and more dissatisfied with Uematsu's scores as FF8 and 9 passed. FFX has really goood music, but keep in mind he worked on that score with two other composers. Mitsuda doesn't have the best battle tracks, but his latest, in Xenosaga, is a really good one. I like how he was able to come up with an amazing sounding score for an SNES game (Chrono Trigger); a soundtrack with the variety it needed, to fit the game (Xenogears); he dabbled a lot in the Celtic music genre, one I happen to like a lot (Xenogears Creid, Chrono Cross); and was able to put great songs and the London Philharmonic Orchestra together to come up with something decently cinematic and fitting (Xenosaga). Maybe I'm biased, but I've been a big fan for seven years now...
 
Lameness be gone!

Hey Schala or Crono

I'm basically emailing to say that I'm not expecting much from Star Wars:E2, E1 was pretty lame... I like E6 the best personally (like everyone else in the SW's universe...) I am however willing to give it a chance since you should never judge something before you experience it!

And I also think I will ask a popular question

FFVII or FFX? I liked FFVII a WHOLE LOT better but FFX wasn't all bad... I just wish it had a darker and more involving story line. FFVII was more unpredictable while in FFX you could see anything coming from a mile away... Also FFVII had more to it, FFVII is the best game ever! PERIOD (ok, exclamation point...).

Thanks for your time

-A FFVII fan

Schala:
Ep 2, I must say, is a big improvement over Ep 1. Of course it had its flaws, which I already spoke of, but still very much worth seeing. But yeah, Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi were better. Probably always will be, for that matter. Well, Lucas has one more chance to prove me wrong...

I'm not far enough in FFX to say, really. At this point in either game (20 hours in) I still hadn't attached to any character in particular, and the character development wasn't enough in either game for me to judge. Still, in the end, FFVII still didn't get me to -really- like any character, like VI and IV did. FFVII wasn't totally unpredictable, but in regards to Cloud yes, some of it was still unpredictable. FFX... well, let's see how predictable it turns out to be as I finish it. Then I can give a more valid verdict. Though, there's always a cozy place in my heart for FFVI... *sigh*...

 
Time for a lengthy explanation of the Chrono games.

Hi hi!
Im a huge fan of RPGs and RPGfan. But one thing has bugged and urked me for the longest time. In most RPG stories, I understand the plot and different relationships of the characters pretty well. Im really curious as to what the heck Chrono Cross was doing though. k k
Kid is a descendant of Schala?
Marle is a descendant of Schala?
That would mean that kid and Marle are somehow related.
Schala has blonde hair now?
Blonde raggedy un washed hair?
I thought it was a beautiful flowing blue?
Serge IS Janus or a descendant of Janus?
Janus IS Magus so if Serge IS Janus then Serge IS magus.
O my o my o my.
Can someone explain to me how this all works?
It all fit in Trigger.
BTW, at the end of the PS version of CT, you see what seemed like a battle that had taken place. I dont quite understand that either. I did notice a griffin-like symbol on that uh wall scroll. Viper?
Argggg

DayenKnight

Schala:
Okay, first off, the Schala/Marle/Kid-related bits. First off, Marle is a descendant of Schala, yes. Hence, them both having the same family heirloom. Kid, is a daughter-clone of Schala, who was stuck, fused with Lavos/living outside of the space-time continuum. She (and somehow, Belthasar) created and dropped off Kid for Lucca to find, and raise. That was all part of Schala's plan to rescue Serge, after he made contact with the Frozen Flame and she heard him crying through... oh, whatever. Anyway, in the Japanese PSX Chrono Trigger, it was apparently explained somewhere that the Zeal family (or was it all Enchanted Ones? I forget...) had naturally blonde/whatever hair, but dyed their hair blue, purple or what have you, to show their significance.

Whether Serge is Janus, or has any connection to Janus, is never explained in the game. Janus is only mentioned in Lucca's letter to Kid, and, well, seeing as Serge, up until this point, has (apparently) led a normal life and all despite the Frozen Flame, somehow I doubt he's Janus. Now, unless Serge has a connection to Magus/Janus, MAGUS/JANUS IS NOT IN THE GAME WHATSOEVER. Guile is not Magus contrary to popular belief, yadda yadda.

As for that last ending, apparently someone went on a rampage and killed everyone in Truce/Guardia... or something. Who it was, I don't know, but it could possibly explain Chrono and Marle being dead - that is, if they are. Now, there is another ending in which the Masamune is stolen. I have this weird theory that the Masamune could have been stolen by Lynx/FATE or someone else, used to slaughter that town/kingdom full of people in the ending you saw, and that's what gave it its evil enmity. I... have no idea how the symbol relates though.

 
...What Park is that again?

Mario Kart and Smash Bros. Online would be hella fun. Heman (Masters of the Universe) is being made by TDK Interactive, WTF are they thinking!! Heman is dead. So what if Nintendo milks a lot, atleast they provide an overall better game than before. Arenít all the Consoles having a RPG Drought? I command you to change the name to Samus, she is more mysterious and cool than Schala? Do you like Linkin Park?

The price on Xbox has recently dropped, but is it enough to make the system more appealing? Besides Halo, what other original games does Xbox have? I am not dissing Xbox!! That damn system is heavy ass hell and would cause a lot of damage if it feel on your foot. PS2 recently annouced a price drop(I think) and they are already discussing there plans for PS3 Publicly. THAT CAN'T BE GOOD NEWS FOR PS2!! Think about it, if you claim your current system is doing well business wise, why would you try to distract your own customers with another system. Leave that for the competitors. Third party companies jump from ship to ship at the blink of the eye. Between April 20 til now they have been so many announcements of games being develop for the GC that it has my head spinning. I saw a preview for a Gradius, where it is being called a Real time, turn-based battle action Rpg. Excuse me, how the hell is that possible, explain please.

A good contest for your site would be something involving that logo being changed. God that's ugly.

Schala:
Linkin Park? Eeew, no. Not only have I practically been entirely separated from the world of mainstream music, but they're... well, just not my thing, last I heard of them. I noticed that the He-Man game might be at E3, and I was thinking... 'why? That series was over years ago, of not a decade or two.' I kind of miss watching that and She-ra though, those shows were just one thing that started me into liking fantasy stuff.

...Well, you knew that development for the GameCube would pick up. The fact that the PS3 won't be out for at least three years doesn't dampen the outlook on the PS2's future that much. Sony only talked about its PS3 plans a couple of times, if I'm remembering correctly. It's about time the PS2 dropped in price, I'm surprised they didn't do it earlier - like around last fall, when both the GameCube and XBox launched here. Still, late is better than never, and it was interesting to see Microsoft to follow suit, especially since they're losing more money per unit (each XBox unit costs more to produce than each PS2 unit) than Sony. Everyone's making bets on how soon Nintendo will also announce a price drop for the GC, and by how much...

I hadn't exactly been reading up on Gradius, myself, but that's a weird concept indeed. O_o

And talk to Chrono about the logo. I like it better than our last, and much better than some other sites' logos... :P

 
Closing Thoughts

Whee, the weekend's here, and that means... Star Wars! Wait, already saw that. Metroid II! Wait, I'm stuck. Uh... more laundry! *shrug* Well, E3's soon, after all... anyway, all my suggested topics in the past few columns are still valid, as is... basically anything, really. I love overflowing Inboxes. I really do. Oh yeah, and expect an update next time on what my updating schedule will be like during E3. Just write me. Entertain me. Just don't scare me off.

~Samus or Schala (depending on how big of a Metroid mood I'm in) (letters@rpgfan.com)



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