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Those Crazy Canucks!
Wednesday, April 23, 2003

So I guess everyone's been cheering all night about something around town. I think it was a hockey game or something. That's the one played on ice with a puck, right? :P

...In all seriousness, the big deal around here tonight is that the Vancouver Canucks just advanced to the next round of the NHL playoffs, and the hoopla hasn't ended all night. Not that I don't care, I'm happy for them all and everything, I just hope this doesn't go into the wee hours of the morning. Besides, I don't want to have to deal with a grumpy public at work if the Canucks had lost.

So as I mentioned last time, I've been bored enough at work lately to play Link's Awakening. I finally beat it yesterday, but forgot to go visit that colored dungeon, so I guess I should do that. Nifty game. Time to bring LttP with me to work now, and change my batteries.

I also somewhat started watching Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040, seeing as I have all six DVDs here. I watched the first today, and I must say, other than the disturbing waitress boomer, the series is really good so far. Insert your obligatory whiny girl here, slimy guy there, and some other kickass yet mostly silent/mysteries male or female over there somewhere. Needless to say this show has so far messed with my mind, and I keep getting told there's so much more to come. Well DUH, I have five more DVDs!

Oh man, this cheering needs to stop. Time for some letters, foo's.

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What the hell is Secret of the Stars?

Elizabeth, I hate to call you out in such a public fashion, but your topic leaves me little choice. Why would you want everyone to write in about FFX-2, a game months away from a U.S. release, when there's a game like Golden Sun 2 out right now? Why would you want a flock of Yuna fanboys to fill up your mailbox with a slew of gushing fanboyism? I revolt against your petty little topic! I'm talking about Golden Sun, and there's nothing you can do about it...except delete the letter, of course. But you wouldn't do that to me...would you?

Okay, Golden Sun. When you take a look at The Lost Age, you can't think in terms of sequels. It's essentially the second half of one game. The graphics and music are virtually identical, as is the battle system. I'm sure some moron out there thinks that's a problem. Well, it's like my grandpa always told me: some people are just born stupid, especially when their mom is also their aunt. By keeping everything the same, the boys at Camelot have created an impressive level of unity between the two games. And that's all I have to say about that. I need to play it longer than an hour before I make any further comments.

...Okay, fine. I do have a little something to say about FFX-2. I acquired the OST recently, and I have to say that I'm ecstatic! Finally, after all these long years of searching, I have found the cure to my chronic insomnia. This is by far the most snooze-inducing collection of "music" that I've heard lately. Secret of the Stars had a more riveting soundtrack. I'm not joking. My level of interest in this game has dropped from "curious" to "OMFGWTF". It may be the best game ever crafted by human hands, but I don't think I'll be able to tolerate hearing that garbage. I guess I'll have to listen to some devil music or something when/if I play it. Something tells me that Paine and Cannibal Corpse wouldn't be that strange of a combination.

And that's all I have to say. I guess it's back to Aria of Sorrow for me!

(NOTE: As of this writing, Aria of Sorrow is still a couple of weeks away from being released. I just figured that by the time this letter actually gets used, I'll have beaten the game three times already.)

I'm out.

The Darkrider

Actually, I've gotten no such fanboyish e-mails so far. I guess all the fanboys exhausted their Yuna (and Rikku, and Paine) drooling back when the game was announced. If you look over all the letters lately commenting on the game, there wasn't much in the way of 'HOLY CRAP THEY'RE HAWT' so much as being worried about the storyline, job classes and Tidus possibly coming back.

But eh... Golden Sun 2 isn't such a bad topic either. I'm sure many of you recall how I own Golden Sun but never got around to playing it.. um, oops. When the games are mentioned, I tend to hear mostly good things, which is a shame they haven't gotten more attention. It's impossible to argue how good the games look though, so I have no qualms about them having the same graphics.

So how much of the FFX-2 OST have you heard? As of this writing, my review isn't up for the public to read yet, but I have to say that i didn't find the OST as boring as I found... just, simply, out of place. There are some tracks I really do like, but most of them are on the second disc. None of that strange jazz wannabe stuff either. Yikes. I'm really split on the last boss fight too.. you'll see why.

Too bad for you that as your letter gets published, Aria of Sorrow is NOW two weeks from being released. Hah, sucker.

Oh yeah, and happy belated birthday, foo'.

 
Fuzzy Link... okay, that's disturbing.

Hello Schala! (remember that name?)

I have decided to join you on my quest to play any Zelda game within my grasp. I have played Wind Waker two times in a row, so many bonuses the second time through (and link is so cute with his hair all over the place as he just wakes up). I bought Ocarina of time for the 64 simply because the um, fuzziness of the graphics make the big blocky polygons less noticable. While simultaniously playing Master Quest on the GCN, stuck in the second dungeon, very hard. I have just got to the Goron village in Majoras Mask and now I recently purchaced A link to the past for my gameboy SP.

The only old school Zelda I've played was Links awakening. Everyone tells me Link to the past is a must play, but I haven't been interested in it, usually after 5 minutes of playing, I get bored. But sometimes people will will mention things about the game that gives me further reason to play and enjoy it. Could you please mention some of your favorite things about this game to possibly make me want to play it, also, if you could do the same thing for Xenosaga, I would appreiciate it. As I have put a halt to the game because it simply bores me to death (I'm currently at the part where I just beat the boss after rescuing 11 people) and Momo stays behind to help the injured.

In return, I'll help to enlighten you on some spoiler free reasons Wind Waker is the um, shizzle dizzle. (1)Classic OoT gameplay. (2)Sailing the boat is just fun, trying to find all the discoveries really makes you feel you've made quite an accomplishment. (3) The dungeons seem much longer, with more puzzles, but the puzzles never EVER get irritating or annoying. (4) This game features probably one of the cutest characters in video game history, named Makar, a forest spirit that NEEDS to be a plush.

-Joey
(aka. JiJi McPaws)

I'm still waiting for my OoT. That's very next on my Zelda list though, while A Link To The Past tides me over. Heck, if OoT doesn't get here by the time I beat LttP, I'll just play the Oracle games, seeing as I have both in my possession. I've heard about about how OoT looks better on the GCN, but is it even a noticeable difference? No, I'm not expecting a graphics overhaul here, just a less fuzzy looking game. Either way, I expect OoT to be good, or you'll all perish. Or something.

I really don't remember specifics of LttP very well. Heck, I don't remember where my SNES cart is. I remember having fun, as much fun as I had with Link's Awakening DX. I can't remember if I got halfway through the game, or just a little before that before I lost my save. And this, folks, is why I'm playing it again, like I should have years ago. (I think instead, I just chose to kick my ex's ass around for erasing said save.)

Xenosaga though... man, that was TWO WHOLE MONTHS ago. Do you really expect me to remember ANYTHING? ...Okay, I'm kidding. How can I forget after spending 70 hours on the import and just recently beating the domestic version? :P Well, what I liked about XS was definitely not the battle system. By far, it was the well-told story, and after that, probably the whole system of learning tech attacks and using tech points, ether points and the skill points/system. It's the fighting part for me that gets really boring.

Wow, someone else thinks WW's boat is fun. I should really keep a score or something here. And, I like puzzles. It keeps things interesting, instead of getting bored of fighting endlessly (mmmm, dungeon crawls), plus I tend to be... pretty decent at puzzles I think. I mean, I beat Link's Awakening after all. :P

 
Ah yes, politics have returned.

Hey Liz,

You know, this time I am not going to talk about Project X2 oddly enough. I would be at liberty to give you gameplay info but with a Press Release as close as 1 week away I think I'll save the mass of info along with artworks for that. Although, I would like to bring up a point about the State of Washington sueing retailers for kids getting there hands on "M" rated games such as GTA Vice, etc.

First off, how in the hell could it be the retailers fault in full? Sure enough they have partial blame for it, but what are the parents doing while these kids are wondering around in a game store? Obviously its more of a parenting problem because they aren't there to say, "no, you can't get that timmy". Don't blame the retailers for parenting mistakes. Kids are going to be exposed to these games along with playing them whether or not the retailers sell them, so give them a break congress and sit down, because video games is just not your thing.

(Note - the alternative has been stated as games should not feature violence towards figures of authority.)

My personal view is violence is violence, it DOES NOT matter who the violence is directed towards because fact of the matter is.. it's still violence. Besides, I think gamers as a whole who are doing "violent" things in these video games would rather do it against a figure of authority since we don't really have the option of doing it in real life without consequence. So hell, I say make all violence towards figures of authority, let's get it out some how. Besides.. if we couldn't do that what's the point of freedom. We DO have the right to freedom of speech and the expression of views. Why not be able to do it video games as well. Another point I would like to point out is either way these kids WILL get there hands on "M" rated games. What's the difference between violence acted against your average citizen compared to an "officer of the law". I sure as hell don't want people doing "violent actions" towards me.. I am an average citizen. Go shoot the cop down the road, LOL. Congress is full of a bunch of asses.. if we can't have violent games then take the damn porn of the shelves (we all know what they do with it behind closed doors). Only fat people in suits don't get laid anyway.

My opinion as a developer: "When I make a game I want to make my vision come to life. Not have it confined in boundaries then brought to life."

One last point so I can stop babbling on. There's X-Rated movies out there. Things like the Exorcist, etc. I know kids end up seeing these things as well. If anything is bad for your mentality it's sick demented things like that. So before you pick on us gamers, start looking at other things like X Rated movies, porn, etc.

Sincerely,
Paul T., Project X2 Lead Designer

P.S. If you would like any specifics (within reason) on X2 I would be more than happy to answer them in the next Mailbag update. When I say specifics, think of things you wouldn't see in a press release. Also, I may end up sending the press release to both the mailbag and the actual RPG Fan site because I would like to hear your personal opinion Liz, as we have been talkin' about the project for a while now.

Feel free to send away with that press release! Yeah.

That rule kinda reminds me of the law here about lottery tickets and gambling. Which I think is kind of silly and confusing, but here goes: it's not illegal for people under 19 to buy them. Yet retailers can't sell them to people under 19, or they can be fined. I dunno, does anyone else think this makes little, if any, sense?

Back to Washington. Yeah, I can see how it can only be partially the game store's fault... but in full? They weren't FORCING the kids to buy these games, the kids chose to and the retailer let them. And either the parent wasn't there as you said, or they were and didn't care.

As for what the violence is, yeah, I personally don't think it matters. I'm sure others will beg to differ, but it's all violence, no matter who it's taken out on. I don't know, maybe a lot of us have this teeny bit of a violent tendency, and I dunno about you, but I think that the congress and police and such would rather us feed those violent tendencies in our own living rooms in a video game rather than in real life.

Anyway, it's not the fault of retailers nor games if a kid gets violent. Whatever violent acts are blamed on games and TV were still chosen to be acted out by the criminal, juvie, whatever you want to call them. I can see where being exposed to a really high amount of violence over years can cause some problems. But when kids, say, kill their parents because they're copying what they saw on The Sopranos (yeah, it really happened), don't blame the show, it didn't force them to go out and do it. But yeah, whatever.

Plus, kids are going to be playing these games perhaps at some point, at a friend or relative's house. You know, just like with TV and movies.

I beg to differ on the fat guys in suits who may not be getting laid - by normal means. If they have money, well..... :P

 
M$, buying Square? That's the best rumor yet.

Liz,

Josh Lester is not alone, I have seen this surprising trend in Game store employees for the past few months now. When I went to pick up Wind Waker over a month ago my brother got in an argument over how nintendo was going to bomb, Microsoft was going to buy Sega, Nintendo, Square (not square enix, I will get back to that), and Namco. I said, "where the hell do you get these figures AND if nintendo is doing so poorly WHy the **** am I waiting for an hour to pick up a Gamecube game." at this point he ran into the back to cry over his HALO and 'Box.

When I mentioned the merger between Square and Enix the employee called me a liar. He said, " Enix doesn't have the money and Square is being bought by MIcrosoft not some Jap company." When I went to pick up Final Fantasy Origins, (the LAST game I am ever getting at that store) as I walked out of the store this guy comes in. I shoved the game in his face and said, "LOOK AT THIS! Square Enix you guys don't know ****. Know wonder you can get a job working here! You guys sit at home playing your ****ing Halo Tuorneyments all night long while making fanciful and false rumors about microsoft buying Japan like it already has bought America. You guys need to get a life even more than I do! ****ing *******s!"

Sorry about that cursing but it is exactly what I said

Arthur
the once and future king

God, these stories get more amusing. That's not to say that I don't believe you, because I do, I've seen the trend myself. My store seems to be all big on the Xbox, or maybe M$ is just throwing money in the game stores' directions, cuz you know, Bill Gates has that much money and it's very very likely. I can't count the number of times my EB had some Xbox (god knows what game) tournaments, which consisted of like five or six Xboxes set up and God knows how much noise. One time I was walking out of the store with Zelda: Four Swords (or something similar) and was asked once or twice to participate. "Uh..... no." Yes, I'm aware that the Xbox has some great games, but not enough for me.

I don't see how anyone can think Nintendo's going to bomb... they've been really successful in the past year and some. And Microsoft buying them out? I honestly don't see Nintendo going for a move like that with how well they're doing now. The closest that rumor gets is Microsoft buying out Sega, as Sega has had about four different merger offers, the other three being from Namco, Sammy and Electronic Arts. Apparently, Sega will be holding some kind of press conference dealie tomorrow regarding this, or so I hear. Expect it to be the talk of the town (if I heard right) by the time you read this. Seemingly, on that note, some of Sega's upper brass are pulling for a Sammy merger, while those on the development level want to merge with Namco. I personally think those are the two best choices for Sega...

Microsoft, however, is less likely to buy Nintendo (for reasons stated above), Namco or Square Enix. Now that I've reached the Square Enix topic, I find that incident you described highly amusing. It just shows how little lots of people don't know about the Japanese side of the industry. Granted, I don't expect any John Doe who walks off the street into an EB to know much, if any about the Japanese companies, but it's just silly to base an opinion on a very poor amount of, if any, knowledge. As far as the US companies are concerned, Square Enix was more of a merger (or maybe even Square absorbing Enix, seeing as Enix's US office closed down and most of its staff lost their jobs :P), whereas Enix bought Square in Japan. Enix in Japan, for one, is loaded. And there'd be no way that merger, which started in Japan, can't affect the US companies.

I really wish I could be in a game store when people get into arguments like this. It just sounds amusing... plus I can provide input and shock people.

 
Game awards? People have those?

Hiya Liz!

The UK had its first televised game awards this week but RPG games were hardly up for anything. Vice City won two awards (including the BAFTA game of games award) and I'm sure you'll be pleased to know that Metroid Prime won Best Adventure Game.

Final Fantasy X was beaten by Halo in the catogory it was in which disappointed me. OK, so I haven't played Halo but FFX is one of my favourite games. There were only 3 winners which I agreed with and they were Solid Snake being the best game hero, GTA: Vice City being the best overall game and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker being the most wanted game.

RPGs have been becoming more popular so I thought that there would be more up for awards (even though there weren't many of those). OK so there is a lack of generally decent ones over here but with games such as Kingdom Hearts and Golden Sun RPGs deserved their own category to see which has been the better one over the past year.

So onto my question (I'm sure you're dying with anticipation to know what it is :P) what do you think of this? Is it surprising that both awards and nominations were far and few between?

Cheerio!

PowPowParn

Does it surprise me? Not really. Depending on the organizers, they may not know what kinds of things to make categories for a game awards show, since they probably don't vote on best games every year like most of us gaming sites do. Not to say that the organizers are clueless, and I do give them kudos for even having a game awards show. A televised one is even more impressive, and more than what North America got. The winners don't surprise me either, especially Halo and GTA: Vice City.

If there weren't that many awards to begin with, I'm not too surprised that there wasn't an RPG category. That, coupled with the fact that Europe still doesn't get as many RPGs as even North America, even though you guys probably deserve them (the good ones anyway) as much as we do. If either a) you guys got more RPGs or b) it was in North America, I'd be more surprised at the lack of an RPG category.

A most wanted game category huh? Interesting... and a very accurate winner, judging from all those pre-orders.

 
I've yet to beat FFVIII as well.

This is my first time writing in so bear with me on this one.

I've been playing Zelda recently and honestly the game is taking me longer then it should, why is it? Because I'm the type of gamer who gets 3 or 4 games and alternates playing them so I never get tired (problem with that scheme is forgetting some games, I've yet to beat Star Ocean 2 and Final Fantasy 8) Just in case you wanted to know I'm currently playing Dark Cloud 2, Wild Arms 3, and Zelda.

But I'm having some problems with Zelda that makes me not want to continue, and that problem is simply that Dark Cloud 2 is so much better. Zelda's story offering so far is iffy at best, and in reality the story only reaches iffy potential when I'm reading something while playing it (Like George R.R. Martin or Robert Jordan) when I do that sometimes I imagine the story is different. But who plays Zelda for its story any ways hmm?? not me.

Gameplay issues. People mention how great the gameplay is and I'll give it to them, its good. But I have one problem with it. While playing Dark Cloud 2 I realized there was no jump button, and I thought. "Man this is actually a good thing" why? Because I remembered the infuriating task of jumping in Zelda. Now I donŐt know if you've heard yet but jumping in Zelda is simple in premise. Run up to the edge, and you jump. but is a flawed idea. Link has a preset distance of jumping, meaning that he always jumps X feet off of the edge of the cliff (note: Link discerns no difference from a cliff in front of a body of water of safe landing and a cliff standing before a huge steaming pit of hot lava, he jumps all the same.) When does this become a problem? (for me at least) this game has a lot of platform to platform jumping areas, many of which take place in the midst of heaving fighting. If thatŐs not bad enough platforms start moving. Eventually you learn to deal with the problem, but every now and then you attempt to drop straight down on a cliff to land on a lower cliff face (if you walk off the cliff you donŐt jump) and end up walking to fast and jumping and well... Link doesnŐt fly very well (unless you have a Deku leaf equipped with magic).

My next complaint is one everyone has... the damned boat. you've heard it time and time again so I wont repeat it... or will I? nah.

but let me tell you this, if I have to play that "change the direction of the wind song" one more time I'm going break something, everytime you land in warp it seems the wind is pointing the opposite direction of where you need to go, ItŐs the oddest thing. Oh well, I've got to go back to some Dark Cloud 2, and might I suggest you buy that game, its better then Zelda in almost everyway from depth with weapon customizations, to story telling (have you heard the voice acting?? Oh my god its beautiful), to the overall story, to the sidequests (In which the Georama and the Invention side quest games out do anything Zelda has to offer, at least thus far in my file)

Peace

Like I sort of alluded to in the last column, I think the trend of games that are traditionally rather short (we're talking 10 or less hours) are longer these days since developers have a lot more technology to play with and can create more elaborate dungeons, puzzles, worlds, etc. Actually.. they've had this for a while, but it keeps getting better. Anyway, from what I gather about Wind Waker, the dungeons are longer, the boat is slow and there's just a lot more extra stuff to do.

I guess playing a bunch of games at once would have nothing to do with it, huh? Nah, never. I've heard (again) that WW's story is much more better and has more depth than previous Zelda games. Of course, I think that reading a fantasy novel, and said novel making your current game's story pale in comparison is a given.. RPGs CAN have great stories, but not of the Tolkien/Jordan/Brooks calibre. Which is why you play for more than just a good story.

So, you can't control whatsoever, the distance Link jumps? Interesting. You can sort of control it in Link's Awakening, but very, very little. Of course, it didn't matter so much then unless he was trying to land on a tiny ledge floating above a pit of lava. Sound familiar? Having to jump around in some games can prove to be a fun challenge, but can also get really annoying after awhile. Anyone remember the Babel tower in Xenogears? Ah well, I expected Wind Waker to be really hard someplace.

I'd buy Dark Cloud 2 if a) it was cheap and b) I had a domestic PS2 to play it on, and I don't want to import Dark Chronicle. I CONTINUE to hear good things about it so I guess I better play it someday, somehow before you all beat me down. :P

 
In case you missed it, he's asking about FFX-2 here.

Sup all,

When is it coming out in the US? Where can i get it? Final Fantasy X was a blast and probably the best game i ever played! I wanted to know if there was a different aoen or however you spell it other than Valefor,Ifrit,Shiva,Ixion,Bahamut, the magus sisters,yojimbo,and anima? I heard there was a aoen named after ject too and i was wondering if it was true? Anyway thank you and do you know any other websites for RPG games or FINAL FANTASY games? thank you so much!

Final Fantasy X-2 is never coming out. See, Square and Enix never merged. Square has been bought out by Microsoft so they can make endless PC style and online RPGs for the Xbox. Anticipate about 80 FFXI add-ons as well.

Actually, Final Fantasy X-2 is supposed to come out here on November 3. As for summons, it's highly unlikely. I've seen footage of Bahamut, but I don't think he's a summon monster, especially since Yuna lost her summoning abilities at the end of FFX. Oh, and there wasn't an aeon named after Jecht... he became one. Whenever a summoner fought Sin, they chose one of their guardians to be their final aeon, which was an integral part of defeating Sin. Said final aeon then became the next Sin ten years later. I can't remember much more than that (as to why), but Jecht was Braska's guardian, and Braska chose him to be his final aeon, which was why you fought him at the end of FFX.

Websites for FF games... there are far too many. Type up 'Final Fantasy' in a search engine, and you'll find about 50,000 of them. I'm not kidding. As for RPG sites, I personally can't recommend the other two popular ones out there...

 
Closing Thoughts

So, that's it. It's time for me to sleep, now that the cheering seems to have calmed down. Oh, and now that someone has mentioned it, I'd like to hear about FF Origins as well.

~ Liz, who, only 8 hours after last watching BGC2040, is already deprived. (letters@rpgfan.com)



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