Retrograding MAILBAG 03.07.05

Well this is pretty much going to be a mailbag issue as I have a lot of emails built up that aren’t actually questions about folklore or mythology. In fact a lot of them are video game questions, hence the name change for today.

Hi,

I’ve just gone through and read your review of Shining Force on the GBA as
well as your top RPG’s of all time and i have a question for you.

Shining Force is one of my favorite games of all time and, as you seem to
know more about Shining Force then anyone i’ve ever met, i was wondering if
you knew of anymore Shining Force games due out for the GBA / DS? As the
first one was such a hit do you think it’s likly that Shining force 2 is GBA
bound or maybe even Shining Force 3 on the DS?

Thanks very much

Steve

My response:

I doubt very much they’d make Shining Force 3 for the DS, as there are 4
version of that game after all. ;-)

Shining Force 2 is possible for the GBA or DS though. Or maybe even the PSP.
Who knows? We’ll have to see.

Right now your best bet are Shining tears and Shining Force Neo on the PS2,
both being brought over to the US eventually. As well there are the Shining
Soul games for the GBA.

And Steve replied back:

thanks for replying. I had no idea there were 4 verions of shining force 3.
I’d never even managed to get hold of 1 version not in Japanese.

Shining tears and Shining Force Neo look interesting, although I’ve heard
that neo isn’t a tatical RPG.

I’ll actually be reviewing Shining Tears for the site in a short while (as soon as it hits US shores), and once that is out I can update my shining Force History. Man that thing gets updated once a year! How amusing is that after such a long lapse by Sega. Nothing for the Dreamcast, and only one of the SF 3 games brought to America, but now it’s Shining overload!

Hey there,
good review as always. However I have to be super geeky here and mention what you said about KoF was the first game where you could taunt your opponent and Dan was created by Capcom to mock KoF. Well before King of Fighters there was Art of Fighting, the first fighting game I ever fell in love with, and that had taunting in it. Also, it was my understanding that Dan was a mockery of AoF’s main character Ryo who was a pretty bad rip-off of Ryu even down to his name. Not meant as a diss, just wanted to let you know and stick for my one of my fave games.

Keep up the good work,
Martin

My response:

Hey Martin, you’re right. He is a parody of Ryo, brother to my favorite
character, Yuri. I lump AoF in with KoF and Fatal Fury under the KoF line in
my head. But I should have been more clear in a review.

And Martin wrote back:

Alex,
I’m not surprised you knew about AoF, Ryo, etc., I’m just thinking of the
poor ignorant masses that don’t know the true greatness of SNK. Keep on
flying the flag for all us 2D fighter geeks!

Thanks,
Martin

I really do want more people to get out and try the SNK fighters. I hope to eventually see people realize how amazing the King of Fighters series truly is.

Now. Here’s one really weird letter in regards to the long ago to the Pokemon Rocks America report Matt yeager and I did back in late October. I know, 5 months old. :-P

Hey, I was wondering if it’s too late to make any corrections to your
IndiePulse post about subject event… Pokemon Rocks…

First off, Ash… well, Ash was a girl, a girl that cosplays as men…
a lot… and looks damn hot a lot of the time, lol… Her stuff is
linked here. http://cosplaylab.com/cosplayers/detail.asp?memberid=3879

There were at least 6 Team Rocket members, and a Prof. Oak… and
Misty, his name is Joe… he’ll do dirty things for money… It’s
too bad the site no longer has all the pics up…

haha, from the pics you took, you were pretty close to the stage
right? There were Rocket members to your left… they were cold…

..You probably won’t change it, but I still have my TR mini skirt to
love… oh well.


Wranglin Zombies From Dusk Till Dawn.

You gotta wonder why there are so many crossdressing cosplayers out there. I also have no idea who wrote the letter, or their gender, but hey, if it’s an actual girl with a Jessie from Team Rocket outfit (and that hair!! Yowza!), your subcultural icon just might raise a eyebrow at that.

And as always I get a question about Deoxys from someone. Honestly people you have no idea how often I get these emails, and more come in. It’s at least one a week.

When I try the mystery gift it shows only wonder cards and wonder news but not wonder gift. What should I do?

Tim Hurd

Either one. Really. Just do either one. I’ve printed this is many mailbags and columns since. But the questions keep coming! See!

Dear Alex on Pokemon fire red when I got mystery gift and selected it said wonder cards and wonder news not wonder gift so how do I get deoxys now from cheyenne bowman

And as long as we’re on idiotgrams, this is one of the best I’ve gotten. Back in the summer of 2003, when I was still writing for 411mania.com, I did an interview with Adam Ryland. Remember that. 2003. June 2003, I believe. It’s almost two years later and I get this…

Tue, 04 Jan 2005 09:42:17 PM CST
From: “j.king”
Tue, 04 Jan 2005 09:42:17 PM CST
From: “j.king”

alex(hint i am on first name terms with u)can u give me the official site of ewr plz

First of all, it’s not that bloody hard to be on a first name basis with me considering I’m writing a column here that has MY NAME ATTACHED TO IT. Second, the magic of google people. Or Altavista. Or Yahoo. But this is WHY there are search engines after all.

EWR is no longer available via normal routes as Adam currently has pay version of his games available. Total Extreme Wrestling is available here from 400 Software Studios and his new (and really fun game) Wrestling Spirit is available here from grey Dog Software.

Hope that helps all of you.

Oh. Here’s another crazy email. Might as well make it four in a row, right? This one is in regards to our Dreamcast feature. Bebito and I stared at it for a while and just finally put it in the crank file.

Date: Sat, 8 Jan 2005 18:57:51 -0300 (ART)
From: Tiago Medeiros
Subject: DREAMCAST IS DEAD!?!?!?!? :-(
To: bebitojackson@insidepulse.com
Hi, my name is Tiago but you can call me MADcat….
I have bought a used Dreamcast In Portugal and I haven’t regreted not even once for buying it
YOU ARE RIGHT THESE BASTARDS ARE JUST A BUNCH OF STINKIN’ IDIOTS. I prefer Sega Dc then the stupid PS2. I always liked sega when I got to cheatingdome I saw the word sega and last in the same frase and i didn’t like it. That’s when I saw your article And I totally agree with you!!!!!!!
When I heard about The New sega console I got really excited and wanted to buy it but i didn’t have the money at that time but when I got it I went to the store and they told me….
-Sega DreamCast is dead
Me:
-DEAD?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
-F”#$% you I ordered one Where is it?
worker:
-………….
well let’s not continue this story well…
What I’m trying to say is whenever you need someone to be at your side when you touch the subject count me In ok!?
Please respond to this mail.

Needless to say, we didn’t.

I probably should include a Nyogtha letter, and as I just revealed this on the forums anyway…


A nice, simple broad question. You’ve mentioned Sandman several times. Thoughts on it (touching on the folklore within and the supposed pretentiousness of the series, but really just anything)?

Aaron

Well, this fall of 2005, the author of Sandman, Neil Gaiman will be doing a very special Nyogtha column with me as soon as his newest book is done. That’s all I’m saying for now. But I’m sure that will make the Nexus boys just as excited as the Nyogtha fanbase.

Now back to the fact I’ve been getting a LOT of old video game emails lately. It’s like people are going through the Kliq archives and just responding to things. I wonder if anyone else is getting this aberration?

Dear Alexander:

I recently read your review on Kingdom Under Fire and have to say I sharply
disagree with it. You say the game is ridiculously easy. Well, then you must
be much better at this genre of game than most other people. I can point you
to forums where people are crying for help by the dozens to learn how to
beat certain missions. Your statement about not being able to die was
incorrect. If your Hero’s troop is wiped out, the Hero dies. I think you are
missing some of the appeal of the game which comes in the form of
customization. If you found it very easy, then you should try using
different unit types and learning to win with them. Some players actually
consider spearmen and orc axemen to be their favorite troop types!

I don’t know what you were expecting, but when you consider the tradeoffs
that are necessary to build a game like this, you are looking at one
extraordinary technological feat. Sure the game has flaws and annoyances,
but so does every game or bit of software on the market for that matter. I
really think the delays in this release have set you into a lukewarm
attitude that isn’t justified by the performance of the product. I would
urge you to play again, but this time use units that will make it more
challenging. Try to use different strategies. Hey, if you want a challenge,
try running up the middle in the mission in the Gerald Campaign where you
have to escort Rupert and the Paladins. If you can take out all those high
level enemies without croaking, I absolutely tip my hat to you sir.

-Tim O’Leary

I went through that game and demolished it. So did Matt Yeager. We both agreed it is one of the easiest games we ever played, I beat it with all four playable character Tim, and there was no challenge what so ever.

And my troops never died, which explains why my character never did.

And I will never understand what makes a person go “Wow, this game was really easy. But let’s play with the worst possible things in the game just to see how good I am!” While doing that, you could actually move onto a game that is fun and challenging Tim. Just a thought.

Since you did the top 30 rpgs of all time in your classic series with only two games from the current era being represented, I was wondering what the top RPGs of the present era would be?

Well, Ben at the time it would have been the highest ranking game on the countdown from this era (Dark Alliance 2), but it’s been a year since I wrote that and I have to say with all honesty, it’s Digital Devil Saga. It comes out on Wednesday, and my review goes into TEN PAGES of details why I think it is the best RPG for any console of this generation. Anyone reading this needs to call their local game store now and reserve a copy of this game, or you will regret it for the rest of eternity.

I would love to hear your opinion on Contra:Shattered Soldier, I think
it would be more up your alley than Neo and it is quite good and true
to its roots.

-Jairo

No plans to play it actually, and I never had, so I can’t give you an actual answer.


Hi!

I did a google search for Psi-Ops reviews just to check if the game is worth
my money, and come across the one you wrote in June.

And although it was helpful for my decision, I first of all want to complement
you for making me kind of nodding agreeingly and occasionally bursting out in
laughter :)

You truely have some elegant ways of putting it, and pictorial examples
totally making my day…

Excellent!

Best regards,
Kristian Syversen

Glad to be of help Kristen. I always appreciate comments like that from a first time reader.

And yet another letter in regards to finding my old stuff, from the Daily Pulse back on August 30th.

Hi,

Yeah, I’m behind the times. My friend just sent me a link to this article,
presumably because I have a large-ish games collection. I suspect, however,
that he just wants to get his hands on my Dreamcast games and my copy of
Terranigma (and yes, I do still play them both ;b)

Anyway, I just had a couple of comments on other parts of your column;

The whole Dhampir/Dunpeal thing. Well that was news to me. But if you’re not
going to be a fanboy Nazi about things like games and anime (seems like that’s
your ideal, and a worthy one, too), you’re going to have to accept that most
translators couldn’t give a crap about original cultural sources in anime, and
whatever they transcribe things as is probably gonna stick. That’s why she’s
still called Belldandy instead of Verdandi (“Oh My Goddess!” / “Ahh
Megami-sama!”), even after the official translators went back and properly
transcribed every other Norse reference in the manga.

The other thing was, if you’re going to come down on people for poor
transcription, you should spell currant correctly ;D

Regards,

Chris :)

US vs Aussie/UK spelling Chris. ;p

And I hate most Japanese to US translators for Anime and Manga because far too often they don’t know the source material they are translating and eventually f*ck it all up in the end anyway.

Last up is a letter I got nearly a year ago to the day the column was written: 2.21.04. Wow.

Hello,

I was hoping you would be able to clear up a Rhapsody question for me.
Sorry to be a bother, but I’ve been scouring the web and can’t find the
answer to my question. Thanks for your time!

My husband and I recently bought Rhapsody, and I really enjoyed it. I
played on Easy, because I like RPGs but sometimes give up if I get stuck.
Needless to say, it was super-easy. I plan to play it on Hard my second
time through, but wanted to know if you know whether the plot is different
on Hard. For example, the wizard gave me a key to someplace (dark
dimension, or something like that?) near the end of the game, but I
completed the game without using the key or seeing that place. Also, when
we left the “volcano land” we took the little dragon along in the party, and
Cornet said we’d raise it and return, but that never happened.

If you know if there are any additional plot elements on Hard, or if I just
missed them, please let me know.

Thanks very much,
Julia

As I told Julia, the plot doesn’t change at all. Everything is exactly the same in Rhapsody you just have to find the places talked about. There is a lot, and I mean A LOT, of subquests in the game and you might not find them all the first time through. That’s all that happened. The Dark Dimension is where you return the weird floating and adorable bunny puppet for example.

And that’s all for letters this week. I get so many old letters in regards to my old video game stuff each week that I felt it was time to clear out my inbox a bit and show you that yes, I still respond to RETROGRADING and other video game related emails. Just because the work is old, doesn’t mean I won’t accept feedback.

Cooking

No cooking this week, as that’s a Nyogtha only thing.

13 Plugs

My Street Fighter Anniversary and Digital Devil Saga reviews come out this week. Read both of them!

In games: Misha reports on a Darkstalkers collection coming out, while Berg does a little retro-gaming of his own.

In Music: You should always read Gloomchen and Fernandez. The latter shows us Denise Richards’ boobies, and the former mocks an ex boy toy of hers.

In Comics: Mathan proves my point that the Nexus gang needs a formal rigid review system when he gives Deadshot #4 an eight but then says “don’t see why folks love this book as much as they do. To me it’s “cool” but nothing special. The story is kind of hokey, but the characters are pretty well. The art is one of the stronger points though.” Same with Tim Stevens and his Fantastic Four #523 review.

In figures: PK shows me that I will eventually need to get a Barry Allen figure and there’s some new quasi-heroclix spin-off coming out as well.

In TV, Murtz interviews someone from some TV show I’ve never seen.

In Wresting: Nothing like Matt Hardy Drama.

And finally, Eric, how much did Dustyth Rhodesth have to pay women to touch his rolls of chub?

Closing

That’s it for this week. I’ll be back with the normal Nyogtha template next week.