Retrograding 08.22.03

Okay. Due to the big news about Nokia and Sega in the Aug 21st edition of the Wall Street Journal, the normal RG is going to be a bit late so I can formally put my thoughts into words. All I can say right now is, “Fuck you both for making Vampire Chronicles and TR4 basically worthless to me.”

But instead, let’s focus on happiness. Like your letters!

Re: elitism
I remember Jim Rome’s definition of ‘rotisserie geek’
‘Hey pal, I know Jose Canseco’s batting average with men in scoring position, too. But I have a girlfriend!! ‘Nuff said.’

Sean Anderson

Sean’s comment made me laugh. And it’s very very true.

Great piece on VG soundtracks, a good read as always. And I see now that
I’ve struck a sensible nerve when I talked about Persona’s music. Didn’t
mean to insult you or anything… Oh wait, I didn’t! I just said it was
sometimes good, sometimes really far out there. But not what I would rank
at #1, live with it! ;)

Legend of Mana… beautiful game, no challenge. I beat it without wearing
any armor the whole game. Sure there’s fun to be had by experimenting items
and golems creation, the graphics are magnificent, so is the music… but
the whole thing just didn’t click. May have something to do with the short
stories (seems to be what a lot of people have against it). The Jumi
storyline was what I found most interesting, so I think I would have
prefered a game more centered around that. But as you said maybe Square
would have ruined it by trying to stretch a whole game out of it. But what
if they didn’t…

And man, you can hate Square games all you want (with reason in a lot of
cases), but I firmly believe FF6 and Chrono Trigger had amongst the most
beautiful soundtracks of their time. But those are so widely known that I
can understand that you wanted to tell us about different games, and I’ll
just consider that to be the reason you didn’t mention them ;)

As for me (yeah yeah I know: “Who cares?”), I was back at work last Monday
after a 3 weeks vacation, totally unmotivated and unproductive. Not that
anything bad happened to me, it’s just that I was REALLY enjoying the time
off. I’ve put Persona 2 on hold while I sink my teeth in EWR 4.0. LOVE the
new features, personalized mails from wrestlers is the bomb. From John Cena
rapping me a praise after I push him to the main event to Sylvan Grenier
threatening to kill me in my language when I fire him! Still missing the
feature I wanted since version 1.0 however: a Reply option to those mails.
Not that it would do anything practical, but just to give a feel good warmth
when I reply “Shut the f*ck up!” to Goldberg every time he complains that he
had to carry his opponent, while we all know where the source of the bad
rating really was…

Catch you some other time. Keep the quality coming, or straighten your life

*update after reading your mailbag*

oh, you got a job, you’re dating… Hey, that’s good to hear! Damn, you 2
new columns will probably make this mail obsolete, but I’ll be damned if I
am to start again.

That guy was right about Mario 2. The lullaby was SO fine. I rarely hum VG
music when I’m not playing, but that was one. And Soulblazer, the theme
from Doc Leo’ lab was great… ah heck, the whole soundtrack was.

How on earth do you fin the time to post your multiple columns every week,
with all the research you must put in some of them (Shining Force History),
work out, date, write books AND play VG? I barely have the time I want for
my hobbies, I can’t for the life of me picture myself having to do a web
column. I’d go insane!

Anyhow, good luck with the job (tell us more about it sometime).

Please accept the expression of my dearest valedictions expressing the wish
that is mine that you be of fine health and enjoy a wonderful time
collecting happiness and sharing it with loved ones as celestial music being
played by cute little naked angels descends from the heavens…


Our EWR contest winner writes in again. And once I get it back from my ex across the ocean, he’s got his hands on a Mint condition copy of the PSX Ogre Tactics!

I’m the new Sales Coordinator for Charthouse publishing. The makers of the Business Philosophy FISH! So yes. Now you all know what Alex does besides writing here and for RPG companies. He deals with business management and self help stuff.

And I don’t have much time any more between the new job and trying to keep the tang away. Yes, SF history took up a lot of my time, and I am slowing down from my usual 3 columns a week to 1-2. But that’s life. England let me have a lot more free time than I do now.

OK,. just one question about the whole Mailbag. At the end, when you were talking about praising the GREATEST line of fighting games of all time, we’re you making a joke or were you being serious. Cause it would be BAD ASS to read what you’d have to write about that series.

Damon Muraida

Awesome job on the Shining Force history piece. Good stuff. You know your stuff. Work like that deserves to be commended. I hope you keep up w/ the history of games. If I had a choice, I’d love to see the history of King of Fighters. Keep up the good work.

Anne Richardsom

Man, you know what? I was sarcastic about the KOF thing the first time and got a huge response. Then at the end of last weeks SF column…MORE RESPONSE! You guys really love SNK. And in return I love you.

Now please. Go right now to Playmore SNK and email them. You guys enjoying SNK vs Capcom Chaos in the Arcades. They are WILLING to do DREAMCAST version of the game if they get enough response. YES! A NEW DREAMCAST GAME. And let’s be honest, neither the PS2, the GC nor the Xbox is good at fighting games. Look how crap the ports of Marvel vs Capcom 2 are on those systems! Or Capcom vs SNK 2!. You owe it to Capcom. You owe it to SNK. You owe it to the DC. Please people. PLEASE EMAIL THEM. I need this game on the DC. Bebito needs this game on the DC. Chuck and Liquidcross need this game on the DC. Lee needs this game on the DC. If there was ever a cause the entire 411games staff should unite behind it’s getting ONE MORE DREAMCAST GAME OUT FOR US ALL! And as it’s an SNK game to boot, it’s all the more important that this dream becomes reality.

And yes, due to your interest, I will do a KoF/Fatal Fury history in the near future.

I am a retro video game fan (MAME and all that crap) and I really like your column. However I have a small problem with anyone calling a person who sits at a video game all day and all night “hardcore.” Well, yeah I can see that they are “hardcore” into video games but the word “hardcore” evokes a vision of someone being a bad ass, like hardcore wrestling(…or the bad ass bitches of hardcore porn hahaha terrible attempt at a joke that wasn’t even funny. Just like this whole email!) Maybe these gamers need a new word like “Virgin” or “Dork”—just as skateboarding is not “extreme,” gaming is not “hardcore.”
Anyway your column’s alright with me.
Yes, I wrote this on speed, and it probably made no sense

More people agreeing that the usual “elitist’ crowd of gamers are nothing more than psychotic nerds on a bender. But how could you be a speed freak email?

<< Goths that can't stop talking about Anne Rice and Neil gaiman >>

Hey, jerk.

Slander Anne Rice all you want, but leave my Neil alone!

Sorry, I just had to say it. Neil Gaiman is my favorite writer (within all mediums he has thusfar encompassed), and he’s a lot more than just a “Goth” author. I’m not insinuating that you meant this as a slur to Neil or his writing talents, but more of a slur towards Goths who are so anal retentive about their “scene”, but I can’t go a day without extoling the virtues of Gaiman to at least one person. Congrats, today is your day!

Check out American Gods and Good Omens (written with Terry Pratchett of Discworld fame) to get a good idea of how incredible a writer Neil is, and why he’s ended up being one of my biggest influences in my own writing. I especially think you’d enjoy American Gods, as it seems to be right up your alley plot-wise.

Congatulations on the book deal, by the way. I’ve seen you alluding to it throughout your columns lately, yet I haven’t seen all that many pats on the back from the 411Games readers in your mailbag. Being a soon-to-be published author myself, I had to give a good backslap to my fellow writing brethern on being able to move from one genre (opinion columnist) to another (Author? Opinionated fiction? What the hell book _are_ you having published?). I know it can be challenging to move from style to style, and it takes a special type of person to be able to do that. Hopefully everything will work out for you and much success will come your way.

And hey, being a fellow writer, if you’d ever like to check out some of my work, just let me know. I love the opinions of friends, but it’s the opinions of other people that have the same drive and derive the same joy from writing that I do that truly keep me moving forward with my “career” (Fingers crossed!). And if none of that made sense, I blame sleeping pills and 8 hours of work.

Keep up the great work, Alex, and I’ll keep on reading the best column on 411Games; Bebito’s Rumor-Lo Down. Hey, I can only kiss your ass so much before my lips turn a hearty shade of brown.

Brian J. Blottie
-All of that from you mentioning Neil Gaiman. Yeah, I wonder why I’m an author. 8)

LOL. The comment about Neil was a joke. I’m a huge fan of him. And he lives a scant 10 miles from me. And any praise for American Gods can go in my column any day.

And who knows, maybe Neil will finally write something I can put in the Mailbag. Because we all know he reads me right back.

Now for an email series between myself and Mr. A.V. Levez

I can’t believe that the music from Super Mario Bros. 2 is the best on 8-bit.
Uh-uh. I insist you track down the music from “Monty on the Run” and “Auf
Wiedersehn Monty”, for the Commodore 64. If yr interested, I’ll even find you a
link for the original .SID music files (original but ported to PC, of course)
and a player for hte operating system of your choice…

? Huh? Super Mario 2 the best on 8 bit? I never said that!

I hate Mario games! Okay, I hate Platformers in general. Jumping repeatedly onto ledges just bored the crap out of me.

I think some of the best 8 bit music midi’s came from the Bard’s Tale or Castlevania 3.

Ah, a reader comment, perhaps.
Understandable. I like Mario 64 very much indeed but the others only interest me
very briefly. I’m more a strategy and thinking-man’s-first-person-shooter guy
myself, anyway.

I’ve never played any of those game series. The joy of living in the UK, where
Nintendo was owned by nobody I owned until the day of the SNES, and where the
Commodore Vic-20 & C64 and – especially so – the Sinclair Spectrum ruled

Incidentally, a few months ago I bought ‘D’ on your recommendation. I hate it
utterly. I’m not trying to blame you for my now owning a thing I really don’t
like at all, but hah, I wish you’d said it was a 7th Guest/Myst style game, at
the time. Buried away amongst the survival horror and RPG columns, it was the
only title I didn’t recognise at the time.

Just thought I’d mention. Aargh. If you should know anyone after a copy (though,
it’s the Playstation version I own, rather than the Saturn edition), let me
know…PAL, incidentally.

Repton fan then? I’m like the only American I know that knows that game series.

And sorry you didn’t enjoy D. If it makes you feel better, I hated the sequal.

Hehehe… no, while the Repton series were released on at least one of the machines I mentioned (I owned a Spectrum), they were more of a BBC Micro thing. I never much liked that game, though my little sister did.

But yeah, that’s pretty impressive, an American knowing of that. Start showing your knowledge of the pre-Rare days of Ultimate, with SabreWulf and Atic Atac and stuff and I’ll tip my hat to you.

I won’t bore you with the rest of us talking about obscure UK/Pre-rare games. But for a while Saberwulf was supposed to be coming out for the GBA. But that was over a year ago. Dammit all.

Don’t know if you remember me or not, but I emailed you a while back about
Lovecraft. We chatted a bit about Lovecraft themed games, and you mentioned you
enjoyed Mythos a lot. I was wondering if you ever subscribed to the Chaosium
mailing list (mythos-digest) for the game, and if so did you ever keep any of
the old digests from that? I know that’s sort of an off the wall question, but
I figured I’d give it a shot.

Also, do you know of any good places to buy cards? I’m starting to get into the
game a little, and I’m hoping to get some new cards in the coming months. I
have the a couple Starter Sets (with the premade decks), but I’ll probably
begin getting the limited (if possible) and the three expansions for that first.

Thanks for any and all info you can give me!

Take care,
Aaron Marriner

P.S. I see no mention on Chaosium’s website about the re-release of Arkham
Horror. Do you know if they canned that plan or not?


Yes. Sadly Aaaron, it HAS been cancelled. Chaosium’s like used to be Here. But as you can see it no longer exists. Inquires into Chaosium have revealed the plan is shelved.

But at least owners of the old one can take small joy in This

As well, TRY EBAY! Best place to get Mythos cards. And for insanely cheap prices to boot. Like 5-10$ a BOX. As well, my friend Chris Whitehead is working on making a playable version of Mythos online. Anyone who is a big fan of the Cthulhu CCG game, give me a jingle and I’ll pass his email on to you.

Hey, great job on the Shining Force article! I also see that you made
your way into EWR4 as an in-game staff member! I, of course, hired you
on the spot in a Production position. ;p


Thanks Bill!

Bill is a good friend of mine from 1996 and my freshman year of college. One of the coolest guys you will ever meet and also the head of the longest running efed still in existence. Check it out at

And finally…a little HBK time for the 411 guys. And also proof that 411 is the cause of all sorts of old friends getting back in touch with me.

Hey…I think this is who I think it is, but I also speck that I’m not sure…. ;-)

If I’m correct, I know you as Lex Lucard, the Industrial goth with the beloved goth bunny who, last time I checked, fell in love with a very tall and pretty Brit girl who worked at a sex camp in Europe somewhere…is this you??????

If so…I’d really like to get back in touch with you and see what’s new in your life!!!! This is Krystle by the way, and we use to talk when I lived in Texas :-D

Anyway…email me back if this is who I think it is. I’d really love to hear from you.



That’s from my old friend Krystle Woodward who I lost contact with when I moved to England. She was also the only person who can call me Lex without getting a smack to the groin. And 411mania is how she found me again. And she’s right about everything except me being industrial. Okay. I like KOMPRESSOR. But I’m not a Rivethead by any means. Just the thought of that makes me need a shower.

And yes. I do have a bunny rabbit. Named Zuel. Because all the other rodents (Rat, Bat) were just too stereotypical of my subculture. Yay for bunnies!

And on that very bizarre end to this weeks mailbag, I’ll see you this weekend with Retrograding.

411games: Alexander Lucard’s personal harem creator.