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"Augustine here has long, wavy blond hair, a tiny blond mustache and a foppish black hat with lavender trim. And then there's the puffy, frilly Keith Partridge blouse and cravate. I think the designers were going for 'gay' with this one, but I'm not sure. It's so subtle."
     -Sam, Suikoden III Part 8




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09.26.03 :: Crazy Fanfolk

The opinions in this letters column aren't necessarily those of Jeanne Rubbo, owner of videogamerecaps.com. Even so, Jeanne owns *us* and has locked us in a dark closet with Tidus and Rinoa until we think of something funny. HELP! In the meantime, send in your comments, queries, whining, flames, spam, opinions, facts, opinions that you think are facts, and general idiocy to mailbag@videogamerecaps.com

They say "better late than never" and we here in the mailbag have never been ones to let a good saying catch us napping, though AG's been known to fall asleep at the keyboard from time to time. So here in all its glory is the much delayed, yet highly anticipated Mailbag o' Gaming Madness! Read the wacky, kooky and just plain zany hijinks your fellow VGR readers get up to when they're not here, hanging on our every word. We also have some lovely off-topicness and a fan letter that shouldn't be missed. For the "awww" moment of the day, we thank you for your patience and support as we get ourselves resituated, rescheduled, and resettled to bring you the finest game snark anywhere. Off to the letters!

Holy fucking shit
Yes yes, I know, this will be the second time I've put in an entry perhaps too late. I hope you will forgive me and yet pound it into my head that doing things at the last minute isn't always the best way to do it.

Now on to the meat of it.

I have, in my day, done quite a few things to embarrass myself in front of the general public for a game. The two worst of which are forever noted in my little black book of doom, which one day, when a time machine is invented, I will go back in time and erase these deeds. Doing so will enrich the world threefold.

I sat once about a year ago (making me a foolish nineteen years old) in the pouring rain, just out of vision of Gamestop wearing a home made Zelda costume, on Halloween, hawking out not candy, but copies of a fanfic I had written. It was the first fanfic I had ever written and was supposed to explain what happened in Ocarina of Time. Long story. Don't Ask. The reason for this? I had sat down and played OoT for the first time, and believed in something special. I was so very innocent in believing that Link should marry the ranch girl and tell Zelda to take a hike. Perhaps he wanted to spawn more with some of the 'studly' male characters, but alas I did not see it. I obsessed over this fanfic, wore my OoT shirt for nearly a month straight, ate, breathed and bathed The Legend of Zelda. I completed nearly every Zelda title out there, hoping for a bit of inspiration. I sat in the rain wearing a Zelda costume that had a paper bag for a wimple! it's too painful...

The second of my stories is that I did go to a 'Con, dressed as Terra from FFVI. I KNOW I've mentioned it before. But I didn't tell you about the argument I got into with a guy who was dressed as Kefka, and yelling at me about how I should have chosen to wear Terra's *normal* outfit instead her purple, tricked out esper form. I didn't have a lot of money to spend on a GREAT costume, but most people recognised who I was. That in itself was a small victory. Kefka and I argued for about an hour over the importance of Terra as a half-esper. It all ended up with a crowd of ten people, and him telling me...well it was very, very naughty I have to say.

I've dressed as Zelda, and Dressed as Terra. which was more embarrasing? I'll let you be the judge.

-That Square Chick

Honey, I don't think either of the costumes is more embarrassing, but standing out in the rain to hawk a fanfic has to rank right up there on the "I Hate My Self-Respect" meter.

-AG

Okay, here's where you lose me. Your fanfic--and I'm inclined to agree with AG that you are freaking insane, but that's beside the point--entails Link, the gayest gay ever (also beside the point), getting with Malon the Ranch Bunny, as opposed to gettin' himself some hot Princess action. But to peddle this sucker, you dressed up as Zelda? I can see where dressing Malon wouldn't get you very far for your purposes, but there's nothing wrong with a little crossplay, as Jeanne can attest. Why not dress up as Link? Hell, if anything you would have had an outfit to use later in the local gay pride parade.

-LC

Doggy style
I'm back...

Well, the most horrible thing I had to do in gamedom was help my prepubescent male cousin to defeat the final boss in FFVIII. Not only did I have to play it with a broken controller, (Oh crap, she's doing the really big evil attack, better get Squally...oh no, he's dead...um....Irvine's run out of bullets...the square button is shot so no GF boost...shit...) but my cousin has a thing for female heroines in ff. You guessed it... his strongest character was Rinhoa. Yes, I had to endure her RIDING HER DOG because it was the only attack left and because she was the only character with SOOPA KEWL POWAZ (according to my cousin) and I had to repeat it three times.

Every time, she was the last character left.

This happening since my annoying relative loved using everyone in the group as support, and fighting with her.

Seeing her actually levelled up enough to damage a boss (the final one, no less) with her boomerang brought tears to my eyes, and not in a good way.

It was almost worth getting LOD, which was his bribery. Hopefully my unfortunate relative will realise the error of his ways before he gets any older, or I'll have to pretend he doesn't exist.

Oh crap...

Oh, and trying to actually understand the rules of blitzball, and two hundred lightening strikes in a row? Much as I like mini-games, I am prob'ly the worst blitzball player ever to disgrace a controller, and seeing Tightass get hit was MUCH more fun that having him dodge...

Happy belated birthday mailbag! Keep up the good work guys! *cough prepubescent not-well-endowed gay men cough* (joke...)

~Alice

It's not so much a problem of understanding Blitzball--though it is confusing at first--it's a problem of dropping dead from the sheer tedium of it. Playing a few games is fun, but it's not enough. You have to play a lot for your team to get better at all. And then to get Wakka's Jupiter Sigil, you have to play...well, I don't think saying "a lot more" really suffices. I've played so much Blitzball in my current game that I fucking dream about it, and there's still no sign of that goddamn Sigil. Just thinking about it makes me want to bang my head against the desk.

And dodging lightning bolts! Don't even get me started on that.

-LC

I'm going to take a minute to digest this. Rinoa was this kid's strongest character? RINOA? I think I'm going to curl up into a ball and cry now. I have never had the experience of seeing Rinoa riding Angelo, and to be honest, just the thought of it makes me wonder if it's content suitable for a fine family oriented website as this. I mean, some sick fuck's probably got a fanfic out there all about how Rinoa really trained poor Angelo for that trick. (And if any of you sick fucks out there reading this dig it up, I swear to Yevon that I'm going to hunt you down and decapitate you before I spork out my own eyes.)

And then you tell me that this kid wanted to see Rinoa and Squally fulfill their contractual obligations so much in the ending that he gave you LoD? What, was the Shana/Rose/Dart lurve triangle just too tame because there wasn't a dog involved?

As for the mini-games in FFX, blitzball wasn't so bad once you got used to it, but it sure as hell didn't make any sense the first time through. I guess you could say that for many of the Square mini-games. Those crazy crack-addled game designers!

-AG

Expensive games
This topic kinda puzzled me for awhile. Me; the self proclaimed hardcore gamer; really couldn't think of too many great crazy things I've done in the name of gaming. I have tried to reserve games that stores didn't even know existed. (Funcoland clerk: "Dot hack? A Game based on a Game? You're joking right...") And I have skipped a week of school to play Suikoden III; but I was only taking 13 credits at the time. I'm sure several people have had a 90 dollar price tag on a videogame (suikoden II) at a garage sale. And quitting a job to have more gaming time; or writing a final paper on gaming etiquette isn't really that amazing; so I'm not really sure I have anything to offer you.

Wait...I may have one thing worth mentioning...OK. I was one of the few people I know who got a N64 instead of a PSone. And being a big RPG fan I'm not sure why I did that; but Goldeneye was fun and Zelda was fun and this is a tangent. Anyway; when Ogre Battle 64 came out I was sorta interested and I rented it from Blockbuster. ANd it was the most fun I'd had in a while. So I was busy playing it when it was time to turn it back in; so I had the 5 dollar/5 day late fee. 5 days alter; the same problem. This vicious cycle repeated twice more before I bought the damn game; so I ended up spending about 85 dollars total on this one game. I think that's my best videogame funny story...

Other than that (the topic of the email (haters)); Your site still rules

--zero--

Sweetness, if I'd known you wanted Suikoden II that badly, I would've sold you mine. Then again, I'm the one who posed like a fool holding the coveted case in my sweaty little hands when I found it for $40.00 at a used game store in March. C'est la vie.

What exactly are the rules of video game etiquette anyway?

-AG

AG, don't you dare sell that game until you've played it, young lady. You know it would only make me explode with Suikoden Fanperson Rage.

As for getting an N64...I wasn't under the impression that it was a matter of getting one or the other. Sure, a lot of people only bought the Playstation, but I think a lot of people bought both of them, too. And for what it's worth, just about every gamer I know has both of them, or did at one point. Anyway: renting games is dangerous for exactly that reason. But it's nice to keep in mind estimated game hours, too--I would have bought Pok?mon Snap, but as I was able to get most, if not all, of the shots in the span of one rental, I'm glad I didn't.

-LC

Holy fucking shit, pt. 2.
Hail to AG and Lita-chan

Well, let's start at the beginning. My siblings and I got the Playstation when Final Fantasy 7 came out. That ultra cool commercial with the super duper graphics of the game snared us into buying the system and the game, but our collective money ran short when it came time for a memory card.

Now being the naive little children that we were, we played anyway and got hooked on the damn thing so we took turns playing. We three watched all of the plot development parts together and then afterward one of us was sacrificed to the game gods to fight non-stop for four hours while the others slept, ate and used the facilities. Believe it or not we actually got ALL of Airhead's limits by the time Sephy killed her, but let's not skip ahead.

Before getting to that WTF!?!?! point in the game, there was a blackout in our town being that it was summer and we live on a tropical island, so the electrical consumption was quite high. So we started at the beginning once again even though we had already gotten everyone at around level 60, but alas, no memory card. We finally reached the Mary-Sue-moment-of-the-century and started to fight against Jenova and we...lost...Game over. We weren't expecting that fight, being that we were also RPG n00bs and didn't see the flashing neon signs of a boss fight. However, we weren't ready to give up so we played everything all over again, beat Jenova and then saw that "You're a puppet" line and then the screen telling us to put Disc 2 in...so we did...but...NO. MEMORY. CARD.

We got a card two days later. Three months later the PSone broke down. I'm sure the constant use of it for days on end had nothing to do with it. I don't think it's possible for a single human being to survive this travesty and keep their sanity.

~Middle child of obsessive trio,
Iris

That poor, poor Psone. Sacrificing itself so you could watch Aeris die over and over and over again. Then again, maybe it wasn't such a bad way to go at that. Aeris stabbity! Aeris stabbity! Stabbity stabbity stabbity! *ahem* Sorry about that. I got carried away for a second there.

-AG

Jesus Christ. That's all I can say.

-LC

Stabbeth
Hiya hi! This is the first time I'm writing to the mailbag... *looks around nervously* And my name is Butterfly Madoushi ^_^

The worst thing I have done for gaming is:

Gone 5 days without sleep playing end over end FFVI, FFV, FFIV,FFI , FFT, FFVII*Stabs Aeris*, FFVIII, FFX (I was subjected to Tidus and Rinoa repeatedly...kill me now ) and CT*kicks Marle*

Gone the aforementioned 5 days with only chinese food and cola to drink, locked in a basement with my collection of strategy guides.

Dressed up as Rydia, Rosa, Gogo (I AM a girl), Tifa(I know, I was stupid),Lulu and Squall. What? Don't look at me like that....

For exactly a year, all I would listen to was Video Game music. (Mostly FF, KH and CT)

I repeatedly draw fanart of various Final Fantasy characters getting stabbed. (mostly Aeris and Tifa)

*phew* Man.... I have no life. Except for playing video games, I basically LIVE at VGR, I absolutely love hearing the recappers opinions, particularly for games I'm playing or have played. (I love watching Tidus get ripped on, but why is Jeanne so mean to Wakka?)

Anyways, I have no life, I'm Obsessed with video games, and I sound like an RPG repeating myself. I love the mailbag ladies, and keep up the great work! (you guys are hilarious, I was reading an entry from this mailbag and my drink came out my nose)

Butterfly Madoushi

My my, there seems to be a lot of Aeris-stabbing in this particular mailbag. I'm not saying it's unwarranted, but damn, how much can one Mary Sue possibly bleed out the face?

Welcome to the mailbag party, and glad to know you enjoy the site. As for Wakka...he's a shithead. Isn't that enough?

-LC

Why is Jeanne so mean to Wakka? Because it's fun. Because it's character building. Because sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind. Or something. Maybe she isn't being mean at all and the accumulated MSG, caffeine and RPG storyline overload has you convinced that she is. And maybe the moon is made of green cheese and a tin foil hat will protect you from CIA SOOPA SPACE MIND KILLIN RAYZZ. Hell, it's worth a try. It can't be any more farfetched than Squall and Rinoa's twoo wuuv.

-AG

The game of zero memory cards
Hello, Mailbaggers and recappers!

So you want to hear a crazy video game story. I just happen to have one! Just this past X-Mas I recieved a PS-One and Final Fantasy 7, and unfortunately no Memory card. Too impatient for the holiday to finish so I had a means of actually saving the game, I plugged in my PS-One, popped in FF7, and fired it up. I was so excited! My first Playstation gaming experience, and with such an "advanced game"! I played through the first chunk of the game, totally amazed that I was actually surviving that long. I finish the ordeal in Midgar, take my first steps on the world map, encounter a puny random battle... ...and die. About 5 hours nonstop, and I was killed by one of the weakest enemies right outside Midgar. The kicker: I was asleep when it happened! I can remember being awake for the start of the battle, and when I "blinked" the opening credits were playing. In all fairness, it was 4 A.M. on X-Mas night, but needless to say I certainly learned from that experience!

I hope you enjoyed laughing at my expense!

~Shadow Vandale

Man, what's up with you folks playing FFVII with no memory card? That's two this mailbag alone! Is there some kind of secret society out there or something?

-AG

Between all the systems, I've got something like seven memory cards. So I guess it's hard for me to comprehend not having even one. Was there some shortage of them back in the early days of the PSX, akin to the shortage at the beginning of the PS2's lifespan? Or are we dealing with a case of parents-blindly-shopping-for-videogames? Just curious.

-LC

Weird-ass dreams
To the most glorious Ladies of Snark-

I've never really had the chance to do any of the examples you mentioned (I never have found a cosplaying game convention anywhere near here) but I have had some dreams that would baffle any sane person. The most notable involved Link, a hidden chamber in the Ice Cavern, Auron as a spirit-guide, and line-dancing Guado with magic tattoos. To this day I have no idea where it came from. With eternal adoration of VGR,

-ChaosWEAPON

I've had many a fucked up dream in my time, including one where I spent the entire thing laying on a bed fully clothed watching Vampire Hunter D Bloodlust on a TV that doesn't exist in my bedroom with D himself. But a line dancing magically tattooed Guado has to be the absolute best gaming dream element I've ever heard, ranking right up there with Jeanne's dream about Auron wearing gold bike shorts.

-AG

How 'bout dreaming about wrestling with a super-scary Amarant on steroids (picture that, folks), and then befriending one of Suikoden II's sentai squirrels, all to lead to a training montage ? la Rocky? Yes, I'm biased because it's my dream, but I don't think it gets any weirder.

-LC

Wackassed game designers
All hail the Mailbag Divas!

I write you this off-topic missive because of a thought that entered my head while reading Part 2 of Ryan's hilarious Chrono Trigger recap, namely the part where he's recapping the "Robo's First Awakening" scene and comparing it with the "KOS-MOS' First Awakening" scene of Xenosaga.

Now, as some fanboys (or fangirls) may tell you, a good deal of the game designers behind Chrono Trigger also worked on Xenogears before leaving Square to form Monolithsoft (the rest stayed at Square to work on Chrono Cross and smoke copious amounts of crack, not necessarily in that order).

So, this question I pose to you, who are no strangers to the works of crack-addled game designers: where did these people go wrong? Chrono Trigger, while far from perfect (Ryan will most likely point out its flaws and inconsistencies as he goes along with his recap), has endearing characters, great gameplay and a story that can be followed without need of a map. Chrono Cross has endearing characters among the dozens of superfluous ones (CHA!!), great gameplay marred by the shoddy menu interface (there's a reason why Jeanne hasn't bothered changing characters in her recap, besides The Gay Dog That Is Actually Female) and a story that needs a map and thorough knowledge of CT's plot. Xenosaga has endearing characters who are usually shadowed by The Bane of Sam's Existence, great gameplay marred by the director's movie envy and a story that is mostly build-up for the sequel.

I know this isn't a sign of the times: there are still many RPGs that are objectively good, even if some of them are good because they're so unintentionally funny (see: LoD). Hell, CC _can_ be considered objectively good: just use a core team of characters and keep the useless ones away from your active party, and you've got two of the game's mayor flaws minimized.

So, what's the problem with the CT and XG alumni? Drugs? Watching EVA and thinking, "me too!"? A fascination with wankers (and boobies and wangs)? What?

~Quartz Falcon

I'll keep my comments limited to Xenosaga, since it's apparently my specialty on the site and if I cover more than that, I'm going to get obnoxiously rambly.

Okay. First thing to keep in mind is that I like Xenosaga, whatever I say about it in the recaps. Despite the hideously long dungeons, Shion, movie-envy as you so succinctly put it, Shion, gross fanboy servicing and Shion, I enjoyed it. Obviously my biggest gripe with the game and how it went wrong is Shion herself, because it makes no fucking sense that this "brilliant scientist" would act like such an ignorant valley girl 99.5 percent of the time. But objectively speaking, the pressing problem with XS is the "Let's not make sense because WE R TEH DEEP" syndrome plaguing every minute of the game. It wasn't enough for XG and XS to be Evangelion ripoffs in that there are mechs and angsty people. No, they had to also rip off Eva by mucking up the plot and writing with acronyms and religious references and basically anything they could dig up to make sure the gamer wore a "WTF?!" expression from beginning to end. Good sci-fi manages to be high-tech and still have things make a little bit of sense. Bad sci-fi--and that's what Xenosaga is, make no mistake--just tries to superficially imitate good sci-fi, but since there's nothing under the surface of what they're saying, it basically comes off as 50+ hours of 1337.

Also, the game designers are on crack. No. REALLY.

-LC

QF, my libeling, come here. Sit down with Auntie AG. Have a cookie. Sometimes, my dear boy, sometimes there are things that are beyond the ken of mere man. Yea, though we strive and strive to understand the Game Designer mind, it is not for the likes of you and I to comprehend. Sometimes, things just are. And sometimes, little pink elephants like to gather in the town square for a nice game of badminton.

I played CC before I ever played CT. I missed out on quite a lot of the mid-'90s gaming since I was working, attending college, newly married and taking care of an ill family member all at the same time. I did finally go back and play CT, loving the gameplay and the chibi 16-bit goodness therein. CC had it's moments of WTF-ness, but I got through it just fine and enjoyed it all the same, even without any prior knowledge of CT other than the name. Same with XS. A good friend of mine has Xenogears, and at one point or another, he showed me the demo disk for Xenogears, FFVIII and another game. I played through the demo part of XG, but for some reason it didn't scream "buy me!" and money being tight, I didn't. I'm getting through XS just fine, except for screaming "Shion's a fucking wanker!" about once every five minutes or so. How 'bouts we just write if off as cracked out game designers+overzealous marketing department=XS and call it good, huh?

-AG

...
One thing I don't understand, is that if you dislike Kingdom Hearts as much as it appears you do (not to mention final fantasy), why did you take the time and put the effort into making such an elaborate mark up of all the characters when you "hate" them so much? I really just don't get it. You obviously have nothing better to do than sit back and give your two cents about games and god knows what else so you can feel better about yourself. Probably the only reason you don't like ff7 is that everyone else likes it and you think your cool because you don't. That's pathetic.......................and oh yeah Cloud could kick that little pansy sqall's ass.
John

Well, I guess that tells us, now doesn't it? John, my dear, I consider myself thoroughly chastised and cowed by that eloquent, coherent and utterly hilarious letter you've taken two seconds to write. Goodness knows, if you'd taken any longer to write that piece of shit, I'd start wondering what was wrong with you.

-AG

Jesus, man, haven't you been paying attention? We're pubescent gay men who can't get any. I'm convinced that this can be used as a response to virtually any email we get. For example:

Why do you think Gremio is gay?
We're pubescent gay men who can't get any.

Why do you rip on game designers so much? It's not like you can do better!
We're pubescent gay men who can't get any.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO POUND YOUR WIFE LIKE A PORNSTAR?
We're pubescent gay men who can't get any.

(Note: I've been getting a lot of that third email. Like, four or five a day. And then there's the one with the picture of the hung teddybear.)

-LC


Well, another, um, span of time, another mailbag! Thanks to everyone who wrote in--we now know to ALWAYS BUY A MEMORY CARD.

Now, then. It's occurred to us Mailbag Divas that for all of our letter-answering and such, some of you may not know much about us personally. So for next time, we're going to do a little Mailbagger Q&A. Email us with your questions and curiosities, and we'll do our best to answer honestly. Wonder about our taste in things besides gruff men with big swords? Movies? Books? Whatever you want to know.*

* And by "whatever you want to know," we mean "whatever you want to know within common sense and good taste." Obviously, we're not going to tell you our breast sizes, our feelings on Asian girl panty fetishes or anything like that. You're better off not asking, because if we're feeling particularly nasty and you send us something like that we'll probably print it and, well, respond accordingly. In short: don't be a disgusting pervert. Savvy?

Send in whatever questions you have by Friday, October 3 by 8:00 p.m. EST. Until next we snark!

- AG and Lita-chan

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