|Welcome back to the stage of
- August 31, 2000 - Chris Jones
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed
within this column are those of the participants and the
moderator, and do not necessarily reflect those of the
GIA. There is coarse language and potentially offensive
material afoot. The Behemoth has landed.
Don't say we didn't warn you.
Gonna be a strange column today. I made a few mistakes people
corrected me on, there's the usual random chatter that fills this
place up when I don't specify a topic, and a mighty battle over DQ
is brewing like a cold front on the horizon. But it ain't quite
Meantime, my stuff has in fact finally shown up, so let there be much
rejoicing. There was some minor damage (mostly due to the driver insisting
he could bring an 8 foot couch up a flight of stairs himself without any
problems) but fortunately I got full insurance, so the moving company
should cover it. I don't know if I'll play any Chrono Cross tonight, but
tomorrow afternoon after my shift a marathon play session will begin, and
hopefully by the time Labor Day is over I'll have beaten the game and CC
discussion can commence. In the meantime, talk quietly amongst
|Classing gaming, in the
palm of your hand
That single shot of FF1 on the Color WonderSwan makes me want it as much
as the Game Boy Advance right now! Unfortunately the chances of WS and FF1
coming out Stateside (or in any English version) being sketchy, I guess I'll
finally have to hunt down Japanese language classes! Plus, Seiken Densetsu & SaGa in the pipeline? Can a scaled down Chrono Trigger or FFIV be that far away? Handheld gaming just got a LOT more interesting!
It's nice that after a long absence, Square has finally returned to
handheld gaming. Importers should be happy, and with CC's recent sales
Square may even be tempted to push some more product Stateside. But
still, I gotta wonder why Square isn't putting out any new handheld
content. The Wonderswan, color or not, probably doesn't have the user
base to make development profitable, but the GBA should be an entirely
different story. If Square really has been nosing around Dolphin then
the rift with Nintendo shows signs of healing, so why not put
something out for the GBA?
|Definitely not "..."
Just to let you know, if you're quoting Crono, he says, "....", not
Just a little correction, thats all.
SLS, who probably has too much time on her hands to correct things like
Once upon a time I considered myself a pretty obsessed gamer, but
stuff likes this makes me wonder how I can possibly host this column
when I don't even know how many spikes Crono has on his head?
|A Sound of Thunder
I disagree a bit with your comment that Chrono Trigger's treatment of time
travel is "hardly the best treatment of the subject." I think it's by far
the simplest, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. I think the game
creators intentionally avoided delving into the countless inherent paradoxes
that emerge when you mess with the fabric of time, to use a phrase that Doc
Brown coined so eloquently.
On the one hand, they could have created a game that reminds us of Back to
the Future, with dozens of long, complex analyses of time travel that give
you a headache. On the other hand, you could have created a game that
doesn't analyze time travel very much, like 12 Monkeys, but pops you with a
statement on it very suddenly and opens itself up to debate (for the record,
I disagree with 12 Monkeys' treatment of time travel... I once had a 3 hour
debate with someone about the ending of 12 Monkeys). I think both of those
treatments of time travel are great, and entertaining, but not really
something that fits in a game, unless you want to confound a lot of young
people. Chrono Trigger gives a very simple look at time travel, one that
works as a plot device but in itself isn't a distracting focus of
controvery. Chrono Trigger didn't worry about the details. And I, for one,
hate details sometimes. They give me a headache.
Speaking of details, you called Chrono Trigger "Crono Trigger" in the intro.
-AK, who just opened himself up to chastisement for his mistakes, which are
Yep, I screwed up. I remembered that Chrono got turned into Crono
for the US release, but forgot that this was only true of the
character, not the title. My bad.
I gotta disagree with your disagreement, Mr. Kaufmann, sir. What's
the point of having time travel in a game if you're not gonna use it to
its fullest potential? If you only use time travel as an excuse to go
from one place to another, why invoke it at all? Why not just have
different continents or cities? Time travel has a whole host of
possibilities that a good story can get into, only one of which is the
paradox head trip that you mention. Chrono Trigger does get into the
"second chance" theme, and does it quite well, but when you consider
what else they could have done, how much more could have been
accomplished, I think you've got to find the game comes up short. I
mean, imagine being able to go back in time all you wanted in a game -
revisiting the same events (and your former and future selves
interacting with those events) over and over again. That would simply
I don't think there's anything wrong with a lighthearted time travel
adventure that doesn't take itself too seriously: I did mention Time
Bandits, after all. But CT doesn't even begin to plumb the depths of
its home territory, and I think that's worth pointing out.
|Every move you make,
I'll be watching you
|You're truly a sad individual. Before DQ7 came out you were telling readers it
wouldn't touch the mighty FF9 in sales, that it would flop, that it couldn't
survive post-FF7. And now that it's crushed FFIX in sales and is on track to
become the top PSX game of all time (in Japan at least), you're saying things
like "The real proof of the game isn't going to be how many copies it sells
(which at this point represent the accumulated good will the game had in the
past, not how it's currently seen) but what the reviews look like, and how the
next DQ and FF sell comparatively." That's sad. If the reviews are good, you'll
just think of another excuse, like "the Japanese have no taste (as you've
already said many times before)" or "DQ7 is just rolling along on momentum" or
something equally stupid. I've assembled a few of your previous quotes for your
"The fake RPG idea is really quite bright, kinda like Enix using DQ7 to make
people still think they're still an actual game company", "I would call Final
Fantasy superior saleswise to DQ", "Things change or die, and I don't think that
Dragon Quest is gonna be an exception to that", "Imad seems to think Chrono
Cross has bad graphics compared to Dragon Quest 7. I just don't think it's cool
to argue with the mentally unstable" (okay, that one's not exactly DQ7 related,
but I had to bring it up, especially after I bought CC and found that the
graphics do stink), "Dragon Quest may be an enjoyable game, but it hasn't had
the time to develop that it should probably have by this point", "Is it just me,
or is it possible the traditionalist argument is an attempt to cover up a badly
botched development cycle?", "...I wouldn't give a damn about DQ7...", " I
foresee many screams of outrage that the game did not live up to years of hype",
"DQ7 looks to be something that would have been passable back in 1997, and
that's not just graphics, that's the whole package.", "But why should that
translate to something that'll make up for DQ7's apparent technical faults?", "I
don't think even the great Dragon Quest can stand against the evolutionary
changes Square has introduced to the genre", "...it does make me wonder how
strong DQ7 really is, if it continues this constant tactical withdrawal. The
software coder in me smells a botched development cycle that someone's
desperately trying to patch, ala Daikatana. Marketing departments would
generally eat their own livers rather than miss a publicized ship date and this
is at least DQ's 3rd, which makes me think that things were Not Good on the
technical side at one point.", and "FF9 looks to be the far superior
Why don't you just take your FF games and stick... uh... I mean, why can't you
just let DQ7 have the respect it rightfully deserves? Remember this? "I'm going
to be very interested in seeing what happens when DQ7 hits Japan." It's as if
you've dedicated the letters page to bashing DQ7.
Wishing he didn't waste so much time looking through old columns,
--Imad "(e)magius" Hussain
This has to be the single greatest compliment I've been paid since
I've started this column, if not in my entire life. Love my work or
hate it, the fact that I've made something that people makes people
care enough to go digging through five months worth of old columns
means more to me than any amount of "you're doing a great job" ever
could. (Not that it's not great to get those too.) Sad individual or
not, Imad, you've completely reinvigorated me and assured that I'll be
doing this column for many months to come.
As to the actual content of your letter, looking back at the
treasure trove of old DQ quotes you've come up with, I'm pleased to say
that I still stand behind every single one of those statements. It's
worth pointing out a few details: "I would call Final
Fantasy superior saleswise to DQ" referred to both series as a whole, which
is true, especially in the PSX era. I'm pretty sure I never said FF9 would
outsell DQ7 in Japan, but if I did, obviously I was wrong. Some of those were said somewhat
sarcastically, and should be taken with a grain of salt, but they are
reflective of my attitude toward the game. I never said the Japanese have
no taste, and I find the implication a little insulting. It's true that at one point I
did question how much DQ7 would sell, which was foolish on my part given
how many presales the game had. But we still haven't heard how much
people actually like the game, Andy Church's single incomplete
datapoint aside. Seeing me talk about presales not meaning anything might
look like backpedaling to some of you, but I'm still not satisfied with
the data we have on this one. And until we do, I'm not gonna state anything
for sure one way or another about DQ7. (It's true that I've been skeptical
about the game, but I don't believe I've ever out and out called it bad. Why? Because
I don't know.) If the majority of reviews are good (say, 90% or higher)
I promise I will admit I was wrong, but we're not there yet and I don't
think we're gonna be.
|What's it really worth?
|(picks up new Sears Wishbook)
Eddie: Hey, the new Wishbook! Alright! Game section, here I come!
(Flips to page 830)
Eddie: Hey, the PSX2, available October 26th, alright, this is-- 550
- Eddie, who thinks that Cube is looking a whooooooole lot sweeter right
I dunno what's going on here, except that Sears may be rather
cleverly netting a bit more profit for itself. Think about it: the PS2
looks to be a very hot item for this coming holiday season, this
year's Tickle Me Elmo except cooler. We already know that preorders
made right now may not get you a system until next Spring, but demand
for the system as a Christmas present isn't gonna decrease because of
that. With the economy as good as it is, I'm sure there are tons of
people who'd gladly pay $550 to get a PS2 before the end of the year,
both parents and grown-up kids. Even a few PS2s that weren't presold
could mean major profits for Sears.
Now, I haven't seen the Sears Wishbook, and I don't know how it
works. It could be a misprint, I could be wrong, there could even be
legal issues involved with what I'm suggesting. But it makes sense to
|O Canada, the expensive
|I scoff at your price quotes. When Chrono Trigger came out, the going price
on Vancouver Island was an astounding $135 dollars (plus 13% tax). The only
thing more worthy of my money at the time was the somewhat more reasonably
priced Final Fantasy 3 ($120). Final Fantasy 2 also clocked in at that
And the SNES was a scant $300 at release.
This was during a time where the Canadian dollar was worth closer to 80
cents vs. the American dollar, although remember that both countries get
more or less (now, extremely less for Canada) the same wages, just in the
Richard "KZ" Knight
Ok, I admit it, you paid more for CT than I did. As I go on with
this column, I become more and more aware and sympathetic towards the
plight of our Canadian brethren, from expensive games to bilingual
instructions to rabid moose. Two thoughts, my northern neighbors:
persevere, and emigrate when you get the chance.
|What is it with me and
|First I thought you were trying to prove DQ was less popular than the FF series of late... then the sales history comes along and disproves that notion. Then I thought you were trying to prove that DQ wasn't popular "any longer" and wouldn't dramatically outsell FF9... the sales figures for DQ7 show up and disprove that theory. Now you're saying "wait for the reviews."
Are you trying to prove now that DQ7 is a worse game? What will citing reviews prove, other than reviewers disliked the game? All the terrible reviews in the world won't change the number of copies DQ7's already sold. And where will it all end? If the next pressing of DQ7 CD's sells out to the last copy just like the first, will you then insist that a comprehensive poll of a representative subset of the Japanese public be conducted? Because other than sales figures that's the only objective way to know the market's opinion of a product.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not whining just to be a fanboy. I prefer FF more
than DQ, too, and probably for the same reasons: Enix is too traditional for me and they completely dropped the ball on US presence and their latest release date. But this perpetual backpedeling and amending of statements is becoming a bit silly.
DQ is a more pervasive game in Japanese culture. It came first. It sells
more copies. It always has. The lastest installment suggests this still holds true. Whether it's because of style or loyalty or anything else is irrelevant to the discussion. Why not just accept it?
Even to me, it's become clear this debate's gone on long enough. At
this point I'm looking to get some definitive info on the game one
way or another just to back up my original hypothesis: that the game is
antiquated, and the venerable DQ developers screwed up on this one.
However, I can't deny that as a series, in Japan, DQ is number one and
likely always will be, if only from a historical standpoint. I'm not
Like I've said, if the reviews are great I'll admit I'm wrong. If
DQ sells two million more copies in Japan, I'll admit the game is at
least striking a chord among the Japanese, and admit I'm wrong. And if
DQ7 outsells FF9 worldwide, once the US sales of both games are taken
into account, I'll at least admit I was overzealous. But the data
isn't in yet, and until it is, my advice is to clip and save this
column so you can throw my words back in my face if I'm wrong. That's
all for now.
Still unpacking, and it took me most of tonight to write this
column. But as soon as the column's out of the way tomorrow night then
72 free hours come up, most of which will be filled with Square,
Square, and more Square. So my topic for tomorrow is this: short. I'm
not looking for one sentence letters here, or even one hundred word
letters. But I want to see what you can say about gaming when you try to boil away
all but the deepest essence. Make it profound, funny, whatever, just
make it good. Later.
-Chris Jones, his soul strengthened by this victory