Okay, let's get the big mystery cleared up.

As seemingly half the free world concluded, after posting a request for as much on Sunday night, I was sent not one, not two, but ONE HUNDRED questions to answer in Double Agent, courtesy of Jonathon Weng. And good god, it's serious work, trying to answer all of 'em. The answers range from the informative to utter bullshit, and while I'm not quite done yet, I can safely say that I'll be posting them over the next two days, fifty questions per day. Scary, no?

Waiting in the wings, I've got another 101 questions, but good god, I don't think anyone would be too keen on reading 201 questions in one weekend, to say nothing of the nubs that'd remain of my fingers afterwards, or what sort of mental state that'd leave me in.

So be sure to be here tomorrow, probably a bit earlier than usual (I'm aiming for a 5 PM EST update), when the Double Agent answers one hundred questions for your questioning pleasure. be there or the jackals will be released.

As a result of all that, tonight's column will be drastically curtailed. But I felt I should post *some* letters at least, and announce tomorrow's event - I'm supposed to be updating daily here, y'know. So here goes with the shortest-ever Double Agent column!

Meese, Ed Meese

Dear Most Beloved Agent,

Pet cultures, eh? A good game idea, eh? Gee golly whiz, do i have a whopper of a game idea for you. Ok....Seven Flyin Mooses, the game of the year.

Great name, huh? Tis I, the inventor of the flyin moose. This game would be fun for the whole family. It would comical moments..intense multiplayer action, and greatest of all...FLYING MOOSES!! This iz a game where you, Bob, must save the clan of the flying mooses from the evil Chinese Muffler Stealers gang.

So you fly around and use your awesome ability of flying and run into the Chinese Muffler Stealers, therefore hurting them. Then they fall down and die, complete with cheesy fake jumps, ala the original Star Trek. Thus you save the worlds mufflers.

- Kevin Strange who luvs his mooses

P.S. *BLATANT AD* Check out more of the Flyin Mooses at the CLAN OF THE FLYIN MOOSES

So THAT'S where the cocaine went...

Music quiz

hoy there agent,

i've been thinking about the music in ff8. as everyone now knows squarehas hired faye wong (sounds like fei long from soulblade doesn't it?) tosing the main theme for final fantasy 8, which will run while one viewsthe opening cg sequences of the game. in the old game (number seven) allthe music was in pcm format while now square seems to be able to pumpthe psx even more, getting it to play digital quality music in-game.this would certainly seem to be the case, as in the very excellent moviethat was posted on the 'net a short while ago, which had some coolmusic.

and i think i'm not mistaken when i say that the music at the end of thedemo included with BFM, where squall runs away from spider robot, isindeed digital quality.

this is indeed good news for fans of uematsu's composing as it fullyshines in digital format.just wanted to point this out,

no, wait forgot one thing, do you think uematsu writes the song fayewong sings in the game?


Given Square's concerns about keeping loading time to a minimum, I suspect that the bulk of the music in FF8 will be produced from the PSX's internal sound chip, albeit with probably superior orchestration and quality. Uematsu likes writing a *lot* of music for the FF series, and without incredible compression, it probably wouldn't all fit, much less have a positive impact on loading time. Within FMV sequences, however, I imagine they can and will have redbook-quality music dubbed in.

As for Faye Wong's song, I doubt that it's written by Uematsu, though I don't have conclusive proof either way. It has already been recorded, by the way, taking considerably less time to get right than anybody expected.

Shortest letter of 1999

I do beleive it's Exoskeleton, not Xenoskeleton, to correct Arpad.

- webrunner

Everyone in the free world wrote in to correct Arpad on this. Grammar. Sheesh. You know hating it I do am.

And the obligatory long letter

Anyway, one reason that Star Wars is so popular is because it made ample use of things called archetypes. So did Final Fantasy IV, another game that makes strong emotional appeals to many players.

Being English 12 AP this year, I have a teacher who is big on teaching literary criticism (what's up, Babs?), and the archetypal approach is a key one. Karl Jung, a student of Freud's, suggested that there are certain themes, images, and other concepts which are so deeply rooted in the human psyche that every culture's mythology has some sort of manifestation of them. Star Wars had the timeless theme of good against evil, and the story of a young man resisting temptation. Darth Vader's ultimate betrayal of the Emperor was classic.

As for FF4, I think everyone out there can identify with Cecil in one way or another. All his life, he had been following orders, regardless of their nature, until he realized that he had become a pawn of evil in the process. It shows him venturing to Mt. Ordeals to conquer his former dark side, renouncing his evil ways, and to the very end struggling to atone for the sins he had committed against friends and strangers alike. He was instructed by a wise old man (Obi-Wan, I mean Fusoya), confronted and turned to good an evil relative (Darth Vader, I mean Golbez), and finally gaining confidence in his own potential for good rather than evil, was able to destroy the source of all the hatred that had controlled him (Zemus/Zeromus).

So you see, these two epic stories have a lot in common. The trick to making a timeless, well-loved story is to throw in lots of archetypes that come from things like ancient mythology and religion. FF4 and Star Wars both made good use of these archetypes, and consequently, are fantastic pieces of work. People love it. We can't help it - it's all a part of who we are.

-Rob Reebel

As an aside, Jung's theories on archetypes were later adopted, examined, and expanded upon greatly by the late Joseph Campbell, one of my all-time favourite scholars and authors, and the greatest expert on mythology the world's ever seen, in my estimation. Read, says I. Read.

As for the issue of mythic resonance, I agree that games, like books, movies, and stories of all kinds, can use and reflect these archetypal stories and ideas, giving them greater impact. FFIV certainly followed the traditional Hero's Journey more closely than most games, though others have done the same, to some extent or other. I'd be curious to find out if any game developers know their Campbell and Jung (they probably do), and more to the point, if they ever consciously keep the heroic archetypes and mythic cycles in mind when plotting out their games.

Closing Comments

Well, you guys wanted shorter, you got it. And tomorrow, there's a lot of short Q&A... more than you can possibly fathom. Watch for it.

- The Double Agent

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