Sun, 25 February 2007
This week we present to you a very special episode of the Player One Podcast. Greg and Phil sit down with Al Lowe, creator of the Leisure Suit Larry series (not including the recent and craptacular Magna Cum Laude) and other classic Sierra On-Line graphic adventures. Listen as we pick Al's brain about everything from game design in the old days to the fall of Sierra to his opinions on the current state of games for adults.
Caution: There might be some bald jokes and at least one major error by our interviewers in there, too.
Keep leaving us comments (via e-mail, comments on our web site, the forum thread for this episode, review us on iTunes, Digg us, Skype us at playeronepodcast) or leave us a voice mail by calling 713-893-8069, long distance charges apply. Thanks for listening, tell your friends, and we'll be back next week with a regular episode and the return of all the usual players. Don't forget to join our forums!
This week's links:
Al Lowe's Humor Site!
Mobygames' Leisure Suit Larry series page
Sun, 18 February 2007
This week there's no one overarching segment. Instead, we talk about a few little things, starting with the top 10 entries in Next-Gen.biz's list of the Top 100 games people played in 2006 (though the list does not include three very important entries, at least in Phil's mind). We also discuss retailer Gamestop's new program where their Aeris automated call system dials you up to ask if you want to trade in a game you bought two months ago. And we thought Aeris was six feet under. We go off on a few other tangents as well, including talking about Microsoft's comments to 1UP that Viva Pinata on DS "just makes sense" and this week's mini-avalanche of new titles for each next-gen console. It's like November in February.
But as always we start the show by talking about the games we've played in the last week. And we end it by going over some of the feedback and questions we've received in the last seven days. Don't forget to visit our newly opened forums at www.playeronepodcast.com/forum.
Keep leaving us comments (via e-mail, comments on our web site, the forum thread for this episode, iTunes, Digg us, Skype us at playeronepodcast) or leave us a voice mail by calling 713-893-8069, long distance charges apply. Thanks for listening, tell your friends, and we'll be back next week!
This week's links:
Phoenix Wright: And Justice For All (DS)
World of Warcraft (PC)
Crackdown (Xbox 360)
Paperboy (Xbox Live Arcade)
Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters (PSP)
The Warriors (PSP)
New Ghostbusters II (NES)
Next-Gen.biz: The Games People Buy (Top 10)
Next-Gen.biz: The Games People Buy (the top of the list)
Joystiq: Gamestop reaching out for your Twilight Princess
1UP.com: Microsoft: 'Viva Pinata on the DS makes sense'
Fri, 16 February 2007
If you didn't get a chance to listen to it yet, we interviewed Ted Woolsey (translator for many of Square's 16-bit hits including Final Fantasy VI) in Episode 16. Get it--Episode 16, 16-bit Final Fantasy? Yes? No? We totally planned it that way.
Now you can read the full transcript of the interview here. In it Ted reveals such things as the genesis of the US-flavored Final Fantasy Mystic Quest, the original intention to release Final Fantasy V on the SNES in North America, and he speculates on why the spell "Holy" might've been changed to "Pearl." Plus he talks about the difficulties of fitting a coherent English translation into the size constraints of a cartridge and the time constraints of the manufacturing process. Here's a taste:
Ted Woolsey: I think one of my favorite games was Final Fantasy V, which I had almost all translated, but which they opted not to ship because they didn't feel the US market was ready for a second flagship RPG. They'd shipped FFII and they felt in Tokyo that they needed something else to get people trained up on that style of gaming, and that became a game called Mystic Quest. It was a little 4 MB game, which is basically a Game Boy game that was put out on the SNES.
When that one came about, we were in a board meeting and Sakaguchi-san and [Square founder Masafumi] Miyamoto-san and some other folks kind of immediately said they had to fix this. They called the guy who was waiting around the corner outside the office to come in. It turns out he was the new head of the Osaka development team, and they said, 'You will make a game for America.' He’s like, 'OK, I'm doing it! Great'
So I was a little bit more involved in the writing of the story on that one, just to try to shape it better but as a 4MB ROM, there was just an excruciatingly small amount of space there to spin a yarn as it were.
Chris: Was it a matter of sales from the previous Final Fantasies that they thought maybe the games needed to be easier to reach a wider audience?
Ted: Yeah. They wanted a million units. That was their number and they were starting to get that in Tokyo with every release of Final Fantasy, and of course Enix would always outdo them with its release of its next game so there was big competition that way.
In North America, FFII, the first RPG for SNES I think, did well in the early days of Super NES because the installed base was small and the percentage of users that were buying the game was relatively small. Yeah, it did not play out as they had hoped. I think Nintendo said hey you guys will be out there as one of the best games. You're going to sell a ton of software. I think that they [Square] just felt that the game was too complicated and not mainstream enough. So that was the reason that Mystic Quest came to be.
I thought FFV was spine-tingling with the sound of the wind and bells in the background and dragons to ride on. That was where I really got hit deep into this style of RPG.
Greg: So going back to something you said in one of your earlier answers you said that one of the scenes that you liked in Final Fantasy III had to do with suicide, but you couldn't translate it as such. There has been a lot of venom on the Internet about things like this fellow named Holy being changed to Pearl and that sort of thing.
Greg: What was the reasoning behind all that?
Ted: Well there definitely was a sheet that was distributed by Nintendo that as a licensee there were certain things you absolutely could not put in games, you could not say in games. Religious terminology was definitely one thing, as were iconographic things that were sometimes built into these games that had to be removed before they were shipped to North America. I think a lot of people haven't really even seen the difference in some of the games that were shipped here.
But so, I can't remember specifically why I changed that to Pearl. It actually could have been a boo boo on my part. But at any rate...
More at the jump...
Category:general -- posted at: 1:50am EDT
Sun, 11 February 2007
There's no more controversial figure in console role-playing game fandom than Ted Woolsey. During the '90s he worked at Squaresoft and was responsible for the English translations of games like Final Fantasy III and Chrono Trigger. His work is either loved or totally reviled by fans on the Internet, with FF III's translation taking the brunt of that criticism. Nintendo and Square Enix re-released the game last week on Game Boy Advance under its original Japanese title, Final Fantasy VI, with a brand-new English script. In the last half of the show, Chris and Greg talk with Ted (who now works at Real Networks) about the translation process for the Super NES Final Fantasy III and some of the challenges he faced as he tried to get an English translation of this epic RPG to fit on a cartridge.
But of course, we begin the episode talking about what we've been playing in the past week, including Root Beer Tapper (360), Lunar Knights (DS) and Final Fantasy VI Advance (GBA). We also discuss Microsoft's newly announced Rewards program for the Xbox 360 and Doug Lowenstein's keynote at DICE. Then of course we answer some questions and go over some of the feedback we received from last week's show. Don't forget to visit our newly opened forums at www.playeronepodcast.com/forum.
Keep leaving us comments (via e-mail, comments on our web site, forum, iTunes page, Digg us, Skype us at playeronepodcast) or leave us a voice mail by calling 713-893-8069, long distance charges apply. Thanks for listening, tell your friends, and we'll be back next week!
This week's links:
Root Beer Tapper
Samurai Warriors 2: Empires
Super Castlevania IV
Super Mario Bros.
Super Mario 64
Final Fantasy VI Advance
Xbox.com: Xbox Rewards
Kotaku: ESA Prez Goes All Out On Final DICE Speech
Video Game Voters
Wikipedia: Ted Woolsey
Wikipedia: Final Fantasy VI
Fri, 9 February 2007
The rumors are true -- indeed we are opening a forum this weekend. In fact, it's open right now at www.playeronepodcast.com/forum. Go there, claim your username, and post away. It's got some very interesting community features to it and I'm curious to see how people are going to use it. If you have any trouble there's a forum for problems (of which there were many earlier today).
Category:general -- posted at: 8:39pm EDT
Sun, 4 February 2007
Should a game reviewer be allowed to review a product when they were involved in its development, however little? Last week this question came to the forefront as word came that characters with attributes selected by editors from IGN, Ziff-Davis, Wired's GameLife (and others as well) will be included in Sega's upcoming Virtua Fighter 5, and that some of these same editors will be the ones reviewing the product. But it's not an isolated incident -- game journalists are sometimes listed in the credits and special magazine/website unlockables have been included in finished games before. How do these effect the review process and now that the VF5 incident has come to light, is it being handled correctly?
As usual this week we begin the show by talking about the games we've been playing. This time that includes discussion on Viva Pinata (Xbox 360), The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Wii), Parodius Portable (PSP), Salamander Portable (PSP), Picross DS, World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade (PC), Phoenix Wright (DS) and Fuzion Frenzy 2 (Xbox 360).
We also go into a few topics that've been in the news lately -- the leakage of the Dead or Alive movie on YouTube, Uwe Boll's Postal movie trailer, Microsoft's new rules for Achievement points and downloadable content, and the remake of Dracula X on PSP, which also leads to a short talk on how Sony's positioning the PSP ("It's a babe-tracking system that also plays Parodius").
And of course we finish out this episode discussing some of the feedback we received from last week's show. Keep leaving us comments (via e-mail, comments on our web site, iTunes, Digg us, Skype us at playeronepodcast) or leave us a voice mail by calling 713-893-8069, long distance charges apply. Thanks for listening, tell your friends, and we'll be back next week!
Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
Parodius Portable (Japanese)
Salamander Portable (Japanese)
Picross DS game page (Japanese)
GameSetWatch: Mario's Picross
World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade
Phoenix Wright: And Justice For All
Fuzion Frenzy 2
DOA: Dead or Alive movie
1UP.com: Postal trailer debuts
New rules for Achievement points
Dracula X Chronicles game page
PSP commercial, where're the games?
Joystiq: IGN developing content for Sega? 1UP contributing too?
1UP.com blog: If you've ever wanted to kick my ass, now you sort of can. Meet: Milky Pai.
1UP.com blog: Full disclosure
Game|Life: Virtua Figher 5: My character
The Cover Project