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Welcome to another on time edition of the mailbag. I hold SG completely responsible.

I was busy GRADUATING from high school, thank you very much! Not to mention every time I asked you and 984 for help, you threw rotten tomatoes at me. ...They were yum :D

Graduating? That's no excuse, good lord. And you actually ate those things? Ugh.

Sure it is! Remember that one time when you failed? That wasn't cool at all.

SG, that was you that failed. Are you really that confused?

...Is that really the best retort you can give me? 'No U! No U!'

Just get the first reply.

No U!

Bah, our first reply comes from the Wizardmaster.

*Flashy entrance*

I think RPGs are to cliche in romance. The hero falls in love with the female (who is often very different from them), something happens to the girl, the guy saves/redemes her, the end.

Wow. I didn't do any stupid stuff. cool. Here are the Wizardmaster'z Wordz of Wizdom:

You'll have plenty of time for living in a van down by the river... WHEN YOUR LIVING IN A VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER!!!


The Wizardmaster

Well, yeah...RPGs with romance are usually cliche like that I guess. Really, what makes Romance in an RPG good, I think, is the way they go about the cliched romance differently. Wild ARMS 2 was nice, cos it was cliched romance, but it wasn't the center of the story. ...AND it was interesting.

The thing is, most RPGs are really full of cliches- can you expect most romances in RPGs to be too different? I wouldn't think so. Sure, there are some that just make you want to say 'Awww' and are good. As SG said, it's about how they're done really.

True dat. Well, I our work here is done! Onto the next reply!

You grab the next one.

You're closer.

Making me do all the work, feh. Our next one is from Moon Beam Girl.

What do you know? My first reply!^_^ Woooooot! Is that righteous or what?

Yes! That is totally righteous! Fantas-GREAT, even!

I never asked you.-_-;

Yes you did! Look! Rememeber just two seconds ago when you said, What do you know? My first reply!^_^ Woooooot! Is that righteous or what? Well, that was all you! You should pay more attention Miss Beam Lady!

I think it was a rhetorical question SG.

A metaphorical question?

Why do I even bother with you...

You don't bother me at all! You're the greatest!

So anyways, RPGs handle romances . . . okay. But they are starting to get too cliche for their own good. They should start becoming more original. Like maybe the first meeting should be in a department store, or possibly during Christmas (which is considered a romantic holiday in Japan). They could also cut down on the "Oh, even though I've helped him/her so much and he/she's saved my tail so many times, he/she could never like me," and "It could never happen, no matter how many times people say we were meant to be" scenes, which are getting to be annoying. They could stop doing is jealousy scenes involving cute, irritating characters too; those are definatly getting overused. A last thing they could stop is just pulling the romance out of nowhere. *coughWildArmscough*

Well, before I go . . .

Energon, I've got a treat for you.:) *when Energon gets close, Moon Beam Girl does a Threadbare Slice, resulting in minced Energon*

Well, if Energon were here, he probably wouldn't like that and make some horrible threat of a nasty papercut or some such. Also, there don't tend to be many department stores or holidays in RPGs really, otherwise that could be a possibility.

This is true...You can't really hold it against RPGs for working with what they've got, after all. :P

Pulling romances out of no where works. I mean, it's not like the characters never talk to each other while they're walking around so you can assume so chemistry was happening earlier.

Indeed. I bet you'd be pretty mad if you had to stop and listen to silly small talk all the time while you were walking around though. :P Some RPGs are doing a bit more to emphasize things like that though. Grandia 2, for example, hsa a feature where you can hold a conversation between all your party members when you stay at inns; it serves to develop the characters a lot, and makes character interaction much cooler.

Yeah, that's always nice. There's also stuff like the Private Actions in Star Ocean 2 which allows you to develop romances between the different characters based on your actions.

Yeah, cept Star Ocean 2 sucked. :P I mean, uh, how about the next reply? :D

Kero Hazel, you're up.

How do I think RPGs generally handle romance? And the like, huh? Oh, "the like". I get it. Nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more.

Well, I pretty much fit the old "incurable romantic" archetype, so I personally love all that gushy stuff. All the same, I realize that I usually don't play RPGs for love stories... and there are definitely some games that should avoid love like the Black Plague -- such as FF Tactics. I mean, it's hard enough to follow that storyline through all the religious corruption and Machiavellian political backstabbing... a romance element would just complicate things to the point of incomprehensibility.

I think RPG romances work best when they're not the major focus of the storyline. Take FF6, for instance, which I credit for being one of the first RPGs to delve into the whole love thingie. I mean... the Opera scene, Locke/Rachel, Locke/Celes... absolute gold. But the game isn't about love, it's about saving the world and all that good stuff, which serves to make the romantic elements all the more special. Contrast this to FF8, the self-proclaimed "lovey-dovey" FF. Now I'm partial to FF8, but believe me that it's not because of the story. I'd find myself getting into the plot, finding out more and more about Squall's past and that whole Laguna thing, but then it'd get all "I love you Rinoa" over and over again. By the end, I didn't even care what happened to those two.

Cram romance down people's throats and they'll get sick of it, but tease them with bits and pieces of it, and they'll always come back for more. But to answer the broader question of "how do RPGs generally handle romance", I'd have to say that I'm generally okay with how they do it. Most games don't cram it down your throat, and choose to focus on other plot elements. However, I think RPGs could be doing a much better job at it than they are right now. I have yet to see an RPG I think is worthy of being called a "love-oriented RPG", and I would very much like to see one (still keeping in mind I don't want it shoved down my throat). Those are my thoughts on the subject.

Hmm, yes FF6 did a nice job of it, because it wasn't overbearing and it was interesting. And also, yes I really didn't like FF8's love story. It was just kinda goofy. :P

I'd credit either DW4 or FF4 with being the first games to delve into love. Dragon Warrior 4 did it in an interesting way between Saro and Rosa with Saro doing everything he could for her. Cecil and Rosa in FF4 also touched on it with their relationship though it definitely wasn't a large focus of the story. FF6 did indeed do a good job, and FF8, well, no. Squall was just awful in my opinion- couldn't stand him. Rinoa was good though, but the relationship was just too shallow in my opinion.

Of course, you could go allt he way back to Mother on the SNES, cos there's a scene where the Main character and the chick are alone, and she asks him if he loves her. Heehee, it was cute :D

Aw, how touching. Anyways, next reply. Go ahead SG.

Yes yes, well. The next one comes from Miss Valkyrie Esker.

Yay, you chose another one of my topics! I'm so happy! ^_^

Let's see, since my last attempt at torturing Energon didn't turn out so well (Man, I really thought Cyberenhanced Ninja Wolves would do the trick! :( ), I'll try this now.

Energon, you have to now make me a six-course meal. I want shrimp, spaghetti, Some fine merlot to go with it, the whole shebang! And you have to do it without using your hands. If you do use your hands, or I'm not pleased with the meal, I'll chop off your thumbs, understand? Good, now get to it!

Sorry, the Mailbag and its associates don't fix food. There's a vending machine around the corner if you're hungry though.

Anyway, on to the topic: RPG Romance.

Well, it is in my not-so-humble opinion that game designers are way too skittish about forming definite relationships in the first place. I can think of like five and a half games in total where both a boy and a girl say I love you to each other. ( BTW, The half a game is Chrono Trigger, PSX version. With that ending Cinema of Crono andf Marle getting married, it kinda says they loved each other, yeah. But the original didn't have that much of a sign of them both loving each other. But I digress.)They'll have IMPLIED relationships up the wazoo (whatever that is,), but I personally hate beating around the bush.

And then, in those games that DO have set relationships, there often aren't too many signs of affection between them. FFIV had a sprite for when Cecil and Rosa were kissing passionately, and that's about the strongest sign of affection I've seen. Kisses are rare in games, and hugs are even rarer, for some reason.

Plus, oftentimes, they'll have relationships between the people with the least in common. I still think that the Crono-Marle thing would never work.

There are games like the Harvest Moon games where you try to get a certain girl to like you, and I personally like that idea. You get to choose which girl you want to date/marry, and you have to earn their love. I like that concept.

Well, I'm all ranted out now. So, how's about we see how Energon did?

Hmm...well implied relationships aren't bad. They're usually very obvious, just like in Chrono Trigger. I thought the fact that they liked each other was very very blatant. ...And also, I'm now interested in playing Harvest Moon. :P That sounds neato. My friend just told me all you have to do to get chicks is give em stuff. :P

Yeah, see another person thinks of Cecil and Rosa. Anyways, why wouldn't the Chrono and Marle thing worked? Chrono talked afterall- you just kinda decided what he said. I mean people *did* respond to him occasionally. I kinda figured Chrono and Luca were a bit better together if you ask me but meh.

What about Chrono and Ayla? :D

No. Just no.

Awww. But Ayla like Crono! Remember? Ayla LIKE Crono!

Ayla also LIKE that caveman that she ended up with. Come on kid, get the next reply.

Ayla probly like Crono more. Remember? Kino dummy? Come ON now! I mean uh...yeah, lemme just get the next reply. :P Our last lucky winner is Bahamut Xero.

Hey guys,

I generally think most games make fun of romantic impulses. I mean most have some sort of perverted character that hits on everyone of the opposite sex and gets rejected all the time (oh wait, that's me). Take FFIX for instance, Zidane is your typical pervert, trying to hit on Dagger. I found it funny that they actually had to get married and that she said "I do" with no hesitation. "Ooh, that's soft" said by Zidane on the airship is one of my favorite video game quotes. Then you got Eiko a young girl who tries to get in between them. So in conclusion, I don't think most RPGs take romance that seriously. Another example would be FFVI, during the fake ending before Kefka blows Thamasa to bits, where Locke and Celes are staring in each other eyes and Relm complains that it's too hot.

Till next mailbag, and try to get this one on time!


Well...FF9 was really the only one I think. Besides, the way I saw it, it established that Zidane was actually very good with the ladies, but couldn't get with Dagger very easily because she was raised, well, a bit different from most. Just my thoughts on it.

Zidane changed a whole lot throughout the course of the game- he started out being all carefree and perverted and ended up being totally different. I think the game took it seriously- it just had a different spin to it. And uh, we'll get it on time. I swear. >_>

I think that since he tried ordering us around, we should just leave this on the shelf for about a month or two.

Hey, that's a good idea SG. Let's wait.

*2 months pass*

Hey Kagon, it's time to put the mailbag up.

Yeah, I think that'll show them.

Yep yep. Well, I'm gonna get a pizza, you can handle this, right? :P

But of course.

Alright, then, see ya. *Swings out the window on a conveniently placed rope*

Oh, right, topic for next time: if you could create a spinoff game from an RPG revolving around one of the NPCs (or a minor PC), who would it star and what would happen in it? Thanks to Kero for that. Send them all to the usual place. Check us out next time when we'll be on time.

...Sometimes, you feel like a nut mailbag, sometimes, you don't. You just... don't.