MAP Episode 115: Network Security

Jabba the Bup

Download Link: Produced 2011.05.08

In an effort to stave off discussions about love dolls and what kind of body oil Bup uses, the panel is presented with an array of news about PlayStation Network Security, Project Cafe, and Hats. Lusipurr concludes with a story from a book of fanfiction.


  1. I am sad that there were no outtakes this week… I am also sad that everyone hates Grandia 2. I played the game (in Japanese) and loved it! Sure it’s no Grandia 1, but it was still good shit in my book! Buy a Dreamcast for that game!

  2. Ugh… Stupid grad school. I was so busy trying not to be killed by school that I never really got to play video games all semester. Sorry for not getting to participate in the contest. I even missed Bup leaving the site. :(

    I don’t really like the way the Smithsonian handled the voting. There were some clear flaws, perhaps best illustrated by Final Fantasy VII getting in.

    That was the best story ever at the end. I can’t wait to hear more next week.

  3. Which fanfiction included that picture? Because I want to burn it forever.

  4. @Dan: Welcome to the Summer! Also, you are WRONG about Final Fantasy VII, sir. WRONG!!!

    There was a story last week, and there will be a story for every week in the forseeable future.

    Also, I never asked what you were in Grad. School for. I presume it is not English, else you would have said so earlier!

  5. -Dan is wrong, Seconded.

    -Grandia 2 had a fantastic battle system, but everything else was a little boring …

  6. I’m getting my Masters in Speech-Language Pathology. Apparently they have weed-out semesters in grad school and last semester was ours. Sadly my summer semester started today with a four hour long class.

    I admit, I give VII a lot of grief. Some people absolutely love, but I don’t know why. It was a struggle for me to finish, but I could play VI over and over again.

  7. My only real complaints about VII are three: the graphics look like shit, even by 1997 standards. The translation was nearly incomprehensible at times. Also, FFVII was far, far too easy. I still love it. I’m not sure if it’s my favorite of the PS1 FFs, I’d have to say it probably is though. The gameplay is fun, the battle system is decent, and the music is PHENOMINAL.

    There are certainly worse Final Fantasy games, to be sure.

  8. DanChiSao is an intellectual par excellence and I will hear no ill said of him or the FACT that FFVII is inferior.

  9. The PSX FFs get unfairly crapped on for the graphics. FF7’s graphics suffer from inconsistency because several teams worked on them. Sure the field models are stupid looking (there’s a fan made patch for the PC version apparently), but the FMVs and summons were mind-fucking blowing for the time. No one who’d played FF6 had clean pants after the Midgard intro. The spoilertastic TV commercials had everyone wanting to play it. To say otherwise is hipster revisionist nonsense.

    FF7’s story/translation may not have really made a whole lot of sense (nobody playing it in 1997 realize that “Sephiroth” in anything other than flashbacks/the Northern Crater popsicle was actually Genova), but the general jist of it’s not hard to follow. The Woolsey translations of FF6, Chrono Trigger, etc being good (or at least serviceable) were the exceptions. The much beloved “FF2” released in the US had such a hilariously awful translation there used to be a text+pictures Let’s Play of it.

    The prerendered backgrounds were more or less a necessity to have complex enviroments on the PSX. The 3D was generally pretty terrible, so it was the better option. Games like Metal Gear Solid worked around it by mostly using a fixed camera that didn’t get too close, but a hundred other games didn’t. Each PSX FF (as much as I hate 8) improved the appearance of those backgrounds and the in-battle models and animation.

    Unfortunately, the battles themselves peaked with FF7, which was just a streamlined 3D version of FF6. FF8 really wanted you to look at and appreciate all the animation work, more complex monster models, and the insanely long summonning spells. And the battles just drag even if you use the fastest attacks available (regular physical ones). FF9 was even worse in that you could have all your party members pick “Fight” and thirty seconds later they’re still standing there not having gone yet as the monsters do some drawn out boring shit.

    Difficulty-wise, all the post-SNES FF games are generally easy. Most people playing them place a huge emphasis on the story though, so I don’t think they’d really want to get stuck on something too hard. Yuji Horii said something along the lines of he designed Dragon Quest to be a game that you could grind a bit if you needed to to be able to finish it while Super Mario Bros. you could either pull off based on skill or you couldn’t. I don’t think you spend 5 million dollars making an ending FMV and cinematic, epic story, and then make a game hard enough that many of your players never get to see it.

    But that’s just me. I could be as Lane.

  10. FFVIII and FFIX looked really good for their time. FFVII was blocky and clunky, something I noticed from the very first time I played it. This is not to say graphics ruin the game, or even really affect the experience, but the graphics in VII’s case are bad enough to be worth noting. The game honestly would have looked better in 2D, in my opinion. The FMVs are good and the summons interesting, but when all of the graphical power went into such relatively small parts of the game (in terms of time within the game), then I consider it to be worth knocking a bit off of my opinion of the game.

    All of my complaints with VII are minor, very minor, but they do exist and they do add up. FFVII is an amazing game to be sure, but it has flaws that must be acknowledged, as all games do. I will definitely agree with EP, FFIX’s battles are way too unnecessarily slow, and the main reason why IX is my least favorite of the PS1 FF games.

    I’ve gone on record before saying that gameplay and especially battle systems are the most important things in RPG’s, and I really liked FFVII’s a lot. When my ONLY real complaint is “too easy”, it means the game is good, to be sure.

  11. Also, when I refer to the first time I played FFVII, that was about when the game came out. I don’t remember exactly (I was like 7 at the time), but I do remember even then thinking “Wow, I have games that look so much better”.

  12. I’m not sure you could have been thinking “I have games that look way better” when FFVII actually came out in 1997.

    The press was by and large blown away, and the demo alone was nearly impossible to get ahold of because EVERYONE wanted it and it was being traded in, by itself, and sold for $30!. I was in high school at the time, and the graphics and summons were all people were talking about. Leviathan, which could be summoned in the demo, was a matter of the greatest amazement to everyone. What was the only thing that was even offered as a comparison? Wild Arms. Look at that, and tell me the graphics are ‘way better’. The fact that it was in 3D was the biggest issue: certainly 2D graphics were more polished, but 3D was what the big deal was then. How polished they were was largely an irrelevance.

    So no, that is not the way of it. Your memory is either failing you, or the first time you played it was some time *after* it came out: not during launch.

  13. Yeah, Final Fantasy VII blew my mind back in the day. I definitely wasn’t thinking about how other stuff looked better. It’s an inspired game.

    And agreed about IX’s battle system, EP. It’s about a billion times too slow.

  14. FFVII’s graphics looked amazing for the time, and I still love those crude and blocky SD characters. I found FFVIII’s uber long legs and comparatively squat midrif on Squall to be far more off-putting, he looked just realistic enough to give off a fun park magic mirror oddity vibe …

  15. As EP said, revisionist nonsense spouted by kids who grew up with the PS2 (and also by people who still haven’t come to terms with FFs transition to 3D).

  16. @SN: I, too, prefer the Blocky SD characters of FFVII to the truly ugly character models in FFVIII. I was, for my part, tremendously disappointed with how the FFVIII models looked when that came out. Tonnes of praise was lauded on the movie sequences (they were far superior to VII’s: the GIA spoke loftily of the way they were blended with in-game sequence action–think of the landing in Dollet as just one of the many examples), but the actual in-game models themselves were awful, and seeing them in combat, constantly, made me want to gouge my eyes out.

    After that, FFIX’s in-game models were a huge relief, even if they too suffer from jaggedy-jag syndrome. At least they were more than a collection of pixelly junk.

  17. When discussing the potential for mobile Steam, you all left out the most important potential breakthrough! Mobile TF2 Trading! Think of all the hats we could aquire!

    Also, I’ve been playing Plantz vs. Zombies recently, and I’d love to have a Steam cloud enabled version of that that worked on my PC and phone so I could play on the train

  18. @DG:
    All the trading, with NONE of the game to get in the way!

    PLease tell me Plants vs. Zombies does not substitute a Z for the S to indicate plurality.

  19. Oh, sorry, it doesn’t, I just derped up the typing of the name, At least according to Steam, it’s “Plants vs. Zombies”, the way it should be

  20. Also, it doesn’t seem like honors my WordPress credentials any more. I assume this is because of the migration? Not a huge deal, I think it just means my avatar is missing, but I want to make sure it’s something expected.

  21. CORRECT.

    But it should still show your avatar, which should be linked via Gravatar and picked up here. (Like for Emmori, for example).

  22. IX’s models were indeed lovely, objectively wonderful. VII’s aren’t about to win any beauty pageants, but they just ooze an easy, unpretentious charm which make them my favourite of the series. VII’s real claim to graphical excellence is largely centered on the detail and vision put into the game world, this is why I laugh at people who say it should have been a 2D sprite and tile-set game. It simply wouldn’t be FFVII if it were made to look exactly like FFVI.

  23. @DG: Thank heavens. I feared I would have to pull my support for the game on spelling grounds.

  24. You can tell I’m tired. I’ve never claimed to be a master of the English language, but even I’m ashamed of that the mess of a sentence my PvZ comment was. Wow, time for bed now.

    Also, I agree with SN. FFVII wouldn’t have been the same on a 2D plane. I’ll never claim the character models are outstanding, but they were what they needed to be for the game, you know? I think trying to go in any other direction (especially FFVIII’s) would have looked offputting.

  25. FFVII’s story is garbled non-fucking-sense.

    FFVI is about the only entry in the series with good characters and plot. And no, Aerith dying doesn’t nudge FFVII ahead. Cyan’s wife and kid on the ghost train are better examples of pathos.

    Also, Gau > just about every FF character ever. Even Vanille, Lusipurr. Even. Vanille.

  26. Also, racing minigames required to advance the plot, because no one beats Weapons without Knights of the Round? Lame.

  27. @Lusi If it wasn’t ’97, then it was sometime in mid-to-late ’98. Again, we’re talking something that would have happened when I was like 7, so my memories are almost certainly not very accurate. But I do specifically remember not being impressed by the graphics, even then. I don’t know what I would have compared it to; I didn’t play VIII or IX until 2009.

  28. But then, trusting the judgement of 7 year old Dan isn’t really a good idea. I’m still not fond of VII’s graphics, even today, but as I’ve said before, graphics are the absolute least important part of the game for me. I won’t continue to argue this, since even though I don’t like VII’s graphics, it’s such a small part of how I rate games that it’s not really worth it.

  29. And sorry to triple comment, but…Gau? Seriously, Lane? Ugh. The only character in VI that was more annoying was Umaro. Sabin, Cyan, and Edgar were all awesome.

  30. Thank you, Lane. You are a gentleman and a scholar.

    When I first played FFVII, I did like the cutscenes, it was very neat, but all of the blocky characters irked me so much. I would much rather have the SNES era sprites than look at those things. And the story just didn’t grab me the same way parts of VI did.

    As Lane pointed out, Cyan’s storyline definitely gives VI a big boost. Plus, I really enjoyed the Opera House stuff and the Brothers Figaro, and you get the best villain ever, Kefka.

  31. FFVI would be a better game if it were more fleshed out (duh). I think that the tragedy of Cyan’s family passing, and Gau’s father casting him off so he becomes a feral child, and really EVERYONE’S backstory get overlooked because there just is not enough emphasis placed upon them.

    Oooh and don’t forget Celes emo’ing herself off a cliff. That could have been so epic …

  32. Nah, Lane. FFIX has some great characterization too. I’m not going to argue the point of plot for that game, however.

  33. Cyan’s characterization and backstory were seriously hurt by how absolutely terrible he is as a party member. Part of it’s also very missable if you don’t check every room of the castle in the World of Ruin.

  34. In other news, because I don’t know where else to make this comment, but slick job on the new ticker up top!

  35. @Ethos Don’t worry, eventually you’ll be able to stop the sliding while hovering your mouse pointer over the ticker, I just can’t do this yet as it’s not a feature of the plugin we’re using, but I’m told that feature will be added in the next update.

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