ActRaising a toast

I guess my elegy for ActRaiser in this week’s Retro Roundup was the best thing I’ve ever written or something? It’s received plaudits from sources as diverse as Kohler and Carless. Well, actually, that’s about it. But still! High praise… for my high praise.

Playing the game again (even if was a fleeting glimpse as I made a headlong rush through the week’s offerings for a refresher course on why Kid Chameleon is lame) has really reminded me how incredible Quintet was in the 16-bit era. Which of course reminds me how completely depressing the company’s eventual dissolution was. Granstream Saga and Godzilla: Generations is no way to cap off a legacy of artfully crafted and morally complex RPG-tinged classics! I think… I may have to revisit the Quintet quintet. Or simply visit, in the case of the elusive Terranigma.

I’ve heard there’s a healthy amount of discussion centered around these games on this week’s Retronauts, but you know how rumors are.

Speaking of morally complex! Have you guys heard about the new Google “Street Level” thing? It’s pretty rad — on a fast enough connection you can essentially take a real-time tour of major cities like New York and Miami. Oh, and I hear San Francisco is in there, too, which I guess makes sense seeing as Google’s located here and WAIT A SECOND


Remember when everyone was all freaked out about how pervasive Microsoft was? How half the world was up in arms because nothing could stop the invasive Redmond juggernaut? Ah, the ’90s. When we thought the most insidious threat a technology company had to offer was being in everyone’s home rather than showing them in detail. And that the worst thing a president could do was put in a little overtime with an intern. It all seems so… quaint, now.

Talking Time update: phpBB kind of sucked, so! I’m looking into an actual paid solution, like Invision, going by the philosophy that you get what you pay for. Of course, this means I gotta dredge up some funds first. So it may be a little while yet.

53 thoughts on “ActRaising a toast

  1. In my day if we wanted to stalk someone we had to go to somebody’s house and hide in the bushes, and we would get scratches on our periscopes and our butts would get sore because we forgot to bring a pillow. You kids these days with your Wahoo’s and your Goggle’s….

  2. That totally saved me the time and effort of trying to find which house to look for. Thanks Google!

  3. I just wonder how long its going to take before Google maps all of the major cities in the US.

  4. Terranigma was officially translated but never released, correct? That game really needs a VC release.

  5. Invision used to be free. They had a free support-free version, and a for-pay supported version. I don’t think that worked out so well for them and eventually they pulled the plug on the free version.

    In any case, vBulliten seems to be the best “professional” BB out there, and last I checked it didn’t cost that much more than Invision.

  6. The joke’s going to be on any would-be stalkers when they get to San Fran and find that every street of every residential district looks basically like that.

  7. Why not use your celebrity to your advantage? Jerry did and look at his kids. He may have exploited those poor children to fund his decadence; but, I’m willing to bet that your cause is far more useful to those of us with similarly debilitating disorders. Those being the social or opposite-sex attracting kinds. I would be willing to donate a few of my hard-earned, government funds to the restructuring of talking time. Shit, if that means I can complain some more about the likes of ‘Gunman’s Proof’ and your inexplicable hatred for Final Fantasy Tactics: Advance, I’d consider that money well spent.

    So, yes, start a Paypal donation link. Remember, this was my suggestion, so you wouldn’t be pathetic like the hobos of San Fran. Anecdotally, I had one of your more unsavory tramps discard all of the change I dropped in his Styrofoam cup because he, and I quote, “Couldn’t get laid with a cup full of pennies.” Truer words have never been spoken.

  8. Also, I’ve already done the PayPal donation thing in the past. I’d rather not go back down that road, especially with the grim spectre of unfulfilled issues of ToastyFrog Zines keeping me awake at night.

  9. I propose that we sell Calorie Mate into slavery.
    This is your chance to take one for the team, buddy.

  10. LilSpriteX: Translated and released in Europe, actually. One of the handful of cases where the UK got something the US didn’t.

  11. So, not to be too creepy or anything, and I guess this kind of relates to stalkers, but you were in my dream last night, Parish.

    I was with some group trying to decode transmissions or something else that the bad guys were doing. We weren’t getting it and so we all had to take a math class to learn more about what we needed to do. So then it turned out we were all working for some business and it offered this math class on the side which was basically algebra. The teacher was Jeremy Parish and I was a total teacher’s pet and helped out with one example. I liked Parish’s teaching style and especially thought his homework was very well done. Others were grumbling because they weren’t math nerds like me.

    This is what you get when you don’t have forums available.

  12. I liked the old forum, and I’d be more than satisfied if you put up another one just like it. Of course, it might have some downside that’s not apparent to people who don’t have to administer it.

    Also, Google might be omnipresent, virulently expansive and just a tad invasive, but, darn it, they’re just so charming about it. They have an air of benevolence that Microsoft lacks. I mean, have you seen the instructional video for Street View that Penny Arcade linked to? Charming!

    Well, except for when you briefly see the guy’s camel toe.

  13. 1) Stalking joke.

    2) ActRaiser is awesome and you are awesome for writing nice things about it.

    3) If money becomes an issue with the forum I will gladly pitch in.

  14. You see, Jeremy — AHEM — Mr. Parish; we’re not only seething sycophants, but if you provide us with direction and we may even aspire to henchmen status! Only the kind willing to pay for your megalomania!

  15. So I’ve been having trouble posting to your comments. At any rate, it’s a bit creepy how detailed it all is. Did you see the pic on Boingboing yesterday where you could see the woman’s cat in the photo and the shot was clear enough that you could tell it was a tabby? Also, how long ago did they take these pictures and how often do they update?

  16. Ummm…how much does it cost to revive a message board these days?

  17. Oh, man, this is the part where Parish tries to sell us valuable waterfront property with no money down.

  18. You pretty much echoed my sentiments on ActRaiser. There are more balanced and memorable action games than what constitutes the action part of ActRaiser, so it’s definitely all about the sim part. The purely action ActRaiser 2 pretty much served as testament to this.

    Other than that, underwhelming week.

  19. I am not taking anyone’s money. And vBulletin is $160, which isn’t much… but I’m trying to be a bit more fiscally responsible these days.

    I didn’t see the cat picture, but I did see a guy walking out of a strip club on O’Farrell Street, and it was clear enough to identify his face. I’ve tried pinpointing exactly when the shots were taken; seemingly fairly recently, since a bus stop near my office shows an ad that was up not too long ago.

  20. You should post a sign on your window that reads “STOP STARING, IT’S MY BODY”

    And if you would ask, I would donate some money.

  21. Terranigma was officially translated but never released, correct?

    No! It came out in Europe, being one of the few times in gaming history that Europe got something awesome that the US didn’t instead of the other way around.

    I suspect that your problems with phpBB have less to do with it being free and more to do with phpBB being a terrible piece of software.


    This is what I’m using right now. There seems to be at least three different forum providers with “Invision” in their names… it’s very possible that the one I’m using is different from the one that Jeremy had considered. It’s also likely that what works for my forum’s thirty members wouldn’t be appropriate for Parish’s three hundred.


  23. Seriously though, this totally ruins half the fun of stalking Mr. Parish. Uncovering the mystery was part of the charm! Also, maybe you could get a ‘Donation Time!’ thing running for a new forum?

  24. There’s no need to shatter any worldviews just yet–Microsoft has actually had the same kind of thing up for a while now: Google’s looks to be a more mature piece of technology right now, though, even if it’s missing the rockingest corner of the country.

  25. The downfall of Quintet has always been both baffling and maddening to me. Their sixteen-bit games (Actraiser 2 excepted; Robotrek emphactically NOT excepted, no matter WHAT you people think) were all SO GOOD…and then, kablooie. Sad times :(

  26. I er…loved Robotrek. Then again, this from the guy who likes Gust games, so there you go. Still, there is something about building your own robots from scratch and developing all kinds of crezzy weaponry. Freaking hard towards the end though.

  27. I know people like to keep personal sites like this informal and capitalism-free, so to speak, but why not put up some google ads on the forums?

    As you undoubtedly know, and are currently experiencing, popular forums take up exponentially more resources than equally popular blogs. I know you said you pre-paid for this host, but if you hadn’t you might be paying high double digits, maybe even triple digits to keep a popular forum alive and snippy. Considering the fact that it’s basically a place for other people to come and socialize, I think putting up a few adsense ads to *help* cover the cost (since it won’t cover all of it..) is a reasonable decision.

  28. Ok. Nothing to do with the subject, but the last part of the interview with Inafune was very touching. He seems really honest. Let’s donate!

  29. Yeah, I thought the interview started awkwardly, so I was worried it would be a dud. But by the end of it he seemed to warm up to us, and we asked just the right questions to get him to spill his guts. Next time I’m taking my vinyl Servbot to have signed!

  30. He didn’t mind at all that you kept referring to his most beloved creation by his marketing-mandated American name?

  31. “Robopon 2” I really wish I hadn’t read that as Roboporn 2.

    ActRaiser was awesome. I had a friend who only liked the sim part so he made me play through the action part for him (this was after I had already beaten both parts of the game myself).

  32. I was telling the wife about how the Forum I used to frequent died, and how the guy who runs it is a Games Writer, and he runs my favorite podcast, but he put it on hiatus, and how I felt slighted that this guy no longer provides me with hours and hours of free entertainment every week, and then I showed her a picture of your window, and now I’m sleeping on the couch.

  33. SonicP: Granstream Saga is *really* not a good game. I forced myself to play all the way through after foolishly volunteering to review it. (Er, we won’t mention what publication it was for.) I can see why the classicgaming folks *want* to like it since a lot of the Heaven & Earth devs worked on it and some of the themes are in there if you make it far enough, but yeah… just not good.

    For a quick run-down:
    – I’m not much of a “graphics whore”, but if you’re going to have 3D characters and can’t afford to give them some sort of face, for heaven’s sake sacrifice some other aspect of the scenery instead.
    – The zoomed-in top-down 3D perspective in towns is horrendously painful to navigate in. The dungeons are only slightly better.
    – The 1-on-1 3D combat may have been somewhat innovative at the time, but is just clunky in implementation and not really much fun (despite the article you linked to).
    – The ability to do fully animated cut-scenes is not a good excuse to dredge up every anime cliche in the book. Liberally.

    In short, there may be a great Heaven & Earth continuation hiding somewhere in the concepts of this game, but it’s sure hard to find them. Sadly, I think the company disbanded before they managed to really figure out how to deal with PSX hardware. The result is just kind of painful.

  34. M.Nicholai – Sell me into slavery? Take one for the team? That doesn’t sound like the Calorie Mate we all know and love, now does it?

    And by the way, Terranigma = overrated. But I guess the fact that the U.S. never got it artificially inflates the game’s worth in people’s eyes, as usual.

  35. I imagine playing it five years after the fact on an emulator with imperfect sound using a shitty gamepad probably dulls the effect a bit.

  36. You know what’s great about Jenn Frank’s voice? She speaks loud enough for the microphone to pick her up. GET THE MARBLES OUT OF YOUR MOUTHS, GUYS.
    Very sad to hear about the hiatus. What will you do with all that free time? Real life? I had a real life once, it was as overrated as Zelda II (oh shiiit!)

  37. This week’s Retronauts made me laugh out loud twice. I’m not sure how often that has happened. I’m not sure that what was discussed was actually all that interesting, but it did entertain me. I guess I really dig the Retronauts where you guys seem like you are having a good time. And Sharkey (I believe) yelling for people to talk one at a time was gold.

  38. No, Terranigma’s not overrated. It’s really, really, not. The translation quality is unfortunate, but it’s still an all-time classic with one of the most amazing endings ever.

  39. Terranigma = not overrated. It’s as good as people say. There’s no artificial inflating for me either, I played it on a real cartridge way back in the day. It was basically an impulse buy for me and it turned out to be one of the greatest Action RPGs ever made. It holds up to this day.

  40. No, Terranigma really is excellent. Aside from the iffy translation you would be hard-pressed to find anything wrong with it. It looks great, plays great and has a story with surprisingly intelligent and serious themes for a game of that time, or even by modern standards. Also, best credits reel EVAR.


  41. “Very sad to hear about the hiatus. What will you do with all that free time? Real life? I had a real life once, it was as overrated as Zelda II (oh shiiit!)”

    What planet are you from, senor?

  42. What the hell? There were two posts praising Terranigma before mine, now there’s only one. Combo breaker :(

  43. Yes. You can move around them and even punch them. Then later they’ll wonder why they have a headache.

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