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Nerds Without Pants Episode 42: Crystals

Fun fact: I got misty-eyed putting the music into this episode.

Here it is! The moment that (some) of you have been waiting for! This is the big Nerds Without Pants love letter to Final Fantasy. Special guest Erika Szabo joins us once again to talk about a series that is near and dear to the hearts of everyone on the show. A word of warning: NWP busted out its super awesome Limit Break ability, and this show is a hefty 3 hour journey.

I could tell you everything we talked about to entice you to listen, but I would end up writing a novel. From our origins to the series to what it means to each of us on a personal level to a huge discussion on the music, this episode has got you covered if you like (or used to like) Final Fantasy. You won't find much of the typical negativity that other shows usually heap on this series, but we do take some time to brainstorm on how to get the franchise back on track. Oh, and if you missed it, check out PixlBit's epic Final Fantasy Retrospective from last year.

Hope you enjoy! Share with your friends that have fond memories of the series, and give us your thoughts on the show and the games in the comments below.


 

Comments

daftman

03/22/2014 at 08:39 PM

Yowzers, 3 hours long? I look forward to listening to this, though it might take a while to get through it. But there's a big music discussion? Count me in Smile

Julian Titus Senior Editor

03/23/2014 at 02:14 PM

I don't want to brag, but I outdid myself on the editing of this show. Beyond the 30 minutes of music discussion there are pieces of music threaded throughout the entire episode. Hope you enjoy it! I know it's a beast of a podcast.

daftman

03/28/2014 at 07:54 PM

Finally done! That was indeed a great episode. Other than taking several days to listen to it, I didn't really notice the time go by. I definitely want to get back into the series and play the entries I've missed over the years, which is quite a few. My knowledge far exceeds my experience, but you guys reminded me how enjoyable these games are. On a side note, I'm interested to hear your defense of All the Bravest, Julian, because I've heard only bad things. And it sounds offensively bad, so I'm surprised you like it.

If you decide to do any more podcasts dedicated to a single franchise, I would suggest Castlevania. With the future of Lords of Shadow in question (seen a lot of middling reviews of LoS2, though I haven't heard any sales figures yet) and the recent departure of Koji Igarashi from Konami, now is probably a good time to look back at the series. Hopefully there is more Castlevania coming but who knows.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

03/28/2014 at 08:23 PM

I was actually thinking of doing Castlevania today! We might have to do that one. I'm not sure where Patrick falls on that series though.

So, All the Bravest. Yes, it's a stupid time waster where you just tap the screen a lot. So is Tiny Tower, Simpsons Tapped Out, and Game Dev Story. I loved all of those games, too. For me, ATB is all about the nostalgia. I loved the way you go through all of the pre-polygonal games in the series, and it's awesome seeing the modern characters rendered in FF VI era sprites. Yes, it sucks that you have to pay to get them, and yes, it sucks that when your party gets wiped out you either have to pay to keep going or wait for them to regen. I always waited. No different in my mind than waiting for a building to finish construction in Simpsons.

It could definitely be more of a game. I wish you could choose who's in your party (it's always random) and equip items on your own, but I did find a modicum of strategy in it. Certain characters are faster than others, so I got good at knowing who to tap on first. When enemies would throw out big attacks I'd try and get my powerful guys into their attack animations to save them from death. Aerith can bring people back to life, so I would be sure to tap on her as fast as possible.

It's a silly little free to play (or did I pay for it? I don't remember), but I had fun with it. I ended up sinking about 20 bucks into it and didn't regret it. The friend I talked about who I trained in FF XI enjoyed it, too.

daftman

03/28/2014 at 10:23 PM

Those seem like valid reasons. I can accept ATB being a time waster (there are plenty of great time wasters on the App Store, like you said). It originally cost $4 for the base game but now it's free. The thing that would irk me the most is the character lottery. If I'm paying for a character, I'd like to pick him/her, not get a random selection from 30+ peeps. What if it costs $30 to get Terra? O_O

Anyway, glad you liked it. It definitely has great pixel art if nothing else.

The Last Ninja

03/22/2014 at 10:00 PM

Great podcast, guys! I'm actually playing through FF6 right now (on the SNES no less!) and LOVING IT! It's definitely my favorite game in the series for pretty much every reason possible.

I've played FF1 through 6; oddly enough, I've never played  FF7 and up (however, I'm very familiar with 7 and 8). I really want to play 9 now thanks to you guys bragging on it so much; hopefully I can play that game this summer. I'm not interested in the direction that the series is going. Like you said, they need to step back and evaluate what made the older games so good. Let's return to the simple yet amazing formulas of FF4 and 6. Otherwise, Square is in big trouble. They need to realize that they can't please everyone.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

03/23/2014 at 02:17 PM

Yeah, the times that SE tries to look back they seem to miss the plot. I really dislike the 2D art in their iOS games. I tried playing that episodic FF game they released for iOS about a year ago, but that's not the way I want to play an RPG. Give me a Vita or 3DS version for a decent price (that game feels very budget price), and I'm sold.

I really want to replay 9, as well. Since they made playing PSX games on the PSP more difficult I am starting to seriously consider getting a Vita. I blame Erika.

Angelo Grant Staff Writer

03/25/2014 at 07:28 PM

FYI, when I was talking about the song that sounded like the people who built FF were saying goodbye, this is what I was talking about.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

03/25/2014 at 11:59 PM

Oh my god. 6 hours of editing, 15 musical tracks, and I use one song that is out of place and Angelo has a freak out.

Angelo Grant Staff Writer

03/26/2014 at 09:46 PM

I just wanted to show them what song I was referencing is all. And come on, who doesn't love that song.

Jamie Alston Staff Writer

03/26/2014 at 03:00 PM

Best NWP I've heard since I got here to PixlBit.  I might have to start reviewing all the FF games I currently have in my collection.

Thanks for the inspiration guys!

Julian Titus Senior Editor

03/26/2014 at 08:23 PM

I have this dream of playing through the entire series in a year, but considering that I have played FF X HD for a total of 6 hours since we recorded (5 in one night), that seems like something that will never happen.

Jamie Alston Staff Writer

03/28/2014 at 08:40 AM

It's funny-- I had the same idea rolling around in my head just a couple of days ago.  I was thinking about giving myself a little challenge to play and review all the FF games in my possession that I haven't played or completed yet in a year as well.  I don't if that'll realistically work though.  Here's the FF games I have that are wither unplayed or unfinished so far:

Final Fantasy II (FF Origins, of course).
Final Fantasy IV (FF Chronicles)- Got about halfway through the game back in 2001, but later fell in love with Crono Trigger and kicked FF IV to the curb.
Final Fantasy V & VI (FF Anthology)
Final Fantasy X (PS2 version)- Still brand new, never been opened.  Actually at this point, I kinda feel like I should get the HD version.  I'm scared that I'll be missing out with the graphically inferior PS2 version.

I'm very tempted to skip FF II (at least until I play the others) because I keep hearing it's so bad and I don't want to waste my time playing the one FF game that i might not like because of the wonky level-up method.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

03/28/2014 at 08:25 PM

FF II won't take you long, but not finishing IV and VI are mortal sins in my book. I think we talked Patrick into playing IV, so you might want to give that one a go. (It's also only about a 20 hour game. Gotta love 16 bit economy.)

transmet2033

03/30/2014 at 10:59 AM

IV was my first Final Fantasy.  It is my favourite.  I have purchased every release except the SNES, but have yet to actually finish the game.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

03/30/2014 at 11:22 AM

Egad, man! You need to get on that!

transmet2033

03/30/2014 at 11:32 AM

Really enjoying the podcast so far.  Great job.

I hope to finish IV at some point, but all the talk of X makes me want to download and play that one...  Especially wit you guys actually do it for Backloggers.

Coolsetzer

03/30/2014 at 02:12 PM

I look forward to hearing this. But Holy Hemophyte, THREE hours!? Okay, is there something with which I can download this to hear in my spare time? I'm using iOS7.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

03/30/2014 at 08:21 PM

Absolutely! You can subscribe to Nerds Without Pants through the iPhone podcast app. (That way every episode will download and you can carry us around always. In your pants.)

Coolsetzer

05/12/2014 at 09:19 PM

NOW IS TIME!

It was great to hear all of your stories! I started with FF IV, back when FF VI came out. After that, I played all of them in chronological order as they came out. The only ones I haven't played through are 1-3, 11 & 14. So I basically grew up with this series. I even have a Final Fantasy tattoo. lol 

My favorite is VI, and my least favorite is either X or XIII. I suppose that the stories mean the most to me. I used to read a lot of fantasy novels as a kid, and as a teenager, FF combined my two favorite things: games and fantasy stories. My favorite memories of this series is definitely from VI, where the world breaks apart from the magical Cataclysm. It was heavy stuff as a teenager. After I finished it, I wrote a fanfiction adaptation of the game. I even started writing a sequel to VI, and got halfway through before getting stuck. So I basically did some world building and got absorbed into that world for years. 

My favorite character in the main series might be Celes. When you first find her, she's imprisoned by her people for being a traitor. Even with everything against her, she was standing up for her beliefs, even when she was being manipulated by the only family (the Empire) she had ever known. And then she becomes the main protagonist in the second half. She almost gives up all hope, but is saved by the power of love. She becomes the harbinger, and finds her companions again and brings hope to a dying world. 

You guys hit the nail on the head as to why it's been declining in recent years. The company has definitely had some misteps along the way. From slapping the FF moniker to spinoff games to mobile cash grab games, they feel like they need to top themselves with each new main release, and are trying to turn the core series into an action franchise. I think that it's safe to say that FF XIII was universally reviled by gamers, but sold a ton. It was one of their highest grossing games yet. Most likely because of great advertising and a mature look. So there's that confusion thrown on the developers as to what is good. They really should go back to the Playstation era for inspiration. I hate to say it, but start by giving the fans a remake or proper sequel to FF VII. If not that, create a new game that gives the homage to that like FF IX did for the 2D games. Bring back the developers that worked on those games, revive the series for old fans and become the AAA series of video games again. It could be epic!

I have the OST's from Tactics, Dissidia Duodecim, IV, and VI-IX. There's a lot of great tunes. As far as my favorite overall, I have to give it to VI. Favorites of those are Celes' Theme and Daryl's Song. But the best FF songs of all time have to go to FF Tactics. Specifically, the battle themes. Songs like Antipyretic and Under the Stars are so good, and really opened my eyes as to what battle songs could be. It was cool listening to you guys. BTW, thanks for ending this three hour long monstrosity with one of the most awkward bits in the history of the series. A, HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!1 -.-

Julian Titus Senior Editor

05/17/2014 at 10:21 PM

At last, I have proof that people listen all the way to the end! I always try to have some sort of funny bit at the end of the outtro music.

TheMart22

04/01/2014 at 09:05 AM

Very nice and timely podcast. The musical interludes were great!

skatejersey

04/03/2014 at 11:20 AM

Oh the nostalgia

xDarthKiLLx

05/12/2014 at 05:57 AM

I've been going back and listening to older episodes.  Good, good stuff. ...finally something good to listen to while I do random chores

Julian Titus Senior Editor

05/17/2014 at 10:20 PM

I'm so stoked to hear that you're listening to our back catalog. Hope you enjoy!

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