I heard recently that Squaresoft (a big name, I know, just bear with me) was planning on making the eleventh installment of their wildly popular Final Fantasy series an exclusively online "roleplaying" game. Now I've been a loyal fan of Final Fantasy and Square in general since the advent of the Playstation, but the thought of Final Fantasy going exclusively online frightens me. A lot.

In the best of all possible worlds, every gamer and aspiring gamer out there would have a friendly, well-established, long-standing tabletop or LARP group to call their own and attend once a week or more. For most of us down here on Earth, however, this isn't the case. Summer vacations and work conflicts can break up groups for months at a time, and cross-country moves and lifestyle changes can do so permanently.

When I first decided I wanted to write an editorial on twinking (loosely defined as providing a character with equipment they would not normally be able to achieve at their level), I thought I knew exactly what to say. I planned on ranting from the vast depths of my experience with one single EQ character. But then...

Few fantasy writers (and computer role-playing game designers) have the time or the patience to create an entire working language for their worlds, and use it to create wholly original, intelligent names. There's nothing wrong with that. Even without an original language, there are still plenty of good ways to create plausible names... yet how do so many people get it so wrong?

This is the tale of an elf and her armour... but it was no common elf, and no common armour. It happened long ago, far ahead, and miles away from here... but the tale affects us still. And much more than many of us will be willing to admit in public, no doubt.

Onkyo, best known for their high quality home theater and audio components, has entered the world of the gamer with a new line of multimedia products. The first in the line are two PC and Mac compatible USB Digital Audio Processors, and the product reviewed here, the GXW-5.1 Digital Theater Station. It's just the thing for the gamer who already has everything else and is looking for a good way to trick out his/her system.

Electronic Arts Inc., the largest U.S. video game publisher,is laying off 200 to 250 people from its online unit, about one-third of the staff of Redwood City, California-based It was not immediately clear if the cuts would mean the elimination of any of the offerings on the site.

The problem with Online Role-Playing Games like Everquest and Diablo II is that they have nothing to do with Role-Playing. It's all click-and-kill, repeating the same actions and quests over and over again to gain power, money and items, with little thought given to character, interaction or true development on a personal level. But maybe that's because such things are truly impossible. Perhaps this recently discovered journal can explain what it's like to be a real character in a world bereft of meaning. Or perhaps it'll just emphasize the futility of trying to explain the inexplicable.

One of the things I find most interesting about MMORPGS is how much money people are willing to spend for imaginary items. Have you ever spent that much on an object from an online game? Would you? Do you know someone who has? Are they in therapy now?

Just about every gamer board in the world had lit up recently concerning the news about Verant's banning of a player from Everquest. Almost without exception, every post is against Verant. While I don't necessarily support the way they went about it, I understand their decision... and hesitantly support the outcome. Here's why.

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