Long-time Lunarer, first-time posterer

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r0wsdower
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Long-time Lunarer, first-time posterer

Postby r0wsdower » Sat Jun 04, 2016 6:14 pm

Hi all!

A recent attack of nostalgia led me here. First and foremost -- thanks to all of you for the wealth of information and insights you've put together as a fanbase. I've been lurking these forums hard the past couple of weeks, and I'm really grateful for what you've done. I'm not sure how much I will be able to contribute, since I don't have the massive knowledge or awesome collections that I've seen here, but I'll try my best.

This game has always been special to me, ever since I popped that Official Playstation Magazine demo disc into my console back in, what, '97? There were always a few playable demos and a couple nonplayable; I rarely messed around with the nonplayables, but for whatever reason I thought I'd check out this demo for something called Silver Star Story Complete. It was Wind's Nocturne. I couldn't believe it. Probably watched it 20 times, and went to bed WAY too late on a school night. I lost track of the game with all the delays, but eventually got a copy a few years after its release and gave every free minute I had to finishing it. A few years later still, when life was much harder, I found some solace in EBC.

I'm sad to see we haven't, and may never, get a Lunar 3. It's also a bummer learning about what happened to Studio Alex, and about the end of Working Designs. But I'm also grateful for what we do have -- two beautiful games that will always have something to tell us.

A little bit about me -- I grew up in Amish Country, PA and moved to Philly for college (my own Burg to Meribia journey, I guess). I work in advertising as a copywriter, which is fun and challenging and sometimes terrifying. Before that I waited tables, worked in factories, and did some retail gigs. I read a ton and I'm always looking for suggestions. I'm also a competitive Rock-Paper-Scissors player -- Philly has an official league that's sponsored by PBR and Jim Beam.

I'm currently working through the iOS game, which is... interesting. It's cool to have in your pocket what used to require a TV, console, memory card and controller. I'm not in love with the glitchy menus and controls, but it's the only Lunar I can play right now (my game discs are back in Burg), and I'd rather have any Lunar than no Lunar.

Thanks for listening to my rambling, and I look forward to talking with you all more!
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Re: Long-time Lunarer, first-time posterer

Postby Alunissage » Sat Jun 04, 2016 11:44 pm

Welcome! We're not a high-activity board these days, but we're always glad to talk Lunar. :) Have you tracked down the SegaCD discs? They're easily playable on emu and well worth it.

What sort of things do you read? I don't do as much reading as I'd like (in part because I get so into what I'm reading that it weirds my husband out) but I'm interested in hearing what other people read.

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Re: Long-time Lunarer, first-time posterer

Postby r0wsdower » Sun Jun 05, 2016 2:06 pm

I never thought to get the SegaCD discs and emulate, that's a great idea! I may carve out some funds from my next paycheck and grab one, or both. I'd love to see how they differ from the PSX versions I'm more familiar with.

I've been all over the map in terms of reading. I really love sci-fi, British poetry up to the Moderns, and "speculative" writers like Tom Robbins and Max Barry (that's the best term I can think to use). I'm working through the Thousand and One Nights right now; not sure if you've read them, but those stories have a kind of range I haven't seen anywhere else. There's an epic, novella-length story about an evil witch, and there's a very short story about two men who go to a caliph, disputing ownership of a bag. When the caliph asks each man to identify the bag's contents, they keep one-upping each other, to the point where the bag contains mosques, stables, and slave girls.

What about you? What's the last book you read that really drew you in?
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Re: Long-time Lunarer, first-time posterer

Postby Alunissage » Mon Jun 06, 2016 10:21 pm

Hm, probably the Imperial Radch series by Ann Leckie (Ancillary Justice, Ancillary Sword, Ancillary Mercy). Far-future sci-fi in which the narrator/protag is an AI who used to be a troop transport ship with "ancillaries" (ex-humans controlled by the AI) and is now simply one of those ancillaries. I'm not good at thumbnail summaries, but the trilogy is compelling, intelligent, and at times humorous. (If you look it up, you can probably ignore a lot of the stuff reviews harp on about gender; it's far less important than certain people made it out to be. The protagonist's native language and culture don't make gender distinctions and so she uses female pronouns by default for everyone; that's it. Interesting in how it makes the reader feel, but very incidental to the story itself.)

I've read a few of the Arabian Nights stories since some were included in the {Color} Fairy Books (Blue Fairy Book, Red Fairy Book, etc.) by Andrew Lang in the early 1900s, and I have all twelve of those. I think probably Prince Ahmed and the Fairy Paribanou was from that, and a number of others whose titles I can't remember (any may have been different). I really should get the full collection and read them, so I'm glad you reminded me of them.

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Re: Long-time Lunarer, first-time posterer

Postby Zero » Tue Jun 07, 2016 2:31 am

Welcome to the forums! It's a nice place with cool members that I'd like to see become a little more lively, but only a little 'cause I kinda like a smaller communities. In other words, I hope you enjoy it here and stick around :)
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Re: Long-time Lunarer, first-time posterer

Postby Sonic# » Tue Jun 07, 2016 12:48 pm

Welcome to the board! I'll have to check out Ann Leckie.

I got into Lunar at about the same time you did. I somehow never ran across the demo disc, but I did love the magazine ads, and managed to snag a copy from Christmas. One of the best gifts I ever got - I hope I can give just as well someday.
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Re: Long-time Lunarer, first-time posterer

Postby r0wsdower » Wed Jun 08, 2016 12:00 am

Seriously, Ann Leckie sounds awesome! My copy was a Christmas present too. I remember my mom commenting on Luna/Althena's getup on the box; she said, "Well, I guess you're old enough for this kind of thing."

Djinn, I know what you mean -- there's a lot to be said for a big, bustling community, but there's something really nice about a forum where you can actually get to know everyone. I really like the vibe you guys have here, and I'd love to stick around :-)

Alunissage wrote:I've read a few of the Arabian Nights stories since some were included in the {Color} Fairy Books (Blue Fairy Book, Red Fairy Book, etc.) by Andrew Lang in the early 1900s, and I have all twelve of those.


I've been meaning to pick these up! Do you have the Dover editions?
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Re: Long-time Lunarer, first-time posterer

Postby Alunissage » Wed Jun 08, 2016 1:05 am

Yup! Though they're probably all about 30 years old now.

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Re: Long-time Lunarer, first-time posterer

Postby Kizyr » Sun Jun 19, 2016 3:49 pm

Welcome! Yeah, as Alun said, we're not so high-activity these days, but we still try (and I swear, I still have on my New Year's Resolutions this year revising the remaining non-game sections of the site). And I also really recommend tracking down the Sega CD versions if you can -- with the right computer and software you can also emulate them pretty well without the Sega CD (though... my current Win8 laptop has been having issues with that).

I'm gonna jump onto some of the reading side-discussion here, too.

r0wsdower wrote:I've been all over the map in terms of reading. I really love sci-fi, British poetry up to the Moderns, and "speculative" writers like Tom Robbins and Max Barry (that's the best term I can think to use). I'm working through the Thousand and One Nights right now; not sure if you've read them, but those stories have a kind of range I haven't seen anywhere else. There's an epic, novella-length story about an evil witch, and there's a very short story about two men who go to a caliph, disputing ownership of a bag. When the caliph asks each man to identify the bag's contents, they keep one-upping each other, to the point where the bag contains mosques, stables, and slave girls.


I actually grew up with stories from Thousand and One Nights, so several of the themes were always really familiar to me. Plus, I also have this really gorgeous old two-volume print of the Burton translations -- here's a couple pics:

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Lately I've been gradually going through two things reading-wise: Haruki Murakami novels/short story collections (about 90% through Norwegian Wood, after which I may try 1Q84 but I'm missing the third volume of it...), and classic science fiction (so, Asimov's Foundation series, Gibson's sprawl trilogy, two of Philip Dick's well-known books [Man in the High Castle and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep], and a couple of Clark's non-2001 novels [Childhood's End and A Fall of Moondust]). I'm a really slow reader, though, and have been preoccupied with other things, so that means going through any book is typically a major investment of time... Still worth it though. KF
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Re: Long-time Lunarer, first-time posterer

Postby r0wsdower » Mon Jun 20, 2016 11:32 am

Thanks for the welcome, Kizyr!

Kizyr wrote:And I also really recommend tracking down the Sega CD versions if you can -- with the right computer and software you can also emulate them pretty well without the Sega CD (though... my current Win8 laptop has been having issues with that).


I was actually cruising eBay the other day and found TSS for a pretty good price, so I pulled the trigger. Should be arriving this week. I can't wait to check it out and compare to the PSX remake -- hopefully my Windows 10 machine will cooperate.

Kizyr wrote:I actually grew up with stories from Thousand and One Nights, so several of the themes were always really familiar to me. Plus, I also have this really gorgeous old two-volume print of the Burton translations -- here's a couple pics:


What a beautiful set. Was it a gift, or did you find it somewhere?

Kizyr wrote:Lately I've been gradually going through two things reading-wise: Haruki Murakami novels/short story collections (about 90% through Norwegian Wood, after which I may try 1Q84 but I'm missing the third volume of it...), and classic science fiction (so, Asimov's Foundation series, Gibson's sprawl trilogy, two of Philip Dick's well-known books [Man in the High Castle and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep], and a couple of Clark's non-2001 novels [Childhood's End and A Fall of Moondust]). I'm a really slow reader, though, and have been preoccupied with other things, so that means going through any book is typically a major investment of time... Still worth it though. KF


We've been treading a lot of the same ground. Love the Sprawl trilogy, and how Gibson's world leaves its mark on everyone in it. Have you checked out Burning Chrome? It's a short story collection with some real gems, like Johnny Mnemonic, which was made into a movie starring Keanu Reeves. For my money, the title story might be Gibson at his finest, with a lot of the same themes and pathos of Neuromancer condensed into about 20-some pages.

Oh, and are you reading Norwegian Wood in Japanese? I read the translated version and liked the story a lot, but the prose felt a little listless. I was always curious if it was the same in Japanese -- in a way, it would make sense for the resigned, reflective protagonist of the novel.
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Re: Long-time Lunarer, first-time posterer

Postby Alunissage » Mon Jun 20, 2016 6:57 pm

Yeah, that's a gorgeous set. I love things like that, though in my household I have to be pretty careful about putting things out of reach.

Although I have been a science fiction reader for most of my life, I'm rather under-read on the classics. I tend to find a few authors and read most of their output.

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Re: Long-time Lunarer, first-time posterer

Postby Kizyr » Fri Jun 24, 2016 1:28 pm

r0wsdower wrote:What a beautiful set. Was it a gift, or did you find it somewhere?

That particular set I found at my favorite used bookstore in Richmond, VA (http://www.chopsueybooks.com/). Luckily I found both parts -- I got the first volume on one visit (they didn't have the second), and the second volume on another visit (they no longer had the first). The first part has most of the best-known stories though -- Sinbad's voyages, Julnar the Sea-Born, Aladdin, Forty Thieves, etc.

r0wsdower wrote:We've been treading a lot of the same ground. Love the Sprawl trilogy, and how Gibson's world leaves its mark on everyone in it. Have you checked out Burning Chrome? It's a short story collection with some real gems, like Johnny Mnemonic, which was made into a movie starring Keanu Reeves. For my money, the title story might be Gibson at his finest, with a lot of the same themes and pathos of Neuromancer condensed into about 20-some pages.

I had a feeling we were! Because of my slow reading speed, I've only just begun them: I read Neuromancer twice last year -- the first time I've ever read a book twice in the same year -- and it's already become my favorite novel -- but I haven't yet started Count Zero; similarly, I read the first Foundation book last year but haven't yet started the second. You're also probably the third person who's strongly recommended Burning Chrome to me, both for Johnny Mnemonic and the titular story, so that's definitely on my list.

r0wsdower wrote:Oh, and are you reading Norwegian Wood in Japanese? I read the translated version and liked the story a lot, but the prose felt a little listless. I was always curious if it was the same in Japanese -- in a way, it would make sense for the resigned, reflective protagonist of the novel.

Yeah, I'm reading it in Japanese. I saw that the latest translation was done by Jay Rubin (there was an earlier one by someone else), who I think is perhaps the best translator in the business from what I've seen, but I haven't actually read any of the English translation to comment on how the translation comes off in this particular case. I can say that in Japanese, Watanabe comes off as very different from other characters that Murakami has created (in this novel and in others). He comes across as rather precise in his speech, so he sounds almost formal even when speaking informally, and it makes a lot of his jokes or humor come off very deadpan (in fact in his whole flirting/not-flirting with Midori coupled with the deadpan-ness is kind of endearing). I'm curious if you had the same impression? KF
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Re: Long-time Lunarer, first-time posterer

Postby r0wsdower » Mon Jun 27, 2016 12:16 am

Awesome that they ended up having both volumes, even (especially?) if not at the same time. I'd have been worried that I'd never find Volume 2 at all, never mind at the same bookstore. If I'm ever in Richmond, I'm making a point of checking them out.

Kizyr wrote:Because of my slow reading speed, I've only just begun them: I read Neuromancer twice last year -- the first time I've ever read a book twice in the same year -- and it's already become my favorite novel -- but I haven't yet started Count Zero; similarly, I read the first Foundation book last year but haven't yet started the second. You're also probably the third person who's strongly recommended Burning Chrome to me, both for Johnny Mnemonic and the titular story, so that's definitely on my list.


How did you like the first Foundation book? I actually haven't read much Asimov yet, and I've been looking for a place to start.

Kizyr wrote:Yeah, I'm reading it in Japanese. I saw that the latest translation was done by Jay Rubin (there was an earlier one by someone else), who I think is perhaps the best translator in the business from what I've seen, but I haven't actually read any of the English translation to comment on how the translation comes off in this particular case. I can say that in Japanese, Watanabe comes off as very different from other characters that Murakami has created (in this novel and in others). He comes across as rather precise in his speech, so he sounds almost formal even when speaking informally, and it makes a lot of his jokes or humor come off very deadpan (in fact in his whole flirting/not-flirting with Midori coupled with the deadpan-ness is kind of endearing). I'm curious if you had the same impression? KF


That's fascinating. In the Rubin translation, I remember several places where Midori mentions Watanabe's speech, saying that he talks like Humphrey Bogart, etc., but I always read that as him being cool and laconic more than precise or formal. "Deadpan" is kind of a bridge between those two interpretations, so I may have to go back and see if the qualities you describe were there in the text and I just missed them (wouldn't be the first time). That would make a ton of sense, and help draw a sharper contrast between him and Midori, who could hardly be called "formal" IIRC. Thinking back to the ending (which I won't spoil here) that would really show a change in his character too. Huh.
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Re: Long-time Lunarer, first-time posterer

Postby Alunissage » Mon Jun 27, 2016 7:36 pm

I'm not sure Foundation is the best place to start with Asimov. It's a lot of talk and thought and not a lot of action. I don't mind this but I do remember losing the thread in some of it -- whether the later part of the first book or the early part of the second book, I forget -- and not being sure how the ending of that section of storyline followed from the beginning. Definitely worth reading, just not sure it's the best first Asimov book. On the other hand, it's probably what I first read of his (other than "Nightfall" and maybe some detective shorts) and I liked the trilogy well enough.

I'd suggest The Caves of Steel and its sequel The Naked Sun. Though these include robots whose premises were set up in his various robot short stories (I think I, Robot is a collection of them), you probably don't need to have read those. N.b., the robot novels and the Foundation novels eventually converge, after four or so books of each.

I'll note that Asimov, like every other SF writer of his time, has some, er, quaint characterization, especially of women. Not as bad as Heinlein, which I have a very hard time reading now, but mainly there just aren't many females and the ones there are, are often shown with the slight bemusement of observing this other species which almost but not quite mimics a human. Kind of how I view my cats, but, you know, my cats really are a different species.

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Re: Long-time Lunarer, first-time posterer

Postby r0wsdower » Fri Jul 01, 2016 12:13 am

I've started off on the wrong foot with some authors and just never picked them up again, even when I should know better, so I really appreciate that. Awesome that his robot novels and the Foundation books converge; I can't imagine how hard it would be to connect separate series like that, unless it was planned very early on. I'll check out Caves of Steel once I chop down my to-read list -- a very enthusiastic coworker just gave me a pile of about 7 books, on top of another one I'm already borrowing from another coworker.

And thanks for the heads-up on Asimov's characterization too; I'm glad we've gotten to a point where writers (mostly) recognize that women are normal human beings, but it does make it that much more cringey when you pick up an older book and they're treated like jagged stereotypes or, as you said, another species. If it's a first-person POV, or third-person subjective, you can at least rationalize it by saying "Well, that's just what the character thinks, not necessarily the author." Harder to do that when you see it as a running theme through a body of work.

So are you reading Heinlein right now? Or is he an author you struggle with?
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Re: Long-time Lunarer, first-time posterer

Postby Kizyr » Thu Jul 07, 2016 3:27 am

r0wsdower wrote:How did you like the first Foundation book? I actually haven't read much Asimov yet, and I've been looking for a place to start.

I actually really love it for the epic-ness of what Asimov was trying to build, so I'm still looking forward to reading the remaining ones. I love the long view of shaping an entire galactic civilization and interplanetary politics. It's a nice contrast from other things I usually read that focus on individual characters. Though, I do have to overlook the way that, at least the first Foundation book, has precisely zero main female characters (and the only named one is a ruler's wife who's one scene involves being distracted by pretty clothing). I can usually deal with that by understanding that authors are still a product of their time... and I'll literally mentally update the story by imagining the characters as more diverse. (Though, the only physical descriptions of someone like Hober Mallow depict him as a black man. And this was the 1940s. So hey, there's that.)

Also I grew up with Asimov's robot short stories (tracing back, much of them were in Robot Visions -- which I also have -- and I, Robot). So this isn't my first exposure to him.

r0wsdower wrote:That's fascinating. In the Rubin translation, I remember several places where Midori mentions Watanabe's speech, saying that he talks like Humphrey Bogart, etc., but I always read that as him being cool and laconic more than precise or formal. "Deadpan" is kind of a bridge between those two interpretations, so I may have to go back and see if the qualities you describe were there in the text and I just missed them (wouldn't be the first time). That would make a ton of sense, and help draw a sharper contrast between him and Midori, who could hardly be called "formal" IIRC. Thinking back to the ending (which I won't spoil here) that would really show a change in his character too. Huh.


I can definitely see all those characteristics in Watanabe's speech. Regardless of how it's characterized though, it definitely feels like such a shock when he goes from seemingly knowing the exact right thing to say at the exact right time, to being overcome with emotion, any emotion.

Still reading it, btw. About... 40-ish pages from the end.

Alunissage wrote:I'm not sure Foundation is the best place to start with Asimov. It's a lot of talk and thought and not a lot of action. I don't mind this but I do remember losing the thread in some of it -- whether the later part of the first book or the early part of the second book, I forget -- and not being sure how the ending of that section of storyline followed from the beginning. Definitely worth reading, just not sure it's the best first Asimov book. On the other hand, it's probably what I first read of his (other than "Nightfall" and maybe some detective shorts) and I liked the trilogy well enough.
[...]
I'll note that Asimov, like every other SF writer of his time, has some, er, quaint characterization, especially of women. Not as bad as Heinlein, which I have a very hard time reading now, but mainly there just aren't many females and the ones there are, are often shown with the slight bemusement of observing this other species which almost but not quite mimics a human. Kind of how I view my cats, but, you know, my cats really are a different species.

I did notice the same thing, and yeah it's something I have to will myself to overlook just to enjoy the rest of the story.

...erm, I kind of hope I don't have to do a lot of willful mental revisions when I get around to Stranger in a Strange Land... KF
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Re: Long-time Lunarer, first-time posterer

Postby Alunissage » Fri Jul 08, 2016 12:45 am

Oh geeze, Stranger. I'm pretty much afraid to reread that one. I may do something violent when I get to the place where the main female character tells her boss that nine times out of ten rape is the fault of the woman who is raped. I just. No.

This might be interesting: http://www.jimchines.com/2016/06/if-we- ... ite-women/
Hines genderswapped sections of three books, two of which are Stranger and Foundation.

Unrelatedly, for some reason when I first read The Moon is a Harsh Mistress I saw Wyoh as being black the whole time. I must've misread a section where she's disguised as a black woman but that's stuck with me even though the next time I read it I caught my error. I think it's more interesting this way.

Awesome that his robot novels and the Foundation books converge; I can't imagine how hard it would be to connect separate series like that, unless it was planned very early on.

Nope, not planned. To be fair, the convergence is many millennia after the main robot books take place. Also, after Asimov's death the Foundation series was continued (with his widow's blessing) by Gregory Benford, Greg Bear, and David Brin, one book each. I only read the Benford, but remember him using the connection of the two series to fill in some holes in the Foundation series (e.g., why no alien species).

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Re: Long-time Lunarer, first-time posterer

Postby Kizyr » Fri Jul 08, 2016 6:28 pm

Alunissage wrote:Oh geeze, Stranger. I'm pretty much afraid to reread that one. I may do something violent when I get to the place where the main female character tells her boss that nine times out of ten rape is the fault of the woman who is raped. I just. No.

............that is dreadful. And I don't think I've ever meant that word more literally. I'll still read it eventually, but, bah... (My only previous exposure to Heinlein was briefly starting some of Red Planet, but that was ages ago.)

Alunissage wrote:This might be interesting: http://www.jimchines.com/2016/06/if-we- ... ite-women/
Hines genderswapped sections of three books, two of which are Stranger and Foundation.

Hah! The bit from Foundation is the exact scene I was talking about earlier. I prefer this version. KF
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Re: Long-time Lunarer, first-time posterer

Postby Sonic# » Wed Jul 13, 2016 8:12 pm

Asimov is my favorite of the "big three" sci-fi writers (him, Clarke, and Heinlein). Foundation features some of his early work, which as noted is far less open to gender variation - he gets better about gender as the series goes along. I will say, if you want to read some late Asimov and love the world-building that Foundation does, read Prelude to Foundation. I read it before reading the Foundation series proper, and found that it functioned well as a self-contained story about Hari Seldon that features at least one prominent female character, Dors Venabili.

Caves of Steel is probably my favorite Asimov book, and one that turned me on to mysteries more generally. I also liked The Naked Sun. I remember really liking the interactions between Elijah Bailey and R. Daneel Olivauw.

That said, if you want a standalone book to introduce yourself to Asimov as a writer, The Gods Themselves is a classic that features, among other things, creatures with an alternate system of sexual differentiation.
Sonic#

"Than seyde Merlion, "Whethir lyke ye bettir the swerde othir the scawberde?" "I lyke bettir the swerde," seyde Arthure. "Ye ar the more unwyse, for the scawberde ys worth ten of the swerde; for whyles ye have the scawberde uppon you, ye shall lose no blood, be ye never so sore wounded. Therefore kepe well the scawberde allweyes with you." --- Le Morte Darthur, Sir Thomas Malory

"Just as you touch the energy of every life form you meet, so, too, will will their energy strengthen you. Fail to live up to your potential, and you will never win. " --- The Old Man at the End of Time

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brit
White Dragon Knight
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Joined: Thu Oct 09, 2003 11:08 pm
Location: PA
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Re: Long-time Lunarer, first-time posterer

Postby brit » Tue Jul 19, 2016 12:29 am

Welcome to the threads, r0wsdower! ^_^

It's always nice to meet a fellow fan, not to mention another one from Pennsylvania. So out of the two games, SSSC and EBC, which one do you prefer over the other?
As long as you live there will come a day when you can smile from the heart.


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