Monday, July 9, 2018

New article: the Future of the series

I have added a new article that deals with rumors of a possible continuation or a remake of the Xenogears and/or Xenosaga series. The idea is that once something is said or appears in an interview by the creators, fans can add this in the comment field and in this way have new information pile up there in case I'm on a break from the fandom. I'm not really keeping track of things anymore and also have some skepticism that anything will truly come out of these rumors or talk among the developers, but I get that people would want a section on the study guide that deals with a possible future of the series. So here it is.

Most of the article is currently only the last part of the History of Xenosaga article that's been moved and then slightly expanded upon.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Article: the "Merits of these works" added

Some more text has been restored and added to the study guide in the form of a new and updated article called "the Merits of these works." This is an article that incorporates various bits and pieces of texts from previous sections of the old study guide - including "A Brief Overview", "Why This Study Guide?", the intro of the "Plot Analysis", the last part of the old History article that dealt with Xenoblade Chronicles, and some bits from other places - into a more fully fleshed out and complete text that deals with the merits of Xenogears and Xenosaga in general. It can be regarded as an introduction or the first page of this study guide readers are encouraged to read, but for various reasons it got postponed.

One of the reasons it got postponed was that I wasn't happy with the writing, and because of that I feel the need to share something. I honestly don't think my writing is all that good, but since nobody has complained yet I guess it's passable. You could say that my ambition was to learn how to write better about the series or things in general, by examining how actual academics and the "cultural elites" tend to write about famous and classical works. Thus part of my writings on the previous study guide was to emulate a bit of their style. However, I'm not sure I'm suited to write in that style and these days I find the academic jargon to be less interesting than I used to think. The most important thing is simply to be able to get things across in an understandable way. Of course, reading stuff you don't normally read is good for expanding your mind and ways of looking at things.

I'm also not that knowledgeable or talented in writing about stuff like music, game design, and so forth beyond the plot or story. And since it has been a while since I thought about the series I have also started to forget things about the works in general. And when it comes to the themes and influences on these works, there's just too much to keep track of. For example, I never researched Gnosticism all that in-depth and I don't know if Takahashi knows that much about it either or just got the concepts through Jung (he said something similar in regards to Norse mythology in an interview, that he got it through his interest in Nietzsche). Then there's the issue I have with not being able to fully figure out what Takahashi's ultimate message with the works really is.

My wish was always to read texts like this written by an actual academic or similar who is more knowledgeable about literature and cultural history. The material on the study guide was sort of put together for that purpose, to provide other authors, academics, fans and journalists to have access to proper material so as not to get certain facts or ideas wrong in their essays. It's funny, but I never actually wanted to be the one to write some of the articles that I did. I always wanted someone else to write this kind of stuff, someone more suitable. But since it appeared that wasn't going to happen, I decided to just go ahead and give it a shot myself. I figured it'd be good for learning practice if nothing else, and for sure it has been useful and ended up being a sort of fun thing to do. But these days I find it hard to return to the series and fix up some of the work that needs fixing in my articles. Which is why restoration work on the study guide is going so slow and often put on hold.

The article may need to be cleaned up some more in the future, because I don't know how well it actually manages to get to the point. But I think it provides some food for thought and should at least be a useful resource for people discussing the merits of the series or works in general.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Xenogears 20th Anniversary Concert interviews and more

Thanks to the work of Lugalbanda the study guide can now archive translations from the recent Xenogears 20th Anniversary Concert pamphlet. Lugalbanda has also dug up some ancient Xenogears stuff, such as another interview from Hakoere and the rest of the pages from the interview with Xenogears staff, both from 1998. He also helped to clean up some other translations that Gwendal struggled with. Enjoy!

These translations and more are also available at Lugalbanda's website Mira found at https://xenomira.wordpress.com/

Thursday, May 10, 2018

A new interview with Tetsuya Takahashi has been added

An interesting interview with creator Tetsuya Takahashi from February this year by the Japanese denfaminicogamer site has been translated by Lugalbanda, and while it is not specifically a Xenogears or Xenosaga interview, it is a general Tetsuya Takahashi interview that goes into some interesting stuff about Xenogears and his time at Square and so I've decided it belongs on the study guide.

The information revealed in this interview has also compelled me to update the History of Xenogears article, adding some of the new information and quotes.

There may also be more interviews coming up from the Xenogears 20th Anniversary Concert pamphlet from the same translator, so stay tuned for that. Accordingly, I will re-arrange the interview order slightly and divide them up into more specific Xenogears and Xenosaga related interviews, and I will place the Xenogears interviews at the top since the latest interviews mostly concern Xenogears as well as Xenogears being the more popular work.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Xenogears and Xenosaga mirroring analysis returns

Of all the things I've contributed to the Xeno fandom over the years, I think this is the one achievement I am the most pleased with and proud of. There's a lot to discover in this article/analysis and it manages to provide an overview and idea of what Xenosaga might've been like if the original story and plan was left intact. It also manages to communicate how similar these two works are in style and substance and why they differ from the later Xenoblade games in a way that is more effective than any argument could ever be. It also provides a decent analysis for how Xenogears follows classic story architecture since I originally wrote this article in conjunction with the plot analysis.

This was another article I started working on restoring back in November 2016, but the amount of pictures needed to be added delayed the article for similar reasons as the Xeno Emission pages. Since then I've figured out how to do it faster, working mechanically within a formula while listening to podcasts, and before I knew it the article was finally finished. It's been edited with some spelling mistakes fixed and grammar changed or improved, as well as getting rid of some commentary I kept repeating more times than was necessary. But otherwise the article remains the same since it was pretty solid from the beginning (although I might add some things in the future). Enjoy!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Xeno Emission pages return

It's been a while but I've made an update and added Gwendal's translations of the Xeno Emission books (under Xenosaga resources) that were on the study guide.

I actually began working on them back in November 2016, but converting these pages to the blog format was not so easy as I'd hoped, which led me to just leave them unfinished. Since then I've found a way to go about converting the code a bit faster and so I decided to get it done.

But I'm asking myself whether there really is any point in restoring these particular pages. The study guide is not Xenotensei and was never intended to store things like the sourcebook translations or game scripts. I only added them to the previous site because they complemented the links to other material from other fan sites in the vein of a Xeno material connection network of sorts. Since then, however, sites that hosted things like the Xenosaga: Pied Piper script, translations of the official Xenosaga guides, and more, have disappeared from the web.

So with all the material being dispersed and fading it would make the most sense to just focus on the articles analysing the subject matter, or attempt to put everything that was on other sites onto the study guide. But unfortunately I'm no longer willing to do the work of keeping track of all the Xeno material. This is part of the reason why I got tired of Xeno in the first place. I never was passionate about everything Xeno, even back in the Xenosaga days. Information on things like spin-offs (Xenosaga Freaks), production designs, game play mechanics, etc, never interested me. And the Xeno Emission books contain mostly information on just that sort of thing.

So, for the sake of experience in designing blog pages, I don't mind adding these books to the study guide. But I think from now on I will leave translations of official material out of the blog. I know the description of the blog is "preservation of information and interviews," but I think that's an ambition I can't fulfill and should probably update that description to be more specific regarding the aims of the study guide.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Xenogears translation guide returns

I have started to put up various resources from the study guide, such as the Xenogears translation error guide, in the right sidebar.