AN UPDATE TO THE RAMBLING EXPLANATION WHICH YOU SHOULD READ FIRST
I feel like this page needed a touch-up. I wrapped up disc one today, so this is as good a time as any to write my apologetics. I think there are some people who have misinterpreted my intentions.
When I ceased updating before, this site's audience was very small. Some time over the last year and a half, though, readership spiked. I'm sorry if you emailed me or tweeted at me and I didn't respond -- I didn't really know what to do when confronted with people demanding to know when the next update would be, as I am an anxious creature and I didn't want to say 'um... someday??' to you. But this is not a defense of me. I'm terrible! This is a defense of Xenogears.
I'm looking at my referrers and I'm seeing people citing this, uh, project as a reason to not play Xenogears, or as some kind of revelation that a game they enjoyed many years ago is in fact bad. If this is something I've convinced you of, please believe me when I say it was not intentional. I blow a lot of things out of proportion in an effort to be witty, and that may not be your cup of tea. Understandable. But if you are reading this site at all, you should play Xenogears! Or play it again, now that it's on the PSN! It is far from perfect, but it does not very much resemble this thing I have written here. This is supposed to be a joke, and a mild one at that. I didn't really spell that out before, but this was originally intended for an audience whose members I can count on one hand, so I guess I didn't feel an explanation was necessary.
This was never intended in any way to be a malicious, or indeed at all serious, commentary on Xenogears. Xenogears is great! Xenogears is also kind of stupid, but its greatness and stupidity balance out to, I would say, pretty damn good. It is very much a product of its time, let's say. Some people have taken the allusion to Let's Play below a little too literally -- this isn't a Let's Play. It's, uh... satire? I guess it's satire. But it's very loving satire and does not actually reflect my opinions of the game. I have played Xenogears and watched other people play Xenogears many, many times -- the last time in Japanese! Which is quite an adventure unto itself! I don't really recommend it, the button layout is all weird and it really screws you up in the D Block fights. But my point is: I do not hate Xenogears. And you shouldn't either, or at least you shouldn't based on my say-so. You are totally free to hate it on your own time.
So, there you are! I wanted to get that off my chest before we embark on the delicate journey that is Xenogears, disc two. Because ha ha, oh, Xenogears, disc two.
It was a dare. Sort of.
Several years ago, three of my friends and I got together for a cultural exchange: two of us would explain the plot of Naruto, and the other two would explain the plot of Xenosaga. As you might imagine, this was a pair of monumental tasks, and it more or less took an entire three day weekend.
I was on Team Naruto, and I jokingly made the suggestion that we should have whiteboards handy. Team Xenosaga took me seriously and supplied two whiteboards. For Naruto it was mostly used to hash out relationship charts, but it turned out that we really seriously needed them for Xenosaga.
Back in the day ("the day" being ten years ago, as we are all ancient, or at least I am) all four of us were big into Xenogears. I'm not really going to go into that, as time does its best to wound all heels, but we were. We still all love it, but for some reason Xenosaga never really caught hold of me. The Xenosaga lecture was educational, to say the least, and the whiteboard illustrations of the plot were so intricate that I photographed the evidence. Thus, the Xenosaga Whiteboard Explanation lives on, though the lecture itself was not and could not be recorded in any way. It was epic, and I'm sorry you missed it.
The only visual aids that survive from the Naruto explanation was a chart I whipped up in Photoshop after the fact, as we were in a Melting Pot around the time Akatsuki was being explained and I just said, I will write this down for you later. And so, thus:
Which I updated a few months later:
HA HA, I BET YOU WEREN'T EXPECTING NARUTO SPOILERS IN HERE. Don't be upset, it's hopelessly outdated now.
Anyway, recently a bunch of us were talking about some half-finished parody recaps I did of some other games, and one of us, who shall remain nameless, Whitney, suggested that I do it for Xenogears. She was joking. At least I think she was joking. "Explain Xenogears?" I said. "Xenogears couldn't explain Xenogears." I totally could not do that, I said. Then I thought about it for approximately two minutes.
"I am totally going to do that," I added.
AND SO, HERE WE ARE. This is, basically, the spiritual descendant of the Whiteboard Explanation, with a dash of the Let's Play mentality minus the part where you're supposed to be currently playing the game. I have played Xenogears at least four times, it's cool. If you were ever curious about the plot of a ten year old PS1 RPG, I guess you have come to the right place. If not, I am sorry. I have shamed us both. Anyway, you should totally watch Clone High, it's great.