The Ogopogo Examiner was a newsletter distributed by Square from Spring 1992 to Fall 1994. It has a total of five issues, which consist of both news and gameplay information on their games during the Super Nintendo Entertainment System era. Games of the Final Fantasy franchise, which is Square's flagship, is covered in-part or primarily in at least one of the issues. The newsletter itself features the name of Ogopogo, a Final Fantasy IV boss, in its title.
There was no real consistent design to any of the issues of Ogopogo Examiner, except that most of the issues were tri-fold pamphlets. It did, however, have consistent general sections. The newsletter primarily served as a guide to Squaresoft titles released in the United States, but always included tips, tactics, and merchandise to purchase, and also urged customer feedback.
Included in packages of early Squaresoft games such as Final Fantasy II (later named Final Fantasy IV like in Japan) was an insert card that read "Square Soft, Inc., the developer of the Final Fantasy game series, is planning to publish a series of strategy guidebooks for Final Fantasy games." Those who filled out the card and sent it in later received an issue of "The Ogopogo Examiner," a Squaresoft newsletter named after a monster from Final Fantasy IV.
The newsletter was headed by editor-in-chief Ted Woolsey, the primary translator of Squaresoft's role-playing games during the Super Nintendo Entertainment System era, explaining the newsletter's heavy focus on localization and translation efforts by Squaresoft.
- "Around the Corner At Square" - Under this section, the Ogopogo Examiner attempted to answer questions about game developments in Japan and localization and translation efforts by Square's North American department, Square Soft, Inc.
- "Got Something On Your Mind?" - All Ogopogo Examiner issues urged subscribers and readers to write to Square if they had any questions or comments.
Issue #1 (Spring 1992)
The first issue of the Ogopogo Examiner declared that "in summer 1993, it is expected that Nintendo will start selling its long-awaited CD-ROM hardware." The issue foreshadowed Square's preference for CD-ROM as the "ideal format for game software" as it went on to boast that "SQUARE CD-ROM games will feature a variety of improvements over the present cartridge-based software. For example, characters in the games will actually speak to you as you play the game, and paper game manuals will become a thing of the past as these are placed right on the screen for easier access."
Issue #1 provided an FAQ over Final Fantasy IV; it also explained off a bug in Final Fantasy IV by claiming that the glitch was actually a trap set by Zeromus. In the bug (which is also known as "The 64 Door Warp Rumor"), if you make 64 trips back and forth through doors, cave sections, etc. your game will permanently stop.
The first issue concluded with FAQs on Final Fantasy Adventure, Final Fantasy Legend, and Final Fantasy Legend II.
Issue #2 (Fall 1992)
Issue #2 introduced Final Fantasy Mystic Quest, providing information on its story, characters, gameplay, design, and features. It also answered the questions of impatient gamers waiting for Final Fantasy VI; it went on to list other projects in development, both in Japan and North America.
Issue #3 (Secret of Mana issue)
The third issue announced the arrival of Secret of Mana, and explained the story of the game and listed its features and stats. The latter half of the issue was dedicated to advertising Final Fantasy Legend III, but also went on to declare that "translation of the Japanese version of Final Fantasy V (to be called "Final Fantasy III" here in the US) has begun..." and tried to pacify gamers eagerly awaiting the translation (although the translation of Final Fantasy V, as many Final Fantasy fans know, was scrapped and the game wasn't released until 1999 as part of the Final Fantasy Anthology compilation).
Issue #4 (Breath of Fire issue)
Issue #4 was dedicated in part to advertising Capcom's Breath of Fire, which Square Soft, Inc. localized for the U.S. market. It also offered a sneak peek at the story of Final Fantasy VI under the headline "Are You Ready for the Ultimate Fantasy?" Under the "Around the Corner" section, the issue reads:
In the past, all of our games have been produced by the brilliant game designers at Square Co., Ltd., of Japan and then translated by Squaresoft for release in the U.S. Since all these games have been immensely popular, we will continue to bring the best from Japan to the U.S. However, we have also decided to design and create our own original games right here in America!
The issue follows up this statement with "In 1995, Squaresoft will release its first U.S. title." (referring to Secret of Evermore) "In addition," the article reads "we are planning to release Final Fantasy Extreme and Secret of Mana 2 in the second half of the year."
The fourth issue also accounts for the much-speculated Final Fantasy VI: The Interactive CG Game (also known as the Final Fantasy SGI demo): "Square is also utilizing a Silicon Graphics work station....We will now have the ability to make our future game graphics amazingly realistic."
Finally, Squaresoft reveals its plans for the World Wide Web: "Squaresoft has been working to establish Vendor Forums on America Online, Compuserve, and Prodigy in order to provide new ways to communicate with gamers and RPG fans. These forums should be fully operational in a few months. For now, you can find a "Squaresoft Product Info" folder in the Nintendo discussion area on America Online, or we can answer your questions on Prodigy."
Issue #5 (Final Fantasy III issue)
The fifth and final issue of the Ogopogo Examiner was consistent with the release of the long-awaited and much-anticipated Final Fantasy III (later named Final Fantasy VI like in Japan). Included was an overview of Final Fantasy VI, a "Tips and Tactics" section, and a handful of character profiles. Also included in the issue was two full pages of Squaresoft merchandise: a "No Wimps" Final Fantasy III T-Shirt, a "Monsters" Final Fantasy III T-Shirt, a "Secret of Mana" T-Shirt, a Final Fantasy II Game Pak, a Secret of Mana Poster, a Final Fantasy III Poster, a CD Soundtrack From Secret of Mana, a CD Soundtrack from Final Fantasy III ("Kefka's Domain"), a Final Fantasy III Baseball Cap, and a Final Fantasy III "Moogle" Watch.
- Square Universe - scanned images of Ogopogo Examiner issues.