I'm afraid you've all come to realize my dark secret. After yesterday, there's no denying it. I can't spell worth a crap. Usually I depend on my friend Micheal to give the column a once over before I post it, but he was at class, and I was in a hurry. Then by the time I noticed my little boo-boo's and fixed them, I couldn't upload for some reason. So there they sat. All day. Mocking me. Sigh. Moving on, several people have sent me hacks of my picture. I appreciate them, they're very cool (and, er, freaky as heck in a few cases...), but I'm afraid I won't be putting up a hack section. Changing the column all around in Thor's absence and then blatently ripping off one of his ideas is legal grounds for a good old-fashioned butt whompin'...

So, without further blabbering on my part, enjoy today's column. And, er, hopefully it's spelled right today...
Playstation Rumination
Hey Thor,

What do you think about the Playstation2? Do you think it is going to be much different than the Playstation? If so, will we be able to play Playstation games on it? And will FF8 be for it!?.....sorry 'bout all the questions...but I like this kinda stuff.;) Oh, and by the way, LOVE the name!

Well, since you love the name, I'll assume that you obviously meant to type "Drew" and not "Thor" :D  As for your question, I think the technical term is "It makes the PSX look like it's willing little slave". The PSX2 is lightyears beyond the original PSX (If it lives up to its specs as currently listed by Sony, more on that later in the column....)

Also, the PSX2 will, in fact, be able to play PSX games. So, while FF8 is designed for the original PSX, I guess technically speaking it is for the PSX2, now isn't it? :)
Now Loading...
Sup sup,

With the specs and various info bits released so far concerning the next-gen Playstation, it got me so excited about new RPG's than anything else. DVD for games will be most excellent for RPG's, since they're the closest genre content-wise to the movie industry itself. I believe CG movies are good for games when used appropriately. I think Square pulled it off nicely myself - I have nothing wrong with their games, including their flagship title. Also, music has always been most recognized in the RPG genre as well, and DVD will allow for CD-quality music throughout the whole game (if they could pull off looping CD music with no skips).

Anyway, my question is, despite the fact that it's DVD, will the new Playstation have the same loading-time problems as it's predecessor? I know how you feel about Xenogears and all - it took me forever to get into, but I have. I don't mind the not-so-great graphics, but the thing that hinders it the most is the short period of time between opening menus and selecting certain options. I wouldn't mind it if it was just the save menu... but oh well. =) The game is fun, and I guess that's what matters.

All this for a loading-time question. Ugh. My wrong.

In a word, no. Since CD's are by all means the predecessor to DVD's, DVD's benefit from all the technology of newer, faster CD's. Of course, there's a bigger, wordier, more technical answer, but I think you get the point.
The Price is Wrong
Here's two similar letters which raise a question that I'm sure is on a lot of people's minds, including mine:
Hackless Mr. Anime-Drew,
So lemme get this straight; Sony is planning on releasing PSX2 with a computer-strength processor, backwards compatibility, audio CD's, DVD's, old PSX games, and they want to do this all for $250-400? That's a $200 psx, and a $200 DVD player, plus more computing power than my poor 2 year-old puter? Am I the only one who finds this highly unrealistic/very un-economical?

-Hoenir Aesir
Is it possible for such an ambitious hardware specs be built within a reasonable price? I am feeling a little skeptical. Something with such great capabilities are too good to be true without some problems.

What do you think of Baldur's Gate? I've read a few of the reviews and I am looking for some more insight.

-The Red Scare
Okay, the word from Sony right now is that the PSX 2 will be in the $250 to $400 price range. I'd put my money on the 400, to be honest. The PSX 2 incorporates a lot of cutting edge technology, but hopefully by the time it goes into production the pricier components (i.e. DVD) will have come down in price. Another thing to mention is the fact that by adding backwards compatibilty with the old PSX, Sony is adding another 30 bucks to price, which has some people upset since they've already paid for a Playstation. But, companies pretty much expect to lose money on the console and regain it on the software, and Sony knows damn well that people won't pay more than $400, so I expect that we will in fact see it at that price by the time it hits the shelves.

Oh, and Baldur's Gate got a 5 star rating in Next Gen, what more do you need to know? ;)
Anime vs. CG, the Debate Rages On
IMNSHO, I think that anime cutscenes are a lot better than FMV. I mean, actual TALENTED artists spend their time drawing cels, designing characters, and at the end, the coloriness of anime is a rare treat. Heck, I watch the entire introduction of Tales Of Destiny, and I've got to admit that anime is a unique style of it's own. FMV is exactly what it means: Full Motion Video. It's like watching a movie clip during the game. You can't really move around in FMV, (There are some game exceptions, like Final Fantasy 7) and it clogs up the space for some actual gameplay. Truthfully, some of the FMV scenes in various games I've seen are looking pretty amazing. Overall, I think anime cutscenes in video games provide something new for gamers. That, and it's really really cute with those blinkie eyes n' stuff. :D

-Jenni R. (a.k.a Jen)
I personally dig anime, it's a cool art style, no doubt about it. But I must point out that CG is by no means less easy to create than anime cutscenes. In fact, I'd say just the opposite. CG must be painstakingly rendered scene by scene, and days can be spent on only a few seconds. Try getting a program like POVray and making even a simple Table and chair, and you'll get the idea.

And now for one of my patented Blatent Thoughts (tm). FMV does not take away space from gameplay like people often say. FMV development may take away some of the work force, it may take away some of the budget, but seriously, with CD's, space isn't an issue, and the actual coding that goes into creating the gameplay hardly takes any room in comparison.
Calm Down There, Chief
Quite frankly, people really piss me off sometimes. Let's look at some games that almost all of us have played - FF4, FF6 and CT. All of these games have non-interactive cut scenes. Now let's look at another game that almost all of us have played - FF7. This game has equally non-interactive cut scenes. The difference? The cut scenes in FF7 look a hell of a lot better than those in the SNES RPGs. If you think that FMV somehow takes more away from gameplay than non-FMV cut scenes, you're a damned fool and I pity you. Story takes more away from gameplay than FMV does.

Okay, although this letter is gauranteed to raise the ol' blood pressure, I posted it because it does make a very good point: Non-interactive scenes have always been a part of RPGs. Many people have complained about the FMV popping up in recent RPGs and how it detracts from the gameplay and ruins the game and everything else, but the truth of the matter is that all FMV does it make the non-interactive scenes prettier to look at and, in my opinion, more memorable. I'm certainly not saying that FMV is a requirement for a good game or that the addition of it inherintly makes any given game good, I just feel that it adds to the overall experience.
Bring Your Friends
Drew, O Great (substitute) Deity of Thunderbolts:

In your column on Wednesday, Derob asked if there was anything along the lines of a multiplayer RPG on the market. Even though I know that RPGamer lends itself mostly to console RPGs, the recent release of the PC RPG "Baldur's Gate" is something that bodes of MPRPGs to come. Baldur's Gate is built to support up to six players cooperatively working in the same gaming world, in realtime. Nifty, huh?

Also wanted to let you know that you're doing a kickass job filling in for the Mighty Thor. I'm sure there will be some that will miss you when Mr. Blondiecheeks-what-all-the-girls-love returns on Monday. All that, and the new format is pretty sweet too.

Catcha Later,
That's true, I posted this since I know there's a lot of interest in the idea of a multi-player RPG, but with that said I'm not really sure I'd call Baldur's Gate an RPG...
The Truth is Exposed
Now, is it just me, or are there some simple leads that Drew is none other than Thor in diguise? I have many examples. Some are rather dumb, I admit, but it shows that either this is another AK alter ego kick, or Drew has ran out of ideas and is stealing Thor's.

1. First off, the obvious Dana Carvey comparison thought: Drew has 4 letters, Thor has 4 letters. Cannot be a co-incedence.

2. Secondly, the infamous Thor Stuff mysteriously changed to Drew Stuff.

3. Speaking of Title changes, it's now Ask Drew.

4. It seems that in the near future, with the latest anime-Drew posting, that a Drew hack Archive will emerge. (which reminds me, why does that drawing remind me of Little Ophan Annie?)

If this is truly a completely different person, then Drew, if you're conna plagurize, do it right! Start coming up with nicknames!

-Cyntalan Maelstrom
Damn, I've been found out. I was feeling a little over-worked and stressed out, so I decided the perfect way to get a little time to myself to relax was to painstakingly invent an alter-ego who is pretty much nothing like me and then proceed to not only do the letters column everyday, but rework the layout. I feel much better, and very refreshed. In fact, by Monday I'll be feeling so refreshed that I'll start calling myself Thor again.

By the way, your name is 8 letters long, as is a certain Ms. Lewinski's. Coincidence? I think not. I think you're just trying to use my little column to turn the public's attention away from your interview! Damn you, you vile, ill-plotting fiend!
So there I was, playing Xenogears without a care. Suddenly I noticed that Elly's weight was only 92 pounds! Oh no! I rushed into the infirmary only to have the nurse tell me that she was the "perfect weight". Eh? I mean, I'm the same height as Elly and weight 130 pounds. And I know I'm about ideal weight. (Try to find another woman who'll say that these days!) If I was Elly's weight I'd be dead. So tell me, is there any point to being able to weigh your characters? Can I get Elly down to 60 lbs. and watch her pass out during a battle? Or will everyone in the game scream in horror if I bulk her up?

-Toni, going through midterm insanity and thus not responsible for her own questions
You think that's freaky? Try looking at the ages of the characters in Xenogears. Elly and Fei are both supposed to be 18. 18 my butt. They both look like they're in their early 30's, man.
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Matt makes an astute observation: "Dude, you make a lot of typos"Know I dont
The Arch Mage of Time tells me to "GET THE HELL DONE WITH XENOGEARS, GOOD GOD!!!!!!!!!!!! "No.
MistSopz complains that the new layout prevents him from easily copying every word of text in a single swipe as he goes down the page.Poor baby ;)
Drew Stuff

Sit right back and I'll tell you a tale, a tale of a sucky class. This class goes by the name of "Art Appreciation", but I prefer to call it "that damn class where I have to drive 45 minutes to get downtown and stare at slides of stupid modern art for 2 and a half hours". This is without a doubt the single most boring, pointless class I have ever had the displeasure of taking. I used to think that I appreciated art in its many forms. This class has made me despise art. A word to future artists: Marylin Monroe's face sloppily plastered 100 times on a gigantic piece of paper with pencil lines all over it is not art. An old chair with a filthy tarp on top of it is not art. Scribbles that look like something out of one of my kindergarten coloring books.... is not art.

Now, normally I'm not bitter about pointless classes. The thing about this that irritates me so is the fact that this class is a requirement for a computer science degree. A frikin' computer science degree. And thus ends today's rant. Thank you for tuning in.
Actually, I'm not that bitter about it, I just needed something to talk about in my Drew Stuff section :D

- Drew Cosner

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