A Quick Game of Monopoly
Ah, Sunday. Kick off your shoes, grab a nice hot cup of coffee, sit back in your favorite easy chair, realize you're now nowhere near your computer, get back up, walk across the cold floor, sit down on some crummy swivel chair you got at Office Max, and enjoy another exciting edition of the RPGamer Ask section.
Final Fantasy Collection's Graphic Selection
I have a question about the Final Fantasy Collection. Will all three games be completely redone in CG or will it be the same game with some FMV added in? Thanks if you print this. -

The Final Fantasy Collection has kept the games themselves just as they were, with added FMV. It's possible Square may slip in a few little goodies, but for the most part expect the games to be the same as always.
FFVIII Impressions
Ask anyone at RPGamer who is playing FFVIII if it's good so far. I have yet to hear any remarks on whether the game is good or not, I just wanna some impressions thus far.

So far the general concensus is that the first disc is kind of slow, but the after that it gets really good. The graphics and battle/magic system actually works out quite well, and the Guardian Forces just rock. The only major complaint is in the music department, unfortunately. Just like FFVII, there's a few good tunes here and there, but we expected more from Nobuo. Oh, and Eyes on Me sucks.
Another Good Way to Rip One
Hi! Does your Demon Familiar's Lightening Sphere change your victim's hair color, coat them in yeast and warm water, or reduce their body fat index?

There's also a second way to rip FMV from a PSX CD... The CDs are ISO standard, and can be read by an average PC. There exists a utility called PSXVideo(Note:Do a altavista search for that term, and you'll get links to copies of the program) that will allow you to grab and rip videos off the CD into your PC. Don't expect it to go in real time, however, and don't expect the highest quality! You have the option of encoding them as AVIs of various qualities, or as raw frame by frame dumps(which are *huge*), and then using other programs to convert to MOV or MPG if you so wish.

I just wanted to put this letter up since it is a cheaper alternative for getting PSX video. Be warned, though, you won't be able to get the same quality using this method.
A Sony Monopoly? Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200
It seems yesterday's letter on the PS2 dominating the videogame market to the point of a monopoly has sparked a little debate. Here's two good (albeit a little long) letters I thought made excellent points.
I'm not really sure if David Schneider knows what he's talking about. "Bigger" doesn't necessarily mean "successful" (No I will not go on some Godzilla rant). In all truth the Nintendo 64 has much better specs than the Sony Playstation. This was one of it's problems. The high specs caused all those who wished to develop on it to get better faster stronger computers.

I think the Dreamcast right now stands a great chance. If it can be sold at a good price, and have great games for it, I'll buy it. Heck, I hear they're releasing an online RPG for their system. That's unbelieveable. Now I'm not saying the PSX2 will fail, but the fact is if people use this system purely for eye-candy well then there are going to be some problems. There is a reason the Suepr Nintendo survived as long as it did, because it focused more on gameplay and control over graphics and sound (well it DID have pretty good graphics and sound.. just no where near PSX quality). When you compare the graphics of Final Fantasy 6 to Final Fantasy 7, you begin to realise a lot of Final Fantasy 7's sales were from all that eye candy. Most of Final Fantasy 6's sales however, were from those few RPG fans at the time (You know, back when hearing that a girl was playing an RPG was lidicrious) who liked the story and overall game (but I'll be fair, the graphics were pretty sweet for it's time and the music beats the crap out of FF7's music...

I guess we can compare this PSX 2 to the infamous Neo Geo. Neo Geo's specs were WAY ahead of the other video game machines, but it went nowhere. Price had a big part of this, and if the PSX2 is up at that price well christ, you'll see a lot less sales. So Sony knows that selling well at a high price becomes unlikely. And even if they DO sell at a high price, it will not BE the rest of the market trying to catch up, but rather, winning.

And anyway, Sega and Nintendo are big companies. If they wanted to make a machine to beat the snot out of the PSX 2, they probably could (mind you, probably not at the price Sony could make it).

Still with me? Good, here's another long-winded letter :D
I just finished reading David Schneider's letting about how the PSX2 is going to bring a crash to the video game market. Although he makes some good points, there's a lot he didn't take into consideration.

I could release a 512 bit system, smack on all sorts of really big scary stats for it, blah blah blah, but the real selling point of a system is the software. The 32x was faster than the SNES, but which sold better? The SNES had some of the best games to date on it... and... uh... The 32x had a lot of games that never came out...

Also, keep in mind that during the lifetime of the SNES the 32x, the Saturn, the CDi, the 3DO, the Jaguar, and the PSX were released. All of these boasted speeds faster than the SNES and most of them boasted CD drives. Did everyone flock out and buy these while adbandoning their SNES's? No. Of all those systems, the only one that really caught on was the PSX, but you'll notice that wasn't until a few years into the life of the system. The dividing line here is good or bad software. Again, the SNES blew all the other systems away for good software.

Now, Sony has some good 3rd party developers going for them, but that doesn't mean that the other two main contenders won't have good software coming out from them. Sega and Nintendo have something that Sony will probably never have: GREAT 1st party development.

This is what I see happening. The PSX2 will be realeased. People will look at the HEFTY price tag, think, "Hmm, I think I'll wait a few months to see if the price will drop and make sure good games come out for it." So they do. Then they might go buy one, they might not. A little over the horizon, Nintendo, Sega, or a new developer (think NUON) will have a project waiting for release within some time. People think, "Ya know, I might hold off until new system X comes out, maybe it'll be better than the PSX2." So they do. Even if they don't, a lot of people will buy other systems, too. I have a lot of friends who have both a PSX and a N64.

Moral of the story: Even though a PSX2 launch will dominate the market for a short peroid of time, it's competeition, which in turn will force other developers to improve their product at a lower price with higher quality. That's what it's all about. Making a better product will not kill the videogame industry, and remember, there ARE monopoly laws. Sony makes a good product, but so do Nintendo and Sega. The PSX2 will only help improve and cultivate the current status of video games. It's not going to turn all games into flashy eye candy shows, make games far and few between (3rd party developers are going to produce, no matter what the platform is), nor will it make other companies magically die.

-Backward Z
Both these letters make some good points. First and foremost, software is by far the most important aspect of any games system Remember the Atari Jaguar? Technically speaking, it blew the SNES and the Genesis away, but since the really good games were few and far between, people felt no need to buy one. It's true that better technology goes a long way to bring developers in, but better technolgy isn't completely the answer. Also, as Eddie points out, in some ways more advanced technology can be a hazard if it isn't also easy enough to master that smaller companies can afford to make games for it as well. It's nice having the Squares and the konamis around, but what do you do while waiting for the next big game to come out?

But, even should something incredible become of the PS2 and it does completely dominate the market, does this mean the end of gaming as we know it? Of course not. Look at the NES. It was practically synonomous with videogames in its day, and because of it companies had to produce excellent games to get any notice. With one major platform, the competition for we, the consumer's, money will be great, and the games will improve because of it. Any way you look at it, however, this will be interesting to see.
The Hitler Connection
I have a request. Go find a non-SD picture of Cloud. Compare his legs to his torso. Aren't they a little long?
Yes, and notice the blonde hair and blue eyes? Cloud is proof that Adolf Hitler is still alive and is working together with Square to subtely realize his dream of a super-race of humans! That would also go a long way to explain Square's dictatorian business policies and seeming distaste for Americans.
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hey hey hey! someone actually acknowledge Castlevania!!!!! actually, i have a um... friend...(yeah, perfect) who happens to have a sprite familiar (mmm...)
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