now hooray for mexican food. and me, again, of course
     Monday, January 28, 2002 "french the fries"     


Hi folks.

I know I haven't been the most dependable host in the past, I admit. However, I've been doing a good job recently of putting up content on time for your reading pleasure. The thing is, to put up a good column I'll need your help. My mail selection today was quite lackluster. Let's take a look at the content of the few letters I got...

  • correct guess of Chesh's quote
  • correct guess of Chesh's quote
  • correct guess of Google's last quote
  • follow-up to correct guess of Google's last quote
  • Seiken Densetsu 3 question whose answer could be easily found in a FAQ
  • question as to when a certain PC game will come out, what it will be called, etc.
  • This madness, which I'm having a hard time describing:
         i came here to ask about ico , but it seems ffx is on this site.
         change the website name,o.k?
         (dont get me wrong,i love ff games.)
  • one good letter which you'll see below

Let me explain why I didn't print most of what you see up there. First, I'm not going to print guesses to Chesh's quote. I'd imagine he wants to do so himself. I thought I said that last week.

Secondly, the same applies to Google's main page quote, which was already guessed last week on top of matters.

I am not going to look up something in a FAQ for you and regurgitate it for the world to see. Don't be lazy.

Next, I don't play PC games, and we have a news section for a reason. If you can't find the news you're looking for on RPGamer, look elsewhere. If you can't find it elsewhere, the news probably hasn't been released to the press yet. I don't know any RPG news our news crew hasn't already printed.

I feel dirty for posting that Ico-related nonsense up there. No way it's going in as an actual letter.

I'd love to post a good amount of interesting, intellectual (or goofy, whatever) discussion, but I can't do it without your help. Help me help you by sending in a good letter every once in awhile. Heck, you can send me mail right after reading my Monday columns and I'll save it til the following week. If just 1% of my readers would send me some quality mail, I'd have 25 great letters to choose from for every column. But enough harping over this...

Game development trickled down to an unsteady drip this week. I finished my map editor (v. 1.0) last Monday, as I planned to. File saving and loading works, and if you use the load function after starting it up, you'll be able to see and manipulate a couple of trial maps I threw up. I started basic work on my battle system, however, the battle engine itself is only about half complete so I have nothing to actually show you at this time. Next column, however, you'll be able to use the game's battle system. You'll better be able to, else I'm going to be dangerously behind schedule...

Also, for your listening pleasure, my demo's composer, Chad A. Seiter, has a preliminary version of the battle theme ready for your disposal. Enjoy it, and please send any comments my way so I can pass them along to Chad.

And now, let's move on.

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    Guess the Quote Contest
    Try to guess (be specific) the quote towards the top of the page. If you're the first one to email me with the correct answer, I'll mention you in my next column. An individial may not win the contest twice in a row.

    Greetings, Aegis!

    I know you usually take quotes from songs, but I'll take a stab at it anyway. "I like to play" is from the movie Wayne's World, and it's one of Garth's lines. I think (though not sure) that he says that after doing a really kickin' drum solo.

    I should probably ask a question too, so... In Final Fantasy Tactics, is it worth it to keep Malak? Or should I ditch him in favor of Cloud? I'm doing the Cloud quest right now, but I'm going to have to expel someone if I want Cloud to join (I didn't realize I would be picking up 2 new characters in this quest ^^;;). Malak is pretty weak, but I have some weird attachment to him- I mean, he came back to life, and now all for nothing?! Anyway, do you have any advice?

    >>Geirahvd Svanmeyja

    Congrats to Geirahvd here for being the first of a few to guess the Wayne's World quote. You are correct, sir.

    Don't always trust "probably," it's been known to bite. Sadly, I've yet to play much of FFT, despite the fact that I own it, so you're either going to have to go with your gut or perhaps check a FAQ somewhere for advice. Sorry, yo.

    backwards-compatibility follow-up
    Hello my everlasting friend!!

    In regards to the letter you posted in the Jan. 21 column concerning the retro-gamer who wanted to play Xenogears again with texture smoothing on, it's important to note that the PS2 will not do this automatically. When you turn the thing on, you have to leave the disc out so it won't automatically start, and then go into the triangle menu from the browser/option screen. Texture smoothing option is in the same menu from here as changing the PS1 disc speed. It's also important to note that I have not found a way to make the PS2 save either of these options, meaning when I played DW7 (where texture smoothing made a damn WORLD of difference) I had to leave the disc out initially and change this option every time I played. Very annoying but there's no way around it that I can find. Two of my friends have the same problem. Anyway, make sure you let "Smiling Toast" know this or else he's going to be severely underwhelmed by how Xenogears supposedly looks better.

    Oh yeah, quit playing all those dancey/funky/jamboree games and finish some hardcore RPG'S!!!!!!

    - Calculus FunBot

    Thanks for the additional PS2 info, yo. I knew about that in the back of my head but neglected to recall it last week.

    Though there's not much to say about most of your letter, I'll address the last sentence. Yes, I know it's nearly sacrilegious for me, someone who hasn't played many-at-all recent RPGs, to be hosting this column. However, I do not treat this as a gameplay question-and-answer column as Google does. You're reading "Letters with Aegis" for a reason, and I'd sooner focus on discussion of general game topics and the industry itself. If that's not your cup of tea, I apologize. At this time in my life, though I have time for short music games, I don't have time for 40-hour RPGs.

    today's good letter: hooray!
    Hey Aegis. What's down? (you know, not up? Get it? heh...nevermind...)

    I just wanted to speak on the whole importing games issue. I can understand why, say, Square might be against somebody importing a copy of Final Fantasy X to play in America because, let's face it, if everybody imported their games from Japan (which they never will), they'd make no money from translating the games and releasing them in America.

    But then on the other side of the coin, what's wrong with Europe/Australia/Zimbabwe/wherever importing games? It's not like any companies go out of their way to release games there because, as Mistress Nightshadow said, there's just not enough of a market for it. But by then outlawing importing games, they're not only depriving people of the ability to play games that they're not specifically releasing in that region anyway, but also destroying interest in their product, so there'll never be a market for their games.

    Let me explain. How many times have you gone over your friend Frank's house, and he had a really cool game on, and after watching him play it for awhile, you said to yourself, "Hey, this game rocks! I'm gonna go get it!" By not letting their games be played somewhere, they're destroying any interest anybody might have in their product. Plus, they're still making money off the games, just in Japan as opposed to wherever the game's going that it wasn't released anyway. I mean geez, it's not like people are resorting to the EVILS of emulation or anything, right? :)

    Robust Stu

    Greetings, Stu, and thanks for the letter. I apologize for breaking it up into smaller paragraphs, but that was a hella-big block of text and I wasn't going to subject the readers to it like that. I know breaking it up affects the flow, and I'd bet that it no longer has the flow you intended, so I suggest to you and everyone else to make reasonably small paragraphs in the future so I don't have to make them for you.

    I know there are good reasons for it, though I really don't recall them right now, but I think territorial locks on games is a stupid idea. I've heard it argued that some of those "hardcore" enough to import a game will likely buy their domestic version as well when it comes out, so a company might even make more money. I agree with that logic. Also, if game systems were out-of-the-box universally compatible, mod chips could actually be legitimately illegalized as their only purpose would be for piracy. Sure, I love piracy just as much Joe Shmoe down the street does (disclaimer: sarcasm), but it's not good for the industry.

    I don't necessarily know how the inability to import would affect interest in a game. You make a good argument, but they do say "absence makes the heart grow fonder," do they not? It's really hard to guess how a society will react to things. That's why it's good to be a programmer. No guessing involved.

    End of the Road:

    Well folks, it was short, but that's the ropes. Next week will be better, though. Keep it real, stay cool, and talk to the slime tomorrow. You'll like it, I know you will.

    Andrew P. Bilyk is sore like a fox from Saturday's soccer practice. Like a fox.

    Until next time,

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