hooray for cheese and broccoli hamburger helper
     Monday, February 4, 2002 "i'm willing to reach out, get into your head"     


The Rams lost the Superbowl, as some (many? most?) of you likely already know. Granted, I'm not into football, but as I live in Missouri, I'm more or less obligated to root for the home team. So, that considered, the king of the bowls was kind of a bummer.

This whole last week has been a bit of a downer, actually. My basement, which was my room, flooded, forcing me to move nearly all of my belongings up to the living room. The fun, happy, newness factor that my college classes held finally wore off, making going to most of my classes a chore once again. And random interpersonal issues have taken turns for the not-so-great. But, despite my complaints, I try to remind myself that life is good and I'm pretty lucky that things are the way they are.

Programming has been coming along pretty well. I regret to say that I don't yet have a working battle engine to show off, but it certainly hasn't been because of slacking on my account. Partway through the battle program I decided to take a programming detour and create a font system to display menu items for the battles and conversation windows for the rest of the game. So, between creating that and the time I lost due to the flood, no battle system this week.

Next week, however, the battle system should be ready for your perusal, and it should feature the game's actual background and character art. I've got a new artist on board who's started some great work, and I'll tell you all about him come next column.

As an aside, nobody got last week's quote. "French the fries" can be heard in the first song of Parappa the Rapper 2. I think I've learned my lesson about being too obscure in front of the wrong audience. This week's should be guessable by someone, at least.

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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-sama.

    In response to the guy who was wondering whether to keep Malak or dump him for Cloud, I'll say this: Malak's Hell abilities are kind of unreliable, but on the other hand, Cloud can't do his Limit attacks without his Materia Blade, which isn't exactly the best weapon availible. Of course, you could learn Two Swords for Cloud, and give him a better one in his other hand, but there's another reason why Cloud isn't necessarily worth the effort...


    By the time you finish the Cloud subquest, your party is somewhere around level 40 to 50 and you've got a lot of job skills built up.

    But Cloud starts at level one!!!

    So if you're a die hard FF7 fan who doesn't mind spending half your life training him up (after first throwing away a character with a lot more skills and levels), then get Cloud, but if you don't have space, I'd suggest sticking with the guys you have.

    ~Slightly Crazed Izlude Fan

    There's really not much for me to say here. Sounds like sound advice. Thanks for writing in.

    sony problems type 1
    Hey Aegis,

    My PlayStation recently went wacko. I bought FFIX on sale hoping to play it, but my PlayStation doesn't recognize the first disc (however it recognizes the other ones). Any tips on how to fix this? Or should I break down and save up to buy a PS2? I heard that PS2s won't play certain PS1 games, is this true?

    Thanks for the help

    Well, first I'd suggest testing your disc 1 on someone else's PSX. If it still bombs, it's probably the disc, as it's kinda fishy that the other ones would be okay. However, if you find out that your system is at fault, I've heard that by turning it on its side (or upside down, don't remember which, try both) will fix some problems.

    As far as getting a PS2 goes...

    sony problems type 2
    OK, a ways back my PS2 started having trouble playing PSX games. The first game this occurred with was the Chrono Trigger remake. So I figured the trouble the PS2 was having was a result of the defective CT discs that were sent out, and I payed no mind.

    Later I realized my PS2 was having the same problem with other games. If I kept resetting the system the games would still work, so I again (stupidly) payed no mind. Then for about a month around Christmas I played only PS2 games and when I tried to play a PSX game the system wouldn't even recognize the disc. And to this day none of my PSX games work on my PS2. For clarification, my games will work on my friends PS2.

    Could you give me a guess as to what may be wrong, or at least post this just in case someone who reads the column knows, please?

    Good Day

    T-Rice (Doug)

    Sadly, I'm not posting this because I know what's wrong nor how to fix it. If I remember right, the PS2's input/output CPU is the same chip as the PSX's main CPU, allowing for the backwards compatibility. So, if that went out, your controllers wouldn't work, so I don't think that could be the problem.

    Even more sad is the fact that this is certainly not an isolated incident. My good friend Marshall's PS2 is quickly dying on him right now, and though I don't know the specifics, I know that the first sign of its trouble was incompatibility with the Chrono Trigger remake.

    So, haiku, as far as your query goes, though PS2s are supposed to play nearly every PSX game (though there are a couple glitchy exceptions here and there), problems such as the one you see mentioned here don't seem to be entirely uncommon. Whether you want to shell out $300 for what might be more problematic hardware is something you'll have to work out for yourself.

    ffxi != ffxi
    Hey Aegis,

    Here is a small one [question]. Do you know where I can find a video file from the FFX International DVD?


    Ooh, you're running into the problem category of "being too vague," as I'm going to point you to some video files and they'll likely be something different than what you really wanted. But maybe you'll get lucky. Click here.

    music is not evil
    Hello, He who is made of Magical Goat Skin,

    I was completely befuddled by your excuse for playing lame music games instead of RPGs last week. I'm a busy college student too, and I just play RPGs during school vacations.

    Even if you don't have time for RPGs, at least try platformers or something. Music games cause brain tumors, retinal damage, inner ear infections, birth defects, compound fractures, third degree burns, and and .... convulsions!

    Heh. I'm just teasing. I may hate music games with all my heart and soul, but to each his own.

    Here's a question: What do you think of MS's decision to put ONLY a broadband port, with no dialup option, into the XBOX? I think that was one of their worst decisions, considering that broadband is A. insanely expensive, and B. not even available in the vast majority of the country.

    --GoblinKing "AAAGGHHH! Parappa! Oh, it burns!!!!"

    First, do realize that my argument wasn't for playing music games in specific over RPGs, just for playing short games over lengthy games. I love a good platformer just as much as the next guy. I'm buying Super Mario Advance 2 (a port of Super Mario World) when it comes out next week. You should too, if that's your cup of tea.

    And yes, I also realize that I've got far too much rhythm and love of quirky music for my own good. Oh well.

    Regarding your question, I'm glad that Microsoft left the Xbox (note capitalization) modem-incompatible. Broadband is not unaffordable to the box's target audience, which is males age 18-25, or something along those lines. And, as long as you're in a decent size city, broadband is readily available. I do understand that broadband isn't a solution right now for even close to everybody, but Microsoft made this decision with the future in mind. It wasn't all that long ago when even dialup service was an expensive rarity.

    And, most importantly, in my opinion, I'd much rather see games have a smooth, lag-free online function for broadband only than a jittery, unstable online function that has modem support as well. You can't please everybody, but I think they made the best choice.

    money, money, money... is all you need
    Hey there,

    I see that RPGFan has been recently forced to ask readers for donations to stay afloat, much like GIA did. I've heard Google mention his pride in RPGamer's ability to support itself in today's market, and I was just wondering how exactly that happens. Does RPGamer have a way of generating revenue, or do various staff members simply fund the site out of their own pockets?

    Thanks for shedding light on the subject, if indeed you print this.

    ~jaraph "I just beat my 65th game."

    RPGamer keeps afloat the way that most online publications used to. Advertisements. You'll see banner ads at the top of every page, and that's how we make our money. Granted, it's not enough money to pay the staff, but it is enough to stay online. Keeping that in mind, it won't hurt our feelings any if you click the banners every once in awhile.

    End of the Road:

    I finished the column, which means two things. One, my weekend is now officially over, and two, now I can sleep. Sleep is good. For me at least. But for you, I'm sure you want to throw Googleshng a few questions for tomorrow, so you should probably give in to the urge. Then you can sleep.

    Andrew P. Bilyk can drive it home with one headlight.

    Until next time,

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