I'm slyly putting my hidden text in a different place. Did you find it?
Letters with Aegis
     Tuesday, June 19, 2001 "different drains go different places"     


Welcome to the first of a four-column Q&A run to be hosted by me, Andrew P. Bilyk. I'm the slacker who updates RPGamer's RPGuides section every once in a long while, and I'm taking over for Google this week. We've got a good, varied selection of emails for today, so let's get this show on the road.

Games I'm Playing
Zelda: Oracle of Ages
Zelda: Oracle of Seasons
Rayman Advance
Konami Krazy Racers
Dance Dance Revolution
Last Five Columns
  • 06-18-01
  • 06-17-01
  • 06-16-01
  • 06-15-01
  • 06-14-01
    Guess the Quote Contest
    Everybody's favorite contest-of-sorts from RPGuides followed me to the letters column! 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 the next day's column.

    Nintendo Tactics, Revisited

    Wuzup Pimp Daddy Andrew?

    You know, sometimes I think I'm the only person not excited about FF Tactics being re-released...probably because I was one of the few people smart enough to pick it up the first time around. Oh, yeah, I guess I should ask some actual questions.

    I've heard Goog's take on the Game Cube, but do you think it's really as droolworthy as he does, cuz I'm jonesin' for it already.

    Ain't that GBA tiny? I feel like I'm gonna break it just looking at it. Course, now I have to buy it and the two new Zelda games. Damn you Nintendo. You know I can't resist games with that pointy-eared warrior in them!

    Well, that should do it for now. Peace out and have fun in the new apartment.

    Barry "Did I just say peace out?" Dancer

    Thanks for writing in, Barry. For the rest of the reading audience, Barry's a friend of mine who will be coming to my university next fall. Until then, the least I can do is answer a couple of the guy's questions. ;-)

    Although I don't own a copy of FFT myself, I can understand where you're coming from as far as not being excited about the re-release. I've got the same problem with the upcoming Final Fantasy Chronicles. I own both the original games (Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy 4j, for the two of you who haven't been paying attention), I've seen all the new FMV online over a year ago, and the new additions to each title may not be enough for it to be a must-play, at least in my book.

    Although Google's slightly a lot more biased than most people, I have to concur with the slime. The Nintendo GameCube is indeed all that and a bag of potato chips. I think the cube is a great piece of hardware technically, and I can tell you from playing them firsthand that the games are there to back up the system's technical prowess. GameCube games including but certainly not limited to Super Smash Bros. Melee, Super Monkey Ball, and Rogue Leader have me writhing in anticipation. And as a bonus, the GC controller is hands-down the best, most confortable controller I've ever had the pleasure of using.

    I've been a proud owner of an import Game Boy Advance since March, and I have nothing but good things to say about it. I'll admit it's a bit small in comparison to Sega's Game Gear and a lot of other past portables, but it's not that small. Remember, although the buttons are smaller, the GBA is bigger than quite a few console systems' controllers, such as those for the NES and the Sega Master System. As far as the new Zelda games go, I purchased both of them last week, and although I haven't put in a whole lot of playtime into either yet, I'm quite pleased with both of them. Definitely great games, them.

    Thanks for the kind words, Barry. So far, the apartment's great, and I have my cable modem now, so I'm in sixth or seventh heaven.

    Too Big for Their Multi-Billion Dollar Britches?


    okay, just how damn big is the X-box suppose to be? All I've heard is that it is big. I'm not asking for exact measurments or anything but is it like bigger than 2 PS2's put side to side or something, can I use it as a place to setup a 4-piece dining set? Just how big is the thing.


    Despite the fact that you didn't want dimensions, I tried to find them anyhow. I didn't look long, and therefore I failed, so I'm gonna have to run from memory and estimation. The system's definitely the largest I've seen in awhile, but it's not that big. It's definitely not the size of two PS2 systems. I believe it's about 10-12 inches in length by about 8 inches in width, and it's about 2-3 inches tall. So yeah, it's kinda big, but it's not a monstrosity, and it actually looks pretty impressive, definitely moreso than a PS2 (or GameCube, but that goes without saying) in my opinion.

    Spending Power, Ho!

    Hello O temporary host of Q&A, Andrew...

    I'm kinda bored, and I need a new game to play, preferably for Playstation. I have about $50-55 dollars, and I'm willing to spend. I'm getting Final Fantasy Chronocles in July, but I need something to tide me over til then. Think you could help? Thanks.

    The Masked Mystere

    Greetings, Maskéd one. I put spaces after your commas; I hope you don't mind too terribly. So you wanna buy a game, do ye? I think I can help you with that. Although you're writing in to RPGamer, most RPG players don't play solely RPGs. Therefore, I'll list off a few games, from a few different genres, that I think most people would like. First off, the non-RPGs...

    Everybody that possesses any rhythm at all owes it to himself (herself, if you're one of our few but important female readers) to check out Konami's Dance Dance Revolution. It's a fantastic game that doubles as an aerobic workout, and it's just as playable by non-gamers as it is by gamers. The game/dance pad bundle goes for $60 at Best Buy and a few other places. Careful, though, as Babbages and other specialty stores may charge as much as $80.

    If you like light gun games, Namco's Point Blank 3 is in stores now, and I've seen it, gun included, at Best Buy for $50 (I have no ties to Best Buy, I promise. I just shop there a lot, and they're reasonable.). You may have seen a game or two from the Point Blank series (called Gunbullet in Japan) at a local arcade. It consists mainly of mini-games (at least the first two did; I haven't actually played this one yet), which are as varied as you could possibly imagine. I have a total blast whenever I play the earlier games, and the GunCon packaged with the game is probably the best PSX light gun around.

    Here are two words, a letter, and a number: Mega Man X5. It's Mega Man's latest adventure. It's $30 pretty much everywhere. If you like a platformer, this game will do you no wrong.

    And now to RPGs... There have been very few RPGs released on the PSX since last year. Actually, that may not even be true; according to our release date page, which may or may not be up to date for recent PlayStation games, there haven't been any PSX RPGs released yet this year. That considered, if you want an RPG, you oughtta pick up one from last year that you maybe missed or didn't have time for. Valkyrie Profile, Breath of Fire IV, Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete, Chrono Cross, and Wild ARMs 2 are only a few of the many PSX RPGs that came out in 2000. Most should be cheaper now too.

    Well, I hope I helped you, if only by reminding you of how many games are out there. Mail me back and let me know what you decided to spend your dough on, will ya?

    Do You Want to Work with Me?

    Heyhey, Aegis. Goog's slackin' off again, huh? Boy, that slime's never gonna evolve.

    Anywho, as many have noticed, the applications are up for us to ponder (I'd love to be part of the staff, but seeing as little I know about internet language besides HTML and I can't speak any Japanese besides "BAKA!"). So I was wonderin'- what did YOUR application look like? Was it riddled with countless feats, or didja just kinda BS your way through it and slip a bit of something in the boss' drink at the applicants' party?

    Oh, on the gaming level, am I the only one that is annoyed that FFX is getting the same beat down that FFVIII received? I really think both lash-outs are undeserved and blown out of proportion.

    ~Spektre~ "Women: They make being lazy all the more worthwhile."

    Hey hey hey. First off, I must point out that me doing Q&A this week was more because of my wanting to do so than Goog's slacking, but I do agree with your comment about him not evolving. Moving on...

    Thank you for writing in with this excellent topic. Yes, with all the things we ask you on our news applications, a lot of people are intimidated. However, there's really no good reason someone like you, or many other people, for that matter, shouldn't apply. I started as a news writer and came into the job knowing only the basics of HTML, and I know about as much Japanese as you do. The main thing we look for in news writers is, simply, the ability to write well. Being bilingual or having an extensive knowledge of web page scripting languages may be a plus, but neither of these would secure a job for a poor writer.

    As for my application, I filled it out honestly and concisely, and just as importantly, I didn't make any typos. I ran RPGamer's news department last summer, and when I went about hiring new writers, my main deciding factor for news applicants wasn't the application itself. Rather, the "mock stories" you have to submit with the application give us the best idea of what your writing skill is and if you'd be good for our news team. Although I can't speak for Justin Weiss, RPGamer's current news director and all-around cool guy, I'd imagine that the same still holds true. So please, if the only discouraging factors you have are the ones you mentioned, don't let that stop you from applying. Good luck, to you Spektre, as well as to everyone else who applies.

    As for FF8 and FFX, I could never get into FF8. I did have the opportunity to play FFX at E3, and, although it did seem rather similar to Eight, it was pretty cool, although not my style. I do agree, though, that the dislike people have for FF8 and the complaints about Ten are taken far to the extremes.

    World of Balance


    The news of the Enix/Square/Namco collaboration frightens me. And, no, not because I think they're going to dominate the world or anything; that's a non-sensical perversion of the facts. (Oh, and the facts, as of my writing this, are: the companies have a collaboration for bringing online games to Play-Online, and are considering some joint-efforts.) I'm scared of this only because next year I'm heading off to college. Seeing how I'm only now recovering from the PSO-bug (btw, I sense a re-lapse coming..), I don't think I'd be able to handle a multitude of online-RPGs - especially when made by some of the greatest developers ever - and still get myself into class enough to maintain a decent gpa.

    Anyways, how can I avoid the forthcoming madness? What are your plans for FFXI and the like?


    This multi-company collaboration is a really cool, important deal, and it definitely spells good news for gamers. However, just like Everquest did for a lot of people, it may be just too much good news, if you follow me. Just as with anything else, games can become an addiction, and you've gotta be careful not to lose sight of bigger goals, like staying in college.

    On a related note, one of my roommates from last year, a really bright guy, did poorly enough in his classes that he lost his scholarships and won't be able to come back, mainly because he spent too much time playing Dungeons and Dragons and hanging out with his friends. Especially with virtual worlds becoming more prominent, we gamers have to be careful not to let a fate similar to that of my old roommate befall us because we lost ourselves in a more interesting place. Moderation is key to everything, remember that.

    As far as my plans for Final Fantasy XI and other MMORPGs (that's Massively Multiplayer Online RPG for anyone new to the acronym), I really haven't given it much thought as of yet, but I doubt I'll really play much of any of them, as I have too little time as is. As anything else, though, this viewpoint of mine may change, so stay tuned.

    Dazed and Confused, Yah

    May I asked why you look so stoned in that picture with Shiggy? ^_^

    Gif here is referring to this picture of me and Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of Mario, Zelda, and countless other Nintendo games and franchise characters. I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of running into him at Sega's E3 booth, and after shaking his hand, I had my picture taken with him. Although I may look otherwise, I'm not actually stoned in the picture. My eyes are nearly closed and the lighting is horrible, but I was perfectly coherent. I promise. If you wish, you can see a much better picture of me here, in addition to the smiling faces of former news director Doug "Stom" Hill (left) and RPGamer president Mikel Tidwell (right).

    "Duff Beer for Me, Duff Beer for You...."

    Hey (monks sing) A-EGIS

    It's me again with my insanity. Is it real creepy that I dated someone you know of? It shows that it's a small world. (I won't sing for sake of humanity) Is it just me or is there still not too much in RPG's on the next-gen systems? But, then again those don't really show up as a rule of thumb until the third year in mass quantities. I'm in a sour mood from a bad ear infection that is hurting my hearing and I'm definately the type not to anger.

    What RPG cliche would you want in the real world? I wish animals had money on them so I don't ever have to get a real job since I can smack bugs around and win cash. Also barging into people's houses and taking everything while they look on is pretty odd.

    I heard that the biggest complaint at E3 was food prices. You'd of been broke if you had my appetite since I eat 3 times more than everyone else and I don't even look the part. It'd be more expensive to me since I'm from Missouri and everythings less expensive than in other places.

    Imperial Mog

    Yes, it's definitely a small world. Life's funny that way. As far as RPGs on the "next-gen" systems go, we're not flooded, but we're not doing too badly either. If you consider the Dreamcast a next-gen system, there are quite a few good overlooked RPGs for it (in fact, one of my roommates picked up Grandia II at WalMart for $20 tonight; get them while they last).

    Other than the DC, though, no, there's not much available, but that's mainly because two of these next-gen systems you speak of aren't even out yet. The PS2 has some mediocre RPGs and Dark Cloud, and there's FFX and more on the way. The GameCube is getting PSO version 2 as well as quite a few other RPGs we don't know of yet. The Xbox may be a dry system for RPGs, but it's too early to tell. I do agree with you that, yes, it's usually later in a system's lifetime for a lot of RPGs to come out, but it won't be three years, I guarantee you that.

    You want me to pick an RPG cliché, eh? People only talking to you after you talk to them first would shut up a lot of people you don't always want to deal with, which would include a lot of people I know.

    Food sold in the LA Convention Center during E3 (and probably all the time, actually), is really expensive, yes. However, members of the press get free lunch and breakfast, so I didn't have to dole out any money except for dinner.

    End of the Road:
    I had a pretty good time answering questions for today, and I look forward to more tomorrow. In addition to the usual questions and comments, write in and let me know which of the big three systems -- PlayStation2, Xbox, and GameCube -- you plan to get, and why. Right now, quite a few developers, such as Sega, haven't decided which system a lot of their future games will be made for, so feel free to touch upon which system you'd like some of your favorite RPG franchises to go to.

    Andrew P. Bilyk, despite his want to be biased and one-sided, will probably own all three big systems by the end of the year.

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