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Cortney Stone - August 16 '03- 7:00 Central Standard Time

Alethea: Today, I got a few more letters, which makes me happy. Phil also shows up again in today's column with his own concise comments. On a side note, I had a graduate student meeting yesterday, and found out which professor I'll be working with as a Teaching Assistant. It turns out that I've been assigned to the largest section of Freshman American History at OSU. That means that on the few days that the prof is gone, I'm supposed to get up in front of a class of 150 or so freshmen and teach them about American history. That will certainly be an interesting experience!

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Anime Convention...

Hello Ms. Cortney,

I think the only time I've ever sent a letter to Q & A is when the host says that he or she received no letters that day. Invariably, there are always 10 million letters the next day, and my letters never get published.

Just so you know, I publish every letter I get. I don't want anyone to be left out, and I'm the kind of person who usually treats others the way I'd want to be treated.

I don't know if you know about Otakon, the annual massive anime convention in Baltimore, Maryland. It was just this past weekend, and it totally rocked. There were at least 100 people dressed up as either Yuna or Rikku from FFX or FFX-2. It was like being in a real RPG, except you don't have to hit the X button to talk to someone.

Needless to say, the FFX-2 cosplayers had some of the skimpiest costumes I've ever seen. Are you planning on getting FFX-2 when it comes out?


I've heard of Otakon, and I'd like to attend an anime convention someday. Cosplay sounds pretty fun too. Unfortunately, I live in Oklahoma, and not too many people even know what anime or cosplay is around here.

Yes, I'm planning on getting FFX-2, although I won't be in line at EB on the day it hits the shelves. I put it on my Christmas list, and I gave explicit instructions to my relatives about preordering and picking up the game. If all goes well, Yuna and company will be waiting for me under the Christmas tree this year.

Watch out, Goog! They're catching on!

Hey Cortney,

Why are all the facts that people are writing in to The Q& A about Google in Blue?
Is this some kind of Secrecy thing? are the people ho "found out" going to be disposed of?
Or are they really clues to Google's secret website about Google's identity, gender, and all of those things an international spy/gamer needs to hide from the public?
Or is this just some sort of Hoax that google got some of it's e-mail regulars to pass around after it was gone.

To recap, here are the blue words that Andrew Long printed in his Q & A columns in reference to Googleshng:
Matlock, in the Bible somewhere towards the back,, Matlock, website, Searching 3,083,324,652 web pages, Matlock, small-town lawyer with big city smarts, Ben Matlock, the show, golden.

The Matlock references obviously point to the half-baked Ben Matlock bio that Andrew Long concocted sometime recently. The references are designed to lead you on a wild goose chase through thousands of porn and free credit report sites. However, the reference to the Bible and the term "golden" seem to refer to some sort of apocalyptic gilded age. Based on this data, we can logically conclude that the identity of Googleshng is still a mystery and that Andrew Long is crazy.

Is it hard to be a gamer and go to college at the same time?
I have heard conflicting reports (i.e. No time or to much time)
What would you recommend?

Arthur the once and future king

It largely depends on the workload of each individual, and how much time they spend studying and working on their projects. For me, back in my undergrad years, I always found plenty of time for games. While I had a considerable workload of reading material and writing essays, I didn't spend too much time studying for tests. I wasn't lazy or anything; I simply didn't need it that much. I retain material fairly well, so a nice one-hour review of the material the night before almost always garnered a good grade on a test the next day. In addition, I read very quickly, which helps drastically reduce the amount of time I have to devote to reading passages.

It basically boils down to time management and how much one can get done in the day. If you put your mind to it, and get your work done, you'll be fine and you'll discover that you can make time for your favorite activities. Also, the whole "do your homework first" bit doesn't work for everyone. I found it much easier to concentrate on my work after playing for an hour or so first. It helps take my mind off the day and get a much-needed break from academic matters. In addition, it gets the gaming need out of my system, and the PlayStation stops beckoning me while I'm trying to read. Besides, studying is sometimes more effective when divided up into chunks.

Close Encounters of the Starch Kind

gyyaaah Thor was right, the potatos are taking over. Today, Mr. Saturn, tomorrow Shigeru Miyamoto, then The World




Anyway, What current RPGs are you most looking forward to and which do you want to avoid like they're The Plague?


Yes, the vegetables have mutated, and now they have the ability to shape themselves into the likenesses of our most beloved video game characters. Beware the squash that look like moogles!

As for upcoming games, there are a few that have managed to catch my interest. Namely, FFX-2, FFXII, and FFTA. Of course, Sword of Mana looks good, and Drakengard has got my attention as well. But I'm no Square-Enix fangirl. Venus and Braves looks appealing, and after watching just one episode of the .hack anime on Cartoon Network, the entire .hack series has made its way to my want list (I'm hoping that Bandai will release a four volume boxed set once all the games have been released). Last but not least, I'm looking forward to a fairly unknown game called Zanzarah: The Hidden Portal. I'm truly a sucker for games with female leads (and by that I mean the character I'm actually controlling in the game, not just a character who is playing a major role in the story). As for avoidable games, I really haven't seen anything that's made me want to run screaming in the opposite direction...except for maybe Giftpia.

A Letter With Bold, Robust Flavor

Hey Al, what's up YO?

When you noted yesterday that your husband is addicted to Blitzball and also mentioned dodging 200 lightning bolts, it got me thinking about how much I HATEHATEHATEHATEHATEHATEHATE H-A-T-E minigames in my RPGs. I've always maintained that if I wanted to play arcade games, I'd dig out my Atari or find one of those newfangled arcade-style games. And I ESPECIALLY hate when getting the best weapons/items in the game is dependent on you playing these mindless, boring minigames to perfection, in games such as Final Fantasy X. I'd be interested to know what you think about this subject.

Robust Stu
Gold Reviewer/Swell Guy

Minigames are often a good distraction from the rest of the game, and a great way to break up the gameplay and story of an RPG. However, like you, I found a couple of FFX's minigames to be far too annoying. I could not dodge 200 lightning bolts due to my impatient personality and hair-trigger temper (I only made it to 15 or 20). I also thought the "better than 0.0" chocobo race was ridiculous. I know that quite a few people succeeded at these games, but I prefer minigames like snowboarding in FFVII and Chocobo Hot and Cold in FFIX. I also enjoyed Butterfly Catching, and yes, my husband loves playing Blitzball. He's a big football fan (and so am I, but I don't enjoy Blitzball nearly as much as he does). I think that the difficulty of the minigame should be in proportion to the prize. In my opinion, the rewards for the 200 lightning bolts and the chocobo race in FFX are not worth it. With a little effort, I can make weapons that are almost as good as the fully powered Caladbolg and Onion Knight without staring unblinkingly at my TV for hours with my thumb hovering over the X button or zipping around birds and grabbing balloons in a repetitive race for perfection.

I dodged 44 lightning bolts. :) Too bad I can't dodge 44 birds to get better than 0.0 on the chocobo race. :(

The Debate Continues

Here's a question I've been wondering for such a long time...why are PC RPGs and console RPGs so much different? Computer RPGs tend to focus more on multiplayer and pure strategy, whilst console ones focus more on plot and standard turn-based battle systems. Why the gulf? Why can't a game with a good plot be released on the PC? (I've never, EVER, played a PC RPG with a gripping story.) PC RPGs are beginning to spread to the consoles, a la Morrowind and Everquest : Online Adventures, but it's a slow business. What's up with this?

- Feep "I have no last name to sandwich this quote with"

I have very little experience with PC RPGs, so I really can't offer a good comment. It would certainly be interesting to see the quality gameplay of a PC RPG integrated into a console-worthy story to create a truly awesome game. Maybe, for example, Blizzard and Square-Enix will come together and make that game, thus creating harmony between the people of the PC and the citizens of the consoles.

Final Fantasy Favorites

Your lack of letters made me cry yesterday... So I just had to send in another today! So the questions of the day are: What is your favorite generic character class out of any FF game? How about special character class? Monster? Mascot? Favorite boss? And why for each of course...

And also, have a nice day!


Alethea:'re so sweet. ^_^ Let me favorite class would probably have to be either Lancer (they are both nimble and powerful) or White Mage (I like to help people, and I love those robes!). As for special class, I'm not sure. My favorite monster would probably be the Bombs because they challenge you to defeat them quickly before they explode, which means you have to give it your all or face the consequences! If summons count as mascots, then I'd say the Magus Sisters from FFX. They were so powerful, yet so beautiful and feminine. If summons don't count, I'd go with the moombas of FFVIII (and briefly in FFX) because they are so adorable and sweet, yet they are a higher form of life, attained only through a unique evolution. My favorite boss would probably be Kefka because you have to go through all these layers of twisted humanity to reach him, and you are moved higher and higher until you reach the peak where Kefka descends from the sky in all his mad dancing glory. There's a lot of fascinating symbolism in that battle, and I wonder how many people have picked up on it.

I hope you have a nice day too. ^_^

Conquering Arthritis With RPGs

I though it was cool that you were introduced to games by your grandmother, its the same with me, I remember playing Adventure for the atari I was too young to know how to get anywhere but it was fun running from stick dragons and such. Nowadays my grandma buys the games (mostly RPGs) plays them and then we get them from her and play them ourselfs. Which is great because we don't have to spend so much buying our own. Unfortunantly my parents aren't the same way too bad.

That is so cool. Everyone needs a grandma who loves video games!

As for you potato look alike, how did it grow a nose like that, is that natural? I guess the earthbound potatos are taking over the farming industry...

The potato was grown in my aunt and uncle's garden. It isn't any sort of special variety of potato...just your simple everyday average potato that happened to sprout a nose like a Mr. Saturn. Notice that it even has little legs, but I had to prop it up because the legs were too short and round for it to stand on its own.

And now a question have you or your husband ever dodged 200 lightining strikes? I was never able to after getting to 100 and having someone run in the room and distract me, resulting in titus doing a backflip, i quit. I just made a weapon for lulu. While the weapon that i made was better(in my opinion anyway) it still makes me mad that I could do the Iritating chocobo race and can't dodge lighting... ah well i guess humans were never ment to tease the bolts.
thanks, Rache

As Phil mentioned earlier, he only made it to 44, which is better than I did. Like you, I discovered that I could make weapons that were just as good on my own without completing the minigames, and I was also frustrated that I couldn't dodge the lightning and get a perfect score on chocobo racing.

Hey! Who turned out the lights?!

yay i finally have power so i can email u!

to comment on Vrumugun's comment on how Google is also Jake Alley...i've thought for a long time that they were the same person, but now it doesnt make sense. I know his webpage says "copywrite Jake Alley" but a Jake Alley also works at RPGamer. His profile is almost EXACTLY the same except for a few things, plus, they were both updated on the exact same day (6/16/00). so its very unlikely they are not one in the same. however, who would go through that much trouble to have two different jobs under two different names, forcing u to have 2 different profiles and sign the articles u wrote under 2 different names?! does that mean u have to play double the games? it seems so confusing and dumb, i mean, does he REALLY wanna be hidden that much? its not like he's some murderer on the run from the CIA or anything, right?? RIGHT??!!

it just seems like a load of trouble.


anyway, for the real question: what are your thoughts on Final Fantasy X-2? do you think it will be the dawn of a new era and Sqaure will start making sequels to all FF games? because that would be terrible, i think it spoils the fun, esp. now that I've been hearing of a Final Fantasy VII sequel for the PSP and a Kingdom Hearts sequel for Ps2/Ps3. and FFX-2 sounds no where near as good as the first one....though i was still be preordering it as soon as i can ^^


oh, and i dodged 500 lightning bolts! i cant count and didnt wanna stop cause i thought i didnt reach 200 yet. after 4 hours my mom started yelling at me to get off or i could have gotten higher -_-;;

I'm looking forward to FFX-2. Even though I'm not into the whole J-pop thing, I think it sounds like a good adventure. Square-Enix doesn't intend to make any more true FF sequels, so you can now be at ease. The FFVII-2 on the PSP rumor is just that: a rumor. Nothing more. FFX-2 is just a light-hearted quickie job for Square-Enix, which used the existing character models and game systems from FFX. In order to make sequels for the other FF games, Square-Enix would have to start from the ground up with updated character models, battle systems, events, etc. and use up precious resources that could be spent on an entirely new game with a whole other RPG experience. The Kingdom Hearts sequel is tied up in negotiations, which is unfortunate because I loved KH and I wanted a sequel so badly after seeing the hidden cinema.

:P Well, at least I beat Omega Weapon with two 50,000+ shots from Kimahri.


How do we know if we got the supplies required for Final Fantasy XI? Thanks a lot

Alethea: That's easy. Just check the system requirements for the PC here and the PS2 here.

Last Words:

Alethea: Another good column. I could get used to this job. I think I'll throw out a topic for next games and time management. Share your experiences with keeping a healthy balance of games, school, and work, and feel free to contribute any good advice you may have.

The Magical Feminist Wonder
Cortney "*sniff* Is that Fried Tidus I smell?" Stone -

New Q & A comic coming!

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  • Dodging 200 Lightning Bolts
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