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Well I was browsing through the archives when it hit me that while most hosts have added their own touches here and there, the format for the column has remained largely unchanged. And while I will agree that readable is the top priority for a news site such as RPGamer, this doesnít mean that Q&A canít get some funk on in its design.

As for the new design, itís not only going to involve seriously screwing with the format of the column, getting rid of some of the unnecessary parts of the column, adding some interesting new features, but also doing a total revamp of how it looks. Now, I canít say that Google is going to be using the new format, indeed, it seems likely that itíll remain a weekend feature since Iím using the combined help of Viper and Queen Of Dorks to get the new design in gear, but it should hopefully add some flair to the columnís rather dull exterior.

So yeah, the Q&A will look prettier, but Iíll try not offend anyone with poorly animated gifs or the blinding contrasts of primary colors. The main part of the column, the letters, will basically go untouched in order to preserve readability, and with any luck Iíll get a heartily ďyippee!Ē from the readers who have had to deal with such a bland format for so many years.

As for Xenogears, I reached Elna at around the 13 hour mark, because Iím a level busting masochist, but then things like newspaper deadlines, English papers, and Aikido practice cut into my gaming time, and I havenít had the chance to finish it since, much to my discomfort, since I did promise the rather generous reader who sent it to me a review. Still, those good grades got me going to Japan this fall, so I really canít complain.

 Yeah, I like it when readers ask me questions and then answer the question themselves. Saves time.

Hi Andrew,

What is your opinion of the upcoming Final Fantasy Tactics Advance? Happy? Sad? Incredibly mad? I have certain problems with the idea of a judge throwing my characters into jail for breaking "laws." I mean in most games you can just steal from people right out of their homes, so why the heck would there be laws on a battlefield... Oh well, hopefully it won't be as absurd as it could potentially be like "No Ice because it isn't nice..." or for no real reason at all, which would be even worse... possibly...

Also, just how many RPGs have you completed?

Vrumugun"Wouldn't a gang of 'tortured thieves' begin the battle with reduced HP?"

I got a chance to give Final Fantasy Tactics Advance a whirl at E3, and yes, it is youth-oriented and strange. Being a stupid kid who gets magically transported to the world of his favorite videogame series and is befriended by a host of furries isnít exactly my idea of a killer time, especially considering the last games rather heavy plot of political intrigue and class struggle. However, from what I played, all of Final Fantasy Tactics battle system seems to be intact. Yes, with the addition of the judge, who is a rather imposing warrior-type riding a chocobo.

You have to remember that the judge system works in both ways. Players are rewarded for following rules in battle, and punished with jail time for disobeying certain, and yes Iíll admit it, other seemingly arbitrary rules. While I donít find the judge system particularly appealing, I will be picking up the game, and Iím sure you will be too, because I loved the original Final Fantasy Tactics so much.

How many games have I completed? Hundreds. Before I took over here, I reviewed games created on the OHRRPGCE, and played plenty more commercial and amateur made games to even begin to get a precise count on how many total Iíve completed.

 Stupidity at its finest!

I have a desktop background I downloaded from RPGamer of KOS-MOS from Xenosaga 1. On the side of the background it details the timeline of the Xenosaga series, as follows:

Episode I: 15,000 years before Xenogears
Episode I: 10,000 years before Xenogears
Episode I: 4,000 years before Xenogears
Episode I: 500 years before Xenogears
Episode V: Xenogears
Episode VI: Unspecified amount of time after Xenogears

It would be kind of hard for Namco to change this around since Xenosaga is based on a book and the book is divided up that way. Now, my question is this. The second Xenosaga game obviously does not take place 5,000 years after the first one. It is therefore not Episode 2, right? What does one call it? Episode 1.2? Episode 1b? Episode why-the-crap-am-I-paying-for-two-games?

Gee, thanks reader for using such a painfully bad source! Is this background you downloaded fan-made? Official? How about a link to said background? No? Too much trouble for you? Speaking of which, why the heck did you list episode 1 four times?

Worse, even if I ignore all the problems with your source, youíre still skipping the obvious. The second Xenosaga game is taking place when the creators decide it takes place. If theyíve changed the gap from 5000 years, what are you going to do about it? Call them and complain? Explain in a superior tone to your friends why Xenosaga Episode 2 isnít really Episode 2, you freaking nerd? Besides, theyíre already redoing Xenogears. Youíd think this would be a big enough hint that the development is going to wreck holy hell with earlier continua.

 Nerds vs. Dorks!

Xenosaga/Xenogears spoilers...

I was playing Xenosaga (mumbles in Simpsons comic book guy voice - Episode One: The Will to Power) late one night when an idea struck me. What if Deus is KOS-MOS? Or at least KOS-MOS' CPU was put into Deus. As you see in the opening sequence for Xenogears, when Deus wakes up the words "Ye shall be as gods" is flashed across the bridge screen. When Shion activates KOS-MOS, she enters the very same words as a password. I think I'm stretching things a little bit there but you never know.

Uh...okay. Sure. Knock yourself out and impress all your friends. Not really sure why that would matter much at this junction, since thereís a rather large gap between the two games, and thereís a whole lot of plot twists that could easily blow your guess to heck. And then your so called friends would beat you, and no one wants that to happen. ;_;

Also, while I'm on the subject of Xenosaga, which android do you think would win in a fight? KOS-MOS, T-X from Terminator 3? This is assuming that KOS-MOS is not in her world-destroying form.

Since I havenít beat Xenosaga and donít know all of KOS-MOSí powers, and since I have yet to see Terminator 3, Iíd have to say the winner is you, having your sick little fantasy of two robotic women engaged in a cat fight of WORLD DESTROYING PROPORTIONS. HURF URF.

Ok, I need a video game question.... Boktai the amazing solar-powered video game: Interesting innovation or just plain stupid idea? I mean, I like to play games at night. I don't know about the other gamers out there though...


Well, from the videos at E3, it looks like itís going to be fun to play, though Iíll agree that the reasons for creating such a game are pretty high on the bloody stupid scale. But hey, if going outside is the price I have to pay to play a game with a vampire hunter who has a sunlight gun and likes to defile dead bodies, Iíll gladly roast my beautiful white skin.

 Sorry Squall, your weapon is as unoriginal as you are!

'ello there!

I was looking at all those gunblade letters, and thought to myself, what about a gun-axe? Think about it... You shoot with the gun ( a rifle or other long gun ) and then you would have an axe at the end, so you could hold it like a battle-axe, and swing away.Just a random idea I though might be cool. What do you think?

- Thor

" I shall now summon the most fearsome creature of the nine hells! The Ancient, Dire..... Rabbit!? ....What the!?"

A gun-axe? What you mean, like this?

Honestly, people have been sticking guns onto weapons for hundreds of years. Then Final Fantasy 8 comes along and everyone craps themselves in amazement. -_-;;

 The element...of surprise!

After initially reading your response to my letter (the one about the modern-day tactical RPG with the bizarre alien-rescue plot), I said to myself, "Man, I bet he didn't like Earthbound either." So imagine my surprise when I read down and found that you found Earthbound "an amazing experience," "well designed and entertaining!" I guess Earthbound does have a leg up on my idea, being an actual game with actual design, and it probably did do quirky and weird humor better than I could.

In that case, let's try this again. Except not with a plot idea, but with an element system idea.Let's face it: virtually every RPG I've seen derives its element system from the Aristotelian elemental theory. RPG's sometimes add "innovative" twists to this system, replacing (say) wind with lightning, or adding or dropping new elements like "holy" and "evil." This was all fine and good back when RPG's were principally sword-and-sorcery fantasy--such an element system mimicked how the medieval outlook borrowed heavily from Aristotle's theories--but now that we're seeing increasingly technological backgrounds in RPG's, isn't it time for an overhaul?My idea replaces elements with "energy types." These would be the six known types of energy: mechanical, chemical, thermal, nuclear, electrical, and radiant. As previous RPG's did with their metaphysical "elements," every damage source has an energy type. A few examples and explanations:

Mechanical: damage from physical sources (e.g. spears, guns)

Chemical: caused by chemical reactions (for instance, slime-like enemies would cause this w/ acidic attacks)

Thermal: fire or heat energy, obviously

Nuclear: the energy released in the fusion or fission of the atomic nucleus (extremely damaging!)

Electrical: this, too, is obvious

Radiant: about the only way I can think of to cause damage with radiant energy is lasers...

Also, scrap the "defense" stat; characters instead have a percentage rating for each of the types of energy, based more on armor than innate resistance. Metal armor increases resistance to mechanical based on the quality of metal, also provides some thermal and chemical protection, but does almost nothing where electricity is concerned. Rubber suits (scuba gear??) would give a little mechanical protection, and maybe a few percentage points in a few of the others, but would block electrical damage almost completely.

I can see a game like this possibly doing away with magic entirely. Of course, this would introduce problems where instantaneous in-battle healing is concerned, but the problem again might be solved with technology. Also, such a game just cries out for a robot party member...mmm, robot party members...

-Jackson Ferrell

The idea is solid, but whatís wrong with the system we have now? Your idea would work fine if you wanted to create an RPG set in the future, but frankly it isnít all that unique when compared to the fantasy set-up. Iíll admit that your system is more sensible then the elements, but at the same time, Iíd rather cast ďMEGA SOUL TORNADOĒ then say, use ďTHERMAL MAGIC BLOWTORCHĒ even if it makes less sense. Iíll give your idea a D+. You can do better Jackson!

 See? Learning can be fun! With Moboloian Death Beams!


1. I think an RPG presented as a documentary counts as zany. The characters you play as would all be from different times, but 'reincarnations' of the same people. Thus, the main characters would have the same abilities. During battle, you would hear this boring and monotonous voice saying "Observe how Tzeckth uses the same beam that Movolos used 200 years ago. By remembering that all beams are unique to the casters..."

Zany it would be, but the game would sell HORRIBLY.

Actually, could you imagine if it sold well? Millions of school children would grow up knowing the complete history of an imaginary world, yet wouldnít be able to name all 50 states or sing ďOh, CanadaĒ. Itíd be even worse if these kids were ever drafted. ďRemember what the Tzeckthites died for us, buckos! Now...CHAAAAAAAAARGE!Ē

2. I think it would also be unusual if an RPG had a side quest in which you have to climb the political ladder. It would be a bit like the SeeD ranking thing in FF8, only more detailed. For instance, if you spill tea on the ambassador from another land, you will do poorly in a weekly election unless you do something to cover it up. Spending in-game money to have the ambassador assasinated and have the news not report it will be fine, unless you offend somebody who knows about the scam. Then, they will reveal you, and you will be banished from a town. Also, if the cover-up is kept secret but you go to the home-town of the ambassador, where they suspect you of killing him, they will not let you buy things or sleep at inns, and you fight random battles against 'angry mobs.'


Hehe. Ewcoolio, you just created a whole game premise! Just cut out the whole ďRPGĒ part of it. Itíd be like Simcity with Mob-like powers instead of God-like powers!

 Thatís right, all of yous shut yer mouths!

Hey Andrew(I write this to you cuse I know you'll add some good comentary(good or bad for me)

Disclaimer: I want to make this soapbox preaching short, but that's not probable....

Alright I just want to stop hearing the complaints from all the wannabe Xeno-know-it-alls who are being critics to the storyline of the series. And here's why (didn't think I wouldn't give a reason did ya?).

Everyone is going about using things like Perfect Works or thier own personal feelings about all that is Xeno go go making assumptions about how the story will unfold. I would just really like to point out that XPW, while very interesting to read, was only a rough draft story-line wise of how the actuall Xenosaga would play out, does that meen Xenogears will be remade as part 5? Maybe. Does it meen it might not be till episode 6? Maybe. Does it actually meen that not one outside of the designers of the series really has a clue what they plan? Most likely.

Best comparison I can give this to anything is the Star Wars series..... What Star Wars fanatic, that has never helped write/make any of the movies, could have guessed that episodes 1 and 2 would toss little things like the Trade Federation, a perviously unheard of planet called Naboo, and a host of other things into it? Just because Xenosaga Episode 1 took place in it's own little section of space meens nothing....How many planets did Xenogears take place on? Hmmm interesting. All in all I encourage people to always speculate about what'll happen next, it's part of the fun about a series. But really think about what you're declaring to the world, and how really likely they are.

-Sigmund Silvano Arris-
White Knight of the Ankh (Go Ultima Online, QFB)
Order of Wisdom

-p.s.- one less rant..... how can people say the new screens of Shion/KOS-MOS are less realistic? Was a way too young looking, not nearly as high resolution, scientist in a rather provocative lab uniform too real for some of you? sheesh.

Well, even with your shaky grasp of the English language, youíve made a good point, Sigmund. And with that, I do hear by declare that all Xenogears/Xenosaga speculative letters sent to me will be forwarded to Google, who will delete them. I may be a Q&A host for RPGamer, but this is way too nerdy even for me.


I believe that the greeting "Greeting (something sings) NAME OF Q&A HOST is incredibly stupid. It is extremely gay. Some people might find it cute or funny but I find completely moronic.

Never write me a letter again. In fact, please stop going online, you dreg on humanity. Iíd prefer the harmless insanity of Imperial Mog to yourself, a homophobic freak who doesnít have a sense of humor.

I've gone through 3 ddr pads already and here's my advice.

-Buy the madcatz pad from wal-mart

If it breaks in 90 days, take it back to wal-mart for a refund. If it breaks afterwards, madcatz has a 5 year warrenty (you have to ship it back though, bleh)


-the krello

Are you suggesting that I cheat the system that has screwed me time and time again with poorly-made dance pads?!

...thanks! ^_^ Mwhaha, now youíre going to pay, Konami!

the link to the ff7 crossword is broken! could you please send it to me plz!

%#(& (&%#$ *$&#@$!

The Final Grumble:

Itís good to be back, but I have to say that I miss all the crazy guest hosts already. What did you guys think of the guest hosts? Who were your favorites? Why?

Andrew "Laser Gun!" DuffClaire Belton

...I snapped and bought Dark Cloud 2. Sssh!

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