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Andrew:
Well that was helpful. Looks like I better start advertising the heck out of any projects Iím working on...

 WRONG QUESTION.

Hello, Killer Rabbit;

I tried to code this as html but Outlook Express kept coding the code...

Andrew:
But the important thing is you tried, and Bill Gates screwed you over. Rest assured he will be punished in the afterlife, possibly by having to come up with his own ideas for what Hell is like.

I look for games that seem to have a well-developed story, hopefully long play-time, and replay value (sidequests and optional areas that aren't required to finish the game but really enrich the experience). I want challenging battles (I'm a levelholic, just as you are), but I don't want non-boss battles that frustrate me into throwing the controller. I like games that somehow encourage the player to explore and grow, and remember the characters (and music!) fondly. I don't mind unrealistic settings or rules, as long as they are consistent. I think I prefer ATB, where you don't commit to actions for your entire party before any action is performed.

I rely very much on reviews and preview from RPGamer and www.techtv.com/xplay as well as what friends I know play RPGs. Now that I have a good PC, I'm waiting for a PC RPG to convince me that I should spend 100 hours on my desk chair rather than on the couch using a console. Though I still want to get FF VII PC...

Andrew:
I figure Iíll nip this in the bud before it keeps out of hand. Iím not asking you for what your idea of a perfect RPG is. A lot of the stuff you just mentioned wonít ever be placed in an ad or review, (THIS GAME IS A MUST FOR LEVELAHOLICS, EVERYONE ELSE CAN SCREW OFF) so basically, Iím asking how they trick you into buying/renting the game, not what pleases you after youíve done so. I must learn the art of stealing your wallets, not your hearts!

-Wesley

P. S. I really enjoyed Heath and Andrew Long as guest hosts.

Andrew:
Heh, it means a lot to them that youíve said that. Good on you!

 Pissing off Australians since...uh...today?

Dear Whoever-is-doing-the-Q&A

I love the guest hosting thing, whoever complains about it I'll hire my hitman and they can be assasinated for the greater good....only kidding...really....(Meet me later at the abandoned warehouse 1900 hours sharp and then we can "arrange" something.)

Andrew:
Okay, but I might be a bit late. Iíve got a secret meeting right before that, and itís my week to bring snacks.

I'm an Australian and I was wondering if you Americans realise you don't speak English but American. They need to translate games when they've been translated for sale in America. I get so irritated when I see "Mom" instead of our "Mum" (I don't like when they misplel zings). Pokemon even had "I'm rooting for you baby" which if you said that in Australia, people would think you've been doing something quite sick. (*Wink*Wink*)

Andrew:
Hey, at least you donít have to endure those awful Foster beer commercials. Americans have to watch the Australian versions of red-neck hicks doing really stupid things in a sad attempt to convince us that Fosters is a ďmanlyĒ beer. Pssh, as if any beer was manly.

Anyway I've just got a GBA SP and I was wondering what your personal top ten favourite GBA RPG's are. I'm saving up so I need some idea on what to play.

See ya,

Shaun "That's sick!" Silcock

Andrew:
A quick check of my Game Boy Advance collection reveals I only own 8 games, so push off you!

... any of the Castlevania series, especially the newest one, ďAria of SorrowĒ should definitely be picked up.

 Female lead = Awesome game?

My favorite columnist from the last couple weeks was "the other Andrew." He had a way of expressing himself that made me half boggle, half laugh. I enjoyed reading all of the Q&A hosts, and would happily follow any of them singly or in tandem through another vacation, but he was my favorite.

Andrew:
That brings up a good point, Beth. Most of the readers who enjoyed the random assortment of hosts and wrote in were regulars, where almost all of the negative comments came from first timer writers who I couldnít give a damn about anyway.

What makes me buy an RPG? I read previews of games in game magazines and on websites, and the hype-ishness is easy enough to see through. How many times have we seen games get major articles when in development, only to receive 5s and 6s when review time comes along? After awhile you get skeptical of praise that comes several months before the review copies arrive. (Auto Modellista, Tomb Raider, DMC2...) Despite all that, preview articles can give me a general idea of a game's story, its characters, its flavor, and what type of RPG it is, turn-based, strategy, or action-RPG.

Andrew:
That always pisses me off. Iíll get all excited over a game, and then the review comes in, and itís crap, because the previews were being based off of too little information. Heck, look at Unlimited Saga, it isnít till you get your hands on it do you realize that itís utter crap. If they have so little to go off of, why do they have to rush and make comments based on a game they havenít really had a chance to experience? Why not hold off until they can properly inform their audience, instead of sticking the coming soon pile of crap on the damned front cover?! Argh!

In the end, what makes me buy a game right out the starting gate is probably my impression of what it's like that I've gathered from the previews. There's enough out there, old and new, that I can trust myself to latch onto things I'll enjoy. Not a science, it sometimes fails. Lost Kingdoms'having a female lead did not automatically provide it with anything else I like in RPGs.A lot of the time I'll resist the "gotta have it right away" impulses, and wait a month or two after the release date to buy a game. Partly so there's a good selection of fan and pro reviews outthere, partly because of a deep-seated tightness that winces in pain whenever it has to pay more than 30 bucks for a game (and that usually expresses itself when I've racked up two or three $75+ credit card receipts at the local game store in one month).

Question: could you suggest a "midline" PSX or SNES RPG, or two? I've got most of the blockbusters, the FFs and Valkyrie Profile and Dragon Warrior VII and Secret of Mana and so forth. What I'm looking for is something that's got solid gameplay, has a fun story and/or characters, and is maybe a tetch on the old-school side. Something that hasn't managed to gather a faddish cult around itself for whatever reason. Something that won't cost 100 bucks, please... thanks.

Andrew:
I need to stick up a sign so people so asking me to recommend them games. Itíll end in tragedy, Beth, believe me.

How's the DDR coming? Passed up your brother yet? Passed a 9-footer?

Beth.

Andrew:
Around my house, DDR is a family game. Once they hear that sweet sweet announcer, my brother and sister both rush down to the basement to play. Weíre all caught in the grasp of DDR Max right now, and while Iím certainly ahead in mad dancing skills, both of them could catch up with a day of hard practice. Currently weíre dancing are way through standard mode, having wiped our feet with lite. Still havenít beat Max 300 though. ;_;

 0_o

Andrew,

Both Xenosaga and FFX had solid scripts and decent acting, in my opinion, but one quirk cropped up in both games. It's not so much of an issue in anime, where speech is usually represented with two frames of animation (open mouth, closed mouth, open mouth, closed mouth...) but I can see this becoming the final limiting reagent in RPG quality as technology progresses, as well as the only real quality disparity between Japanese and American game releases.

I'm sure you already know what I'm referring to: the mouths don't match the words! Scripts are written in Japanese, and mouth and facial expressions are developed to fit the Japanese enunciations. When scripts are localized, the English often works out to different vowel sounds at best, and a different number of syllables at worst. This is why we see Shion's mouth stop moving long before the actress can spit out the rest of the sentence, or why Tidus at times has to toss in a string of "ummmeahhhheiiiyheeeehhhh" before getting to the point.

I for one would be willing to wait an extra month or two for my video games to be completely reworked for the American release. If Monolith has the technology to change the infamous Albedo/MOMO scene into a completely different set of shots, then they can fix the mouth movements to look like English. What do you think?

-Tommy Moo

Andrew:
Well...I have noticed it to Tommy, but I canít agree with holding back an otherwise finished game for that kind tweaking. I mean, I completely agree thatís itís bull to have Tidusí actor having to make up crap or completely change a sentence around to fit his face, but I really donít see anything wrong with having games do what Xenosaga did and just have the actors do the lines and ignore the faces. Itís like watching a foreign film, you just deal with it. Besides, I like my movies, anime, and videogames with written dialogue anyway. Tidus is one whiny superstar when he gets a voice.

Oh, and the infamous Albedo/MOMO scene was merely too suggestive, nothing actually happened, and besides, it only took a small amount of time and effort to fix, your suggestion wouldnít.

 Heís got guts, Iíll give him that.

Hey Andrew,

Thank you for making a really good topic to reply to. Anyways, the types of RPG's that I love to play have to have both a really good story and a great battle system. Some stories don't have to be as good because their battle systems more than make up for it. And there is rarely an RPG that is good because its story is so good that its battle system can ultimately suck(like Xenosaga, only thing good about it is its story).

And then there are the things I hate about some RPG's (like what Squaresoft has did on every single recent RPG they've made). Battle systems that are repetitive since the very beggining of the game, like Final Fantasy 10 or Suikoden 3, where all you do is attack over and over and the abilities are worthless (or in Suikoden 3's case good but run out way too quickly). Also along with the battle systems, games like these two have horrible storylines as well.

So I end up waiting and waiting until buying games that aren't so repetitive to come out, like the recently released games Arc the Lad: Twilight of Spirits (which is sort of repetitive, but great story and a strategy game so you could tell it would be a little, the object is strategy) or Wild Arms 3 (not a recent game, but one of the only good PS2 RPG's so far). Then games like Castlevania that have great gameplay, but they're not RPG's so can't very well put those on the list.

Andrew:
Once again, none of this helps me. There isnít an RPG out there that doesnít boast some interesting twist in either the story or gameplay department. Of course, these so called revolutionary new features or engaging plots usually end up being awful anyway. Bah!

Anyways, for a quick question, do you think a reader could be a guest host, you know, put them up as the host of next days Q&A. The reader reads the emails sent and sends their answers back. Then since google doesn't want to spend so much time doing Q&A, there can be a part-time/permanent Q&A host if they do good.

So, can I be a guest host for a day? Just asking.

-andrew- -kupomogli-

Andrew:
Actually, I got hired for reasons similar to that. But to answer your question, no, I wonít be letting you guest host with me. Why?

1. It takes nearly twice the time to do Q&A.

2. No offensive, but your letter didnít exactly rank up there in the old coolness factor, having you guest host wouldnít add anything to the column.

3. I usually hand out guest hosting Q&A as a prize in one of my contests, or when someone does something amazingly nice, like when that one reader sent me a free copy of Xenosaga. *swoon* If I let you do Q&A with me, it kills it as a prize, and Iíd have every reader and their half-brother clamoring for a try. So sorry, but no.

 Naive people rock!

Andrew

To start off, what is the reason I buy modern day RPG's? Is it due to a strange fixation on cowboys? Or perhaps it is due to the white hot on the edge of your seat fast paced non-stop twitch reflex thrill ride that only an RPG style battle system can deliver. No itís really probably just a strange fixation on cowboys. Ah yes, to the Queen of Dorks, I really like those comics that you do, and would really enjoy a continuation of said comics. Yes thatís it....

Paladins Books ďWe put the pall back in paladinĒ we really do you know....

Andrew:
You buy modern RPGs because the fantasy/medieval thing has been done to death, or if youíre me, youíre looking to find a game that emulates either Earthbound or Shadowrun. *swoon*

The battles systems of RPGs work so well because youíre given the choice to handle battles the way youíd handle all your fights if you had the chance. Sit and think out each move before you act, and have the option of running away without getting mocked for it later. Lord knows that if I had this option when I was younger, there would have been a lot less fisticuffs and a whole lot more mud in the eyes and use of teeth.

Ehehe. Queen of Dorks is extremely flattered. She got...well, I donít want to go into numbers, but lets just say that she got more fan mail then this column is going to get all weekend. I havenít seen her this happy since she drew me exploding in the airless vacuum of space.



Quickies

After hearing you say so much about this "ArfenHouse", I clicked the link from Q&A. Now I'm scared.

-rob "hangman" mcg

Welcome to the real world, Robby. Now, get yer shotgun!

Here's a suggestion for you:

Why not make a new section where people make predictions about upcoming games and the industry in general. Winners get to verbally abuse the non- believers who didn't .. um.. believe them.. (and maybe a free copy of typing shark?). I'll make the first prediction: FFIV on the PS2.. Yes you heard me right. It's gonna happen. Maintain people! MAINTAIN!!

Because most of the predictions would be either opinions that couldnít be proven correct or incorrect, and besides, FFIV will be released on Playstation 2. In another lame-ass buggy collection in the year 2010. Damn you Square!

^_^ + PUNCH! = ^_*

Uh...congrats on punching yourself in the face?

Hey
I was wondering, how do you get bannanas of the trees

YOU FAIL.

The Final Grumble:

Once again folks, this weekendís topic isnít about your favorite elements of an RPG or what makes your favorite game so great. Itís about how you were tricked into buying it. Heck, what was that advertisement that made you run out and buy it? Was it that sexy techno beat in the Kingdom Hearts commercial, or Mog whooping ass in that old Final Fantasy 3 two page ad?

Andrew "CONFIDENT" DuffClaire Belton

Ooo! My August issue of NewType is here! I KNEW there was an anime fairy who loves me!

Old Issues
  • Jet-Lagging Loogie.
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  • Andrew stealing your money!