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Andrew:
Hey, great story. Final Fantasy 7 was one of those games where I collected everything I could on it, and ended up playing through it again and again. Your story of pain and suffering brightened my day, though Iím sorry you had to play the computer version, which as youíve confirmed, was a glitchtastic mess.

 Rhapsody...2?!

This one time these alien creatures came into my house and rampaged through everyone in my house's stuff until the made it to my room and then all of their heads exploded. That's why I buy video games. Actually I just buy all the ones that magazines give like 2's and 3's too and those are normally the ones I end up liking. Or the ones that just plain look silly and stupid. Like Okage or Ephemeral Phantasia or Rhapsody. Which by the way I came across part 2 yesterday and plan on playing it as soon as it reaches my house. I ripped the demo video from the game for your viewing so clicky here and be aroused as you find out what gender the baby at the end of the first game is. ;)

Andrew:
...you buy video games because alienís heads explode when they get near you? 0_o

Well, moving on, Okage did have a unique graphical style, but Iíd say that itís wacky story and characters was more of a good thing then something that deserved a 2 or a 3 in a review. Oh, and I loved Rhapsody, even with all itís problems. This is why even now I cry bitter tears because the stupid video you linked to wonít load for me. ;_;

 The mastermind behind those evil traffic lights!

Andrew,

I bought Final Fantasy IX. I thought I'd like it, and I did.

OK, seriously, here, there's a story behind the game. As everyone knows, FF9 was released in November of 2000. About that time, I was dealing with a particularly devastating final project-- program a coordinated sequence for a set of three traffic lights from scratch. There were about twelve of us all working on the same project. The project was pretty massive-- we had tomodel the cars' behavior, the traffic lights, the road lanes, a set of intersections... not at all easy. I bought FF9 sometime early in December on the last weekend before I was to actually begin work on the project, as an incentive to do work. You know, kind of a "finish this module and you can go finish a dungeon" sort of thing.

Because of that error, I didn't start coding until two days later.

So, when all was said and done, I handed a halfway-completed project in to my professor, whose variable names were loaded with NPCs and other things (the professor asked me actually how I came up with the word "eidolon" for one particularly arcane number). When I turned it in, I talked with my classmates, and as it turns out, none of them had completed the project either... so we all would get full credit because the professor realized it was damn near impossible. At that time, all the stress burst through my brain and I had a nervous breakdown. I can't recall all the details, as such; I just remember walking around campus in a floppy yellow hat and glow-in-the-dark ski goggles waving a lighter around and screaming "I AM VIVI, GODDAMNIT!"

As for FF9, I played it straight through until Christmas, when my parents gave me Lunar 2. This started my "hunt down the cute and warm'n'fuzzy feeling RPGs and games you can find" phase, which resulted in a newfound love of Klonoa...

Andrew:
Thatís one of the things I love about college, a professor can fail an entire class of over 200 students for most of the year, but has to raise their grade at the end of semester or risk getting themselves fired. Interesting story, Zeitler. Glad you passed your class and still managed to go insane over Final Fantasy 9. Look on the bright side, at least you didnít think your were Amarant. *shudder*

Oh! And a lot of people are writing about Wild ARMs... It was indeed the first RPG I got for the Playstation, like many other people have said. I got it primarily because it was cheap. But when I got it home, I kept playing it because it reminded me so much of FF 6, you know? Except for the atrocious battle system and insane encounter rate. But otherwise, a good, solid, 2-D RPG. And how many of you want to bet that that newfangled Wild ARMs F isn't a PS2 remake of the original, but a PSP remake....? I don't want to have to buy that monstrosity, but if WA is on there...

To sum up. Final Fantasy good. Wild ARMs good. Star Ocean good. Final projects.... BAD.

Thanks,
Ė
John Zeitler
http://www.thefurryone.net

Andrew:
Wild ARMs F sounds like an awful, awful idea to me. I happened to like the original super deformed characters and really donít think the game needs a remake. Still, if Wild Arms did that badly to make then retreat to a sure money maker...well...kinda of my fault for not buying it. It was still a dick move on their part with the stupid lock out they did on Wild Arms 2. I STILL havenít played my copy.

 BUM RUSH Q&A HOSTS!

First off, I'm working on a Webcomic-Review site, which will go up when my HTML-slinging friend Steve returns to normal life. (He works in a steel mill and is working on a Dante (von Devil May Cry) costume for Otakon. (Reminds me: I need to find a loud orange vest for my Lan costume.) Hopefully this'll help people to find the best of the best of the webcomics out there. Hopefully.

Second! Games trick me out of my money by being unique. Star Ocean has Item Creation. The Legaia games have that spiffy battle system. .hack//ALLOFIT is 4 DVDs long. Megaman Battle Network is just so far from everything else out there that it's interesting. Yes, I buy games based on quirk value alone. I'm such a tool.

Third: On the topic of guest hosts. Personally, I liked the gang-attack method of Q&A used by the Collective. It might be interesting to see that put to more use.

Wish me luck at Otakon. I hope to not run out of money in the first five minutes. (Granted, I bought $120 worth of Chobits plushies at Ohayocon... gyoo. Things don't look good.)

-- Nerdboy Himself

Andrew:
1. Cool, send me a letter when itís up so I may dispense pain unto you.

2. At least you admit it. I keep telling myself I liked Rhapsody because it was a good RPG, when we all the know the truth is Iím addicted to overly cutesy crap and musicals. *sob*

3. Weíll definitely do a mix of guest hosts when a Q&A staff member has to wander off for awhile from now on.

Good luck! I know how hard it is not to buy anime related merchandise. Itís one of the big reasons I donít have a Paypal account...Iíd spend all my money on Ebay buying pencil cases and other junk.

 How to reelíem in.

Now that you mention it, that mog whoopass ad for FF3 was pretty cool. It wasn't why Ibought it, though. Ads are the first step. They let you know that a game exists. Sometimesthey try to hammer it into your skull. Reviews are the second step. You see a good reviewand get interested in the game.

The second-and-a-half step is trying it. Whether this step is done depends on a couplefactors: Is the game available for rental at a nearby store? Does one of your friends havethe game? Is a demo available online? Are the reviews (and the hype) so good that you'reconvinced that any sane person needs to have this game? Do you have to spend your ownmoney, or is it close enough to Christmas or your birthday to plop it on your list?

The third step is buying it. Or getting it. (See last question above.) If you don't likeit, you sneer at the game, toss it behind some bookshelf, and use it as a dustcollector/cockroach habitat. If you like it, the company has you hooked. Time to reel youin.

If customers like a game, they'll quickly snatch up games related to it. It could be asequel. It could be a different game made by the same group. It could be games in theseries that were made before. Once you have them hooked, all you usually need is the ad.

Capitalist: "Hey, did you know that a sequel to your Favorite Game of All Time is outnow?"

Customer: "MUST HAVE IT!" *digs out wallet*

Heck, if you're lucky, they'll like it so much that they'll dig up information aboutrelated games on their own. Not only that, but one excellent game will give you someleeway to screw up along the way. Just think of all the people that saw SW: Episode I andthen went back to see SW: Episode II. "It's gotta be better this time, it's gotta bebetter this time..."

I go with what's been good before: Nintendo, Miyamoto's games, Metroid, the Castlevaniaadventures, Final Fantasy, Bioware's games, etc. Sometimes they lead to bad buys. (Whathappened?!? Yoshi's Story SUCKED compared to Yoshi's Island!) However, 9 times out of 10 Idon't regret buying them.

The various miscellaneous games I get are usually years after they've come out. I figureif people are still talking about them then, I should check them out. (It also helps thatyou can download them off the Net for free by then. Roms are evil. Long live the roms.)

-Mike Lemmer
Colony Ship for Sale, Cheap

Andrew:
Brilliant. Youíre right of course, itís that name recognition that drags people into a game series, and hopefully, the company too. Which means a company really only has that first shot of getting their game out there before the walls of their business come crashing down on them. Final Fantasy indeed. It works both ways too, there are plenty of companies I avoid like the plague thanks to a crummy game or two in the past. Like the whole Legaia series. Ugh.

 Completely out of touch?

AD,

While I had already been planning on buying FF7 anyway, I must admit that the near-constant commercial spots on MTV before its release turned that desire into complete obsession. Indeed, I watched more MTV that night than I ever have in my entire life, as the novelty of a videogame commercial - about an RPG, no less - was too good to pass up. I must have watched that same FF7 commercial twelve times before the night was over. Sadly, I do not watch enough television anymore to catch one of the random videogame commercials that apparently do still play.

I'm not sure if this counts, but the inclusion of a FF8 demo with Parasite Eve was the only reason why I bought the latter game. I was also first exposed to Xenogears through the demo disk for PE, which I do not think I would have otherwise heard about until years later, at best. Honestly, I do not know why more videogame companies do not bundle demo disks with their "risky" releases anymore; I mean, look what the MGS2 preview did for Zone of Enders. Hell, I'd buy Unlimited Saga despite all the bad reviews if it came with a playable demo of FFX-2, and I'm sure I would not be the only one to do so.

Unfortunately, it appears the marketing department for most major game companies are completely out of touch with their core audience anymore. Either that or they are now just staffed with idiots. While I sincerely hope that it is the former case - as it could then be rather easily remedied - it more often appears these days to be the latter.

-Red Raven

Andrew:
Another great point, Red. After all, itíd be a great way to shift units and promote their new game. That way, even if the game was a flop, the player would still be looking forward to a better known game in the future, contenting themself knowing that the next game wouldnít suck so hard.

Heck, why not take it a step father and have companies start selling cheap demo discs containing a preview of a bunch of new game demos by them, and all sorts of extras? Drawing board art, a few pages of the script...even better, a tour of their offices and employees. Would wouldnít want to meet the various teams that spend all their time creating your favorite games? Iíd love to hear some of the little stories about how a gameís plot and art forms, and they could even do a ďAfterwardsĒ disk, with all the post-production stuff. Mmm, watching a Square employee cry as he says, ďI just donít know why everyone hates Unlimited Saga!Ē sounds like something Iíd buy in a flash.

 Rapping Rabbit?

Dear Dady Nuff:

Andrew:
Note to self: Delete archives. >_<

What tricks me into buying a game? Well, first, if it says "Square" on the front, there's about a 100% that I'm going to buy it, because I'm a retarded biased fanboy tool who can't form his own opinions. And I collect Square crap.

Andrew:
Itís okay. Just take deep breaths and remind yourself it isnít your fault youíve been brainwashed by a heartless company. The go watch The Spirits Within again and count out how many hidden references you see.

But non-Square games? I don't trust reviews at all, except when they talk objectively about gameplay. My ideas of what makes a good story, what's original, and what kinds of graphics/music are good are completely different from anyone else's I know. I don't give a rip at all about localization, graphics, or innovation. In fact, I prefer games that are not innovative; that do things that have already been done over and over. I believe those things get done so much because they work well. And so if I look at a review and it says that a game is highly innovative, I take off some points. I also don't buy most games right when they come out, because a) it's more expensive and b) the reviews are all hype for the first couple months. If a game is still popular a year after it comes out, it gains some points. I plan on buying Dragon Warrior 7 soon, as it still seems to be quite well spoken of.

If a game is questionable, I rent it first. If it's known to have no replay value, I rent it even if I'm sure it will be awesome. Why don't people rent games? Especially with RPGs, which normally have no replay value. I rented Wild ARMs 3 twice and beat it in that time, and saved $30.

Andrew:
Well, I find it mildly scary that you like the same thing over and over again, but have to admit Iím guilty of the same idiocy myself. So no finger pointing for me! Anyway, I buy all my RPGs to show support for the companies who create them. I know it sounds crazy, but video games are barely recognized as the art form they are, even though theyíre a bigger money haul then the movie industry. Iíd like to continue this kind of change, even if it costs me my hard earned cash. Forward, to appreciation!

 Brilliance in advertising.

Somehow, I seem to miss all the advertising stuff for video games, so that never hypnotizes me into buying the games. What tricks me into buying them is seeing them played, or a demo, or something. Chrono Cross... I walked by a little set-up thing of a Playstation and TV at some video game store when the opening FMV began. Definetely plunked down the $30 right then. I wasn't disappointed in the game, but still. That damned FMV. The worst part is, the movie is like all the movies from the game squished into one, so you don't see a new one throughout the whole thing (well, for the most part). Waa.

Patrick

Andrew:
YES. The opening FMV and music were fantastic for Chrono Cross. Fanboys say what you will about the game, I was completely happy with it, and still have the intro song on my computer. Mmm, think Iíll listen to it again....

Seriously, more games need intros in the vein Chrono Crossí. The first Wild Arms had a great intro video too, but somehow it seems games these days just show some in game shots of fighting and hope itís enough to wow the viewer into puking up their money. Bah!



Quickies

You mentioned how if someone has a scratch on their CD, they should pick up a cd polisher. Just to set things right, a CD polisher cleans a CD, it doesn't fix scratches. Scratches are permanant. The only fix is to get a new disc.

Thank you reader for pointing out my mistake! I meant a CD Buffer, which should do nicely in getting rid of most light scratches!

Aren't Pocky those funny little sticks that are half dipped in chocolate? That stuff tastes good, I can see how you could get addicted to it. Hmmph...I want some Pocky now...

They taste exactly like Koala Yummies, a tasty snack from my childhood. So yeah, Iím addicted to them. You want to make something of it?!

You know what's a sure way to get me to buy a game? If there's a commercial that plays the kind of song that played when you fought Kefka at the end of FFVI .. you know, the one that goes "ho ho ho hoooo ho ho ho hooo" in the angelic voices, or maybe devil angelic voices, whatever. And maybe some fancy FMV crap playing with it.. yeah..

if anyone knows the title of that song, I'd be forever indebted..

Uh....readers, little help for the song title?

YET ANOTHER EDIT: Okay, okay. Thanks everyone, I've gotten five letters already answering this one. It's called "Dancing Mad" and it actually part of a larger song. The End.

A bible RPG? Yes! Just think of the GameFAQs messages that would come if such a thing existed

POLL: Can Moses beat Jesus?

"I bet my leve 72 Moses culd take out anyone else's Jesus!"

Hahaha! Ah, to be young and confident in the amazingness of Moses again.

The Final Grumble:

Next weekís topic is...

Shoot, I canít think of a good topic. Oh well, just write in with your usual rambling and Iíll reply with the same. On the bright side, Iíve got a ton of unused letters from this week to throw in, so itíll all even out nicely.

PS- Queen of Dorks has a metric ton of fan mail. Good work everyone, party at my house to celebrate!

Andrew "I ownz nobody!" DuffClaire Belton

This week, Google wants letters about how cool you are. Don't forget to include long, overly detailed reasons!

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