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   November 31!  

Andrew - December 1 '02- 12:00 Central Standard Time

Why is it when I have free time I start watching anime in large gulps? I'm halfway through Chobits already, and I started watching it on Friday. On to the letters!
Yeah, I know. And I'm sorry about the column going up so late. Next time I'll be more careful.

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Hiya!
What's up with Suikoden III? I haven't got the chance to play it (still play through the original and second constantly. But I'm a bit worried about playing the third now... what're your feelings on it?
OK, reading through the GBA list of games... I see I have quite a few of these... but what's up with Breath of Fire 2? It was the first game I picked up, made it about 5 hours into it, and now I've just stopped, it's not all that fun at all.
Tactics Ogre (the GBA game) is definitely cool, but I have to ask, exactly how many different ways can this game branch out? I know that I've just rejected the original guy I was working with, and fought a bunch of his men... If I had stayed with him, I'm sure that would have been different too... but... ah! So many choices, they make my head hurt.
Oh well, hope ya had a good Thanksgiving, mine was decent, but my birthday's coming up, so I'm more excited about that! ^.^
Henry "Demosthenes" Westerman
http://demos.keenspace.com

Andrew:

1. Well, it's definitely got a different feeling from the first two games. I like it well enough, but it certainly doesn't grab the player like the first two games did. The trinity system only serves to hinder the pacing of the game, and I'm not sure what benefits Konami thought the series would have by moving to 3d graphics. Still, those are small flaws of an otherwise good game. Overall, it's worth a rental, at least.
2. The Breath of Fire series is pretty unique among RPGs. Very japanese, slow moving plotlines, and townspeople who could care less about the world coming to an end. I'm not too big of a fan myself, but back when RPGs came out one every few months, BoF2 was a great game.
3. Heh. Don't even bother trying to keep track. Just relish what you will never know. I've always had a hard time enjoying RPGs where they branch like Tactics Ogre does, since I hate replaying RPGs with the precious little extra time I have, just to get an extra 20 minutes of plot for 20 hours of replay.
4. Happy Birthday, your comic's link isn't working.

 
Final Fantasy- 6-1, 6-2, 6-3...


First off i'd like to say that the big fuss going on recently about Final Fantasy sequels/prequels made me realise how i'd like to see a FF6/FF3 prequel. Just think about it.. the whole War Of The Magi thing (who the heck is that phantom/warlock thing that got the best of Odin ?) is just perfect a scenario for a FF6 prequel. Wouldn't be a direct prequel as there would be a 1000 years gap between to two stories but heck.. FF6 WAS one of the best .. if not the best Final Fantasy out there... I'd definitely buy it. As would millions of gamers. Oh and i'd like to see it come on the same old school graphic engine that FF6.. maybe with a few tweaks and upgrades.. but no fancy polygons and 3D environments...
Furthermore, i'd like to say how much I despite Amano's artwork... got nothing against the dude.. but heck..... why does he have to ruin it for everyone ??? Take Cecil from FF4/FF2... the strongest party member, thousands of hit points.... and just what did he get ? Some scarf or whatnot with shoulders as large as Seinfield !!! Why Seinfield ? Well he's a sissy and I hate his humor.. and Kramer too.. freaky retards.
-Oh but he's a Paladin.. he MUST be a Peter Pan/Spawn crossover !
-What the f ???
Amano.. the only character he ever draw that he didn't manage to effeminate was Sabin from FF6.. I was freaking surprised he didn't add nail lacquer or some indian-styled loose pants to my favorite FF6 character..
anyone think i'm too focused on old FF games "nobody" cares about anymore ?
In conclusion i'd like to say you're the most evil and sinful bastard I ever got the chance to read.
Get a padawan before it's too late.. or something.
THE WORLD NEEDS TO GET ITS ASS KICKED !!
DrPopsicle

Andrew:

1. It'd be nice to revisit some of the old worlds in the Final Fantasy series. Frankly, I'm all for a FF6-2, since the game really left plenty of room for a prequel or even a sequel, what with the end of the espers or, as you mentioned, the rising of the Empire.
2. Why do you care? Amano's characters designs are never directly imported into games, they're just used as the base. You sound like a bit of freak to me, with your fixation on long dead tv sitcoms. I happen to like Amano's work, especially his city designs, and I think the majority of people would agree that he's an excellent artist. As for his girlish drawings, I suppose you've never seen Steiner designs, eh?

 
Okay, if I'm ever killed by an angry mob of villagers, I want Mike to take over for me.


Yo Bastard,
Changes to your column? I don't see anything to change, except for what spits out of the "sending" end.
Remember grade school English? What did your teachers tell you, huh? Something about capital letters? Paragraphs? Proper punctuation and spelling? Now, fast forward a dozen years.
WHY HAVE YOU FORGOTTEN THEM?!?
It's simple, really. Spelling, punctuation, paragraphs, sentences, capital letters, and all the rules of grammar are in place for one very simple reason: to help people quickly understand what the hell you're talking about. The reason paragraphs are separated and indented is to differentiate one subject from another. Periods and capital letters are used to split apart separate thoughts.
I have read too many posts, letters, and replies that mangle basic English courtesy to point of spontaneous brain combustion. Thousands of other people trying to figure out what the hell you mean will agree. A properly written letter is a thing of least resistance, something that you take in as easily as a cup of warm chocolate. A letter with droning sentences stuffed into a big blob of a paragraph and sprinkled with hasty spelling and punctuation is like swallowing barbed wire.
Come on! How long would it take to run your letter through a spell checker? A minute? How about using a few extra Returns to separate it into multiple paragraphs? Ten seconds? And don't get me started on the people that thinking using capital letters is a waste of time. Is 2-3 extra minutes of free time to play FFXXVI really worth having the readers of this column vow to slice off your hands with a rusty saw the next time they see you?
And overuse of stupid symbols... don't get me started on overuse of stupid symbols... How many exclamation points does one need in a sentence, huh?!?
-----
Speaking of video game music, there's one music genre that I've always wanted to hear prominently in games: jazz.
When the drums are a-bangin' and the brass is a-wailin' and the solo's deftly dancing through the chords, jazz is energetic yet smooth. It brings to mind combat that isn't a bunch of people taking turns whacking each other with sticks, but a master swordsman dancing through a battle with his sword singing. The type of style that would stun enemies with awe.
As for the dramatic moments... well, you have the the Blues. A mournful saxophone, trumpet, or guitar can capture sadness so well it brings tears to the eyes.
I can't think of any other music style that can fit so many different moods seamlessly with such elegance and suave coolness. If there was a game that did jazz good, I'd pick it up in a heartbeat.
-Mike Lemmer
"Man, if you have to ask what it is, you?l never know." -Louis Armstrong

Andrew:

1. Ironic, considering the number of letters I got on my their/they're/there spoof. Here's a heads up people. I finish up the column after midnight, and at that time, even triple checking won't get rid of all my errors in such huge columns. However, remember when you send in a letter, a few thousand people will be reading it, so make sure to check for spelling errors, otherwise even your mom will be laughing at your lack of common sense.
2. I'm a big fan of music in general, but yeah, Jazz and Blues seem to be under represented in RPGs. A nice game in the 1930's would have plenty of great tunes, but in the mean time, why not watch Porco Rosso?

 
Pretty letter. PRETTY INCORRECT.


Greetings, O Host of Much Abrasivness!
Before I get to the letter, I must ask: how are you taking to your new post as Q&A Weekend Guy?
That asked, here we go:
You say you disdain leveling for the purpose of leveling? Would you level for the purpose of a goal? (Example: The Juggernaut spell in Legend of Legaia.) I myself am periodically returning to an old save and trying that, although I do not believe I will attempt to get Feena's last spell in Grandia. There's leveling, and then there's masochism.
If you had to choose a RPG that was challenging, one that was very nonlinear, or one with a fantastic plot, which would you favor? (Personally, I prefer story-driven games. Challenge and openness, while good traits, rank behind it.)
Final question. There are two PSX RPGs I yet wish to buy, and seek opinions on which to go for first. What are the relative merits of Tactics Ogre and Legend of Mana?
Oh, and for the guy asking about traps for tabletop RPGs? Here's a URL. Looks revamped from the simple one comprehensive page I found it as, but here goes:
http://www.ddream.com/traps/TrapManager.asp
Lastly, I'd tell anyone who wrote such a lengthy opnion letter to send it to editorials, but if I'm not too mistaken, that guy's a staffer, and outranks me.
-Kenneth Whitten, aspiring RPG sage who never gets noticed

Andrew:

1. Thanks for asking. I'm enjoying myself immensely.
2. Er, actually that was one of my points in defense of mass leveling. And yeah, I don't think anyone was sick enough to get Feena's last spell, which I believe was called Time Warp.
3. First off, good luck finding either of these games.
Orge Battle series- Battles that take hours to complete, decent plots, and a tough level gaining system. Hope you've got a few lifetimes to kill before you play any of these games.
Legend of Mana- Imagine a game that consists of nothing but mini-games and side quests. This is it.
Thanks for helping the D&D traps guy, I'm sure he was hurt that I mocked him.

 
Girlish man fan mail. *barf*


Greetings (Jaques sings)........
For the record I am not Flea, if anyone is possibly him/her/it that would be Goog. I count at work as the token Bishonen I think. Actually I look quite a bit like Sasarai who I might be cosplaying as at Anime Central. Also my job was on Friday to make sure people don't try to cut in line by blocking an isle in the store, though people were stupid enough to not notice all the merchandise we used to block the isle with. I'm have to ask what do you wish in Suikoden III plot wise was explained more? Also am I the only one who wonders what is up with the all-female village since many questions have to be asked there.
Imperial Mog

Andrew:

You count as the token nut case.
1. I'm less concerned with Suikoden 3's plot and more concerned with the problems when Konami starts altering their games to look more modern for the sake of altering them to look more modern. Why have we forsaken 2d? 3d offers very little in return for it's blocky graphics, pop up problems, and camera issues.



Quickies


As a courtesy, I thought I would be so considerate as to tell his despicableness that he has brought doom and disgrace on his family name for using secret text yesterday. And not putting his signature name into HTML. The perfectionist cutrabbit will get you for that. Just you watch.
-Masa

Yeah? Well now I'M the wind, bitch.
No really, this letter is pretty clever when you think about it. Good use of abstract ideas.


Mental Note: Mentioning how you looked up a polygonal loincloth or dress is sure to get your letter posted.
That said, it sucks how all the guys in Suikoden III wear pants. =\
So yeah. Here's a fun question that everybody's going to hate: By any chance does Dance Dance Revolution appeal to you, or anybody here?
... Well, for the straight male population, it should, because the chicks in that game bend over QUITE a bit.
-- Sophie

I'm a huge fan of DDR, though I'm afraid my dorm room is too small to play the home version, and sadly, no arcades of any quality exist in Dekalb.
As for the bending over of blocky polygon girls, you know that makes me hot.
Oh baby. Oh baby.
Yeah, shake that money maker, you poorly animated dancing bat creature.


Man, Whatever happend to Chesire Catalyst aka Chris Martin. He was my favorite Q & A host, but now I see that hes not even on the staff biography page anymore.
Also, is it just me, or among the other dissapointments Suikoden 3 brought, was the 'new' tactical battle system. I so liked Suikoden 2's more.
- Lacan

According to Google, a shift in class work and classes left him no time to attend to the column.
Go figure.
1. Yeah, I think everyone agrees that the new battle system for Suikoden 3 is a big step back for the series.


HEY ANDREW, This is not a question but a statement, it has been confirmed by famitsu (a leading game magazine in Japan) that the rumors about getting two extra disk when pre-ordering the gc zelda is true. Unfortunately it is only being offered in Japan (the two disk contain ocarina of time and a 64dd ura zelda).An outrage isn't it?
(I tried to write legibly, I hope it worked)
from Lupa

This bit of information has been out for awhile. Get with the times, kid.
So yeah, it does suck that we probably won't get the same deal, but hey, it doesn't suck any worse then your horrid abuse of abbreviations.

?????????????????????!?????????????? ?????!?????????????????(???????!)


One run of a Japanese letter through stupid Word-
"?????????????????????!??????????????
?????!?????????????????(???????!)"
One run through of same letter through Babel Fish-
Today, and Lu. This mail is Japanese! It is, I am varying. It does and
Finally just asking Guifa to translate it for me-
"I would venture to say that means "Hiya, this is in Japanese! It is, I'm sure. It really is! What is the game which you love the most? nnnnnnnnn!"'
Being able to tell this guy that my favorite game is Castlevania: Symphony of the Night?
Priceless.
(If you ever want your letters printed again, send them in English, you magnificent bastard.)

The Final Grumble:


Next week's topic-
How many readers want to go into the video game industry? What do you want to do in it? Make games, write for video game magazines, advertise for game companies? How do you intend to get there? Who do you want to work for? Why?
And for the rest of the readers reading the column for kicks, what would your dream RPG be like?
See you all in a few days, hopefully with plenty of good letters.

Andrew "Chiirific!" Duff

Sleep is for the sane.

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