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Andrew - December 21 '02- 6:00 Central Standard Time

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Some nutcase.

Hello Andrew,
Since the topic of developing RPGs has been a staple of your columns, I'm writing in with a thought of my own on the subject. One of the things I'd most like to see in the genre is internal consistency. Many of the things we take for granted in our games would make no sense at all in an actual world. For instance, why is it that you just happen to visit every population center in the world by order of how good their weapons and armor are? Haven't these people ever heard of importing and exporting? And related to that, why do the weapon shops only sell items that the currently available people in your party can use? Did the people of Icicle Lodge somehow know that Aeris would never reach them, and thus not make any rods for her use? I imagine seeing her weapons for sale in towns you visit after her death would have been a poignant reminder of what had been lost.
Also on the subject of game development, I was wondering if any of your readers are making non-RPGs. I know that it's not really relevant to this site, but I'm curious anyway. After all, even Square makes games of other genres.
Finally, this being Q & A, here's a question for you. If you had the ability to selectively block your own memories, what game(s) would you "forget" about so that you could play through it/them again as if for the first time? Assume that you have the time to do so.

1. The Suikoden series actually answers all of your questions in the first paragraph. Firstly, every character only has one weapon that they can refine to make sharper, stronger, quicker, etc. Second, the games all take place in decently small parts of the world, so thereís no need for airships or visiting the icicle people of the Sahara for mystical items.
Youíve got to take into account that game developers are doing the best they can to make game play interesting. If you can think of a better way, then by all means, letís hear it.
I like discussion about video game creation because I firmly believe that the people who play the most video games have the right ideas about how to make them better.
2. Well, we had one guy a few weeks ago named Dave who threw in a link to veggie puzzler game-
Suppose you could give that a try. As for the rest of the game designers, theyíd have to write in.
3. Probably Final Fantasy 7. Yeah, I know it sounds cheesy, but before it came out, I picked up any and every magazine that had something about it. I poured over maps, guessed at the plotlines, and played FF6 over and over. When the game finally came out, I beat it 3 times, one right after the other. It was great.

Foul mouthed foreigners.

Hi Andrew !
I hope the "worst RPG experiences" contest is still open ? :D
Anyway, here are mines (in chronological order) :
1) A friend of my big brother had lend him his Final Fantasy II (that is, the fourth episode of the whole series) SNES cartrigde imported from the USA. Quite a rarety here in Europe, back then... I wasn't allowed to play it, but of course, eh... after a while I got tired of just watching, so one day, while my bro was away from home, I jumped on the occasion and started playing myself. I had gotten near to the whole "Calbrena fight/Rydia kicks Golbez' ass" event when the house's electricity suddenly went down, twice or three times in one second, efficiently resetting the cartridge's memory files in the process... including of course my brother's friend's near end-game maxed out saves.
Moral of the story : don't let your little sister play with your friend's games, I guess ? ^_^; And if you're going to disobey, make sure you won't leave evidences behind, something like that...
2) Another examplary story... Quite simple, this one : playing Final Fantasy Tactics, and saving over your previous game just before the ominous "Velius fight"... You know, right after you've entered the castle, and you can't level up now, stuck as you are before this near impossible fight ? I think my guys were level 20 or so when I got there for the very first time. My job skills weren't too appropriate either, since it was my first play...
Moral of the story : don't try this at home, kids ! Errr, I mean ^_^;... Always keep at least two saves of your games : one inside, and one outside, of the last dungeon you get to.
3) And yet another save file story... (Am I sensing a recurring pattern here ?) Back then I would use that HUGE unofficial memory card to save ALL my Playstation RPG files. On this card I'd keep near-end game saves of every game I'd finished + the ones I was completing at the time... Of course (doh! >_<... Murphy's Law in action, I bet) the card eventually got zapped... Actually the whole console's power system broke down, that day. Bye bye, Playstation(TM)... The saddest thing being that it was a mod-chipped one, and considering how it had become hard at that time to find mod-chipped systems ("fight against piracy" political/judicial context), it looked like I had very little chance to ever enjoy my large collection of newly acquired (and official, hey, what were you thinking ?) import RPGs ;_;
[Fortunately, despite all odds, I was actually able to get my hand on a second hand modchipped PSX not _so_ long after that]
Moral of the story : as they say, don't put all your eggs in the same basket (especially if there isn't "Sony" written on it ? ^^;). And don't whine because of one or two lost saved games, just be happy you can still play them games.
Hmmm... I think I should ask a question for good measure. Errr... Ah yeah, the RPGamer news article related to Namco's "Xenosaga is getting censored" announce, also alludes to "Square EA's decision in censoring some of the more sexually-oriented scenes in Xenogears". This really got me puzzled. I haven't played the japanese version of Xenogears, but I've watched every videos of both the japanese and american versions, and I noticed no difference except (of course) the voices. Incidentally, I've also seen a few screenshots of the supposedly censored nude scenes, right from the original version, and the pixelated sprites were just as blurry as ever, nothing "hentai" at all in those. Isn't this whole "XG sex scenes got censored" mess nothing but some kind of a urban legend (so that fans can whine about the baaaad localisation, while fantasizing on what they think they missed) ? Or has someone ever provided factual evidence ? Or maybe it's just that the translation somewhat toned down a few sexual allusions in the script...? (but hey, the Ethos high priests are still a bunch of horny old men, aren't they ?) So, do you have any valid info on that topic ?
Thanks, and bon baisers de France ;)

1. Teehee.
2. I can never understand why people rush through strategy games. Kinda defeats the whole point.
3. See, this I hear a lot. Idiots think theyíll save money and buy unreliable crap to keep thousands of hours worth of work on, and then act surprised/hurt/blame me when it blows up.
4. Well, itís only one scene in the game, and frankly, it doesnít sound like it will affect any other parts of the story. Unless youíre a big a fan of dirty old men, youíll be fine.


Hello Andrew,
I very rarely write to the column, but this recent topic piqued my interest. My worst RPG moment is, in fact, a collection of seven moments. I have played through Final Fantasy 7 SEVEN times, and still not beaten it.....but wait, the story gets more tragic. The first time, I was right at the end, and my friend accidentally saved over my game with his. The second time, I was at the end again, and I lose my memory card. The third time, again, at the last dungeon, and the save data becomes corrupt. The fourth time, I get right at the end, and then, for some reason, decide I want to play it through from the beginning again, mostly because I like playing through Midgar. So, that was my fifth time. Memory card stops registering, and has to be formatted all over again. The sixth time, again at the last dungeon, the power goes out, and destroys all the saves on my memory card. Finally, the seventh time, I am again at the last dungeon. I have spent countless hours in the crashed Gelnika ship morphing the monsters into "sources." All of my main party characters stats are at 200 at least. I have 3 Master Summon materia, 2 Master Magic materia, and 1 Master Command materia. I have beaten both optional weapon monsters. I have all of the characters ultimate weapons. I have the highest attainable rank in chocobo racing. I save at the save point right before the final battle, and know that tomorrow will be the day I finally beat the game. I have saved the game on one of those Mega Memory Cards, that have seperate "pages.." The next morning, I get up, and go immediately to my Playstation. I start my game. The memory card says it's on page 1, which is odd, considering I left it on page seven. I try to page forward to the memory card page seven, and it won't work. I restart the Playstation with the lid up, so I can try to change the pages from the memory card manager, and it again doesn't work. My memory card will not flip pages. I can't get to my FF7 save. I wanted to shoot myself that day. Anyways, that's my tale. I hope it was enjoyable reading. Oh yeah, and you do a great job with the column, and all that. Later.
-Schmengie, the Monkey Boy

Glad I caught your interest, monkey boy.
1. Well, on the bright side, at least you spent all that time with a great RPG, instead of playing a really awful and just giving up the first time everything went to hell.

5 letters, two from girls. Odd.

Hey Andrew! I'd say my worst RPG experience happened when I was trying my damnedest to get through all seven games of SaGa Frontier at once. I'd play through as a character, save right before the final boss, check to see if I could beat him/her/it, and then go to the next person. I noticed if I ever just saved after beating one boss the game would bring more powerful enemies earlier for the others and some of those guys are just monstrous as it is. Anyway, I had just gotten through 5 of the seven quests, saving T260G and Riki for last cause I knew those would suck. I then played another RPG, trading memory cards. When I tried to bring up my old data after I traded cards again...everything was gone... You have no idea how long a scream of agony can last until you've gone through that. Anyway, I've got a question too. In Koudelka there's a valuable item that you find in the caretakers quarters. The Mask, when examined, says that it is used to keep gremlins away. I can't seem to find a use for it and was wondering if you could supply me with an answer about it. As it is it's just taking up space in my inventory that could be used for another worthless Mystic Partisan or Rod. Thank you for your time and attention.
Jamie "I said, 'If the soup weren't poisoned, then I would have had some.' Got it?" Harper >8^()

Iíve got a worse story for you. The Riki storyline for my copy of Saga Frontier doesnít work. For whatever reason, it constantly freezes the game, making it impossible to play through. Iíd completed the game with all the other characters, but this put me over the edge. I deleted all the saves, and now only touch the game to play Redís quest, which is probably one of the more brilliant ideas in RPGs today.
As for Koudelka, check out our guides section. Thatís what itís there for.

Saving when not on a save point? What novel/crappy/great idea!

On the subject of bad experiences in RPGs... I ended up buying my first RPG, FF VI, from a friend for $20. No instructions, no box, just the game. Anyway, I didn't know that you could save on the world map. One day I was home from school all sick and puking and sweating. I end up playing FF VI for about 2 horrible hours of nearly delirious non-fun and eventually get to Zozo. Despite my best efforts, I can't find a save point for the life of me. I give up, shut off the game, and go vomit some more. The next day my friends make fun of me for not knowing I could save on the world map. I hate them.

Thatís really, really, really, pathetic. Iím sorry youíre so dense. Have a tilde. ~





Andrew, can I be your official stalker?
The Vigilant Sidekick

You do know the inherent problem with being both my declared stalker and my sidekick donít you?
Send a picture of yourself in tights, and then weíll talk.

Have you seen any of the .hack//sign anime yet? I remember you saying you liked Chobits, which I liked, so I was curious if you had any opinions on this.

Not yet. Currently, Iím about halfway through an anime called ďFruitís BasketĒ about a girl who moves in with a cursed family, so whenever theyíre hugged by the opposite sex, they turn into an animal from the Chinese Zodiac. Itís pretty sappy and sweet, but I love the fantasy elements of it.

Hey Andrew,
I just read the news headline about the censoring in Xenosaga, and it mentioned something similar in Xenogears? I assume it was the scene where Fei screwed Elly, but how much more obscene was it in the original? And what exactly does this pedophile in Xenosaga do to the little girl robot? Sorry if I seem like a pervert for asking, but I thought censoring in RPGs went out the window at the end of the Nintendo regime. Elly is hot, though. You know, for a cartoon. You know what I mean...right? Andrew???
Robust Stu

If you really want to know what happens to that poor little robot girl, youíre going to have to buy the Japanese version of Xenosaga, get an imported PS2, and learn kanji. And no, Elly really isnít that pretty. Especially when compared with some of the hotties in video games, like Rydia. *swoon* She can summon me anyday.

Why do I think Googleshng is female? Because slime-girls are sexier than slime-boys.
Ipslore the Red

Iím just glad no one started a comic about asexual slimes trying to decide their genders.

The Final Grumble:

Except a nice fat column for Sunday. Hooray.

Andrew "dreamer" Duff

Happy Birthday, one and all

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