Happy birthday, Q&A!
Happy birthday Q&A, er, RPGu... uh, RPGamer's letters column! Today it turns a year old. Once it reaches maturity, the column will break free from RPGamer and seek a mate. Until that day, expect it to thrive in its humble little nest...

Bah, this is going nowhere fast. Long letters; no rant; Sages enchanted; read on and find out more.

Enix? Hello?
Do u have any idea if the awesome Game Boy game called Dragon Quest Monsters has any chance of comeing to the US? I heard it mixes aspects of both Dragon Warrior(Quest) and Pokémon, two games that I love. Can u please tell me if it will?
Sorry kid, the chances of Dragon Quest Monsters making it over here are rather slim. Keep in mind there's always a chance, so if you should spot flying pigs, snow in Hell, or Leonardo DiCaprio cast as a straight guy, ask again.
I just don't get as many multi-part'ers as I used to.
Hey thor, heres some questions/observations. The first could be outdated, but I still never picked up an answer.

1) I've heard the FF movie is designed for an american audience (namely, its Japans turn to import), and its being made in Hawaii. I downloaded a short demo from RPGamer, and its in japanese! Why? I suppose it COULD be in hawaiian. I don't know a word of either one.

No, it's Japanese. I suppose it's just because Square is, all things considering, still a Japanese company, so they decided not to go with English.
2) I've decided to get into PnP RPGs, but I have no idea where to start. Do you know of a website where I can buy a beginners-game or something of that matter?
There are tons of pen and paper RPGs made for beginners out there. Try to find a copy of First Quest by TSR, or ask around at a local hobby shop. First Quest is great: It comes with an audio CD to help set the mood, actors prattling off important lines and such, and a "board game" style map. This allows players to have a visual representation of where their characters are in relation to the bug eyed baddies.
3) Shadow Madness was released on the same date as todays Thursday Thorsday Madness. Coincidence? I think not.
Indeed. Fear!
4) I only have enough money to buy 1 of these games. What do you recommend?
  1. Shadow Madness
  2. Legend of Legaia
  3. Syphon Filter
Your opinion may just help me make a decision.

- Zack S. (My dog is snoring. QUIT IT, MAGGIE! Oh wait. She can't read)

Don't buy anything until you've rented it. Plunk down $10 and rent all three, check out which you like, and then decide for yourself. Not only will you eliminate the risk of plunking down $40 for a piece of crap, you'll probably have fun "doing business research".
For the gamer who simply must have everything
Um... OK, I've got a question. Why would you buy the PSX release of FFVI if it's already included in Final Fantasy Collection?! I don't get why Square would relase them both at the same time. I mean, according to common sense, you'd just buy FFC and you'd get 2 other games in there too! So why should anyone buy FFVI for about the same price as FFVI, FFV and FFIV put together?! What, is there some cool marketing gimmick included if you buy JUST Final Fantasy 6? Or what? Please explain. Thanks, Thor!

- Terra

Damnit! Didn't I just warn Square not to let its characters write me? Ahh, well.

Anyway, the whole FFC/FFVI remix deal is so convoluted even I -- and I say that in the most humble of ways -- am a little confoozled. After much research and only two reluctant informants beaten to death, I've come to the conclusion that there is no difference between the remix and the copy included in the collection. At least as far as the game itself and added extras goes, packaging and cd art and whatnot is different.

So why would anyone in Japan buy Final Fantasy 6 alone when they could just buy the collection? Because it costs roughly $20 less, and because some people feel the need to own everything Final Fantasy.

Unconstructive criticism?
You should call the column "Random Sentances for Thor" since not every letter is a question, some are statements, some are commands, etc. In fact, some is even not gramattically correct.

- webrunner

That's just anal. Moving on.
Can't we all just get alon--oww!
hello thor. I just have a question to ask all those fiery Rpgamers out there. Why bother to get so upset about things? I mean, how can one person's opinion on something as trivial as video games ( no offense to video games, I think they rule, but they don't rule the world ) bug you so much that you have to write in a nasty flame telling them how wrong they are? When reading a column such as these I would recommend that each of you gamers, before you get out your whip and rubber gloves, remember that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and if they're willing to share that opinion with you, its not fair to cram it back down their throats. I mean, if someone came up to me and said " I hate Dr. pepper." I wouldn't say "You stupid I kill you now!" and set the demons that live in my basement on them. Its just not nice. And I know the world isn't a nice place or whatever, but anyhoo. The moral of this story is that getting pissed about little things will just give you heart attacks and high blood pressure and make everyone reading them PASS OUT FROM READING THE CAPS LOCKS. SEE HOW ANNOYING THIS IS? bleah. I hate caps locks. anyway. I have to go feed the demons that live in my basement. ciao

- sadiewench

You have to feed the demons chow? Ha, ha! I funny!

Anyway, I couldn't agree more. I'll admit, it's hard to resist telling someone they're a buffoon for insulting your favorite game -- I had to remind myself it's not very productive to write nasty e-mail after I saw someone dismiss the gameplay for Shadowrun (Genesis) as "repetitive number pumping". But never fear! Self control, tolerance and the pacifying effects of Lorelai's prozac cookies will help repress those nasty urges.

Graphics: 8 Music: 9 Frustration: 10
I heard a lot of my friends said that final fantasy tatics are a very hard game to play. Do you think I'll be able to go though out the game with out a guide book?

- Alice Tai

Final Fantasy Tactics is unlike your standard RPG. There are no puzzles, nor towns, nor dungeons. You are never "lost". Each time a new location opens up, you're shown right where to go. Because of this, Final Fantasy Tactics' difficulty is all combat related. And since RPGamer offers a Battle Tactics Guide, you don't have to worry about running out and buying a guidebook. Unless you've got a crush on the manager of the local EB and wanted to make a good impression on him, or something.
Final Fantasy VIII: The Instruction Booklet. Just $15!
I agree that manuals should not have to detail every aspect of the game.

But they should at least cover everything. Explaining exactly what the stat does is not necessary. Every spell is not listed in FFT but it only takes a little time to figure out what a spell does. In Final Fantasy 7, you have no clue what 'luck' is. Its almost impossible to figure out what luck does. You have materia that alters luck. Should you use it? Who knows? One of the cool things about Final Fantasy has been the detail and variety in the game. Seemingly useless (oracle like)spells can be used very effectively if you know what you are doing. The ability to change stats is another one of these excellent details. However, when there no way to find out what a stat is for, it won't be fun to change them. What they should have in the manual is a simple line like: STR affects fighting ability. This is ambiguous, but points the player in the right direction. You can then explore exactly how it affects things like accuracy and attack power when you play the game.

This is a gripe I've had for a while. The manual is as much a part of the game as the game it self. A good manual helps improve quality of gameplay. Anyway thanks for reading this.

- Belgarath

Isn't "covering everything" and "detailing every aspect" the same thing...? Aww, well. Nevermind. You know, you're right: I have no idea how luck affects the game. It'd be nice if, should luck ever come into play, a big moogle holding a "CONGRATULATIONS -- LUCK JUST SAVED YOUR ASS" sign walked on screen, did a little dance and flew away, purple wings flapping in the wind. Yeah man, that'd rock.

Anyway, I don't really mind if the information in the instruction booklet is complmete, just as long as they do detail everything in the game. Final Fantasy Tactics had "online" descriptions of all job skills, which helped a great deal. Lets hope Square makes this a trend.

Techie Talk: FMV - Real Time
You were almost right in your answer of real-time versus pre-rendered. But here's what them wacky developers actually mean.

Pre-rendered is like watching a scene that was taped. It was all done and perfected beforehand, and every time you play it, it replays the tape recording.

Real-time is like seeing the actors act out the scene right in front of you. You are watching the exact same scene, but instead, the actors are performing right there, right now.

So when Sony is using its marketing spin on how the PSX2 shows the ballroom scene in real-time, it's saying that the machine is displaying the image while creating it. Before, the ballroom scene was essentially pre-recorded, and when you got to that scene, it spits the recording back at you. Now, it's as if the game said "okay! go make the dance scene right now, we're getting there!" and the PSX2 renders and displays the scene right before your eyes.

As you can see, real-time is more impressive, because it's showing that you can have the same image quality as pre-rendered, but the machine is generating the scene right in front of you, instead of playing a pre-made flick.

- Thierry Nguyen

I still can't figure out how my explanation missed a point, but this is a lot more detailed, so I figured I'd print it just in case there was any confusion remaining. I wouldn't want kids saying Square "sucks" because of too much real-time rendering ruining the game, heh heh.
We still do this?
The quote "There'll be no one to worship us" comes from FFVI, right before Ol' Destructo Boy, Kefka Pallazzo, shoves Emperor Gestahl off the side of the Floating Continent.

- Blackjack Gabbiani

That's right! Since I'm all out of monkeys (dead or otherwise), I'll give you one never-been-used evil Canadian adult male. He can make coffee, type, and pluck the eye from a sparrow without flinching. Have fun!
Out with the Sages, in with the Drew
Ask Drew
(The scary thing is, Drew has as many heads as the rest of the Circle of Sages combined. Beware the Hydra!)
Now Playing
(Are you a man of the sea with MAD SKILLZ? The U.S. Navy just might be for you!)
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Quickies that satisfy
If you ever move to a place that gets cold, hose down your neighbors car in the winter. You can then just set back and ,from the comfort of your living room, you can watch the poor sap struggling to get his car open so that he can get to work on time. It' a laugh a minute. You're evil. I like that. :D
This may seem like an idiotic question, but what does BTW stand for? I have no idea. By the way, have you played Xenogears yet?
Ok, I'm stumped. What the heck is the origin of the phrase "Mad Skillz"? I feel like I'm missing out on some "insider" joke. I played Xenogears, I know Hammer uses the phrase, but so what? Is it a pop culture reference I'm missing? HELP!
- CraigInMN...2!
Dude, just try pinning down the origin of any slang. I offer this as an example: "The bomb". Who the frag decided that was a good thing? How about the old "bad means good" era, or, hell, even "cool"? Some things were not meant to be known by mortal minds.
I have a copy of some of the FF4(2) mathematics. It seems like he sat there and figured statistical data while playing the game.
Attention stat geeks of the world: Now entering heaven. Enjoy.
Okay, so you may be a bad enough dude to rescue the President... But are you a bad enough dude to -run- for President? Hell, no. I'm too afraid of the interns to even try.
Thor Stuff

I sat down and started writing my promised rant, then looked at the screen and mumbled "why bother". Any response I'd get would either have to be pushed forward to Monday, or answered by Drew -- and I don't really dig the idea of someone else explaining my rant. Heck, I don't know what I'm talking about half the time.

The Sages have been mentally slain by an evil boil covered dragon named Mugwort. I was able to "best" Mugwort using only a sheet of tin foil, some chewing gum and a hand grenade, but not before the foul beast unleashed one last evil trick on the staff of RPGamer: Rearing up on his hind legs, Mugwort spread his thin arms and began to chant softly.

"Welco... metot... henex... tlevel!"

Before I could stop him, Mugwort had finished the incantation, sucking the collective RPG knowledge from the Sages one by one. Luckily, I was able to open up a mighty can before Drew was affected, so from this day forth it's Ask Drew on the weekends, Ask Thor the rest of the time.

...until we can find a cure for the Sages, of course. Though I must admit, I secretly enjoy their current somewhat slow-minded state. All I have to do is give Lorelai a "pwiddy shiny" (dime) and she'll bake me up as many prozac cookies as I want. Woo!

Anyhoo, I'll see the lot of you on Monday. Wish me luck with Xenogears. I finally dig the game. Now it's up there with Suikoden in my book. And if there are more disturbing and hilsarious scenes like the freak kid babbling about being a man of the sea -- please, don't e-mail in and explain it, I want to discover for myself -- I'm bound to grow even more fond of the ugly lil' sucker.

Xenogears, that is. Not the kid.

- Thor "Buff and still the Stuff" Antrim
~Mick Foley is roley poley~

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