Ask Zac
New Guy
Ask Zac - August 14 '99- 8:30 pm EDT

Well, here's my chance at some reader interaction. Many of you had written in welcoming me to the RPGamer staff, even though I have been here for nearly two months (those readers that did welcome me though, I thank you, and advise you to read new media ^^).

I am honored to have received so many letters from you readers, and so many interesting letters at that. I regret that I can't respond to many of the longer letters here, but like any good columnist I will answer what I can. And so, without further adieu, let's go into the lion's den..

Dreamcast Issues

Dear Zac,
I'm sick and tired of these people praising the Dreamcast, do these people not remember what Sega did to us loyal fans, system after system? Like Genesis, Game gear, and Saturn to name a few. I wish people would not just focus on all the hype, but system and the company instead. Do people realize how much better the PSX2 is going to be? It's going to blow away the Dreamcast. Well I just needed to blow off some steam.

--Your Loyal RPGamer Fan Jay

Just as a note, before coming to RPGamer I worked as a staff writer for, an excellent resource for Dreamcast info. I was able to learn a lot about the Dreamcast. But I didn't stay there, and I'll tell you why.
The Dreamcast doesn't have the technical specs that the PSX2 and Dolphin have. One would think the logical move for Sega would be to wait for the other next-gen systems to be released and then release a superior one - but perhaps their funds just won't hold out for them to wait that long? I played a dreamcast console, with Sonic Adventure - and I was thoroughly unimpressed. In fact the graphics or smoothness weren't better to me than what I saw in Banjoo & Kazooie for the Nintendo 64.
And finally, Sega's glory days are simply over. They had, at a time, nearly 50% of the market share during the 16-bit days. Right now they have around 2%. Even though they have planned a massive marketting campaign for the Dreamcast, it simply won't be enough in my opinion, as their marketting has been a testament to failure ever since "Welcome to the Next Level". Most people just don't care enough. But I will say that the success of the Dreamcast still depends on the price of the console, price of the games, and quality of future games.

Depth of Games

Dear Zac,
Some dude wrote in yesterday about The depth of games and how our age relates to it. I totally disagree. I still play FF4 and find it just as deep as i did when i played it years ago. I beleive that the older games are just as "deep" if not more so. The older games have a more detaled plot beacuse they couldn't rely on fancy eye candy and hoaky minigames to make the game great. I feel that in the older games i have much more controll over the destiny of my character, unlike the linear plot of most new games. I mean was FF7 really that deep? no it was just a differnt style.

-- Edge

I really despised the story line in FF7. The whole concept of merging fantasy aspects in with high technology just doesn't do it to me. In fact, I couldn't even bring myself to finish FF7, and I gave the game away as a present to a friend of mine soon after starting the second CD. I knew that no matter what happened, it just wouldn't be worth it. I adored the story line of FF4 and FF6, and I wish Square would learn how to make good storylines again.


Dear Zac,
I was just curious if you might be adding a darkstone page anytime soon. Since you are the PC coverage guy and this is a PC game I just thought I should ask you. If you haven't heard of it then it's a lot like diablo but with the possibility of using two characters at once and a fully customizable camera. You can zoom in or out, change the angle of the camera, and spin around your character(s).

El Cuervo (the one not related to Jose Cuervo)

Actually yes I am adding coverage for this game. The developers should be sending me an evaluation copy sometime soon, so expect coverage on what looks off-hand to be a great addition to any PC RPG library.

SD Anthology

Dear Zac,
Someone wrote in yesterday about a Seiken Dentesu anthology... Wouldn't that require having SD1, i e Final Fantasy Adventure, be tossed in too? A gameboy game! Man, I would truly love to play a gameboy game on a Playstation.

- Matt

I think I'll kill a bad rumor before it gets too big. It sounds nice, but there is no SD Anthology, and I'll bet my collection of soiled shorts that there will never be an SD anthology, and it will not include Final Fantasy Adventure, even though that was one of my favorite GB games and I recommend it to everyone.


Dear Zac,
Hey Zac, you haven't even done one column yet, but I know your cool. You know why? We share the same name. That in itself is cool. Does this mean you'll always print my letters?
Another question: I know you're into PC RPGs, but how much console role playing do you get done? In other words, what cRPGs have you played through in the last year or so? Just so us readers can hear what you like.

- Zack S.

We may have the same name, but I'm still cooler than you.
My first love was console games, and I still play them almost as much as I ever had. I feel that the PC is another gaming system for me to enjoy, and that just because one plays games on their PC doesn't mean they do not like console games (a common misconception). In the past year I have played through many games again, such as FF6, Chrono Trigger, and Final Fantasy Legend 2 and 3. Also I am quite the pokemon addict. My console dillema is I do not own a playstation. I know I should buy one, but I haven't. I have played many of the new games and do enjoy some, I just haven't been inspired to play them. If anyone wants to donote me a playstation, please do, and I'll.. print one of your letters.

Tommo for Dreamcast?

Dear Zac,
In response to what JD said in the previous Q&A, Tommo is not releasing RPGs for the Dreamcast. The four games that they said they were going to be doing got snapped up by Ubi Soft and UFO, I believe. Hopefully, the games will still be out soon.

- J. H.

Thanks for clearing that up.


Dear Zac,
Hey I just read that PSX2 is gonna be out around January 23rd or such, umm I also read on FGNONLINE that Alias Wavefront is gonna have the PSX2 development tool done by the end on this year...ummm so how is the PSX2 gonna be released a month after it's development tools are done? Also $390!!!!! $70 for games!!! I don't even pay that for imports. If a Dreamcast is $199 and the Dolphin last I heard is gonna try to be aroun $200 is the PSX2 really the Jaguar 2?

- Anonymous

Death to the Jaguar 2! Down with the Sony tyrants!
If they're smart, they'll lower the price CONSIDERABLY. Though the direct yen to dollar conversion doesn't say everything, it does say something - and if Dolphin comes out at $99 as Nintendo stated as their goal, then Nintendo will undoubtedly own the next generation. No one is going to shell out that much money for a console system and that much money for games, because your average gamer just doesn't think it's worth it. I certainly don't think it's worth it. Nintendo all the way, baby!

PSX2, again

Dear Zac,
Nice name... Before you start to get anxiety over your first day, welcome to your new job at Hope you like it here. Well, I have a question to ask you: Do you really think that the price of the PSX2 will go down? I don't think it will for the life of me! You say that you make a game system with DVD capabilities, make a emotion engine so powerful, China won't be able to use it (damn spies!), and proclaim that it can process 20,000,000 polygons a second, you really know it has to be expensive. Worse yet, I've heard that in order to play DVD movies on it, you must have a type of modifier to it. Well, it was something like that, I know it for sure. I wonder if there is a person out there who would still buy it even after all that? Hmph. I wouldn't really hope for something like that. I'd think that with the competition, the Dolphin and the PSX2 are going to have games made that are completely identical to each other (both games would ship on the same day), and the Dreamcast is likely to get a remake of it a year later, and it would kind of stink the way RE2 for the 64 will when it comes out. Hope you like your new job.

- Chris "my longevity is as long as my writings" Pioli

Damn commie spies.

Deepness In Games Revisted

Dear Zac,
I'm a member of the 12-18 age range (I'm sixteen), and I was always raised on "traditional" RPGs, such as the original Final Fantasy. I'm not a fan, by the way, of FFVII. Anyhow, as Arakageeta mentioned in his letter, the earlier games (read: FFI, FFIIe, FIIIe) should have seemed deep then, and if I were to replay them now, they would be shallow. Quite the contrary; I constantly play these games (I generally play through either FFII or FIII once a year), and I find them as deep and affect me emotionally every time. I generally even drop a tear at them. To those that say you have to have the pretty graphics of FFVII to really get the meaning across, what about a book? Talk about a lack of graphics.

- Mist

I agree. Graphics and everything are really neato, but they don't enhance the game play. FF7 was just a horrible game as far as gameplay, storyline, and challenge go. I don't see how so many people like it. (Besides, it's not Final Fantasy without castles and dragons)..

PC RPG Questions

Dear Zac,
Hey Zac the new guy, wassup... I congradulate you for taking on the role of covering all those awesome PC RPGs. Anyway, here is the question.
1) Have you played Jagged Alliance 2 yet, and do you think it is at least partly an RPG. I feel that since each mercenary that you hire has a personality, including your own customizable character, it has some RPG elements.
2) Are you as excited about Diablo 2 as I am, I mean, DAMN that game looks HOT... I can't wait to play that sucker... :)
3) What's your favorite old PC RPG. You know, like Wizardry, or Zork, or something. Personally I have always enjoyed the Ultima series, and I am hoping that Ascension will live up to all Ultima fan's expectations...

- Wraith

My role is only just beginning. Soon, I will be adding comprehensive and continuous coverage to many major online RPGs. I can see you bleeding with anticipation already!
1) No I haven't played it, but I've seen it - it has some RPG elements but I don't consider it an RPG and neither would most RPG fans you would ask. In fact, a greater percentage of games that come out have RPG elements, even RTS games like Starcraft. But they're not RPGs.
2) Oh yes. Diablo 2 is going to own. You know it.
3) I like the QFG series and Ultima, but my frank opinion is any PC RPG made before Fallout 1 pales in comparison to the cRPGs that were out at the time. And as you can see from the Ultima screenshots and movies that I have posted, Ultima IX: Ascension is going to be a HUGE game with excellent graphics and an involved, dynamic storyline. I, for one, can't wait. It looks to surpass all Ultima expectations.

More PC RPG questions and Jaguar 2

Hey Mage, [That's me, Zac]
1) Has a release date been mentioned for Ultima IX? The game looks ultra-kinky, and I was disappointed by UO... (no, I don't mean to start a flame war)
2) Same as #1, but this time for Septerra Core... I mean, you are the PC guy, hopefully you should know these ;)
3) Okay, so not really a question, but something I feel I should mention. The whole PSX2/400$ deal - that 400$ number means absolutely crap. Inflation, localization of prices, exchange rate changes... there's just too many variables. The 391$ number was probibly a direct yen to dollar translation, which isn't indicative of anything.

- DkPhoenix

1) No release date for Ultima IX, but Richard Garriot (Ultima's Creator, Lord British) says the playtesting is almost complete and that means we can expect the game sometime, I estimate, in Q4 1999.
2) Topware Interactive has not announced a release date for Septerra Core. As it is with most games in the PC world, you can always assume that it will be "done when it's done".
3) It does mean something. It means that Sony expects to profit from the selling of the actual console itself, and that's just not going to happen. It doesn't happen. It is some indication, though by no means exact. Maybe I'm just hoping Sony will screw up bigtime and release it for that outrageous price, because I'm a Nintendo fan.

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I've been trying to use a character editor for Fallout 2 but I can't find the fallout character file (.gcd file?) anywhere in my save game files. I was also told to use a hex editor but i have no idea how to use that either any ideas would be appreciated

Hmm, well first you need to crack open your PC and set your singularity drive to maximum. That should fix the prob. [Actually if you're using FALCHE.exe, just open it up and it will automatically detect the save game files in each of your slots.]

Isn't viagra spelled vaegra? Just wondering...


Dear new letter guy,
I am going to kill you.

That sucks. What a bummer.

Hi Zack, welcome to HELL!
-John Thompson

I knew there was something strange about the recent heat and dought around here recently.. That must be the reason, being Hell and all.

Sorry for the late update but I wanted time for all the letters to come in for the day. Not to mention I slept in until 6:15 PM. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my column, I had a good time answering letters. Until tommorow,

Zac "The New Guy" Gochenour
Please don't kill me.

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