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questionanswer&andrew


Friared Over By Me 'Ateful Postman

Andrew Long - January 2 '04- 9:55 Eastern Standard Time

I WOULD LIKE TO START THINGS OFF TODAY by apologizing for all the whining I've done about not receiving letters recently. Apparently, they were just being eaten by various spam filters and the rabid dog we keep in the basement because he flipped out one day and tried to tear out sabin's throat. Although my complicated means of determining statistics does still indicate that the planet Jupiter would dearly like to see me dead, I feel comfortable now that not everyone hates me.

Except, of course, my roommate's cat. It seems that each day I have a new and more horrifying tale of woe to impart, and this one is quite a doozy. My roommate lives in B.C when not at school, which as my fellow Canadians know is about a thousand or two miles away from where I am and the rest of you just might be able to drive to from Delaware by sundown if you believe hard enough or at any rate clap frenetically so that you get fairy-based assistance. Now, with the recent horrors we have emerged from known as "stupid flu I hate you so much" and "Why did I only get clothes for Christmas", there is an obvious tendency to feel sorry for me, especially if you happen to be me, which it just so happens I do. This grave scenario was all the more engravened by the departure of my roommate to Delaware, whereupon she hooked up with Tinker Bell and made it to Vancouver (or "Van City", as the cool kids and real estate agents call it) just in time for dinner, stopping along the way to murder a pirate or two.

Now, anyone who murders pirates is obviously just waiting for the right moment to kill me, a sworn pirate-sympathizer, but since that wasn't possible from half a continent away, her highly trained feline death assassin took over instead. Waiting over the course of several days (and mind you, I was at my Dad's during this entire incident), he gradually built up his resistance to his litterbox, preparing to unleash the deadly assault of a lifetime. For those unfamiliar with feline behaviour, particularly the death assassin branch of the species, hatefulness tends to be expressed in the form of vengeful and noxious "presents", usually deposited in most inconvenient locations such as shoes or a pile of towels or tonight's lasagna. Gus, as he is known in murder-for-hire circles, took things to an entirely new and irritating level, however, when he decided to make use of my bed with revenge in mind.

Okay, I'm no big city cat therapist with accreditation and the inalienable right to bilk celebrities out of thousands upon thousands of dollars, but it seems to me that there are many better places the cat could have chosen to carry out this activity. As it is, a set of bedsheets and pillows later, my mattress still smells vaguely of funk and I remain spiteful towards Gus, who chooses to dart away whenever he sees me, possibly because he is aware that if only he wasn't a cat I would unleash furious vengeance upon him, but mostly because he's a skittish cat who I just can't bring myself to hate.

So the moral of the story is, cats are a two-edged sword and I now have a padlock for my room to prevent the recurrence of this situation.




SEND LETTER




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21-8-7-3
L, 3-2
mumblesomething
Febreeze and Arm and Hammer
Indeed have saved the day
Although not particularly
Less cat next week
For now is the winter
Of our discontent
And hey -
Microwaved lasagna doesn't sit well
At 4 AM
The obvious
Is sometimes quick
To escape

Six days ago calypso


Merry Christmas, Castomel!

So, I've been around the net, but everybody has a different opinion on one thing: Is it POSSIBLE (even if not desirable) to play Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles with more than one player, WITHOUT using the GBAs and link cables? Linking up allows you to see your map and equipment, I know that, but if there is more than one player, will the game allow any of them to use the regular GC controller? In other words, can you have a two player game with no GBAs and only 2 controllers?

If not, that sucks. But the readers deserve the TRUTH. I don't know what edition of FF:CC you're playing, and of course I'll need to know if it will be the same as the American version in this respect. So, if you could send me the answer to my question, I'd really appreciate it. Any other impressions you could send would help as well.

With thanks,
Matt

ANDREW
The readers do indeed deserve the truth, and while it doesn't have the tasty nougat center you're hoping for, it does seem pretty delicious if you're actually playing the game. FF:CC requires GBAs for all players if more than one is involved (the single-player version still allows for a GC controller). This seems like cheap Nintendo profiteering, and it may well be, but the way the game is constructed it doesn't make sense to do it any other way. For one thing, using the menu during gameplay tends to be something you need to do quickly, because the action continues for other players even if you're desperately fiddling through your inventory in search of an apple or something.

For another, the game is mission-based, and at the end of each mission, there is a letter-writing session where you receive mail from home and get a chance to reply to it. Each letter is specific to player class and to a job you pick at the start of the game (which has no real bearing on your character other than to implement this feature), and so it would be more time consuming to do this on-screen. Of course, it would be possible to reconfigure things, but the gameplay would be radically altered, and as it is the game is fun to play. Besides, if everyone had to pick from a single menu, the game would quickly devolve into squabbling, with people fighting over where the cursor should go next.

In the end, if you're playing with multiple people, they should furnish their own GBAs anyway, so there's no real reason to worry about buying four just for this game. Of course, if you really want to, that's up to you, though :)


Come on, I've been good - it's been months since I mentioned Mothra!


I've seen this phenomena a couple of times now, where your (the Q&A staff) inboxes have been or your "mail has been claimed by the e-mail server" and while I see that this is a problem, naturally, I don't really understand what has actually happened.

So I guess my question is what exactly happens when the "e-mail server claims your mail"?

ANDREW
Well in this case, we've had difficulties with the server failing to redirect mail from our @rpgamer addresses to the email addresses they're supposed to end up at. For instance, "castomel@rpgamer.com" is currently failing to send my mail to "castomel@hotmail.com", at least on any consistent basis. I know this because I'm getting nearly no spam at all, which is very unsettling for someone used to between 20 and 50 such messages a day.

I'm not certain, but I think the source of the problem is the fact that the mail server is just not functioning, period. This means that people like Google who access their @rpgamer accounts AT RPGamer can't log in, and thus even though their mail is piling up, just waiting to be won on Wheel... of... Fortune!!, they are forced to sit on the outside and tap forlornly on the window, watching as some yutz from Podunk walks away with $54,452.00 in three days' worth of winnings.

As this is an RPG Q&A I guess I'll throw in an RPG related question to. So what did you think of Zelda ocarina of time masters quest? If you played it yet.

ANDREW
Well, I dropped it the second I got Wind Waker, and have yet to look back, so at this point I can't really say.

Oh and heres a question that I've been wanting to ask for a while: Have you got any idea as to why Terranigma wasn't released in North America?

happy new year // Svensken

P.S.
Please excuse any eventual misspellings and gramatical errors, as I'm not a native english speaker, but merely an english student in sweden.

ANDREW
North America never got Terranigma because Japan hates us and secretly wants to launch a wave of giant robot moths to destroy one major American city EACH week until their demands are met. Fortunately, Arnold Schwarzenegger has recently passed a bill authorizing himself to commandeer a helicopter to fly over to Japan and fire Yoichi Wada into Tokyo Tower strapped to a missile, so the situation should be resolved, although it is admittedly eight or nine years too late.

P.S, your English is better than 80% of the letters I receive, which probably means that either some people need to learn how to type, or that Sweden will soon take over the world using its expert English teachers as the first wave of recon.


Meow meow meow meow, meow meow meow meow, meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow...


Hello!

It seems games in general have gone to garbage. I miss the original sense of getting a new game and playing in a large and unknown world you didn't know with interesting (the key here is INTERESTING!!) characters. I recently have gotten a few used games (On sale...w00tz0rz?); Wild Arms 3 being one of them. I recall WA2 being somewhat worth playing and picked it up...I shall see later if I made a good choice.

Anyways...here is the main dilemma I bring to you to answer to myself and the masses:

With the declining quality and amount original content, do you think the industry, (both business and creative) will be able to come up with something of Quality and Originalality in future projects?

-Starsickle
"Chiming in to RPGamer after much PC gaming"

ANDREW
Okay, once you stop crying you should really stop looking at 1995 or 1997 or whatever year it is that you're absolutely certain quality died and think for a minute. Have you PLAYED an old game recently, such as Final Fantasy IV or even the original Wild Arms? I hate to break it to you, but in terms of quality of translation, story and characters, things have gotten immeasurably better since the grand old days. I know it's fun to remember old games as being a hundred times better than any of this newfangled crap they put out today but stop and think, man! You sound like an old codger waving his cane at a seagull and complaining that it used to look much less like the inside of a cataract.

I'm not saying that every new game is good, but you really should abandon this apparent mindset that you've seen it all, because if you do you'll be a bitter person by the time you're 25, on Prozac by 30, and dead inside by 35. Game developers haven't suffered from creative bankruptcy; things are just more or less the same as they used to be, and video games are inevitably geared to appeal to a wide age range. This means, among other things, that no game will have Pulitzer writing until they actually hire real writers on at gaming companies and that developers have been copying each other since the dawn of time. Pong begat Table Tennis, Space Invaders begat TI Invaders and Megalomania and Asteroid and Galaga and Galactix, Pac Man begat Munch Man, and Super Mario Bros. begat every freaking sidescroller in existence. Zelda caused Crystalis and Startropics, Dragon Warrior and Phantasy Star led to Final Fantasy I-IV led to Paladin's Quest led to Breath of Fire led to Star Ocean. Blake Stone led to Wolfenstein led to Doom led to Quake led to Unreal led to Half-Life, and all along the way, the same basic ideas were used. This didn't prevent any of these titles from being very enjoyable (save of course for Paladin's Quest), but derivation is the soul of any creative industry, and if you'd like to escape it you're going to have to warp back in time a few thousand years or so. As for quality: pick your developers wisely. Obviously something made by Dodakaedron Squad is going to be much less likely to succeed than something made by Sega, because Sega has vastly more resources to throw at their products and employ some very talented developers (that said, Triplane Turmoil is the best game ever and you should download it immediately).

So basically what I'm saying is, there's never been any real creativity. There are precious few good developers, and they're the ones that make good games that get copied and cloned ad infinitum until you feel like you can trace each and every plotline back to Cinderella. Suffer the bad with the good, and recognize that while everything isn't stellar, it's still possible to enjoy titles that are derivative and not entirely original. Still, if you continue to be unable to enjoy games, perhaps you need to pick a new hobby. In fact, take up reading literature and never touch a game again. You'll be a lot smarter for it in the end, and I won't have to listen to you whimper. Sorry if this seems like an overreaction, but I really have no time for this argument ^^


O.o


Castorella,

We had a lovely time answering all those letters, right?? Yes, that was a great time, we'll have to do that again. Next week, my friend, will be that of valor and drugs..I mean...Dr. Pepper. All you kiddies should buy your tickets early so you have good seats. Castomel and Shroudie...LIVE! The best show EVAR!! There, there my friend....the inbox white mage will soon come and remove those nasty status problems that are causing negative effects on the mail service. Although, she'll have to be quick or a tap from a stick will surely make her get KO'ed. On such a topic...camels are 1/2 off at the local 7-eleven. By which I do mean that we have to grab the blue ones while they last. Blue ones bring 10 gallons of happiness and candy corn. If they're out we can just grab some yellow and green, which don't make blue, but make some mighty fine popcorn. Remember a while back when you wanted a shrine to you?? Well, my good fellow Mr. Long, today your dreams have come true!! Yes my friend, just bring your mouse over and click this link. Made with love of course, which we all know is on clearance in the back of the store. If only those darned cats would stay in the penthouse then we wouldn't need a baboon running the cash register! It seems my time is coming soon, so I must be off before the clock strikes Marine Land, or there will be cheesecake embedded in some passerby.

Who needs the world? All we need is an excessive host with wittiness...and love,
O' Shrouded One

ANDREW
I'm pretty sure I never asked for a shrine, but thanks all the same. Now I'll never sleep again. Also, smoking is bad, so you'd best stay away from them camels, even if they are half-price.


I like fire


Hey Andrew!

So you want a story about New Years that involves video games or burning the house down. How about both. I had a few friends over to my house and we planned to play playstation all night. My parents were going out and the last thing my dad said to us was "Don't burn the house down." Easy enough not to do, right? Well, I had some fireworks and around midnight we decided to go outside and set them off. We tried to rig them up so they'd all go off at once.

We set our little invention on the ground, lit it, and steped back to watch the fun. After about 5 minutes we realized it wasn't going to go off. We were dissapointed but rigged up anohter one to try out. This one didn't go off either. We got mad and took the first one inside with us but left the second out in the snow.

We were inside for less than 10 minutes when we heard our second fireworks thing start going off. We all looked at each other then scarbled to get the first one back outside before it went off. Just made it! My dad got home about an hour later. He though it was funny when we told him we almost did burn the house down.

Hope you found that entertaining,
N52

ANDREW
You have indeed brought joy to my blackened heart, which tastes 15% better thanks to the pepper I had surgically sprinkled on it. I have to wonder, though: how funny would your dad have found it had the firecracker gone off, Beethoven-stop-shaking-mud-all-over-the-bed funny, or Ray Jay funny? Either way, I guess it would have been a heartfelt family moment when you saved the PSX from the flaming wreckage, so I guess that first question is pretty irrelevant, especially since the house didn't burn down.


EMULATION IS WRONG AND WILL GIVE YOU HAIRY PALMS


Oh Long One,

Although Essence Knight's efforts were no less appreciated, you were correct in remembering my no-cash status. Actually, I do indeed have a few bucks left over from another gift, which would cover NP, but I have considerations to make:

a) as an owner of a Gamecube, purchased during the period it was SUPPOSED to come with Zelda, only to find the store was in the middle of a stock lull, I view the disc as already rightfully mine and am loath to shell out extra cash to get it "again", gift or no.
b) the little indicator on my car's dashboard is getting dangerously close to "E". Also, my Gamecube still needs a memory card (and some more controllers, if I want to get some good use out of Smash Brothers).
c) emulation is getting better and better these days.

I'm not big on taking advantage of consideration C for anything produced within the past ten years, but considering I put in a good faith effort to obtain the software using less grey-area methods, I'm not going to feel too guilty if it comes to that. I was just making sure there wasn't some way to get the Gamecube disc after the fact.

- ChocoMog ZERO, who has heard enough from other sources to not give up on his disc just yet

ANDREW
I pick B. Not only do you need to tool around town, American soldiers are dying each day to make that gas ten cents cheaper per gallon, so make sure you do your patriotic duty and buy that instead of some crazy Japanese video game tape. Besides, gasoline clearly isn't violent, whereas any sensible person knows video games are, and since we don't want you becoming a homicidal maniac who goes around killing octoroks, I think we all know what you should do.


Now where was I?


I hate non-linear video games. I do. I loathe them. Even games that pretend to have non-linearity, but don't, like the recent Sword of Mana, annoy me...no matter what I pick, I feel like I'm missing a crucial part of the game. The creators of games like Legend of Mana and Star Ocean 2 probably spend untold amounts of effort into lovingly crafting each and every possible scenario they could, every given set of choices a player could make, but you know what? We only see one of those, maybe two if we replay it in a few years, by which time we've forgotten it all anyway. No matter how many paths there are, if the development team had simply spent all that effort into making ONE storyline, ONE path, it would be far superior. I don't want to see one of eighty ending, I want to see one kick-ass twenty minute ending. Now, of course, I have no qualms with side-quests or extra missions...things theat help to further flesh out and reveal things about the existing storyline, or simply for special weapons/armor/magic. I loved the World of Ruin in FFVI. Hmm...in retrospect, I guess I only hate games with branching storylines, not really ones with non-linearity. Whatever. Happy New Year! I need to go group up in Qufim to hit Level 21 by tomorrow...gotta go to Windurst and take care of Mission 6, you know. Curse you, FFXI...

- Feep "New years bring new games"

ANDREW
Finally, someone who hates Star Ocean 2 as much as I do. I agree fully. Rather than worrying about Deluxe Celeste Belt Fashion Wedding Super Dynamo Happypants endings, developers should concentrate on workable gameplay systems and a single story that makes sense, for pity's sake. SO2 has the worst translation for a fairly prominent game since FFVII.


The deadliest of the forbidden fruits: the multiparter


A smorgasbord of FFX spoilers

I sent this to Google, but since his mail has been eaten by rabid hamsters and I really want some answers, you get it too. Besides, you seem to attract the really insane people, so it's only appropriate that I should write to you too.

Having just started FFX-2, I've realized there are some plot points from the original that I never quite caught. Some spoilers are included, of course.

1. What's this thing the Guado did that made everybody so mad at them? All I remember is Seymour trying to marry Yuna, and that doesn't seem like something worth ostracizing a whole damn race over.

ANDREW
Frankly, Archduke Ferdinand doesn't seem like someone worth starting a series of events that would kill hundreds of millions of people, but there's no accounting for human stupidity, now is there?
2. Come to think of it, just what makes Guado different from humans, anyway? Besides the perpetual bad hair days.

ANDREW
Plant DNA. And seriously, does anyone trust plants?
3. What are the pyreflies, and what is their purpose?

ANDREW
Pyreflies are unsent souls forced to wait around in whatever body seems convenient until they can be sent.
4. What was the whole deal with Yu Yevon? If he's the basis of their whole religeon, you'd think there'd be more of a fuss over him being a black blob in the middle of Sin. Wakka didn't seem to notice.

ANDREW
That was kind of the whole point - the church in the game was covering up the fact that its religion was an elaborate sham which neatly disguised the fact that all of its elder statesmen were dead as mackerels - after all, if people knew Yu Yevon was an evil wizard, the churchmen would lose their status and power and when you're a stale sack full of souls, the ability to screw over the living is pretty much all you have left.
5. If the whole Final Summon/Summoner go splat/Sin gone for a while thing really didn't work all that well, who came up with it in the first place?

ANDREW
The church, to give the people hope.
6. Sin's gone in X-2, so why are there still monsters around?

ANDREW
I don't have FFX-2 yet, but I would imagine when you get right down to it, it's because without monsters, you don't have a game.
7. What created Sin? Where did it come from?

ANDREW
Yu Yevon created it as a delightful mobile home so he could tour the seas of Spira, crafting a really wicked slideshow in the process.
8. I know I saw Yoshitaka Amano's name flash by in X-2's credits. What part of the game did he work on?

ANDREW
He drew the logo, and some of the monsters were based on his old designs from previous FFs. Pretty sweet, huh?
Thanks for clearing this up. I know, I really should have paid more attention.

-Dahne
"Did you like my sunglasses?"

ANDREW
It's okay, you've got sunglasses! Hmm.. I wonder if Google will eventually receive this email and reply to it as well. It sure would suck if he offered different answers <.<


FFA... playable? It can't be!


Dear Castro-mel,

I love the sensation I get from staying up all night. now it's 10 in the morning and it's like I'm half way between dream state and wake state. What is that, hypnotic state? Been a while since I was in psychology class. A week and something so far.

ANDREW
I too am a confirmed fan of staying up all night, but then again, I also sleep during the day, so it probably doesn't count.

Yay! Happy New Year! Just a few days ago I bought, with my christmas money, Final Fantasy Anthology, Valkyrie Profile, and FFX-2. FFA greatest hits runs MUCH faster on the PS2 than the original for some reason (is it my imagination? haven't played the old one in a while sicne I borrowed it), the loading times in and out of battle and menus less than two seconds... much much nicer. No saving glitch in the FF5 menu, it was taken out. So was the soundtrack, but who cares... it's easily pirat-...er... who needs it anyway? Some poor translation you say? Yes. The game is still the same as the SNES version, with a few things fixed. I forget exactly what else it was you complained about in your review other than loading times. I'm getting just a LITTLE tired of hearing Faris say "D'Gaaaar!" or "D'aaar!" or "Gddaaa!" It really makes her out to be like some mental case, don't you agree? I won't cover FFX-2 since I think what I have to say is about what everyone else is saying.

ANDREW
I stand by what I said in that review. FFA was a lazy, botched port, and no Greatest Hits version will change the fact that over a million people suffered through these problems so that you and your ilk could enjoy it problem-free now.

Anyway, Valkyrie Profile seems pretty interesting (played an hour into it), but in my opinion the voice acting kind of ruins it, good thing it's not all like that. What are your opinions of that game?

ANDREW
"Sure do wish that guy who started the games-for-hosting chain had actually sent it..."

Lets see... New Years tales? New Year has never been anything special to me, but one time I drank two bottles of cidar! Of course, it was alcohol free, but MAN is that stuff good. I'll remember to get some this year.

ANDREW
My New Year's was also distressingly alcohol-free. Now I'm jealous... Cider would have been just great.

I love your collumn by the way. I was a little bitter at first when you replaced google, but I realized just how hellarious you can be. You never fail to amuse me. Keep ranting.

~Brendan Mesick

ANDREW
Thanks awfully, and besides, you get the best of both worlds now - Google's back in action, and when his mail is accessible, he's just the same as always. I still can't help but wonder what on earth happened to Andrew D, though...

ANDREW DANGEROUS
You WOULD wonder that, wouldn't you? Sissy...Nobody needs to worry about Andrew Dangerous, because I'm bionic, baby! Good thing, too... Those old lungs just weren't cutting it.


Unfit for Print


Hi, I just recently purchased Final Fantasy XI for my computer. The only thing I need to know is, how much do they charge in order for the user to play?

ANDREW
Although I do know the answer to this question since it comes off my credit card every month, I don't think I'll share it, because if you're really curious you can either go to the store and look at the back of the box, or alternately, check the news archive to find out.

YOU 'DREW
QUICKIE I
when do you think namco
will release the game Klonoa Heroes:legend of the star medal.

Andrew:
Never, since it was out in Japan over a year ago.



DA LAST GRUMBLE

Hmm.. Perhaps I shouldn't do this on short sleep, because I think a few of those answers were decidedly waspish. Oh, well, surely I can't go back and change them now! I am unsure as to whether Google will be able to post a column tomorrow, but try and send him email anyway. He may be unable to answer it for awhile, but hopefully our problems will be resolved shortly. For Wednesday (I think) anyone curious about FF:CC can ask away, as I'm over halfway through the game. Failing or including that, what was your favorite game of 2003?

Mine was BoF V. We shall discuss on Wednesday. For now, Gus has entered my room and must be evicted at all costs before further incidents occur.

castomel@hotmail.com
Andrew Long had to look up that Cockney rhyming slang.

GOOGLE WILL PROVIDE THE ANSWERS, YOU PROVIDE THE

QUESTIONS


If you figure it out, please don't tell me what you think it means - I'll require further Cockney rhyming slang to print it.



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