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Another Festivus Miracle!

Andrew Long - March 7 '04- 2:12 Eastern Standard Time

OKAY, I REALLY WASN'T FISHING FOR COMPLIMENTS YESTERDAY, although it seems there are few complaints to be aired. I appreciate the kind words, though, even if they don't angry up the blood like a few incisive remarks delivered with impeccable timing might have done. Regardless, we will proceed directly to the Feats of Strength, and we're not leaving here until you pin a moogle!

Well, I can't actually back that up, so I guess we'll just forego that for now and go scrounging for aluminum poles or something, since they're in season right now.



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We must speak no further

On rudity and Duff

Oi Castomel,

I have no complaints about you, with regards to the column. (I don't know you personally, heh.) I think you come up with some fun and varied topics to discuss, and your answers are appropriate to the tone or supposed intent of the writer, along with being enjoyable to read. I've only seen you being kinda rude with the UfP types--the overly blathersome, the 30-second compositors and the requestors of info that's been readily available on FAQ sites for years. And that's not a bad thing.

Speaking of blathersome, I never had a problem with your long blocks of text, but if the crowd groused loudly enough to make you pare them down, I'll assume my opinion's a minority.

I like your introductions--they're things that my brain would never come up with, to say the least. The sports team record (???) and accompanying text to the side rarely make sense to me, but I read it anyway. ^_^

It's my misguided attempt at bad poetry, which usually fails miserably if the Leafs have lost on a given day.

I first started reading Q&A during Andrew Duff's tenure, in late 2002 maybe, and was attracted to it because of his rough ways, but I stayed on reading (and sometimes writing) even after the rough edges wore off a bit. Or maybe because they did. Many readers may have wandered off when Duff did, but that doesn't matter. I think that you got it right when you said that the Q&A needs to find new readers. Who cares if a bunch of people stopped reading, if you can get in a bunch more who do, and who, even better, write? ....and write things that are fun to read and/or make sense. But that's bordering on too much to ask.

Here I am going on long again. Never can resist meta-talk....

P.S. I am glad you're feeling better. It's worrying to read about hospital stays.

Well, I do care if people stop reading...I'd just like to have a few more on board so that it's not quite as noticeable when they do. Incidentally, I was feeling better, but now I've contracted an irritating cold, which is making me cranky. Of course, that could just be because I haven't had my juice yet, but only time will tell.

I'll show you antidrug...


How could I not enjoy your presence everytime your column goes up? You are the apple of my eye, my friend. Whether this is good or bad, I couldn't tell you. Unless of course you eat the apple, then I'm left with no eyes, eh? Since we're pushing for a May wedding, you should really find a flower girl dress for tuinte. Granted, this cannot occur if the chips aren't laid down, my friend. With this in mind, there's one thing you should have. More sexy pictures of you! Of course they wouldn't be used for a certain shrine.. Well, maybe. Who can say for sure, ya know? Tennis starts tomorrow, so that could only mean one thing. Well, two, but who's counting? I would reveal them now, but where would the fun be if I kept you in suspence? More randomopium will follow.

Procrastination... my anti-drug,

O' Shrouded One

More sexy pictures, eh? Well, if I had my camera attachment thingy, that arranged could be, but it seems that I am without umbilical cord. Drat the luck! Incidentally, Freevibe has no place within these walls. I hate it like pestilence.

Back to the scene of the crime

Hey Cast,

I guess since I was the one who got us on the topic of improving Q&A, I would do good to throw in some ideas...

1)Firstly, I think that the presentation aspect of Q&A is fine as it is. Both you and Googleshng do a good job with the way the column is laid out, and both are great at writing responses to the letters at hand, even if Goog's answers tend to be a little on the short side.

2)As far as promoting the Q&A column, I think internally at least, the first thing that springs to mind would be not only leaving Q&A at the top of the sections column on the main page, but maybe enlarging the size of the link. This may cause some bitching from the people who run the other sections, but I think the fact that this is (for the most part) a section updated daily, plus pretty much the only thing (other than news) that keeps people coming here on a daily basis, you should be afforded that luxury.

I agree. In fact, I think I should surround it with little gold stars, which will sparkle yellow and red to attract still further notice. Yeah, it's tasteless, but no publicity is bad publicity, except for that police report I'm keeping under wraps...

3)Another thing I thought of is that since most of the staffers probably go to other websites that have forums, or on other IRC channels and such, that you guys can endlessly pimp this site to nonreaders. Which isn't to say go to these forums and just post "go to and read the letters column everyday!!!" over and over until you get kicked off, but you can casually mention the site and even put a link to the site in your signature. That's what I do with my signature on the RPGamer boards, and even if it's not much, it DOES result in an increase in readership. Online logs (Livejournal, Deadjournal, etc) can also be good for promoting the site and column.

4)I hate to pick on Goog more, but not printing letters that can lead to more discussion, and putting "Stuff" and "Things" in the old news/new news section at the end of the column does absolutely nothing to inspire people to write in. One of the great things about the editorials section of this site is that half the stuff that gets put up in there is rebuttals to previous editorials. As the weekday guy, Goog kind of has a responsibility to post stuff that gives people things to talk about. As much as I love your columns, I'm reasonably certain the weekend Q&As get less traffic than during the week. It wouldn't be the worst thing in the world if a discussion is started during the week and have it spill over into the weekend. But since a lot of people have other stuff going on during the weekends, there's only so much you personally can do to promote the column given what days your columns fall on. This I think may be one of the main reasons readership/letter writing has dropped off so much lately.

Just a few constructive ideas to try and help. I hope these thoughts lit a light bulb or two for you guys.

Robust Stu
Gold Reviewer/Swell Guy

Ah, the good old toxic spillover, eh? You're right... We really haven't had one of those in a while, although part of that is because we tend to have slightly different focuses (me on the lame jokemaking, Google on the actual, you know, answering questions). Still, perhaps I can hire Shroudie to kidnap a topic good enough to last a full week.

The silent majority

Hey Andrew,

I'm one of those people that fall into the 'not inclined to write' category. I've only written in to the column 3 times... I think. Even though I don't really write in, I still read the column everyday (for the past year and a half). I'd have to say that I like the way both you and Goog do your columns. Just letting you know that you've got some loyal readers despite the not so many writers, though I'm sure you knew that already. That's it from me, it's pretty late.

-I need a good sig! ('cuz this one sucks)

Thanks for sharing, Baron von Sigless. I know that there are plenty of people who just read, so I should say I'm not terribly alarmed as of right now. I'm just at the point where I'd like to do something to ensure that I don't have any of those days where there aren't enough letters to make things interesting.

And now, for a real letter

::Appears holding a coconut shaped like a NES cartridge::

Castoman, I have heard of your lack of letters, and it fills me with sadness. And badgers. So, as a loyal reader/writer, I'll try to cheer you up! -^_^-

Ah, 'tis the season for a new Pokemon game, eh, Steve? I'm looking forward to Colessium, especially due to the RPG version. While I reserved the game and got the demo before RPGamer even reported it, I was saddened to find that it's not a playable demo, just a movie. Ah, well, at least I got Jirachi, a steel/psychic that fills me with girlish glee! Buyer beware!

Likewise, I'm still waiting for Pokemon Box to come over to the states. There's still no US release date anywhere, despite the fact that Colessium, Fire and Grass all have release dates.

Oh, well, got to get back to Ruby. I'm having a hard time getting a Dragon Scale to evolve my Kingdra, since the only way to get one is by stealing one from a wild Horsea. Wish me luck!

"The air is tasty here!" -Some stupid kid

Luck, my loyal friend! As to waiting for Pokémon Box, well, Nintendo can only release so many games in a series at once. I mean, think of what would happen if, say, Square Enix released five Final Fantasy titles in a year... Why, that would be preposterous! Preposterous, I say!

Banging bucks

Dear Andrew:

I'm a longtime reader of Q&A (been about 7 years now), but rarely do I ever ask questions here on yonder Q&A - they've either been answered on previous occasions or at least valiantly attempted, in all ways humourous, witty, sarcastic and the like. But that doesn't seem to stop most people from sending stuff in, so I thought, "What the hey, it won't hurt."

My question to you, and this may be a broad, tiresome question: In recent light of all the newer RPG and so goodness that abounds, what do you think is the best bang for your buck in terms of consoles? I've had the opportunity to play on all of them, investing a considerable amount of time in the PS2 and the Gamecube in particular. I suppose it would be fairer to think of this question in future terms rather than present in this case...

The best bang for your buck, I would have to say, is the GameCube, since it's cheaper and also features a wide variety of non-RPGs that are a whole lot of fun to play. Granted, the PS2 has a much wider selection overall, but for some reason, a lot of those games lack that certain something that make Nintendo titles so much fun to play.

Your thoughts are appreciated.

-Phong Nguyen

PS. You're doing fine here; everyone has a niche and well, if they can't swallow a bitter pill once in a while, it's their loss. I say keep doind whatever you're doing, I still plan on reading Q&A.

Go Leafs - they better get the Cup this year so we can finally hear the silence of Leaf-fans/bashers shutting up for a change.

No worries, I'm not wheeling up the quit wagon or anything. I don't give up this fast, and it'd be stupid to anyway, since I haven't even really done anything to try and beef things up yet. As to your last point, which instantly grants you status as most favoured letter, I agree completely, especially about the shutting up part. It's funny how people who like teams that have never won persist in chirping...

Two hockey-related letters? I'm in heaven ^_^


What's up man? I have not written in for some months. I'm the Dallas Stars fan that lives in NY. I was a little upset you guys grabbed Leetch the other day, if for no other reason than I wanted Leetch. This way I could have bought a Leetch Stars jersey to laud over my friends who are NYR fans. But, regardless I'm pretty excited about the upcoming playoffs. My team is finally clicking on all cylinders and im looking forward to an extended playoff run. Maybe we'll see you guys in the cup finals.

Anyway, with regard to livening up the column, we could always revisit the who/what is goog debate. As for my guess, I say male. And I'll even take that one step further and say I think goog is Jake Alley. I say this because the bottom of goog's website has this name and upon reviewing the staff bios for Jake Alley and Goog, they seem to me to be the same person. Anyway, that's my guess.

And it's a good one, but I regret to inform you that we've been there, done that.

Finally, RPGs. What's your thoughts on the Suikoden series? I am a huge fan, although Suikoden III disappointed me some. Are you looking forward to Suikoden IV? How do you feel about it being a prequel to the first three?

Lucky Melchior - Kevin MacTiernan

Well, I'm presently looking forward to Suikoden III, since I'm still working on the first game (and I've beaten the second). I have no problems with sequels, though, as long as they don't involve lanky rastafish and annoying little kids.

I am Jack's cold sweat


I have spoken on what I view Google's columns as being worth before, but I nevertheless want to reiterate the importance of diversity.

In RPGamer's past, columnists had roughly a four-month run and then they were gone for good. This meant that if you liked a columnist's style, you had to send them letters now - they could be gone tomorrow without warning. Beyond this, the shifting hosts gave each reader a high probability of finding someone who's style they enjoyed. I really liked Thor, disliked Brad, loved Duff, dislike Google, and enjoy you. But the problem I feel the Q&A is running into is letting one person run the whole thing for, what, four years now? I remember that one week of Q&A a few months ago when there was a different host everyday - it was the most refreshing Q&A since pre-Valium Duff.

My suggestion was already acted upon a while ago, but was inexplicitly over-turned less than a week later. Since I doubt that lightning will ever strike twice, I am at a loss as to what to tell you. Well, I do know something I can say: thank you, Andrew. Although your style is quite bizarre at times, after four years of weekly monotony I rest easy knowing that at least the weekends will be interesting. -Red Raven

I appreciate your kind words, and as for the weekdays - well, some people enjoy a certain comfort level, and after all, newspaper columnists do their job for decades, so four years should hardly constitute a long time. Nonetheless, you have the right to your opinion, and I thank you for sharing it.

Quite possibly Unfit for Print

(Uematsu goes public) I would hate to shatter the hopes and dreams of the common people, but I thought E3 was only open to the press. Hence robbing all those donut shops would be completely in vain, unless you were in it for the jelly filled pastries and not the money. Of course, there's always the flip side where I've been deceived this whole time, and I never attended E3 'cuz I thought it was only for press, but then again, like everyone else, I'm a poor, poor gamer who spends the precious few pennies I have left to purchase the latest games, and I just used 7 commas in that last sentence. FFXI is gonna suck me dry T_T

Umm.. The concert isn't part of E3, it's just conveniently timed to coincide with it. As such, I think all those donuts will be well-stolen. As to the commas, well - that's your own personal demon that you're just going to have to work out.


Just a short correction, but person who said that the quote on the main page was from Shining Force. Its not, a Spout child says it in Legend of Mana.

"Hey Puppet Pal Paul Atreides, do you know what I have in this box?"
"No I do not, Puppet Pal Reverend Mother Gaius Helena Moheim."
"Pain, and a bonk on the head."
Dune - Puppet Pal Edition

Well, puppet pal AT, the beauty of the conditional tilde is that I can jerk it back out of Otterland's arms and give it to you instead, since you are indeed correct. I will endeavour never to delete Zack's emails again, so that the terrible weapon that is the conditional tilde can be safely contained. As for you - here is the official puppet pal tilde:



And so another weekend comes to a close. I don't know if that really provided us with any answers, but I will do my best in the coming weeks to boost attendance around here. For next weekend, we shall talk of sunnier things - specifically, FFXI, the PS2 release of which is rapidly approaching. Yes, it's been done before, but now that I actually care about the game and have sunk some decent time into it, we can do it with gusto! Or at least, with delicious creamsicles.
Andrew Long is a Wizard of Doom.



Though so far, linkshell seems to be chiefly an annoyance.

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