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questionanswer&andrew


My Cans! My Precious Antique Cans!

Andrew Long - April 30 '04- 2:07 Eastern Standard Time

THIS IS A DARK DAY FOR THE WORLD OF Q&A, for my most beloved running joke has been cruelly destroyed by Midway Games, which has decided to actually go ahead and release Shadow Hearts 2, against all my expectations. Now I'm left with a shattered husk of a joke, and as for looking mysterious and secretive, like I just might know the answer, but I'm holding out for the heck of it? Oh, that's gone. Gone, I tells ya!

So now, as we're left to pick up the pieces, I think we should hearken back to a happier time, a time when men were men, RPGs were RPGs, and I still had my precious joke to cling to. As such, we shall hereby operate on the basis that Shadow Hearts 2 has yet to be announced for North American release. The punishment for evading that edict? A paddlin'. And making cracks about the silliness of this ban? That's a paddlin' too. And asking about where chocobos came from? You better believe that's a paddlin'.




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PHI leads 2-1
Rumination:
Melting cheese singles
Makes them 10 times better

Mmm... creamsicles


::Emerges with virtual creamsicles for all!::

Hoy, Castoriffic!

Hear the news about Shadow Hearts 2? Do you think people will stop asking for the release date? Or will it always remain an inside joke? The legend must never die!

ANDREW
Hate hate hate hate hate... and a paddlin'!

So, in other newz you can use, how 'bout River City Ransom EX? I still enjoy the NES version, with my broher constantly pulling me towards it for two-player crazyness. Sad thing is, this exchange almost always ends up with one of us wailing on the other with brass knuckles, or a baseball game in the park... with rocks. Can't play baseball without rocks.

ANDREW
Well, I'm at least marginally intrigued, since it seems that GBA games are the only ones I ever manage to find time to finish, but I don't know if I'll actually buy it. I never did play the original, and those characters look a little too much like the Double Dragon duo for me to take them seriously. Still, I guess imitation is the best form of flattery, so maybe my love of hackneyed expressions will force me to buy the game through a gross misappropriation of the transitive property.

The EX version looks like it's simply a slightly better looking port of the first. Still, as long as it supports new, nifty-looking multiplayer modes, I'm for it. Only problem is having to get two, one for each player... blarghhh. I do like the concept of a "deathmatch" mentioned in the previews, though... there can be only one!

NeoCarbuncle
BARF! ::drops money::

ANDREW
Hey! There will be no deathmatching in my column, mister! Now, a death race, we can discuss... You still get the only one factor, and since we won't bother paying Julia Louis Dreyfuss to make a repeat appearance, it saves us loads of money!


Well I can't be unrelenting EVERY time... Though I suppose that's what the word means


Hey Andrew,

I actually like how Final Fantasy 7, Star Ocean, and other games put their mini-games all in one place, like an amusement park(usually in a casino though), that way you only have to go to one place other than going to multiple different places. And to tell the truth, Star Ocean the Second Story has a good tournament system, although the gameplay sucks, so that kindof abolishes the joy of actually being able to choose multiple different modes and difficulties and makes tournament in the game pretty worthless to begin with. Xenosaga, Dragon Warrior 7, and Persona have some great mini-games as well, and all of them are in a single place(Xenosaga's are all in the menu, but man, too bad the game sucks), and seriously, must be a popular mini-game(addicting too) because all three as well as other games use poker(with high and low win) as a mini-game.

-andrew- -kupomogli-

ANDREW
I think the fact that you've hit on a common element in all the titles you listed there - namely (with the exception of FFVII) that they suck - probably says something about the concept. I personally preferred FFVIII's approach - to have the card game playable all over the world, and in doses as small or large as you like. The problem with the Gold Saucer for me was having to hop in the airship and go, rather than the collection of the games there. That said, I think the worst part about FFVII was the overemphasis it placed on minigames (CPR? Move over chess, we have a new timeless classic!), which, while it made the game more accessible to RPG neophytes, grew terribly dull for me after the third or fourth variation on timed button mashing.


Hmph... Some people just don't quit


Yeah, I realize it wasn't a particularly well developed argument, I just wanted to get that argument out there. But-

"...antibiotics weren't the final solution."
Why not?

"New and stronger bacteria resistant to antibiotics continues to develop even now..." That's really more of a problem of misuse than anything else. So many doctors prescribe (or used to) antibios for things like colds and the flu, and many people don't continue to take the drugs for as long as they should, or don't follow dosing directions. That's what's responsible more than anything.

ANDREW
Which still doesn't invalidate the fact that antibiotics are not the final solution.

"...things like SARS (yes, I know it's a virus) coming up are a good indication that disease is still a problem." I wasn't talking in relation to viruses, I was talking only about bacterial stuff in the first place; viruses had nothing to do with my argument. The viruses are a whole different issue altogether. I suppose (to extent this ... bad... analogy even further) the bacteria are one problem and the viruses another. Just because Sin (bacteria) is old hat doesn't mean that the dispute between Yevon + the League (viruses) isn't a problem.

ANDREW
Point taken. Instead of going on about SARS, I should have brought up the E coli infestation that took place in northern Ontario a few years ago, poisoning a town's water supply, killing six people and outraging a town. Granted, it should never have managed to find its way into a town's water supply, but the fact that a simple but resistant strain of bacteria can continue to manifest itself in so many ways that fighting it is virtually impossible suggests to me that you'll never entirely deal with bacteria, since it can develop from something as simple as a piece of chicken left on a counter too long. Of course, now I'm not even sure how this relates to what we were arguing about, so I'm pretty sure you're seizing on technicalities here :P

"They still persist in the third world, which continues to be a problem to this day," That's because they don't have antibiotics there... sooo, really, I suppose you could say that the analogy applies only to people who have access to the antibiotics.

ANDREW
And not even us, now that I think about that little town in Northern Ontario.

"...so I don't think that analogy is a good one either, because I know I'm at least moderately concerned about a new flu epidemic sweeping through the world." What? That makes no sense. Aside from that, once again, I was talking only in relation to bacteria.

-Patrick

ANDREW
You're right, once again I'm mixing up viruses and bacteria. It doesn't matter, though - bacteria continue to be a problem when they are not dealt with expediently. Incidentally: as a fascinating and utterly irrelevant sidelight, there are now a greater number of rats in the world carrying the bubonic plague than at any other time in history! Isn't that super?


Namingway


Have you ever named characters in games after characters in other games? I thought it was alot of fun! That is, until Cloud got pregnant. *shudder* Moral of this story: Don't name cows after spiky headed protagonists.

ANDREW
Thanks for the advice, Captain Nomenclature. As to whether I do it, well, games like Disgaea tend to necessitate it - It'll be a cold day in August before I come up with original names for forty different characters. Actually, I've invented most of the names for my Disgaean characters, but I do have a thief named Locke. Other than that, I tend to either leave names as they are or name my heroes the same thing when they're nameless. Funny you should bring this up, though - we had a conversation on IRC today about weird Disgaea character names. My personal favorite is my Nemoku named Shoe (I think it's a Nemoku, at any rate... If that's not it, it's some combination of those letters).

Eyyyyy!


Yo Andrew,

I was reading the news release about the FFXI Expansion…… it mentioned it being cd-rom only, any inkling of info about a PS2 release?

ANDREW
Well, PlayOnline is fabulously worthless at providing solid information, so I can't really tell you, since it doesn't say explicitly what platform the release will be for. Still, I have a hard time believing Square Enix would shut out PS2 users from the expansion, since that makes neither in-game or financial sense.


Pirates and demos


Castocaptain, With this scaggly sea-swabin' urchin chugging along at a break-necking 3 ft./sec., one has to ponder, which way to Jupiter? As you may remember, maybe not because you were drunk, but Square-Enix had that whole Front Mission 4 demo contest waaaay back. Yeahhh, you all know what I'm talking about. Well, it seems that I hopped aboard the cruise and set sail with a submission. Yes, yesterday I recieved it in the mail. One would think that I started such a delicious treasure, but while trying to remove the plastic wrap, I cut myself underneath my nail. Not a pleasent experience, so we're on a "break" until it appologizes for it's behavior. So since we're on bad terms, I making it mop your room with jellyfish. As far as randomopium goes, the dreaded SATs are Saturday, work training on Sunday, and my 5-hour sometime in the future. Madness, I tell you. Sony's E3 lineup leakup?! It makes my rows and sails flutter with excitment as I rush towards the ends of Uranus. Maybe not, but you've got to admit, it's quite interesting seeing as though E3 is around the corner. A plot, perhaps? The plot that I have to kidnap you and sail to the convention right through the southern states? Those Rockies might be a problem.

The sea breeze invites you,

O' Shrouded One

ANDREW
Ouch... If you think cutting yourself below the fingernail is bad, though, I can do you one better - while carving a print back in eighth grade art class, my exactoknife slipped, gouged out a chunk of skin and a little sliver of nail, and deposited a chunk of linoleum there instead. It hurt like crazy for two or three days, and I had this little light brown splotch under my nail for the next six months or so. To this day, the left edge of my thumbnail is very low. Good luck on your SATs, at any rate - remember, when in doubt, pick B!

...I can't back that up.


You callin' me silly? Dang, there go my pants...


Hey there,

I used to read Q&A a lot, but for some reason I stopped. Lately though, I've been reading again and I realized why it's so fun...'Cause the people who write to you guys are silly. Silly silly people, with even sillier questions and/or comments.

ANDREW
Which has nothing whatsoever with the fact that I encourage that approach... Nosirree, Bob.

Besides that, I think Square Enix is being weird about which games they are bringing back. I mean they've already brought back Final Fantasy 1,2 and 6, but now they're bringing them over to the Game Boy Advance? Why not just finally bring over Seiken Densetsu 3 and please everyone who either desperately wants the game or is thoroughly annoyed after playing it on their emulator. Just another way I think Square Enix has done something small that makes me say "What are you doing?"

ANDREW
I guess they don't bring it over because other Seiken Densetsu titles haven't sold terribly well. On top of that, I know there's a certain percentage of people who would like nothing more than to get their hands on an official, seal-of-approvaled product, but let's face it - it's been widely available in certain illicit forms for almost a decade now, so anyone who has any interest in playing SD3 has played it by now. I'm not so sure that there is a viable market for the game, and if there is, I'm sure it will be exploited in due time with an appropriate repackaging a la Sword of Mana.

It seems to me that one of the ways that games haven't been having the same effect as their predecessors is the shortcuts they've been taking. For example, I'll contrast Final Fantasy X with Xenosaga. Neither game has a definable world map (Final Fantasy X has a world map, but not in the way I'm talking about). In the sense that neither has a world map, that limits a certain level of exploration. You can't find a hidden cave and such via the world map, so you must do it through dungeons.

*Spoilers for those who are care or those who haven't played either game*

Final Fantasy X has an expansive world and once you gain your ship and chocobo there are extra dungeons you can visit and such. However, in Xenosaga, you're just kinda ship hopping from place to place with no map whatsoever. But that shouldn't mean you can't explore. All Xenosaga does expect the player to explore each area thoroughly and remember when there's a special door you can't open yet until you get the key or whatever later. That's not exploration to me...I mean you can't really call suddenly being given the option to visit the Omega Dungeon exploration, but it's something. In that sense it goes to show us that these kind of things are the things our old games used to have and these new ones are lacking.

I can only HOPE that new games will fix these seemingly small things. This kinda brings me to a question...Do game companies listen to responses to their games? I mean, they might look at reviews in game magazines or something, but it seems they stay cooped up in their buildings and work tirelessly on small ways to bug us gamers. Maybe they'll hire some pawns to organize a beta test or whatever and they show us previews of the games at E3 and such. But I mean come on...Couldn't they just make a game TWO discs so they have plenty of room to make their games pretty and give us goodies.

That would make sense to me, but maybe I'm just missing something in all the points I'm ranting about.

KingFisher

ANDREW
There are those rare game developers who take the time to troll the internet and find out what people think about them, but they tend to go overboard in one of two directions: fanservice to rabid RPG fans, as in the case of Working Designs, and just plain rabid behaviour, as in the case of Derek Smart, whose hilarious antics and mail-order PhD have filled online hearts with much more glee than playing his ponderous, crappy game ever will. Either way, the only thing most developers listen to is sales figures, and there's a couple of reasons - one, they have no reason to care about what we think here in North America, since Japanese success tends to be much more important to a game's overall showing, and two, the bottom line is that making safe, bland games is a better way to rake in the cash. That's why there are so few games released now that aren't sequels of some description.


Unfit for Print... That's a paddlin'


me and my mates really wanna now is tifa lockheart gonna be in the final fantasy 7 advent children plz tell us if u know

ANDREW
I'll never tellllll....Seriously, I have no clue!


DA LAST GRUMBLE

What a strange shotgun blast of topics there... As you may or may not have noticed, Honk Honk the Abusive Clown failed to make an appearance today, on account of he has to work tomorrow for nine hours, and staying up until 4 AM would have made him a very cranky abuse clown indeed. Never fear - Honk Honk will be joining us Sunday instead, so you can continue saving all your clown-related letters until then. For tomorrow, everyone share your worst Disgaea character name, and the story behind it. Mine isn't too exciting - I called the character Shoe because I claimed that I had a character named Shoe while talking to those people on IRC I mentioned earlier, and I had to have something to back up my empty claims.

At any rate, since that won't make for a very bulky column, I'd also like to hear what you think defines an RPG, and sets apart a title like, say, RCR EX, from Onimusha or Metroid. I think this is a valid topic because the answer tends to differ for everyone, and I'd be interested to see what you makes a game an RPG to you guys, since I do hold one of the official Do We Cover This Game or Not opinions hereabouts. For now, only one more sleep till game 4! I think I'll make it now.

castomel@rpgamer.com
Andrew Long will dream of Mogilny hat tricks.

I'LL PROVIDE THE ANSWERS, YOU PROVIDE THE

QUESTIONS


Actually, I'm not too particular on who gets the hat trick. It can be any Leaf, really :D

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