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ASK ANDREW
Well Sir, You Got Your Classic Nor'Easter
April 15th, 2007

Andrew Long - 22:53 EDT

..OR SO THE NEWS keeps telling me. It seems some of you took exception to my branding of Play! concerts as "crappy concerts for jerks". I had hoped that you would remember my penchant for bastardizing Simpsons lines, but apparently not! Either way, I remain resolutely uninterested in them, and while I would sooner die than call my readers jerks (except, of course, for those who disagree with me) I cannot shy away from badmouthing this concert. Really, I dislike that guy that much!




LETTERS
An apple is an apple is an apple


Hey Andrew,

I was wondering why you said Play! was just "crappy concerts for jerks". I saw the show in Virginia last year and it was a nice way to spend an afternoon. I guess I just don't understand why you would call it a crappy concert, or the gamers who have been to see it jerks?

I understand if you don't like advertising it so much, but don't take it out on the fans.

-thinkfreemind

Andrew

I have no actual beef with you or other concertgoers. The problem I have is with one of the promoters of Play! who pestered me through email and then, irksomely, through IRC, to post promotional material regarding the concert. I suppose banning him from our channel was poor public relations, but honestly, I couldn't stand the guy, and I don't see any of the money we make anyway, so to my way of thinking, it was garbage in, garbage out ^_^. In any event, I'm glad you enjoyed the concert; just count yourself lucky that you've never met the promoter.



Boingy, Boingy!


Andrew -

Seeing as how you answered a letter of mine back when JuMeSyn was supposed to host I figure I owe you one actually sent to you. I probably would have got to it sooner, but my roomates evil friend loaned us the first two seasons of Lost on DVD, and I made the mistake of being around when he watched the first episode. That show became crack to me about the time that guy got sucked into the plane engine, and between that, the tail end of basketball season, the begginning of baseball, and the Masters last weekend, well I barely even played games other than a few rounds of Tiger Woods on my Wii, let alone finding time to write to a gaming website. Thank God I don't follow your silly hockey, what with it being the playoffs there as well.
Andrew

Yep... last weekend was pretty much the best sports weekend of the year, Don Imus's idiocy notwithstanding. I watched hockey friday night, two games saturday, some of the golf, a little bit of a Raptors game, and a couple Jays games to boot.

So some questions. I got the impression you're another one of the many Canadiens who are on this site, as I recall you refering to us United Statesians as if you weren't one of us, plus the hockey thing. So I'm wondering if you've ever watched a show from Canada called the Trailer Park Boy's? My roomate discovered it and we've been trying to spread the word down here as we both find it hilarious. I'm kind of wondering how popular it is in Canada since there were so many season's. It also came to mind because I just got around to watching the movie and I thought it was great how when Ricky asks his girl to marry him he mentions as her strong points that she doesn't mind his living in a car, growing dope, and playing videogames with his friends all day. What a cool girl, huh?
Andrew

Ah yes, the Trailer Park Boys. Let me tell you a little something about Canada. No matter how crappy a thing we create is, if it catches on in the States, it is immediately heralded as pure gold. So yes, Trailer Park Boys is wildly popular up here, and while I don't really like it, the vast majority of my countrymen are terribly smitten by it. In fact, they hosted the East Coast Music Awards last month. If you're looking for a Canadian series that I do like, try and find Corner Gas. It's about life on the prairies, sadly, which seems to be the case with pretty much anything that's critically acclaimed hereabouts (nothing says drama like flatness and wheat!), but it's also well-written, and charmingly acted.

Also, since I see you're all into FF XII, I was thinking maybe you could explain quickenings to me. I know Matt was having problems with these at one point and asked readers for help, but I ignored any answers to that because at the time I was playing Twillight Princess and not having started the game yet I avoided FF XII stuff due to the scary possibility of being spoilt. I guess you could really just point me at that column if you want, although mostly what I want to know is how are they useful, as I've now got three characters with them and they don't seem to do much. Also the game seems to imply that at some point you will be able to aquire multiple charges for them and I'm wondering is that true since right now they don't do much for me and when I use them they suck up all my MP, so if I had multiple charges and didn't use them all would I still have all my mp? Wow I worded that poorly but I think I got the point across. And I know, check a FAQ but I'm spending my time writing you instead, and if you don't answer I can always look it up later.

Oh, yeah, before I go, I got Super Paper Mario and it is sooooo fun. Doom me if you must. I did feel bad about beating up Fracktail though.

kezzy

Andrew

You will pay for that SPM bit, oh yes. Quickenings aren't really all that complicated; they're just Limit Breaks under a different name, and much less useful to boot, unless your characters have crazy MP regeneration. That said, they can come in handy against bosses, as so far as I know, they're the only way to bust over 9999 damage (I've seen one do 14,100). This assumes that you chain them, however, which requires a fair bit of luck. Once all your initial charges are exhausted, you have to tap R rapidly to recharge new ones, and then hope that you're mashing the right button when the charge comes. It's difficult to do, and I've only ever managed eight, though no doubt, there is a Japanese kid somewhere who can chain up 50.



How bout a soothing cigarette?


Wow...sixty years of Pall Palls and Vonnegut dies from a fall.

I guess my two-pack-per-day habit with the things isn't going to mean my demise after all.
Andrew

Well, it may not have killed him, but he did have pretty awful emphysema. His last appearance on the daily show, he was struggling to breathe just sitting there.

Honestly, I'm really out of the loop on any of the games that are supposed to be discussed today (my most current handheld is a GBA, and the only game I have for that is Metroid [not Zero Mission, either] so I'm not going to be much use)...so my recommendation to which you should buy is to go with whichever has the more favorable review.

I guess I'm just an old-school RPG-er. I'm on my fourth New Game + for Chrono Trigger, currently--nobody's below level 70. The reason for this is that I haven't found any "this-gen" game that could hold my attention besides KOTOR, and after one has played through it thrice, it sort of loses its charm. I never finished the first Xenosaga--I got fed up and quit halfway through. Likewise with Star Ocean 3, ff10...heck, even DQ8!

I just miss the glory days, I reckon.

I guess it's an old topic by now, but as for save points...a retry option is just bogus, but still, there is absolutely NOTHING that I hate worse than having to go through the entire dungeon again just because I forgot to switch some accessory or other, or didn't summon Bahamut or something soon enough into the fight. There need to be enough save points around that the aforementioned doesn't happen, or else I just put the game away. I have better things to do than be frustrated by a video game--they're supposed to be fun, not enraging.
Andrew

Hmm. As an old-school gamer, shouldn't you be in favour of ramped-up difficulty and low instance of save points? Also, it's too bad that you're not a fan of newer games, there's a lot that's good about some of the titles from the PSX on, and while I can't really make any recommendations based upon what you hate there, maybe you should try some non-RPGs. Smash Brothers is a great franchise, Mario Kart is roughly the same as it was in the days of 16-bit gaming, and I'd try picking up Brave Fencer Musashi. It's not old-school, per se, but the control scheme is intuitive, so if 3-D controls are what vexes you, it might be a good way to transition into some newer stuff.

So, with the requisite question, this being a QnA column: Do you expect, with the return of FF6 in the form of FF6a, a return to old-school gaming? Or have sprite-graphics and turn-based (or ATB) goodness faded away forever?

Andrew

I expect that there will continue to be companies, such as Atlus and Nippon Ichi, that will fill the niche of old-fashioned games. I don't think, though, that you're going to escape the majority of games being 3D, because sadly, that's what sells, and anyway, there are a lot of good 3D games out there. I thought we'd moved past this by now. 3D does not instantly mean awful gameplay. Try Musashi and then get back to me. (Note: not the sequel, I haven't played that so I can't vouch for its goodness or badness.)



Potent Portables


Howdy Andrew,

I recommend you try Puzzle Quest or FFF: Chocobo Tales before you play them. I am hesitant to get Puzzle Quest because I hear the text is hard to read - but I hear good things otherwise. FFF: CT looks amusing if by and large minigame-oriented, and I hear the online two-player battles are super fun. Do you plan to try either of these, or are you going to buy one or the other anyway?
Andrew

At this point, I'm probably going to buy Puzzle Quest, because people on staff have been addicted to it since its release. That said, some have also been addicted to FFFFFF: Chocomobobobobomabo Tales too, so the decision may yet come down to the wire.

I'm reserving judgement on FFT: A2, but I desparately hope they nix the judge system because it was very frustrating. It nearly ruined the original for me, which was otherwise good, but I managed to grudgingly accept it. Let's hope that judges in the new game have less importance. Would you be sad to see the judge system go?

Super Paper Mario is a blast. It's a bit short; I got in 35 hours, and that includes everything but collecting all the cards. Anyway, it's still worth it - the humor is especially great. Did you like PM: Thousand-Year Door? I'm curious whether you'll miss the old waiting time battle system setup or enjoy the new action-RPG style...

Blarg,
- Waterfiend33

Andrew

I too wouldn't mind seeing the judge system die an ignominous death, because it seemed an utterly arbitrary addition and kind of threw off what was, indeed, an otherwise fairly decent game. I also want the item system to die in a fire, because it didn't work in FFIX, and it surely doesn't work in FFTA. As far as SPM, if they changed the battle system, as far as I'm concerned that's all to the good; the battles were one of the main reasons I didn't like PM: TYD one bit. As I said in my review, any game that borrows elements from Crapsody is surely in dire trouble.



Bainick defends FFMQ


Hi its Nick

I noticed that lately and not so lately at all people badmouth final fantasy mystic quest. in its defense it wasn't made for us that had been playing rpg's since the days when you had to slaughter a chicken and pray to DIABLOS!!! to get the games to work.. yes i am speaking of the nes.. the best proof that computers will one day become self aware and destroy the world.. but back to mystic quest.. it was a final fantasy made to gently nudge non rpg'ers into our world.. and for what it was it was quite good.. the storyline was kindof interesting despite its shortness and simplicity. its battle system was the same as we've been playing since forever. infact i still have it and played it again over the weekend cause... well... i was bored... and FF12 ticked me off... and KH2:final mix+ ticked me off... and my electric guitar ticked me off. i'm a really angry little man hehe

but anyway just thought i'd point out i kindof liked final fantasy mystic quest for its merits alone and because i didn't dare compare it to any other game

Andrew

Listen, I'm not going to pretend I haven't played through FFMQ three or five or ten times, because clearly I have. That said, neither am I going to pretend that it is objectively a good game, because it isn't. It has no challenge, marginal level design, and a fairly annoying battle system. The story, meanwhile, is not something I wish to dwell upon. It was formulaic at best, and repetitive at worst. It looks ok for its time, I'll grant, and the music is ten kinds of awesome, but overall, it's just not up to the standard of Square's other work at that time.

Then again, I suppose the fact that I've replayed it about as much as any RPG in my library is an indication that maybe it's not so bad as all that. I'll never convince me though.





IN CLOSING

Well, we need letters again, cuz that was the end of that thar backlog. For tomorrow, let's talk about games like FFMQ, that by all rights should never see the light of day, and yet you enjoy them all the same. For me, FFMQ is the best example I can think of, but I'm sure there are others out there! Also on the docket, what is your favorite snack while gaming? Is it something non-greasy, so as to maintain controller cleanliness, or do you eschew non-slip goodness and dive into the doritos? On a related note, what's your favorite type of gaming party? With all the multiplayer DS RPGs out there, is online the way for you to go, or do you like getting together for a LAN party or Smash Brothers? As always the other topics are also fair game, as well as anything that you can think up, so get to writing letters and we'll all be happy!

Or at least I will.



Send a Letter!

Unanswered Letter Backlog: 0 - GET OFF MY PLANE



castomel@rpgamer.com
Andrew is a northern reticulated squirrel, yes he is!


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