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questionanswer&andrew


Previously Lost Lamp

Andrew Long - July 30 2004 00:52 EDT

I'M A LITTLE DISAPPOINTED IN YOU GUYS; nobody has even taken a stab at the fabulous mystery question from yesterday. Since nobody has been willing to be brave enough to give it a try, I'll give you a hint: look at the numbers I sprinkled throughout the column. I'm sure you'll notice a certain recurrence after awhile, and if you manage to use this to your advantage, you might just be able to figure things out.

So there. Having now hyped something, we can get on with the column about hype, which contains just enough letters about hype to warrant the hype, limited though it may be. And now that I've managed to say hype at least a half-dozen times, it's even better!




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Mommy, Where Do Chocobos Come From?



Dark King, Dark King
Why did Cure harm you so?
No half spell damage for you :(

Squeenix squealings


Is it just me, or have we had a seriously lack of Enix titles in the past few years? Even before the merger, I don't remember seeing anything from them on the Playstation besides Dragon Warrior VII. This makes me sad, considering the weird, yet fun games like Illusion of Gaia and Robotrek that they made for the SNES. Have they really been working on nothing but their flagship series, or have they just not bothered to translate them?

-Dahne
"But I...I live on, through this arm!"

ANDREW
It's not just you, but the reason should be clear; before merging with Square, Enix was a Japan-only company, having abandoned its corporate volcano in East New Jersey or something to a pack of ravening wolves that had been hampering profits for several years, as was the style at the time. Once they were free of this threat, or "Phantom Menace", if you will, the company retreated to Japan and concentrated on pumping out Dragon Warrior titles, while occasionally outsourcing some junk to tri-Ace, some of which even made its way to North America (Valkyrie Profile, anyone? How about Star Ocean 2? Well, okay, you don't have to take them both.) Anyhow, now that the company surgically attached Square to its hip, it suffers somewhat from the Square Doctrine - namely, slap the FF name on anything that moves in order to increase sales - but has managed to sneak a Drakengard or two out in the meantime. So never fear; while Square may be the name that most people continue to worship in that Squeenix dealie, the Enix part, in addition to having been the more valuable property at the time of the merger, lives on, and may some day return to wipe out those pesky wolves (though why they'd want another office volcano is beyond me.)

Oh my stalker, so far away now, will you ever see my smile? Not if you keep hiding out in my bathtub...


Castoaga,

So my plans didn't exactly work out as planned. Oh well, it's not like I can't try to squeeze that into another letter without you knowing. As I was click here to saying about work and see nekkid Castomel its torment. It seems I'll have more misadventures with nacho cheese in the future having refused to work in cotton candy ever again. Well, discussion on FFVII sequels is interesting, to say the least. But why have a sequel with just Vincent? Then again I may have jumped to conclusions and ruined everything! The horror! Yes, so I do judge things before information is released. Then again I jumped on the FFX-2 bandwagon a couple of months into it. What about that baseball rpg? That just sounds quite disturbing. Well, have fun on your trip. Take LOTS of pictures. Esspecially of skinny-dipping!

I'm hiding in the bathtub!,

O' Shrouded One

ANDREW
Yes, the baseball MMORPG, if in fact you can call it that, is indeed a disturbing thing. This game, which is apparently being developed by some sort of baseball experts (you know, the old men who sit around chewing tobacco and talking about five-tool players as they subconsciously make their selections based upon who's the prettiest of them all and then saying "Oh, Doctor!" when things don't pan out) will allow you to take on the role of a baseball player and join online games where you play as a single member of a team. I don't know exactly what you do while you're not at the plate or in the field; perhaps there's some sort of ball-scratching minigame, or perhaps a Rick Bosetti special (strangely similar to that cellphone deal we've been talking about, except you switch the cellphone for a fielder's mitt).


Arts and crafts


I looked up Tales of Symphonia. Interesting. My memory was jogged when I saw the pictures. Although I have to say, it doesn't look like my cup of tea. I'll give it a shot though. Is it out? I'll rent it, if it is.

ANDREW
Oh, it's out. It's the latest and greatest for the GC, so now instead of employing five-year olds to ruin SSB:M games, you can utilize them to heal you or something, cuz it's also 4-player.

Do I judge games before I play them? Well, that's pretty obvious from the above sentence (Yes). The saying "Don't judge a book by its color" comes to mind. I judge. I always have. Games that I like have a certain look to them. That's why sometimes when developers do something new, it's hard to convince me that it'll be good. Take Zelda: Wind Waker. If I remember right, I was super disappointed with the graphics. I thought this game was going to be kiddy. Why? Because previous Zelda's had a certain look to it. It was a look that I had grown to trust or was used to, not just in graphics but in storyline and battle as well. Whereas this new Zelda looked completely different. When I tried it, I loved it. The developers did a very good job. But sometimes when developers try something new, it doesn't pan out well, like Final Fantasy X-2. Although FFX-2 got great sales by the general public of gamers, we're talking about me and I'm not the general public gamer. I'm picky. I felt that FFX-2 was a disappointment. I was still a loyal fan of Squeenix, so I figured it was going to be good as soon as I heard they were making a sequel FFX. But alas, it wasn't what I expected.

ANDREW
I don't know why everyone got up in arms over WW; for all the meowing over the art design, the game was pretty much the same as the previous titles in the series, at least stylistically. It just did the system it was on justice, which was a nice thing to see. Of course, now the newer, edgier link of the upcoming Zelda series has everyone oohing and ahing, so maybe i'm crazy or something.

Now, those were franchises (Zelda and FFs). But what about certain games that are one of a kind. Well, we all have our news sources right? Like the Playstation Magazine, websites, or a tv show (my particular favorite is X-play, http://www.g4techtv.com/show.aspx?show_key=41). This website (Rpgamer.com) usually is on the same wavelength in there reviews as I am. If nothing else, read, watch, or listen to some reviews for information. And rent the game if you're that curious. It can't hurt to try it.

By the way, Andrew, you mentioned in previous updates the dark and complex past of Jo Jo. Of which, I laugh. Joe's past is about as dark and complex as a paper cup with holes. But I see that you are observant which is good. Keep up those theorys Andrew! They may actually get you somewhere in life! But until that time, keep taking those pills.
-The Lizard

ANDREW
I surely will, Lizard. I surely will. I have to, after all... Not taking pills results in me turning into a saltless ball of mush who can't even keep water down.


Bitterness? Don't mind if I do


To the Letters Whore:

Have I fallen victim to hype? Hell yes. I remember back a year or so ago (can't remember exactly) when all the hype surrounding .hack and Xenosaga was going around. I was excited about both of these games and thought I had finally found some RPGs that would break Squeenix's hold over me.

Sadly, both games proved to be disappointing. Xenosaga had a great story, but the battle system was shallow and Namco completely wasted the opportunity they had been given with the London Philharmonic. They had one of the best orchestras at their disposal and they fill half their game with the sound of space engines.

ANDREW
In Namco's defense, it follows logically that if most of a game is going to consist of wandering around on a spaceship trying to bore the gamer to death, white noise is the perfect accompaniment.

Then there was .hack, which suffered from the same problems but also had a story that was about on par with such great epics as the Power Rangers and Zoids. Not only that, but I swear that game MADE you party with the most annoying characters, as if Bandai KNEW which characters were irritating and was trying to torture you. To this day, .hack//Infection is the ONLY game I have ever traded back into a store.

And these series of disappointments was just after coming off of my Kingdom Hearts high too. Grrr...

Always bitter,
Bastard

ANDREW
You should have known better than to get started on .hack, my friend. Beyond the fact that it involves paying four times for the same game, there's also the small problem of its story being highly derivative, to say nothing of the gameplay being nothing special. And besides, your expectations should be low; after all, Bandai's most noteworthy achievement in the field of gaming, besides .hack, is that handheld you left in the backseat on your way to Florida on your fifth grade summer vacation that was never quite the same after it melted.


Like a good neighbour, cape guy is there!


I read your review and decided to help you out a bit (if you haven't found the Cape and heart yet).

Do this in the Dark World:

Go to the Graveyard in the Dark World and at the back go up the steps to a ledge. Use the Magic Mirror to appear in the Light World and go into the cave opening. In there you should find a piece of Heart. Exit the cave and step on the portal. Once in the Dark World, go into the top right corner of the graveyard and crash into the pile of blue stones that is fenced in by the wall and some flowers(which you can chop down) to get a red rupee. Use the Magic Mirror in the bottom right or left corners of the enclosure you are currently in. You will appear in the Light World at the tombstone that has been blocked by black stones and the wall. Charge into the front of the tombstone and it will push back showing some stairs. Go down them and head to the back of the cave to find a treasure chest. Open it to get The Magic Cape which allows you to be invisible for as long as you have magic in you meter.

Hope this helped! Good Luck!

ANDREW
Well thank you for the assistance, JDW! Now I can saunter around Hyrule naked and nobody will be the wiser. Next stop: fortune teller's shop! We'll see who's freaked out after THIS little encounter...


Current Events


Cast,
What has happened to Google? I know things haven't all that great for him lately, but there seems to be more frequent lapses in weekday columns. Is he okay? For that matter, are you guys phasing him out or something? Just wondering why he isn't here today.

-Naia

ANDREW
If you're curious as to why Google wasn't feeling his best, you should probably read the rant he was advertising a few days before he wandered off into the sunset. Handily, slimes melt under intense heat, and so before he could get very far, he had to turn around, but when he got home, his connection decided to perish miserably as an added bonus to everything else. Now, he awaits its repair on Saturday, and should be back for his next regularly scheduled column, on Thursday.


Why I Hate Xenosaga


Hey Andrew-

I read the Q&A section sporadically, so you've probably addressed this before, but in case you feel like talking about it: what don't you like about Xenosaga?

Thanks!
Patrick

ANDREW
The reason I hate Xenosaga is quite simple: games are supposed to be entertaining, and I don't define wandering around an ugly spaceship with occasional wacky cutscenes to fall under that definition. I know the plot is cool beans and all, but I have better things to do, like submitting to water torture.


Soup, meet tears


Now then, I know it's off topic, but since there's a pretty small chance you'll ever throw up a topic that this will fall under, I'm just gonna have to send it in now.

My query is on RPG Maker 2003. *listens to yells and screams of "PIRATE! PIRATE!"* Ahem. That is not the point. My point is that, well, the engine of it at first glance looks great, right until you start to really use it.

Can you explain to me why, in this day of extremely powerful computers, such a game editor limits itself in the ways RPG Maker 2003 does? In case you don't know, you build the maps in it from objects drawn into simple .png files of a very specific size, giving you, IIRC, 96 'indoor' fields and 96 'outdoor' fields. Why is this bad? Because you are likely to be wanting much, much more. Like variations of a dirt path, several different shades of blue for a lake, etc. You very quickly run out. So why is it limited like this? Why doesn't it have one big folder of objects to place/places to draw?

ANDREW
Well, speaking strictly in terms of the PS2 version, there's only so much storage space on a DVD, and while you could justify multiple discs, that would probably become pretty awkward pretty fast in a "development" setting.

Another peeve of mine is the battles. They're very standard, very simple, no problem in that. What bugs me is the way you're pretty helpless in changing much about them. Say, the animation when a weapon hits. I've tried for days to get that to work, unsuccessfully. And don't even get me started on the apparent impossibility to make new character sprites.

Anyway, my point of all this is, I suppose, that I'd like to see a real game editor, one with the above major problems fixed. Hell, I'd even be willing to pay for it. If it was in English, that is. Do you know of any? And no, I -don't- want that Hamster thing.

Sincerely,
Calydor

ANDREW
The trouble with finding real game editors is that they're all used in the production of real games, which tend to have little things like budgets, development staffs, and deadlines attached to them. I don't think you'd find anyone all that willing to sell you the ultimate open-ended product, especially since if you could just happily sit at home pumping out high-calibre games instead of, you know, going to the store and buying whatever developers choose to dump on you, they'd go out of business pretty fast. Good engines end up in good games, much the same way you don't see too many Honda Civics souped up with luxury car parts. You're just going to have to settle for trying to crank out a nice set of rims, okay?


Madness takes its toll


I have played and at least somewhat enjoyed every single FF game that has hit the US shores including the hated by some FFX-2. I personally couldnt see any good that would come out of a remake of FFVII with just a graphical overhall. Seriously though the only good they could do with a new FFVII game would be a spinoff featuring one of their cool charachters. I would quite enjoy a Final Fantasy Warriors as a Dynasty warriors type game featuring FFVII charachters or maybe an action game that featured Vincent, Barret, Red XIII, Cid, Cloud, or septhroth. As much as a graphical remake would make FFVII much prettier it would take away from the atmosphere and make many fans mad because they would prob add voice acting too, something that got fans mad when they added FF chars in KH with voice acting. I say leave the FF games the way they are as that is how the original fans enjoyed them. I think that a half ass sequel in the form of FFVII: AC is more than i could ever ask for from square-enix.

Fellow RPGAMER
Paul

ANDREW
Thanks for sharing, Paul. I more or less agree with you on the remake score, but Dynasty Warriors starring the FFVII crowd? Don't you remember Ehrgeiz?


YOU 'DREW
QUICKIE I
"My son said he wanted a poke man on his birthday list...
sounds like some porno thing or something. I'll have to set him straight next time I see him." -overheard some guy say this to a woman he was hitting on at the bar at 1AM wednesday. I've met the guy's wife.

-drinkslinger

Andrew:
Thanks for sharing, drinkslinger. I hope for everyone's sake you summoned Pikachu on his ass to teach him respect! Else all the hours my friend spent in Burger King listening to Shwas demand "Pokemanns" will be for naught.

QUICKIE II
Oh! I know,
that quote is from Final Fantasy 2, the scene where we first see both Tellah and Edward. Most people criticize the bad translation, and think that it should have had more time put into it, but the rest of us rejoice in the spooniness of the quote of a trekkie fan in a final fantasy game.

Andrew:
As for me, I just sit here wondering what you were smoking when you played FFIV, because not only do I know that the scene you just described never occurred, I also know the quote is not from FFIV.

QUICKIE III
Dear Cast,

You suck. I said not to put my name on that :P And in my defense, you asked for it.

Bart

Andrew:
Why yes, I suppose I did, at that. The clever-witted among you still trying to track down the good senator should probably perk up, because if this were the Simpsons, I'd be pointing to both of bart's letters and yelling "suit.. burns! suit burns's! Burns's SUIT!"

QUICKIE IV
Quick question for Sword of Mana.

Any specific way to get Niccolo to show up? He has some items I want to buy, but doesn't seem to be appearing. Checked a walkthrough or two and couldn't find any info.

Andrew:
As far as I can see, Niccolo only shows up for scripted events, at least early on.

QUICKIE V
Whats the opposite of opposite?
Thanks,
Steve
P.S.
Watching someone stuff a cellphone in their pants, then seeing a expression of relief would be wierd...

Andrew:
The opposite of opposite? YOUR MOTHER! Oh.... And yes, that would be weird.



DA LAST GRUMBLE

Well, that's it for me this week, but never fear... I shall be back on Tuesday for a two-day stint, returning in glorious glory from my friend's cottage. Until then, I leave you with rudy, who you may remember from such Q&A columns as that one I'm too lazy to link to, and the other one. For tomorrow, rudy, if that is his real name, would like to talk about games that you hate, because he has reason to believe that he doesn't. Why is he so insane? Well, you would be too if you were only four foot three!

castomel@rpgamer.com
Andrew Long isn't usually one to make short jokes, but rudy's just that worth it!

RUDY WILL PROVIDE THE ANSWERS, YOU PROVIDE THE

QUESTIONS


I sure wish this stupid fly would stop crawling on my screen...

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