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questionanswer&andrew


Oh, Tie Bandanna, What Fun We'll Have!

Andrew Long - August 12, 2004 23:20 EDT

TODAY IS A COLUMN OF MANY SIGNIFICANCES. For one, it has been one full year since my first column, and for another, I have a photograph of my fabulous prize* to show off! But most important of all, I am wearing a necktie as a bandanna, and I'm not even drunk! You may question this behaviour, but it is the result of a highly scientific study I have been conducting over the past few months. What is the nature of this study, you ask? Well, mister brain genius, I'm going to tell you, so just hold your horses.

You see, I have grown my hair out in an effort to determine whether or not it is annoying to have long hair. As you might well imagine, I am a well-schooled young lad, as I provide evidence of each time I use commas and periods and manage to complete a sentence without working the words "ditn't" or "c'mere a minute" or "extended warranty? How could I go wrong?" As a byproduct of this refinement, I have completed an experiment outline, which I will share with you now.

EXPERIMENT: SHAGGINESS AND ITS IRRITATION CORROLARY COEFFICIENT

Hypothesis: Though irritating both my boss and my mother with extra-long hair will be a worthwhile gambit, it is likely that the long hair will cause ample irritation to my own person.

Method: I shall grow my hair to a length roughly contiguous with my chin. I shall then bitch and gripe each time it falls into my eyes, which will be followed by brushing it back with my hands in sassy fashion, possibly landing me a spot on Oprah and then a nationwide book tour.

Materials: 1 Human Head, lots of carrots (for growin'!)

Procedure:
Day 1: Hair not much longer. Perhaps taking up smoking will help?
Day 5: Smoking has not helped. Hair now smells, and while carrot breath has subsided, lungs are aching. Better kill some fatcats.
Day 10: Hair slightly longer, now feeling slight urge to listen to Death Cab For Cutie.
Day 20: Hair definitely looking sexy, decided to steal John Titor's time machine and go back in time to the eighties and studly it up.
Day -2500: Got me some fiiiiiine lookin' women discussing merits of E.T.

It gets a little hazy after that, but the moral of the story is, I'm wearing a tie on my head. It's time, anyway, for the moment we've all been waiting for: the revelation of the fabulous prize!*

Now, you might be wondering where such a destitute college student as myself could possibly find the money to acquire a fabulous* prize? Well, the answer is, my very own bedroom! That's right, our prize winner, Mr. Jacob Smith** of Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, Alberta***, will receive the following fabulous* clutter I gathered from around my bedroom:

3 Hockey Pogs, including the superstar Valerie Zelepukin (25 goals for 93-94 season!)

6 sixes of spades, many from Bicycle decks!

12 1991 Upper Deck baseball cards, including a young Bud Black!

A picture of Frank Stallone, autographed and inscribed by yours truly!

A Canadian five dollar bill!

Yes, this outstanding batch of prizes will be mailed source-direct to our lucky prize-winner, and the rest of you can now gnaw on your livers, thinking of all the wonderful stuff you're missing out on. Truly, this is a magnificent way to celebrate the completion of my first year making you wish nightly for my death! May there be many more...

*Prize is not fabulous.

**Names have been changed to protect privacy.

***Okay, he's actually from Pennsylvania, but you haven't lived until you discover there's a place called Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump!




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Ah, Xenosaga... My most hated foe


What's up, mandingo? How 'bout that announcement of the release date for Xenosaga Episode II, 'eh? It took them long enough to decide when to publish a game they've been working on since practically the dawn of RPG-oriented-time (if you hearken back to Xenogears, anyhow). Anyhow... What do you think of those FFXII OST samples? I know that reading Uematsu's online diary kinda gives me the impression that he's tired and depressed recently, but I kinda hope that he and Sakimoto can pull out a good one for us.

~ Zack

ANDREW
I keep forgetting that Uematsu updates that thing on a regular basis... I really must check it out at some point. I think they've been overworking the poor guy for ages though, so I don't think his work will suffer as a result, providing he doesn't keel over stone dead from exhaustion one day. You can definitely hear the Sakimoto in those samples though; I'd be surprised if Uematsu had anything to do with them. Either way, I like Sakimoto's work, albeit not as much as Uematsu's, so it's no biggy to me. If the rest of the soundtrack is as good as that, I'll be happy, if a little starving for new junk to whistle to.

And, just in case you thought I was blithely ignoring the bit about Xenosaga, rest assured: I was. I hate Xenosaga like pestilence and could care less about whether or not it comes out. Nonetheless, I know I'm in the minority there, so we shall no doubt be raving about it, and soon.


Ooh, a parka!


Castopoutine, So as I left you letterless last time, let me start up with a well-thought apology complete with a lovely parka for you to parade pantless in front of your window in. Your presents are mine, I always say! Sowwy. Since we're going down the "Googlie-topics" route... Growlanser Collections? Well, to be honest, Growlanser doesn't really catch my interest. Now Arc the Lad Generations is more fit to my line of vision. Or maybe I'm just blowing off steam due to an overly-worked and stressful week? Hmmm...may the madness continue. Well, I'm glad Xenosaga ep. 2 has a NA release date. Kinda makes you wonder... When will I ever finish the first episode?!?! Now THAT'S something to look forward to in the far, far future. So I was craving a chance to taste that interesting dish by your sweet name. The close I got was fries with melted cheese and a side of gravy. It was quite delicious though. Would you recommend the real deal with fabulouso-batious curdled cheese?

The cheese never leaves your namesake,

O' Shrouded One

ANDREW
I would highly recommend poutine, assuredly one of the finest things to come out of French Canada since Jean Beliveau and that pack of techno DJs who keep Toronto flooded with cheap and plentiful music when the locals get burned out. Speaking of burned out locals, my most favorite of events, the Ascension boat cruise, has just been confirmed for its umpteenth installment on the 27th, filling my heart with happiness and possibly dancing. As such, I will guarantee you that I will never finish Xenosaga the first by that point, nor indeed do I ever plan to, since I will be spending the next two weeks scrambling about in a search of adequate pants in which to dance.


Vague, stale FFVII spoilers


I am so stoked about the new Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children movie coming out. I am also pretty sure that it is going to be released in the US because of how big a hit the game was. The trailer also looked really awesome. Anyway, the only character that is left to come out in one of those Japanese magazines is Cait Sith. Do you think that he is going to be in the movie? If not, do you think Reeve might show up? I mean, Reno and Rude seem to have a big part in the movie and I thought that they died or something in the game.

-Aaron

ANDREW
Given the nature of the stills we've seen so far, I'm not so sure Cait Sith fits with the overall tone I'm detecting from those screens, but then again, Pen-Pen doesn't exactly fit with the general tone of Evangelion, and yet we get to see a wacky scene of him getting drunk and knocking food all over the place in virtually every episode, so I wouldn't count Reeve out just yet. All the same, he wasn't exactly everyone's favorite character from FFVII, and that whole replacement Mogconcat dealie seemed just a little cheesy to me, so I'd be just as happy if they left him out.


Constant craving: why did I just make a k.d. lang reference? o.O


I can't wait for Star Ocean: Till the End of Time. Can you?

I've been playing classic greats like Seiken Densetsu 3 to pass the time until it comes out... but my patience wears thin. I can't wait much longer. *hold me*

ANDREW
Much as I would love to hold you, I'm afraid Shroudie would probably stab us both to death in a jealous fit of rage, and if Shroudie's going to stab me to death, I'd rather it be in some sort of bizarre Mark David Chapman sort of confrontation than a fit of pique. Besides, I can most certainly wait for SO3, given that SO2 didn't exactly knock my socks off.


Oh, dear...


Wait a minute... Creamsicles come in chocolate AND orange now? I thought that a Creamsicle, by nature, was orange sherbet around a creamy vanilla center of goodness. If there was such a thing as a chocolate Creamsicle, wouldn't that just be an ice cream bar? I am confused. And no, this question has absolutely nothing to do with any RPG that will ever exist in any universe.

The End.

Seth

ANDREW
Ah, but there is actually a chocolate brand Creamsicle; it's just called a Fudgsicle, though you may occasionally hear Milhouse sorts calling them Fudgicles in a hilarious attempt to mock other attempts at evading copyright.

P.S. In your last "Unfit For Print", how did you know what game the nimrod was talking about during his unpunctuated and uncapitalized rant that brings shame upon the American public education system? He never mentioned what game he was talking about.

ANDREW
Actually, that person included the game title in the subject line of their email, which of course I left out since the letter was, after all, unfit for print. And in shocking news, the nimrod was neither a he nor a shamebringer upon the American education system; she was instead a Canadian numbskull, which makes sense since we're slow up here in Canada, eh?


Zounds, Sherlock!


Dear Guy Who Answer Letters and Stuff,

I've been unable to figure something out for a while, so maybe you can shed some light on the subject. Is there a book somewhere in which it's written that RPGs always have to contain at least a few of a semi-colossal number of cliched-type stuff? For example, I've been playing Tales of Symphonia for a week and something now, and ran across two pretty common RPG staples - the cheezy villain laughter and the obligatory weapon called Masamune. Why? Why must there always be villains that laugh maniacally whenever they think they've got things right where they want them? Is evil really that much fun? Why must there ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS (well, almost always, anyway) be a Masamune? On top of that, the voice acting for some of the villains (namely Magnius, whose voice box I would have liked to rip out with a rusty spork) was so cheeztacular, I'm starting to wonder if it wasn't intentional to make them sound that way.

Anyway, seeing as you're not me, maybe you have a copy of this RPG Creation All-Powerful Rules Book or something. I'd like to take a look at it and then burn it, so game designers won't automatically keep following those baka rules anymore.

frong

ANDREW
There must always be a Masamune because Masamune is the Japanese equivalent of the Excalibur, which you will notice shows up in an awful lot of RPGs itself, incidentally. Masamune was a famous swordsmith back in the day in Japan, and over time a certain style of katana came to be associated with his name, just as it was with another famous swordsmith, Murasame (ring any bells?) It's kind of like claymores or sabres or indeed, katana; they're all swords, but each has a distinctive element, however minute, that sets them apart from other swords.

And out of the mountain of cliches present in Tales of Symphonia, you picked the cheesy villain laughter and the Masamune? Yes, ToS is loaded with cliches, and oddly, that's why I like it so much. Call me old-fashioned if you want, but I likes my RPGs loaded down with ridiculous cliches, because too many recent games have tried to branch out in bizarre fashion, which leads to tripe like, oh, say Xenosaga. Sure, there's a good story if you bother to stick around for it, but at the end of the day, I'd rather laugh at a ridiculous "mohoho" than sit through fifteen hours of whirring spaceship engines just to advance the plot.


And now, to disgust you all!


Castoffmateys, what's hanging (Don't answer this literally. Please.)?

ANDREW
Well, since you pleaded so nicely, I will of course have to take you literally and answer "left and loose", upon inspection.

Anyway, I just wanted to put in three cents on Shenmue online, to top the investment by that other ounk last sunday (Take that, jackass!) I say it'll be great. Not as great as WoW, of course, but I do believe that it will be an amazing game. I loved Shenmue two, and the online one looks to be a forum to use all them cool moves that the single player game gave me but never let me use... Anyway, it will rock. I mean, the second game made me enjoy moving crates with Delin for three hours. And I really do mean that I enjoyed it. There was just something engrossing about it. And then there was the search for Yuanda Zhu. "Do you know Yuanda Zhu?" "No, sorry," "Can you tell me where to find Yuanda Zhu?" "Can't help you." "Do you know where to find Yuanda Zhu?" "Kid, if you ask me again, I'm gonna break off your effin' face and cram it-" You get the idea. I honestly can't wait.

ANDREW
If you're trying to be sarcastic, you really shouldn't lard it down with so many "honests" and "gee whillikers", cuz now I'm not sure what the hell point you're trying to make. Either way, I've never played Shenmue, but if it involves that much box moving, then heaven help us all. I mean, MMORPGs are just glorified chatrooms when you get right down to it, and pushing crates to and fro might just be the least engrossing sideline I've encountered, though then again, casting Stone fifty times on a Maze Maker isn't exactly the least repetitive thing you could come up with either.



DA LAST GRUMBLE

So that's what doing a year's worth of Q&A's like, I guess. For tomorrow, I think it behooves me to somehow relate things to the year that has passed, and so I will ask: what has been your biggest disappointment in the past year? Which game has built up your hopes, only to dash them on the cold rocks of reality? More importantly, how have I grown as a sexy fashion plate in the past twelve months? I mean, does the ball cap do it for you, or does the mental image of me wearing a tie around my forehead get you weak at the knees? Also, what's the deal with Xenosaga?

castomel@rpgamer.com
Andrew Long 's roguish charm will be the death of us all!

I'LL PROVIDE THE ANSWERS, YOU PROVIDE THE

QUESTIONS


Either that or the discomfort I can create by announcing my testicular alignment!

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