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My Contract Does NOT Mention Pain!

Andrew Long - September 23, 2004 12:16 EDT

TORONTO, AS YOU MAY OR MAY NOT BE AWARE, is positively infested with giant raccoons. There are a number of reasons for this - lack of political will to go around and control their numbers, ample trash on every street corner, and of course the secret Jade Raccoon idol I keep stuffed in my luggage for special occasions, which I have been assured by the old man whose spidery fingers I pried it from that time will bring me either good fortune or a plague of raccoons (I can't remember which, he had a scorpion crawling on his face at the time, which was diverting my attention some.)

Thus it is that I have come into increasing contact with raccoons of late, and not the adorable ninja type, like Pocky and Rocky, but the garbage-eating attack type, like the one that was sitting in front of my building enjoying a rotting banana and a sandwich last night as I wandered off to buy dinner, possibly also a rotting banana and sandwich. As I walked by, this cheeky creature had the nerve to look me in the face and wink, which I thought was rather odd since raccoons generally have no reason to do so. Then I realized he had a chicken bone in his eye, so I decided to move along at that point.

That's when I ran into the skunk...


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The verdict is in:
Gravol makes for error-riddled columns
Now we know!
And knowing is half the battle

The National Enquirer would like to make the following corrections

There are a couple points made in the column that I would like to contest.

Firstly, your comment about DirectX 9 is mistaken. While it is true that DX has been with us for some time, DX9 is a relatively new beast, which is probably why it would not work on the reader's computer. Older cards, like the GeForce4, are NOT DX9 compatible. Here is a list of some (though by no means all) cards that are DX9 compliant:

[UTF-8?]— ATI Radeon 9800 XT (R360)
[UTF-8?]— ATI Radeon 9800 Pro (R350)
[UTF-8?]— ATI Radeon 9700 Pro (R300)
[UTF-8?]— ATI Radeon 9600 XT (RV360)
[UTF-8?]— ATI Radeon 9600 Pro (RV350)
[UTF-8?]— ATI Mobility Radeon 9700 (RV M11)
[UTF-8?]— ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 (RV M100)
[UTF-8?]— nVidia GeForce 6800 Ultra (NV40)
[UTF-8?]— nVidia GeForce Go5200 (NV34M)
[UTF-8?]— nVidia GeForce FX 5200 Ultra (NV34)

Being unable to find any resource on this particular item, I will take your word for it. DAMN YOU SCAR!

Secondly, FFTA was not made by the FFT team. Much of the FFT team was/is working on FFXII. It is my understanding that FFTA was done by the SaGa Frontier people.

Ah, that would explain its suckness. Thanks for clearing that up for me.

Thirdly, I would like to comment that BoF V is nothing like the other BoF games. It is also fantastic. I found BoF IV to be quite pleasing as well.

Hey... that's not a correction...CHEATER!

Finally, in regards to SO3, North America did get the Directors Cut. Unless Europe got a director's cut of the Director's Cut, North America has the same thing that they do.

Indeed you are correct, sir. I apologize for my many errors and only hope I will have the presence of mind to actually fact-check today. Then again, not fact checking would deprive me of funtastic letters like this one... So I'd just like to mention that FFXIII is coming out on September 30!

The combinatrix strikes again

Hi Cast.

Hey, why's you nick Cast? I know I'll turn out an idiot since it's probably something in your biography and I'm just too lazy to check it.

It's not in my bio, but I have mentioned it before. It comes from Dragonlance, and I later used it in D&D. I guess we have Dan Parkinson to thank for my nickname.

One of the biggest problems people state when they say they don't like TRPGs is that the battles are unrealistic. Meaning, no one waits for their turn in battle and so on. Obviously they don't realize that battles are a lot faster than they seem to be, and/or haven't played FFX2.

I.. don't understand. FFX-2 isn't a T-RPG, and I don't think anyone really thinks that T-RPGs are supposed to be realistic. Anyone who can't deal with that level of abstraction shouldn't be playing the genre in the first place.

Wouldn't it be cool, though, to have a battle system that discard speed? Instead of speed, you'd have one enemy character moving at the same time as an ally character and they'd attack all at once? The computer will say something like "Characters numbered as 1 move now", then 2, then 3 etc. If you're outnumbered the computer will move the extra characters at his own pace without giving you a chance to move and vice versa.

The problem would be actually hitting characters, since you and the computer would always move and then attack. Battles would take an insane amount of time. Maybe you could incorporate a rule that when you're, say, 3 squares from the enemy, time would slow down and you could only move one step at a time.

It sounds really strange and un-refined, but I think it could be interested. What do you think?

Zohar Gilboa

I think you should cut your losses and play action RPGs, which have most of the features you just described without the troublesome grid.

So... hyping your game, eh?

Hi there. Was just wondering...does RPGamer cover MMORPG's? If so, I highly recommend that someone on your team check out Ashen Empires. Despite it's somewhat dated or old school graphics and midi music, it is a fantastic role playing game.

Thanks a bunch.


Of course we cover MMORPGs... We just don't cover yours! AHAHAHAHAHA!

On-topic goodness

My first RPG was FFVI. (I know it sounds like a first-RPG story, but I'll get to the weather part in a second.) My brother and I rented it and loved it, and so we wanted to buy it at the first opportunity. But of course the cost was prohibitive, it being such a recent release and us being elementary-school kids. What to do? The weather offered the answer. A weekend or two later, it snowed. And it snowed wonderfully and deeply. All the driveways were covered in some six inches of slick whiteness, with a bottom layer pressed into ice. Shovel driveways for money! We shoveled those driveways. All afternoon we worked, pressed on by that glorious vision of gaming, tired yet unrelenting. With our sixty dollars finally together, we called the mall to make sure the game was in stock--it was!--and begged our dad to take us there--he would! And that evening, with the cold white aftermath of the snowfall outside, my brother and I were tromping through the Narshe snow fields in Magitek armor.

-Jackson Ferrell

Ah, good old shovelling driveways for money. Back in the day, my friends and I had a clever scheme - we'd go around and shovel the driveways without asking people, and then tell them afterwards what we'd done. More often than not, they'd pay us for it, and even if they hadn't wanted it done, no less! On the downside, the most we ever turned in a day was $20 each... Although I guess that's divided four ways, so it was a pretty decent haul, all things considered.

Your story has warmed my heart, at any rate. There's nothing like snowball fights all day and Magitek all night.

Speaking of blizzards.. nyuknyuknyuk

Hey Andrew hope you're feeling better.

To be honest, I should probably go to the hospital to get my veins pumped full of sweet, delicious salt, but that never stopped me before.

I'll get right to it.. I am SO wanting a SC sequel as well! I can't count the amount of games of SC I have played in the past. The game was a blast. Now, I am playing WCIII (have been since its release) all the time. Blizzard own. Cept the fact that SC:Ghost is a 1st person shooter and its only being released on consoles. So Blizzard sucks that way.

I concur.. SC Ghost's announcement was like Christmas mixed with my grandpa's funeral.

Working for a WoW website, I am anticipating the game very much. Beta is absolutely amazing and fun. Are you planning on playing it?

I think so, yes. It all depends on whether Zack manages to club me over the head before I get a chance to, although it's likely he'll end up playing it too. Muah ha!

One last thing... do you play the Frozen Throne or normal WCIII? If so.. what's your user name? We can have a few games

Best Wishes,

Frozen Throne, of course... Although I'm currently embroiled in a ten-game losing streak, so you might want to stay clear of me. As for my nick, well... What else could it possibly be? Hint: It's not StompinTom, my other alias.

Brevity is the soul of not knowing how to play games

how and what do I need to break the security cubes in the under net

"The security cube's seal breaks as BubbleMan weakens!" If that's not clear enough for you, I don't know what else I can say...

Ooh, a dissenting voice for some reason!


I'm a first time writer, but I've kept track of RPGamer for quite sometime now. You and the staff kick butt, so good for you guys. Anyway, on to commentary/questions. People continue to talk about how great Valkyrie Profile was......and you haven't played it. Do yourself a favor, and save yourself the trouble. While I'll admit it has a very different storyline and fighting style, and the fighting graphics are impressive, it gets to be quite dull in the repetition, the graphics other than those in the fights are "eh" and I get sick of seeing a cardboard cut out flying over trees and water. In the end, about 4 hours of playing is fun, then it's just annoying. So my question here is, what exacly about that game is so great?

Having never played it, I really couldn't tell you, but if your only complaint is shabby graphics, you're going to have to do more than that to convince me, because I've played through a whole slew of RPGs with terrible graphics, so I'm not that easily daunted.

I have a couple of other comments to say too, one person mentioned some great rpgs for the saturn, well I had a saturn as well and 3 of my favorite games are Dragon Froce, Albert Odyssee legend of eldean, and Mystaria (later renamed mystic heroes I believe) Wasn't there supposed to be a remake of dragon force for ps2? I thought so, but maybe not. AO was a great game, reminded me much of chrono trigger in style and fighting, but without as much advertisement. And Mystaria is probably the only gid-based (tactics) battle system I've actually enjoyed. The saturn had some very underated games. Some of my other favorite games that don't seem to get much mention here are Brave Fencer Musashi, Grandia (not xtreme or II, just Grandia) and Breath of Fire III. Each of these games had an amazing storyline, graphics, or if you were lucky both. I think Brave Fencer is the most fun game I've ever played with an ok storyline but great graphics. Grandia has the awesome storyline, graphics and fun factor, definitely a keeper. Breath of Fire III, although lacking in a lot of areas, had probably the best, if not second best, storylines/endings that I've ever seen. Lots of surprises and interesting choices. How come no one ever mentions these games?

Of course I do also LOVE Crono, and it's sequel CC, definitely the two best games I've ever played, but there's enough talk about that here so I'll spare you the details. One thing I've noticed as of late though is that games are moving back into a 2d environment with grid-based fighting and a "left vs right" style. The games I just mentioned all had a unique and different style and all wound up as great classic games. I don't understand why companies don't concentrate more on originality than to just take something that was used before and pump it up with graphics and detail. It's been done, let it be. I've ranted enough, in my personal opinion if I were the head of square-enix, game arts, working designs, or any other major game designer, I'd open up the polls for ideas from gamers, afterall, we know what WE want.


So from what I can infer, pretty much every game you mentioned above you loved foremost because of graphics, and yet you argue that games shouldn't concentrate on prettiness? I think your logic circuits are busted, dude. As for opening the polls, this letter pretty much sums up why it's a bad, bad idea - most people can't even decide what they want themselves, let alone as a group, so why would any of those companies subject themselves to the fevered imaginings of a group of people who think that games with good graphics (but not GOOD graphics) are really swell?

Unfit for Print

Heres the best idea for an FF7 spinoff, andrew. It would be based on the oh-so-sexy Tifa. She gets NAKED!!!!! and does anything you command. A simple and unique fun game. I should be paid for this idea i crafted, no?

Oh, right - because it's still a better idea than this (not that I can't recognize tongue in cheek when I see it, but on the heels of that last letter, my tolerance for dumbists has expired.)

To the person who asked about what Nippon Ichi is doing next:

Well NIS America is localizing Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana for us. And on the Japanese side they are helping to port Xuse's Aselia the Eternal (PC) for the PS2 in Japan. It's a bishoujo (hentai) game (loli at that!) so they are gonna clean all of that up as well.

I think they did a dark Graphic Novel/ Text Adventure type game as well, don't know if it's out yet. I don't think anyone would care either as it has no chance coming out over here anyways.

Thanks for sharing, Ryans. Somehow, I have my doubts about the hentai game making it over here too, but we shall see, I suppose. I just don't think the country that allows pornography channels to play 24/7 and yet fines a network $500,000.00 for a three-second shot of boobie can handle hentai as yet.

OK, so check this out:

FF7: Advent Children (AC)
FF7: Beyond Crisis (BC)
FF7: Dirge of Cerberus (DC)

What's CC supposed to be, then?
--John Z., Fanfic Dept.

A stunning sequel to Chrono Trigger, though I have my doubts about that one too!


So I'm going to try and squeeze another column in later tonight, but if that doesn't work out, expect to see it late tomorrow. Since my newest Doug has decided to question the greatness of VP, I'd like to hear from all you fans what makes VP great. Don't be shy - this is a limited-time offer!
Andrew Long is more like a bridge too short.



Lyleus: just in case my vagueness was not sufficiently cluesy, my nick in WC3 is Castomel

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