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It Is Black It Is Hollow It Is Cold July 15, 2005

Andrew Long - 22:36 EST

THIS SLIME IS REALLY BEGINNING TO CREEP ME OUT. All he does all day is sit there on my desk, leering at me with those thin red lips. Hmph. Smiling like a Spaniard. I bet he's up to something... Possibly something no good. Look at him, resplendent in his finery. I bet he's going to attack me any moment! He's got eerie powers! POLITICAL POWERS! Well, he can't kill me if I kill him first! DIE, SLIME!

Thus closes the saddest chapter in American history. In conclusion, God bless this rocket house and all who dwell within this rocket house.

Three Kingdoms?

To Andy


I've just finished both Dynasty of an Emperor 1 and 2 and I am wondering if there are any other RPG's based on the Three Kingdoms Era.

Also do you happen to know when the PAL vesion of Twilight Princess is coming out.


P.s. I don't want to hear about Dynasty Warriors 2 through to 5, or Kessen 2 cause frankly, I already have them.


I cannot help you with Three Kingdoms business, since I don't know of any offhand and am not sufficiently versed in that particular historical period to pull off some educated guessing. You are in luck, however, with Twilight Princess; according to your friendly neighbourhood FAQ clearinghouse, Twilight Princess is expected to hit PAL shelves this November, a curiously precise release date in view of the mishmash of vagueness Nintendo has offered for all other territories. A little too curious, in fact; local newshound Martyr has informed me this date is more of a guess based off of EB's rather dubious predictions, so take it with a grain of salt.


Hi Andrew,

You mentioned that "never ever mention Vagrant Story again without at least three derogatory references to assless leather chaps and miserable battle systems" and wonder where all this hatred comes from towards VS? I have to admit that when I first picked up the title the battle system threw me off.. but after watching my brother play it, and giving it a second chance I really fell in love with the game. The battle system is hard, don't get me wrong but I wouldn't call it awful. The combat system required skill and practice, and became more difficult as the game progressed... this kept the game challenging and rewarding. Mostly, it was an original system and caused the game to not be a simple cake-walk like many traditional RPG releases. This is all in my opinion, I loved the game and the challenge.. and who doesn't dream of living in an assless world once in a while?


I am not averse to challenges and originality. What I am averse to, and shall remain averse to for evermore, is the ludicrous concept that a battle system should require you to first switch between a handful of weapons until you have the proper type, and then hammer at something repeatedly with progressively diminishing returns, with the net result that it takes a decade to kill a bat. The game might have had a good story, but I didn't retain interest in it long enough to find out, so I declare that to be null and void.


Hi there Cast,

Anyway as for a question, since you finally bought Phantom Brave, how are you taking to the sappy story? And what about the beating people with a dead body gameplay?

Let me just tell you a little something about Phantom Brave... That crumbly little ball of poorly executed code corrupted my save file, and I had to start over. As such, there's precious little I can offer in the way of an opinion about the story because I've had to watch the first three chapters twice now, leaving me somewhat disinclined towards positivity.

Regarding the correction to the letter I sent in to Goog that never made it to print, someone that day had asked Goog what the longest break he had between playing a game was, so I wrote in to reply that I took a very long break between starting that which shant be named and forcing myself to finish that which shant be named, or as I call it the rain pours through the cracks in my assless pants, pretty sad when Legend of the Dragoon is a better gaming choice at the time than a new Squaresoft game...

And regarding Mr. T the last I'd heard of him was that he was filing a law suit against Best Buy for that commercial were some fat guy in a sweater vest beats up Apollo Creed/Mr. T

And I'm sorry you had to deal with a 15-18 year old that was being groped by her imagenery friend...

Arros Raikou


Now let's not go to extremes. While Vagrant Story is most certainly a giant ball of ass, Legend of Dragoon is a far larger, far more offensively mediocre buttball. Either way, I think we can all join Mr. T in supporting this trumped-up lawsuit, because if anyone deserves to be sued gratuitously, it's Best Buy.



While chocolate cake would probably never effect you or I as it did that girl it isn't unheard of. In fact it might be more common than you would think. What could cause this? Severe hypoglycemia or severe diabetes! Without getting into a boring technical rant, when these conditions get severe in an individual it is usually accompanied by severe adrenal gland malfunctions as well which set a whole host of neurotransmitters out of whack and can cause all sorts of weirdness from hallucinations, depression and blurred vision to shakes, convulsions, and insomnia. YAY!



Yes, I am well aware of the diabolical manifestations of various diabetes-related brainmelt. My most common affliction caused by low blood sugar is highly disorienting dreams in which I mull over ridiculous abstractions. Then I wake up, feel very very unpleasant, get the shakes, feel terribly unfamiliar in my own house, and stumble around bumping into walls until I find a carton of juice. Then I drink it and everything's okay again. But I still don't have any imaginary friends, so I continue to declare her crazy, especially since two slices of chocolate cake is more likely to lead to hyperglycemia. The only thing that did to my brain was to make it very very tired (and just a little bit cranky, which was probably understandable since my blood sugar topped out at 36.2 mmol/L).


Hey there,

Atelier Iris. Excellent game. I haven't enjoyed a game this much since Final Fantasy X. Just from watching the intro and starting a new game, you can tell that the creators put a lot of time and effort into the game. As such you can tell that it is the 6th installment of a series. Definitely worth a purchase. Anyway, my question to you is why do you think that developers do not put much effort into games anymore? I have recently picked up a lot of PS2 RPG's, and this one exceeds them in mostly every way (less Dragon Quarter and its unique game play). Specifically, I mean. It seems that some of the companies have just lost the heart to make quality games, in North America at least, as I cannot vouch for Japanese games. It it all about the money? like every other industry in this corrupt world? Just churn out more and more games to make a buck? Do you think that it is the CEO's or the "head" guys telling the creators to rush it and make a sub-par game, because of time constraints, or costs? Hence the game "Imperator". Just some food for thought.

That's more or less it, yeah. Games have multimillion dollar budgets now, which means that quality takes second place to brand name capitalization and cross-market synergy.



What's that, Magic Bird of Happiness? You say somebody said the magic word of the day?


That's right, Magic Bird of Happiness! You DO get to go peck out a business executive's eyes now that someone's said synergy! Oops! Make it two!


You are such a happy little bird <3 So remember, kids... Every time someone says "synergy", a suit loses his eyes!


Silly me! That IS three, Magic Bird of Happiness! Okay, we'd better go back to storytime corner before someone else loses an eye!

How about the DS. You think there is going to be some connectivity between it and the Revolution? It would make for some crafty and challenging new Mario Party games. But again, that is a lot of money. 4 DS's and a Revolution, reminiscent of the Zelda game where you have to spend a (combined) million dollars to play it in all its glory.

Finally, a general video game question or two. How long after a major event do you think is an appropriate wait to make a video game/movie about it? Like all those games about WWII, ok that's a long time. What about "Black Hawk Down"? Games/movies like that. Will we soon have games where you are an NSA agent or some other form or government agency and have to stop terrorists from bombing the WTC? (No offense to anyone). And also would games like that work for RPG's? Has there been any RPG's based on worldly events? Why all the FPS's and no RPG's? Just some peanut butter and jam sandwiches for the thinking thing in your head.



I think the "appropriate" waiting time is entirely subjective, and largely related to the severity of the event in question. Obviously, there is the argument that doing something like a WTC game is insensitive, and yet, there are many who have already profited off the misery of the victims there without ever exercising a creative bone in their body, so why shouldn't somebody with actual talent make some money off it?

As for why all FPSs, why else? FPSs involve people wandering around shooting things. RPGs, on the other hand, while occasionally gun-related, tend not to have the conventional structure necessary to be based around this ikind of event. Nonetheless, plenty of RPGs have been based on worldly events, from the aforementioned Three Kingdoms games to any number of series related to Japan's extensive and bloody feudal history.


You said you answered anything, so here goes. Do we know if the Nintendo Revolution will allow us to download GameCube and Nintendo 64 games as well?



Iwata and Fils-Ame said "every Nintendo game ever made" at E3, so I assume that extends to N64 and GameCube titles. Nintendo seems to be pretty good at gumming up decent things lately though, so who knows if that will stick.

S-E S-E when it's up to meeeee

I meant to send this in yesterday when Andrew asked for letters by 9 PM eastern. But then suddenly you put down your Harry Potter book and it's 10:30. Craziness.

Anyway, I'm sure you guys have gotten this sort of question a million times before. But do you have any news, if even a tiny bit of news about whether Square Enix is doing ANYTHING with their other series? By other series I mean Chrono (well, I'm pretty sure that's dead), Seiken Densetsu, Tactics, SaGa, and anything else I missed.

It's really been annoying me that all they seem to focus on these days is Final Fantasy. I mean, yeah, I love the games, but... their other series were fun to play, too.

I don't know what you're talking about, my friend; there are several FF titles on the horizon, to be sure, but the only major FF releases slated for the next year are FFVII: BC and FFXII. Square Enix has a wide variety of other projects, including Dragon Quest VIII, Drakengard 2, Radiata Stories, a new anime-based series whose name I forget that was on display at E3, and Kingdom Hearts II. Recent releases are also pretty non-FFcentric, including MSL, FMA2 and Star Ocean III.

Speaking of Final Fantasy, I remembering hearing that FFXII was delayed so much because the battle system was crappy. Is this true? I know battles are no longer random (which is stupid, IMO), but for them to take THIS long... must be a pretty crazy battle system.

-Crazy HP fan who's probably going to be stuck outside a book store all night


I'm not too sure of the exact reasons for the delay, but yes, the battle system has apparently been extensively retooled, among other things. I'm glad of this delay at any rate; extra development time has almost never been known to hurt the quality of a game, with rare exceptions like Daikatana.


I luv sheep!!!!!!!!!1
Mr. Snuggles


That's awesome, Mr. Snuggles.



Now, Magic Bird of Happiness! You know you mustn't hunt for fresh dumbass meat until the moon is full!

It's just a jump to the left... and a step to the right!

Hey Andrew, Lately, I've noticed a trend amongst those who would label themselves as hardcore RPG fans: dissing Final Fantasy VII. They say it's overrated, that it isn't as good as the other Final Fantasies...what's their problem? They hold onto their SNES FFs and hold them far above the seventh installment (as well as the rest of the PS/PS2 FFs). You would think that Final Fantasy fans would happy to have one in their series to accomplish as much and be as beloved as FFVII is. Instead, they're treating it like it's the bastard of the series. Final Fantasy VII is a high-quality game that even manages to stand head and shoulders above anything offered in the current generation of consoles. It's an excellent title that is without a doubt one of the best titles of all time.

What's with the haters, Andrew?



Whaa? You're only now noticing this? FFVII-bashing has been going on ever since FFVII was released, and it's a lot less prevalent nowadays then it was five or six years ago, when this letter would have been hotter than a cat frying on a tin roof (is this letter perhaps from five years ago? Because that would explain a lot). Nowadays I think people are more inclined to give FFVII the credit it deserves, and while I can't speak for everyone, for me FFVII has sunk into that delightful haze of nostalgia and good times that can only be referred to as "old school." May it rock out forever.

Unfit for Print

Giving pause to reflect,

A Boy and his Blob and Clash at Demonhead were brilliant sleeper adventure titles that provided entertainment with use of my stolen Game Genie. Nevertheless, the curious Bible Adventures and Milons fruity Castle were of questionable merit. In addition, we will not omit from the previous two titles the odd, psychotropically designed, Kubrick-esque Mickey Mousecapades game that terrified small children; the game with four seasons which the bewildered player explored. You know the tripe of which I speak. If my My NES collection were Van Halen, it would ceaselessly rock you like a hurricane.

Furthermore, some have mentioned it blows quite hard already.

To summarize: You = My NES Collection + Rocked Like a Hurricane
- spanky


The only thing that was psychotropically designed here is this letter, my friend. I don't know if you've got some sort of secret bet with yourself over how many non sequiturs you can jam into a paragraph, but mission accomplished - I have no idea what the hell you're going on about, and can only assume it relates to some topic that never existed.

Incidentally: your knowledge of buttrock is weak, old man. Rock You Like A Hurricane, the only reason I even printed this blast of randomness, was done by the Scorpions, not Van Halen. FOR SHAME!


Well, this column is almost absurdly late, but with no need for a real timetable at present, I don't suppose it matters. For tomorrow, I shall leave the floor open since it seems to elicit more mail. Actually, just for the fun of it, send in a letter on a topic that was hot stuff five or six years ago. New School vs. Old School? Blinky Brad vs. Anime Thor? CRABBITS? Let's get this all out of your system so that I never have to wonder if your emails have been stuck in transit for years on end again!
Andrew Long is a synergistic combination of the marketing efforts of Matsumoto Fish Gutting Concern and the Kobe Steel-Banded Club Confectionary.

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