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questionanswer&andrew


Sweet, SweetCAN

Andrew Long - November 12, 2004 - 2:10 EDT

I TRULY HATE EXTENDED INTERNET OUTAGES, particularly when they take place during a week in which I have ten music curator interviews slated. Handily, my fellow heads managed to get those taken care of, but I still feel like an astro-jerk for missing them, so if any of you crazy applicants should be reading this, I do apolomagize for my modem's craptasticness. Rest assured -it shall be punished for its perfidy, possibly in the form of lighter fluid, plastic explosives, and a ten-story drop.

Needless to say, I had a dull, drab week, punctuated only by a jaunt I was forced to make into Toronto's Chinatown in search of answers. Actually, as far as third-year university assignments go, I have to say, this one was kind of lacking in... something. Basically, the prof's instructions were to "go, observe, tell me what you see," and so the paper I wrote, while exhaustively researched (which is to say, I walked through the Chinatown for several hours meticulously taking down the name and purpose, as well as chief form of merchandise, of each business) ended up sounding rather like a travel brochure. Oh, well. Profound conclusion? Chinatown sells all the things you might reasonably expect a Chinatown to sell. And it has four lawyers too!

I also managed to get a good seven or eight hours of Shadow Hearts II in around not handing in an additional essay, which was probably a big mistake, but even my expertise at writing essays on books I haven't read was stretched a little thin by Chaucer, especially in view of the fact that I've been skipping that class for six weeks owing to the ungodly hour at which it convenes.

And yes, I don't care what anyone says... 10:00 is an ungodly hour. So nyah.




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Useless fact:
40 restaurants with frontage on Spadina
10 Vietnamese
Perhaps we should call it..
VIETNAMTOWN
Hmm... that lacks a certain ring
Chinatown it is!
Thus misleading generalities
Win again

Hmm.. Try coming back in the third week of NEVAR


Deer Ayndroo,

First time giver, long time taker;

I love FF and SE just as much as the next gamer, and have always looked forward to the newst titles with twidling thumbs and rapt attention even though FF is seemingly past the glory days. Yes, it may be sad to a few others, but it ain't far from the truth.

Anywho, my question is, with all of the FFVII Prequel/Sequels poised to hit the shores in the coming months/years, how long do you think it will be, before we start seriously hearing/seeing movements towards remaking FF's VII, VIII and IX? And if so, do you believe that this is just an oppurtunity for S-E to cash in on their beloved FF name? Because should remakes of these games become reality, they will sell like hotcakes....And you KNOW how much people like hotcakes.

Frammy

ANDREW
Much as Square Enix revels in frolicking around in the trough of slop it's created out of the FF name, its history also exhibits a certain aversion to hard work when it comes to remakes, and so I doubt you'll be seeing those remakes any time soon. As I believe I've said several times recently, to the best of my knowledge, the plans / status of those remakes is a secret kept under close guard in the deepest recesses of the Square Enix Money Pit, from which none living may emerge.

ANDREW DANGEROUS
Except me, of course! Yes, I've braved the deeps of that money pit, in search of the elusive Square Enix Sake Sardius, an alcohol-infused globe of goodness that woulda fetched me a pretty penny at auction, let me tell you. Unfortunately, they keep some mean malboros in there, and after I smoked my way through 20 packs of them, the cancer got to me and I had to be airlifted out. Some day, though... some day...


I declare today Colonic Monday


Your Q&A section featured a recent letter from a very complainy writer named Naia, whose main gripe was that Nobuo Uematsu was a tired composer just producing more and more of the same and that he should pass the torch to another composer (regarding Final Fantasy). Also the comment was made:

"I love Uematsu's earlier stuff. In fact the only two video game soundtracks I own are both Uematsu's music (Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VI)."

Chrono Trigger's Score was not composed by Uematsu, rather by Yasunori Mitsuda, who Naia refers to as "getting the shaft"

"I also feel bad for other video game composers who get the shaft (Mitsuda, Shimomura, etc) who write really good stuff and get ignored because of Final Fantasy being such a flagship."

I guess what it is that I am getting at is, don't complain about something without having solid basis to do so. In fact, I bet that being enlightened that Nobuo Uematsu hasn't composed all things Squaresoft and Square-Enix related, Naia may even want to rethink the opinion that Uematsu is completely repetitive. If nothing else I hope that maybe this will restore some faith in Uematsu, I know my faith in his music is still strong(as I eagerly await Black Mages II: The Skies Above).

- Geoff

ANDREW
Powerlord made this point a lot better on Sunday, but hey, I'm nothing if not completely repetitive myself, so eat that, Naia! TWO people have now dismantled your shaky logic!

And I don't get how Uematsu is particularly repetitive, anyway; to me, he's been trying to change his sound and experiment with new things since FFVIII, though I suppose the overall structure of his music is pretty much unchanged. Anyhow, until that album comes out, I am hereby declaring an Uematsu moratorium. To wit: let us never speak of this again.


Insert world theme here


hey Andrew,

your comment on yesterday's q and a, the one about spending all that time in Dragonwarrior just to save up enough to get the next sword or ax, really brought back a lot of memories for me. and good memories at that. I mean, forget about the graphics, forget about the music and battle system and, hell, even forget about the story. there's just something, not to sound lame, but, well, magical about that aspect of Dragonwarrior. and it's more than just leveling; there's something else going on there and it's not merely nostalgia talking.

take, for instance, my younger brother, he's thirteen and plays rpgs. I know damn well why he plays them-- it's the same reason I played rpgs-- it's because he's thirteen. at that age, what can you do? you're way too young to go out on the town, too young to make much of a difference at anything and you are, above all else, much to old to be satisfied by staying in with the parents. but rpgs can let you out of all that. I think Dragonwarrior is a perfect example for my point: you start out weak and with nothing but as the hours pass you keep building and becoming stronger. you find yourself in a world where your actions have consequences that matter and you're finally able travel beyond the limits of your hometown. that's why I say, at for this aspect of rpgs, to nevermind the make-up. that's what I love about rpgs, the feeling of accomplishment. sure, fancy graphics and the rest are nice but get too caught up in that stuff and you might just miss what's at the core.

that said, I think it'd be interesting to look at the histories of rpgs and punk. I know that might sound wierd but, in their respective infancies, weren't both a refuge for the tragically uncool and the misfits of high schools and universities across the world? weren't both places for those that didn't fit in? but everything must change and evolve and both eventually dipped into the mainstream with games like Final Fantasy and bands like Green Day. now I know I'm oversimplifying things here but it's at least led me to a question that's worth asking: what's the state of rpgs right now and where should it go from here?

thanks,
rye

ANDREW
The state of RPGs currently is slightly less mainstream than it was a year or two ago, but by no means far from the public spotlight. You still won't see anything on TV aside from the odd gaming show mentioning it or a newscaster saying something like "IT IS A KNOWN FACT THAT PLAYING VIDEOMAGAMES WILL TURN YOUR CHILDREN INTO CARNIVOROUS MURDER RAPISTS" while showing grainy footage of Doom from 1993. There's also a serious lack of creativity in the Japanese arm of the genre, which while it gets hacked at in bits and pieces by games like Shadow Hearts and Paper Mario is still a bit of an issue. I can see things going either way at this point; if developers wake up, put some effort into their battle systems and some creativity into their stories, we could be in for a great future; if, on the other hand, they continue to scoop scummy rotwater from the bottom of the storyline barrel and cram random Elite Infantry Red Blast Flashing Judo Beam (EIRBFJB) Systems into their games that have the net effect of changing your character's pants into a miniskirt if you execute a combo correctly, we're doomed.


Eep... I think I made Naia cry ;_;


I honestly didn't even know about Mitsuda writing tracks on CT. I can't read Japanese so it's not really clear. He doesn't even get credit for it which proves my point that other composers get the shaft. http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0210613/ lists him as uncredited.

-Naia

ANDREW
No worries, that's the great part about the internet! If you miss even one comma, you'll have eleven lunatics flying out of the woodwork to paste lists of lifelong accomplishments, complete with annotated lyrics, to your forehead while respectfully suggesting you should take up residence on the underbelly of an iceberg. I should mention, however, that IMDB is a woefully incomplete source for videogame information at this time. Of course, RPGamer isn't much better when it comes to credits, but IMDB is still in the early stages of adding videogame coverage, so I wouldn't be inclined to use it for that purpose.

On another note, I do apologize if my reply offended you as deeply as it seems to have. It was not my intention to be needlessly cruel, and you should know that I am a small, petty man who frequently abuses his readers for the sake of a snappy one-liner. I sometimes lose sight of the fact that not everyone can shrug off derision from a dweebish 23-year old computer geek with an inflated notion of his own self-worth, and for that I am sorry.


And Googie was worried I'd be stuck with all letters on this...


Hello there again. Before I get to the question(s), I have a short rant to spill off on. I was noticing all the talk about economy in MMORPGs the last couple of Q&A's, and the interesting thing is, no one seemed to mention that it wasn't only a massive online game occurence. Take any rpg, or even a game that's not (GTA series). I'll start with say morrowind, beginning of the game, everything is expencive, just out of reach, you spend as much as you make, breaking zero, climbing the cash ladder to bigger and better items, and then... Poof, you find there's nothing more you can buy, best armor in the game can only be gotten from spesific "Dungeons" or by killing certain NPCs. Same for the best weapons, as well as some of the saught after highly upgradable or enchanting items. By the time I was lvl 10, my first time through, with out massive "Creative" cash flow ideas, I had 3 mill, even with enchanting, spending 50grand a pop or more, repairs, potions, I held a average of 1.5 - 2.5 Mill easy, even with out selling items i got from my travels. Same goes for FF games, or any rpg really, towards the middle and end of the games, they lose a lack of control, even games where there is no gold drops, only item drops and you have to sell those for money, create said inflation and money troubles. It is sad and only inevitable that it goes to MMORPGs right?

ANDREW
Especially inevitable in view of the fact that you can make a living farming gil and selling junk on UO, which pretty much cements the economic inequalities in game economies.

As for the question, it's an odd one, but one i use to help find new rpgs to play and see new veiws on old rpgs i never took much notice in for some reasons, but.. When, and what game, was the last time you really enjoyed the ending of a rpg game? I'm not saying flashy or suped up CGI, but in a way that made the whole experience of playing through the game feel complete, where you could sit back and grin, and feel smug and say I deserve this and it was worth it to see, that it just wrapped everything up in a nice ribbon and placed it on the desk for you?

ANDREW
Actually, I'm a real sucker for endings, and so games like FFIX really tricked me into thinking I loved them for a few weeks after the fact. Unless I despise a game, I try and wait a week or two to review it to make sure the ending isn't tricking me into giving it a higher score than it deserves. At any rate, the last game that gave me that super-tingly happy feeling was BoF V, which incidentally is the game I have spent the most time raving about in my tenure as Q&A host.


Frammy 2, or why I'm declaring an intifatidah against the internet


Hey Guy,

I don't know if it's illegal or unethical or just darned inconsiderate to send letters so close together, but oh well, on to the question:

What would you think if S-E released a game called "Final Reality"? Imagine it, your hero moves swifty from the bathroom to the coffee pot, grabs the newspaper with great dexterity and sticks the double backflip landing on the couch. Rush hour traffic! Crappy cubicle job! Nagging wife, crazy kids, I mean come on, who wants to go around the world fighting incredible evil? I can picture it now, Incredible mini-games and side quests like, "Put the seat down", and "Fishing and Drinking with buddies" and the always thrilling "Sleeping on the couch".

I'm not even going to get into my idea for the Expansion Pack, "The Retirement Home". Oh yeah, I feel a hit comin' on.

Frammy

ANDREW
WHY MUST THERE BE SO MUCH EVIL IN THIS WORLD??!?!


Clarification


There was a question recently about phantom brave regarding the usefulness of Marona. Specifically weapons that can attack with heart.

Vases. Vases are basically designed for Marona. All of their abilities are either Heart or Skull, both of which Marona is decent at.

On the question side of things: I haven't heard much buzz about Lord of the Rings: The third age. What are your thoughts/feelings/etc? I almost picked it up the other day, and then was guilted into not buying it by the impending Christmas season, and the towering stacks of games I haven't beaten (some not even started).

Slainte,
Shadracht

ANDREW
Thanks for sharing, Shadracht. The next time I see a vase I will think fondly of Marona bopping people with it. As for LotR: the Third Age, I'm lukewarm on account of I have never bought a game based on a movie and will continue to follow that practice for so long as I shall live. And yes, I know LotR is an epic novel full of grandeur and literary technique and all that jazz, but game developers are much more likely to go after the "OMG OLIPHANTS" crowd than those who are willing to discuss what impact the use of rings in the trilogy has on the overall structure of the plot, or whether or not the whole shebang was an allegory for WWII.


Unfit for Print


Hi Andrew

First thing I wanted to say is that I think the battle system is only another way of creating a story better. By completing battles you grow to be the characters while your playing. In other words you are role playing, and by using plot and a defined storyline the producers can use this sence of roleplaying you have gathered up and create a moving tragic and great ending or plot twist, something you can never experince in a book. Overall the battle system, the plot and the exporing from town to town are what defines a RPG and if you take one element out they all break down.

ANDREW
Or alternately, they can make you feel like you're exercising nominal control over a character in a movie, while giving you few real options to really bond with your character. Moreover, I'd take the attachment to a character you can get from hundreds of pages of that character's thoughts, reactions, and statements over a poorly-written, cliched, half-translated shlock that passes for a plot in many RPGs. I'm not saying that I don't love the genre to death - I wouldn't be writing for this website if I didn't - but I hardly think that RPGs involve very much actual roleplaying, by and large. A good game by definition has good gameplay and at best, to me a good story can serve as icing on the cake. However good an RPG's story is, it cannot compare to even the shoddiest dime-store paperback because of the simple fact that little effort is put into writing and developing a story in RPGs, and so I stand by my words - I really will take a good novel any day of the week over a game if I want a story. I play games for gameplay.

On to my question

I myself am deciding if I should buy Valyrkrie Profile or wait till I can buy a PS2. I am short of money please help me decide. Around my area Valyrkrie Profile is from 70 to 100 just to let you know.

ANDREW
If you have limited funds, there's no point in getting a PS2 cuz you won't be able to buy games for it. Go with VP.

Mogexpress.netfirms.com go there

P.S I am a Music student and I myself love Uematsus work and I think we can apreciate his works better than peaple who just play RPGs for the battles

ANDREW
I wish I hadn't...


YOU 'DREW
QUICKIE I
Hello!

Looking at a picture of Fran from Final Fantasy XII, I was suddenly reminded of the Fran that's related to Pocky! Just like the strawberry flavored ones! That strawberry hair and dark skin! Of course! Anyone else think of it?

Andrew:
Of course! All nonwhite people look like delightful candy treats!

QUICKIE II
My email address is all over the internet,
as it is right at the rop of my FF11 guide that maybe 150 sites have posted without my permission. I get two to six spam emails a day in my spam box. MWAHAHAHAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHA!

Forensically,
LockeZ

Andrew:
You know, I could do the evil thing and post it here, since our site seems to be a magnet for spam, but I'll be nice... this time.



DA LAST GRUMBLE

Ah... Nothing like a delightful column mixto, that's what I always say. For tomorrow, at any rate, tell me this: are you looking forward to Baten Kaitos? I know my 'Cube is looking awfully hungry, since I've deprived it of PM2 thus far, so I may have to fill the void and splurge on BK... Though Burger King is more likely to get my money than Namco...

castomel@rpgamer.com
Andrew Long is tendercrisp!

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