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ASK ANDREW
No Solids? But Those Are My Favorite! October 2, 2005

Andrew Long - 2:59 EST

OH, STOMACH, WILL YOU ever stop being such a thorough pain in the... guts? My guess is probably not, since the cause of my perpetual gutrot isn't going anywhere anytime soon, but in any event, suffice it to say I have spent the day drifting in and out of sleep, recycling my breakfast, and playing lots and lots of Chrono Trigger.

Yes, in my estimation, Chrono Trigger is quite possibly the finest game to play when home from school or work, be it a case of upset stomach, chronic bronchitis, or cancer of the everything (not that I can speak from experience on the latter). That said, I have a tragic story to impart. You see, I am terrible with remembering to save, and so while tracking those dirty Reptites through the forest maze, my SNES decided to freeze up. Regrettably, the last time I saved was just before busting up Masa and Mune. Conclusion? I hate Chrono Trigger like pestilence.




L E T T E R S
Not that there's anything wrong with that


you wanted a question so i decided to give you one.

First off, I love you (I'm not gay, i just really like you). Now, i haven't played bought an rpg for quite a few months, and i have a job now, so I was wondering if you have any recomendations. I don't care about graphics, TRPG's are good but i still haven't beaten disgaea, so something else. I want a good story, kinda long, and a decent battle system. PS2 only.

Thank you (don't leave me)


ANDREW DANGEROUS


Don't leave you? DON'T LEAVE YOU? You mean, like the way you left me in the wine-dark caverns of the Argentinian spiced rum catacombs? Oh, I guess it's all well n' good for you to go hopscotching off to Rio and living like a king while I, I am forced to subsist by licking the wine-soaked walls for nourishment and chewing off my leg! Yes, let me just tell you about leaving, you little pischer!
ANDREW


Pischer? Okay, you're definitely drunk. If you haven't picked up Radiata Stories, at any rate, I hear it's got a nice balance of gameplay, story, and eat-up-timery. Do note that it bears some similarity to Star Ocean 3, so if you're not a fan of tri-Ace games, then you might be best served looking elsewhere. In any event, of other recommendations I have several that I consistently make, so I won't repeat them, but if you haven't tried the Shin Megami Tensei series yet, you're doing yourself a disservice. So, that should keep you busy for awhile, yesno?
ANDREW DANGEROUS


Kind of like how I was kept busy fighting off champagne sharks in the rapids beneath those cold, dark caverns!

ANDREW


What are those, candy treats?
ANDREW DANGEROUS


SO WHAT IF THEY ARE!


The return of Alan


Dear Andrew,

Thanks for responding to my letter yesterday, but I think I need to clarify on some things that I mentioned. The reason why I assume that the subtitle "Children of Mana" means a localization is being planned is because of the differences in how the series is known in Japan as opposed to North America. Japan recognizes the games in the series as "Seiken Densetsu," while we only know the games as "So-and-so of Mana." Therefore, when the game was announced for Japan as "Seiken Densetsu: Children of Mana," it sounded to me like they already plan on making a localized version with the title "Children of Mana." It doesn't make sense to call the Japanese version "So-and-so of Mana," how the series is known in North America, and not make a North American version of the game as well. I felt this exact same way when the fourth game in the series was announced as "Seiken Densetsu: Legend of Mana," and my assumption was correct in that case.
ANDREW

But then again, it also doesn't make sense that the North American series would suddenly take on the Seiken Densetsu name, which has never appeared on any North American-released SDs. That said, I think it's clear that this is what's likely going on here; Square Enix is doing a sort of transition here to wean North America off of "Mana".

Also, I wasn't suggesting that Nintendo turn "Animal Crossing" into a true MMORPG, per se, but rather that someone take the same online infrastructure being used for "Animal Crossing: Wild World" and utilize it for a completely different game, one that actually is a role-playing game by the website's standard. I figured that if this infrastructure can be used for an MMO simulation game (or whatever "Animal Crossing" is considered), then I don't see why it can't also function for another game that truly is an MMORPG, as "Animal Crossing: Wild World" already has many of the ingredients that make an MMORPG. This is what I was speculating on. I hope that clears up some confusion.

Alan


ANDREW

Ah, my mistake. I guess I didn't read your suggestion very carefully. I think that if Nintendo wanted to produce a new MMORPG, since it has the framework, it already would be doing so. Nevertheless, that doesn't preclude the possibility of one showing up a little further down the road, when Animal Crossing: Wild World ceases to be as big a draw.



Suikobonus


I am a big fan of the Suikoden series (among others) and I have always wondered why loading in your saved game from the previous game in a series hasn't became the norm in franchises. I think that would be great for developers to reward the people who play their games with bonus material. I mean, the bonuses in Suikoden 2 and 3 wasn't a ton of extra material, but it was enough to show their appreciation for the people that have followed the series. Other series have done this like the Xenosaga series and the upcoming Digital Devil Saga sequel (probably due to a continuation in the story rather than rewarding fans, but it works), but it hasn't become mainstream. Do you believe these types of bonuses should be in more franchise sequels?

ANDREW

I think it would certainly be an added incentive for gamers to be loyal to a given series, but there are also difficulties involved too; for instance, a number of series span several consoles, so it is difficult to maintain consistency in this practice, and moreover, it represents extra work for something that doesn't necessarily enrich the gameplay experience all that much. In the end, it is likely that it is seen as expendable by developers, which would explain why the Suikoden series is one of the few that utilizes the ploy. Besides, what fun is playing a new game if you get a headstart? I wanna see the whole thing!



Randomblings: the Awakening


Hey Cast (that name seems acceptable, anyway)

Well, since you want questions, I'll give questions. Or insane ramblings that look like questions like I normally send, I dunno.

Well, what strikes me reading the column lately is the Chrono series thing. Personally, I think they haven't made a third Chrono because there doesn't need to be a third Chrono. I felt the story was pretty complete after the first (and especially after the second, slight shudder). After this amount of time, I think the chances of it are pretty dead anyway, what do you think?
ANDREW

Oh, I wouldn't say that. Wherever a marketable property exists to be exploited, Square Enix executives will be there. Wherever a series' penetration is less than total, Square Enix will be there. Wherever a Bavarian is not quite full, they will be there! Much as I think they saw the light and torched the attempt at a second sequel, its eventual reappearance seems rather likely to me, just because of the name brand recognition involved. Be honest - did you not buy Chrono Cross sight unseen, assuming it would be the next coming? I know I did.

Hmm, second question...I know. What games are you looking forward to the most this coming holiday? I'm mostly concerned with RPG's of course, but anything else that comes to mind works too.

And on old topics, my favorite battle music is the Laguna Loire battle theme from FF8. The music in that game was the best part I think. And ultimately, I voted for Matt simply because he answered questions the best and had more knowledge of current games and systems.

-- WildDrac


ANDREW

Gotta be We <3 Katamari, even though it's already out and I guess doesn't really count as a holiday game. The original was just pure fun, and few games have that feel anymore. As for your vote on Matt, well - you'll have your first chance to officially mail him tomorrow, so be sure to do so.



Grumble, grumble


Whatever happened to the game Magical Vacation that was supposed to come out for the GBA?? I'm sure there are a lot, but what other RPGs were supposed to come out in the US and didn't or haven't yet?? I was just curious and thought you might know. Thanks in advance if you can answer.

ANDREW

People are still waiting for that? I'm sorry, man, but it was announced five years ago, when I was but a tender young freelance newsie in search of greater things. In fact, it was one of my first ten stories, and I can count the number of games on one hand that get localized after that kind of delay. I guess you might have some hope with the XSeed people, but you should probably face facts: MV ain't not coming here no more. In case you have taken my triple negative seriously, that means NO.



Ah, the endless noon of childhood


Hey Andrew,

I was casually flipping through my collection of games for the GBA (and previous installments of nintendo's handheld powerhouse) and I was thinkin' to myself 'wow, some of these games would kick serious ass with an update to the GBA.' Of course, I won't mention which ones, since the list would take up too much space. (Okay, not that much, but I'm too tired to do so - 60th birthday parties with small children involved exhaust my listing skills...) So, I found myself wondering-what games from your childhood do you think deserve some more time in the sun?

'Till next creamsicle,

Peter 'That all you got?' Brennan.


ANDREW

Well, I was always partially to some of my old TI/499A games, like Parsec and Munch Man. Of course, Munch Man was a pretty big ripoff of Pac Man, but it managed to be different enough to keep me happily occupied for hours on end. Parsec, too - that game was not only difficult, it was a lot of fun. If only I could still hook up my TI to my TV...

As for my NES library, most of the games I had for that ended up surviving to the present day; why, even Rygar managed to get a vaguely related sequel recently!





C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

So! Tomorrow is Matt's first day, so fill his inbox to overflowing so he can get off on the right foot. For next week, Oblivion seems to be a hot topic lately, so we can talk about that if you'd like. There's also Radiata Stories in the recent release department, and for a small (large) fee I could be persuaded to talk about Katamari too. Until such a time, may all your mishaps be creamsicle-related, and I shall see you on Friday.

castomel@rpgamer.com
Andrew Long needs to let you know, you don't have to go it alooooooone...

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