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Cheesenormous October 14, 2005

Andrew Long - 02:11 EST

I WAS SORELY TEMPTED TO INVITE my good friend aolhax0r84 to come and "guesthost" this column, but my own better judgment prevailed, since I'm fairly sure irritating everyone is hardly a good way to increase the number of letters I receive. On that note then, your reprieve will last only so long as I receive more than five letters per day. If letterflow should dip below five, expect to see that enjoyable little scamp haxing in a column near you.

On a brighter note, webmail today decided to disgorge about three months' worth of old mail that it had been slowly digesting for the same length of time, so if a couple of these letters seem slightly out of date, you can thank our dear friends at whatever the company that wrote this program is called.

Like this one... definitely old

Mr. Andrew,

TGS blew E3 out of the water for me. The new hardware was pretty and all, but after so many new platform debuts over the years, I find myself becoming jaded to the promise of prettier graphics and blah, blah, etc., etc.… but thanks to Konami suckling at their slithery serpents teats (yes snakes have teats, huge moneymakers even) the bidding on my soul has begun at $399.99(too much I know). Speaking of suckling, Rockman Rockman looks like fun. Anything with level a decent level designer (excitebike) should rock me socks. That and Rock never looked so CUTE!!!! There I said it, still a man though…. In the realm of life-sucking bliss, Rouge Galaxy looks to be interesting, at least until the bigger guns come out. The trailers are impressive, but I’m feeling that RPG cliché story vibe…not to big a deal though, I enjoyed the Wild Arms series, which can’t some out soon enough BTW. Grandia III looks nifty as well; hopefully what the fans get what they’ve been wanting all along.

Oh and before I forget- its official, I’m sick of FFVII. Thank you Sqaure-Enix (still not used to that). Let IT DIE! And remake Chrono Trigger or something.

Thanks for your time,

(Who just added Grandia to his spellchecker)


Thanks for sharing Mike. Next time ask a question so I can do something besides wonder exactly why your listing of games means that E3 was pwned by TGS. Also, why exactly is Konami a source of snaketeat sucking? Do you perhaps refer to Suikoden V? If so, what makes you think it's going to be an improvement on Suikoden IV, other than the fact that from what I've heard, boiling your hands is an improvement over Suikoden IV?

The changing face of Square...For instance, the addition of Enix, 2 years ago :P

Hello And Drew,

Some dude asked what version of FF IV was the best one, and I know that this isn't YOUR opinion, but I'm awesome, and I'll give my two cents. The "original" SNES one that we got here in America was awful compared to the Japanese one, because a lot was taken out. Not just translation wise, but Nintendo actually cut MOVES from the game. That's a big deal. The PSX version does have load times that annoy me, but they're only a problem when loading the save screen, which you do often, but it's already an interruption of the game when you go to save, so it's not as bad as the PSX Chrono Trigger which has even longer load times before every single battle. If I were me, I'd get the new version that's a-comin' out. Wait, I am me! So I will get it!

You go, Blue Storm. You fight the power.

Question: Why is Square now becoming Change-whores? Everything they do now has to be something different than before. The direct sequels, the setting of one game in another game's universe, whatever Dirge of Cerberus is... Sure, trying something new is cool, but give us an old standby just incase the new stuff blows. The Wright brothers didn't sell the bicycle shop until after they made monies on their newfangled "Aer-oh-cyclical." Is square staring down the barrel of creating some massive disappointments?


I'm kind of hoping that S-E has the massive disappointment thing clear of their system, now that crap like Vagrant Story, FFIX, FFX-2, FFTA and FF:CC are out of their system. Unfortunately, if there's one thing that people have a boundless capacity to create, it's garbage, and so I find it eminently likely that at least one of the company's upcoming projects will turn to mush. On the upside, Radiata Stories seems to be getting some pretty favourable attention. Still, though, I agree that the FFVII horse is long-dead. AC I can understand, but the rest of the spinoffs seem rather dubious to me.

What indeed

Hi, second-time mailer here;

I'm an RPGer currently studying in Japan. Are there any rpg's you would recommend picking up here for PS, PS2, Gamecube, Xbox, Dreamcast, SNES, Genesis that I wouldn't likely get in America? I've already picked up Lunar: Silver Star Story and hope to play it when I can actually read some Japanese.



I want you to run out to stores and find Venus & Braves. Then buy two copies and mail me one. You might also want to hedge your bets on that Tales game that was recently nixed for North American release, since companies don't often go back on statements like "We're not releasing that in North America".


The controversy over the Revolution's controller got me to thinking a lot about why I first started playing RPGs. The Revolution controller was designed to attract new people to video games. Looking along those lines, I wondered about the reason I started to play RPGs. I had to delve way back into when I first started playing video games in general.

Way back in the early days of the NES, my older brother got an NES for his birthday. I think I was in the second grade at the time. The whole idea of playing a videogame intimidated the hell out of me. I did not have any faith in my hand-eye coordination and was convinced I would be laughed at for my clumsy attempts. I only felt comfortable playing Duck Hunt. I tried to just enjoy watching others play on the NES.

My older brother eventually picked up on my anxiety and coaxed me to play Excitebike. Once I got passed my initial embarassment, I realized video games were fun and were not as complicated as I expected.

These early memories made me realize why I began playing RPGs. They did not require lighting reflexes, perfect timing, or precise aim. They were about making thoughtful decisions at your own pace. Of course, RPGs these days stray from these early principles to keep fans interested.

My question is, how did you get started playing RPGs and why?


I'm not exactly sure why RPGs appealed to me; I was as big a fan of twitchy games and platformers as the next guy, and I remain a fan of both, which means that the upcoming release of Quake IV has me in a frenzy. I do know, however, that my first RPG as such was Zelda II, unless you want to count Zelda I, which I don't. Even Zelda II is kind of fishy, however, so let's just say Dragon Warrior, since my attachments to Zelda games don't really carry a particularly RPGish connotation. The first time I played Dragon Warrior I was at my Nintendo friend's house. His dad used to buy him games when he went on business trips, which was pretty damned cool if you ask me. His dad also worked for Nestle chocolate, which was even cooler; there was always random irregular chocolate lying around, and once we rotted our teeth, the boxes of toothbrushes his mom used to take home from her job at Oral-B were at the ready.

Anyhow, I still remember that first time; we were wandering around, looking for new towns, and then his little brother ran into the room and booted the NES, causing it to hang, just outside of Kol. We were mighty pissed off, but there wasn't much we could do. My friend proceeded to lose interest in it, anyway, but a few months later, I subscribed to Nintendo Power, and in a transaction that I can't quite remember the details of, I somehow managed to get Dragon Warrior off my cousin. And so a love affair was born; I played that game from start to finish and back again, and then, because I was trying to save for an SNES, I sold it for $30 to the kids across the street and haven't played it since. Well, at least not on the NES.

In any event, that game sold me, and when Nintendo Power ran a five-page feature on a little game known as Final Fantasy a year later, well, the love affair was on.

A multiparter... I'd forgotten what these were like!

Hello Andrew/Matt!

A brief set of questions for you:

Is Valkyrie Profile worth the exorbitant price charged nowadays?

All signs point to yes. The game is pretty much universally loved by everyone who's played it, and is generally considered one of the best tri-Ace ever made. Unfortunately, it was in the days before Enix learned how to, you know, widely release its games, so it will take a bite out of your pocketbook, unfortunately.

Is Star Ocean Second Story worth playing?

Only barely. The battle system is reasonably entertaining, but the story is confused by the terrible translation, the characters somewhat obnoxious and the item creation system a study in redundancy. You're best advised to get Radiata Stories instead.

Or, should I just bag the two titles listed above and get/play Skies of Arcadia on my beloved Dreamcast?

Mmm.. SoA is okay, but it's not all it's cracked up to be, if my current playthrough is any indication. The game has the reputation it does a) because Googleshng hyped it a lot, not unlike I hype Breath of Fire V a lot, and b) because at the time it came out, it looked amazing and was one of the only RPGs for the Dreamcast that you could get in North America.

I ask because after I finish all my college apps and SAT IIs, I will be in dire need of a new RPG to play over Christmas break. I recognize the fact that this time period is well in the future, but as my current gaming time varies between nonexistent and severely fractured, I am currently relegated to bouts of Soul Calibur on Dreamcast with friends. I already own, but have not yet played Star Ocean Second Story, but have an acquaintance who will buy it from me should I choose not to play it. I'm willing to pay enough to play either of the two titles listed above that I don't currently own, should that be the wisest course of action--what game should I play over December? Thanks!

-sysiphus (the one who appears at random intervals on the IRC rpgamer chat under this name)


Well, at risk of sounding like a broken record, BoF V is pretty swell. I would also suggest picking up Atlus's DDS and DDS2, which are reputedly awesome (and will be at the top of my list if I ever get some spending money.)


Remember, that ain't no empty threat! For tomorrow, I'm going to do something that hasn't been done in a while and solicit your best RPG-related Halloween costumes. I will also ask: if you could be any RPG character for Halloween, what would it be and why? Would you be Cloud? Cid? Andrew Vestal dressed as a moogle? Those Vestal Suits don't come cheap, you know!
Andrew Long once dressed up as a witch for Halloween.

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I think my mom got a bulk discount on the costumes, cuz my sister was one too.


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