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ASK ANDREW
Ugly Mugly November 13, 2005

Andrew Long - 3:53 EST

Ryan has insisted I include the following picture in this column:

All will become clear when you read his letter. That is all.




L E T T E R S
Oh noes, feeling a little on the wrong side of the public opinion polls lately? Good, lord knows it should have happened sooner


Dear Mr. Andrew Long,

In some of your columns (and I have written to Q & A twice) you have often attacked President Bush. I myself am a supporter of the War in Iraq and President Bush, but the point of my letter is not that but this: you, as I would were I writing such a column, should check your politics at the door.
ANDREW


Thankfully, I am not you, and while I certainly do not make politics a focus of this column, I see no particular problem with occasionally mentioning it, particularly if it is pertinent to a given day in question, like, oh, say, Remembrance Day, a day dedicated to reflection on the matter of war, and how to prevent conflicts the likes of WWI and WWII from ever happening again. Forgive me if I consider aggressive warmongering particularly offensive in this light and chose to mention it; I'm sure you'll be able to snuggle up to Pat Robertson, Fox News, and all those other delightful wags you guys have yelling at you down there and roundly ignore me.

I have some experience being involved in politics (especially the recent Presidential election) and also follow poltical developments. Poltics, of whatever sort, is a part of everyday life, however there are parts of everyday life where poltics is not the focus. This applies to rpgamer.com and your columns, which concern rpg`s.When you make your abrasive poltical remarks, your column though it may be, it has the effect of changing the subject matter from rpg`s to politics and excluding anyone whose views do not correspond to your own.
ANDREW


That's another thing I take exception to. To the best of my knowledge, the only remotely political remark I made in the past couple of days was this: "So remember our forefathers, and indeed, spare a moment to reflect upon the plight of your brothers and sisters and cousins and friends and loved ones, if you have the misfortune to be in a country currently undertaking various adventures in the Persian Gulf."

I fail to see how this is in any wise offensive; do you consider yourself fortunate that you are currently bleeding countrymen at the rate of threescore a month or so for no discernible reason other than to enrich Halliburton? I find that to be a sad state of affairs indeed, and while I did not deign to make any further comment other than to remark upon the sadness of that death toll, I have no problem indicating here that yes, I think it's bloody ridiculous and thoroughly avaricious for any country to be interfering in the mideast, and if you don't like it, you can stop reading this column for all I care. I'm not going to be quiet just because the unfortunate state of American journalism has conditioned you to expect me to do so.

I should also mention that Canada is among that number of countries; we currently have troops in Afghanbananastan, rooting out Al Qaeda operatives and attempting to keep the peace. We also have supply ships in the region helping to ensure that American and other troops are able to continue their own operations, so believe me when I say I was not singling out the USA when I made that comment.

Society must have places where poltics is left out, so people can get along dealing with non-politcal issues, and perhaps more importantly, not deal with the rancor and bad feelings poltics often generates. I believe this applies to rpgamer.com.
ANDREW


Indeed, which is why over two years of doing this column, this is only the second time anyone has mentioned me talking about politics; I generally don't, unless it's Canadian politics, which, as something I follow, I happen to know a fair bit about. In those cases, I tend to use it strictly to annoy people, since Canadian politics are resoundingly boring - not unlike this letter is no doubt getting.
I am asking you not to make such political remarks, so people such as myself who think differently can talk about rpg`s without feeling attacked. As for your comments on the War in Iraq, I would say that as you reflect on the past sacrifices of your Canadian forefathers that allow you to write this column, perhaps you should reflect on the present sacrifices of Americans and our allies in Iraq and around the world that may very well allow you to continue to write your column in the future.

-Thank You,
EmpDalek
ANDREW


Well, I regret that you feel so deeply affronted by that comment, but honestly if your skin is that thin, there's really no hope for you. That said, you should in no way feel unwelcome just because you disagree with me; I am just one person, I do not speak for this website (there are a number of people on staff with differing political views from my own) and realistically, I do not see how making my opinions on things known in a column dedicated to making my opinions known represents some sort of egregious abuse of this position. In any event, please spare me your pandering reflections; while I am sure your troops are very stalwart and I would never think to insult them, since I could never bring myself to do what they do each and every day - put their lives on the line - I still take great umbrage with your assertion that a profiteering war in the middle east will in some way enrich my life or reinforce my liberties and freedoms, when all indications are that the exact opposite is true. Kindly come up with better arguments before you start frothing at the mouth next time.
P.S. On a less serious note, I`ve picked up Japanese SNES copies of Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VI, two of my favorite rpg`s, in mint condition and at very low prices. I haven`t figured out where to get an imported SNES in America so I can play them when I leave Japan, would it be better to pick up a Japanese SNES while I`m still in Japan?


ANDREW


Yes, that would be your best course of action; while I'm sure you can pick up an SFC with very little difficulty on eBay, you can do so in Japan for something in the neighbourhood of $5. As such, this makes good financial sense for you to do, since online auctions currently run between $20 and $80 before shipping.


Daniel Alfredsson smells


Dearest Andrew,

I guess you're all happy tonight because your precious Leafs won. All of Leafs Nation must be excited and elated that their team came back and -clobbered- the Canadiens 5-4 in overtime. I just thought I'd let you know that the Ottawa Senators, the greatest team in the NHL, won 6-1 over Buffalo. That last Sabres goal was a little embarassing, mind you. They were up 6-0 at that point. But I guess some signs of weakness must be shown.
ANDREW

We'll just see how much weakness they show come playoff time...

More importantly, though, Daniel Alfredsson got three more points to put him at over two points a game. Just thought you might enjoy knowing that. Since i also am privy to the fact that he is someone you so adore, I figured you might appreciate this little picture of your dear friend.
ANDREW

Man, I didn't think there was a picture that could make me dislike him more, but here we are two minutes later, and I don't like him that much more! Kudos to you.

Now, something RPG related. I wonder. I am waiting on the demo of Final Fantasy XII out of curiosity's sake, but with little interest. Outside of Shadow Hearts, it's been hard to get me into games lately. The last two RPGs I completed were Shadow Hearts II and From the New World. I'm working on Tales of Eternia right now, though, and I'm enjoying it despite its flaws (namely, anything unrelated to battle scenes). I also have no idea what Dragon Quest VIII is about, but that's because there are more important things in life. Like the Senators.

Anyway, off to enjoy a game. Cheers,

--Your dearest friend, Ryan


ANDREW

Hmph. That wasn't much of a question, but I guess I'll allow it, if only because of the agony I know you'll be suffering once Ottawa goes out in four in the first round.



Angel returns to the Q&A fold


Hey, Cast..

While I'm not that worried about FFXII, although I probably should be considering how long it's taken to even see a demo on it, I'm sure there's going to be some very bad reactions to the mission style system. I think it will be refreshing. People who couldn't get over the girl power theme in X-2 might be able to enjoy the mission style better in XII.

Though, my opinion won't be solid until I've had the chance to play the demo. It will be two weeks after the rest of you, since I won't be getting paid next week, but I will be buying DQVIII in December.

Anyway, as for my question, what are you going to do about Matt getting all the mail? I think you need your own "Sock" hook. ^_~
-Angel0886


ANDREW

Well, I've constructed a powerful death bomb, which I secretly hid in a Bazooka Joe gum packet. Now all I have to do is wait for him to go to the right dollar store, buy the right piece of gum, and then actually read the comic, which I guess is by no means a guarantee. Look at the bright side, though - nobody I know is likely to get hurt!



Character design


So the topic is FF12. i looked at the new screenshots, and unfortunately as much as i was looking for a new style it seems like they are reusing ff10's style well for the battles anyway. Why does square enix make main characters look like chicks? this vaan guy looks alot like tidus.
ANDREW

It's not Square Enix that does this, it's the character designers who have historically done the FF series. Yoshitaka Amano's character art has always been best described as androgynous, and if you see the fellow who was the 3D model for Squall and now Vincent in the upcoming Dirge of Cerebus, Gackt, he's not exactly what you'd call rugged. Whatever the case, I don't really know if it's a deliberate attempt, but it seems to move the games and drum up the fanfiction, so I have to assume that enough people like it to keep it coming.

i was hoping for ff12 they would bring back the 4 character system, but i guess they didnt see that as a good idea. Is there any such confirmation yet as to if they are doing a job/class system like they did in fft, since they are set in ivalice. i guess ill just have to wait till the demo to find out. hopefully it answers some questions.
ANDREW

It does not seem that demo offers much in the way of answers. According to Phil Clayton, our resident comptroller general in charge of grouse-baiting, FFXII's demo sort of just plunks you into one of the game's missions, and from what I've heard over at 1up, in the demo, at least, people came preloaded with specialized skills. While I suppose this could mean they had jobs of some description, it sounds more to me like the way things went in FFIV or FFIX. Still, I've been wrong before.

Now a question about dragon quest 8. Since dragon warrior 7 was possible one of the worst games i have ever played in my life, and seems like it for you as well, whats there to say that 8 will be any better? what are your thoughs on all of this.

----Trigger Happy-----


ANDREW

I've played the demo, for one thing, and it doesn't seem as though the game is likely to suffer from the horrid pacing that so blighted DWVII, a fact which that same Phil Clayton will confirm for you. As such, I am willing to suppose that DQVIII will be worth playing.



Ah, the ineffable question


Hey Cast,

I too spied the screenshots of FF XII, and while I too have a tinge of fear in my RPGer gut, I must remember one thing: FFT had a great story. Sure this may be a departure to from what we're used to...again, but hey, in my opinion, they can't mess it up worse than FF X-2. I mean, as long as Ashe doesn't change outfits 20 times in a fight, I'll be fine. I do pray it has a decent story, because that's what I love most. RTB systems are fun, if done correctly, and missioned-based gameplay can be a welcome change from the typical plot point-->dungeon-->plot point formula as long as all the missions bear some relevence to the storyline.

Now here's my question for you. What makes a game enough of an RPG to be covered by RPGamer? Specifically, why is Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow covered, and not Caslevania: Curse of Darkness, or even Lament of Innocence? Is it that they have too much action and platforming elements? I thought DoS had plenty of those too. I don't mind that the games aren't covered. I'm just wondering why?

~Van


ANDREW

There's no real set guideline; just as each person's definition of RPG is likely to differ depending upon who you speak to, so too is our coverage somewhat scattershot. In the case of the Castlevanias you speak of, however, the two you mention that are not covered are pretty much pure action games; the RPG elements in both are minimal, which is to say there aren't really any means available to build your character up. It's like Shadow of Colossus; sure, it has some similarities to games like the Zelda series, but at the end of the day, your dark wanderer has the exact same skillset available to him at the start as at the finish, and this is more or less the deciding factor in the case of those two games.



q u i c k i e s


Just a shorty... Apparently Square-Enix had some elitist wankers working on Kingdom Hearts, as the name Aerith is used in it as opposed to Aeris.

--
Ross Bemrose
rbemrose@gmail.com

ANDREW:
Yep... dirty, dirty elitist wankers.
C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

Well, it's been a fine weekend, but now I must leave you in Matt's hands. Be sure to submit your SOCKS for great justice, and remember- my feet may not be quite so sexy, but my creamsicles? Oh, they're divine! Until next weekend, then, I bid you farewell.

castomel@rpgamer.com
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