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Send a letter I Talk to me, baby I Old columns I Really old columns
ASK ANDREW
Send Me An Angel November 18, 2005

Andrew Long - 8:05 EST

IT OCCURS TO ME THAT I HAVE ALLOWED my copy of The Wizard to languish in the depths of my closet for entirely too long. I must fish it out and watch it forthwith, because otherwise I risk losing all sight of the awesomeness that is that movie. Along those lines, I hear this other, crazier movie about a bunch of kids with magic wands came out today, right on the heels of that game with the slimes I've heard so much about, so I imagine you lot all have a pretty full weekend planned eh? Got your little diversions lined up, hmm? Gonna play and watch and watch and play, huh? Gonna be a hoot, isn't it? Oh yes.

Well, too bad, I'm going to write this column anyway. On the downside, it seems to have magically become winter overnight, so I now welcome you to bitter-about-winter mode. Remember, though: I stand by what I said in the summer, so if at any point I complain about the cold, please be sure to stab me and remind me of those horrid 40 degree days with 190% humidity. And yes, that's celsius you jokers...




L E T T E R S
The List? Nobody must ever know about The List


Is there some sort of list somwhere ie yop 10 list of the biggest MMORPG games in terms of members playing the game? I read somewhere that WoW has 4.5 million members. I myself play FFXI and was wondering where it stood in terms of market share amongst the online games.

Thank you!
SONiC


ANDREW


WoW is in fact the most crazily successful MMO at present and possibly ever, but take heart; a recent issue of PCGamer, to the best of my memory, slotted FFXI with a worldwide audience of something like 1.9 million subscribers, which placed it solidly second or third - I can't quite remember how it ranked compared to EverQuest II. This was, however, a few months ago, and the MMO market is notoriously fickle; according to that selfsame article, it is apparently the case that the userbase of each MMO gradually decays as users bolt for newer, shinier games, with expansions representing only temporary boosts in subscribership that generally do not return the numbers to their original level. It thus seems as though the market is constantly shifting, so those numbers are likely no longer accurate.

Even so, FFXI continues to enjoy considerable popularity; why, our fearless leader and site president Mikel Tidwell just can't keep himself away from the damnable thing, no matter how many threats we make against his person.



Do you people not realize we share an email address?


Hey Matt,

I've been reading Q & A off and on now for a while. Never have written in. I've found myself enjoying your segments though. You seem to hold yourself on our levels instead of thinking you are superior like some others I've read.
ANDREW

My ears are burning! Don't mistake my disdain for the nitwits who end up in Unfit for Print for a superiority complex; I just can't conceive of a world where someone who considers that to be English is on the same level as a seal pup, so if it occasionally shows through, well, there's not much I can do about that. In any event, I'd leave letters to Matt to Matt, but it seems all you treacherous souls only write to him, so I'll just have to steal them. Nyah!

Before my question I thought I would comment on a question that was asked to you before. **Spoiler ahead** In Chrono Trigger the Bromide is used to give to an old man in the town near the desert. Yea I forgot the name of it but its been a long time since I've played. Bromides also make an appearance in the Lunar games as little pictures of the characters that you can view. So simply put he's a dirty old man. Anyway he gives you the key to his drawer in which you receive a tab of some sort. **Spoiler End**
ANDREW

Thanks for sharing, Princey. The town in question is Dorino, a cheerful little burg that randomly vanishes somewhere between 600 AD and 1000 AD.

Anyway onto my questions. When did you start playing RPG's? I started as soon as i could read half decent. I didn't understand much for storyline plots until i was much older, but they really appealed to me. Also I apologize if you have answered these questions before. What game was it that got you started with RPG's? Mine happened to be Secret of Mana.
ANDREW

Dragon Warrior, at the age of 8 or 9. I remember this because that's when I had a subscription to Nintendo Power, which is how I got Dragon Warrior in the first place. Regrettably, my maturity levels were somewhat suspect; my cousin and I composed some fairly off-colour lyrics to the world map theme that, if I recall correctly, centered heavily around the word "poo."

I guess you could also count the Zelda games, but their RPGdom is somewhat suspect, so I'll stick with Dragon Warrior for the sake of... something.

Another question is what did you think of FFVIII? I keep hearing that a lot of people despise it. I actually loved the game. Yea there were some flaws the game, but what game doesn't have flaws? Yes that remark is gonna come back and bite me but oh well. Everybody has their own opinions. Well that about sums up my writing. Sorry it was so long and boring. Have a nice day!

The Dark Prince


ANDREW

I enjoyed FFVIII, but there's no denying it was flawed. The thing that kept it from being a great game, in my view, was the length and the disconnect between the Laguna storyline and the Squall one. The denouement in Esthar was just a little too sudden, and then to follow it up with that orphanage silliness was just a little too close to Deus Ex Machina for my liking. Still, I loved the Junction system, the FMV was amazing for its time, and the plot, when it wasn't performing exercises in gross dramatic license, was pretty good. The game also had excellent cinematic timing, and a romance story that I ended up caring about a hell of a lot more than Tidus and Yuna, which wasn't too hard to do since while Rinoa looked graceful in outer space in her love scene, Yuna looked like a wet dog as she splashed around with Tidus.

In any event, I shall leave this letter for Matt to do with what he will, but beware... I can strike at any time! Muhahahahaha!



The what now? Nobody's ever accused me of being classy...


Dear Andrew,

So yeah, these remakes have got me pretty stoked to be fair, it allows us younger players to get to play good games we didnt get to in the past. it also allows the PAL players, like me, to get a spin on some games that were never released out here. which can only be a good thing in the end, even if the game play is somewhat altered from the original.

Anyway, on to my questions: what do you think of the new zelda for the gamecube? looking forward to it? i heard it was pushed back a bit, but it got me thinking... what if nintendo are holding it back until the same time as the Revolution's release? as the revolution has backwards compatability, it would make sense. the gamecube players would get their long awaited Zelda fix, whilst the Revolution would get a great "release" title to entice gamers. what you think of that theory?

Anyway, thanks for the class column,

Hylean


ANDREW

I think your theory is a little out to lunch, unfortunately. First off, the Revolution is nowhere in sight in terms of a launch date, whereas Twilight Princess is well into its development. There's also the matter of shareholders to consider; while having a Zelda launch title would undeniably help the Revolution move more units, Nintendo still has the '06 bottom line to consider, and if you want my guess, I don't think the Revolution's going to see the light of day until either late '06 or else, 2007. It just doesn't make sense for it to compete directly with the PS3, because the PS3 blows it out of the water in almost every respect technically (is Nintendo crazy? Not including HD support is like suicide. Sometimes I swear they object to new technology just to be difficult; look how long it took them to get well and truly behind online support!) and regrettably, that's all people care about.

In any event, I believe you'll probably end up seeing Twilight Princess ship around the same time of year Wind Waker did, late Q1. It's a good time of year to bring stuff out if Christmas is nowhere in sight, and with a barren GameCube lineup for the foreseeable future, they'll need something to remind people the system's still alive and kicking, if only faintly.



A popular subject, this one


It took me several years to figure out exactly what the Naga-ette bromide *was*, even though I knew you could trade it to a particular old man for a tab. However, a while after playing Lunar: the Silver Star Story Complete, I realized that it wasn't the type of "bromide" that you'd use in a chemistry lab. Well, unless you're working with a bunch of perverted chemists.

Yes, it's a pin-up poster of a Naga-ette. And the guy you trade it to is a dirty, dirty old man. It's the only logical explanation!

P. J.


ANDREW

It is indeed, P.J, it is indeed. For years I was baffled for the self-same reason; having been bamboozled by my chem teacher, I laboured under the assumption that this old man was like.. using it to scour plaque off his teeth or something, when all that time he was just some crazy dirty old man. And let me just underscore that crazy - these aren't humans we're talking about, so I'm fairly sure the sort of pin-up we're talking about here is illegal in 49 states.



Drunk, eh? Time to spray paint your faaaaaace


Hello Andrew

I believe I wrote a letter to your friend Matt around November the 4th while I was very intoxicated. So disregard that letter, I read it in the morning and had some good laughs.
ANDREW

Such is usually the case when reading something written while under the influence. No matter how fancy stuff sounds when you're blitzed, it's almost definitely not.

Anyway's I recently went on a shopping spree and bought a GbDS, castlevania DS and lunar DS. Castlevania DS is the best one next to symphony of the night in my opinion but lunar ds just plain sucks I mean im trying to like it but its too repetitive going back and forth through that damn forest if you have played it and beaten it, is it any good? I just beat the white dragon and I still hate the game, looking for a glimmer of hope.
ANDREW

I have not played it, but sadly, everyone I have spoken to shares your opinion; Lunar DS is teh suck. I recommend pawning it off on EB for store credit.

For the PS2 i picked up Romancing saga - Just like Saga Frontier to me and i loved that game. Suikoden tactics - Best Suikoden next to # 2 i cant believe the story its pretty gripping and the element system and battle system is pretty good almost beats FFT it might once i get father into the game. Finally today i got Dragonquest VII, I haven't played it yet (shame on me) but I have played the Final Fantasy 12 demo and I actually have to say I like it. Reminds me of the Vagrant Story battle system but without targeting specific body parts. Except the missions they give you, im hoping that's for the demo if not there better be copious amounts of mission for me, that are far better than killing three horses and killing a giant turtle because they just plain sucked. Any of your input on any of these games would be appreciated.
ANDREW

Lessee... Romancing SaGa was roundly enjoyed by our resident fixer of broken windows, Martyr, who has recommended it wholeheartedly, Suiko Tactics should be arriving in my mailbox today or Monday, meaning I will have preliminary opinions for you in next week's column, though I must admit said opinions will be slightly coloured by its preventing me from playing DQVIII, and... as for the demo, well, calling it similar to VS does not make me happy. Either way, gonna have to wait for me to get DQVIII, which won't be until I beat Suiko Tactics, which probably won't be for a week or two at least.

Finally the real question is what should i do with my DS i bought it for rpgs over the Psp but the next one coming out is mario brothers and that's it. Is there anything else to look forward too? Im about to trade it in but resisting the urge, hoping for very nice rpgs to be announced. Heck I got it when heard about Xenosaga ds, maybe a golden sun ds? Please help me im about to go get a Psp but that $250 :(

P. S I've got all chocolate Klondike bars will they suffice in the place of creamsicles and FLYERS RULE! (Yeah im a Philly guy and im not fat but cheese steaks are good) All the way to the Stanley cup! Screw the eagles, T. O was right about them.

P. S. S Long live Suikoden Tactics the death of FFT has begun!

- Skinny Philly guy


ANDREW

If you consult our games page, you will note a sizeable number of RPGs on the horizon, and beyond that, the DS has plenty of non-RPG titles that should keep you coming back for more. And if it's anything but the short term you're thinking about, I have just three words for you (or two, depending upon whether or not you count "III" as a word): Final Fantasy III.



q u i c k i e s


With regards to the politically minded bloke asking of import SNES/SFC systems, there exists a fashion by which to play import SFC carts; specifically, by mostly mechanical means.

The generation one NTSC SNES (Sep.1991+) has two side tabs that prevent the insert of Japanese, or European (PAL format notwithstanding) carts. These tabs can be removed or filed down, thus allowing easy insert of carts. The regional lockout (CIC) chip must be bypassed or altered to accomidate access of the cartrige programmming. Though of cheaper construction, generation two SNES also sports this method of import play. Alternativley, a Game Genie may be used (though only with gen.1 hardware), its cart tabs removed, for those not wishing to butcher their (insert family member here)'s console.

This method of import play does not work on the late generation "slimline" U.S. SNES. Cheers!

ANDREW:
Thanks for sharing, Mr. Stocker. I had another letter sent about that self-same bloke, but regrettably, I will not deign to print it simply because doing so would amount to seeming self-aggrandizing. And judging by that second letter, I don't need to do anymore of that.
C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

For tomorrow, I don't really have any topic in mind, just address your letters to me and I'll be happy. Oh, and all things DQVIII are fair game despite my lack of having it; Martyr is nearby and I can pick his brain for such things. So until then, I bid you good day.

castomel@rpgamer.com
Andrew Long sees the foul taint of snow on a nearby rooftop.

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