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Ask Mike

    Here we are, the second week of the new format of the weekend host. We drew straws to see who got to do it this week, and since I was away studying for my CS test, they said it was my turn. By the way, if anyone knows how a postfix calculator works, and could explain the algorithm of the device in a way that I could effectively write a C++ program to emulate it, then I can take that information back with me in time, and do better on the stupid test... as soon as I find that time machine made from a Delorian. Always a flaw in my brilliant plans.

What's in a Map?

I come in swiftly, and leave just as I come. Well, enough whipshawin' (that's not a word...don't bother)! Let's get down'a'some bidness! I peered at the overworld map for Final Sci Fi 8 (oops...I meant Fantasy, I really did...). It's kind of droll, don't you think (only two major continents?)? Well, I have a weird way to judge RPGs, and that is, I judge them by their overworld map (or lack theorof). C'mon, guys! You know you do this...don't you judge megaman sequels by the originality of the robot bosses? Well, anyhow...Which FF game in the series has the best map, in your opinion (1 all the way!)? And, do you know who's square's cartographer? I want to shake that man's hand...


Mike: Judging a game by its overworld map? I've never thought of it before. If I had to choose one, it would have to be Final Fantasy IV. Not because of the overworld map itself, tho it was rather interesting, but because of the fact that you don't stay in the Overworld. By travelling to the underworld, and even off the planet itself, the game wins a few brownie points for "map design" in my book.
   On the other side of the coin, the worst map was Final Fantasy Tactics. I mean, really there was no map, except for a strange picture out of a history textbook highlighted by bright colored dots. Wow.

The Sci Fi Trip

Hey Mike,

It looks as though Final Fantasy: The Movie will be entirely Sci-Fi, completely leaving behind the swords'n sorcery bit. It'll even have an alien invasion. What's your take on this? I don't even think it'll have magic in it.


Mike: I am slightly discouraged by Final Fantasy VIII, because of the futuristic display but I will still buy it, and play it. Though I took Final Fantasy Tactics and Breath of Fire 3, with the sword and magic motif, and gobbled them up.
    But you're asking about the Final Fantasy Movie. I think about this now and then, and I don't know. I look at all the other movies I have seen recently (Star Trek, X-Files, and upcoming Star Wars :D), and I seem, in the theater, hooked on the future.
    So what does it all mean? Am a walking paradox? Probably, but I've been called worse. We play games to enjoy a fantasy. To escape reality. It's a time you spend alone with the characters in a story, like a great novel. It takes you days, maybe weeks or even months to complete the story. You live in that world, you are that hero, it is your adventure. A movie is a 2 hour trip with your friends for the latest gossip and a good jolt of emotion. You can walk out of a theater and feel like the main character, but that feeling is gone by the time you walk to your car. Big difference.

Phear the Smiley

(A note for Ask Thor when it returns on Monday:)

The word you were looking for when talking about RPG-making programs is 'endorse'; 'condone' has a negative connotation, suggesting you think there's something evil about giving these sorts of tools to the unwashed masses. (:3

Mike: While I shouldn't poke fun at Hard working Thor, I thought this should slip through. :>

Um... content... content... ah! Anybody else think that Gameboy Zelda is quite possibly the coolest GB game of all time? I hunted through a Toys-R-Us that was closing around me to find a Game Boy with Zelda instead of Tetris as a pack in, and I have *never* regretted it. Well, except for when I skinned my shin on a concrete block I couldn't see in the dark on the way home. (:3

Mike: Zelda: Link's Awakening was the game I played the most on my GB until the very recent Pokédays (Gotta catch 'em all!). Actually, I think I played it so much because it took me at least three times to make sense of the full story, though the game play itself rivaled A Link to the Past. If you haven't got into this game, grab that Game Boy Color and get the DX version. While I haven't been able to put Pokémon down yet to fully enjoy the re-release, I have seen enough to demand it join your collection, no matter how exclusive it is.

Across the ocean

(Breath of Fire III Spoiler)

Sages, I have questions,

In the old Super Famicom FF5, Butz is supposed to be a red-haired guy with a white shirt, green boots, and a blue overcoat. Well, how come in the FF5 Playstation re-release FMVs he looks like some white-haired "zombie" with black clothes?

Mike: A zombie? He looks old, but I don't think he looked dead! They have changed the look of most of characters, most likely to achieve that "realism" they are striving for.

And in BOF3, how come Teepo looks like Chrono Trigger's Magus? Is the guy who did Chrono Trigger art now a part of Capcom's team?

Mike: Magus? When I took on Teepo, I didn't think of Magus. Of course, I was picking up my virtual mouth off the virtual floor. However, the similarities don't end there. The most apparent is the Forest theme early on in the game. Almost a direct rip, in my opinion. Maybe Capcom simply wanted some pointers to improve a good series.

Oh, speaking of Chrono Trigger, how exactly are you supposed to get past those Golems that Dalton unleashes on you in that undersea palace?

Mike: The Golems attack with an inverse of whatever you attack with. So attack only when you'll do the most damage. Combos and the timing of cures play a big part. Always have more than one person who has the ability to cure when you get stuck. It's saved my butt more than I can count.

Lastly, have any of you guys heard of a wonderful arcade game called "Oriental Legend"? It's a side-scroller action game (I do play other types of games, you know!) and if you have heard of it, could you please tell me where to look for info on it?

Mike: I haven't heard of that. I, embarrassingly enough, play RPGs almost exclusively. A good game of Blitz or another sports game will sneak in there, but for the most part, if it's not an RPG, I'm pretty clueless. Good luck in your hunt.

Thanks, o high and mighty Sages whose wisdom knows no limit.

Jason Espiritu (from Guam!! Can you believe it? An RPGamer from Guam!!)

Mike: Awesome. I love knowing we please fans not only here in North America, but all over the world.

They killed FF5!

Hey Mike, I just saw the CG pictures of the FF5 characters! Wow they're very impressive and beautiful, but why in the Hell [does] Butz has white hair?? I've played FF5, and even finished it, and Butz had brown hair... Same thing for Faris and Lenna. Faris had purple hair and Lenna had pink hair... Why all this sudden changes? Is that because Square wanted FF5 characters to look more realistic? Even then, why would Butz had white hair if Square want their FF5 characters to look more realistic?!? Aaah! I'm goin crazy!!! Help me Mike!!!

Cefca Palazzo, the great Lunatic!

Mike: Ok, take a drink of water. Deep breaths. Ok, feeling better? Now then...
My only guess is that they wanted Butz to stand out while surrounded by those now deadly gorgeous women. My memory of the story of Final Fantasy V is rusty, but isn't Butz older then the rest? I guess we never know about Galuf to know for sure, but the clueless act helps push Butz into the leader position. In my mind, that makes him the eldest. I guess Square followed the same train of thought. Is the age of any of the characters actually given in the game, or it is entirely possible that Butz is an old man? What a shock that would be.

That's all for me today. Be sure to send in more goodies for tomorrow!
I had an email asking who I was. I was so shocked.
-Mike "the Ancient One" Tidwell

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