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   Miracle Grow®: The Weeds Strike Back   
Martin Drury - September 1st, '01- 6:07am Eastern Standard Time

When we last saw our Favorite Plant Based Lifeform, he was having a merry ol time enjoying life. And then, those evil weeds showed up. First, the 20" monitor blew up. Then, it took 2 weeks to get a new one. By then of course, he was 2 weeks behind on webmaster email, and knee deep in planning not 1, not 2, not 3, not even 4, nor 5, but 6 contests! And just when everything was getting around to how he liked it, and the resident Dragon was out of town, that supreme demon of a weed, Work decided to pay a visit. So what's a plant to do?

By some miracle, my project that I had thought I was going to spend all weekend working on, fixed itself sometime between 4:40pm EDT and 8:20pm EDT. And I do mean fixed itself, because when I left for home this afternoon, it was in about a billion pieces. Anyhow, enough with the crap, let's get on to the Questions!

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A Mini Question

The reason I remember reading somewhere for the custom discs for Game Cube, is that they won't have to pay the DVD Consortium fees, or something like that. i beleive I read that in a Nintendo Power Issue, and that the lack of fees should lower game costs (probabbly bull). But also, because they do not double as DVD players (who does not have at least one, even a DVD-Rom?), the system itself should be cheaper.

And do you play Table Top RPGS, Goog?


Well, I'm tempted to say that Nintendo went with mini discs so they could pull their time honored "let's screw the third parties and make money without ever selling a game/console" trick, but I really don't think that's the case. Nintendo has made a big deal about this being a "Game Machine" and not a "Set top Box" that "can" do everything. However, Panasonic (I believe it's Panasonic), will be releasing a version of the GameCube with DVD playback capabilities for $100 more. Will it sell? Probably in Japan (a lot of the initial PlayStation 2 buyers bought it for the DVD playback, the games were just a bonus) but not as well in the US. Here you can get a decent DVD player for under $100, and it does more than a console DVD player.

I believe Goog plays Table Top RPGS, but I'm not positive.


Hey Goog do you know if Konami has any plans to put another 2D Castlevania on PSX, PS2, Xbox, or Gamecube. Like SOTN?? That was the best Castlevania ever, music, grapx, gameplay, everything about it was awesome. I can't find any info on what Konami is up to. If they are already making plans I hope that they don't try to make it a 3D game because they tried to do that before (N64) and that flopped. The GBA COTM looks all right. But I want the hard-core grapx, and sound. Just let me know what's going on. thanx for your time


Castlevania Chronicles, while not like SotN, is coming to the PlayStation this fall, I believe. Konami sent me some press information about it a week ago, but I think I deleted it. It's real Old School Castlevania, It was originally released on the Sharp X68000 in 1993, but did not see a US release then.

Annoying Little Kids

I thought the voice acting in Shenmue took away from the game. Especially that one little kid that's always like, "HEY MISTER!!! WANNA PLAY BALL!?! HEY MISTER!!! LET'S WRESTLE!!!"

-Ari "You just killed your own fairy. You lose 5 lives."

Perhaps that is why I have yet to play Shen Mue. Maybe I'll start that when I finish Super Deformed Unisex Men Volume 5 or Volume: Silver Star Story Complete. And I'm at the last boss of Sui-"Did Sony localize this?"-ko-"As bad as it is, they must have?"-den 2. Hmm, well, now that I've insulted Sony, I guess it's time for me to reveal that 4 of the above mentioned contests are sponsored by Sony.

That is no Laughing Matter


You didn't remember the 2nd greatest mistakes you can make! The first being "Never to start a land war in Asia.", the second is never to go up against a Cecilian when the wager is Death!!



You know, when I was your age we used to say, "Don't stare at the telly, it'll rot your brain." What does that have to do with your comments? Nothing. I'm just a senile old man here to mock you younguns.

GameCube Discs, Revisited

Here's a little "bible" on GODs (Gamecube Optical Discs, as the fan base calls them): GODs Bible

As for no load times being a result of the medium, that's wrong. It's really a programming feat, of knowing when to start loading things. Probably the most obvious example are the loading rooms in Castlevania: SotN. The next zone loads you walk through the room, but since you're occupied, it's basically unnoticable. More games should and are utilizing similar features.

Furthermore, the NGC sports 16MB of RAM for Audio and Animation. This, reportedly, is a very large amount. Excess space can be used to load data, for example.


Well, that's partially right. You also have to have enough memory to be able to efficiently do that. The PSX had 2MB of Memory, Total. Several companies have tried in the past to "pre-load" data, but a lot of them ran into a issue of there just not being enough RAM.

I believe wholeheartly that what will bring the PlayStation 2 to it's knees will be a combination of it's miniscule Video RAM and it's bizarre/advanced/whatever you want to call it architecture.

16MB of RAM for Audio.... yeah, that's only 8x what my Sound Card has for my PC ;), and only 64x what my first sound card had. And 16x what my laptop's audio card has... and that includes the Modem Buffers!


Dear Sue,

Doesn't it get annoying to have Puffy chirping in your ear all the time?


Chirp? Puffy, do you chirp?


Planet Peril

Dearest Sue Donim,

In reading the column I often see people ask what games to buy next or games to recommend. Well, I recently bought Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Makick Obscura for the PC and it is the cat's meow. Imagine Fallout and Baldur's Gate making sweet, sweet love... er... well skip past that part and imagine them having a baby.

Besides the recommendation, I have some questions:

1. What fascinated me most about many older RPGs is not just the characterization but a feeling that they are a part of the world they reside in as well as seeing the effects that the bad guys have upon the world. In my opinion the last game to really do this to any degree was Final Fantasy VII (although many of the previous FF's did so to greater effect than VII, as did some of the Dragon Warrior games). Do you agree that many games have started using the world as more of a place to move the character about changing settings but not really putting the world in peril or having effects that make your character seem a part of it?

2. I wrote in previously and asked if there are any RPGs that have gay characters. Google replied with references to side characters (nameless schmoes that live out their binary lives as moving props waiting to share their one or two lines of dialogue before repeating themselves endlessly) that have been gay and indicated a rumor that Barret from FF VII was gay.

a) What would make anyone think Barret is gay?
b) Do you think a game with a playable or lead character that is gay would be marketable given that game is high quality?


Sierra was recently kind enough to send us a copy of Arcanum.... Perhaps I should play it. Anyhow, babies are cool.

I agree that many of the newer RPGs have failed to draw me into the game as well as older RPGs did, but is it really a fault of the game? In some cases (Jade Cocoon, Shadow Madness), yes. In others, no, it is most definitely my fault. As I've grown older, I've noticed I tend to rush through games, because I don't simply have the time to play them as much. I'm sitting here, trying to think of a recent game that has really drawn me into it, and I'm going to have to say Vagrant Story and the PC version of Summoner. Prior to that, Final Fantasy Tactics (hey, I spent over 400 hours playing it, I had to be drawn into it, or seriously in need of mental help).

Still, I think the award for drawing me into the game has to go to Final Fantasy 4. I saw myself as Cecil, and to this day, Zeromus' music makes me shiver in terror.

Barret didn't strike me as gay. Stereotypical, maybe.

Goog wants me to point out that Fear Effect 2 sold pretty well. Personally, I think many companies are scared to place an openly gay character as the lead. I think if they wanted to do so, they'd have to do it without beating the player over the head with the knowledge that the character is gay, but I think it could be done.

You Jane, me ... Aeris?

Do still have the address to that Final Fantasy Questionnaire that picked what character you were most like? I was talking about to a friend of mine about it and I couldn't remember the address. I looked in the archives, but I couldn't find it. If you don't remember the address do you know where I could find something similar to it, because when it comes to search engines, I'm about as competent as a cow.

Cera }i{

I found this one:
Select Smart FF7 Personality Quiz
via Google (the search engine, not the slime). For the Record, I am Aeris... not sure how that happened.

And the Grammy goes to... Reusable Titles!

Hey hey!

I'm extremely fond of the works of Uematsu and Mitsuda, and I've even bought the Xenogears, Chrono Trigger and FF6 OSTs, but I always find myself thinking, "Cool as this is, it'd be a lot easier on the ears were it orchestrated."

The thing is that the arranged versions of their music are (with few exceptions such as One Winged Angel and the two or three tracks at the end of the Chrono Trigger 2000 CD) reworked, and far weaker than their 16-bit counterparts. The example that stands out most in my mind is Kefka's theme. Both the arranged version and the piano collection are for less dramatic than the original.

Then there's Creid and that jazzy Chrono Trigger thing. They're...they're good if you're into that sort of thing, but they're disappointing as arranged game soundtracks. Nothing pissed me off more than when that accordian hopped into one of my favorite Xenogears songs...shudder.

What's your take on all of this? It's not much of a question considering the length of the lead-in, but... what do you think?


To be honest with you, I think a lot of "Arranged" versions of songs suck. Granted, there are some that are really good (the entire Orchestra set of Dragon Warrior songs, for instance), but a lot of the newer arranged stuff just doesn't sound as good as the originals. When I hear them I often think, "They didn't do this to improve the song, they just did it to make a little more money."

The best way to listen to orchestrated songs is either in an otherwise completely silent location, where you can concentrate solely on the music and listen to the subtleties of the music. A good example would be a quiet bedroom, an amphitheatre in Japan, or my car when I'm stuck in traffic on I-71.

The Last Gasp:

There is a fly flying around that I just can't seem to kill. Bastard.

The Contests and their statuses(/statusi/stati?). In no particular order.

  1. Audible Vortex Ends 9/9/01.
  2. Ico Distant View Ends 9/19/01.
  3. Tales of Trivia Awaiting Final Approval from Namco.
  4. Ico: Princess Hunt Approved, begins in approximately 2 weeks
  5. Unnamed Okage FanArt Contest Approved, begins in approximately 3 weeks
  6. Unnamed Okage General Contest Approved, begins in approximately 6 weeks

There goes that fly again! I've killed it 7 times now!

Well, this went much faster than I thought it would, luckily, I got a lot of good questions, and there's several more that I didn't print tonight. Some of them I'm going to have to investigate, which is bad, since everyone has the weekend off and I can't just call up Company X and get an answer. Oh well, I'll try to do my best. There's one letter in particular I would have liked to have printed, but I just got it 3 sentences ago, so I'll save it for tomorrow. Cheers,

chiapet "I still believe"
Hey! Where's all the hidden text?

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