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Googleshng - September 11 '01- 2:00 Eastern Standard Time

Today I started my new job. As soon as I woke up, I put on my throat squeezing uniform, and headed off to work. I spent the next 7 hours doing VERY strenuous manual labor (well, strenuous for someone who's spent the last two years in front of a computer, not lifting anything heavier than a bottle of soda), and doing janitorial work that really didn't fall in my job description at all. After that, I came home, checked my mail, and then started writing this column. So here I am with no time to myself until my next randomly occurring day off, in agonizing pain. Seems like an awful lot of effort to go through just to get the money it takes to buy the games I need to play to answer your questions about them. I'll just have to work extra hard and hope to get promoted to a less gruelling position or something. On the plus side, all that hard work makes answering your questions that much more enjoyable!

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Bizarre trend.

Hey Goog~

You ever seen the anime Initial D? I heard it's become a new fad within some message boards lately... I've been checking it out lately and it's getting addicting. Any fan of cars and anime should definitly check it out.

Next, what anime do you recommend I watch next? I've seen Trigun and Cowboy Bebop, which are my favorites, along with Evangelion and Initial D... plus a few different movies. I hear you mention Slayers often, but it's an awful big series. I like the 26 episode format I've seen with animes so far.

And for my RPG related question... I, like many others, have a stack of unfinished games. I keep trying to pick one of them up, but always end up sticking Gran Turismo 3 back in. Which would be worth my while to pick back up?
FF4 (SNES)... yes, I'm one of the two that haven't finished it. And I'd probably have to start over.
FF5 (FFA)... could probably pick up where I left off and vaugely remember the plot.
Legend of Mana... not a hard game to pick up wherever you left off.
Saga Frontier... again, not hard to pick up.
Star Ocean: Second Story... would probably have to start over.
Super Mario RPG... I think I have to do some leveling up... does the plot really matter?
Wild Arms... pretty far into it, might be lost in what I have to do next (it's been a long time) but remember the plot.
Xenogears... I'd have to try to borrow a friend's copy, and probaby have to start over since the plot's pretty important.

Just asking which you think is the most rewarding with the least amount of trouble.

That's all for now!

~BoboFatt

Googleshng:
A few people have been asking me this, and this one even htmlized his own letter. Plus I spent the whole weekend finishing games I haven't touched in forever, so it's nice timing. I haven't seen Initial D though, so you're out of luck there. As nifty as Xenogears is, you should really only play it when you have VAST ammounts of free time. If you play FF5, just do what I do. Ignore the plot completely, go to the basement of Baal Castle, and master jobs like there's no tomorrow. Granted, it doesn't get you closer to the end, but it makes things go much quicker when you finally get around to it. Beyond that, I'd just play whatever game you're farthest in where you haven't forgotten the plot. Oh, and if it happens to be Wild ARMs, I just finished it, so I'm itching for questions.

 
Another one bites the dust.

Hey Googleshng,

My original Playstation finally stopped working last week, which is funny since it is only 2 years old while my 8-bit Nintendo, which is pushing 15, still runs like a champ. Anyway, I was thinking of buying a PSone, but I have heard rumors that games don't run on the PSone as well as on the original Playstation. Should I hunt around for an original Playstation or go for a PSone?

Evan

Googleshng:
There's two more options you seem to have missed. You could also get your current PSX fixed for a whole lot less money than a new one would cost you, or just buy a PS2, although I'd wait for a price drop if you go with that. Both are better options than buying a brand new PSX.

 
Time, time, time, it's on... wait a sec, I don't particularly like that song.

Dear "Gramblebang,"

I have an irrational fear of time limits. I remember borrowing a copy of Harvest Moon from a friend and freaking out at the beginning because of the three year time limit. Three years, and I was panicking as though it were three seconds. Similarly, I remember picking up an old game called Sorcerian that caused me to lose my cool because my characters were going to die after sixty years. That sixty year time limit really put a dent in my enjoyment of the game.

Do you think imposing time limits in an RPG makes it more interesting because of the added pressure, or ruins the game?

--Xquester

PS: I love your column!

Googleshng:
Hmm. There aren't many examples I can think of, but as a general rule, I don't like it when games have time limits. The same goes for MMORPGs, and RPGs with rigid linearity to them. All for the same reason. I like to be able to take games at my own pace. By that I mean the following things: If there's an optional side quest, I want to be able to put it off for as long as I want to, without it disappearing. I'd also like to be able to try to go for it early on in the game. I like being able to character build and goof off as much as I want. I want the game to stay exactly as it is between the time I save it and shut it off, and the next time I pick it up. The only exception to this rule I can think of is Valkyrie Profile, because restricted character building time is the whole point of it. Oh, and thanks for the compliment.

 
Dating.

Dang it's been a while since I've been to this site, but nevertheless I have questions! (Yes, I know I shouldn't be giddy, but I haven't had my medication yet -_-;;)

I recently played the Love Hina dating sim thingy for dreamcast (Down with the Pocketstation!!), and I was dissapointed at how the game revolved around a roulette system rather than the usual "say something stupid within the time limit" mode. Everything was up to chance, which stinks, but what can I do, right? My question to you is: are dating sims considered RPG's? IMO, I would, since you do take the role of a character and your stats do go up in certain ways, if not others (naughty naughty!). Special cases like the Sakura Taisen series are another story to me, since they do include battles and stuff. Would that mean that even though you take the role of a character, you need battles for a game to be called an RPG?

-Ruisu
"Sanity is overrated..."

Googleshng:
If the definition of an RPG was a game in which you play a role, then the only games in existance I can think of that wouldn't be RPGs would be puzzle games like Tetris. In fact, the average RPG gives the player less control over the actions of their character than just about any other genre. The best definition of an RPG I've ever heard is "A game where you have to keep track of a bunch of numbers, and which isn't a strategy game." All you need to track in dating sims is how much every girl likes you, so they clearly don't qualify. Of course, even that definition has a few flaws, which is why I use the template method of labelling genres. For every genre, there is, in my mind, a template game. Usually the first example of that genre, but there's a few exceptions. When I need to place a game in a genre, I just put it in the genre of the template game it most resembles. Using this system, I have never had trouble placing a game. Even when people try to make a genre busting game, I can fit it in quite nicely, except in those rare occassions when they actually succeed in making a game that doesn't fall into any genre, in which case I get a new template game.

 
"I am the wizard of Latin, with a million hit points and maximum charisma!"

I finally pushed through and beat the FFA version of FF6, but two things have been nugging me a little

1. I finally got a character up to Level 99, but his HP isn't 9999. this might not bug me so much, except I noticed that his HP increases slowed down at level 90. I figured that did it so you'd land right on 9999 at 99, but it didn't happen! what up wit dat?

2. this is a question everyone could ask for a lot of RPGs, but for FF6 in particular, what exactly do stats like Vigor and Stamina do?

Thanks, Goog, You da man

-Elijya

Googleshng:
There are roughly 6 stats in any RPG whose effect can clearly be seen. Strength (do more damage), Defense (take less damage), Accuracy (hit more often), Speed (get an action more often/first), Magic Strength, and Magic Defense (see above). After recognizing what a given RPG calls all those stats, you occassionally have a couple more stats, whose purpose is usually a mystery to everyone but the developers, and people who pay way too much attention to that sort of thing. Guessing for FF6, I'd say Stamina probably affects how much HP you get when you go up a level, and Vigor has some offensive effect... maybe it affects how long it takes for your next turn to come around after attacking?

Now, aside from the effect of those mystery stats, if you want a character to have 9999 HP by the end of FF6, make sure that every time they go up a level, they're using an esper that gives a bonus to HP, such as Bahamut. That will probably max out everyone's HP, and I'm almost positive it will for the physical types, like Sabin.

 
Let there be light!

Yo Googleshng, Sir.

Many of my friends recommend Pelican Light for the GameBoy Advance. It's very nice for lighting as well as protecting the screen, which is far too delicate, in my opinion. Also they smudge too easily. Sigh.

-Engil

Googleshng:
Handy info for peole who were wondering that. The exposed bulb on my ceiling works just fine for me though, and I only need THAT for Castlevania. There's a lot to be said for the sun too...




The Last Laugh:

I am now officially wiped out. Tomorrow I'll probably be worse. Wednesday though, I'll have had a day off, so I should be extra manic. Off I go for now though.

Googleshng "Paper or plastic?" @rpgamer.com
What's really sad is that in the time it took me to earn $50 today, I could possibly make a thou if I had a donation link on a web page.

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