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  Ask Merripen  

   Like a Mobius Strip, only Moreso  
Merripen, Harvester of Sorrow - February 7 '01- 23:59 Pacific Standard Time

Greetings one and all. I am the shade known as Merripen. You may or may not know me from the RPGamer News Staff. I'll be filling in for today's edition.

Madness takes its toll. Please have exact change.

I welcome you to Q&A, where your questions ebb and flow like a mobius strip, only moreso.

L'anarchi ramene toujours au government absolu.

Contrariwise,
Ask Chimerasame
And the door shall open.
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In the Mac:
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In the PlayStation:
Lunar 2, FF9
Yes, both at the same time. I was trying something. It didn't work.
$60 Lego Blocks

OK, so you can set up a PSO import with the BBA.. nice. Does it seem feasible that one MIGHT be able to do the same with the US version, when it comes out? I'm not a big fan of importing...

I could have SWORN I saw a DC Broadband adapter at a Software, Etc. one time... or was I dreaming? I thought for a moment that maybe I saw it on a website at one point, but I just checked the site I was thinking of... nope.

-Renidragon, ex-Mac user, only because school network doesn't support non-Windows OSes... damn IBM partnership... (Yes, I know the difference between IBM and Micro$oft...)

Merripen:
No need to import, good sir, Phantasy Star Online is out. The North American version was released last week, and should be available across the U.S. by now. From what I understand, broadband setup is tricky, but it works. As mentioned previously, check out our RPGuides section for help in setting that up.
As far as I know, the Dreamcast broadband adapter is still only available from Sega's online store, retailing for about $60. Other sites such as buy.com have it available for preorder, but it may be a little while before Sega actually ships to them. Likewise, I would expect it to show up in stores like Software, Etc. eventually. So you probably didn't see one there just yet. Maybe it was something that just looked really similar, like a trendy doorstop or a big ol' blue lego block. the big ones were called duplo blocks!

 
Something's wrong with the world today

So, from an artist point of view, what's the biggest problem with console gaming in the world today?

Merripen:
It's all about the texture RAM. Seriously.
Console designers shave off design specs wherever they can, and texture RAM seems to always be one of the first to go. The PlayStation has a severe problem in that department, and I can tell you firsthand that it drives game art designers mad trying to cope with it. Insufficient texture RAM causes straight lines to turn wavy at perspectives, and basically makes everything grainy. Artistically, you can save bad models with great textures, but you can't save bad textures with good models (ie. high polygon counts). And that's what they're trying to do. And what bugs me the most is that the PS2 hardly has any more texture RAM than the first one did!
Madness.

 
Call me "Merry" and feel my wrath

Hey (monks sing) MERRI-PEN

I just have to know who you are since you have no bio. I'm giving you the thorough grounding in "O" level geography. You're an artist and such I have to ask a favor. Since Google ran out of scary pic ideas please do mine. Please make or hack a pic which I call "Sailor Monica". Where all of Clinton's girlfriends are in sailor outfits and with Tuxedo Bill who always fling cigars. It's so scary and evil but I got a pardon for the idea. Just so you know what do think about the endless old/new school debate. I think it's pointless and stupid and everyone should just enjoy since it's only a game. I know i'll be the victum of a flame war but I can summon not Knights of Round but Knights of Ni or even Mr. T. Maybe I'll use my lockbox skill and say to my enimies "you won't find the keys to the lockbox." I just love having fun to the guest.

Imperial Mog

Merripen:
Ah, but I do in fact have a bio. Should you wish to learn more about me, you would find such a page here. As for that pic... I think I would be sacrificing my integrity as an artist to work such a monstrosity.
Oh, and you get a *SMACK* from Mistress Nightshadow. You know what you did.

 
Originality vs. Tradition

Hey Merr, I got a hell of a question for YA. Why is it that people are only complaining about Final Fantasy's lack of originality. I mean, there's several other game series (Including Zelda, Mega Man, Mario, Metroid, Front Mission and Breath of Fire) that have the same problem but are still enjoyed by many people.

Kaiser

Merripen:
With the exception of Mega Man, none of those titles have been doing the exact same thing over and over for as long as the Final Fantasy series has been. But you certainly have a point. Everyone knows that the console market is influenced by profit figures more than anything else, so when a game works, developers are often unwilling to deviate from that "tried-and-true" style. Remember that Nintendo went so far as to put Mario and Link fighting one another in a combat game - even though this escapes the RPG realm, perhaps it lends variety to the game.
Or maybe it's just Square. Remember that it was the PlayStation (and Final Fantasy VII) that really kicked the RPG genre into mainstream standing. Prior to this, they were pretty much the king of RPGs, partially because there was little competition. Now that RPGs are numerous, maybe they are finding that they aren't truly up to the task of competing. It's tough to look at Square and not see a decline in comparative or overall quality in recent years.
Maybe I'm rambling.most definitely rambling.

 
Run, Shoot, Repeat. Always Repeat.

Merripen,

Am I the only person that hates PSO? First, it DOES cost money to register for a hunter's licence, and the game is nothing like Diablo 2 or EQ, as others have stated. Run, run, run, point, shoot, shoot, shoot, repeat.

Nameles

Merripen:
Well, everyone I know who's played it seems to like it well enough. It's certainly not for everyone, though. RPGamer's review of Phantasy Star Online is up now, so you can see if the other gameplay elements make up for the ones you dislike. Personally, aside from not owning a Dreamcast, I'm a little put off from the game by the fact that you have to work with other people to really get anywhere. This makes my general social avoidance rather difficult to maintain, you see.
Consider the fact that a large majority of games these days are built on some variation of "Run, run, run, point, shoot, shoot, shoot, repeat." If you can't break away from that, or at least add some innovation to it, then you haven't got much. Due to the manner in which PSO seems to permanently assimilate your Dreamcast, I doubt it will be available for rental, so I can't really suggest you try it out. If the Diablo or EverQuest style is more your game, you may want to stick with that. As long as you have some internet-based funnel to drain all your free time and keep you from thinking about real life, it's all good.

 
As icicles on the eves of rooftops

Greetings Merripen. Are you looking forward to Paper Mario for the N64? I think it looks pretty cool. Have you played FF9 or Chrono Cross, or both? If so, which do you think is better? Even though most people like FF9 more than CC, I found that I liked CC more than FF9. FF9 just didn't have that special something to keep me wanting to play it like CC did. I only ended up beating it because I was going to get rid it. However, FF9's ending was way better than CC's ending. Thanks for your time.

Aoshi19

Merripen:
While I am not the owner of a N64, I admit that Paper Mario looks very interesting. It's got quite a unique artistic style, and I thoroughly enjoyed Super Mario RPG. I believe it is out now, so anyone with the appropriate console should check it out.
I've played both Chrono Cross and Final Fantasy 9, and I enjoyed both of them. I admit to having high expectations for the former, as Chrono Trigger was by far my favorite RPG on the SNES, and even though it didn't quite deliver in the manner I hoped for, it was an awesome game. While I also enjoyed FF9, I agree with your opinion of it. The game hardly feels memorable now, and in all honesty, I will probably play through FF4 again before picking up FF9 for a second time.
Many aspects go into what makes a game memorable or enjoyable, but I think a big part of these two titles, for me at least, was the soundtrack element. Chrono Cross has one of the most gorgeous, moving soundtracks I have ever listened to, even outside the gaming world. I strongly suggest ordering this one - you won't regret it. While Final Fantasy 9 had a nice soundtrack, I honestly only remember 2 distinct tracks. There is a total of 110 tracks on the 4-disc soundtrack. I'll let that speak for itself.

 
Define: Rumor

[Link to some random gaming site]

They say that CT and FF4 ARE coming over, and that I'm-I mean, those obsessed with the games aren't just blowing hot aired rumors around. Now, if I could just end the debate on whether or not Guile from CC was Magus......

Merripen:
As part of the RPGamer News Staff, I assure you that Square has made no official confirmation regarding a North American re-release of Chrono Trigger or Final Fantasy IV. Yes, they mentioned that they were considering it. Yes, they asked people to send in their opinions on it. Yes, the demand among fans appears to be very high. And yes, many sites have posted the rumor, saying that it is official. However, be aware that information from "sources close to Square" is only that, and nothing more.
We may find out soon... and as soon as the information is truly revealed, we'll let you know. Here's hoping.

 
Don't tell Amano...

Hey I was just wondering something about the artwork in Final Fantasy IX. Everyone made such a big deal about Amano making his big come back but when you look in the menu, the little pictures that represent each character hardly look like Amano drawings. They're all healthy looking and colorful and you'd have a hard time convincing me that they're Amano unless he's drastically changed his style from his last couple of games. So who is the mysterious person who drew these character pictures if it wasn't him? Thanks a lot,
- Jet

Merripen:
This is a valid point. In the interest of examining it, I present to you Exhibit A and Exhibit B:

    

In exhibit A we see Amano's original character art for Princess Garnet. Very much his style, quite unmistakable. However, in exhibit B, we see the finished character design for Princess Garnet, the model which is used in the game. But wait! It's so different! I can only come to a single conclusion at this point. Somewhere, inside of Square, there is an individual who drastically changes Amano's art before it can be used in the game. Conspiracy, oh yes.
But, really, Amano did the concept art, as he did with FFI-VI. The distance they go from there to get the end result is totally up to the rest of the team. In the past, they had fewer options, only able to work with what the NES or SNES had to offer. Now that console's have much greater capabilities, they are able to move further and further in their own directions.
Good? Bad? Who's to say. I have to wonder if Amano still plays the games...

 
Quickies

Still, nobody has told me why Kuja dresses like he does yet.
Now I'm ticked.

He? Kuja's a HE??? Oh man... that whole game feels dirty now.

I want to sign your Christmas Theme petition!

Alright! That's one!
I guess i really should sign that, too...

Dear Merripen,

The Game Boy Advance isn't 16-bit, it's 32-bit.

Sincerely,
  Everybody

Thank you for pointing out this correction. All of you.

This is for you.

Wow, thanks! I didn't have one of those!

Is Merripen a hobbit name?

--Impeesa--

Merripen is the gypsy word for life and death. It also represents that which exists outside of life and death, as well as that which lies right between them.

Dude, did I miss something? Where is Goog?

Punko

He's here... watching...waiting...biding his time...

Since Sega is making games for PS2, do you think they shall make Grandia II for PS2?

Well, since Game Arts made Grandia II, and not Sega, I'm guessing no.

But I don't want to go among mad people.

Oh, you can't help that. We're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad.

How do you know I'm mad?

You must be, or you wouldn't have come here.

Psst. Mistress Nightshadow asked me to give you this big box of Strike Anywhere Matches.

Really? I think you're lying... but that's okay. I like matches.
A lot.


The Last Fiendish Howl:

With the rise of the Day Star, my kind are driven away. No matter... I have matches to entertain myself with.

Your further inquiries should be sent to Chimerasame. He will meet you here tomorrow, possibly accompanied by Kris Wolfe, RPGamer's translator.

Perhaps I shall pass this way again some day. Until then, I bid thee farewell.



  
The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad.


Merripen "Sleeps not to dream" @rpgamer.com
i apologize for my frivolous and excessive use of the hidden text

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