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ASK HEATH
XXX-Strike July 19, 2005

Heath Hindman - 10:14 EST

HEADBUTTING A BRICK WALL TILL IT FELL DOWN just moments ago reminded me, "Oh yeah, I have that column to do where people describe their most hardcore gaming moments. I'd better finish killing this pack of ninjas pretty quick so I can answer all the letters in time!"

With all that behind me, I open by making good on my promise to describe my own personal gaming triumph. Back when I was going through Final Fantasy IX, I was a good ways into the game, but just kinda stopped playing for about 8 months straight. After that long gap, I picked it up out of boredom and just played for a few minutes. The next night after I got home from work, I saw it just sitting there, talking smack, telling me I'd never just sit down and clear the game...ever. So we smack talked each other for a while till I finally said "No, FFIX, no. I'll clear you right now. It's on! I'm not stopping till you're beaten."

I played and played for hours, starting at around 9pm and making it to the final boss in the early afternoon the next day...but to no success. I died to him like four times. Seriously, that guy put me in his blunt. I dragged myself into the kitchen and forced myself to eat. I wasn't hungry, but it was something that would distract me from FFIX, which was still turned on in my room. After finding nothing else worth doing, I plunged back into battle around 5 pm. I changed my party up a bit to bring in Zidane, Freya, Eiko, and whatsherface...the princess girl.

I ended up winning, actually without much of a problem at all, which made me wonder what my problem was before. Oh well. I watched that cool ending, then just kinda collapsed where I was. I had tears in my eyes, not because of anything in the story, but because I was so freaking exhausted. I just fell asleep on my floor with the game still on. The whole experience had to have been horrible for my PlayStation, but was great for me, especially considering what woke me up was a prodding from the hot neighbor girl. That was the highlight of the whole thing. Oh yeah.




L E T T E R S
Intoxication


Whatup,

I've frequented this site for a long time now. The Q&A section has to be my favorite. Out of all the people running this column, you have to be the baddest-ass mofo around.

As far as the most hardcore thing I've done while gaming..... um. If getting drunk off your ass and gaming is hardcore, than I may need to quit my day job.
HEATH

Thank you for the compliment. As for drinking while gaming, I dunno if that's hardcore so much as a copout. "Copout from what?" you ask. Copout from the fact that you might just suck at the game you're playing. (Disclaimer: trust me, it hurts to say this to someone who gave me an awesome compliment, but everyone sucks at a few games out there, myself included. It's expected.) Putting on some beer muscles, one can trick oneself into overestimating skills, then having false memories about the game and an overall more satisfied feel in the moments after. Related side note: beer is also involved in certain reviews you see on the internet.

Question: What do you think of the Langrisser/Growlanser games? I'm playing Growlanser II and dig it like chips and salsa man.

Later
"MCIYA"
HEATH

I think I'm superpissed more people don't play them, that's what. I unfortunately didn't get to play any Growlanser Generations until earlier this summer, but dang dude, that should have won some kind of award in 2004.



Hardcore or not?


Howdy Heath,

Probably the most hardcore thing I've ever done gaming wise was when I finished the second disk of Final Fantasy VIII in one sitting. I'd woken up in the middle of the night and couldn't get back to sleep, so I just figured what the hell, statrted playing and didn't stop 'til the mid-afternoon. Unfortunately, I was borrowing the game a disk at a time from a friend of mine as the game had only just come out, and I ended up having to wait about three weeks before I got my hands on the third disk. Probably more pathetic than hardcore come to think of it.


HEATH

Nah, nothing pathetic about that. Your friend is the one that's pathetic, only letting you borrow one disc at a time? Psh. You should steal something from him/her, just to make up the difference. If s/he says some crap like "Dude, that was years ago," just be like "And it's been burning inside me ever since!" Then headbutt his/her house down.

Um, questions. How'd you get the job as MMORPG guy? Are you drawn to MMO games over single player RPG's, or is just 'cause you wanted a letters column of your own? Any non-RPG's you're particulalrly fond of?

Pat


HEATH

After about 6 months of news duty, I left the site in August or 2003 to go on a church mission. I had a lot of medical problems though, so there were a few spurts in which I came back and helped out. (I even ended up doing the official review of .hack 4 in the downtime.) Anyway, when I came back, the site was opening a new column. I expressed my interest in doing the position and here we are.

I'm not drawn to MMORPGs more than any other sub-genre of RPG. They appeal to me on the same level as an action RPG, traditional RPG, or tactical RPG does. Well, scratch that, I like TRPGs more than any of those. I'll admit, what most attracted me to MMORPGamer was that I wanted my own column. Don't get me too wrong though--I enjoy MMORPGs. What I do love about them is interacting with other gamers. And you do so in a much deeper way than other online games; you can explore the world together. I like being in parties made up of other people and working as a team; that feels really good. I make it a point to try out as many of a given game's job classes as possible, but my hands-down favorite type of player is a healer. I like keeping the party alive with my magic and skills.

So in summary: I left, I returned, I'd rather have my own column than something else, site would rather stick a veteran into my position than a rookie, all types of RPGs are created equal.



Burnt out?


What happened to the BoF series, Heath? Like you, the first RPG I ever played was a BoF game (BoF 1); and like you, it holds a special place in my heart. <3
HEATH

*High Fives*
Yeah, that series kicked off RPGaming for me, and I will always make it a point to constantly and blatantly overrate the whole series--it can do no wrong, as far as I'm concerned.

Now, many may disagree but I thought BoF:DQ was the pinnacle of the series. Which begs such questions as, "What happened to the series?" and "Are there any plans on CapCom's behalf to make more games of this highly underrated RPG series?"

Love,
Joshdamnit.


HEATH

I've thought about this a lot. Just the other day, I was cruising down the interstate thinking about this very topic: "Why do people have to player-hate all over Dragon Quarter?" Then it hit me. I slammed the breaks right then and there. Through the sounds of squealing tires, honking horns, Signal Home rocking my world, and profanity from behind me, I could hear my mind say, "Heath, it's simple. People who hate Breath of Fire V just suck at video games. All of them. Period." I got out of my car and explained to the people in the 36 car pileup what was going on in my head and they were all cool with it. "Yeah, didn't you already know that?" said one of them.

Also, nothing official has been announced regarding the future of Breath of Fire. One noteworthy fact is that long waits have occurred between all of them, but that doesn't mean a whole lot.



WOW!


Hey there,

I was just curious about WoW. Why is it that everyone seems to love it so much? I watch people playing it, and I just can't seem to get a grasp on what's so great. The battles move like molasses, regardless of what class of character I've been watching. Granted, I'm a Guild Wars fan, so I'm probably heinously(sp?) biased, but still. I just can't seem to get excited about a game that a person can play equally well carrying on a full conversation, eating cheeze-its, as someone who's fully concentrating.
HEATH

I think your puzzledness comes from the fact that you are clearly more hardcore than most people. The lure of World of Warcraft? I can't speak from experience, because I have certain...um...*cough* outside forces preventing me from doing so, but those I know that play it were also pretty big into Warcraft games before World came out, so a good portion of it might be franchise appeal. It's kinda the same thing as FFXI: the franchise is popular, so naturally fans of it are gonna look that direction if they feel like venturing into MMO territory. I know I'd certainly pick up Skies of Arcadia Online if such a thing came out.

(GW plug...) Guild Wars, on the other hand, seems to me to be what Tales of Symphonia would play like if it were a full 3d mmo. Fast battles that require quick thinking, with skills reminiscent of Magic: The Gathering cards. Granted, it's not a very massive game, but it definitely pushes you to party more than any other game I've seen(I say this in reply to people who say GW is good for soloing. I heartily disagree with this assessment). You just simply don't try and solo past the first few missions ( it's actually difficult, and takes an amount of skill and concentration).

Anyway, thanks for listening to my crankyness. Have a nice day.

-Lunch?


HEATH

Someone said GW was good for soloing? For shame. Solo in the sense that you can easily get away from other people, perhaps. And it's good for a game you're only gonna play once in a while thanks to not having monthly fees. It's good to get away from the masses that MMORPGs are known for, but not quite to solo, per say. Hey, now that I say that, I feel like I said that in a previous column. Sweet...it's like I only did half the work!


Buried Treasure


Howdy, whoever (Heath?). Big-time fan, first time mailer...

Anyway, I remembered reading someone's mail about never being able to find any games from Atlus, and well.... Me too. I'm currently struggling to find SMT: Digital Devil Saga 1, but everyone only has the boxed set, which costs, like, 50 clams. Anyway Atlus plans on selling SMT: DDS 2 with number one as any sort of a pre-order deal? If not, would any one of the RPGamer crew have an idea where to find hard-to-get RPGs?

Thanks for any help man (or possibly woman...)

Jake.


HEATH

Yeah man, the lesson with cult RPGs is this: get them quick, cause if you don't, you'll wish you did. In the case of SMT: DDS, if you don't buy the box set, don't count on owning the game, unless you buy one of those lame "disc only" auctions on eBay. Speaking of eBay, that's probably the best place to find rare games. Shuffling through bargain bins occasionally yields a good find--I got Suikoden II out of one just last year--but most of the time, buying online is the way to go. A publisher's official store also sometimes has certain games in it for a longer time than retail places.

Also, while I occasionally get some junk mail addressed to "Heather," I am most definitely a dude.



La Musica


Have any of you played the beginning of Aerith's Theme from FF VII and compared that to the beginning of Aria de Mezzo Carratere from FF VI. They sound incredibly similar. Actually, both pieces sound somewhat similar the entire way through except for the electronic organ pretending to be a person singing as Celes.
HEATH

Props to you for being the illest DJ in town. Call me musically inept, but I never heard the similarity until just now. I have both songs in various forms, but never made the connection until you pointed it out. Now is the part where I feel like an idiot because half the RPG world probably discovered this already. In my defense though, I listen to the orchestrated version way more than the original, and that one sounds nothing like the Aeris theme.

I'll ask a couple more questions to make the answer session a little longer since I like y'alls. Who did you use as your final party in those two games against Sephiroth and Kefka, respectively. I had Cloud, Yuffie, and Red XIII for FF VII and Sabin, Edgar, Celes, and Cyan for FF VI. I wanted to use Barrett since he was one of my favorite characters, but Yuffie was too strong and fast to not use. Other than Sabin, I could have used 7 or 8 people to finish filling my roster, but I liked Celes and Cyan's backstories and Edgar's tools were so easy to use that I picked him.


HEATH

I've been through FFVII a number of times, and have used every party member in the final fight at one time or another, with the exception of Vincent (and yes, thanks to GameShark codes, I even got to use Aeris). Mostly though, I like to bring the ladies Tifa and Yuffie.

I also brought Cloud, Tifa, and Yuffie in against Kefka. Don't question it; that's just how tight I used to be with Squaresoft.

(Note: Cyan, Sabin, Edgar, Celes. Same as you, actually)



Tildes and That


Dear Heath,

The most hardcore thing I've ever done whilst playing a game? I was home sick (not homesick) from high school one day, and decided that since I had nothing better to do, I might as well play through 3 RPGs without sleeping. I think I played FF6, Star Ocean 2, and regrettably.. Beyond the Beyond, which in itself is fairly hardcore if I say so myself. Hey, I didn't pick them out in advance, and by the time I saw one of the 80 or so endings from SO2 I was in a severe, sleep deprived delirium. So there's my woeful tale. I guess I don't "brag" about it, so much as I both "rue" and "lament" it.

Also, RPGamer's new quote is from (the excellant) Atelier Iris, said by Klein after Norn asks him to, well.. sleep with her. Sweet, delicious tildes.

-Justin Q


HEATH

Wheeee ~

I hope I understand your tale right here: you only made it through Star Ocean 2, right? Cause like, there's not enough time in a day to do all 3 of those. I think that's what you were trying to say, anyway. It certainly is a sad story that 2 of the 3 RPGs in that group sucked so bad. :(



Old Familiar Face


Heath,

'Sup man. The most hardcore thing I've ever done? Well, when Devil May Cry came out, I played for 14 hours with no water or food. I don't remember if I went to the bathroom or not. My thumbs were blistered so bad, they were bleeding.

I just wanted to represent.

~Van


HEATH

Without food for a few hours is fine, but dude, you gotta keep hydrated, or you'll fall over in the middle of your game, thus draining all hardcore potential and making the whole situation into a wuss fest. Be careful!

Always remember the 3 R's: Recognize, Represent, Repeat.



Big Dreams


Heath, it's nice to have a breath of fresh air on this dusty old column here. I love Rpgamer. I'm one of this rare-time writers, not first time, nor short-time reader. But anyway. The most hardcore RPG experience was playin' Final Fantasy VII back when it came out. I was like, oh man oh man oh man oh man. 3D Final Fantasy...oh man oh man oh man. I played for 20 hours straight, not going to eat, sleep, or do whatever. I was in the moment man. I kinda wish I could go back to the days of my mindless, videogame playin' all the time youth. But still, ever more so than beating the weapons on FFVII, and playing for 20 hours straight, was beating Devil May Cry on "Dante Must Die" mode. Talk about insane. Even the enemies start to devil trigger on that mode. And that bird...grrrrrrrr...

Anyway, here's a question for the ol' column.
Do you know anything about the quality of translation and voice acting in our Americana version of what IS going to be the best Final Fantasy ever? Yes yes I know, I said best. I'm a die-hard fan of FFVI and forever will be. But the fact of the matter is, Tactics is king, and the fellas from Quest are all over FFXII. Matsuno is god of directors in the RPG world. I mean come on, Vagrant Story, Tactics, Ogre. So I'm really hoping to hear high quality acting, much on par to that of the first Metal Gear Solid. That game wouldn't have been close to what it was without great voice overs. I don't want another Tidus fiasco. What terrible acting. Or at least give us players a sub-title option with Japanese vocals, that way we just can't tell whether or not the acting is shite. That's my major concern for the best FF ever. Long live FFXII.

Peace in the east, seriously...George.

Ian William Bathelt


HEATH

Thanks for the compliments, both the one about me and the one about the site. Much respect.

For all the ranting and raving up there, I'm afraid I can't add anything about the English voices in FFXII. No one outside of Square Enix knows anything about that yet. Sorry guy.



A Quote and a Prophecy


The quote is from Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana...right? Where's my ~?
HEATH

Well I don't know. I suppose maybe it's...HERE? -> ~

Okay...as for hardcore gaming...all I can say is that I have played through the original zelda on the NES in just one sitting. Not a recent port of the game....but the one on the NES. But, I'm not sure if that's something to brag about.

Speaking of ports...I'm still amazed at how Nintendo hasn't ported Final Fantasy 3/6, Chrono Trigger, or Secret of Mana (quite possibly the 3 best RPGs of all time) to a handeheld form. Surely the DS has the capabilities to hold them. Apparently it's possible that Secret of Mana is coming to the DS...but who knows. Well, I think I've figured out why Nintendo may be slowing down on the ports. Look at what the Revolution will be able to do. Supposedly, all previous nintendo games will become available to owners of Nintendo's upcoming next-gen console.

So, what do you think...with the upcoming Revolution, will we see fewer and fewer ports of classic games?

an RPGfan


HEATH

The thing is, a lot of the bigger 16-bit games--and even both of the N64 Zelda games--that needed porting have already been ported to either GBA or PS, so naturally the next batch to get looked at for porting is the original PS library. You won't be seeing any of those games on a Revolution, that's for sure. Additionally, backward compatibility eliminates some of the need for PS ports anyway. Those will only ever get remade if something extra is being added to them.

So no, I don't see as many ports coming out in the future as have heretofore been released. Not for a good long while, anyway.



Just a Quote


Dear Castomel/Google/Roku/Heath/Whoever the Hell Is Running Q&A These Days,

I haven't played it yet, but since I've heard it has jokes of the sort, is the main page quote from Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana?

-Jeremy, the Duke of Otterland


HEATH

I'm going for the tilde hat trick today! ~




C L O S I N G
GAME OVER:

Wow, there was a megaton of letters today. A couple are still in yon inbox; I had to draw the line somewhere so as to avoid making this into a novel. As it is, there's twice as much in here as a standard column. ^_^

Keep 'em coming though. Tomorrow is my last day of this, so I'm not holding anything back...unless I really have no answer at all. Still, Andrew will pick up the slack the day after that, so don't pull any punches folks. Write about any topic, but one that particularly struck me today was music, partially because while I was headbutting the aforementioned wall and fighting the aforementioned ninjas, I was listening to Dry Kill Logic. Since I listened to that band all the time while playing through Saiyuki: Journey West, it reminded me of that game....

Do you ever listen to non-game music while playing games? If so, what? Do you have any sound associations like the one I mentioned?

rage@rpgamer.com
If you tell anyone that Heath Hindman was crying at the end of FFIX, he will mix jagged metal Krusty-O's in with your cereal


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