The Nose Knows
January 12, 2006
Matt Demers - 13:49 EST
IS IT THURSDAY ALREADY? Creepers! I'm going to have to start studying
for my finals if the semester keeps up this quickly.
Between writing this and homework, I was indeed able to find time to invest in a little more Dragon Quest VIII
and a little more Chrono Trigger. I haven't played either as much as I'd like, never mind all of my new funfuns
that I should be playing through. It's a good thing there aren't any NEW new must-play games that are coming out anytime
soon, or I'd just have to quit school in order to accommodate them into my schedule.
Priorities, priorities, don't you know?
Current priority: Your mail. Let me dig around and see what I can come up with...
Ahhh... the nostalgic charm of charmlessness
Do you find it weird that the release of Alter Code F and Wild Arms 4
was so close? Well, close for the Americans and even closer for us
Canadians, I suppose
Really? Were the Canadian release dates that different than the American ones? If so, they must have been
pretty darn close.
Either way, their releases are within just a couple of months of one another, and I don't know if that's something
the producers will be able to pull off. I think that a more
popular series like Final Fantasy might be able to do better with a "Bang, bang!" duo of releases, but it seems like
poor timing to me. Not only is Wild Arms not nearly as popular as Final Fantasy, it's also being released at the
beginning of January, which has got to be one of the slowest times of the year for video game sales, unless
people still have gift-card money left over from Christmas '05. I'm not a marketing specialist, but I'll tell you-
given the current post-holiday state of my bank account, I sure as hell am not going to be spending much any time soon.
The main thing I want to mention is point of view. No, the RPGamer
section (although that is doing quite well). I mean in the narrative
sense in an RPG. The other day, I was checking to see if my Dreamcast
still worked and was running the "Sega Smash Pack". My friend suggested
I try Phantasy Star 2, since I never played any of that series. I was
shocked when I saw that the game is narrated in a first-person, Wonder
Years sorta way. I don't think I've ever seen any RPG that was like
that. And, the main character was not just saying small things, he was
describing his feelings, surroundings and perceptions as if it were a
novel. I thought it was interesting especially since this was a lower
tech day and rather than "seeing" some kind of 8-bit rendition of a
"[bed]room, dimly lit by the early dawn", we got that description
directly from the narrator/hero.
Are there other RPGS outside the Phantasy Star series like that? Can you
think of any RPGs that are "told" from a strict first-person sense?
Interesting, interesting... what comes to mind immediately? Final Fantasy IX has a little bit of that feeling at
times, as one of the characters seems to reflect from time to time on the events that are occurring. Otherwise,
I can't say that I can think of any.
It is an interesting twist, though, and an entire story told through a first-person viewpoint could be
invigorating for a change. One thing is for sure... now you've got me thinking, and I'm probably going to keep
myself awake tonight scouring my internal database for more examples of this storytelling-style, instead of
drifting off to sleep. *grumble* Thanks.
Hey Belinda Stronach! This one's for you
Good day Mr. Wonderslime!
I hope your holidays were good ones. For me it was 2 weeks full
of family, friends, fun, food, Disgaea and no Internet. Which means
I'm thankful that there weren't any SOCKS over christmas.
Speaking of which:
Why thank you! My holidays were just fine, though days without school or worries are always days that rush
by at approximately three-times normal speed. The end result, of course, was that the vacation flew by in no
time at all, but it was restful, relaxing, refreshing, revitalizing, and rejuvenating. Mm-hmm.
To me, every game I liked and played before the end of high school are
somehow nostalgic, I think it's because I wasn't so grown up at that time
and had so much more free-time and I believe that many gamers feel
alike. Although I started playing RPGs in the late snes era with Illusion
of Gaia and became addicted thanks to Chrono Trigger, I played all
the known games like Breath of Fire, FF IV, VI, VII, VIII, and so on
till my graduation.
What's really funny is that most of my "most nostalgic games" are actually games I played in that era as well,
even though it feels like MUCH longer ago. I really find it difficult to fathom that it was 1996 when I first
played Final Fantasy VI, for instance, when I was in Grade 9. It SEEMS like I was in elementary school at the time,
in my brain-clock, so perhaps my brain-clock needs a change of batteries.
I mean we have to be honest, we are getting old! Remember, we are now
in the position of our elder siblings, friends etc. 10 years ago who talked
about how great a game for the commodore or the nes from 1986 was.
And beware, not long and the FF series gets 20 years old.
That's CREEPY I tell you.
Oh, I know! My older sisters weren't big into video games at all, but I remember well the days of dancing
around the guest bedroom to Michael Jackson with my younger sister, waiting for my dad to stop doing bookwork in
his office so that I could go back and play Pac-Man on the Tandy 1000, or a curiously addictive game called
Digger. Has anyone besides me ever heard of it? I was so addicted once... my record is 101,725 points.
Well for a question.
In so many games we see a character totally changing his attitude or
a bad guy switching sides. What was your favorite character changing/
side switching and what was the most stupid one?
I mean somehow who had stayed better like before or be dead.
Greetings and take care,
I think my favourite example of this is in Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter. I don't know exactly why...
but too many heartstrings get pulled when you have to face off against your former
partner (best friend?) again and again throughout the game, and as things get more and more graphic, culminating
towards the end. It's not like the dialogue is especially great to portray it, but man- the atmosphere and music
are so perfect, the last scenes almost brought a tear to my eye.
Stupid examples, though? I don't know. I can think of lots that I love, but very few that I don't like.
Generally, switching-of-sides means a good storyline twist of some sort, and I almost always love a good
storyline twist. So, I'll pick a super-obscure one that less than 10% of you will know: Mmmm... how about
the wizard in the Island Tower in Dragon Warrior II? When you first meet him, he says (and I paraphrase) "Oooh, I'll show you
the way to the treasure!" Then you follow him and follow him through the twists and turns, up stairs and down,
until you get to the chest, whereupon he goes "BWAAR, you silly humans! Die!" or something to that effect,
and unleashes monsters upon the party. Now that was pretty lame.
Ehehe... that's about all.
The grass is always greener on the other side of the connection
Hi!, this is my first time sending a question to your column, i started
reading a few months ago, and, well, i have a few questions to ask...but
first a little rant:
Damn. Well, do your thing so we can scuttle on, hmm? Just kidding, take as much of my space as
you like... just put it back when you're done with it.
ok, i know that when you are in school you have little time(if any) to play
RPGs, but dont complain that much, think in the people like me that has a
full time work(yea, it sucks) and also has to go to school(sucks less, but
still sucks), so right now i have like six or seven free hours a week, and
is not funny when you have no time to play games, right now im happy that i
dont have a girlfriend to suck my free time(yeah, first time to say that)
so, the next time that you complain that you have no time to play games,
remember that there is at least someone that is in a worse situation(HINT:
me) and thats why i have to say: God bless portable games, right now im
playing Riviera during the hours i spend on the bus, and also have the FFIV
waiting for me once i finish this, so even when i dont have that much time
to play console RPGs(i have played like 3 hours in the last week) i still
can enjoy some games in my DS, even when here in Mexico the games are really
expensive( GBA games going from 50-60 dollars) but any way, i remember that
i had a couple of questions, so here i go:
Phew. Yeah, holding a job down, let alone a full-time one, isn't an easy thing to do.
Not that it's a competition or anything, but bear in mind that I juggle TA-ing, this column,
university courses, and math/stat club business, so in general, I'm a pretty busy man.
Alas, though, my bus rides home aren't quite long enough to warrant me bringing a DS along.
One-hour breaks between class and TAing, though? It might just come in handy there...
what do you think of rushing to the end in a game?
i mean, i finished in less than 30 hours the last 2-3 games i played, i
skipped bonus dungeons, extra weapons, extra bosses, etc, i ignored
everything that is not obligatory, i usually do this because, if i liked the
game(like FFVI, FFVIII, Secret of Mana) then the next time i play the game
it has extra things that i didnt do the first time, so is kinda like a "new
experience" with the game, and if i didnt like the game, then i can just
finish in little time and move to the next game
I think we have a similar sort of style, then. I won't go out of my way NOT to find things, but I don't
go revisiting every single town searching every nook and cranny for special stuff on my first run through,
and I don't use strategy guides either. That said, I hate it when games are over quickly. Maybe that's partly
why I like Dragon Quest games... you can keep going on, and on, and on, and even if you hurry through, it will
still take you a good seventy hours or more to get to the end. Running out of game to play is a very depressing
thing indeed, for me, especially when the game is a great one.
Plus, to me, a game that's "too long" is far better than a game that isn't long enough. It's really disappointing
to spend sixty bucks on a game you've waited for for a year or more, just to blow through it in less than a week.
also i love doing this because i think that gives me extra challenge in
every game, sometimes i love being the underpowered, just make my victories
i have more questions, but right nomw im supossed to be working :), so maybe
next time i ask you something else!
Bingo! I hate it when things are easy too, my friend. Other people, though, like my sister Diane, get
stressed out when the going gets tough. I guarantee you that she'll have 150 hours on the clock by the time she
gets to the end of Dragon Quest VIII for that very reason. She likes exploring and finding things and talking to
people; she doesn't play RPGs for the difficulty, and neither do many people out there. For me, on the other hand,
a good-but-fair challenge is what makes a good RPG into a great one.
Write back again sometime! I shall be a-waiting.
I had preordered FFVII: Advent Children a while back when the expected release was Dec 05/Jan 06.
I just got an email from amazon.com saying that the shipping estimate is Jan 7th, 2010! Did this movie
just get delayed four years?? Anyone else bewildered by this?
You didn't hear? To save on shipping costs, Amazon has started the practice of camelback shipping. Not surprisingly,
it takes awhile to traverse an ocean, too- they might need to cross on the Arctic icecap or something. Hopefully
it arrives in decent condition (i.e. not spat upon), and before DVDs are replaced by a new format.
Back to reality, I'm not aware of any major delays or related crazy news, so I assume it's just a mysterious glitchy
error. If you're really that worried about it, fire off an e-mail to someone with authority to get them to explain
it to you. Delays are one thing, but four years? It seems a trifle far-fetched to me.
More old-school ramblings
I hate to be like this, but I really find it hard to find good modern RPGs that really make me want
to play them. However, I haven't picked up DQ VIII quite yet so hopefully it will present itself quite
charmingly. I have played RPGs since I was about 3 or 4 and they have always been my favorite genre of game,
I play a few fps games these days, but that is simply because MMORPGs don't really thrill me in any way shape or
form, and who has the money to pay for them? Not the poor college student I am. My first memory of playing an RPG,
and one of my first memories period, is of playing Final Fantasy at my grandpa's house when I was about 4 and him
showing me the air ship and how to fly it around to all the different places. How cool was that? Way cool! I
also remember Zelda, and Zelda 2 for regular Nintendo at that very early age. Later I was introduced to the glory
of Dragon Warrior, and got my own nintendo with Final Fantasy and several other cool games (oh how i wish i had
kept it all, I remember my parents being like "why do you need a Nintendo when you have a Super Nintendo").
Wow! Have you just proven to me that I'm not the only person out there whose love for RPGs was planted by a grandparent?
My grandma taught me how to play Dragon Warrior when I was about eight years old, and I can distinctively remember going
to Pizza Hut with her after playing for the first time, and talking very seriously with her about whether she was ready
to fight Wyverns and Goldmen in the south or not. Just the smell of her bedroom today reminds me so vividly of sitting
besides her when I was small, while watching as she explored Alefgard.
Also, I remember when the Super Nintendo came out. I was completely and utterly convinced that there was no way I'd
ever have a chance of getting an SNES, and I remember seeing commercials for Super Mario World that made me want to
pee my pants with excitement, though I was dismayed that "I'd never get to play it". Finally, we rented the system, and
then, after playing Super Mariokart at my friend Kristin's place, I decided that there was no option. I went out
and bought an SNES myself, at the age of nine, with my hard-earned farm money. Mom agreed that she'd pay for Mariokart
if I went as far as to pay for the system, so that was a relief. I sure was an ambitious youth...where has it all gone?
Later Me and My cousins would play many RPGs together during the summer first Dragon Warrior (we actually finished it)
then Final Fantasy (finished it) and Dragon Warrior 4 (finished it). Pretty good for a 7 year old and a 5 year old.
Then we got into the SNES RPGs with FF2 (IV), FF3 (VI), FF MQ, Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana, Breath of Fire 2,
and the like. These games are absolute classics and although I completely understand why you might say that they
are overated, these games were amazing for there time and are still amazing for today. I hate the overcomplication
of RPGs sometimes where the battle system is outrageously confusing or too much thought is required for battle. (Not
a huge fan of the strategy RPG like tactics ogre and FFT).
No way! I stated once that I thought Chrono Trigger was overrated only because many people believe it to be the BEST
game of all time, which I don't tend to agree with. The others, though, on your list, are more underrated than anything.
Too few people have experienced the SNES Final Fantasies, though this is slowly changing, especially with the remake of
IV. Secret of Mana is now just about FIFTEEN YEARS OLD, if you can believe that. I only wish that those of the new generation
of gamers were able to discover how good that game really is, and how advanced the game WAS for its time. I have a huge
number of fond memories about Secret of Mana, and I'd say that that game is quite underrated in today's world. Breath
of Fire 2 for the SNES was the first BoF game I ever owned, and the first I ever beat. I liked it in many ways, but it's
a very "average" RPG in the end. Mystic Quest, though? I'll pass.
In response to the guy who was talking about PS III: Generations of Doom in Matt's column, I agree that that
game was pretty amazing for its time, and I was excited when it was rereleased for GBA, and I picked it up, and
released how outrageously time consuming that game is (figuring out all the dungeons between the 7 mini planets
was absolutely mind numbing), but having 3 generations of characters and being able to affectively choose your
future party by marrying different people is really cool, especially for the time. One of my all time favorite
games and one that has been outrageously overlooked, and I would recomend to anybody who likes D&D style RPGs
is Dungeons and Dragons: Warriors of the Eternal Sun for the Genesis. Its a game where you control 4 characters
with a turn based top down view system in the outside world, but in the dungeons its first person. Its a really
fun quick play and pretty action packed and exciting.
I just wish that todays game developers would stop worrying so much about graphics/making something that has
never ever been done for and go for fun exciting gameplay with good plot, and very important is good music.
Finally to my question, if you got this far, is there anything new/old you guys can suggest for a nostalgic man like
I agree- but a plot doesn't need to be convoluted and multi-layered to be effective either, I don't think. Music,
to me, is absolutely essential in an RPG. It is the key element to creating mood and atmosphere, no matter the
scenario, and is, for me, far more important to me than graphical glory. Many RPGs receive a huge boost from it; while
I'm not terribly fond of Chrono Cross or the Golden Sun series, the music in these games is absolutely phenomenal.
Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter (which seems to have come up a lot, lately) left a mark on me, thanks to its musical
score. The music in Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest has always been near-top-notch, too, which I believe is a major
contributing factor as to why those series are so strong.
I almost don't want to recommend the new remakes to you; Final Fantasy: Dawn of Souls has easy-fied FFI to the point
of ridiculousness, and the little changes in Final Fantasy IV will probably bother you to no end. What NEW games have
a good, old-school feeling to them, though? I really want to say to you: Try Dragon Quest VIII. I'll bet that you
will really enjoy it, because it feels like (... what does it feel like...?) a remarkably well-done remake of an NES Dragon
Warrior, possibly. If you have a DS, give Final Fantasy III a try when it comes out; we don't know many details about it,
yet, and I'm starting to get a bit antsy about it, but I'm hoping for a return to a somewhat familiar battle system,
despite the new prettiness and character development that wasn't there before. The plot will be good in that old-school
sort of style, and the music will be wonderful, since it was wonderful enough on the Famicom.
Hopefully that helps you out, Martin. Thanks for your letter!
Regrettably, you guys haven't been terribly chatty this week, but that's okay. Getting into the swing of things
at the start of a new school semester has left me a little bit busier than I have been in recent weeks.
On a completely random note, despite the warm temperatures outside, it's especially freezing inside my apartment
today. Thus, I would like to proudly announce that this column marks the first ever that I have written while wrapped
up in my bed comforter. Yes, I know, you can hold the applause until later.
Looking back, #81 was a question that a fair number of people stumbled upon. If you were to look up the
definition of the "infimum", it is the LARGEST number that is less than or equal to every number in a set- in other
words, the greatest lower bound. Hey, it's been a long time since I've slipped a math question in here; I'm
allowed! Oh yeah, the answer... it was a) 1993, since that's when the very first Lufia game debuted in North
America. 45 points for getting that one.
Most people, on the other hand, were able to get #82 correct. Remembering back to Disgaea, the correct answer
was b) A pretzel, for 35 points. I can hear Etna right now "in my mind's ear"... I really hope they get the
same voice actors back for Disgaea 2. It wouldn't be the same if they changed them!
Time for a couple more, if you please. And please do!
Follow Me!-->In Chrono Trigger, which of the following beverages must be poured upon Toma's grave in order to
make his ghost appear? (35 points)
a) Toma's Soda
b) Toma's Juice
c) Toma's Pop
d) Toma's Ade
e) Toma's Grog
Ask Ourobolus!--> In which game are you trying to help a princess named Microwave, and in your travels you
go to areas such as Curry, Macaroni Burg, and Nutmeg Village? (35 points)
b) La Pucelle Tactics
c) Treasure Hunter G
d) Great Greed
e) Quest 64
Things to work for (the SOCK item shop!):
200 points: Tilde (infinite number remaining!)
700 points: The Final Fantasy 1 "Official" Crazed-Chipmunk-Hold-your-Ears Zipfile Soundtrack (3 remaining!)
1000 points: The Mattie's Mom Cookie Recipe Compilation (5 remaining!)
2000 points: Guest-co-host Opportunity #2 (5 remaining!)
That does it for this week, everyone. Thanks for looking in, as always!
Andrew will be around this weekend to take my place, so please welcome him back with a deluge of whatever happens
to be on your minds. Questions? Great! Answers? Fine. Comments? Sure! Complaints? Rebuts? Remarks? Rants?
Ramblings? By all means.
Have a great weekend, everyone; I'll be back on Monday.
***Matt feels a sneeze coming on.
It's so close to being a sneeze, too! It keeps getting ALMOST to the point of no return,
but then never actually gets there entirely. Sneezes are by far the most fun involuntary human reaction, wouldn't you
Jan. 11 - Matt
Jan. 10 - Matt
Jan. 9 - Matt
Jan. 8 - Cast
About the Host
Matt's Newest Unhealthy Addiction
Another Unhealthy Addiction
Matt's Top 3 Current Games:
1. Dragon Quest VIII
2. Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time
3. Mario Kart DS
Matt's Top 3 RPG Desires:
1. Final Fantasy III
2. Disgaea II
3. Children of Mana
6. Arros Raikou