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Mail Andrew or Myself I Give me some personal lovin' I Old Stuff I Ancient Stuff
ASK MAGROWAN & MATT
Golden Lobes January 17, 2006

MagRowan - 16:48 EST

GREETINGS FOLKS!

MagRowan here! Apparently my penchant for useless knowledge has finally payed off as I am here usurping co-hosting today's Q & A column. Too bad my delusions of grandeur have taken over and are now playing havoc with my sense of reality... Reality being me as a post college code monkey. *Typity Typity Typity*

Ooh! Lime sherbet! Don't mind me, I'll just sit here and munch some sweet confection. Yum! So anyway... I will attempt to answer some questions here, without stepping on Matt's setup, and without dripping the lime sherbet I am consuming into my keyboard. Tricky I know...

Bring on the column!




L E T T E R S
The world is dense in monsters!


What do you think of Wild ARMS 4? Well, provided that you've had the chance to play it. I'm not that far into (just enough to see that I like it before I finish Alter Code F) but I like the characters and combat a lot. I think that the ability to turn off the random encounters once you've "finished" a dungeon is a brilliant idea that should have been thought up years ago.

MagRowan

I'm sorry to say that I have not had the chance to play or even purchase WA4 yet, though I have played a bit of the original Wild ARMs. I found myself liking the storyline, but I have never found the chance to complete the game.

The ability in WA4 you describe seems quite intriguing. There have been times when I have wished for the ability to walk through an area unmolested, just because I found the encounter rate rather high, but usually I just fall back and look at it as a way to level up.

My sis on the other hand either levels up or if she's in FF VI uses the Moogle Charm, gets to the goal, and bolts.

I know that you have a wonderful love for Dragon Quest 8, however I have one beef with it now that I've played another RPG, it has to do with the encounter rate. I'm left wondering why I haven't gotten into fights while wondering around a dungeon in WA4.

MagRowan

Yes, indeed Matt's love for all things DQ (including the ice cream franchise), especially the latest installment, is legendary in this column. I myself, again, am sad to say I have not had the opportunity to play it. From what I hear though, the game does have a high encounter rate, indeed.

Matt

It's not THAT high.

Usually, I am not fond of high encounter rates, myself, if they average out to a battle every couple of steps. I mean, I love to battle, but if it starts to feel like slogging through a vat of molasses in the depths of a northern winter (as one is inclined to do, yes?), I tend to get a little frustrated.

The antithesis, no battles, is annoying as well though. I mean it is an RPG, right? Might as well try a SIM or an e-book if you want story without battle.

Also, am I alone in thinking that the standard ending for the game is much for satisfying and romantic then the one you get for completing the bonus dungeon?

MagRowan

Okay on that one, I shall most definitely have to defer to Matt who is the almighty master of all things DQ (or at least as compared to me).


Matt

And on that note, I'm going to dodge the bullet and say "Poo on you, I haven't gotten that far!!" Regardless, though, I can certainly say that I thought the "standard" ending was really satisfying and well done, for sure.

Thats all for now. ~ Sean


MagRowan

Thanks for the letter there Sean! If you have gotten nothing from my answers, I have at least gotten the feeling that I am missing out on some interesting games that have come out recently. Maybe I should rethink my policy of waiting to purchase games until a year after release... then again, my backlog and my bankbook probably couldn't stand up to the influx of current games.



It's no joke


Hi there Slimey?


Matt

Oh my- Q&A has to be doing better than this. Tell me that's not your question...?

As for SOCK my best guesses are

Question #85:
a) The Liberal Party

Question #86:
d) Everybody Hurts

Now for the question, what exactly do RPG creators have against clowns, jesters and jokers?? I can think of of 5 or so examples where some where over the course of the adventure you lock blades and press powers with a... clown... and I just want to hear any weird theories on it you might have

Arros Raikou

*Thinks all evil RPG clowns should drive about in tiny cars that go ernty ernty*


Matt

Phew, that puts that question to rest. Clowns can be freaky, as I'm sure you'll agree. I was never really afraid of them as a kid, but I always thought that they were stupid, and I felt idiotic watching them when the circus came to town. I hated the circus for that reason, but also because of the flowery smell of feces which would inevitably fill the auditorium in which it was held. "Dad, go get us some nachos!"

I guess there's something a bit mysterious about the silent nature of clowns, and their brightly-coloured garb is reminiscent of a wizard's robes. Clowns almost always play magical roles in RPGs, but their chaotic sort of nature makes them good candidates for a crazy villain or sub-villain (Zorn & Thorn actually come to mind before Dhoulmagus, and I'm sure there are many others). I think the idea works well, at any rate. Thanks for your letter!



Debating dem handhelds


Hi this is my first time responding I read this section just about everyday. My question what is the problem with PSP. There are games to play on it like Legend of Heroes, Popolocris, Kingdom of Heaven and several others. Im not a fan boy because I own a DS too. I own more games on the psp. There both great handhelds and both are gonna have great games.

Thanks Jeremy


MagRowan

I think most people's current reluctance to purchase the PSP, at least as far as RPG-wise, is the current lack of 'main-stream' RPGs. By 'main-stream' I mean the standard lines of games, i.e. Final Fantasy, Mario & Luigi, Xenosaga, etc. There are some good titles slated for the PSP, but none of them fall into the major RPG franchises, that I know of, well, maybe the Valkyrie Profile title. I do not doubt that the PSP has some good non-RPG titles, I hear Lumines is like video crack (or so a sales person confided in me). I, myself, do not own a PSP due to a lack of fundage for a new console, even of the handheld variety.

As for the DS, a lot of up and coming games belong to big franchises like the remake of Final Fantasy III or the port of Xenosaga I + II or even the recently released Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time. I do own a DS (yeay for Christmas!) and am personally looking forward to both new titles and the M&L title. Those and a lot of the Nintendo franchise titles as a whole, such as Zelda, Castlevania, and Mario Kart. I think the Nintendo standard offerings are what draw most people back to their systems again and again.

The aversion to the PSP might be as simple as loyalty to a long running champion of handheld world in the form of the DS, but if I had my way, personally, I would have both systems. My philosophy? You can never have too many consoles or too many games, just too much backlog!



Time for a good finger-wagging


Oh great Slime, lead us to enlightenment, preferably by enlightening us. I must say, you sure do like messin with us readers...the infimum? Well...at the least I learned something new (I think...I probably read the fancy definition wrong.) Is your first questions answer a) 1993? thats the one im going with anyway. And question number 82's answer is most assuradly b) A pretzel. Though to be fair, it was really a black pretzel.

Matt

Real analysis is everybody's friend. Well, everybody except for people who aren't math students.

I have been meaning to write in for some time now, but Ive been...well, lazy. However, there is much to say, and i will begin with a response to some shameless lies that were purpertrated a while ago. SMT: Nocturne is a damn fine game. And it is far superior to DDS. Not that I disliked DDS, but after playing nocturne I cant really settle for less. Much in the same way you critisize Chrono Trigger for being too easy, i enjoyed Nocturne because it was so hard. It was an RPG that was a CHALLENGE. To put that into context, after playing it then DQ8, I was relieved at being able to take it easy during battles. Nocturnes battle system is set up so that if you know what your doing you generally will win, but all it takes is an ill timed missed attack or critical hit or even an enemy casting a spell your weak against to get you killed. And there are none of those fancy armors or items to make you all uber, no, you have to go find more demons to help you kick ass, a process which can be fairly gruelling. Though, it does get easier towards the end once you know what your doing...usually. And you get to fight lucifer if you feel like it.

Matt

Sounds intriguing. As regular readers will know, my brother has played both, and his preference, like most other people I've talked to, is for Digital Devil Saga. While he enjoyed Nocturne, he thought that DDS was a big step up, and last I heard, he was pining for the sequel. I have definitely heard that it is a challenging game though; from the sounds of it, there have been many people who have thrown down their poor PS2 controllers in frustration over the fierce battle system. Not me, though... I'm a Megamivirgin.

Oops...I went on a bit of a rant there...but since you have done the same about DQ8, I dont feel so bad about endorsing a game I love =). So Ill move on to something else you have Inquired about: the PSP. Its a fancy system, anyone can tell you that. Its extremely shiney. But as to RPGs...theres not really anyhting worth getting. There are good games, like Lumines, but puzzle games are fairly notorius for haveing small plot lines. BUT! There is hope. And that hope i in the form of emulation...emulation ON the PSP. Yknow all those SNES and NES games you like? Can you imagine playing them anywhere? Anytime? And we all know the SNES had one of the best RPG librarys ever. So really, you get to play abunch of old games youv already played before, but portably.
Matt

*cough hack* I'm sorry to interrupt, but as fun as that may be, I have to put my foot down and say THAT'S ILLEGAL! Well, technically, it's illegal unless you own the original game, but I still can't condone emulation at all. Why? Many of the classics from the past have been coming back lately anyway as remakes for consoles and handhelds. Additionally, with the release of Nintendo's Revolution sometime in the not-so-distant future, many of these games should be at the fingertips of video game fans anyway. Emulation is a shady practice; refrain, especially since there are lots of opportunities ahead for gamers.

I myself think its very worth it though, since so many remakes are being made lately. As an aside to remakes... i want FF6 remade in FFX or even FFX-2 graphics. After seeing the intro in the PS1 remake (port really) i ahve been pining for such a thing. Ive played the game in 2D, ive had fun with it, but I want to see the characters. While its true that as Sprites its easier for your imagination to make them seem even more real, graphics are all that stops the "graphic whores" from playing it. One of my best friends is in the same boat as me about FF8 (we both think its the best FF) but he wont tough any of the older ones cause of the graphics. Hes an artist, so I guess that could explain it, but its a shame that these people are so unenlightened. Its like a disease, and esuna aint workin.

Matt

It's true, and it's unfortunate. Final Fantasy VI would be so amazingly great if it were ever remade on a grand scale. Of course, the game is being remade for the Game Boy Advance in the near future, so we'll have to see how it turns out, but I doubt it will attract a whole new crop of gamers. Too few people have experienced the greatness of that game, the game that in my opinion is the unmatched epitome of the Final Fantasy series.

But I am sure you know what I mean...have you ever tried to get people to play a DQ and had them see the graphics and return it immediately? That happens any time I try to get people to play DW7. Coincidentally, I stopped trying years ago. But what kind of games do you find that people are the least responsive to? I know that no one but myself will touch any of the SMT's, even though I find them to be such great fun. In fact, I play the older ones on my PSP. And though i try ever so hard, only three people I know have played or intend to play anfy Suikoden games, despite thier obvious greatness.

Matt

Heavens yes, I know what you mean. I have friends who saw me playing Dragon Warrior VII a few years back that concluded within a glance (literally) that the game was utterly boring. Now, whether that statement is actually TRUE or not is neither here nor there, but the fact is, the opinion was certainly based on graphical loveliness (or lack thereof) alone. I can't help but wonder if its sequel would not have done so well without the nice eye candy. It's too bad.

To be sure, Im with you in the "wishing for the old days" mentality...there are still so many gfames in my backlog, how can I bother playing the rehashes they release nowadays? Strangely I keep buying them though, hoping theyre actual improvements. And some are...Im just hoping the next tales game is as cool as the...well, all of the others. Im also hoping Oblivion is good, along with NWN2. The first is a must have for all DND lovers, no question. You can get it in a set with all the expansions nowadays for about 30$, which is not bad at all considering how excellent it is. If you get a PC game, its definately the one Id recomend...or maybe warcraft 3...but thats a different genre, even though the story is remarkable for a RTS.

May the goddes watch over you,

Zeem


Matt

Thank ye. Try not to become too bent out of shape. The genre has a lot of exciting things to offer, and while it's not always going to be the same as it used to be, there are many new and interesting games of modern times that you should try out, at least. Remakes and old ideas will be around for a long time to come, but hopefully, there's also a lot to look forward to. I hope you're following the coverage on Tales of Legendia! There's also been an announcement of a DS entry into the series; hopefully we see it on this side of the Pacific.



Hee hee hee... watching carpet grow!


Hey Matt and MagRowan.

Tennis its like watching paint dry whilst counting grains of sand to measure the growth of grass in a day. (Shudder)


MagRowan

Too right! The only thing I can picture that is worse is watching golf... shudder. To me it's like watching carpet grow... but anyway.

Anyway in this period of waiting between new RPG's i've finally been >able to go back to some of the many games that i havn't passed, like Ys and FF 7, I even have a hankering for Donkey Kong Country 2 which still in my view is the best 2D platformer to date!

MagRowan

Nothing wrong with going back to the old tried and true games, or even to complete games started but never finished. That reminds me that I should probably go and finish my PC FFVII save soon enough here.

Anyway since i'm soon going to have access to a US playstation with Valkerie Profile, FF Tactics, Legend of Mana and Chrono Chross what would you suggest I play first?

MagRowan

Boy, you guys sure like asking about games I have little experience with today... I have played a bit of FF Tactics and I have been and active audience member for Chrono Cross, but the other two, I shall have to rely on my second hand knowledge (from magazines and websites) to try to piece together an opinion.

If I were to pick one to start with it would probably be either Chrono Cross or Valkyrie Profile. Chrono Cross because it is the sequel to Chrono Trigger (one of my favorite games of all time), and because it has excellent music (a must for any RPG!), or Valkyrie Profile because I have always been curious about the title. That and it has wonderful artwork/character design. Chrono Cross would probably still come in first because it is a turn-base RPG where Valkyrie Profile follows the battle system of Star Ocean (go button mashing!).

As for FF Tactics, if you are a tactics fan, it is a rather enjoyable game. My fall through is that I'm not much of a tactics gamer... But it did manage to hold my attention for a while before the next shiny object came to distract me which is no small feat! (oooh! shiny object...)

Mana? Ummm... Errr... Ummm... Err.... No idea, nope, none at all. I think I played one of its predecessors on the spinach green GameBoy long, long ago...

By the way Ys is disapointingly short but is the only game of recent times to have the same feel to it as Terranigma.

Yours in a Sunburnt Country, with golden soils and such

Bainick


MagRowan

Remember your sunblock! We gamers, who spend too much time indoors slaving to the consoles, tend to get extra crispy in anything that approximates natural lighting.





C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

And that does it for the questions of today. Thanks to everyone who wrote in, as usual! I'm sure you'll all agree that my co-host did a fine job indeed; thank you very much for helping me out, MagRowan! May all of your paths be lined with gold, or chocolate, or lime sherbet, or whatever your heart desires.

Flashay!


Most of you did pretty well in the SOCK, today, though not as many of you are submitting your answers any more (as compared to a couple of months back). Is it getting boring? Tiresome? Is something on your mind? You can talk to me... Ah well; this is a chance for you underdogs to come from behind and take over the Top Ten scoreboard over on the right, there.

As for yesterday's questions, #85 asked what Canadian political party has a leader's name that is an anagram of "Herpes Panther". If you do some clever unscrambling, you can make "Stephen Harper" out of what you've got there; he is the leading member of b) The Conservative Party of Canada, unfortunately. Regardless of your political views, getting that one right was worth 50 points.

The answer to #86 was a) Imitation of Life, for 30 points. I have next to no knowledge of non-video-game music whatsoever, unless it relates to piano-playing. As a matter of fact, I only have one "real" CD, and that was a present. Does that make me a gigageek? Anyway, all of those points were enough to shake up the top ten a bit: Kanato has penetrated through, at long last, and Belthasar2 is roaring not far behind. Keep it up!

Question #87:
On my old RPGamer bio page which has since been updated, which of the following body parts was referred to, regarding my picture? (45 points)

a) Ears
b) Knuckles
c) Hair
d) Nostril
e) Eyebrow

Question #88:
Ask MagRowan!--> Given the title tag - 0x ^a"The Journal Gourmet" - what value would the indicator field represented by x need to set to, to get the title to display starting with Journal? (70 points)

a) 3
b) 7
c) 6
d) 5
e) blank

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's the name of that tune. That's also all we have to say for the day. Keep sending in your very best questions, answers, or what-have-you, because I like hearing what's on everyone's minds. Truly. So, for the near future, talk to me about what you think of the games to come, or the games that should come. What announcements are we long overdue for... what games do you wish we'd hear more about? Kingdom Hearts II, perhaps? What about Final Fantasy III DS? I leave you with that to ponder.

See you next time!


slimey@rpgamer.com
***Matt is campaigning for 27-hour days! Sign his petition.


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