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ASK MAGROWAN & MATT
Lucky Ducky March 17, 2006

MagRowan - 16:37 EST

GREETINGS AGAIN FOLKS!

I'm back, sans lime sherbet this time, and ready to take another crack at this q&a thing.

Oh, and for those of you following the saga of the yellow vs. orange of Garnet's garments, I will not admit defeat yet! I concede that those sprite shots from yesterday looked orange, but for your perusal, fair readers, consider these screen shots: stop light yellow, nerf ball yellow, and banana yellow.

Matt

Sunlight!! It's SUNLIGHT I tell you!!!!

A tie maybe? Color is very subjective anyway, so to-mae-to, to-mah-to, let's call it a truce and move on. ^_^

Matt

Bleah, fine. I guess it's already bad enough that I'm stealing your sunshine by interrupting your intro spiel, anyway. Truces are good things, though it's always more fun to just win!

So, pull up a chair, join me in a cup of hot chocolate, and lets see if I can do some of these letters justice!




L E T T E R S
Next Generation RPGaming!


First off, I don't know if anyone has guessed the current title quote or not, but it's from Shadow Hearts: From the New World.

MagRowan

I'll have to take your word on that one. I have not had the opportunity to play any of the Shadow Hearts, especially not the latest title.

So here's my question. Do you think that RPGs will be as plentiful for the PS3 as they are/were for the PS1 and PS2? Right now, I can't seem to think of one hat is even in the works for the PS3.

^^
Kelley


MagRowan

I imagine the lineup for RPGs on the PS3 might take a bit to roll out, probably not many will be ready to go at the premiere, but I'm willing to bet many companies are going to jump at writing an RPG for the new console. Especially, considering the PS3 is supposed to be the hardware glory hog of this next generation.

Searching a bit on the net, it looks like there are quite a few companies such as Atlus, Nippon-Ichi, Square-Enix, Sony, Namco, Konami, and several other smaller companies announcing 'Unnamed RPG's in their line-up for the PS3 as of the 2005 Tokyo Game Show (roughly September last year). So here's hoping we here some more specific news soon, eh?



Audacious fiend!


Matthew, Mathew, Mathew . . .

What's the world comming too when you have forgotten a little piece of Dragon Warrior trivia. The pyramid with the heavy door is from Dragon Warrior 3, shame on you. Do you not remember?

Matt

You dare question my authorit-ay?! Just kidding, but I guess I was thinking more of the "front door" of the pyramid, not the one that corresponds to the Isis kids' "The button on the left is the button of the sun" song. I assume that's what you're talking about, because there certainly aren't many other doors in that locale!

Hehehe, sorry bout that. I actually know this because I'm playing through the game right now. So all I'll say to the mystery person, "there is a clue is Isis." Unless, of course, there is a completely different game with a heavy door in a pyramid. Then I will have to put my own foot in my mouth.

Matt

Bah, it's okay, so never fear. I actually wonder if that random person was talking about Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time, because at one point, you're in a desert, and it's impossible to get into a sort-of-pyramid-like-but-not-really structure without solving some easily-solvable puzzle. I suppose, though, that looking back at the letter, the person did say "inside the pyramid". Of course, there are also a billion RPGs I haven't played, so who knows if there are any heavy-door pyramids in those? Perhaps it refers to Dragon Warrior III, but perhaps not. Isn't it fun talking/speculating about the useless letters of others?

Anyway, on the subject of women in video games, I actually enjoy it when there is a female character who isn't your average happy-go-lucky ditz. I loved the female characters in FFVI for this reason. They were fighting for a reason, not just to follow the men around and heal. Most of the female caracters in Lunar 1&2 are strong characters as well. Also, it seems that in too many games, the lead female is pretty weak, but is still the main healer. Of course it would have been really funny to see Garnet (who's pants are orange, by the way) wield a bastard sword. That kind of thing doesn't happen enough. It was, however, a nice change that in Lunar 2 the main healer was a chauvanistic priest with a gambling problem. Fun stuff, indeed.

KnightTrain


Matt

"Truce be told", there's no question in my mind that those pants are orange. Don't you love my puns? You'd actually be surprised at how many desperately passionate e-mails I've received regarding the topic of Garnet's outfit. Some people are really, truly upset about the issue, or at least they seem to be. This is a fictional character! These pants don't even exist!! It's not a big deal. Anyone: if you really want to go on for the rest of your life believing they are yellow, you're totally, absolutely free to.

P.S. If you want my opinion on the best video game song ever (if we're still on that) I would have to go with Chrono Trigger's "To Far Away Times." That song will bring tears to my eyes. It is extremely well done. Nice job Mistuda


Matt

Mmmmm, I don't even know what my most favourite video game song is, and besides, my opinion fluctuates pretty much biweekly. I just went through a Secret of Mana phase not long ago, and now I'm listening to a lot of Final Fantasy X-2 and Valkyrie Profile. I'm sure that next week, I'll be humming songs in my head from something totally different! Personally, I'd say that there are a few themes in Final Fantasy VI that are really just incomparable to anything else. The one that plays during crisical times, the floating continent, the "Big Boss" theme, and many others (sorry I don't have the actual names of the tracks at the forefront of my brain) have to be among my very favourites. Chrono Trigger does have several fantastic themes, too, though.

Anyway, thanks for writing in, KnightTrain!



Twelve-step programs for MMORPGamers might be helpful!


Hello, Mr. Matt.


MagRowan

Heh, looks like I'll have to share, or even usurp, this one with Matt. Miss MagRowan at your service, but you can call me Mag.

I...have a problem. Or, I should say I had a problem. That problem was World of Warcraft. For a few months there, I was actually addicted to it. It was BAD. I cant honestly say if it was even a fun game or not...I played for so long that I was incredibly bored every time I logged on, but I kept playing. It was like when I played Xenosaga II, or Unlimited Saga. For your own health, stay away from that game. And probably other MMO's too.

MagRowan

You know I've run into something like this with some RPGs, and games in general, before. It's like watching some catastrophic event. You know it's terrible and even abysmally horrifying, but for some unknown reason, you just can't tear your eyes away.

Either that, or you're ever the optimist, like me, and you keep playing, hoping the game will magically get better. 9 times out of 10 the game never redeems itself, but you're always sure that this one will be the one that will.

Matt

Wow, that's like exactly how I feel about Wild Arms: Alter Code F right now. Enough with the random cut-scenes of villainry; give me some freaking action, for heaven's sakes!

Its what I imagine a drug addiction would be like, if I didnt spend all of my money on video games. Or had any inclination to do anything with my free time but play games and read...and snowboard, but thats a rare treat, and a whole nother topic.

MagRowan

My friend, you are in good company. Many people here, myself, and I'm betting Matt, included, are addicted to video games. I figure it's not too bad a thing to get hooked on, as long as you don't spend your rent or your all your homework/work time on playing games.

Matt

Yeah, and just imagine how terrible the withdrawal pains are, since I get about one day on average per week to actually get IN any gaming anymore. It's a really sorry state of affairs, I must admit.

Back to the point, luckily I was able to quit - through sheer force of will mind you- but now I have a backlog of 'real' games to play a mile long. Its nice, being able to play games that are actually fun and all, but now with all the new games coming out I'm totally swamped. Like...Ive played all of the Suikodens, and gotten all of the stars. Getting Suikoden V is a MUST for me. A truly great series...I played through all of Suikoden 2 in 3 days. It was a weekend mind you, and I got oh so little sleep, but it was totally worth it. But then there is Kingdom Hearts 2, which is a sequel to a game that I hold close to my heart. Released on the exact same day. And...I know I'm going to pick them both up and go into some form of seizure. So my question is this: What the hell am I going to do? Which game do I play first? I can feel my brain going into pre-explosion mode at the mere thought...and there is only 2 more weeks to go, and counting!

MagRowan

I, myself, am on tenterhooks for Kingdom Hearts II to come out. Can't say I'm amped for the next Suikoden, but then again, I've never had the opportunity to play any of the series. ($75 for one of the used PSX copies at a local game store, you've got to be joshing me!)

I'd go with playing KH2 first for the above reason. That and there has been more time between the original KH release and the new title (if you skipped COM); whereas, there has been less of a breather between Suikodens.

Matt

You could always try the concurrent strategy, where you play a little o' this, and then a little o' that. Then, you can switch back and forth whenever you get sick or frustrated with either one. Of course, that's a risky thing sometimes; while I used to be able to do that all the time, it nowadays results in NO game ever getting completed (not the desired outcome, especially when you already have a lengthy backlog)! Be forewarned!

And as an aside, Celes is my favorite character ever, for many reasons, but mostly because of the opera scene. That's some good gaming.

MagRowan

Rock on! I'm with you on that one. The opera scene shall forever remain one of my favorite moments in my RPG gaming career, as well. :)



Just don't steal my sunshine!


Hey Matt,

MagRowan

See comment about usurping letter from Matt above.

First off I would have to say #139 e) Colac and #138 b) OXford and a) YALE.

Ah Xenosaga! I still have not finished Ep II! I am not sure how much more I have to endure to complete it but will get back to is sometime before its released here. I am resisting the urge to watch the latest Ep III movie cause I hear there are spoilers within. I'm not sure how all the storylines are going to get wrapped up without feeling rushed or cheated but I am willing to wait and see.

MagRowan

I haven't even made it to Ep II, which is languishing on my games to play shelf, so I am also refraining from checking too far into the Ep III information coming out. I don't usually mind minor spoilers for games coming out, but if it is something too revealing, it does tend to take the wind out of ones sails. I think I'll be keeping my nose out of Ep III tidbits until I start (and finish) II.

On the subject of status effects I don't use them > often but when I do these are my preferences: Poison, Sleep, Confuse and Berserk. The spell/skill names vary among games but those are the effects I try to use be it directly or by some secondary effect. Like I would still use a weaker sword with a sleep effect over a stronger sword with no effect. Even though the chances might be low it was always fun to wake something up from an attack only to have them fall asleep again.


MagRowan

I've always liked weapons that cast random status ailments. It makes for some interesting randomness in a battle. Of course, if used carelessly, they could also create quite some trouble, such as accidentally using the Drain spear/sword against Undead type enemies. *shudder*

As a side note, I never could take to status spells like Berserk, though, when used against my own party. My luck always landed me with the rest of my party dying off, and Berserked person left to fend for him/herself. It never ended prettily.

Overall, I root for the strategic use of Rasp/Osmose. Most useful against enemies that are of magic type, since usually they perish when their MP reach 0.

While some skills made things too easy(Hades/Doomtrain summons, Bad Breath blue magic) the bosses seemed to have Ribbons of their own equipped. Ribbons are the bane of the status enducing classes/monsters. I don't like to use them myself unless they allow me to go berserk.

Xlash the dwarf berserker


Matt

Considering your name, I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised that that's the way you feel...

MagRowan

Speaking of skills that are easy, a note to Vanish/Doom users. Beware the usage that strategy, as it leads to losing valuable dropped items. You can very easily vanish and doom yourself out of some nice equipment. So use at your own risk!

As for Ribbons, Ribbons are great when used for interesting circumstances. For instance when coupled with armor such as the Cursed Shield. You really had to have a stacked character to pull that one off. Even though Ribbon countered all but the Condemned status, the Cursed Shield certainly left your defense values low enough that a small nasty only had to look at you to KO you.



Revolutionary questions that don't refer to certain prospective next-gen consoles.


Hi there, Matt!

I found it interesting you that listed Chrono Trigger as the game that "should" have revolutionized RPGs. While I love Chrono Trigger as much as the next guy (it's in my top five all time, easy), I'm not sure that I'd put it as revolutionary, even for it's time. You're right that the story was original, but as far as groundbreaking, that was about it. It was the execution of it's parts that made it a great game. The most original thing that the gameplay had going was the double and triple techs, and I never found those that necessary, especially later in the game. The art design and graphics were great, but it didn't redefine the genre the way the graphics in FFVII did.

Matt

Really, I'd point to Chrono Trigger as not being THE one that should have revolutionized RPGs, but one of several games, including Final Fantasy VI, which in my opinion was the "true" turning point of the series. That was the Final Fantasy game containing the first real blend of modern-ness and magic, the first to not contain crystals, the first to get a little bit more creative with its magic system, and so on. The mid-1990s era of gaming was a spectacular one that I feel should have had a more profound effect on the genre than perhaps it did. Instead, it was almost the end of an era, in a certain sense; there haven't been many games like them since! I don't mean to say that the games since are all worse, of course.

Now, if by revolutionize, you mean make popular, I'm behind you all the way. I think that is a great game to introduce people to RPGs. It's fun, not terribly complicated, and is a reasonable length for people who aren't used to the length of RPGs. Obviously, FFVII accomplished that task, even if it is my least favorite of the Final Fantasy's that I have played.

BigWook


Matt

Least favourite, huh? I absolutely love Final Fantasy VII, myself; I'd rank it just behind FFVI, IV, and maybe with VIII just ahead of V. Does anyone not have a complete list of their preferred FF games, by the way?

P.S. I know you are a big Dragon Quest VIII fan, so I've got a quick question: Is there any way to keep those blasted liquid and king metal slimes from running away before I can throw my mass damage abilities on them (lightning thrust, executor)? I know they run so it's hard to gain too much experience, but there's got to be a way to slow those buggers down. I use acceleratle as soon as possible, but it's depressing when 2/3 of the time the king metal slimes flee before I can get a shot at them. Any help would be great, I'm leveling up for a crack at the bonus dungeon. Thanks!


Matt

Oh, no. While sure, I'm a seasoned DQ fan, I am not without my own pain when it comes to those wonderful, dreadful monsters. The most annoying thing is how sudden their run-away animation happens, you know? I just hate it when you KNOW they're so close to being defeated, because you've inflicted a relative ton of damage on them, and then BOOM, they're gone! You've got the right moves going, so you're doing the best you can do; depending on the circumstances, Multithrust, Multifists, Metal Slash, and Twin Dragon Lash can be useful, too. Good luck, and happy hunting!!



Revolutionary questions that don't refer to certain prospective next-gen consoles.


Dear Matt and Mag,

Hey you two! Hi Mag! Glad you're sitting in today!

MagRowan

Hi yourself, and thank you very much! ^_^

Matt

Hello, Donovan! What's shaking today?

I have a question for both of you. Have either of you heard any of the Kingdom Hearts 2 music? I love it! It's very emotional.


MagRowan

I haven't heard all of it, but I have heard several pieces, and I must say I'm in heaven. I am in love with the game's theme, at least the Japanese version of it. I'll admit I've been going so far as to vote up the pieces I do hear on the interenet radio station I listen to.

Also Matt, what was the piece from FF IX that kept running through your head? I wanna try to find it and give it a listen. What game music do you like, Mag? I'm partial to Ys, Chrono Cross (LOVE the ending theme), and FF 4-6.


Matt

It's called "Unfathomed Reminiscence", and it's a very emotional, almost wistful or even "wondering" piece that feels optimistic, but a bit sad at the same time. I absolutely adore it, and in fact, it just came up on my playlist perhaps a bit more than a half an hour ago, coincidentally. Of course, there are a whole lot of other themes from that game that are wonderful, too.

MagRowan

Oh, I am all over game music. I use it as something to help me concentrate/create while I'm programming. Currently, I'm stuck on FF 9 and Chrono Trigger, but I have Kingdom Hearts (Japanese version), FF 4-6, Chrono Cross, Kokoro from Xenosaga I, and Katamari Damacy in my music rotation. I also have quite a few remix/arranged CDs of FF and CT in there to shake things up.

If I had to pick two songs that stick in my head all the time though, it would be "You're Not Alone" from FF IX and "Critter Tripper Fritter!?" from Final Fantasy V: Dear Friends.

I'm stuck on the topic of music because I'm writing a lot of poems lately, and I can't write without great music. Thanks for writing an awesome column, Matt! And thanks for keeping Matt in line, Mag! Later!

~Donovan


MagRowan

Heh, always happy to oblige Donovan. I'll keep my eye on Matt here. Mweheehee...

Matt

Ahhh, she's pretty good at keeping me in check, most of the time, and she's a fabulous writer-inner and co-host alike. She could program me into the floor, and I bet she could beat me up if she wanted to, too. I'm a rather non-confrontational being, you see, unless it regards colours of princess pants.





C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

We're almost to the end of another week, and I must wish you all a very happy St. Patrick's Day before I forget! Whether your plans are to eat festive corned beef and cabbage, or to just go out and get drunk, I hope that you're all decked out in green, because this is one of only two holidays all year long that green gets any attention! Most importantly, have fun, whether you have anything planned or not. :)

A big thanks to MagRowan, who has now successfully co-hosted twice! She isn't quite finished with you yet, though, as she'll be dropping a SOCK question on your heads within the next few lines. I'm sure we'll see more of her in the future, too!

Flashay!


Before we look at today's, let's look at yesterday's:

#143 was pretty easy if you knew what game it originated from. The game, of course, was Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter, so every area in the game took place at a negative height. Thus, the square root of any height in that game, including that at which you fight Hortensia, is e) not a real number.

#144 was probably a little easier, if you felt like doing a little bit of legwork. My U of Guelph e-mail account is a) mdemers@uoguelph.ca, and if you all spam my account with annoying crap, now, because I was able to *open up* to you all, I'll just have to change it in the future. This takes a lot of trust! Don't let me down~

Both of those questions were worth 150 points. Now, what about today's pair?

Question #145:
Ask MagRowan!-->Which of the following programming languages is NOT a direct or indirect descendant of FORTRAN I? (155 points)

a) FORTRAN 90
b) Smalltalk 80
c) LISP
d) C++
e) ALGOL 68

Question #146:
In the opening sequence of Super Mario RPG, how many birds are surrounding the princess? (145 points)

a) 2
b) 3
c) 4
d) 9
e) 0


Things to work for (the SOCK item shop!):

800 points: Tilde (infinite number remaining!)
2,000 points: Guest-co-host Opportunity #2 (1 remaining!)
5,000 points: Guest-co-host Opportunity #3 (5 remaining!)


Well, that's all I have to give for this week! I hope that you all thoroughly enjoyed the show, regardless of what your opinions are on video game violence, online RPGs, or Garnet's clothing. Next week I'll be back, as always, to continue doing what I do: Answering your letters! Of course, I can't do that unless you send them in in the first place. Neither, coincidentally, can Tiptail, who should be stepping in during the weekend to take my place in the captain's chair! So, send her your very best letters now, and I'll be back later. Bye, everyone!


slimey@rpgamer.com
***Matt is wearing an orange shirt today, coincidentally.


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