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ASK KANATO & MATT
I am the Theta and the Nu March 24, 2006

Kanato - 21:21 EST

AND THUS THE TENTH and final free guest-host spot goes to me. Actually I was offered the spot at the end of February, but I was in B.C. visiting family (aunt, uncle and 8 cousins) from the 1st to the 11th. The trip started out pretty good, the weather's a lot nicer then here in Ontario, I got to see a lot of the sights (the ocean, the worlds first steam clock, Hastings Starbucks,) one of my cousins is a drug addict and another one will probably grow up to be a serial killer, but the other 6 were great. The thing is I caught the Flu on the 5th, witch ruined most of the trip (and the following week.)

My name is Kanato, I'm 23 years old, and I live about 200km north of Matt. I've been answering SOCK questions for quite a while now, and I've actually sent in a few letters, but most of them weren't printed (probably due to the lack of coherent thought.) I filled out an application back when RPGamer was looking for a Q&A host, but I missed the deadline for submissions. Just think if I'd got it in a little sooner: Ross Bemrose might have been around for another week. Anyway, let's move on to the letters, the sooner we finish here the sooner I can go back to making plans for Nigel.......or re-watching "Fruits Basket," whichever......Oh and remember, "keep your stick on the ice."




L E T T E R S
Advertising Free Space here... can't think of a clever title!


Back to gaming, I have to say that I'm getting really excited about Kingdom Hearts II. I played through the first one and am hoping that they really did improve the battle system from the button mashing mess it was. I'm really just thrilled that Auron is in it...and Setzer. Two of my most favorite FF characters.

Kanato

Kingdom Hearts wasn't a bad game. The story was pretty interesting, and The graphics were great, but the gameplay was much too simple. You run into a group of enemies, push the attack button until they're dead, then repeat. If Square-Enix improves the battle engine (smarter A.I., a better spell system, status ailments) Kingdom Hearts II could be a great game. That being said, I think I'll wait for the reviews.

Matt

Amen, brotha. As far as my opinion is concerned, you're bang on!

There is a recurring theme I have heard over and over in comments about Square Enix making games like remakes for FFVII and other stuff. I hear comments like, "I wish SE would stop wasting time on *insert game name* and get back to working on *in sert game name*." I guess people don't realize that SE has multiple development teams. They don't stop working on one game to work on another. Oh well, that's all for now. Bring on FFXII.

- Macstorm


Kanato

True, a company like Square-Enix is definitely capable of developing several games at the same time. I think recently though they've spent far too much time on ports and remakes. They've published a few Tri-Ace games and a Level 5 game, but the number of original titles they've released since the merger in '03 is pretty small. I'm not completely against remakes; they're a good way to introduce people to older games they couldn't or wouldn't play otherwise, but what about the people who've already played them a hundred times? I'm interested in seeing what FFVII would look like on a next generation console, but to be honest I'm much more excited about Final Fantasy XII, Code Age: Commanders or Seiken Densetsu 4.



Harvey's has a hamburger called the Angus burger. It's really damn good, too!


Hi Matt

I agree with Cap. Avoid Grandia 3 as there are some serious plot holes and the story goes straight down in disk 2. Besides any game which [la la la la la la] when it opens up the world has some serious issues.

Matt

Oh, that's really too bad. I guess that with your letter, the vote is starting to tilt into the "no" column, which is, perhaps, unfortunate. That said, there are lots of other new RPGs out lately and lots to come in the near future, so I guess it's nothing to be too dismayed about, unless you spent a lot of hard-earned money on it.

By the way, watch out for spoilers!! I'd probably end up getting three or seven e-mails with furious people whamming me over the head if I didn't insert my mindless singing into your text. No offense, of course; I'm just trying to keep the masses happy. ^^;;

The question I want to ask is why are all of the heroes young boys and girls. I mean, look at your average teenager and tell me that there are budding Conans and Wonder Women in them. I see a lot more kids glued to their cell phones and Ipods than practicing sword strokes or having the dedication to learn programming, let alone magic. Where are all the adults?

Matt

I totally agree with you! Since when can fourteen-year-old heroes wield swords twice the size of their bodies? Heck, biologically speaking, half of them shouldn't have reached puberty yet, and few should have the strength to swing around such a dense piece of heavy destructive metal regardless. Anyway, yeah, I don't get it either, but something that's even worse: In many (most) games, anyone over the age of twenty-five is labelled as an old fogey who has been there and done that; the only adults in the game are already made out to be past their prime!

*looks down at my twenty-three year old frame*

I'm not that decrepit yet, even if I only have two years left to go...

On a less dogmatic note I do agree that good music makes games enjoyable but bad music does not remove good gameplay. I play games for that gameplay and I can ignore bad music however that can not be said for bad voice acting. I had the distinct lack of pleasure to get through Shining Force Neo and the only way to finish that game was to mute the tv and just wade through it.

Since I have no idea where the sock stuff comes from I’ll guess c) triopus and Plan 9 from outer space.

Good luck with the presentation!

Angus


Matt

Ech... another strike against Shining Force Neo, huh? I was excited, months back, to see where they had taken the series, but it seems more and more that the attempt was met with failure. Hopefully it's not the end of Shining Force in North America; I really did like the original games, once upon a time.

At any rate, it's really good to hear from you again, sir, and I hope to hear more from you in the future! It's been long while. PS: I couldn't use the intro to blab about how happy I am that my presentation is done and over with. It didn't go nearly as well as my first one went, but it went well enough that I'm content!



Bow-Chickuh-Bow!


Hey Matt,

Letss get back to female main characters in RPG games. Why have we not seen more games who cater to males 18-50? (those who have been playing rpg’s for most of their lives) There are certainly enough older gamers in America now who would much rather have to look at a pretty girl for several hours each night, instead of being forced to watch some little stereotypical annoying kid, or muscle bound buffoon, run around collecting chest, fighting ect….. Do gaming companies really think nobody would buy a game if the 3 main characters were pretty women, (not kids), who save the world? SEX SELLS! Look at movies, commercials, the internet as examples. Hell, maybe even have them lose heavy robes in favor of smaller clothing as they level up. Its called motivation! They would sell a ton of games just from the media giving them free advertising alone! Let me know if you have ever heard of a game such as this being developed. (Final Fantasy X-2 did pretty well).

Kanato

Hold on a second, are you suggesting they make an RPG about a group of strippers? Sure it might increase sales, but I don't think game companies would want to attract that kind of customer, not to mention the number of people who would be offended.

Matt

Yeah, just imagine what a certain JT's response would be to that one? Then again, if we went totally over the top with the evil pornographic video games, his head might just explode and we'd never have to worry about him ever again.

Kanato

As for young male heroes, I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that most RPGs are aimed at young males who may not relate as well to women or middle aged men. I'm not saying it's right, but as long as games about young boys saving the word are doing well, companies will continue to sell them. Maybe what we need is a video game company made up entirely of women (maybe CLAMP will start making games...)

Those of you looking for games with female heroes might want to try La Pucelle: Tactics, Rhapsody (It really was a good game,) Summoner 2, Lost Kingdoms 1 & 2, Persona 2 or Alundra (my mom still won't believe he's not a girl.)



A dubious new RPG rule: The "third game rule".


Heya Matt. Hope the letters are coming in more frequently now.

I have to say, first off, that I LOVED Grandia 3 and I'm LOVING Shadow Hearts 3. There's really something, for me, about the third installment in a series of RPGs...I dunno what it is, but I always end up loving them. Which leads me to believe that I should have played Suikoden 3 before it became super-rare, heh. And it also has me crossing my fingers that Mother 3 will see a US release. I'm such a huge fan of the series that I'd...well, I'd bawl like a baby at the prospect of never being able to play Mother 3. There, I said it.

Matt

ME TOO! Nobody here has any notion at all of how excited I am about the prospect of a real-life Mother sequel, and I can't wait to plunge my baseball back into Mostly Bad Flies, Worthless Protoplasms, and Psychic Psychos.

It's funny that you decided to write in just now, when so many others are painting a grim picture of Grandia III, but no matter what, can you really say that about all third-games, though? What was your opinion of Star Ocean 3 (meh, for me)? Lufia III (bleah, for me)? Breath of Fire III (YECH, for me)?

On the subject of numbers in RPGs...I used to think differently about it than I do now, but my boyfriend pointed something out to me that made me think a little on it. I wasn't sure I liked Star Ocean 3 having five-digit HP and MP totals, but I got used to it. And I realzed that with higher numbers comes a healthier amount of variation. Damage-dealing and healing, the two most elementary of things in an RPG battle, become a lot more subtle, and everything that goes into stat growth and such gets a lot more in-depth. I think that's why the SO games have always had big numbers; both in and out of battle, it's all about micromanagement, and with larger numbers to deal with, it leaves a lot more room to move when you're tweaking those characters to be what you want them to be.

Matt

As for THOSE kinds of numbers, I'm definitely in favour of lifting limits off of damage/stats/healing/etc. The boundedness adds a certain artificial quality to the game that just feels unnatural. Damage limits of 9999 are often far too confining; a perfect example of this is in Final Fantasy X, where there was absolutely no reason at all for my Lulu to ever use Flare, because her much weaker (and lower-MP-cost) spells were just as powerful. Yeah, I know there's a "Break Damage Limit" thing there to find, but "big whoop" is what I say. The fact that there even IS a "Break Damage Limit" ability is almost a self-admission of un-fun artificial-ness. How did you like that string of quasiwords?

Jeez, that sounded like a ramble. Hope you got the gist of it, hehe. Either way, though, I don't mind if the numbers are huge or miniscule. Heck, Paper Mario suited me just fine and the HP totals never get past fifty! Sixty if you're lucky ^_^;;

Matt

Indeed! I'm pretty sure that I ended the game with 50 right on the nose, and it certainly doesn't take away from the greatness of the game. I really should find the original Paper Mario sometime soon...I rented it long ago and beat it, but I haven't been able to find it since.

Now my question. If/when a Shadow Hearts 4 comes out, what time period do you think would be a good one in which to set it? I was thinking French or American revolution myself, but there are a lot of possibilities. Also, is Koudelka a worthy game for remake? My answer, of course, is a resounding "yes" but I know a lot of people have hate for the little game that could. Just throwing it out there regardless!

- Janus


Matt

Well, to be honest, I've never played Koudelka, so I can't really say. It might be a good idea, eventually, especially if Shadow Hearts is growing in popularity like a small wildfire, which it is, I think. A lot of people have a lot of faith in this series, and I think that it has a decently bright future ahead of it!

Where should a Shadow Hearts 4 be set? Those are some interesting ideas you have there, and certainly, the third installment of the series represented a bit of a departure. I haven't really heard a lot from others besides yourself regarding the quality of III versus the previous two. I hope to play II myself sometime soon, actually. Perhaps I'll be able to better answer your question afterwards, hmm? At any rate, thanks much for the questions, Janus!



FFVII stuff, with a cameo appearance of Breath of Fire: DQ, and a mention of DQIX!


Hi Matt,

#151: b
#152: a

As for remakes, here's a thought. What if Square-Enix took FFVII's character and story verbatum and dropped them into a completely new graphical environment with all new gameplay. That right, I'm suggesting a NEW battle system. Here's the thing: I already own FFVII and can play anytime I want, so I don't really need the same game with better graphics. But FFVII's story was so wonderful ly suspenseful, raucus, and dramatic I think it deserves a complete re-imagining as for as environment and gameplay. Just like a remade movie: same story different movie. What do you think?

Matt

Ohoho, now that's a bit loaded, isn't it? See, I could argue with as much weight that since my favourite thing about the game was the gameplay itself--the battle and Materia system, and on--that maybe it's the story that could use some re-imagining! Now, I really DO feel that that the strongest part of the game was in those aspects, and I'd be honestly disappointed if they were to uproot them in favour of something else newfangled. Of course, though, in reality, I don't want the story to be any different because I think it was really strong, too. As a Final Fantasy game, it had the whole package, more or less, and I'd be worried (but open-minded, I suppose) if they decided to take it in a different direction in any way.

As for DQVIII being groundbreaking if I'm playing a North American translation of DQIX in 2007-8, then DQVIII has done it's job.

Matt

I'm going to say that I doubt it will happen, unfortunately. Let's look at the release dates of the past four Dragon Quest games, shall we? Dragon Quest V was released in Japan in 1992, followed by VI in I believe 1996. Dragon Warrior VII made it to North America by 2001, and Dragon Quest VIII by the end of 2005. I think that 2007-2008 is pushing it a bit; if I had to make a completely wild guess, I'd bet that Square Enix won't reveal their first plans for DQIX until the big gaming shows in 2007; perhaps we'll see the game by 2009. It's sooo far away, I know, but I'm a realist (or at least, I like to think I am).

As for using BoFV's system in other games, well you can probably guess my opinion on that, but just to reiterate. I would be willing to commit murder and except the consequences to prevent that from happening. Normally when I don't like a game I just forget about it like a normal person, but for some reason I just loathe the very existence of that game. Weird, huh.

Keep up the fine Q&Aing!

Cap


Matt

Heh heh, at least you wouldn't be the only one who feels that way. Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter is definitely an acquired taste in RPGaming, I think. My brother is a prime example: Chris absolutely despised the game when he first started to play it, but by the time he finally pushed a little closer to the end, it had become a lot of fun. Now, it's one of his very favourite games of all time.

Thanks, Cap, for the letter!



Oops.


Firstly, those megaman games are in NTSC format are not they (sorry forgot how to spell aunt, well I have been awake for 36 hours). You should probably list there format so those of us with the inferior PAL consoles (Except for Terranigma) don't blindly purchase junk(No the games are not junk, just the c.d's for our cruddy PAL systems). P.S> if this letter is used you don't have to include this paragrath. Edit to your hearts content, or malcontent if your feeling perticully evil (yes i need a dictionary, but its alllllllllll the way on the other side of the room, and i'm far to lazy to go get it!).


Matt

Damn... I knew I forgot something. >_<

Kanato

Yes I'm pretty sure the games are in NTSC format, Matt would have had an awfully hard time playing them otherwise. That's a good point though; there should be some PAL games in the SOCK shop, you'll have to take that up with Matt. Why get up for a dictionary when you can go Here.

Anywho to begin as per the norm of my digital ink blotting messages;

151: C (Don't use a search engine, the horror, the horror)
152: C (i've played the game, I hated the game, i don't want to see the game again, noth said)

To Kanato and whos-his-name!

Anyway i'll probably cause all sorts of fights but I actually didn't mind KH: COM, at least on the second play-through. This is actually true of other games such as Star Ocean 2, Dark Cloud, ChronoTrigger and Paper Mario. They all seamed to improve with a second viewing, which brings me to the first question of what games improved for you on your second (Or more) playthrough. Secret of Mana just semed to get better and better, especially after the 10th week in a row of hiring it out, which would have actually have paid for a brand new cartridge of our own.

Kanato

I personally didn't enjoy it very much (like the original but even more repetitive and with cards), but everyone's entitled to an opinion; I'm sure a lot of people enjoyed COM. Generally if I didn't enjoy a game the first time, I don't replay it. If I had to pick a game that got better with age, I'd probably say Azure Dreams. I tried the game when I first bought it and couldn't get into it at all; six months later I got bored and decided to give it another try, and ended up spending quite a bit of time with it. That game would have been perfect without the tower. The same thing happened with Persona.

Secondly, I recently did something very stupid, like for example read the beginning of FF 12 and spoilt it for myself (no I may be Chaotic, but I won't s poil it for the rest of you, although I don't expect to see FF12 until NEXT YEAR BRAGGGHHH .....) and am wondering if either of you have had games spilt to such an extent. I know somtimes its nice not to know who voiced which characters voice and how to solve puzzle 245 in dungeon 3, as it gives you a far better feeling of acomplishment by working out said puzzle and voice actor myself, (Although everyone knows that Lloyd and Maximilian are voiced by the same person, the guy who is like in a million games and anime and who's voice never suits the character).

Kanato

A little while before Final Fantasy VII was released, I was in an IRC chat room and someone started talking about Aeris' death. It ruined the whole game for me. I also had Lufia 2's ending spoiled by the original, but then so did everyone else. I don't know how you could have the solution to a specific puzzle spoiled for you without reading a walkthrough. I think if it happened to me I'd probably forget by the time I got there anyway. I don't mind knowing who's doing the voice work ahead of time. I guess having recognizable vocal talent is nice, but I don't think it would affect my decision to buy a game at all, or my enjoyment of it (unless it was really bad.)

Scott Menville has done quite a bit of voice work. Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Do, My Little Pony: The Movie, The Little Rascals, Rainbow Britte, Johny Quest, etc. It's wasn't all bad, he did a good job in.......uh.......er.......Dark Cloud 2?

Lastly with the fact that the newer next generation consoles are playable in any region (i.e. no PAL or NTSC versions) will this make release dates for the whole world much closer together (and not A year after the Japanese release for the Australian release) or will the fact that the PAL areas will still need German, Dutch, Italian, French e tc mean that those of us in the Oceanic PAL region will still be waiting half a year after the USA have there games (Provided that they don't still our surply due to there own shortfall of stock, like a certain 360 machine that only just got released here)?

Yeah, I know iuse brackets alot, but that's just my style, and the fact that i'm hopeless at English.

Bainick wonders what two times zero is in a different reality with different laws of physics. (That should scare the mathaMATTicians, Bwah ha ha ha ha (Damn you for making me pay to be a host, my chaos will never be swayed, i'll be king of the pirate's, i'm going to be king!)) Bainick slips further into insanity after realising he talks of himself in the third person, but then argues himself out of such lawful nonsense %)


Matt

I'm pretty sure that you're absolutely insane in real life! I've been putting your letters into my column about once per week on average for the last few months, and I must say, your monologue today was even more ridiculous than usual!! Thanks for reassuring me that no matter how nuts I might go, there's always gonna be someone more off-the-deep-end, and I mean that, of course, in the most loving of ways. <3

Kanato

Blu-Ray disks will be encoded into one of three regions.
Region 1: N. America, S. America, Japan, Korea and most of Asia (but not China)
Region 2: Europe and Africa
Region 3: China, Russia and other "pirate?" countries

Because of legal reasons Australia and New Zealand are not part of any region. I'm assuming that the region encoding for the next-gen consoles will work the same way. Either way, you're still dealing with different video formats. I don't know how long it takes to convert a game from NTSC to PAL, but I wouldn't expect video game release schedules to change at all.

Talking to yourself in the third person crazy? No, I do it all the time....I guess that doesn't say much...... anyway good luck with that whole pirate thing.



The dreadful, wonderful reality of the next generation of consoles.


We've finally gotten the official word that the PS3 will be coming out in early November and I was wondering when you plan to get yours. My inclination has always been to wait until there's a game I really want to play before I pick up a new system and since RPGs usually aren't the first thing to be released I generally end up avoiding all the madness of the initial launch. How about you? What have you done in the past and what do you plan for the next gen systems?

Hey good luck with your seminar by the way. Ah the joys of grad school! Ugh.

Erika Wolfraven


Matt

My most recent system acquisition was with the Nintendo DS, which I held off on until last summer, when it became evident that a whole load of great games were on the way. Before that, I mostly asked for consoles for Christmas, but in general, a console is nothing without a library of games to support it with (a painful lesson that many RPGaming PSP players may have come to learn). I'll get a PS3 when I'm good and ready; when I'm certain that the system will be free of ridiculous bugs, and when I see some exciting titles on the release list. Hopefully, by that time, the price will also have come down from what I'm sure will be a ridiculous sum at launch-time. Of course, the same thing goes for Nintendo's Revolution, if and when it ever does come out!



This reminds me of my Critical Thinking course...


Hi Matt,

I feel the need to respond to your proposition that certain letters are not used in Ontario licence plates. Sadly, despite having prosecuted traffic court (and still do on occasion) I can neither confirm nor refute your statement. Guess I'm not that observant when it comes to plates, or my memory is pretty bad... or both, I suppose. However, I would submit that your non-exhaustive observations hardly constitute sufficient proof for the truth of your statement. Anyway, you can bet that from now on I'll be paying close attention to any future traffic cases I deal with.

Matt

Wow... someone who deals with the law comes to RPGamer! I always used to worry that once I "grew up" and got a real career that somehow this site and RPGs in general would slip through my fingers like sand, but you give me much hope.

As for the license plates issue, it's a bit bizarre and a little obsessive, but this is something that I started to observe almost a year ago. I've been watching plates since, and after seeing thousands, I have yet to notice any with those letters. It's certainly not a valid argument, but I think it's a really good inductive one. If anyone can prove otherwise, let me know, and you shall be rewarded, somehow. And DON'T go get a personalized license plate that just looks like a random collection of letters and numbers in order to unscrupulously prove me wrong; save your money up for one of the new consoles instead.

Anyway, back to video games, which are much more fun. Earlier this week I bought Dragon Quest VIII. I'm so anxious to start playing it, but I know that once I start it, it'll suck me in and I'll forget about all the others games that I have. Why oh why do I keep buying games when I don't have enough time to play?? It's like an addiction!

Matt

You're preaching to the choir, Sunita. Next on my list is Radiata Stories, to be followed by Shadow Hearts and Shadow Hearts II, but all of this can only be tackled after I'm finished with Wild Arms: Alter Code F. With several exciting games on the horizon in the coming weeks and months, I'm scared I won't ever get to the bottom of my pile either!! It's like in Tetris, when the pieces keep falling down faster and faster, but you're making decent progress in clearing away old rubble and fixing mistakes, but then something happens and you find yourself back at square one. Luckily, we won't "die" or anything if we reach the top, whatever the top might be.

Video game music is also important to me. While great music can't save a mediocre game, bad music can dampen what would otherwise be a great game. You know what I've noticed? And this is probably my personal preference. Most of my favorite game music is from PSX games, like Xenogears, Chrono Cross, and FF Tactics, and I actually own the import soundtracks for these games. While some PS2 games may have a track or two that I enjoy, I've yet to play one where the soundtrack is so good that I'm willing to buy it. I'll take your word about Dragon Quarter, as I don't remember what the music was like and can't refresh my memory, seeing as how my copy was stolen.

Anyway, thanks for reading my letter. Oh, and I love Xenogears, including the second disc.

Sunita


Matt

I think that the PSX had some games with good music, sure, but it was underscored by the fact that at the exact same time, we had the Nintendo 64 sitting in opposition which seemed to have only one-or-so instrument; that annoying brass that just about EVERY song in Starfox 64 and Zelda featured. There were a few games that did well musically on the N64 (notably, Tetrisphere, Mischief Makers, and the New Tetris), but that's all. No, no more. In comparison, just about anything for the PSX would have seemed even better.

I haven't found musical quality or likability to go down much at all on the PS2, but I think that for many people, there just haven't been quite as many games that they've played for the PS2 as there were for the PSX in the first place. Perhaps that's it? Oh, and Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter's music is phenomenal at worst.

Thanks very much for taking the time to write a letter!



The dreadful, wonderful reality of the next generation of consoles.


Hey Matt,

Ok, I guess since you like the idea of Q&A having martial artists, I’ll put on my gi as well and contribute to the column. I’ve been dying to say something anyway.

I know that this topic i s being beaten to the point of near KO right now, but I actually have some things to say about it so I’ll do so while I can. In some respects, I have to agree with those who weren’t that impressed with FFVII. A big part of that may be because I found everything that I loved in FFVI, so from the beginning FFVII had a small chance of surpassing that. Second, I agree that the story was not plotted out very clearly. There were too many things I couldn’t figure out, like what exactly was Cloud…a robot, human, mutation of someone’s DNA? Did Nibelheim actually burn? Where did the guys in black come from? …starting to get a headache. Third, while the background scenery was gorgeous , the polygonal characters kinda weirded me out. Their unnaturalness just didn’t fit in such a vivid world. I remember seeing Cloud’s spherical/spikey head bobbing around and thinking “creepy mannequin.” Finally, FFVII seemed to be such a dramatic leap in the series. We were used to seeing castles, kings, and oth er such medieval things that, while may have been refreshing to some, was not something I was prepared for at that time.

So would I like to see a remake? It’s not at the top of my list, but I think that those of us who were disappointed would like the game a whole lot more with some improvements such as adding smoother character renderings, more structure to the plot, more character development and some voice acting (Steve Burton was PERFECT as Cloud in KH and his voice helped contribute to the intrigue I just recently started to feel for his character). So actually, I think that had the game b een released now, with the technology we have today and our increased expectations and desires for “something different,” the game would be even more popular today than it was in 97. Personally, I think that this would hold for me since I’ve become accustomed to playing games with more modern and/or futuristic styles. But would a remake make a difference to the general population now? Probably not seeing as the standard has been set already. But it’s something that I think would be fun to see. A 2-D remake might be interesting as well, but unfortunately it probably wouldn’t fly since many people see this as a downgrade. Anyway, remakes or new games…as long as they keep me entertained, I’m not complaining too much.

Oh yeah, and in regards to Blade’s question(ie)s: the FF prelude can also be found at the beginning of FFX in the form of something resembling a dance/techno mix (after the blitzball game when Tidus is doing his celebrity thing).

Ous!

Laurie


Kanato

A FFVII remakeF would be interesting, but it's far from necessary. Sure looking the graphics don't look so great now, you have to remember though the game was released almost 9 years ago. the graphics were a huge step up from the series previous instalments. I'm not sure how the game would do if it were released today. The graphics would be better, but then peoples standards would be higher. The real question is, what state would RPGs be in today if FFVII were never released? Would they still be a niche genre, like in the days of the SNES, or would some other game have managed to draw people in like FFVII did?

Despite its popularity VII was not one of my favourites. The gameplay was fine, but not one of the characters was genuinely likable (I'm going to get in to trouble for that, I'm sure), and my "Non specific deity" was the story confusing. It might have just been the translation, but I'm still not entirely sure what was going on. My guess is that Shinra wasn't actually trying to clone Sephiroth, they were trying to reproduce him by injecting people with JENOVA cells. Cloud was the same person Tifa knew from her childhood, but at the same time he wasn't. It's also possible that Shinra rebuilt Nibelheim and erased the towns peoples memories (that's a pretty big cover up), but then why dose Tifa remember it? Someone needs to release an official plot guide.





C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

Well, guys, thanks for all of the great wishes over the past few days about the seminar; they all paid off in spades, because I did... at least well enough, and I'm absolutely happy that it's DONE and over with. Now I have only a pair of assignments to finish for next Thursday, and then my semester will be successfully complete!

I took some time out to play through Alter Code F a little more last night. I was about to go to a rather dramatic new storyline location, until while progressing over the overworld map, I noticed the land stop abruptly in front of me, falling off into an ocean that didn't exist prior. Swinging the camera around, I was actually able to see the interior of a forest polyhedron and various other things that I assumed I was not supposed to see. After entering another location and coming back, my growing panic subsided; the glitch had disappeared. Very odd, though; after talking a bit with Nwash, our resident Saving Throw host, he notified me that that is a fairly well-known glitch. It was a pretty terrible moment, though, I must say.

Flashay!


We've got a few new contestants, now, but you're more than welcome to start participating in the Spectacular Ongoing Contest of Knowledge at any time; just send in an e-mail with your answers and pay attention to the prize lists to see if anything fun awaits you!

Yesterday's answers? Sure! #151's screenshot was from Shadow Hearts, for those of you that didn't catch that, and the three-tentacled creature pictured in it is called a a) Sea Gremlin, for 200 points. To get a high-quality picture, my camera ends up taking awhile to actually "snap" the shot, which is why it was so fuzzy. My apologies.

Gaijin asked a question about Secret of Evermore yesterday, and that was featured as Q&A's #152. According to him, the real-life monster movie that the game referred to was d) Bride of the Monster, not to be confused with Steve Martin's Father of the Bride. Oh, 1990s comedies at their finest... oh yeah, and 160 points to all correct-answerers, with 320 going to the great question submitter himself. Thanks, Gaijin!

If you got neither of them right, you'll receive 64 points just for trying. APG owners also receive 64 bonus points for writing letters in!

Question #153:
Ask Kanato!-->XVIII-XX-IX-XIX-VI I-XXIII-XX-VIII XXII-V-VIII-I XXV-XIII XIX-XV-V-XVI-IV-XX XIV-IX V-XX-XII-XVIII-XX-V IX XII-XIII-XXI-III-XV-XIV IX-IV-IV? (220 points)

a) (XI-V-VII-V XX-VIII-XIII-I)2
b) XXIII-II-XX-IX (XIV-IX VIII-XX-XIX-IX V-XXI-XI-XX-II-III V-XI-XXIII-V)
c) V-XX-VIII XX-VI-XVIII-V-I XXV-IV-I
d) XIII-XX-V XV-XIII-V-XXI-XIX V-VIII-V-III-V-XIX VIII-V-XX XIX-XI-XX-V-I
e) VII-V-XX XIV-XV-V-XIV XXII-II-XV-V-I

Question #154:
Ask Bainick!-->In English my last name is "the lion". In Dutch it is which of the following? (175 points)

a) de Bloedzuiger
b) de Twaalfuurtje
c) de Luipaard
d) de Leeuw
e) de Leren


SOCK's Award List

*You may obtain these items upon reaching the listed point benchmarks!*

500 points: Your choice of Point Tripler (4 left) or Auxiliary Point Generator (2 left)
1,000 points: Your choice of Point Tripler (2 left) or Drain Spell (2 left)
2,000 points: Your choice of Point Tripler (1 left) or A.P.G. (1 left)
3,500 points: Your choice of Point Tripler (2 left) or Wait Mode (1 left)
5,000 points: Your choice of A.P.G. (1 left) or Drain Spell (2 left)
7,000 points: Your choice of Point Doubler (1 left) or Quick Spell (1 left)
Click Here For Item Descriptions!

SOCK's Prize Shop

*You may SPEND points here in order to obtain any of the following prizes- new ones may appear at any time*

1,000 points: Matt's Mom's Cookie Compilation- 6 fantastic recipes right out of Matt's mom's amazing kitchen! Yours, upon request. (5 left)

2,000 points: Intro Paragraph Cameo- If you feel like having a piece of Q&A all to yourself for a day, but you're not up for answering a bunch of questions, this option might be just for you! Say the word, and the Intro Paragraph is yours to do whatever you want with for a day. (5 left)

5,000 points: Cohost Opportunity #3- The goal of many a SOCK competitor is to rule the column alongside me for a day. Say the word, and it's yours, if you have the points to spend. (5 left)

20,000 points: Cohost Opportunity #4- It might sound like a lot, but it'll be here before you know it. Your next chance to reign over Q&A with yours truly. (5 left)

25,000 points: Full Host Opportunity #1- This is it. Write your own Q&A section, without having me interrupt, break in, or steal your sunshine. Be RPGamer's new idol for a day. (1 left)

30,000 points: Your choice of Megaman X4, X5, or X6 for the PSX. If you're into the Megaman series as much as I am, and you don't own any of these, I don't need them any more, now that I have purchased the collection. You can take your pick, and I'll send it to you in the mail with a handwritten note of congratulations from myself. They aren't RPGs, for sure, but I'm working on it for the future. (Sorry, NTSC-format only) (1 left)

*********************************************************


That's all for this week! There are plenty of letters stored away for next week, and I apologize if we couldn't get to them all today. Keep watching, though, and you might be featured sometime soon. There's so much to talk about these days in RPG news, I can't even imagine what a section like this would have been like, say, fifteen years ago. Maybe that's why RPGamer wasn't around yet... or maybe it was because the Internet hadn't exactly come into popular use yet.

Anyway, if you're feeling inspired, there's certainly a lot more to discuss! Are you the proud owner of Suikoden V? Do you plan on being the proud owner of Kingdom Hearts II? Share your feelings on these matters, or any others, if you please, and I'll be sure to chip in my two cents as well. At any rate, have a great weekend, everybody!

slimey@rpgamer.com
***Matt can see the light at the end of the tunnel!


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Another Unhealthy Addiction

Matt's Top 3 Current Games:

1. Mario Kart DS

2. Wild Arms: Alter Code F

3. Super Princess Peach

Matt's Top 3 RPG Desires:

1. Final Fantasy III

2. Mother III

3. Final Fantasy XII

SOCK standings:

1. Xlash
5,111 pts

2. Bainick
4,721 pts

3. Erika W.
4,586 pts

4. MagRowan
3,849 pts

5. Flamethrower
3,807 pts

6. Kanato
3,757 pts

7. Arros R.
3,752 pts

8. KnightTrain
3,669 pts

9. Dermot
3,470 pts

10. Belthasar2
3,209 pts

11. BigWook
2,971 pts

12. FinalDel.
2,345 pts

13. Rexy
2,334 pts

14. Ourobolus
2,094 pts

15. Alan Tse
1,576 pts

16. Gaijin M.
956 pts

17. Macstorm
869 pts

18. Jbumi
704 pts

19. Bucket
556 pts

20. DDX
523 pts

21. Jeremy V.
471 pts

22. ~Sean~~
463 pts

23. TV's Adam
360 pts

24. CW
300 pts

25. The J Man
250 pts

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