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ASK MATT
Easy Peasy April 4, 2006

Matt - 03:18 EST

I JUST HAD THE LEAST PRODUCTIVE weekend that I've had in months. It felt really great, too, as I got to play lots of Mario Kart DS (now online! Ask me for my friend code, if you didn't catch it last time) and I managed to get a good start on the quite-addictive Radiata Stories. Ten hours in, I have to admit that I'm enjoying it much more than I did Wild Arms; it's just fresh and original, and charming in a fun way. I have a long way to go, though, so I'll keep all of you updated.

I woke up to our first real thunderstorm of the season, today. "Natural Thundagas", I like to call lightning bolts from heaven. I haven't been hit yet, either, to date, and for that, I thank my lucky stars (and me lucky charms?) since being electrocuted would likely be uncomfortable; plus, I'm pretty sure that my body wouldn't conduct electricity very efficiently. Does anyone smell burning flesh?

Okay, enough with the random gibberish; I get enough of that from you! ;) Just kidding, I love you all and you know it. On that note, though, I'll get to the point of the column. The letters, I mean.




L E T T E R S
Prehistoric solutions to allergic reactions. Wha?


Dear Lucy,

I've had this rash on the back of my leg for the longest time. It itches, I scratch it. The doctor said that I should use this cream on it, but it smells funny. My wife won't have anything to do with me and the cat won't even come in the house any more because of it. Worse yet, not only do I have a rash, but I've lost three of my toenails. This is just getting out of hand, because my wife and I want to have kids, but we just can't.

Matt

You're running out of options, and toenails, very quickly. If things don't turn around soon, I'd be inclined to just grab the closest hacksaw or meat cleaver and X-lash away.

UGH, the imagery!! How could I, of all people, have just said that? I couldn't even make it through the movie Saw without making an emergency run for the bathroom.

So to make a long story short, should I trade in Suikoden Tactics and Wild Arms Alter Code: F to get Suikoden V?

- Random Fan


Matt

Hells yeah, unless you really liked Suikoden Tactics. Wild Arms is liable to fall apart at any moment spontaneously, from personal experience, and I've heard mixed things about ST. If you're a Suikoden fanperson, I am definitely under the impression that V feels as if it goes "back to the series' roots". Since that seems to be a good thing, then sure, go for it.

On that note, I get to test my Wild Arms disc at home on my brother's PS2 in a few days. Let's hope it isn't entirely dead.

PS: The answer to the SOCK question are a) and c)...what do you mean, there were no SOCK questions on the last update? How am I suppose to co-host with you without SOCK points?!?!?

Matt

Ugh, all of you: on April 1st? Never trust a Q&A host on April Fools' Day!! At least you gave a guess, m'darlin, but yeah, there were indeed two questions in the last column. Where were they? Of course; I simply commented them out in the html, tee-hee. And NO, I'm not taking any late responses this time. ^_^



AHHH PANIC


I heard that diamond and pearl would have the same 3d format as pokemon xd but I,am not sure

but I hope they don`t use the format as pokemon emerald I,am so bored of those damn graphics oh! and another thing will the pokemon get REAL crys instead of those weird noises I mean don`t get me wrong I like the noises but their getting a little old they should`nt say their actual names either but the crys should sound more realistic maybe

like a well...you get the idea oh! I almost forgot does anyone know when diamond and pearl are going to hit the market? PLEASE I NEED TO KNOW I,AM DESPERATE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Matt

You're just lucky that Andrew isn't hosting any more, or he would have sicced Samuel L. Jackson upon you. Luckily, I'm slightly more forgiving; forgiving enough to warn you that if you're that desperate, writing your last request all in majuscule is actually going to make it less likely to get it answered.

Since I'm in a good mood, though, and since I'm also interested in when it's going to be released, I've done some research on the subject for you. It looks as though the game is on track to be released sometime before the end of this year in Japan, and while there is no release date as of yet, you can bet that we'll probably see this game sometime in the spring or summer of 2007. You've got a year to wait, probably, but hopefully the wait will be worth it!

As for the graphics and sound, I don't know that Pokémon is really in NEED that much of an update. Sure, some improvements might be nice, but the games are fun for reasons that are completely independent of stunning audio and breathtaking FMVs. As long as those don't go anywhere, I think that the series will remain strong.



Xenoquestions and voice acting.


I like the music in Xenosaga 1 more. Why you ask? It fit the parts alot better. Xenosaga 2 has a fantastic soundtrack in my discman. The whole music is song based and flows like it does. While the first one is more fitting but repetive listening to..

Matt

Mayyybe. There's no denying that the music in the first one is good, but I don't find it any more fitting, really, than that of Episode II, personally.

As for graphic styles.... I prefered one.... I really noticed in the 2nd the animation was just off... They seemed like cut-outs playing their role... moving around quite poorly compared to the first one.

Matt

Now that I can agree with. I really preferred the anime-like style of the first episode as well. Somehow, the characters seemed more expressive, and I found that Shion was so much more likable in her nerdy Vector uniform and glasses than with her "new, cool look" of Episode II. The same goes for just about all of the characters with the possible exception of chaos. On a not-that-related note, KOS-MOS needs a better voice actor for Episode III, because boy-oh-boy, her voice acting went downhill between Eps. I and II. Sorry, I just had to get that out.

Another quick question... That I don't remember you talking about. But what character in RPG history. Yes History... had the best voice acting job to suit him/her?

Matt

Now, the history of voice-acted RPGs is not really that long, all things considered. To this point, I strongly believe (without bias!) that some of Dragon Quest VIII's characters have some of the best voice acting of any RPG ever. Yangus gets annoying to some, but the voice was done top-notch; the same goes to the actors who played Jessica and Angelo, and the dozens of NPCs throughout the game. Wow. Other notably good voice actors include several from Xenosaga: My personal favourites are KOS-MOS (Ep. I), chaos (Ep. II), Jr. (both), and though many will heartily disagree, Shion (Ep. I). Also, I absolutely adore the voices for Gordon and Jennifer from Disgaea. Oh, my brother wants me to say that the voices from Tales of Symphonia are smashing, too.

On a non-xenosaga note... have you read any fan reviews of FF12?... from Japan. I was quite worried consdiering the demo. But read those, and it should be all good. Laters!!!!!!!!


Matt

Yeah, the demo definitely seeded some massive doubts in me as well, for a time, but I've tried to stay as open-minded as possible, and I remain optimistic. From the sounds of it, Final Fantasy XII is nothing short of amazing. Hopefully, nothing happens to it during its journey over the Pacific. Within a few months, we're going to see if any voice actors from that game can be added to the list!



From Pokémon player to Pokémon player


Ai-chan (hey, you’ve got the same name as my DS, only mine would be written with the character for “deep blue”) asked about leveling up Pokemon to Level 99, and I do want to chime in (geez, 7 years after I first played the game even) that you CAN get all your Pokemon up to Level 99 easily and with hardly any effort. There’s a trick you can do in a certain part of the game: if you have a Pokemon that knows Surf, you can swim up and down by an island and encounter MissingNo. Depending on what you have in a certain spot of your inventory, you get a TON of that item—just think, all the master balls and RARE CANDY (level-upping candy) you want.

I just realized how old I am, AGAIN.

Bucket


Matt

Thanks, Bucket, for the pointer! However, that's such a cheap, dirty trick, because that takes advantage of a glitch that's so evidently not supposed to be there in the first place. You know how staunchly against cheapness I am, of course! So DON'T USE IT!! Spend 500 hours levelling 'em up instead, because that's what I'd do (stupidly or not).

I might be against cheapness and taking advantage of glitchiness, but that said, gamers helping gamers is something I'm definitely not against; the idea of Q&A being a communication conduit used for altruistic purposes brings a tear of joy to my eye. So, thank you, Bucket, for making my day, and hopefully Ai-chan's, too.



Food for thought. Mmm, food. Oh, and I totally forgot above that I think Flonne is voice-acted amazingly, too, in Disgaea. She's just so adorable and cute... <3


Oi Oi young Matt!

I didn't want to be the one to spark the whole "RPGaymer" discussion, as I wasn't too sure whether you'd consider it an appropriate topic to discuss, but now that some kind soul has started the ball rolling, I thought I'd chip in with my two pennies worth.

Matt

Hey, any topic is fair game, as long as it's not going to be insulting to any person (or group of people). I got about four other e-mails that have a similar tone to yours. It's funny how some topics seem "taboo" even though they've never even been talked about before, hmm?

Firstly, I'll hold my hands up at this point, and state that I am a gay gamer, and what's more, I regularly kick all my straight mates collective asses at almost any given genre (not that I'm being big-headed, or anything, hehe). What I wanted to ask you was this - if games companies were to introduce gay main characters into RPG's, do you think this would be a step forward for RPGaming, or detrimental to the genre? Personally, I would have to say that I think this would be a bad idea for a couple of reasons. For a start, it's an unfortunate truth that it would more than likely scare off quite a high number of straight gamers, who would shy away from the issue of homosexuality being thrust into their faces (metaphorically, of course...!).

Matt

Perhaps so, but I think that there might be more open-minded people out there than you think there are. I'm sure that a lot of people would be put off by the idea, but on the same token, a lot of people were put off by Brokeback Mountain as well, and look at how successful that movie turned out to be! If a game is going to tackle a contentious issue, there are bound to be people on the "GRR" side of contentious.

Do I think it would be a step forward, though, for RPGs? I don't really think so. It might indicate a societal step forward, though; that the idea of homosexuality is finally accepted enough that the video game industry can produce a (hopefully successful) game that deals with the subject. Is it likely? Hahahahahahahaha...

Another point is that I can't help but feel that it would detract somewhat from the overall classic, timeless fantasy scenarios that the majority of these games present to us. I'd much rather the valiant prince rescue his fair maiden, rather than his dashing young page boy, I must say. Maybe it's because I don't really want to see too many real-world issues forced into games that I play for escapism - no-one ever questioned how Sephiroth managed to escape paying his taxes year after year, did they?

Matt

True, but I think that paying taxes is in a little bit of a different category, don't you? As much as I love restoring princesses to their thrones and peace to the world (and I do! A lot!), RPGs have deviated from the idyllic traditional style for at least a decade, now; storylines go far beyond saving fair maidens, for sure. I argue that if a heterosexual love story can be done well in a game, then if enough effort was put forth (and the game was developed by the right people) that an equally great one could be done homosexually.

Sure, this represents a real world issue, but ugh, I feel like it's an issue that we shouldn't have to "escape" from. The fact that it does feel that way for some of us shows me that we still have a long, long way to go.

Finally, regarding all the Final Fantasy X theories floating around, I've always assumed that Tidus was a dream of the fayth modelled on Shuyin. Jecht's origins aren't as easy to determine, but I don't believe he was ever a real person either, but, like Tidus, he was modelled on one of Zanarkand's real life citizens. It was not Sin who summoned Jecht out of Zanarkand - the fayth willed him into existence as their last hope of defeating Sin. Auron - who was a real life resident of the real Spira - became his bodyguard, but was killed in the Final Summoning. The fact that he was dead but remained unsent ultimately allowed him to enter the dream world of the fayth, and bring Tidus out into the real world, as he was the only one who had a chance of defeating and surpassing his father. The love he and Yuna shared was so powerful, that eventually his consciousness and existence simply couldn't be ignored - although he wasn't real, his feelings and emotions were, as were the feelings of others towards him. These feelings and emotions eventually enabled the fayth to create a real person out of them - a living, breathing Tidus - not a dream, but an actual person, summoned into life by the power of love. That's my novel theory, anyway.

Right, thanks for bearing my rants and ravings - much appreciated!

Take care,
Rogan


Matt

Very interesting! It doesn't seem very novel, either, really; most people who have written in with FFX theories theorize that Tidus himself never actually existed. I'm really going to have to replay the game if I ever get through my backlog to see what points I have to add to the matter.

Thanks for a peek into your perspective, Rogan! I hope to hear from you again someday; until then, may you rescue many princesses and restore peace to many a kingdom~



Ahahahaha... compare and contrast.


Hello Matt!

Having read today's rather involved column, I realize that my response is a bit of RPG ADD. As in, my attention span won't last more than a paragraph.

First off: resume tips: There are several simple thing to remember when creating a resume. First, don't be afraid to create multiple resumes. Each job may require it's own resume. When you apply to different jobs, you need to emphasize different skills from previous jobs. One potential job may require a focus on leadership and management, another might require an emphasis on teaching ability. Modify your basic resume as needed. Second, don't lie. There are too many ways for a competent company to do a background check. Getting caught in a lie is nastiness you don't want to have, and fortunately something I haven't had to experience yet. Finally, don't forget a good cover letter. It's a simple introduction, and can create a positive opinion before the recruiter ever gets to concrete facts. Always a good thing.

Matt

Excellent points, Mr. Wook (who is Big, with a capital B). This hereby ends today's Business Skills 101, class. Don't forget about your homework assignment!

*skip* I'm firmly of the belief that ending music should be dramatic. I'm not looking for a particular style, but the ending music should give the feeling that I'm THERE, AT THE END OF THE GAME. THIS IS IT!!!! There have been ending battle's with quality theme music, but they just didn't give the impression of THE END OF THE GAME. It's not even something I can put into words, it's just a gut instinct. It's also something that's made more difficult by Square(Enix)'s nasty habit of stretching the final boss across about four different battles. It's spread to other games, and it just saps from the drama.

Matt

Oh, but you know what? I absolutely LOVE it- LOOOOVE it- when RPGs make you think you're finished, when in fact there's more left to do. That tease is so wonderful, and I'll admit that as soon as I actually see the credits begin to roll, I always feel the tiniest pang of disappointment because it's actually over, with no additional twists to speak of. Twists are wonderful things.

I love the music from Xenosaga: Episode I, I just think it was horribly utilized. There are way too many dead spaces in the game as far as sound. However, I own the sountrack, and love it. I thought Episode II had horribly looping music (battles, random locations), but strong music for the cut scenes.

Matt

OK, now, if any of you read the letter from up above, it would be clear exactly how funny this response is. I still think that XS: Ep. II had superior music all-around, and half of the reason is because there was actually music in most locations. I don't really mind looping themes if the music is good; I think that Episode I's battle music was at least as bad of an offender as Episode II's, though.

Meanwhile, I have my own different yet similar opinion of the plot of Final Fantasy X. I got the following things from the game: Zanarkand was the greatest city in the world, the center of society. Through the hubris of society (or reliance on technology), Sin was created, which destroyed Zanarkand and reigned terror upon the world. The Fayth, in whatever form they had, preserved the "perfect" society that was Zanarkand, in the hopes of a future world without Sin. They pulled Jecht from the world in the hopes that he could defeat Sin 1000 years later. He failed, but through his companions he created the situation where another could come forward and ultimately defeat Sin. Thus, Tidus was pulled into the current world, and given form through the Fayth. He convinced the party that by attacking the problem, rather than the symptom, Sin could be defeated forever. Their mission accomplished, the Fayth allowed themselved to die, ending Tidus' link to the present world. Note: this completely excluded FFX-2 from the equation.

Anyway, I'm out of gas, otherwise I'd give a lovely rant on graphics and their effect on RPGs. Perhaps a topic for another day.

On to Sock!

159) D. Biblos
160) A. Kratos

Thanks!

BigWook


Matt

So daddy Jecht was responsible, then, for choosing Tidus as the hero; a hero from an idealized utopic "heaven" of sorts? That might make a little bit of sense, but when placed besides X-2, does it line up perfectly? I'm not so sure. Ah, Final Fantasy; XII had better leave us with just as many loose ends to play with! Its prequels certainly give it a lot to live up to, anyway!

Thanks, as always, for the letter! We shall continue to puzzle over these things until next time...



All right... ONE more!!


Now for my weird Tidus theory, it's close to xlash's but a wee bit different

Back in Zanarkand's past as we all know was Shuyin, who tried to save his lady but ultimately died and was never sent, my theory is that the Fayth dream in an attempt to calm some of the more angry spirits befiore they become something far worse than Sin, so in one of these dreams Shuyin's spirit was Tidus, and was allowed to live a peaceful life where he was a blitzball player oblivious to sin, vegnagun, summoning, Lienne(sp?) etc and this kept Shuyin's spirit at peace until the Fayth were destroyed when Sin was destroyed and therefore stopped dreaming which caused Tidus, Shuyin's astral projection to dissapear leaving the hate filled Shuyin(a long with some of the other unsent souls hence the inpour of fiends, the dark summons etc) back to wreck havoc in the real Spira when YuRiPa killed Shuyin, the Fayth returned his soul to it's dreaming state of Tidus and because Shuyin's hatred had faded Tidus was brought back to the real Spira

And that's Arros' theory on Tidus/Shuyin

I doubt that makes much sense but yeah you should hear my Ultimecia and Griever theories those are real mind ----ers

Arros Raikou

*hopes you post this long weirdass theory*



Matt

Indeed, Arros, and I'm happy you decided to contribute to the discussion. Sometimes, I have to wonder if there is debate among the writers of the game themselves, you know? Did they design the story with a specific background in mind? Or did they leave it open for debate not only among us, but among themselves as well? Either way, they did a splendid job in sparking lots of interest; I'm mostly intrigued, honestly, in how many people have been spurred by this specific topic. There are lots of other theories in my inbox, as well, but I can only touch on so many before boredom will set in. I think the vote, though, is for "Tidus never actually existed". I'm definitely going to be getting into a heated debate with my siblings upon my trip home this week, that's for sure!





C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

If there's one thing that's annoying or disappointing about the Wi-Fi Mario Kart, it's that if most people start to get behind, the immediate reaction is to disconnect. The result is that I barely get the chance to actually finish many of the races I start, and that is disappointing. For the second time in as many columns, I'll end this little piece with "Poo on them!"

Flashay!


All of THREE people wrote in with answers to the last set of questions; as I mentioned above, they were just commented out so that I could SAY they weren't there for April Fools' Day, since I'm highly uncreative and couldn't come up with anything better than that. Anyway, some of these people responded only kiddingly, but they'll get points nonetheless. Congrats!

#162 asked how many points question #162 was worth. The answer was certainly a) 150 points, which was made obvious by the sarcastic bracket at the end of the question, which said (not 150 points); another April Fool's pun, perhaps? #163 was Xlash's question, and it asked how many black-cloaked figures in Nibelheim don't give you an item when you talk to them for the first time. The correct answer was c) 3, for 200 points.

Question #164:
In the Final Fantasy IV remake, which great theme music was completely and undeniably ruined when one note was changed from being a semitone below the previous note to being a full tone below instead? (200 points)

a) Rydia's Theme
b) The Tower of Bab-il's Theme
c) Damcyan/Eblan Ruins' Theme
d) Fiends of Elements' Fight Theme
e) Baron Castle's Theme

Question #165:
Ask Erika!--> The name of Platina’s childhood friend is derived from the Latin word for which of the following? (175 points)

a) life
b) death
c) luck
d) darkness
e) light


SOCK's Award List

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

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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)

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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)

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


So, we've talked our brains off about Final Fantasy X and its direct sequel, X-2. Today, though, we also touched on some other fun topics, and since I promised some discussion, why don't we blab about music for a couple of days? What are your thoughts on Xenosaga Episodes I & II? Does anyone out there agree with me that XSII represented a huge jump forward, musically, or am I one of a kind? Better yet, what about Final Fantasy X-2? Sure, it wasn't composed by a famous U-guy, but was it still up-to-snuff? I say "yes"! We'll hear what you have to say next time, in Q&A.


slimey@rpgamer.com
***Matt shakes his head in disappointment.


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Bah, my April Fool's joke was just too obtuse for most of you. *smacks self in the face* Oh well... you live and you learn.

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