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ASK MATT
Night Air May 30, 2006

Matt Demers - 16:09 EST

WELCOME, WELCOME, to RPGamer's Q&A section, where people ask questions, I give answers, I ask more questions, people yell back, so on, and so forth. Doesn't it sound like fun? Well, we'll have a lot to banter about this week.

HOWEVER!

I first want to take this opportunity to gripe about my most prized free swag of the whole show- my little slime keychain-hanger-onners! While they might look like they're made of solid coloured transparent plastic at first, they're evidently clear plastic with a very thin coat of paint to produce the different hues. How did I learn this? I attached mine to my keychain, and I've had it in my pocket for much of the last two weeks... and a lot of the paint has scratched, flaked off, or faded! I'm so disappointed that I've wrecked my cute little slimey, so I guess I have no choice but to return next year and replace it with another. I guess that serves as a lesson to anyone looking to grab one of the slimes in the competition: They might serve better as a "look but don't touch" thing to own.

*sigh* Anyhow, back to the bright side of things. I have lots of questions to answer, so I'd best get on it.




L E T T E R S
Up, Down, and Loop-de-loop


Hey Matt,

That midi file letter was very disrespectful, and no one should have to put with that sort of crap. I find many FFVII fanboys are rather immature. I, on the other hand, am a very mature FFVII fanboy and can take a little criticism. Incidentally, you're right about FFVII's music on the computer. The midis just didn't do the score any justice at all.

Matt

Well, some people can just tend to take things a bit more personally than they should around here. It's good that people feel passionately about their games, but at the same time, it gets to be a little over the top when emotions run a little too high.

Both PC ports really lacked in music in my experience, though there have been a couple of people to claim that it was as good if not better. Perhaps with a ridiculous sound card, they're right. I can't say for sure!

Believe me, too; I really like Final Fantasy VII as well, and it's one of my favourite games in the series. This is exactly why I was so distressed about my computer version, which to me just didn't make the cut. It was really very disappointing to my poor, fifteen-year-old self.

FFVIII was a HUGE disappointment for me. The junction system, the overworld graphics, and the lack of treasury chests all were big letdowns for me when I bought the game, but the major problem with game, from my point of view, is the lack of good villains. Think about it. In FFVI you had Kefka. In FFVII you had Sephiroth. In FFVIII you had Seifer...no...Edea...no...Ultamecia? Who the hell is that?!

Matt

There are certain things about FFVIII that bother me too; the salary system was interesting but annoying, and the weapon-upgrade element felt like it was ripped from some other series altogether. It was a game that was easy to get swept away in, though, with the most gorgeous graphics and a really good soundtrack, and the number of "dramatic moments" made up for the lack of a horrible evil villain. Such a strategy isn't really that new for the FF series, either. In Final Fantasy IV, it isn't Edea you're against for most of the game; it's Golbez. In Final Fantasy X, it's Seymour, and he was difficult for me to even take seriously... "AHHHH watch as I marry you to death!!!" *insert thunderclap* I think that Seymour SHOULD have somehow been the ultimate villain of that game; his final fight was ridiculously sad, and his multiple appearances throughout the game ended up feeling Ultros-like in the end, which is pretty pathetic. But what can I say? I'm a lowly RPGamer identity.

That ought to ruffle the feathers of some hardcore FFX fans, though. Mweeheehee!!

I realized something over the long weekend(Memorial Day in the US). There are 5 games I have to buy before the end of this year: Final Fantasy XII, Valkyrie Profile:Silmeria, Rogue Galaxy, Tales of the Abyss, and Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. I already own all the hardware to play these games and have been waiting for 4 of them for nearly a year already. Plus, I need to buy a DS to play FFIII, FFV, and FFVI at some point. Taking my current stock of games to use for trade, I'll probably buy shedding some 400-600 American dollars on gaming before the end of the year which makes the purchase of a next-gen system prohibitive. If I also take into account the fact that using my traditional style of playing and my current schedule it will take my about 1.5 to 2 months to complete any of these games, I won't have the time to buy ANY next gen systems until early 2008! Then it hit me: what if my schedule, gaming needs, and budget are typical of average gamers? If that were true then Sony would have run the numbers the same way I did and would know that they couldn't make significant headway into the next-gen console market this year or the next, but in the meantime they can release the system, iron out the bugs, improve the technology to drop the price, and reassert their dominance in 2008! Of course that whole scenario is predicated on me being a normal person so is likely doomed by false assumption, but I'll ask you anyway. Do you think I'm normal, and if so, do you think Sony could be taking the entire industry on a raucous well designed rollercoaster ride into their hip-pockets? It sounds crazy enough to work to me.

Sock answers:
206: e
207: e

cap


Matt

Oh, you sound pretty normal. I'm pretty much in the same boat as you, you know, and in fact, I think that your list of most-wanted games largely reflects my own. It's funny you mention this, too, though, because I was thinking last night during my run through the streets of Guelph. For a lot of hardcore gamers, there are a lot of games coming out for current-gen systems, right up to the end of the year. By the time that a lot of us (average people, as you put it) get the chance to play through them all, it'll be pushing 2008, and by then, I'd guess that Sony will have slashed the price by at least $100, making it more affordable for all.

For RPGamers, it's still anyone's guess as to what will actually happen; the Wii has a surprisingly strong initial RPG line-up, and the Xbox 360 has the enigmatic, high-expectations Mistwalker on their side. Will Sony be able to slowly accelerate to victory again, or is it going to be squeezed out of the equation? It's really hard to say, I think. I definitely think, though, that no matter what system you're "rooting for", if any, you'll be in good shape for the next generation. And definitely, there's no reason to put aside the current generation in the meantime... there are one heck of a lot of amazing games coming out between now and the end of the year, as you pointed out, Cap!



Ikea: Fits?


Hi there Matt

Have you ever tried to assemble something and felt like it was a puzzle from an rpg? You know you think you've got the hang of it after a few steps but you somehow bungle stuff up and have to start all over again? I think furniture assembly should be a puzzle in some RPG

What do you think?

Arros Raikou

*how did I make a bed out of a tv stand... -.-;;*


Matt

See, this one time, I almost had the opposite problem: While trying to put together my bed, I got so frustrated that some holes weren't lined up on it that I almost gave up in favour of just using the pieces as a TV stand instead!

Isn't it disconcerting, too, when you finish putting something like that together, and there are like three extra pieces left over with nowhere really to put them? It's like those RPGs where you get past a cave or something, but you just know you missed a couple of treasure chests along the way, and that you'll regret it unless you go back and keep searching. Of course, in the RPG world, it's usually a stupid "Potion x 1" treasure chest that you overlook, but in the real world, it can mean feeling the bed collapse under you at 4 a.m., jolting you awake.

I remember working with farm machinery with my dad, once, and while putting pieces of equipment together, I was reminded of something from the video game world, but it was probably a puzzle game like Tetris. Ah well.



My knight in shining armour


Did the weekend treat you kindly? Because if it didn't... (knuckle crack, knuckle crack). Yeah, I'm lookin' at you, Sunday! Hmph. Anyway. Have a marvelous Monday. <3s and hugs!


Matt

Ah, the weekend was fairly typical of weekendness, I'd say. A little bit of friendship, a little bit of video gaming, and a little bit of nothing in particular. Sundays are evil, though, you know? There's nothing more depressing than a waning Sunday night, when you know that it's just going to be time, soon, to go back to the grind. For that reason, I loooove Fridays and I think I'd go as far as to say that Thursdays are more likable than Sundays. It's all about anticipation. An-ti-cipayyy-tion~ (there's a song that goes like that, right?)

Oh, and careful, I'm pretty sure that Sunday has pretty high magic power; take my Fins de Semaine into battle with you to protect yourself.



Some passive PAL woes


Bah no release dates at all for Harvest Moon MM, Kingdom Hearts, Samurai Warriors 2 and way too many other games. Kicked hard are us PAL gamers, right for a six pointer. But at least New Mario Bros comes out next week, unless something happens at the warehouse, anywho type to ya next week!


Matt

Well, the light at the end of the tunnel should be making itself visible at this point; with big promises from Sony, we could be at the end of regionally-split gaming. Is Nintendo going to work the same way with the Wii? I'm having a bit of trouble remembering right now. Even if it isn't, though, the Virtual Console may eliminate some of those barriers too, and allow you to play a lot of games that you couldn't the first time around. Definitely, the coming age will be a bright one for non-North-American, non-Japanese gamers, and damn, you guys deserve a break.

And yes. The New Super Mario Brothers is amazing just for its old-school wow factor. It's not the hardest game, perhaps, but it's the biggest trip down memory lane I've played in a long time.



Another take on things.


Hey Matt!

It's kind of funny watching all the very strong opinions on Sony, especially about the first two Playstations. My PSX was a rock, I had it for five years and the thing never hiccuped. I played it constantly, probably more than any other system I ever owned. I know I have more games for it than any other system, and a large portion of those are RPGs. I loved how they just swarmed the market with games, there was always several games I wanted at any given time.

Matt

Definitely. I was one jealous youth, as my Nintendo 64 pride slowly waned and turned into jealous lust and envy for the games that I couldn't play. "Sony? A GAMING company?! This is outrageous! UNACCEPTABLE!" I would say to myself, storming about. It wasn't until I rented Final Fantasy VII that I realized exactly how much I was missing.

You're lucky, though, if you didn't experience a single problem with either. Really lucky. I hate you (in a loving way, of course).

My PS2 did fall to the inevitable disc read error (I had an in, so I got my paws on one less than a month after it came out), but I had had it for over two years when it happened, and it had taken a spill and survived when a friend accidentally yanked it off its shelf in college. I called Sony, they instantly had me send it in, and they fixed it right away. For the past 3+ years it has run fine (knock on wood).

Matt

Oh, phew. So I was wrong, you did have a problem with the PS2. Hey, as long as they were that helpful, then good for them, and good for you. Hopefully all goes well from hereon in.

So, it's not any bad experiences in the past that have turned me off to PS3. It's the price, and Sony's apparent attitude toward it. The price is insane. I'll be looking at the cheaper version (I don't need a 60 gig hard drive on a game system), but not until at least a $100 price drop, if not more. Maybe I'll win one in the inevitable contests. What bugs me is the fact that almost every Sony person who talks about it doesn't just defend the price, but sounds completely oblivious to how high it is. Heck, someone even commented that it was "underpriced." I know Sony is known for their high end stuff, but there comes a time that you back yourself into a niche market. It's frustrating, especially since I know there's going to be a lot of games that I want that will be on it.

Matt

Exactly... it's a certain cocky attitude that is being sported by anyone affiliated with Sony, or any of the "Sony fanboys" out there. It's really irritating, to be honest, because there's just no denying that the price is well out of the reach of many people. To me, the price is actually in reach; I just have no way of justifying to myself blowing that quantity of money at once on a system when I could spend so much less and have at least an equal amount of entertainment by investing in a different console. I think that a lot of people feel this way, too.

So, for me, Sony has dropped the ball, and it has now rolled into Nintendo and Microsoft's court (if you're going to mix metaphors, at least relate them). The question is, what will they do with it?

Matt

It's in the stars. Nintendo has the price war won, that's for sure; the most important thing for both Microsoft and Nintendo at this point will be to remember that GOOD GAMES are necessary for consoles to be successful. Without a decent library of titles, it doesn't matter what the prices are or what the amazing specs might be; without games to play on the consoles, the consoles are worth absolutely nothing. If Nintendo and Microsoft push for awesome lineups of games and they can consistently deliver on excellent quality, then they definitely have a chance of sneaking up and blasting Sony out of the #1 position. If not, though, they don't stand a chance.

204) B. 4, although the fourth is barely an echo.
205) Well, that's mine, so it would just be cheesy to put in my own answer. :)

Thanks!

BigWook


Matt

Indeed. Some people wrote in addressing the fact that they thought very strongly that only three steps sound in Breath of Fire II, but if you go into the Options screen and turn off the music, it's quite easy to hear the faint fourth step.

In any case, thanks for writing in, as always, BigWook. May you have a great day.



Dollars and cents, pence and pounds


Hiya Matt,

I have finally managed to gather enough courage to send a letter into Q&A, after years (well, a year) of reading yours and Andrew's wonderful letter answering. Jus thought I'd give my two pence (I'm British!) on the PS3. I agree with whoever it was who said that Sony could lose out to Nintendo or Microsoft in this generation of the console wars, just like the N64 got sunk by the PS1 way back, if someone did indeed say that.

Matt

Oh, someone definitely said that. It's a very popular opinion these days, but I don't really know how likely it is. It's certainly one of many possibilities. There's no way to know, at this stage, what's really going to happen yet!

Oh, and you definitely don't need courage to write in! For heaven's sakes, I take whatever letters people want to throw at me. So throw me more! And don't be scared. I don't generally bite (hard).

That price tag of $600 for you in America will, undoubtedly, force a large percentage of Sony's fanbase to wait until the price has dropped at least once, if not twice. There WILL be people harcore or rich enough to be able to afford a PS3 straight away, but for the majority, $600 is just way too much for what is ulitmately just a games machine. The extras, such as the hard drive and the wi-fi and the blue-ray player, don't really justify Sony's alienation of the majority of its supporters.

Matt

"Initial" alienation, perhaps. When the price comes down, more people will be welcomed into the pot of Sony goodness; that's for sure. In the interim, however, is where things will get dicey. Will people feel that they need a PS3 if they already have an Xbox 360 or a Wii (or both)? I think that this question boils down to the games that will be offered by all three, and nothing more. And, you're right. While Sony always markets its systems as multimedia ubermachines, 97% of people will buy it to play games; those extra features will be nothing more than cute bonuses.

I myself will satisfy myself with the awesomeness of the Nintendo Wii (I'm finally getting more used to that name now ^-^). Over here in the UK, the official price for the PS3 has been announced at Ł425 sterling, which when converted to US dollars is a staggering $800 approx. No way can I afford to spend that much on a console with only a part time job.

Ah well, 'tis the lot of a poor student in life......

Matt

With the Wii coming in at less than half the price, it might be a decent option for you, too. Unlike the last couple of Nintendo consoles, this one is actually looking to have a staggering number of solid launch titles. I'm probably the only one in the world who is looking forward to Dragon Quest Swords more than the others, but hey, what can I say? I'm an unabashed Dragon Quest fan; wherever that series ends up, I will end up eventually. Even if it means turning to the evils of Microsoft (though I highly, highly doubt that that will happen anytime soon).

Oh yeh, before I finish, was there anything on Rogue Galaxy at E3. I've been watching it since it was announced and I really hope that it gets released over here. And if it doesn't, what do you think about the pros and cons of importing games from the US, cos theres loads of games i want which never get released over here. Should i get my PS2 modded, which btw has never ever failed me in the last 5 years, or just buy a totally new new one from America.

There. That should give you something to chew on.

- Genjuu


Matt

Yes, indeed! I managed to get a chance to play a Rogue Galaxy demo at E3, and it was really a lot of fun. It was a game that I didn't really know anything about going into the show, but I've come out looking forward to finding out more. The battles were snappy and fun in realtime, in stark contrast to even Final Fantasy XII, where it felt like I had no control over anything. I didn't really get to see anything outside of the battle system and a little wandering around, but it was pretty impressive.

If you have altered your PS2 by questionable means, then I guess there's nothing wrong with you importing games from other countries. I can't really say I blame you, because I'd probably be tempted to do the same thing. I couldn't imagine living in Europe or Australia and dealing with the constant wonderment of "will this game in my favourite series even make it to the store shelves here?" Depressing, really, but as I said above... a flicker- er- glimmer of hope awaits.

Thanks for writing in!





C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

So, a major part of my weekend that I didn't stress above was the fact that I finally broke and bought a couple of things at the nearest EB Games. Firstly, I bought my first Fire Emblem game; I purchased Sacred Stones for the GBA, and it's going decently well so far. I also bought a new PS2, which was a surprising $129 CDN. Why surprising? I thought that's how much it was in American funds. But, with the dollar these days, I guess it shouldn't come as that much of a shock. In any case, I can't even believe how tiny the new models of PS2 are. I new they were "slim", but I didn't think they'd be both itsy and bitsy. It looks sexy. And it works, so far...

Flashay!


***Answers to May 26th's Questions***

#206. e) Milk - 275 points/550 for Bucket (thanks, Bucket, for the interesting question)

#207. e) about how stupid Square-Enix was for putting FFXI as a numbered game in the series - 275 points (that was Macstorm's guest-hosting question. A toughie, too; the FFXI was an editorial that was published a looong time ago, so many people were fooled)


***Today's New Questions***

#208: What is the Final Fantasy game that I played and beat most recently? (265 points)

a) FFIV for the GBA
b) FFV for the PSX
c) FFVI for the SNES
d) FFVII for the PSX
e) FFVIII for the PSX


#209: Which Chrono Trigger character's irises reflect light with the lowest frequency? (320 points)

a) Crono's
b) Ayla's
c) Lucca's
d) Frog's
e) Magus'


SOCK's Item List

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

2,000 points: Your choice of Point Doubler (2 left) or Wait Mode (1 left)
3,500 points: Your choice of Blind Spell (1 left) or Sneak Glove (2 left)
5,000 points: Your choice of Annoying Curse (2 left) or Fire 3 Spell (2 left)
7,000 points: Your choice of Mithril Sword (2 left) or Damage Deflector (3 left)
10,000 points: Your choice of Esuna Spell (1 left) or Hyper Beam (1 left)
14,000 points: Your choice of Auxiliary Point Generator (1 left) or Blind Spell (1 left)


Click Here For Item Descriptions and Contest Rules!

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)

10,000 points: Cohost Opportunity #3.5- Ah, why not? Cohost days are fun, so here are a couple of extra chances for you to snag, if you're so inclined. (2 left)

15,000 points: Nintendo Wii Canvas Carrying Bag- It's simple and white, with blue print, and two drawstrings; I picked this up while waiting in the nigh-infinitely long line to play Nintendo's new console at E3 2006. If you'd like it, I'll mail it to you free of charge! (1 left)

15,000 points: Pokémon 10th Anniversary game case- Not as special as it sounds, but useful for carrying up to 4 DS games or 2 DS games and 2 Game Boy Advance games. Translucent plastic with a silver Pikachu and print on the front. (1 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)

22,000 points: Slime Keychain Dangler- Fresh from the Square Enix booth at E3 2006, this cute little guy can be yours. (1 left)

22,000 points: Slime Snail Keychain Dangler- Anyone remember Slime Snails from Dragon Warrior III? I managed to snag one of these, too. Strut with Dragon Quest pride!! (1 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: Nintendo DS Lite Carrying Case- This won't quite fit old-model DS handhelds, but it's lightweight and flashy. White and black with an extra zippered pocket for carrying games, and a hook to attach to clothes, backpacks, or whatnot. I received this at Nintendo's Pre-E3 Media Briefing. (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) (3 left)

50,000 points: Suikoden for the PSX. Play the game that started off the entire series! Josh was generous enough to donate this exciting prize, so it would be cool to send this to a good and loving home. (Sorry, NTSC-format only) (1 left) *********************************************************


That's all I have to say for this episode of Q&A, but I'll be back tomorrow. If I haven't responded to your mail yet, trust me: I still have a couple from about a week ago that I still want to get around to, so don't despair!

I'm always hungry for new mail, too, though, and this week, I'm interested in hearing your take on Square Enix's curious recent announcement that NO, they haven't announced a Final Fantasy VII remake. I thought it was obvious that they hadn't announced it, but apparently some sites had it listed as an actual game already. Do you think that this is evidence that a remake is not in the works at all? Or does it mean something else? Discuss!

slimey@rpgamer.com
***Matt waves good-bye, for yet another day.


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