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ASK BELTHASAR2 & MATT
Muumuu Farm June 1, 2006

Belthasar2 - 17:51 EST

IT HAS BEEN AN ETERNITY, but finally I have come to power. Now let my reign begin, may it last a thousand years! (Or at least today as a co-ruler)

This is your beloved Austrian, Belthasar2 speaking! Just a quick thing about me: I'm 23 and a student of business administration at the Carl Francis University of Graz. Originally I'm from a very small village in the country - only 600 inhabitants but more than 700 hundred years old. I consider myself a 2nd generation old-school player, starting RPGs with Illusion of Gaia, FF VI and Chrono Trigger.

Alright that's enough selfportrayal for now, let's get down to business! Our letters for today:

Oh, and remember: Chrono Trigger will always be number one and Yasunori Mitsuda is to be considered a god.




L E T T E R S
It's a bird... it's a plane... it's... TV's Adam! Sweet.


208) I'm going to say D, because there have been what felt like a larger number of FF7 questions of late.

209) Um...I don't remember who had what color eyes. Damn. I'm guessing E.

All this clamoring about an FF7 remake kind of confuses me, because everything I've ever heard the company say regarding such a project has been "no, we're not doing that." And now, yet again, they say no, they're not doing that. But we all would just like it so very, very much, and that the tech demo only served to whip people even more into a frenzy.

We got to see what it WOULD look like, after all, and I have to admit, it would look pretty damn good. But I think the remake thing is just something people WANT to happen so badly that we don't want to admit that it probably isn't. I personally don't think they're going to do it...right away, anyway.

I mean, I wouldn't exactly be surprised if they eventually gave fans what they wanted. On the other hand, didn't people write up petitions and such for Enix to localize Dragon Quest VI? And look where that got us.

Belthasar2

Well, I think if the hype about FF VII continues they might rethink their position, and what's more, today there are many gamers who haven't played the original, oh, what a wonderful target group.

About their statements: If my memory doesn't fail me, at one point they also said: We will never make a FF MMORPG or a direct FF sequel/spinoff.

Speaking of, I had a beautiful thought the other morning on my way to work: a DS (or GBA; whatever, I'm not picky) collection of the four NES Dragon Quest games. Kind of like what they did for Phantasy Star, only...you know...without all the bugs. I don't even really need them to be updated. It could be a direct port for all I care. But that, as far as I'm concerned, would be infinitely excellent.

And as long as I'm dreaming, why not translate DQ5 and 6, and double up on those for a separate release (I'm trying to be practical, and acknowledge I couldn't get it all in one.) Hell, I'd even take them separately.

Belthasar2

I have to admit, aside from Number eight I never played a DQ game. But what a wonderful idea! They could even bring it to Europe, now that Square-Enix has introduced the series here. (To late for me, I had it already imported from Canada via a friend)

Oh, and a few words of appreciation for Shadow Hearts 3, which I'm finally winding down on; fully immersing myself in the typically absurd amount of sidequests to do just before the final boss.

My true love for the title solidified itself in a scene where the generic old-wise-woman laid out the plans of the antagonists for the heroes. In the background, one of the characters (a bizarre American/Brazilian ninja named Frank, for the uninitiated) hears of the destruction their evil plan would wreak upon the world, and you hear him shout "OH MY GOD!" in his oddly-accented voice. The subtitles don't even denote this completely arbitrary bit of dialogue, and it made me laugh out right out loud, for a good long time.

It harkens back to one of my favorite moments in gaming history:

"SPOILER"



in the original Shadow Hearts, the villain is floating above the party, having just raised the final dungeon out of the ground (I think). Bits of rock are shooting all over the place, and as he is in the middle of taunting the party in that typical super-villain style, he suddenly gets beaned by one. This is accompanied by a hollow sound, like an empty coconut being hit with something, and this all-powerful villain then goes, "D'oh!" and disappears.



"END SPOILER"

Now THAT is game writing at its finest, and (almost) completely exemplifies why Shadow Hearts is one of the best RPG series around: at no point does it take itself completely seriously.

-TV's Adam


Belthasar2

Sadly again I haven't played a Shadow Hearts game either up to now (save for the prequel Koudelka), but the first one is waiting on my shelf and I will begin it as soon as I have finished Suikoden.

By the way, you just ruined a wonderful scene for me by spoiling it. THANK YOU! Sheesh. Nah, don't take that serious, now I'm even more excited for Shadow Hearts! It's said to be such a wonderful game.



More Final Fantasy VII Speculation


Hey there, Matt!

I thought I'd give you a little insight into my thoughts on the prospect of a Final Fantasy VII remake. Firstly, I'll hold my hands up and confess that I am unashamedly a Final Fantasy fanboy (note I don't say a Final Fantasy VII fanboy - personally, I think VI and X are far superior). Anyway, I was one of the thousands who got swept away by the epic saga of Cloud and his chums, and I completely lost myself in the rich, beautiful world that the game presented. My experience of playing Final Fantasy VII remains a treasured memory that is very dear to me.

Matt

Let's be honest here, though. Aren't most of us? I'd be willing to go out on a limb and claim that more than half of people that use this site (and perhaps closer to 70 or 80%) became hardcore RPG fans because of Square's flagship series. Final Fantasy is popular for a reason, and I don't think it's a bad thing to be a "fanboy", to be honest. If the series is doing well, there must be a reason for its success, right? As long as the fanboyism is an open-minded version, there's nothing wrong with it; I only say that because there are a certain number of Final Fantasy lovers that refuse to acknowledge the quality of any other series, and that's, well, just stupid.

I started out with Dragon Warrior, but I'll be the first to admit that I was swept away by Final Fantasy IV, VI, VII, and VIII; my fanship grew with each entry. IX and X didn't really grip me in the same way, though, and perhaps that's why my view of the series, while positive, isn't quite as sweet as it used to be.

Anyway, go on. Please!

Despite all this, I am nevertheless against the decision to remake Final Fantasy VII. To be frank, it just feels completely unnecessary - the original still holds up as an excellent RPG in it's own right, and has lost none of it's power, impact or playability over the years - at least not to me.

Don't get me wrong - I am massively looking forward to the slew of spin-offs, sequels and prequels that Square-Enix has in the works for us. Let's face it - the source material couldn't be any richer, and the thought of delving deeper into the ever-expanding world of Final Fantasy VII and embarking upon new adventures from different perspectives gets me quite giddy with excitement. From uncovering the events that led up to Final Fantasy VII in Before Crisis, to discovering where the story goes next in Dirge of Cerberus, I'll be first in line to snap up any chance to revisit this beloved world.

However, I have absolutely no desire to see a remake on the cards. As I said before, it just seems completely pointless to me, and would just feel like a shameless, soulless money-making exercise from Square-Enix, which ironically is what a lot of people see the Compilation as a whole as being. I don't feel a remake is justified, when the original remains to this day a masterpiece (in my view, and in the view of most of those who are likely to buy the remake in the first place) - maybe I feel that the implication that the game needs updating or modernising cheapens the memory of it somewhat. To make that suggestion is to do it a disservice, I feel. Had the game never been released in certain territories, or been absolutely riddled with bugs and glitches, then yes, I would feel that a remake was justified. As it stands, however, I'd prefer to revisit this world and these characters in new, exciting adventures, that add to the over-all story arc and give it more depth, rather than retread old ground following a path that most of us followed almost a decade ago.

Matt

An interesting, if common, perspective. A lot of people would argue that the purpose of releasing any game would be to make money, as Square Enix is indeed a company that should be turning a profit. While I think that simple game ports like Final Fantasy Anthology and Final Fantasy Chronicles were really quick, cheap money-grabs, I wouldn't have as much criticism if the effort was put forth for a full remake.

While I agree with you that the game still stands up today, everyone will not agree with us. I know this because I have friends that refuse to play the game on the basis that "the graphics are horrible." Shallow, eh? And, a great shame, too. But, I think there are more of these out there than you might think, and a remake would reach out to them, as well as the people that already loved the game the first time around. Can you believe it's been almost that decade past? I feel so old...

Aside from anything else, I think most fanboys would be impossible to please anyway. If Square-Enix made too many changes, the fanboys would complain that it was too different, and had lost the spirit and soul of the original. Any major changes would invoke the wrath of fanboys everywhere, yet if they were to leave the game more or less unchanged, simply with improved graphics and voice-acting, than this would deem the entire project completely unnecessary anyway - there's no winning as far as I can tell!

The way I see it, we've been given a chance to revisit this beautiful world through the Compilation - that's more than enough for me.

I'm sorry to those of you that disagree, but that's my honest opinion.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, Matt!

All the best!

Rogan


Matt

Let's just hope that the compilation delivers. Not everything was playable at E3, but Dirge of Cerberus was not received very well by just about everyone who tried it out, which is too bad. What are the others, again? Crisis Core, and Before Crisis? I'm sure we'll hear much more in the near future.

And I think you're right. I, for one, would be absolutely horrified if they altered the core battle system, to be honest, since I thought that the battle system, essentially a refinement of FFVI's, was one of the most enjoyable aspects of the game. That and the Materia. If they touch my Materia, oooh, I'd be steamed like a lobster (and served with garlic butter soon thereafter). I can understand, though, that others might want to see a few changes here and there. The balance would be very difficult to find, for sure, and so one thing is for sure: IF Square Enix were ever to remake that game, they'd have to make an absolutely perfect experience, or they would have hell to pay from someone, at least.

In any event, it's all in the stars for now! Thanks, Rogan, for your letter.



Matt is what!?


Hi Matt


Belthasar2

HA, Matt is dead. -Nietzsche

I agree that it does seem odd that Square Enix keeps denying that they are doing a re-make of FF7 since all of the spin-off games are again kindling interest in FF7. Logically they would want to capitalize on that since they have spent a lot of money on FF7:AC and the other games. It does not make much sense to spend all of the money trying to capitalize on nostalgia without flinging forth a remake. My two cents. ( I was surprised at E3 that they introduced FF13 instead as we haven’t even seen the PS3 that it runs on. In computer sales this whole shebang would be termed “vapourware”.)

Belthasar2

As a business administrator I have to agree, they surely wouldn't want to give up such a cashcow so easily. But then again with so many different projects (XII, several XIII versions et cetera) you have to ask yourselve if they have enough skilled manpower for a decent remake.

Incidentally I agree with other authors. My backlog of games will take me through 2007 as I expect to pick up at least two more this year. I doubt, very much, if any system other than the Wii will even be considered in 2006.

Sock tries:

208 – a
209 – c (I think)

Have a great day

A

Angus Creighton


Belthasar2

Welcome to the world of the student gamer. Needs thrice as much time to finish a game than his highschool counterpart but still hasn't the money for a next-gen console.

Have a great day too, Angus.



Hmmm.


for wild arms alter code: F what is the password for the seal library blue seal


Matt

I dunno, man. Or, woman. Or, other. *shrug*

While I certainly played Wild Arms: Alter Code F for an unacceptable amount of my life, I do remember having to input lots of words randomly to get through some puzzles, and some of them were a little annoying to figure out. However, I really can't be expected to be able to recall every specific moment from the game, can I? Look around and see if you can find a walkthrough on the web somewhere, because I refuse to spend any MORE effort on that game... I did my time!



He's charging through, and he's got a black belt! Clear the way!


Hey there, Mr. Wonderslime!

Okay, I've dabbled in SOCK some...but I officially want to get into the game now. Look out, y'all, because here I come!

SOCK answers:

#210- (e.) FF IX (Yay Quina!)
#211- (a.) "I miss you." (I never beat Earthbound, but...meh, why not?)

Matt

Yeeess, yeeeeeesss!

And you'll be a force to be reckoned with, for sure, Mr. Donovan. And I- Holy CRAP, that bee I just saw outside my window was half the size of a damn golf ball!

*cowers in fear*

Sorry. I got sidetracked. Where were we?

Now then...my favorite RPG moment...hmmmm....Gah there's a bunch of 'em. Oh I know! When Cecil became a Paladin. Talk about a reversal of fortune. That holds deep meaning for me (I try to find meaning in everything). No matter your past, or your deeds, you can be a pure soul if you desire it. Now that's a heck of a message to convey through an SNES game. I remember seeing that, then immediately resetting, screaming for my mother, beating the crap out of Millon Z (Or Scarmiglione, if you'd rather), and doing the transformation sequence all over again just so my mother could see the simple glory of it. (I know. I'm so nerdy. -_-)

Matt

Awww, that's great! And that is a really great RPG moment, because it feels like a real achievement. That reminds me so much of when I was playing through that game and Final Fantasy VI for the first time. If I was ever playing by myself, I'd always hold off on going to major places until my little brother or sister were around, because for me, it was always so much more exciting to share the experience with someone else. And now, years later, I chat with Diane or Chris about those great moments *all* the time. It's pretty cool.

The Gamecube's dying? Well yeah...I guess it is, ain't it? I just picked up Naruto today, actually. First time I've touched my Gamecube in months. It's true, the 'Cube wasn't a strong contender in the RPG field, when compared to the PS2, but I NEVER want to completely give up on Nintendo. There's just *so much potential* there, especially with the Wii (not to stoke the fires of debate again, mind you!). And the 'Cube has some good games. Wind Waker, Fire Emblem, Paper Mario, even SSBM (Sorry. Had to give props to the game that got me through accelerated classes in college).

Matt

Yes, I'm afraid. The Gamecube really fizzled out over the last year or year and a half or so. It's too bad, because the Gamecube wasn't really a wash; there were some really great games released for it. While there are a few new surprise titles on the horizon, Nintendo really just has to pick up the pieces and move on to what hopefully will be a very bright future.

Matt, remember when Poo first appeared in Earthbound, and he had to meditate on the mountaintop, and that voice kept saying he had to give up various parts of himself to become strong? Did that part freak you out at all? I was thinking he'd go into a coma or something, and then Paula would have to wake him up psychically. That memory sticks in my head too.

Matt

Oh yeah, I do vaguely remember that point, even though it's been a very long time since I've played through the game from start to finish, and yes, it was a little bit creepy. I really did like the change of scene to Dalaam, though, this weird place that you've never even heard of before. I guess a similar thing happened with Isaac in Winters, too, no? Ah, Earthbound, how I miss thee...

Oh! One more thing! In Persona 2, when you first fight the Joker, a certain boy joins your group, and he's leaps and bounds above your trio of characters, level-wise, and you just get to utterly mop the floor with the first boss. That was sweet. Too bad he left right after that. Isn't that the way it works, though? The cool guy rushes in, says a few awesome lines, saves the day, then disappears.

Speaking of disappearing...Adieu, Monsuier Matt, until we meet again.

~Donovan


Matt

Or, the cool guy sticks around afterwards! I'm sorry to go all "Final Fantasy" again, but I just remembered one of my VERY favourite moments from any RPG, ever. The scene is bleak. The party is completely paralyzed, and things look hopeless. But a dragon appears out of nowhere to help save the day, and one familiar voice rings through the air...

"You can move now!"

Now THAT was awesome.

Anyway, I'm not familiar with Persona 2 at all, I'm afraid! Cool guys should definitely stick around for longer, though, because well, they're just cool. That's why we all like Rydia.

It's good to hear from you again, Donovan! I hope to hear more from you soon.



There are only so many hours in the day...


My question: How many games do you have in your backlog right now, and how long do you think it would take to clear them all if you didn't buy any new games? Are you still going to pick up a new console this holiday season, or will you be holding off until you've exhausted the current generation's offerings?

Eakin


Belthasar2

Oh my, the question which depresses me most. If I take PC and PS2 games together, I think there are currently more than 10 or 15 waiting for me (I stopped counting a long time ago). Starting with Suikoden 1 and 2, Shadow Hearts, Silent Hill 3 and on and on. I definitely won't buy a new console this year, not to mention during the holidays. I also still hope that, by the time I'm ready for a new one, they prices will have dropped. And maybe now with Sony's region-free console Nintendo will react too, and I won't have to buy a mod-chip. Gleee!





C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

Thanks, Belthasar2, for a job well done! And to all of the rest of you: See? Co-hosting isn't so hard, and it can be a lot of fun, too!

Now, it's my turn for a little spiel: I knew my day had not gotten off to a smashing start this morning when I turned on the network to see "20 degrees and partly cloudy" only to walk out the door and get drenched in a sudden downpour five minutes later. My walk to campus generally takes a solid twenty-five, and it rained the rest of the way. Damn. If one thing is for sure, I have Ashton's luck.

Flashay!


***Answers to May 31st's Questions***

#210. c) Makai Kingdom - 265 points (while you might be able to "Cook" or "Eat" your enemies in FFIX, as a surprising number of you guessed, there is actually an attack CALLED Sauté in Makai Kingdom. The Dishwasher class learns it!)

#211. a) "I miss you" - 300 points/600 for Knighttrain (thanks, Knighttrain, for the submission!)


***Today's New Questions***

Belthasar2's #212: What's the hair color of the man, who considers himself a pirate but looks more like a flooring inspector? (325 points)

a) black
b) blond
c) grey
d) red
e) He is bald


Reader-Submitted #213: Of the following characters, which two suffer the loss of a loved one during the course of Fire Emblem: Rekka no Ken? (275 points)

a) Lyndis and Eliwood
b) Matthew and Eliwood
c) Nino and Raven
d) Raven and Matthew
e) Lyndis and Nino

I've added a couple of bonus co-hosting spots at the 15,000 level just in case anyone wants something closer to shoot for! Also, if I e-mail you and ask for your choice of item, if I don't receive a response within one week, you'll have to go without, because I'll just get really lost and chaotic unless I put some limitation on things. Thanks!


SOCK's Item List

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

2,000 points: Your choice of Fire Spell (3 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 Firaga Spell (2 left)
7,000 points: Your choice of Mithril Sword (2 left) or Damage Deflector (3 left)
10,000 points: Your choice of Ultra Sneak Glove (1 left) or Point Tripler (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*

2,000 points: Matt's Mom's Cookie Compilation- 6 fantastic recipes right out of Matt's mom's amazing kitchen! Yours, upon request. (5 left)

4,000 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. (1 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)

15,000 points: Bonus Cohost Opportunity- I like giving these out because I don't have to pay for shipping. (3 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) *********************************************************


One more column will finish up my piece at RPGamer for yet another week. It's promising to be a great column, so please tune in tomorrow to catch Q&A once more! If you have anything you'd like to converse about, too, mail is always, always, always welcome. Bye, guys!

slimey@rpgamer.com
***Matt loves Wokathon's Spicy Pork!


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Oh yeah... did anyone see Ricki Lake last night in her mini-replacement-role for Bob Barker? I sincerely hope that she is not the future of The Price is Right, because that would be just sad.

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SOCK's Top 25:

1. Bainick
12,336 pts

2. Dermot
12,048 pts

3. Macstorm
11,290 pts

4. Erika
11,135 pts

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10,866 pts

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10,692 pts

7. Colabottle
10,596 pts

8. BigWook
9,065 pts

9. Flamethrower
8,861 pts

10. FinalDelerium
6,522 pts

11. Alexander
6,379 pts

12. Knighttrain
5,479 pts

13. TV's Adam
4,985 pts

14. Aurelius
4,565 pts

15. Cap
4,144 pts

16. Kanato
3,852 pts

17. DMJewelle
3,275 pts

18. MagRowan
2,762 pts

19. Gaijin
2,338 pts

20. Rexy
2,334 pts

21. Ourobolus
2,094 pts

22. Leaper
1,990 pts

23. TalonX13
1,660 pts

24. Bucket
1,600 pts

25. LufiaLvr
1,250 pts

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