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ASK MATT
Tuesday Special June 13, 2006

Matt Demers - 18:27 EST

WHEN AM I GOING to get the chance to actually play any of my RPGs, stacked up neatly and waiting in line? It feels like life is so insanely busy. I had a very full and busy (and fun!) weekend, but I got absolutely nothing done in the way of school, thesis-work, or gaming. Something just has to give, because I have a lot of games to play before the next wave of new ones attacks us in a few short months' time!

And now... for a different kind of wave: The latest wave in letters from you!




L E T T E R S
Dissent in the ranks!


Hey Matt,

I've been reading your collum for about a year or so now, this is the first time I auctually wanted to say something... It's about Square-Enix.

Matt

Ahh, good old Square Enix. Actually, I think that about 70% of all of the letters that roll in here involve games created by that obscure company in one way or another. Odd, isn't it? Anyway, let's hear what you've got to say.

Yes, I know, long time RPG maker, but is it just me or are there games seeming less impressive? Come on, 1,000,000 Final Fantasy VII spinoffs just isn't my cup of tea. I admit I was a fan at first of the game, but after playing for awhile, seeing how lame of a villian Sephiroth was (weak too) I sort of lost my intrest... now... good god, Final Fantasy VII everywhere, it's sick.

Matt

Final Fantasy VII was one of my favourite RPGs of that "era", if you will, and it really had an impact on me. You're right, though; this flurry of sequels just seems like a sort of cheap ploy to make more money off of that good name. I watched the movie, but I really doubt that I'll play any of the bonus material in the end. It's not that I don't think that it will add much to the storyline, necessarily; it's more that I don't think that there needed to be anything added in the first place. See also "Final Fantasy X-2". I'm sure that like X-2, though, all of these games will have their finer points as well. And I'm even more certain that there will be a lot of people in the world that are made VERY happy by the release of these games as well!

And as for Final Fantasy XII... eww... waste of discs if you ask me... I don't consider it a Final Fastasy, FF X-2 was more of a FF than XII... Pretty sad, eh?

I could go on forever about this, but meh, it's almost closing time... Anyways, I think I lost hope in Square... Maybe I can find a better company out there that'll produce good RPGs... Oh well, perhaps another letter about my hate for S-E when I have more time...

-Magus-

P.S. I know I came off strong in this, but hey, I gave them enough chances!


Matt

I think that despite everything you may have heard, and everything that people have said, that you should at least give the game a chance before you pass judgment. It is true that many people in North America have not liked the direction that recent Final Fantasy games have taken. There are lots who have a beef with FFX, and many (most?) of us didn't even get involved with FFXI in the end at all. Isn't it possible, though, that FFXII really will be amazing? A lot of people HAVE reported that it's a great game. If you're that skeptical, you should rent it instead of buying, or just not bother worrying about it at all. After all, there really is a huge number of other great games coming out from other companies in the near future. Other companies for RPGs? Imagine that!

Remember, fair Magus, that you're definitely not alone in your sentiments. But, I think that to be fair, you have to give any game a decent, honest chance first, no matter how different or untraditional it might be. Well, I guess you don't have to, but, well... ah, whatever. :P

Thanks for writing in!



Sequels that just need to BE!


Hey Matt!

I'd like to wholeheartedly agree with the Irish Ninja about the horrible love scene in FFX. It was ridiculously sappy, and I felt it hurt the game more than anything. I loaned the game to a friend, and actually warned and apologized for the scene ahead of time, although I emphasized how good the rest of the game is.

Matt

I'm sure that there are readers out there that found that scene to be a beautiful and wonderful representation of the love that those two shared. That's fine. But I can agree with everyone that has written in so far; that FMV sequence was really quite stomach turning. I have a real problem, too, with this whole "Oh, we fell in love, ah la la~" thing... this confused (yet very hot) pretty boy shows up out of nowhere to escort Miss Yuna along the way, and after a week or two of his dorkery and bad voice acting, she falls head over heels for him? Please. It was a very long, arduous, stressful journey, and when two people look as beautiful as Tidus and Yuna and are holed up together for so long, "things" are bound to reach some sort of boiling point. Yes, "things", with quotation marks.

I do have some good things to say about the rest of the game, but on the whole, Final Fantasy X was not anywhere near one of my favourites of the series.

With it being a new week, I have a new idea to throw around. What deserving games never got the sequels or series that they deserve? I'd been tossing around this idea for a while, and JuMeSyn's letter last week talking about Skies of Arcadia was exactly what I was thinking of: How did that game never get a sequel? Not necessarily a direct sequel, but something along the lines of the Tales series. Couldn't you see different "Skies of..." games? I'd also love to see a sequel or spinoff to Vagrant Story, but with a better battle system. I loved the plot, thought it was one of Square's better translations, and I loved the way it unfolded.

Somehow, I think there's going to be a lot of Chrono Trigger/Cross letters about this. Despite the fact that it got a sequel, I think everyone expected that to turn into another franchise for Square. I'm not sure about another sequel, I was underwhelmed by Chrono Cross, although it was a nice looking game. Interesting idea, poor execution.

Thanks!

BigWook


Matt

Yes, we probably will! People have been waiting for a Chrono Trigger/Cross sequel since Cross was released, making 50% of people "cross" in the process.

Personally? That's a harder question than it first appears, because most games that most of us have played aren't stand-alone games, I think. I've played two in the last year: Riviera and Radiata Stories, and out of the two of those, I would say that I'd love to see another game in the same vein as the former, perhaps in the form of a sequel. Riviera is an extremely unique RPG that, yeah, could have used some cleaning up, but was all-in-all a really fun, strategic, and wonderfully different experience.

While it might seem overdone, I sometimes wish that Capcom would release another Megaman X: Command Mission, partly to prove that they haven't abandoned RPGs altogether. Despite the mediocrity of the original Command Mission, I really like Megaman games, and there were actually a few great things about it, including a pretty nifty battle system.

Thanks, BigWook!



The black sheep of Dragon Warrior


Hey Matt!

I've been a fan of the Dragon Quest games for years and it seems that the mail bag hear seems to be inundated with DQ flavored commentary.

Matt

Sure, there are always one or two DQ/DW questions rumbling around waiting to be answered. I take it you have one of your own?

I played the first game through a promotion from Nintendo Power years ago. I still have the little game guide and laminated level up card that came with it. I was a little kid when it came out and I thought it was going to be horrible because it didn't feature anybody hopping on enemies or blasting monsters with guns. When I popped the cartrige in for the first time, I had no idea that it would shape my taste in games in the years to come. From the ye ol' England speak to the cute slimes, it was a game that was ingrained to my memory. Sure, it was hard as heck (I got owned by more Red Slimes than I can count!), but it was a rewaing experience when you can finally take on whatever monsters got in your way.

Matt

Indeed. "Rewarding" really was a good way to put it, because you'd truly work hard to save up enough money to buy that awesome-looking weapon or piece of armour; you'd put in a lot of effort to actually gain a level, since they didn't just occur every three battles. It was great, though, because you'd really be able to feel the difference with that single extra level or one new piece of equipment. Just having that sword would open the door to explore entirely new lands. Awesome.

I was never able to play the second or fourth games, but the I was able to play DQ 3, and I thought it was the most underrated addition to the series. The fact that you could build a party from the ground up was a pretty nifty concept that I wish more console RPGs would let you do. *Spoilers* It also had a cool twist that once you beat down Baramos, you had to go to the world of the first DQ to defeat his true master. */Spoilers* THis had to be one of the first games that I played that did this kind of fan service in an RPG.

Matt

It was really exciting, though that spoiler was SPOILED for me by the instruction manual itself. I'm not sure if it was featured in all of the booklets, but in my rental copy (the one that eventually stopped working, leaving me distraught) the instructions contained a walkthrough of the entire game, making the booklet an incredible 75 pages long. I stupidly read ahead and had the big moment ruined.

Even though I know your opinions for DQ 7, I still thought it had a very interesting story that had you wondering what was going to happen next. It might have been a pain to get all of the character classes, but it was well worth it to take out Orgodomir for the final time. (Oh no more spoilers!) It was still an awsome plot twist when you thought you were safe, and then Orgodomir tries to seal away the hero's homeland of Eastard! I was floored when this happend due to the unexpected nature of the event. I wish that more RPG creators would do things like this to a hero's home town instead of just blowing it up. This makes it a lot more interesting than having the hero homeless when the quest is over.

Sory for the long letter. Just had to let that off my chest.


Matt

Oh, and believe me- despite Dragon Warrior VII's many shortcomings, there is a lot of good as well. Unlocking every single job is almost an unrealistically huge task to take on, but isn't it neat that there are something like forty different unique monster classes to get into as well? The game was absolutely enormous, the battle system was standard Dragon Warrior goodness, and the music was quite good as well. I enjoyed the game, even if I was disappointed by it. And, while I can understand why others would find distaste with the game, its North American release was very important and meant a lot to the "core fans" of the series.

Don't apologize for a lengthy letter, though! First of all, it's not that long. Second of all, a long and well-thought-out message is much better than a one-liner asking "how do i find teh entrince tothe t ower after i get the key" without saying "hi" or telling me what game it's even from. I just loooove those! Sorry, I just had to get that off of my chest. Yours is clear. And thanks for the not-so-long letter!



Obviously, this isn't the MOST recent of letters.


Hey Matt

So we have a Secret of Mana question today, huh? I seem to be on a role with embarrassing admissions so I may as well go ahead and dish out yet another one. I've owned this game since it came out around '93 or '94 and I've only played it once. Actually once and a half come to think of it. I remember quite distinctly all the hype surrounding SoM when it first came out; that was the reason I asked for it for my birthday. So I got it, played it, finished it. And that's it. I never thought it was more than okay as a game and though I tried to play through it again, I just wasn't interested enough to get very far. I mean it was pretty and had a real-time battle system with lots of weapons and magic and levelling up to do, but I never felt the story particularly engaging compared to Final Fantasy IV, Chrono Trigger, or Lufia, which all came out around the same time and had great story lines. Whenever I hear someone talk about it on Q&A-- and it does seem to come up regularly enough-- I still always wonder what do they see that I don't?

Ah well, maybe it's just me. ;)

Best,
Erika


Matt

So you aren't the biggest Secret of Mana fan? Well, I'm not the biggest Chrono Trigger fan! And Johnny out there reading somewhere secretly hasn't played Final Fantasy VII, but doesn't want to admit it for fear of being laughed at or something. RPGs offer a huge spectrum of tastes, and it's only natural that every so often, you're just not going to like a game as much as everyone else. I'm also sure that there's some game that you're a big fan of that most people don't really like at all. It is the way of all things opinion-related!

There IS no excuse, by the way, for me not to have finished off that game by now. I really do like it in many ways, but for some reason, taking that last step is so... soooooo...... hard to do.



Ooh... umm... uhh... heeheehee.


Hey there, I have two questions...

I was wondering if you could answer why you look so cute in the picture in your biography on the "RPGamer" site.

Also, who's your favourite Chrono Trigger character?

Brad ;-)


Matt

Oh, that one's easy. Clearly, you must have mistakenly clicked on Carlisle's Bio Page. Sorry about that, I know these pages are easy to mis-navigaterize sometimes, but we're working towards doing better.

Chrono Trigger characters are interesting because the only ones that are really truly SERIOUS are Magus and Frog; everyone else is more "fun-feeling", if you know what I mean. I really liketh Frog's character, but Matt have affinity for Ayla too. The two, though, are for very different reasons. ^_^

Thanks, Bradjamin!





C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

The worst part of this whole "don't have time" business has a lot to do with the fact that I just recently had a meeting with my professor/supervisor, who discussed with me all of the new directions I should be looking at progressing in with regards to my thesis work. Where should I go now? Well, you should be able to do this, this, and this, in no time at all! Well, "no time" for him in computer programming translates into altogether too much time in Mattland. Blah.

There was once a student from Guelph.
Who made almost no time for himself.
He went quite insane and to everyone's gain
His brain's now in a jar on a shelf.


Thank you, thank you, thank you. My poor roommate... I did the lobotomy almost five years ago now. Oh, you thought that limerick referred to me did you? MWAHAHAHAHAHAAA, no.

Flashay!


***Answers to June 9th's Questions***

#222. c) A, B, AB, O - 300 points/600 for Gilgamesh (sorry to PAL-readers; apparently your FFVII instruction booklets don't have blood types listed, interestingly. Thanks for the submission!)

#223. d) Mimics have no light reflection lines on their lid - 350 points (This was MagRowan's very awesome question! Very observant of you.)

Bonus: 1) Freya wins her showcase. - 1 Star (Kuja overbid by a bundle, and Freya was 2,000 Gil under.)


***Today's New Questions***

Reader-Submitted #224: Who says Blaire's boyfriend is bread? (300 points)

a) Iris
b) Norn
c) Haan
d) Lita
e) Villa


#225: Where are the University of Guelph convocations being held this year? (320 points)

a) W. F. Mitchell Athletics Centre, Main Gym
b) W. F. Mitchell Athletics Centre, West Gym
c) Gryphon Centre
d) Gryphon Dome
e) Alumni Stadium

Now, I'm going to do a run-down of the current scores of the SIDE CONTEST, involving hidden links and such. If you think your score has been miscounted, politely notify me, because I'm only human and it's very easy to mis-do some things like these. Behold:

4-Star People
Dermot
Macstorm
BigWook
Erika
Gilgamesh

3-Star People
Aurelius
DMJewelle
JokingChimer

2-Star People
Xlash
Cap
MagRowan
LufiaLvr

1-Star People
Bainick
Alexander
Knighttrain
Leaper
Gaijin
Belthasar2
Arros Raikou
BenOblong


SO, the competition continues! There is another link hidden in this column. Find it and answer the bonus question to gain another star! We're going to go until we have ONE person left in the lead, and that person gets bonus points equal to 2,094.


--------------------------
STRAGGLERS: (people who need to check their e-mail because they have unclaimed items- if you fall off the list, it's TOO LATE FOR YOU! Check your spam/trash folders for my messages if you're not getting them)
  • Alexander
  • Cap
  • Bucket

----------------------

Again, a message to CAP. For some reason, I don't think you're getting my e-mail messages!! I've been asking you about items for the last week or week and a half, so check your Spam folders to make sure my replies aren't being eaten up. I need to know what items you want! Thank you!


SOCK's Item List

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

2,000 points: Your choice of Blind Spell(2 left) or Point Doubler(2 left)
3,500 points: Your choice of Blizzard Spell (2 left) or Sneak Glove (1 left)
5,000 points: Your choice of Esuna Spell (2 left) or Dark Converter (1 left)
7,000 points: Your choice of Mithril Armor (3 left) or Damage Deflector (2 left)
10,000 points: Your choice of Ultra Sneak Glove (1 left) or Confuse Spell (2 left)
14,000 points: Your choice of Blizzara Spell (2 left) or Annoying Curse (2 left)
19,000 points: Your choice of Rename Card (2 left) or Vanish Spell (2 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)

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)

100,000 points: Arc the Lad Collection, for the PSX. Donated by ~Sean~~, so thank him! This collection contains four RPGs from an often-overlooked series. If you can get to 100,000 first, you can call this your own. (Sorry, NTSC-format only) (1 left) *********************************************************


That's all she said for today! Now, let's discuss this, shall we? What RPGs do you own or play that most people seem to hate? Conversely, which RPGs do you really not like that most people seem to LOVE? Is there anyone else out there that doesn't really like Secret of Mana? Chrono Trigger? Final Fantasy VII? Come to the plate and make your admissions! It'll be fun, I promise.

slimey@rpgamer.com
***Matt is just swimming in things to do, and there's a spider in his window.


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Matt's Top 3 Current Games:

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Matt's Top 3 Gaming Desires:

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SOCK's Top 25:

1. Bainick
15,231 pts

2. Dermot
14,916 pts

3. Macstorm
13,985 pts

4. BigWook
13,544 pts

5. Alan Tse
12,673 pts

6. Xlash
12,657 pts

7. Colabottle
11,196 pts

8. Alexander
10,044 pts

9. Flamethrower
9,161 pts

10. FinalDelerium
9,047 pts

11. Aurelius
8,682 pts

12. Kanato
6,857 pts

13. Erika
6,755 pts

14. Knighttrain
6,504 pts

15. TV's Adam
6,215 pts

16. Cap
5,704 pts

17. DMJewelle
5,445 pts

18. MagRowan
5,232 pts

19. Leaper
3,405 pts

20. JokingChimer
3,380 pts

21. Gaijin
2,838 pts

22. Belthasar2
2,823 pts

23. LufiaLvr
2,329 pts

24. Rexy
2,284 pts

25. Kyre 7 Lar
2,200 pts

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