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Nigh
April 26, 2007

Matthew Demers - 21:18 EST

I WENT TO TRY and submit my thesis earlier today, but the roman numerals in the front matter aren't properly displayed in the exact way they want them. Idiocy. Argh. All I want to do is play Pokémon... I knew this would be a dangerous thing to get.




LETTERS
Funny story...


Sorry for being late on the awkward gaming moments, but after reading about your Pokemon preordering experience, I have to share this.

I'm a twenty-six year old school teacher who often stops by Gamestop on the way home from work. It must look weird to others to see me in my staff uniform talking about and buying games. Some people are still in the stoneage like that.

Anyway, I go to Gamestop to pick up my copy of Kingdom Hearts II last year. When entering, I noticed a couple guys my age decked out in urban gear (backwards caps, jerseys and the like.) One of the guys even had his goatee wrapped in rubberbands. I don't want to sound like a hypocrite, but I had my own preconceptions of these guys just like others do with me. I was floored, however, when they started speaking.

Their topic of conversation: How hard it was to find all the dalmations in KH 1. Turns out they were also there for their copies of KH 2 rather than Madden or GTA or whatever. Even when a game sells 4 million plus copies, you still don't realize the chord its struck with all walks of life till you witness something like that.

Jonezy

Matt

That's an awesome story!! It just goes to show you how much we're all prone to automatically stereotyping different sorts of people. I'd automatically guess that "cool dudes" like those would be in there for one of Grand Theft Auto, some snowboarding game, or something else like that. Like the games that all PS3 owners are into. ;)



Comfort games and uncomfortable games


Hey Matt!

With the amount of gaming I did in college, there were a few games that earned me some odd looks. Out of all of them, I think Thousand Arms was probably the most unusual. The main part of the game itself was pretty nondescript, but you could date various characters in the game. Aside from the fact that they were virtual dates, they were pretty shallow, and kind of silly. That was a game that I waited until I was home on break before I spent too much time on it. Baten Kaitos probably would have made this list if it had come out while I was in college, considering the superlative voice work that was in that game. Either that, or we all could have sat around and made fun of it together...

Matt

It's especially bad if you're like I was; I had quite a few male friends who, you know, were "macho guys" that I lived with in my first year of university. A video game to them (and not necessarily to ALL macho guys, mind you) was something like Mortal Kombat or Goldeneye. The concept of Final Fantasy was fruitcakey to them at best, so could you even imagine if they had witnessed me playing something like Pokémon or Atelier Iris or something similarly cute? I can't get my mind around what their reaction would be, really.

But yeah, it's fun if you can turn it around and make fun of a game with those friends. Even if you feel guilty doing it -- we can't hurt the game's FEELINGS!! This just reminds me of the Degrassi-style coolGuy's loyal nerdy friend in high school who coolGuy still makes fun of in front of the in-crowd. So sad!

So, instead, I'll turn my mind toward comfort games. For warm fuzzy feelings of nostalgia, nothing in my mind tops the two Lunar games. The original Sega CD Lunar: Silver Star was my very first RPG, and to this day I can pop one of the two remakes into my PS2 for fun. They're pretty light and breezy, make me laugh, and just remind me of a far more relaxed time in my life (cursed real world!).

Matt

Yes, curse that real world. I can't believe you have a Sega CD. It would be neatocool to see what the original original original Lunar games were like (they had a lot of remakes, or so I've been told.)

Of course, when it comes for a quick relaxation when I don't feel like starting up a new game yet, I don't usually turn to older RPGs. If I need a couple days break, I usually run up either and old Madden game, or I play some Simcity 3000 (4 was just to heavy into micromanaging). Two games that I don't even need to think about anymore when I play, and neither requires a huge time investment. I usually sink some time into those when I finish a long RPG and need a break before starting another one. If I start an old RPG out of nostalgia, I'll play it right through to the end, and never get started on my next game.

Thanks!

BigWook

Matt

Man, SimCity 3000 was awesome. I miss SimCity. I have the 4th rendition on this computer, but for me, it's another dangerous timesink, so I haven't played in a long time. Yeah- I've definitely played every SimCity game, at one time or another, for more than six hours in succession with few breaks besides for the potty. Even so, they're all great and enjoyable classics. Madden, well... suit yourself. ^^

Thanks for your latest addition! What are you up to... fifty, seventy letters by now? You're a veritable pinnacle of this column!



Nyuk, nyuk.


Hey there Matt!

Just thought I'd start this by confirming that the Alzheimer's Society truly is located on Memory Lane in Chatham. We're not a very tactful town, are we?

Matt

Tactful, no. Hilarious... still yes. Sorry if I'm being insensitive, but you can't help but smile when you drive past it.

At any rate, lets run through some of them there Hot Topics, shall we?

My most embarrassing game to play is Guitar Hero. That game was specifically designed to make you look like an idiot in front of your friends. Especially if you are like me and know a few people that can actually play the instrument. Why the heck do I still love it so?

Matt

Because it's awesome. Apparently, anyway. My friend Steve loves it to death, and he keeps trying to get me to give it a whirl. B-b-but, I'm not a rock star! In fact, I'm pretty much the opposite of one.

My comfort game is also probably the "terrible" game that I love to play. Now, I quote terrible here because it's actually a great game and it has a lot of fans. But it's one of those games people either love or hate with a passion. Harvest Moon 64. I remember playing this game for hours and then trying to explain to my mother why I could do virtual chores but not be bothered to go out and cut the grass. Good times. Iíve been back to it many a time.

Matt

Nah, it's not all bad. Sure, they get low ratings, but it depends on what you're into. Harvest Moon has a cult following, and my cousins would agree with you that the games are awesome. (They are 11 and 9 years old, but what can I say? I love Pokémon.)

As for the elements of RPG's I want to see make a comeback... well, the world map is a big one and from what I gather from other folk's letters, I am not alone. The freedom was always great, and it's pretty hard to find secret caves if my means of travel is on invisible rails.

I also always liked teaming up with the villain. I can't really think of any current games that do this, but there were some good moments back in the day. Fighting that Ruby Dragon with Sephiroth? That was cool. And Chrono Trigger went so far as to let you get Magus in your party permanently.

Matt

Yes! That IS neat. What this goes with sort of is another topic I brought up a bit ago... that party members just don't change as much as they used to. At least, it seems that way. Remember in Final Fantasy VIII, when Edea and Seifer both joined your group for a little while? Fun! I heard tell that in the Dragon Quest IV remake WHICH WE NEVER SAW OVER HERE, they added a Chapter Six and let you control Saro. How wicked is that!? I don't know if it's true, though.

Anyway, I should probably stop now. I need to get back to Super Paper Mario! I'm in world 8-4 and I'm just about out of healing items. Wish me luck!

-Shawn the Unfunny Joke (UFJ to all you SOCKers)

Matt

Wahhh! I haven't played Super Paper Mario in two whole weeks, consarn it. It's not that I don't want to... it's just that there is soooo much else to play!

Thanks for writing in, Shawn. You're funnier than you think you are.



Balamb Garden happy music <3


To Whom It May Concern, Mainly Matt,

I have spent the last week sick, very, very sick. Which of course means that all I've done is play video games, after all, what better cure is there?

Matt

Waaah! I want to be sick, too. Nothing life threatening or anything... just sick enough to not be able to do the things I don't want to do. You know... the bad cold. Or the symptomless thing that's still terribly contagious- yeah, those are the best kind.

Anywhat, question time:

-"Which games are your "comfort" games?

Funny that should be a current topic, as I started my all time favorite "comfort" game about 5 minutes after I called out of work. That game would be Final Fantasy VIII. I am eternally going to be in love with that game now and for, well.....eternity.

I remember when I first got the game, I was fresh off of FFVII, and FFVIII had literally come out the day before, and I was blessed with a kickass mom who got it for me. I plopped down, dropped in the first disc, and promptly got my ass handed to me by the damn junction system. I'm sure I went through what we all did upon playing through and trying to decrypt the junction system, and that is extreme frustration and anger.

However, upon my second go round, (I never actually beat it during my first playthrough, owning to the fact that I fubar-ed big time going into the last disc, I think you know what I mean.) I zoned in, payed attention, and I evolved into a badass junction machine, buffing my team up early, and often, getting the best magic available as soon as I could get it. Not only that, I also became a Triple Triad card wiz kid. I was a one man wrecking machine. A few highlights, just to gloat a bit, including upgrading everyones weapon before even leaving for Timber, and oh, I upgraded Squall all the way to the Punishment before leaving too.

Being so proficient in all the aspects of the game gave it some much enjoyment, and I'll be damned if I didn't really like the story, and it even gave me a few laughs. I "aww'ed" at the warm moments, and cheered at the "yay!" moments, and loved every minute of it.

Phew, that was probably over the top much, but that's just a testament to my undying love for the game. You can fault it for this and that and whatnot, but it'll never change the comfort and familiarity it gives me when I want to play something I know 100% I'll love.

-Frammy

|= |=

Matt

Final Fantasy VIII was the game that cemented my love for convoluted and crazy skill systems. The great part of the Junction system is that when you first learn about it, you get completely intimidated by the intricacies and swept up in the terminology. It's completely daunting! However, the game is tailored somehow so that within very little time at all, you're an awesome pro at the whole thing. I loved it too, and I think that VIII's skill system was one of the reasons that I was let down a bit by the one found in FFIX. Ah well.



QUICKIES

The flipside of an earlier question: what media property outside of video games, IF DONE WELL, would be a worthy RPG for you to play?

JuMeSyn

Matt
This is kind of like the question "If broccoli WASN'T a vegetable, would you like it?" (I like vegetables, though, for the record.) How about we meet halfway with the answer "NOT 'The Bridges of Madison County,'" okiedoke?

I got my hands on Albert Odyssey, Panzer Dragoon Saga, Shining Force 3 Ep 1, Dark Savior, and Dragon Force. Are they any really great ENGLISH Saturn RPGs that I am missing?

Draconn

Matt
This one's for you, JMS. I know you're reading.

IN CLOSING

Tomorrow is Friday! And you know what that means... the next day is Saturday! Yes, of course it is. Well, if you're feeling in the mood to write, then tell me about your favourite villainous parties. Did you love teaming up with Bowser in Super Mario RPG? Were you turned on by taking control of the big bad Sephiroth for a moment back in Final Fantasy VII? Tell me about it!

I know there's a long line-up of people waiting to have their letters answered, and I'm getting around to them. It's just been a full-ish week, and next week looks to be no exception. One day, things will be normal around these parts, and on that day, I will be a very happy man indeed.

Anyway... until tomorrow, I bid you all a fond farewell!



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On my Wishlist:

1. Pokémon Diamond/Pearl

2. Fire Emblem: Goddess of Dawn

3. Super Smash Bros. Brawl

4. Dawn of Mana

5. Metroid Prime 3



On my Portable Playlist:

1. Pokémon Diamond

2. Lunar Knights/Final Fantasy VI

3. Mega Man ZX



On my Console Roster:

1. Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess/Super Paper Mario

2. Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria

3. Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance



Hot Topics:

1. Playing Pokémon?

2. What's the game that embarrasses you most in front of friends?

3. Is the PSP a smart buy for RPGamers?

4. Which games are your "comfort games"?

5. What elements of RPGs do you miss and want to see?



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