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All for One, and One for Me
June 28, 2007

Matt Demers - 22:00 EST

CANADA DAY WEEKEND begins shortly! Thus, I must announce that I will not be hosting Q&A on either this Friday or next Tuesday, as I'll be at home swimming, bonfiring, and family-get-togethering it up. You'll be fine, you'll be fine, and I'll be back before you know it.

The question is: Do I invest in Pokémon Battle Revolution or not? I've heard that you can get some special things out of it in the form of TMs and items, so perhaps it'll be worth it. The ability to play in 3-D with my brother could also be fun. But is it worth $60 plus tax? How rich AM I, especially when Planet Puzzle League is calling my name? Oh, choices, choices.

While I think about it, I'll answer some questions. Again, with a backlog of over fifty letters, I apologize if it takes me a long time or forever to get around to your particular message. I'm doing the best I can!

Sidequests, Packratism, and more.

Hey Matt-o, Longtime reader first time writer....blah blah blah......I would like to answer you 5 questions:

1) Side-quests in RPG'S are just ridiculous. There is way too much focus on these and it needs to stop. I compare RPG's to reading a book. I want to know the story and that is it. Imagine reading a great book and you come to point where you need to read about the main character fishing for a sword that is not necessary to complete the book and will take you two hours to read. Complete garbage. Side-quests suck.


I suppose that would be bothersome. Better yet, I'd compare it more to putting DOWN the book every other minute and reading a different short story that's only loosely related to the book. It gets irritating quickly.

2) As far as being a packrat.....sometimes. It really depends on the dungeon and so forth. However, when I have no use for weapons and armor, those get sold right away.


Oh, me too. I've never kept around old armor, and the problem with that is that it's difficult to change your habits for games like Final Fantasy V or IX, where the old equipment can actually come in quite handy from time to time.

My worst packrat tendencies deal with cure-alls like Elixirs, powerful MP-restoring items like Ethers, and other one-time-use items that never see an item shop shelf. I just never use them, and it's a sad habit that I should try to consciously break sometime soon.

3) Graphics and presentation are not important at all when it comes to RPG's. RPG's should be played for their storytelling and the way they immerse the player to get the full gaming experience. Most of the gamers that are cracked out on graphics started when they first played FFVII. Well, those poor souls missed out on a slew of great RPG's on the Genesis, SNES, and even the regular NES. Examples of this would be: Crystalis, Star Tropics and Zelda for the NES, Shining Force I & II Beyond Oasis, and Crusader of Centy for the Genesis, and Soulblazer, Illusion of Gaia, Paladin's Quest for the SNES. There are so many other RPG's I could name but I will stop at those few.


It feels like a bit of a generalization, but I can almost say that I agree with you. I have more than one real-life friend whose first RPG experience was Final Fantasy VII, and these people outright refuse to play anything before it for reasons that I can't begin to fathom. Perhaps, though, they can't fathom why one would want to go back and play all of these "inferior" games, though, in the first place. It's difficult to understand the minds of insane madmen.

4) Game completion leaves me satisfied. Sometimes I'm happy other times I am sad. But mostly I am satisfied I complete this quest.


I'd say that nowadays, I agree with you most of the time. I used to get really disappointed, but now, it just means that I can cross one more game off of my endless list of things-to-play.

5) FF III job requirement changes doesn't affect me because I haven't played so........


Good reason. You should, though. It's pretty fun, if you're into old-school games. Of course, you sound like you're more of a story guy, so it might not be quite as great for you. Hmm, hmm.

On a side note I find myself not interested in a bunch of RPG's coming or that have come out. There is no more originality in these games. I remember having to wait months for a RPG on the Genesis or the SNES. Now it feels like developers are just pooping these games out week after week, loading them with side-quests (grrrr) as filler, and a half-assed story. Square can put out a game where the point of it would be to sit in a white room and stare at a blank wall for ten minutes and people would still buy it because they would call it "Final Fantasy: The White Wall of Doom" Your opinion?


Now that LAST line I can totally agree with, because they almost did it last year. It was called "Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus." Actually, that's completely unfair, because I never played it myself, though I wouldn't anyway, because I'm not into shooters. But, the reviews were bad, I got many e-mails decreeing the game's badness, and I think it would be pretty safe to say that DoC does not represent one of Square Enix's highest points. BUT, people still bought it. A lot of people.

I think that there are, however, a lot of innovative, creative games out there. You just need to know where to look, and you need to keep an open mind. I know you haven't played Final Fantasy III, so I don't know if you own a DS, but there are some neat DS RPGs that might be worth looking into if you're looking for something original. The future isn't completely devoid of different-looking games either; Trusty Bell: Chopin's Dream for the 360 represents a rather different idea in the making, and games like the innovative-looking Zelda: Phantom Hourglass for the DS look to be refreshing as well. Don't give up hope!

Thank you for letting me rant here. I hope I can rant some more in the future.



Of course you may! I'll be looking forward to it.

I don't have the bling for the part, though...

Hi Matt,

I've been far too lazy to actually sit down and write a Q&A letter up to this point, but my recently acquired APG accessory in Sock 2 has given me even more incentive to write than the satisfaction of seeing my words of wisdom displayed for all to see and absorb. I suppose this makes me some sort of whore, but I'm comfortable with that.


Ummm.... heheheh...

Does that make me a pimp? Or the picker-upper? Or both?

But enough banter. The point of this correspondence: whether or not recently released games are only "good" and not "great." Well, that really depends on the genre. I have played some astonishingly great games during the past couple years, such as Resident Evil 4, the Grand Theft Auto games, Metroid Prime, Super Smash Bros. Melee, and Shadow of the Colossus, but RPGs? The only ones that spring to mind are the Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and the Fire Emblem games (though one could argue that they're more strategy than anything else). What else has there been? Final Fantasy XII was good, but disappointing overall with its barely-there plot, and I would rather forget Final Fantasy X, X-2, and XI even exist. Odin Sphere, Valhalla Knights, Etrian Odyssey, Dawn of Mana, the Atelier Iris series...all boasting some decent aspects but overall pretty mediocre games. I have no interest in Pokemon, and I've only just started playing Dragon Quest VIII, which is decent so far, but nothing's blown my mind yet about it (yes, I know that one is your baby, and I really do hope it takes off for me soon).


Oh, I hope so too, but it may not necessarily. Dragon Quest just isn't for everyone, and I came to terms with that long, long ago when I realized as a crushed ten-year-old that DQV just wasn't coming to North America. It was like my best friend had just told me that he was never going to see me again, or something like that. (OK, I'm exaggerating a bit... but only a little bit.)

Fire Emblem games are highly tactical, but they're definitely RPGs, and I totally agree with you. They're underplayed and absolutely wonderful games that deserve more attention. For some reason, I waited around for three years hmming and hawing before I was finally convinced to give them a try, and I LOVED them, especially the ones for the GBA.

As for your dislike of Final Fantasy X? Oh my god, man, where have you been? I don't mind FFX, but I still think it's one of my least favourite of the series. It really seems, now and then, like I'm the only one in the whole wide world who doesn't think it's the best game of all time.

If you're reading this right now, getting all hot and bothered because of how strongly you disagree with that assessment, then I challenge you to write me a letter and whine about it!

Instead, I've been going back time and time again to RPGs of old and reliving the true glory days of role-playing, including Final Fantasy VI and VII, Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana, Suikoden, and Lufia 2. Now THOSE were great RPGs. Compare any of them to the dreck being released now and the new stuff pales in comparison. These games have great characters, great music, and great gameplay. There are exceptions, yes, but I just haven't felt that spark, that twinkle of magic in almost any RPG released in the past five years.

What is it that these new games are missing? I'm not quite sure. Maybe as I get older I'm longing to experience fuller, more adult stories, instead of games relentlessly treating me like I'm twelve years old with an attention span to match. That's how old I was when I played all those wonderful RPGs on the SNES and PSX, and maybe that same "spark" is being felt by today's youth playing recently-released RPGs. I would be interested to know if anyone frequenting this Q&A column is of that age, and if so, if today's RPGs are giving them that same kind of high.


Yes, I wonder the exact same thing. I'm also very curious to know if the Q&A host ten years from now will be answering questions from twenty-year olds talking about "how great RPGs USED to be back in the days of Final Fantasy XII," etc, just as we've been doing lately. I'll bet that that will almost certainly happen, but why? I think it is definitely due to some serious prepubescent magic that you just can't find when you're rotting away while studying in college courses or working tiredly in the real world.

That's not to say I'm not looking forward to certain RPGs. I'll still snatch up Final Fantasy XIII whenever it comes out, and I'm dying to get my grubby paws on Blue Dragon, White Knight, and Lost Odyssey. Oh, and Mother 3...more on that in another letter. I haven't given up on current-gen RPGaming yet, but I am far more jaded and skeptical now than I've ever been before. It will take something really special to make me sit up and go, "Now THAT was a great RPG."


It sounds like you have or have solid plans to obtain the expensive, expansive consoles then. Exciting! I haven't had many of those customers these days.

I wish I could say the same about White Knight or Lost Odyssey, but I just don't know enough about them yet. Granted, if I was a PS3 owner, I'd be looking forward to anything remotely resembling an RPG too. As for Mother 3? Yeah, we're a jaded pair, and we'll probably be grumbling about this for a long time to come, too. I don't understand why some businesses work the way they do, and the decision NOT to release Mother 3 beyond Japan is simply infuriating and practically groundless, as far as I'm concerned.

I have some ideas for future letters, including a tirade against Castomel and a defense of emulation, but those can wait for another day. Expect them soon enough! Thanks for all the great Q&A work, Matt. Your column is a daily pleasure.



Grand! I'm looking forward to them. Sorry this one took a week to get around to, but that's the way things have been lately.

P.S.: Oh, I suppose I should ask a question, considering this IS a Q&A column...okay, how 'bout this: Are there any recently released games you've played that you think you'll go back and play time and time again every year or so, like Final Fantasy VI?


In a word, no. I just don't have the time anymore, and it's a crying shame. If I had to give an answer though, I'd probably say that Dragon Quest VIII or Final Fantasy XII would be the primest of candidates.

Thanks much, Adam. I hope to hear from you again soon, so that I can make you wait for another week and a half to get featured, etc etc. Way to treat your customers, Mattymatt~ !

Some questions are just impossible to answer.

Hello Matt,

I looked through my old (well, older) games, and found Golden Sun. To me, it was basically my first RPG. I had grown on Nintendo Consoles, from the 64 on up, and still love the company to death. However, this limited my experience with anything beyond the first/second party gate. Needless to say, this game was a breath of fresh air. It may not have had much of a story, but the graphics were beautiful, the music kept you in, and the gameplay was just new. I hadn't ever felt anything like it before. I simply could not put the game down. Now, I know I have played what are probably better games since then, but this was what started my interest in RPGs, and, as of yet, nothing has given me that same exhilarating and fresh experience.


Well, it wasn't completely devoid of story either, and there were some neat twists involved, especially by the start of The Lost Age. My favourite part of the Golden Sun games was the absolutely phenomenal dungeon design, though the music was, as you say, nothing short of awesome too.

So, to fulfill my end of the Q&A formula, I guess what was that one special game that brought you to enjoy RPGs as much as you do now? It doesn't have to be you're first, doesn't have to be your favorite, just the one that holds that special place in your heart for bringing you in. (Everyone knows you're going to say Dragon Quest, Matt, so give us your second choice.)


Heh heh... can I say Dragon Quest II? Really, there isn't any other game that drew me into the genre as much as those first steps. If I couldn't say Dragon Quest, though, I'd have to reply with Final Fantasy IV. I still remember the very first night I brought the game home. I had borrowed it from my friend Ken, and I was in Grade 5 or so, making me about 10 years old. We had porkchops for dinner, because mom was gone and dad often made porkchops when mom wasn't around. Isn't it strange how you remember stuff like that? Maybe other people don't... maybe I'm just an anomaly of oddness.

Regardless, that's a game that I've gone on to play many, many, MANY times again, and I know the game like the back of my hand. This is why the DS remake is so bittersweet; I hate to see the poor title whored out like a cheap something, especially since we JUST had the GBA remake less than two years ago. At the same time, though, it would be really cool to see the worlds of that game come to life in a new 3D light.

Much more light news, what upcoming game has got your interest set in the most? I'm sure this is quite a basic question for you, but most people seem to be writing in with either pseudo reviews or their opinions on certain things going on in the videogame world rather than actual questions, so .


Hahaha, it's true. The upcoming game that has me percolating most? I'd say Dragon Quest IX, but people will get pissed off at me if I keep mentioning the series. Besides, there's one title (NOT an RPG) that is much, much closer: Metroid Prime 3. It looks fantastic, and I can't wait to see what they've done with the series using the Wii's controls.

I'm really excited for Smash Bros Brawl. Okay, it's not and RPG, but it is a hub for several popular characters that have been in rpgs. Here are two links I could find that suit standards for relating to RPGs:,

The first is a description for one of the new pokemon they've added, and the second being a list of several recognizable composers set to do music for the new game. That's a lot of composers.


This is another game that is terribly exciting, although I'm pretty sure I'm not alone on this front. A fighting game that doesn't involve random button mashing? I discovered the love for the series back on the N64, and I played its sequel to death, too.

Excitement RPG-wise would be Dragon Quest Swords and Final Fantasy IV DS. I won't even try to go into detail on all that, I'm just proud the DS is doing so well after its initial lack of popularity.


Me too, and I hate to say "I told you so," but I predicted this using my great crystal ball way back when I started out with this column. I remember being a little bit hesitant to invest in a DS myself, but Mario Kart alone was enough to justify the purchase. I never even bargained for Final Fantasy III, let alone a fantastic Pokémon game, a main series Dragon Quest game, a sequel to Final Fantasy XII, and so much more. What a difference two years can make!

So, to abruptly conclude my letter (I'm tired), take my first statement to heart, enjoy the links, and make well of your summer (that meaning sit at home and play video games all day, not go on a trip somewhere nice).



Oh man, Swanzykins, I only wish that I could do just that, though this holiday weekend should be at least a little bit of a change of pace. I may just use the opportunity to catch up on some gaming, since we all know that it'll be never by the time I'm CAUGHT up.

Thanks for writing!

Light good, dark bad...?

Hiya Matt!

I'm happy that you are being blessed with lots and lots of letters.. I personally offer to write you an inflammatory letter the next time your letters get low *winkwink*


Sweet, except I'm wondering now if that day will ever come. You might be in luck!

As for FF3, story-wise I actually found the part about the Heroes of Darkness having to save the world from light WAY more interesting, and I would have preferred to play as those guys.The idea would have definitely been more original even if the story wasn't quite up to today's standards. Plus it would give you the opportunity to be the "bad guys" and still end up saving the world and perhaps have some "wreak havoc on the village" mini-games.


I just like the idea that heroes don't always have to be represented by light and whiteness and the sun and so on. Just because someone is represented by darkness doesn't mean that they'll be more prone to ransacking villages than heroes of light. For a real-life example, do a bit of research on the Crusades, and get back to me. Eeek!

Of course, if you want a chance to play some sinister characters, you should look no further than the original Disgaea. It's a fun game, and it's the closest example I can think of to a game where you get to jump into the shoes of a bad guy.

Class-wise, I've never really had any problems with picking a class and sticking to it and even though there were times when it seemed like I had to switch somebody's class, the game offered other solutions and maybe that was the problem. (No need for a thief if you get magic keys and the all-dragoon boss was beatable without all dragoons.)


It's true, but that awful, awful Dragoon boss kicked my ass SO hard that I couldn't even believe it. You'd have to be in crazy levels to pull off a feat like that, so hats off to anyone who can do just that.

Speaking of Job Classes, the Red Mage is my favorite, not only can you use magic AND weapons, you have the coolest hat ever. And now that I think about it, wouldn't most FF characters after FF5 be considered Red Mages? A majority of them can learn to use magic and they all have weapons (although no cool hats)


It is all about that hat, all feathered and such.

I'm hesitant to say that post-FFV people are all Red Mages, because in FFV, it's quite evident that they at least TRY to make everybody class-like in some respect. For your thief, look to Locke, and for your Monk, look to Sabin. Relm is some interesting and more-useful version of an Animal Trainer, while Mog is an also-interesting combo of Dancer and Geomancer. It's just a little bit strange that everyone can use magic, but it's countered by the fact that some people are innately better at using it than others.

Of course, all bets are off when it comes to FFVII and VIII, X to a degree, and definitely XII. I'd LOVE to see a real, extremely-well done return to a great class system, but I'm not sure it's going to happen anytime soon. Final Fantasy is all about looking cool these days, and characters just don't look cool in Time Mage outfits, sadly... at least from a popular "" sort of perspective.

About load times, the first time I ever played Chrono Trigger, it was for the PSX. To it's credit, I did not even notice the allegedly long loading times til about my fifth time through and even then I don't remember it being that bad. So perhaps loading times might seem better or worse depending on how much you are enjoying the game. And I suppose it helps if you haven't played the game without having to wait 4 seconds to open the menu.


Oh, that's sad. It's like the story about the slave-daughter who did nothing but serve her evil parents and eat stale breadcrusts, just because she never knew anything different. I don't actually know of any such story, come to think of it, but the analogy holds true. Once you play the original, darling, you'll never, ever go back. Trust me.

You still haven't played a Tales game? Shame on you! Just kidding, I only recently got a copy of Tales of Symphonia and would recommend it, if you should ever decide your backlog isn't quite big enough.


Ohh... that game is actually IN my backlog, somewhere down the list. I borrowed it from my brother about two months ago, and I probably won't play it for at least that long if not way longer than that. So sad, but so true. The ironic part is that if it weren't for Pokémon, I could probably have buzzed through ALL of the games in my backlog by now. Yes, you really don't want to know how many hours I've logged on that quest so far.

And to finish up this letter, what would you say are the chances of Itadaki Street DS being released over here?



Oh, what a fun release that would be... that's the Dragon Quest/Mario hybrid, is it not? The chances are somewhere between 0 and 0.00001, because Square Enix sucks (and so do the hordes of people who wouldn't buy it). Actually, it begs the question: How many copies would it sell, if Mario was on the front of the box? Perhaps a game like that is exactly what Dragon Quest needs to garner some popularity in North America, at least among a certain crowd.

Eh, if they publish DQIX here, I'll be plenty happy. Those are the games that count for me!

Thanks much, Whitney!


Who's bad mouthing Axe-Ninjas?
An axe does not slow the Ninja down- nay, the Axe-Ninja is the ultimate combination of speed and power. It's the feudal equivalent of a tactical nuclear weapon!


Alexander M. DeMichiei


True... any ninja can be skilled with a sleek, lightweight sword, but it takes TRUE stealth to be able to wield a heavy weapon with the same level of style.

The Illusion of Power.


Hmm... Maybe AEG's aren't the best excuse to start writing in regularly again, (Oh, wait. I was never regular) but I'm sure you'll be glad for my correspondance anyway... WON'T YOU!?!?!? Hmm... Yes... Anyway.


Of course, and I always was. The AEGs are a useful source of Experience for all of you Sock players who have difficulties landing blows on monsters in-game. Actually, some people are dreadfully unlucky with the Experience trivia questions, too.

One way or the other, I'm happy for your letter! Now, what will you write about?

I can't touch on FFIII or PSP RPGs yet. I'll get to FFIII one of these days, but I don't see a PSP in my future. However, I love the topic of favorite class. I have always preferred the class of Paladin. Some day soon, I will start on that route by adding some Wht to my SOCK 2 character, because that is how I see Paladin's, as Figher's (Knight's?) with some minor healing abilities. I like to tank around with my heavy armor, shields, and one-handed swords, but it is oh-so-nice to be able to cast a few heal spells to get me out of a pickle.


Oh, me too. It's a fun sort of combo-class that can be very flexible depending on the situation in a limited way. For example, I love how in Final Fantasy IV, Cecil has access to some basic healing spells, but absolutely sucks at casting them, so you only use them if you really, REALLY have to. It puts him in a pretty uncommon role, which is fun to me.

I can still remember my Avatar from Spellforce (the greatest RTS/RPG hybrid for the PC that I have ever played) getting surrounded by a horde of Blades, beings made of black steel. I was literally surrounded about 4-5 deep by these things, but by armor was so beefed up that my HPs decresed at a very slow rate. I had two heal skills, not spells, that had a recharge rate just sufficient to keep me alive between recharges. Eventually (read: after a few HOURS of levelling), I had to chop a way out and go fetch my army, because there were too many of them and they respawned to quickly to eliminate single handedly, but oh the power!!


That sounds positively terrifying. I don't know if I'd have the physical stamina to survive the onslaught for that long, playtimewise, but good for you. Perhaps the armor also had the effect of boosting your PP (patience points, of course).

I need to get into a PC game one day. Actually, I should make a vow right here and now: The next time I buy a brand new computer, I will purchase an epic PC RPG to go along with it and finally break my lifelong drought.

I know you like your games on the difficult side, and to a degree, so do I, but do ever get that power rush that comes from being able to just decimate anything that comes at you?


Oh, of course! The thing is that you don't get that rush unless you face some difficulties first. If you spend hours fumbling against super-powerful foes, but grow to overshadow them significantly, it's SO much fun then to be able to wipe them out, crush them beneath your heel, stomp them like bugs, and so on.

Otherwise, without that feeling of overcoming weakness, I just feel like I'm snuffing out a bunch of weak things, effectively putting me on par with the sociopathic Grade 3 kid who smothers anthills and then mass-murder the poor things as they pour out in a scramble, just for a good time.

Anyway, keep it real Matt.

Signing off,


Thanks, Draconn! I'm sure I'll hear more from you in the days to come.


Great graphics and artistic presentation are always a plus!

But if the writing is bad, the best graphics in the world can't save the game for me.

It seems to be easier for video game companies to create shinypretty graphics than write decent dialogue and have interesting character interactions.

(But then there are those companies that do well in the writing department and hardly put any effort into the graphics part?)

Why can't we have both? ;_;



I take that last question to be strictly rhetorical, because video companies are mainly irritating. You said it. Also, hmm, this really wasn't a Quickie after all. Oh well, deal with the awkward-looking extra-tall quickie windows anyway.

Got stuck on the seventh dungeon boss of Twilight Princess for about two hours due to not realizing I could Z-target the flying plants with the hookshot.



Ach! There's no hope for me... I'll never catch up. Any points on how to get to the stupid ice dungeon? It seems that I have to go on some stupid SIDEQUEST for a random fish or something. Grr, sidequests.


Well, that's all I have for this week, I'm afraid. Again, I apologize if your letter hasn't appeared- know that I do appreciate your letters, even if I have difficulties replying to them in a timely fashion.

I'll be back on Wednesday, but in the meantime, think about applying for that Weekend Q&A position! It'd be fun to have a new partner-in-crime to work with, and you might meet some great new friends as well.

I shall leave you with a new hot topic: Do you ever associate other memories with video games? For instance, I talked above about how I remember exactly what I had for dinner on the night that I first played Final Fantasy IV (and in fact, I ALSO remember what I did/what I ate the night that I played FFVI first, but that's another story). Do you have a similar experience? Let me know!

Take care, everybody! And for those fellow Canadians that are reading, have a great holiday weekend. Oh yeah, and before I go... it's Ourobolus' birthday today. Happy birthday!! *toots a horn and throws confetti*

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Unanswered Letter Backlog: 58 - A Lot
Matt doesn't know whether to spring for Battle Revolution or not...

It'd be so fun to do battles in fun 3-D, though! But so expensive! But ahhh, possible rare TMs! But it would just feed my addiction!!

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On my Wishlist:

1. Dragon Quest IX

2. Metroid Prime 3

3. Fire Emblem: Goddess of Dawn

4. Super Smash Bros. Brawl

5. Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker

On my Portable Playlist:

1. Pokémon Diamond

2. Lunar Knights

3. Mega Man ZX

On my Console Roster:

1. Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

2. Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria

3. Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance

Hot Topics:

1. Have sidequests in RPGs gone a little bit overboard recently?

2. Are you an RPG Packrat? (Do you hoard items and then never use them?)

3. How important are graphics and presentation in RPGs?

4. Does game-completion make you happy? Sad? Or something else?

5. Do you associate any early memories with RPGs?

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