Matthew Demers - 18:21 EST
WHERE IS ALEXANDER? Well, I just happened to make an executive decision that he'll be with us tomorrow instead, thanks to some business issues of my own. I've already received all of his answers in the mail, so be prepared to read his greatness in Thursday's column. I apologize to anyone looking forward to having him answer your questions today, but dem's da breaks.
On another (hopefully) unrelated note, I'm craving water. I woke up this morning, and had the strongest urge to just fall into a crisply cool pool of water, kinda like they do on those Nestea "Take the Plunge" commercials. Am I weird?
Whether I'm weird or not, the questions of the day come NOW, so pay attention!
Let's hear from the original co-host!
Well, it's been an incredibly long time since I last wrote in... the rigours of higher education keep me rather busy nowadays. Anyhow, I have a rather... unusual game addiction, myself: Lunar. I can't get enough of those games (well, except for the hideous mockery that is Lunar: Dragon Song. But that's another matter entirely). I can't think of any time since I first got my hands on the game that I haven't had a current game saved and ready to go. I plop down at least a few hours into one of the games every week, and at least once a year, I sit down and play through the entire series in order: from Sega CD games to the Playstation remakes. Obsessed, you say? Perhaps I am... but perhaps I do not care. Other recent, albeit less drastic gaming addictions of mine include The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, and my current marathon attempt at finishing every Dragon Quest/Final Fantasy game in order.
Now those are marathons I'm more familiar with! I actually haven't done all of Final Fantasy in order, but I have with Dragon Quest, and believe it or not, I even replayed Dragon Warrior VII last summer with the intention of having one character using only monster classes.
Everyone's allowed a gaming obsession. Why not? If Lunar is what hits home for you, then by all means, have fun! I'm just starting to get into Silver Star Story Complete recently, so who knows? Maybe your club will have a new member sometime soon.
It's nice to see someone write in about Oblivion too, by the way. Given its popularity, I'm quite surprised at how rarely people talk about it around here.
Also, something happened in December that I didn't hear a lot of outcry about... the closure of Working Designs. Now, perhaps I am biased, what with my unhealthy love of Lunar and all, but still... Working Designs is probably the single greatest game publisher of all time, and they never got the credit they deserved. What, exactly, did WD do for us? Well, one could point out that WD was the first company to wrap their games in fancy packing, or that their later games all included "Omake" boxes with tons of goodies. Now, that's all well and good, but rather superficial. What WD *really* did for gamers as a whole was love their job. They cared about the localizations they made. They cared about the game, and their fans, and it showed. WD made the best localizations that have ever been seen in the US. WD also made gameplay tweaks to the games they published. Check the back of any WD manual, and you'll find a list of all the changes they made. Many of these changes and additions are things requested by fans.
And you're right; those are things that to this very DAY aren't often seen in other developers or publishers. Look no further than Square's/Square Enix's filthy habit of throwing hastily-scraped together ports onto newer consoles for a quick cash grab! Granted, they've improved lately, with the remakes of III and IV (and hopefully V and VI, if we ever hear anything about these) but you could definitely tell where their intentions were back when FFIV-VI and Chrono Trigger were unceremoniously dumped onto the Playstation.
It's terrible, though, to think that way- that is, I think that WD is far from the only company that "cares" about their work. Especially after talking to some of the people at booths in E3 (geeky guys not much older than myself!), I've come to realize that no matter how crappy a game might seem to be, there are people working on it that are really, truly excited about what they've created. You're right, though, that when that enthusiasm is obviously reflected in a company's products, it can mean a lot for fans.
And what, exactly, was it that killed Working Designs? Mostly Sony's asinine policy of not allowing great games to be published in the US (these are the same jerks who are responsible for the fact that the US will never see the PS2 remakes of the original Phantasy Star Quadrilogy... they refuse to allow the games to be released individually, the way they are in Japan... no no, in the US, they HAVE to be one big package... Growlanser Generations suffered from the same problem). Bear in mind, these are the same people that allow immense numbers of worthless liscensed games to be released year after year. A selected quote from the company's closure statement:
"The most frustrating part of all of this is that I know that our fanbase is still there. Growlanser Generations sold well, but of course not better than it would have sold as two separate titles. We just spent too much time fighting the good fight to even get it out, and other games approved.
Though almost finished and substantially improved from the Japanese release, Goemon is dead for the US, and that was really the final straw. If I can't guarantee that the games I personally choose for us to release in the US can actually get approved and come out, there's no business to be done. There is a possibility that it may be released in Europe (as well as Growlanser Generations), but nothing is finalized yet.
I know many of you will have lots of questions, and there will be some I can answer, and some I can't. Sony has made it clear that they do not want the details of their dealings with any publisher made public. Suffice to say that you would buy what we wanted to sell if we could sell it."
That's pretty sad. I really wonder what the rationale behind decisions like that are, because elementary business sense would make you think they'd want to attract as many people as possible to their console. With ridiculously stupid sports games and racers that are indistinguishable from each other coming out every other day, it's unfortunate. Sony, Sony, Sony...
I don't really know what more I can say without sounding corny, or repeating myself... but Working Designs loved their work, they cared about their fans, and all the hard work they put into every single game shines through when you play it. There has never been another caompany in the industry like Working Designs. Hopefully, someday there will be another company to fill their shoes.
I hope so! All told, there are really very few truly RPG-centric companies out there, since half of them have been consumed by Square, Enix, or Square Enix, and the rest of them have fallen by the wayside. Well, except for Atlus.
I dont get it. Its one of the greatest franchise ever made and it sold very well in the past. Why can't Square make a new Chrono trigger even if theres a lot of clamor for it and it will surely sells well? I dont get it what is inside Square minds. They always make FF, Saga , Grandia, DQ and i know they are great but we are looking fo the new Chrono series. Do this have something to do with the staff not available anymore? Then make a new staff. Oh my! its been two gen of console already by skip and up to now they still concentrate on that vey tiring FF franchise and DQ series. Please use you common sense square. A lot of us wants a new Chrono game and it will sell well. Instead of making crap RPG that are not even a hit
Also please i hope no more Portable ports, or new sidestory. We need a new game
Of course it would sell well. Remember, though, that Square Enix is a massive company, and right now, it's really trying to hype Final Fantasy XII (and from the looks of it based on E3, XIII?) for North America. They wouldn't want to detract any attention away from those big titles, and besides, the longer they wait, the more people will forget how much they didn't like Chrono Cross, and the more people will thirst for another sequel! It makes perfect sense, doesn't it? Or does it?
Like it or not, "Chrono Next" isn't coming out anytime soon. On the bright side, I highly doubt that we've seen the last of it, either...
I can do whatever I want!
Games that I can't put down? Heroes of Might and Magic 3. Or Civilization 4. One more turn... However, this is a RPG site, not strategy.
Oho, but that won't stop me from posting your letter, Flamethrower! My mom won't put down Civilization 4 either, and neither will my housemate, Tom, nor my friend Chad who lives in the hamlet of Acton. It seems that everyone who buys that game is cursed to play it forevermore. Worse still, they always feel the need to show other people their little worlds. If I got a dime for every time my mom has called me to the computer room at home to show me how much her borders have expanded and point out all of her little cities within her territory, I'd have a million dollars. Well, forty cents, anyway.
My... my long lost cousin? Third cousin twice removed?!? Who knows?
This isn't my first time writing to Q & A, though it's been a couple of years (I appeared in Brad's column twice - once in quickies and once in actual question form, I believe). Hoo, what a break.
And here, you return again a third time to be featured in my column. Congratulations! Be jubilant! Burst into song! Eat some cake or something!
First thing I wanted to mention is that we have the same last name. Not that crazy, but it's rare to have Demers as a surname in America. (I hear it's the "Smith" or "Jones" of Canada and takes up, like, 3 pages of the phonebook typically in Quebec or something.) Anyway, how annoyed do you get when people mispronounce "Demers"? I tend to just grit my teeth and grunt.
Six. My family stayed in Quebec City one night during a road-trip vacation to Nova Scotia, and we were in awe as we discovered the the Quebec City phone book had six pages of Demerses. Compare the eight or nine numbers TOTAL in the Chatham-Kent phone book; we were at home, at last!
I'd say that Smith is probably much more popular around here, though, even so. In Quebec, I'm pretty sure that Tremblay is an even more common surname than Demers.
It's good to meet you, Mr. Demers! May we one day rule the world~~
Anyway, this talk about Vagrant Story has me thinking about all the awesome RPGs I have stashed away that I've never even touched, but got for the sake of everyone saying they're so awesome. I'm partway through Xenogears, Tales of Symphonia, and Chrono Cross (I don't even remember what's going on in the story in all of them... hell, my Chrono Cross experience ended at the beginning of Disc 2 some three years ago), and idly on my shelf sit VS, Lunar: SSSC, Xenosaga Episode I, Disgaea, Dragon Warrior VII, and Shadow Hearts I & II. What the hell should I be playing first? They're all supposed to be great games.
Oh, go play Disgaea, for heaven's sakes! If you find it a bit boring at the beginning, the storyline gets really wacky by the middle. Towards the end, I thought it was one of the funniest games of all time, though the little twists of seriousness and sadness helped to polish the game wonderfully and uniquely. Play it! Now!
Do you get a bunch of games when you find them because you hear of their ZOMG AWEZOMENSS!!11, and never really get around to them?
Yeah, occasionally. It happened to me first with Zelda: Majora's Mask, and since then, Shadow Hearts has followed a similar path. It's not that I don't WANT to play them; it's that they just fall off of my radar for whatever reason, or other games take centre stage and push them aside. Radiata Stories is dangerously close to following a similar route; if I get the chance this weekend, I'm going to invest some TLC into that one to try and prevent that from happening.
Good job on the Q & A... way to keep up the (apparently large yet unknown) family name. :)
Kyle De-- Duh-meers? Dem-ears? Duh-- Hm.
I'm working at it!
By the way, my family has always pronounced it "Deh-MARCE", though I don't mind "Deh-MAIRCE" or "Deh-MAIRZ" or "Deh-MARZ" or "Deh-MERZ" either. It's when people say "DEM-irce" or "Deh-MEERZ" that I develop goosebumps o' irritation.
Thanks for writing in, Kyle!
I've defended Sony. I've defended their pricing,
their specs, and even their delays in regard to the
PS3 to the point of exhaustion. But, as God is my
witness, if they try to sell their games for anything
over 65 US dollars (http://www.1up.com/do/newsStory?cId=3151823),
someone at Sony is going to take a lit cigarette to the
eyeball, for STARTERS!!
Oh, but Cap! They're going to be Blu-Ray Discs! Er, Blu-Ray Discs!
Teh technoloG is so powerful that the E isn't even there, and when the E isn't even there, there's just no way to dodge a bit of a price hike.
In all reality, I'm not sure what Sony is trying to accomplish by making announcements like this, especially with all of the post-E3 negativity surrounding the pricepoint of the console itself. I guess they're just trying to re-affirm their commitment to financially excluding 80% of the gaming population (at least for the first little while, of course).
*sigh*... thanks, Cap, for the link. I really, really hope that the $59.99 is all we end up seeing in the end, since even that is steep in the first place.
Hmmmmm. I had something to say, but I can't even think of what it was, now. Oh well, more haiku then, anyone?
Fire Emblem owns me
I really don't mind at all
Play on, Matt, play on.
***Answers to June 29th's Questions***
#244. e) Final Fantasy VII - 390 points (I made this one worth 390 points? Really? Ugh. Most of you got this one right, on account of easiness.)
#245. b) Disgaea: Hour of Darkness - 430 points (The second-biggest was Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter, for those of you who are interested. A lot of you figured this one out pretty easily, though. Good job!)
***Today's New Questions***
#246: Joshua Martz last participated in the SOCK by answering which question? (400 points)
Reader-Submitted #247: What is the last thing Trubo says to Sten just before the bridge they're fighting on collapses? (400 points)
a) Come on!
b) Shut up and fight!
c) Fat pig!
d) Stupid monkey!
e) That's it!
STRAGGLERS: (people who I love, but who still need to check their e-mail or somehow get in touch with me 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, and I'll check mine, too!)
Click Here for a Complete List of SOCK Items and Rules!
SOCK's Item List
*You may obtain these items upon reaching the listed point benchmarks!*
2,000 points: Your choice of Drain Spell (2 left) or Quick Spell (1 left)
3,500 points: Your choice of Point Tripler (2 left) or Mythril Sword (1 left)
5,000 points: Your choice of Blizzara Spell (2 left) or Dark Sword (2 left)
7,000 points: Your choice of Gold Armor (1 left) or Super Sneak Glove (1 left)
10,000 points: Your choice of Damage Deflector (2 left) or Light Converter (1 left)
14,000 points: Your choice of Confuse Spell (2 left) or Thundara Spell (2 left)
19,000 points: Your choice of Rename Card (2 left) or Vanish Spell (1 left)
25,000 points: Your choice of Demiga Spell (2 left) or Nightmare Staff (2 left)
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. (4 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. (2 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)
So, Alexander WILL be joining us tomorrow, without a doubt, so prepare yourselves! Until then, send in all sorts of questions for me. Specifically, let's look at Cap's last question, and revisit the next-gen debate. What price do you think is reasonable for Sony's Blu-Ray games? Would a price of $99.99 per game seal Sony's doom with a kiss? Or will people lap the games up anyway? Let us discuss!
***Matt thinks people who eat chocolate bars with cutlery are weird.
Ugh, this is really late today. My apologies. If I can make it up to you in any way, please let me know... I send virtual embraces upon request!
July 4: Matt
July 3: Josh
July 2: Josh
June 30: Mac
About the Host
What is Matt playing?
1. Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
2. The New Super Mario Brothers
3. Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete
What does Matt want to play?
1. Final Fantasy III
2. Pokémon Diamond/Pearl
3. Xenosaga: Episode III
SOCK's Top 25:
3. Alan Tse
16. TV's Adam
26. Arros Raikou
35. Angus Creighton