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ASK MATT
Wed Them, Master! July 12, 2006

Matthew Demers - 19:03 EST

I FEEL SO TERRIBLE! My Spider Guardian is no more. I let her roost in between the space between my bedroom window and outside for over a month, and I think she trusted me. She caught gross insects and prevented them from getting in. Yesterday, though, I walked into my room after getting back from campus, and noticed all sorts of weird specks all over her web. Upon closer inspection, I realized that there were dozens of baby spiders no larger than a millimetre across everywhere. She wanted to raise her family... but the idea of fifty new spiders crawling around my basement apartment creeped me out too much. I RAIDed them. I feel so terrible about it, too. I didn't realize how close I felt to my poor Spider Guardian.

This column is dedicated to her and her poor family. I'm such a cruel, horrible person.




L E T T E R S
A double-header from Macstorm!


I have a gift card to spend and I can't decide what to do, so I want someone to make a decision for me.

Should I buy...
a) Zelda: Minish Cap. It's portable Zelda goodness, but it's said to be short and simplistic. I am going on vacation soon though.

b) Suikoden V. It's said to have a deep story, which I would love to get involved in, but I only get short bursts of console playing time once or twice a week. I would really like to get this, but I'm afraid that I won't have enough time to play through it. Plus I have Radiata Stories to start as well.

c) nothing and save this card for one of my must have games coming out later this year.

I just don't know.


Matt

Out of the three, I'd probably go with a) or c), based on what you've told me. If you're worried about Suikoden V being too much for the amount of available time you have right now, then why not go with Zelda: Minish Cap? The shortness and simplicity should make the game relatively easy to hop in and out of. Besides, I've heard that it's been rated rather highly by people far and near. I'm pretty sure you wouldn't be disappointed, and you wouldn't run the risk of just adding to an insurmountable backlog.

Of course, option c) is definitely something to consider as well. This fall is undeniably setting up to be one of the most densely-populated times in RPG history. There are at least seven games that I think are must-haves, personally, and that's not even counting the new console I'm planning on obtaining, as well as all of the games that are coming out for it, too!! I'm really worried that a few of them are going to slip through my fingers, not to mention ALL of the other "not-must-have" games that could very well be spectacular in the end. My point is, you might end up deciding that the $40 you'd spend on Minish Cap might be better spent towards something else. Of course, the decision is yours to make!

Also...


What games are on your wish list for the rest of this year? I'm mostly talking about RPGs, but you can include other games as well.

Matt

I thought I'd group these two letters together, since they went so well besides each other, hand-in-hand, like a pair of doves. Or kidneys.

Here is my list.
---------------------
Final Fantasy XII
Final Fantasy III
The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
Xenosaga Episode III: Also Sprach Zarathustra
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
Children of Mana

Here are some of my "maybe" games
------------------------------------------------------
Final Fantasy VI - If it comes out this year
Final Fantasy V - If it comes out this year
Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria
Disgaea 2
Loco Roco - I would need a PSP for this one.
Rogue Galaxy
..hack//G.U.

- Macstorm


Matt

Your lists are remarkably similar to mine, though if I had to spell them out for you, here's what I'd say:

*MY list of Must-Haves*

  • Final Fantasy III
  • Final Fantasy XII
  • Final Fantasy V
  • Final Fantasy VI
  • Children of Mana
  • Disgaea II
  • Xenosaga: Episode III
  • Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
  • Yoshi's Island 2
  • Fire Emblem Wii (if it's released this year)
  • Super Smash Bros. Brawl (if it's released this year)
  • Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors

Wow, that's longer than seven. Damn. I'm so screwed...

*MY list of Maybes*

  • Rogue Galaxy
  • Tales of the Abyss
  • Starfox DS
  • Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime
  • Zelda: Phantom Hourglass
  • Super Mario Galaxy
  • Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
  • Valkyrie Profile: Silmeria

Yeah, I'm doomed. I have no idea how I'm going to acquire all of these. If I asked for NOTHING BUT video games for Christmas, I might get five or six. But then, I'd never get my new pony...

Thanks, Mac, for writing in and making me feel a sense of hopelessness!



Some worries, and some reassurances.


Hey Matt.

I've read your coloumn for a while now but am finally writing in.

Matt

Awesome! It's good to have you. What do you have to talk about, today?

I'm from New Zealand, and because of that I miss out on mana highly acclaimed games. I would love to play Xenosaga but they never released episode one here. they released episode two, but I decided not to get it as whats the point seeing as I wouldn't get many elements in the game clearly. Xenogears wasn't released here too. I've missed out on Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross and Final Fantasy Tactics. I haven't even seen a Megaman game in my life, but that could just be me. I find it unfair that most PAL regions miss out on alot just because we're PAL. But I'll get over it. (We did get Doshin the Giant.)

Matt

Yeah, what the hell? I heard awhile ago that Episode II was released in PAL regions but that Episode I was not, and I can't help but wonder what on earth the rationale behind that awful decision was. I can't imagine being in your shoes- I'd feel like I was being tossed random scraps whenever convenient for video game companies. I think you have every right to be upset, but look on the bright side: It's looking like the next generation of gaming will put to rest the whole idea of regional gaming; at the very least with Sony's PS3. Perhaps it'll give you the chance to import some of those titles that you missed out on.

What makes me in more of a ranting mood is the insane prices for gamecube games down here. Paper Mario: TTYD and LoZ:Four Swords still hasn't had a price drop since it was released. Same goes with games like Tales of Symphonia, still $100-$120 NZD, the same as release. Not to mention lots of non-rpg games like Starfox Assault and Pikmin 2 which still hasn't recieved a price drop. Such is the way of life.

Matt

And by today's exchange rate, 100 Million NZD is worth...100 Beanbean coins! Heh heh, just kidding. Ah, Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga... what did I do before you came along?

That's a lot of money to pump out, for sure. Gamecube games haven't really come down in price here, either; most are either $49.99 or $59.99 CDN, which translates into about $73-$87 NZD based on the exchange rates I've been able to come up with online. So, you're looking at about a 50% markup in price, just because you don't live in North America! Sure, there might be some additional shipping costs involved, but $30-50 per game? Give me a break.

I assume that it's the same for Xbox and PS2 games? I'd hate to think that Nintendo is the only guilty party in this whole situation.

I'd also like to write in about a few things. One of them being how dissapionted I am with Square-Enix at the moment. Don't get the wrong idea, I'm not one of those "I hate the direction FF is going," type of people. I love the look of FFXIII but I'm quite dissapointed with the lack of news about FFV and VI Advance. But it seems so many people have forgotten about these ports thanks to the FFIII remake. FFV is my favorite FF at the moment, but with the lack of any news and the lack of an E3 trailer, I'm starting to think that they'll just forget about the quality and release something like PSOne quality port. I do also want some more news on the two FFCrystal Chronicles games for the Wii and DS.

Matt

Rest assured that you'll hear a lot more about the newest Crystal Chronicles games, because "Final Fantasy" on Nintendo systems is still something a lot of people are getting used to. After they up-and-left ten years ago in favour of Sony, a lot of people wondered if we'd never see Final Fantasy on Nintendo ever again!

You know me if you read this column. You KNOW that I'm thirsting for more information on Final Fantasy V and VI as well, and I know that there are a lot of people out there who want to know more, too. I've been extremely excited about these remakes ever since they were announced, and it is my only hope that they're of really high quality. Granted, the Final Fantasy III remake is something that I'm looking forward to even more, but I'd be really happy if we were reassured that the games haven't been forgotten about. I'll be first in line to pick them up once they're released.

I'd also like to say that I'm excited about the Wii. I've been gaming since I was a kid on the SNES and I need a change. But I do wonder how the Wii's controller can benifit from RPGs, especially Turn-Based RPGs. But I guess time will tell.

Matt

Nintendo's newest system is something that I think most gamers are really, really hopeful for. It's really nice to see a company take a really big chance and fork off in a completely new direction, and THIS is definitely a completely new direction. I really think that they could stand to gain a whole lot, and who knows? They could very well set a new standard in video gaming, but (finally) under criteria other than crazy graphics.

I'm sure that the controller will be good for complex and non-complex RPGs- the fact that it has two possible orientations seems to be very promising for that. Additionally, the system will support Gamecube controllers, and won't that be fun for all? (I'm the only person in the world, I think, that really likes the Gamecube controller...)

I also don't like the $1200NZD price of the PS3 and I'm not the first person to complain about the insane price. I'll eventually buy a PS3 but not until many price drops.

But alas I must be on my way.

Thanks
Vulcan19


Matt

You and about ten million others, Vulcan. Sony might learn that lesson the hard way, but only time will tell, won't it? Thanks for writing in, and look forward to the future; here's hoping that we'll hear more about FFV and VI in the coming weeks!



More on PC RPGs!


Matt,

First off, I feel compelled to bring up the all the talk (or rather, lack of talk) about Oblivion. Or rather, the lack of discussion about PC RPGs in general. Now, there have been a slew of great PC RPGs over the years. I could bring up Wizardy, Ultima, Eye of the Beholder, etc, etc. More modern games include Fallout and it's spectacular sequel. the Infinity Engine games (Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, Planescape: Torment), Neverwinter Nights, and, of course, Morrowind and Oblivion... so why aren't people discussing these?

Matt

Ah, DDX... you're the one that recommended Planescape: Torment to me months and months ago! Of course, I haven't had a chance at all to pick it up, let alone play it, but I trust your expertise in the world of PC RPGs. So, tell us why people aren't discussing 'em!

I think there are several reasons. First off, most people have never played the older RPGs, and likely never will. They were likely too young to really "get" them at the time, and with their complex, often user-unfriendly interfaces (and let's not forget that for most old PC RPGs, if you wnted a map of the dungeon, you drew it on a piece of graph paper as you explored), most people probably couldn't stomach going back and trying them. As for the newer RPGs, it mostly comes down to the lack of an audience... both on this website and for the games themselves. Most PC RPGs tend to be more like PnP RPGs. The story tends to be less emphasized (you usually don't see huge cinematic scenes in PC RPGs), with emphasis placed on character growth and exploration, as well as (generally) more complex combat and roleplaying systems (branching dialogue trees and the real-time combat of the Inifinity Engine, or the AP/Grid-based Fallout system). Console RPGs, limited to the use of a controller, ususally have simpler combat systems, as well as a lack of exploration and dialogue options. The emphasis is thus placed on storytelling and cinematic cutscenes. Granted, these are generalizations, but the fact is, you don't find games like Fallout on consoles, and you don't find games like Final Fantasy on the PC (well, there were the ports they did, but they were miserable failures). In essence, I think it boils down to PC RPGs being less popular, combined with having way, way more console RPGs to talk about.

Matt

Whoo-hoo... way to insert the "FF ports were awful" into the conversation. You really should have gotten into that discussion when we had it a couple of months ago. It was fun.

I think that your points are very valid, and not only that, but the people that get ensnared by one type (console or PC) continue to enjoy THAT type more than the other. Since this site tends to focus more on console RPGs for whatever reason, the crowd that we attract is more likely to be disjoint from the PC world than the people that tend towards places like Gamespot. I dunno.

Which brings up another thing: why aren't PC RPGs very popular? On one hand, it's likely because most RPGamers just plain prefer the Final Fantasy style of RPG... big, cinematic story and whatnot. Console RPGs tend to be more simplistic in nature... go to town, buy new gear, go through dungeon, see cutscene, go to the next town, etc. PC RPGs tend to be more complex... you can spend hours in Fallout 2 without the faintest idea of where you should be and what you should do next. The plot isn't laid on very thick, and cutscenes are basically nonexistant. The game progresses not by a series of cutscenes, but rather, by finding that one guy in town who gives you a quest that gives you a small clue. Then, it's off to find the NEXT small clue, etc, etc. Understand that I'm not trying to belittle console RPGs... I love 'em. PC RPGs don't tell a story anywhere NEAR as well as a console RPG (with the sole exception of Planescape: Torment, the Best Game Ever). But PC RPGs are MUCH more nonlinear, with much less explicit story, than console RPGs, and I don't think that style of gameplay appeals to as many people.

Matt

You know what...

To be perfectly honest with you, the ONE main reason that I don't play PC RPGs as much has really nothing to do with gameplay style, plot, linearity, or anything involving the game in and of itself.

The main reason that I'm not into it is simply because it's a daunting thing. I really don't trust PC games to work on my computer, because of the number of times I've had things crash on me in the past, and the number of times my computer itself has crashed. I don't want to have to worry about losing gameplay time for stupid reasons. I also don't want to have to worry about compatability, not having a decent enough sound card to get optimal audio, having enough RAM to get the game to run at a decent speed... I just don't have the trust to go and invest a bundle in an RPG, only to have it blow up somehow in my face. Final Fantasy VII and VIII both did, and while I know they were both not the best in ports, they're also two of the only RPGs I've ever put onto my computer. Finally, I've never been very keen on the idea of using my keyboard as a controller. It seems so unintuitive to say "a means parry, s means attack, x means this, z means that, ... "

Are those all valid concerns? Am I alone here in thinking the way I do? The style, gameplay, and plot are all admittedly secondary issues to me, beyond these other things, all of which are incredibly unattractive to me.

The end result? There's way more console RPGamers than PC RPGamers, and that naturally shows up as a lack of PC RPG-oriented letters. There are other reasons, as well. I think that the more emphasized plots in console RPGs have a bigger emoptional impact than the weaker plotlines of PC RPGs, which makes the storylines of console RPGs easier to talk about. I think that the nonlinearity of PC RPGs lends itself less to discussion than console RPGs, where everybody experiences the same content in more or less the same order. I could elaborate on both those points, as well as others, but that would make this letter enormous.

- DDX


Matt

No no, though, that's another good point! In console RPGs, everyone has similar experiences, as you say, so we can all relate to it in a more specific way. It's like going to a movie, right? You come out from watching it, and you talk excitedly about it to all of your friends, because they all have things to say about it too. The same goes with favourite TV series, and more.

That said, beware that you don't confuse "popularity of PC RPGs" with "popularity of PC RPGs with console RPGamers". Oblivion has been one of the top-sellers of the year out of ALL genres, and I wouldn't be surprised if it's the #1 best-selling RPG of 2006 so far. Of course, that's liable to change, with Final Fantasy XII on the way. The spooky release date? Halloween.

Thanks, DDX! It's good to hear from you again.



This one's just a letter from some guy. No, really.


Hello, He-Who-Answers-This-Letter

I've been a long time reader of the Q&A, though this is the first time I've ever written in. Anyways, to my question. I've always loved RPGs, but for the last year or two, I just can't seem to get into any RPG. I'll try starting games, but before long I get bored of them. I've tried playing my two all-time favorites (FFVI, Chrono Trigger, Shadow Hearts), and they can't even get me back into it. So my question is; what would you suggest for getting back into the RPG genre?

Matt

That's a really tough question. If Shadow Hearts is one of your all-time favourites, go and pick up the second one. At least give it a rental; most people I've talked to seem to believe that it is the best of what is now a three-part series.

Otherwise, it's a real crapshoot. You could always give Final Fantasy XII a try when it comes out later this year, I guess, if you've liked other FF games in the past; FFX would be a decent bet if you haven't already tried it. You could try something totally different, too, just for fun: Rent a Mario RPG of some sort, or even a Pokémon game. Any Mario RPG you try will be lighthearted in plot, and fun in gameplay. Pokémon is far more substantial than most people give it credit for, and if you haven't given it a whirl, you should. I think one major reason that I'd dare to recommend both of those series is because both are very easy and quick to pick up, and neither requires a huge amount of devotion or focus. By playing them, though, they secretly grow on you until you just can't get enough!

And also, while I'm here, I might as well ask a question that'll make me sound stupid: What is PAL? I know I'll get laughed at but I can't figure it out.

Great job with the Q&A by the way!!

Have a nice day,
Some Guy


Matt

Thanks a lot! I'm glad you're enjoying it.

And don't be embarrassed by your question; one of my very first questions I got as a Q&A host had to do with PAL-gaming, and I had absolutely no clue what "PAL" referred to. So, it is my turn to tell you all! "PAL" is a format of electronics used in certain regions of the world; generally, Europe, parts of South America, and the South Pacific. Video game consoles have traditionally been released in two versions because of this: PAL format, for those regions I just listed, and NTSC format, for Japanese and North American gamers. Games need to be specially made for one format or another, as PAL games won't work on NTSC consoles, and vice-versa, and the result is that many developers just forego PAL releases due to extra expense, since the bulk of the video game market exists in North America and Japan.

Thankfully, next-generation systems (at least the PS3 at this point; I'm not sure about the others) are introducing systems that are designed to work in any territory, so people in PAL regions have much reason to rejoice!

Hopefully that helps! It might not be 100% accurate, and I'm sure I'll get a letter or two fine-tuning my explanation, but that's the gist of what "PAL" means. Sorry to all of you guys and girls who thought I was just being extra-friendly... I still love you all!



The earliest of...


Hey there Matt

So I've been musing about something of late, namely the origin of various conventional elements of the current generation of RPGs. I'm talking about things like in-game tutorials, mini-game, bonus dungeons, and the like. We don't blink twice these days when a game has alternate endings or bonus content or a New Game+ feature, but once upon a time these things were new and wondrous and I've been doing a little mental trip down memory lane to try to think of some of earliest examples. Would you care to lend your old-school expertise to the cause?

Matt

Sure! It's true that there are very few games now that don't come with some sort of bonus material, but it wasn't always that way. Chrono Trigger comes to mind immediately, and it comes to your mind too, as I see from the next lines in your letter. There are, however, much earlier examples! For instance, the original Legend of Zelda, back in 1986, featured a huge extra quest upon finishing the game, featuring all-new dungeons and scrambling the locations of different places on the world map. THAT trims Chrono Trigger's date by about nine years, and is the earliest that I can really think of.

Some of these things are obvious. For example I'm fairly certain Chrono Trigger was the first game to feature a New Game+ feature and to this day I think it's one of the best examples of it. The earliest bonus dungeon I can think of is the Ancient Cave in Lufia II, which I only vaguely remember as it's been over a decade since I've been able to get my hands on the Lufia series. The earliest mini-games I can recall go back to Dragon Warrior III's casino. I'm having trouble thinking of early examples of in-game tutorials, though. I can't seem to come up with anything earlier than Final Fantasy VII. Granted a lot of earlier games were simple enough that you didn't really need tutorials, but I'd be surprised if FFVII were really the first to do it. So anything else you can add to the list?

Matt

There ARE earlier bonus dungeons than that, for sure. Dragon Quest comes to the rescue here! Although we (VERY, VERY tragically) didn't see its release in North America, Dragon Quest V, released in 1992, featured an extra dungeon after the game was completed, which you could travel through in order to fight against- that's right, a major villain from Dragon Quest IV! Very exciting stuff.

As for tutorials, I can't go too much earlier than Final Fantasy VII, but I can do better: Super Mario RPG, released in 1996, featured a few small battle and item-management tutorials at the very beginning of the game, if I remember correctly. Very tough questions! You're making me think, damn you!

On a related note, how do you feel about mini-games and sidequests? I have mixed feelings about them. Some I really like, but sometimes I find they can also be distracting. If they're well done they can be a lot of fun. I must admit that I'll always have a special place in my heart for the chocobo ranch and racing from FFVII and I know I played a lot of the Gold Saucer's silly games for longer than I should have. There was incentive to do it, though: you could get handy items for participating. Contrast the mini-games from Xenosaga I which were not tied into the game, thus, even though I rather liked the collectible card game, there was something disappointing about that fact that you had nothing much to show for playing it or the other mini-games. Sometimes even when the games or sidequests are interesting I find they can be a distraction. I find it hard to ignore a sidequest, but that tendency is very bad when I happen to be playing through a rental in which case it's to my advantage to just play through the game without dilly-dallying all over the place (this turned into a very bad habit in games like Arc the Lad II, for example) and it can be an easy way for the developers to add more playtime to the game without adding more depth, which isn't necessarily a good thing. I found the mini-games sort of distracting in FFIX. There were a lot of them, if I recall correctly. I don't know about you, but I guess it's hit and miss with me. When well used I think they can be a welcome break from the game, a pleasant change of pace, but I think it can be overdone as well and some my favourite games FF IV and VI, Fire Emblem, Ogre Battle, and Valkyrie Profile, for example, don't have any at all and are still great games.

Best,
Erika


Matt

Absolutely, Erika. There has to be some sort of incentive to play them. For example, contrast the card games of Final Fantasy VIII and IX. While both had the potential to be engaging, there was really no point at all to the game in FFIX, and since the game made you work rather annoyingly to try and figure out the system on your own, there was little reason to get involved with it. FFVIII's, on the other hand, was incredibly addictive, and the rewards that could be reaped were well worth the effort involved, making the mini-game a big success, in my eyes, compared to its successor.

I like mini-games, but I don't like them to completely take over whatever game I'm playing. Mini-games are just that; they should be there as a way to take a break from gameplay without overpowering the game itself. If an RPG is a delicious sandwich on a plate, mini-games are like the pickle or celery stick to go along with it. You don't want seventy-six celery sticks on your plate; you just want ONE celery stick, because one is enough.

On the other hand, mini-games can tie in directly TO a game and become SALT that flavours the delicious food that is the RPG itself. Dragon Quest VIII happens to do this absolutely magically with its monster arena, which introduces what I thought to be very surprising new elements to the series. The monster collection ended up being both a fun diversion AND an incredibly useful feature in random combat, once your designated team doubles as a useful tool within battle!

Thanks, Erika, for your questions! And of course, if anyone can think of any earlier games for those features we talked about above, please, write in and contribute your knowledge!



Eww.


Hey Matt,

Just dissapointed at France's loss. Zidane DID, however, provde a highlight to my day. Which just goes to show how utterly mind-numbing my day was. Ahhh, how we look forward to the glorious freedom of the summer holidays, but when they're actually here, we're bored out of our minds. At least I have a new game to play - Wild Arms 3. Started it, got put off by the first few minutes. No one told me the start was so boring. And battles, well, it's best for me not to talk about them. You know, recurrence of emotional trauma, etc.

So my question for you, o questionee, is have you ever been put off a game by your first 10 seconds or so?

Matt

You know, my brother had the exact same things to say about that game. He has stated many times that the first few hours of Wild Arms 3 are some of the most boring to get through, but that after that, the game picks up rather surprisingly and nicely. Try to trudge through it, and perhaps you'll be pleased in the end!

To answer your question, hell yeah. Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana presented itself in a manner that for whatever reason caused me to come down with a severe case of acid reflux; it wasn't until I had played for a little while and grown accustomed to the over-cute graphics that I began to appreciate anything about it.

Other examples? Sure. When I first started playing Diddy Kong Racing, I thought it was fairly stupid, but it eventually became one of my favourite N64 games after a short while, once I began to appreciate the creativity that went into making it. There really hasn't been anything like it since, though I hear there might be a sequel in the works...for what system? The DS, of course.

Oh yes, starting SOCK, aren't I:

250) No idea whatsoever so I'll go with - (D)


Matt

Well, surprise, surprise, because I already had you down as having a small pile of points- 275 or so- before you answered that question! You must have participated sometime in the past, perhaps while sleepwalking. Good luck if you're planning on keeping with the contest!!

251) I don't think my sister would lie to me, would you? - (D)

Have a nice day (or night, as the case may be)

- Genjuu

Matt

I should hope not, but sisters can be sinister!

Thanks for your letter, Genjuu!





C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

Oog. I'm full. Glorghph. Blghhh...

Flashay!


***Answers to July 11th's Questions***

#252. e) Sophia, Star Ocean: Till the End of Time - 375 points (Though a lot of you got it, some of you confused this question with Leviathan, which is not a creature in Greek Mythology. The correct monster was Scylla, and technique was Sophia's "Blood Scylla".)

#253. c) Island B - 420 points/840 for BLG (This question refers to the obscure RPG "Robotrek"... I'd have no clue as to what the correct answer would be, myself, but thanks, BLG, for submitting it!!)


***Today's New Questions***

#254: Consider the following sequence: 7, 23, 47, 110, 220, ...

What are the next two numbers in that sequence?
(425 points)

a) 330, 450
b) 350, 550
c) 375, 650
d) 400, 750
e) 450, 800


Reader-Submitted #255: You have successfully saved the world, and have travelled back to your grandfather's house. In the house, you find his book of poetry. How many poems are contained within? (425 points)

a) 10
b) 11
c) 12
d) 13
e) 14


--------------------------
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  • none to speak of!
--------------------------

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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. (1 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 Danglers- Fresh from the Square Enix booth at E3 2006, this cute little guy can be yours. Not really a keychain as much as it is something to put ON a keychain, but better used as a figurine, I think. (2 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 (NTSC). The instructions are in each, but the jewel cases are cracked from use. (3 left)

50,000 points: Vandal Hearts (PAL) for the PSX. One of the earliest tactical RPGs of the Playstation era. Latch onto this if you're a PAL gamer and you have enough points! Thanks to Sean for the donation. (1 left)

50,000 points: Final Fantasy VII (PAL) for the PSX. If you're a PAL gamer who still hasn't experienced the greatness of this game, this is your perfect chance! This is another donation by Sean! (1 left)

50,000 points: Suikoden for the PSX. Play the game that started off the entire series! Thanks so much to Ouro and Sean for donating these - it would be cool to send them to a good and loving home. (1 left in NTSC-format, 1 left in PAL-format!)

100,000 points: Arc the Lad Collection (NTSC), 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. (1 left) *********************************************************


My apologies for getting this column up so late, but I had a very busy day, today! I should be back on schedule tomorrow, and with a Xlash-assisted column on Friday, the week should be rounded out quite nicely. Bye, everyone!


slimey@rpgamer.com
***Matt thinks that Italian food was never meant to be consumed buffet-style...


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