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ASK XLASH & MATT
Diabolical July 14, 2006

Xlash the Dwarf Berserker - 17:48 EST

BEFORE I SPEAK, I'd like to say a few words. I am back yet again to guest host today's QnA column. It seems like only 105 days ago I was right here. So much has happened and so many games are around the corner. Let's not waste any time with intros cause there are lots of letters to address today.




L E T T E R S
The wishlist of a dwarf berserker


Matt and/or Xlash,

First off, Matt, I don't see how you keep coming up with all of these SOCK questions. Forget whatever you are studying for and go write questions for game shows. Oh and I'm sorry to fill you with such hopelessness.

Matt

Ah, don't worry about it. I'm hopeless about too many things in life. My non-stop quest to come up with my own version of Kefka's Light of Destruction? I've cried myself to sleep many nights over my failures with that one.

I love the SOCK because it combines my love of game shows with my obsession with RPGs. When I was little, I would make up entire Jeopardy or Wheel of Fortune games to torture my family with, and I'd run around bugging them until they'd play them. HERE, everyone comes to me, and I have real prizes to give away. It's awesomely fun.

Xlash, I want your wish list for the rest of the year as well. Not that I'm going to buy you anything though.


Xlash

Well you asked for it.

Xlash's Wish List
# Final Fantasy III
# Final Fantasy XII
# Final Fantasy VI
# Final Fantasy V

Xlash's Maybe list
# Shadow Hearts: From the New World
# Xenosaga: Episode III

Of course I still need to get a DS before I can get FFIII but it is the game I'm most anticipating this year, even more than XII.

I also want to know your thoughts on Rogue Galaxy, ..hack//GU, Valkyrie Profile 2, and Disgaea 2. These are all on my maybe list and was just wondering if you were excited about any of them.

Please share.

- Macstorm


Xlash

To answer your question I will have to do some research cause none of these have really sparked my attention before.

Rogue Galaxy:
Well it sure looks pretty. Not sure if its worth moving to my Maybe list though.

..hack//GU:
The first series failed to keep my interest beyond the first game. I get the feeling this is just more of the same.

Valkyrie Profile 2:
Great! Now I want to play the first game too. Oh woe is me. This game and the original(good luck finding it) just moved to my Wish list. Thanks a lot.

Disgaea 2:
I have never played a game by NIS and I don't know why. There seems to be a lot of inside references that will most likely be lost on me. Maybe I will give the first game a try instead.

Anybody willing to lend out a copy of Valkyrie Profile to this poor soul? Anybody at all?

Matt

By all accounts, Rogue Galaxy is going to be a really fun game to play. It looks nice, and it plays great based on the demos at E3. Unlike Final Fantasy XII, the battles were really lively and exciting instead of feeling clunky and chaotic; fighting just ended up being a lot of fun. I'm really looking forward to the game, even though it's in my own "maybe" column, thanks to the sheer number of other games coming out.

I've never been a .hack boy, so I can't really say. G.U. looked okay at E3, but nothing more; it was, however, evident that the guy demo-ing it for us was incredibly excited about it, if that's worth anything.

Valkyrie Profile 2 looks like a very high-quality game that feels very unique. The two-dimensional representation in the demo was unique, refreshing, and feels familiar, despite the fact I'd never played VP before in my life. Combat seemed to be a bit on the complicated side, and while I didn't really understand what I was doing some of the time, I think I could, given a fair chance. Tasty-looking indeed.

Disgaea 2 looks to bring back everything that made Disgaea a success while throwing out the recent departures that have made combat more icky in NIS games, such as the "free-range" battles. GRID-system for the win! Wacky item names are back, the humour is (I hope) back, and I really hope that this game represents a return to what works.



The Fated Series' Rocky Starts


Good morning/afternoon/evening, Matt!

SOCK got me playing Dragon Warrior again, and I just realized something. One of the items in the king's treasure chests is a key to get out of the room... does this mean the king locked you in his throne room with the intent to coerce you into saving the world? And then he lets you find the key and leave, hoping you'll consider his offer because of how generous he was in letting you go?

Matt

It does seem a bit nefarious, doesn't it? See, to me, it almost seems like there has to be some secret room somewhere inside that throne room, since Magic Key doors don't seem to regenerate unless you're absent. So, if there isn't a secret room, then your hero would have had to been BORN in the throne room, because otherwise, the door would still be, uh, "missing" from when the hero walked in ("open" isn't the right word, since the doors just disappear when a magic key is used). Also, isn't it strange that that door in particular is the only one in the entire game that stays "missing" throughout the whole game once it IS actually opened? I guess it's a good thing, or else you'd need to play for a good six or seven hours before your first save.

Enix wasn't the only one who wanted you to suspend your disbelief in the beginning, either. In Final Fantasy, unless the bridge was destroyed at the same time the princess was kidnapped, then how could the Light Warriors have reached the castle in the first place?

Matt

Good question. Perhaps they lived in Corneria right from the start! Or maybe they were just really smart Imps (or even GrImps!!!) that decided that they had had enough of their meaningless lives. How they obtained those ORBS, though, is beyond me.

It's kinda ironic: the two longest running RPG serieses started off with a plot hole. Oy.

-CW


Matt

Potential plot holes, yes, though a creative mind can think its way around them! And hey, isn't a questionable storyline better than none at all?



A Tossed Salad of Topics


Hi there Matt

In regards to the New Game plus thing, I think Zelda 2 had something simular were you kept the levels of strength life and magic you had in your next game or so I think I've only finished Zelda 2 once and I'd rather not make another run through because it just wasn't Zelday enough for my tastes or RPGy enough either but I thought I'd chime in with that, also I remember there being a begginer's house in FF4 or 5 and I think that would count as an ingame tutorial albiet not a forced ingame tutorial and I also think there was some helpful tips inside the inn in Corneria in FF1 but more than likely I'm wrong, only you can do research to see if I'm right Which reminds me of one thing I disliked about FFX, was the fact every other battle seemed like it was a forced tutorial about something -.-;;; Why do I have to use Auron, blitzball boy is strong enough to kill that thing >.<

Xlash

Well in regards to the INN in FF1 you are probably thinking about the remakes/ports for the Playstation and GBA cause in the original game the shops and inns were just seperate screens with your party in battle sprite and very few options. When they updated the game they made them actual rooms with beds and I think I remember an inn with npcs that give tutorial information. That may be what you were thinking about.

As for forced tutorials, they aren't so bad the first time around. Its during the replays that not being able to skip them becomes more and more annoying. I have the same problem with Aurons re-intro fight as well, cause by then my Tidus is usually kicking butt.

Also after reading the news about SE deciding to not completely debug games until after they are released, I'd rather wait a few extra months for a game to be bug and error free (though many of them aren't even after that ammount of time) rather than getting some bug and glitch riddled game, just makes me wonder if they will make patches for the FF4-6 ports and the Chrono Trigger port to make them more like the SNES ones... and while they are at it they could patch FFT a new translation...*does a drumroll*

So that brings me to my questions:

Question 1: Do you think forced in-game tutorials are a horrible mind numbing waste of time? Don't get me wrong I like there to be an option to learn certain systems but I don't want to be forced into learning stuff every other fight

Xlash

For the most part I have to say yes they are a waste of my time. I much rather prefer the method "Do you remember how to do that?" or "Want me to show you how it's done?" approach where I can opt out.

Question 2: What are your thoughts on Square-Enix's decision to release games first then fix the bugs through patches later on?

Arros Raikou
*Already knows how to kill armored monsters ----
------!!!!*


Xlash

It's not a bug, its a feature.

Really this news brings to light just how many console games I have slogged through that were full of bugs. If 'official' patches were ever released it might have changed the dynamics of many a game. While I do hope this means the wait for new games will not be so long, I do hope there is at least some testing prior to release. While I hardly ever buy new games the day of release there are always exceptions. And maybe its just me, but I actually like finding bugs that can be fixed. Maybe I should have become a game tester or something.



A Kaz-manian Devil appears! Command?


Mattplant Wizard,

I am writing again because you made passing mention to Shadowgate in a previous column. Well done! It was one of my favorite games as a kid. Though, I don't know how you could slice it as a RPG; certainly, it's arguable. It has the exploration and puzzle thing going for it, so I'd classify it as Adventure/Puzzle. But that's just me. And this is the only RPG-related portion of this letter.

Matt

I agree, actually. I don't think that it's any more an RPG than Animal Crossing is. It's just that I think Nintendo classified BOTH games as an RPG at one time; I'm pretty sure that back in the drought of RPGs for the Nintendo 64, they were willing to label Shadowgate 64 as such. Then again, I didn't really play Shadowgate 64; it was very likely an incredibly different experience than the original.

But yeah, the original was awesome, and frustrating, and creepy, all at once. The puzzles were neat, and the fact that you had to keep up the pace to avoid having your torches burn out made it exciting, too. Shadowgate was definitely a classic!

I am writing again using the same opening phrase for both sections of this letter. Well done! Super Smash Brothers: Brawl has me writhing in anticipation. I was a big fan of the previous incarnations, but I hope this one takes the virtual cake. The internet has been filled to the brim with speculation on new 1st/3rd party characters that will be added to subsequent games in the series ever since Melee was first released. Rather than do that and add more bloat to the speculation boat, I want your input based on what we already know. So far we have five new characters (well, four plus a... stripped down Samus...) which will undoubtedly have their own identities solidified in the Smash universe. Based on what we know (Metaknight, Snake, Wario, Pit, Zero Suit Samus), what do you envision Nintendo doing for their stage designs, stage music, and any possible related items that may accompany these new additions to the game?

Matt

I'm 100% certain we'll have some sort of vertically-scrolling stage as a nod to the good old game of Kid Icarus; I am SO excited that he's been introduced as a character, and that game is so wonderfully nostalgia-inducing to me. There will undoubtedly be a lot of new items/objects introduced, too, from the latest games; maybe one of Samus' Metroid Prime weapons? Maybe a monster or two from The New Super Mario Bros? I've heard tell that Nintendogs will be an item in the game, which I think is just a hilarious idea. I'm a bit surprised that Baby Bowser hasn't been introduced as a character, seeing as he's been omnipresent in recent games, but, you can't win 'em all, can you? I really can't wait.

Also, with Link getting a new makeover to match his Twilight Princess palette, do you think Nintendo will take it a step further and update his moveset with the "new and exciting" item functionality they've been heralding, like the whirlwind boomerang?

Matt

Oh, without question. I'd say that there's a 98% certainty that Link will have a few new tricks up his sleeve, especially since SSBB is due to come out well after launch, from the looks of it, and most Wii players will have gotten the chance to experiment with Twilight Princess by that time. Definitely expect some brand new moves!

-- Kaz (was the last to invoke The Platinum Horn)

P.S. I'm personally hoping for the inclusion of Kuribo's Shoe and the POW block to be added as items.


Matt

Now THOSE are exciting ideas, though the POW block was around for one version of SSB, was it not? Why do I think it was? If it wasn't, it should be, in any case. It would be SO fun to have a Bowser's Castle stage, complete with Thwomps, fire-sticks, and Podoboos, wouldn't it? That's what I'm hoping for.



This is remarkably like listening to someone else's phone conversation.


Cheers to BLG for the Robotrek reference, which I suspected but still missed anyway. I'm glad I'm not alone in having a special place in my heart for that odd, cutesy SNES title.

OK, time for flat-out guessing.

254) math is for communists. Um...C or D, I guess.
255) Is this a Lunar 2 reference? I don't know. I'll try A or B, because if they came up in a text box, more than that would be ostentatious.

First I wanted to weigh in on PC RPGs. I don't really care for them. I think it might have something to do with the fact that I can sit on my nice comfy couch and play console games, or in a hard wooden chair to play PC games.

Xlash

While I can see your point I just have to say that some people, like me, have our TV and monitors setup in such a way that both are easily viewable from the same comfy chair at our desk. I could never get any work done if my desk chair was uncomfortable.

But more than that, there's a certain style to PC games that repels me. The only ones I can say I've played to absolute completion (despite owning a surprisingly large amount) are: Knights of the Old Republic 1, Diablo 2 (and the expansion), and Icewind Dale. And I cheated for Icewind Dale. But really just to teleport around the maps; I hated the slow walking. OK, and maybe I resurrected a few characters too. So what?

Xlash

You mentioned using cheats and I'm not sure if its been brought up before, but the temptation to cheat in PC games is generally higher than in console games because the methods do not usually require some external cheat device/disc. I have used in game cheats before for many a game but will generally go back and complete it 'cleanly' if I can. Sometimes the cheats are just too tempting to pass up.

PC RPGs seem to be less inherently rewarding than console titles. I think you need to exhibit more patience when playing many of them; they frequently seem to have a slower pace than their console bretheren. Typically, I reserve my PC for shooters, simulations, and classic console emulators (so I don't have to drag my SNES wherever I go. Plus I can speed up the action in all those sluggish RPGs, and at long last get a crack at those never-imported fan-translated Japanese titles, like Dragon Quest 5 and 6, or the true sequel to Secret of Mana. If that's wrong - or illegal - then I don't want to be right. Or legal.)

Xlash

I agree that most PC RPGs do have a slower pace to them, but sometimes that just want I'm in the mood for.

Emulation may be sticky subject around here but I fully admit to using it too. The only reason I am wanting to play the FFIII remake is because I was able to play the original title through emulation.

Hey Matt, if the previous paragraph could get the NSA on my tail or something, do me a solid and wipe it if you choose to post this letter. Thanks one million.

Xlash

Don't worry about it. Its not like the American government spies on its own people or anything. Whats the worst that could happen?

Hey did you hear a clicking sound just now?

Matt

^^;;;;;;;

I'm not sure I like the way this is going... !

Anyway. I also wanted to sadly agree that Macstorm should go with Minish Cap over Suikoden V. I say "sadly" for two reasons: the first being that Suikoden V is awesome, and the second that I'm starting to realize that the only Zelda game I've ever played and truly loved was Link to the Past.

Xlash

Minish Cap gets my vote too. I have yet to play Suikoden V, but maybe someday.

The first Zelda is a game you sort of have to love because of its place in the history of video games. The second one earns points for being an early action RPG but loses them for never maintaining my interest for longer than about fifteen or twenty minutes. Link to the Past is an utter masterpiece. Ocarina of Time I never finished because I got stuck when I first played it on the N64 (though I was definitely enjoying it in the meantime), I never played Majora's Mask; and Wind Waker, I was surprised to discover by game's end, had bored me almost to tears. I played through Wind Waker feeling like I was missing something the entire time. I had been told that the ending would make any true Zelda fan go all rubbery. I must be the exact opposite of a true Zelda fan.

Oh yeah, I also liked Link's Awakening on the Game Boy. But the only Zelda title I've ever played that really sits near the top of my "best games ever" list is Link to the Past.

Xlash

I have to admit that I missed out on any Zelda games that came out for N64-Gamecube. Minish Cap was fun when I got a chance to play it and I may just pick up a copy for myself now.

But I'm getting off the point. Suikoden V is awesome. It's not perfect (the encounter rate is astonishingly high, the menu system is awful, the camera unpleasant, and the pacing noticably sluggish), and in my opinion no Suikoden has yet to be as good as the original: a perfectly paced, well-told, surprisingly and pleasantly short blast of all the best things in console RPGs.

Xlash

All things that would turn me off towards wanting to play this 'awesome' game. but I shall hold off until I hear more.

Plus, cheaters rejoice: once you recruited the gambler with the dice mini-game, you never had to worry about money again. They "fixed" the dice game in the second (and almost equally good) title, which bummed me out.

Xlash

This sounds like fun.

Suikoden II, while also excellent, seemed a complete and slightly inflated retread of its predecessor. Suikoden III made a noble stab at innovation, and was also remarkable in its own right, and much deeper than the previous titles (I mean geez, the theater minigame alone could tack on five to ten hours of gameplay, without repetition).

Xlash

III was my introduction into the series, so I'm not entirely sure how much it differs from the norm.

Suikoden IV, as we all probably know, was a ponderous, half-assed dog of a game, with a brutal encounter rate, uninvolving story, and the insult that was world map travel: traversing the world on a boat so slow, it was practically in real time. But, damn it all, it was still Suikoden, and few things have pleased me more in my rather shamefully extensive gaming history than the recruiting of the 108 stars of destiny.

Xlash

Yeah I've heard nothing but negatives about this game. Where are you lonely defenders of Suikoden IV?

So hooray for Suikoden V, for its engaging story, well-developed characters, improved battle systems (all three types of battle - duels, warfare and conventional party battles - have been happily built upon), and all-around awesomeness.

Xlash

That is all good news indeed.

Even when I reached the ten-hour mark before the story really even began to get going, I didn't mind. I'm at 17 and a half hours and haven't even gotten the obligatory headquarters yet. I just recently was able to start recruiting stars of destiny. By this point in the original Suikoden...well, you wouldn't be playing the original Suikoden anymore, because it'd be over by then. I get the feeling this is going to be a very, very long title. Hence the Minish Cap recommendation.

Xlash

It does sounds like it would be a long game. Minish Cap, on the other hand is much shorter and portable.

One thing I would like to point out though: missable characters are to suck. it causes me to play through the game with a walkthrough in hand, because I'll be damned if I'm going to miss one of them. I'd much prefer to be able to play through the game, get who I can on my own merits, and THEN go back and find the people I miss, so I'm not blocked off from getting the best ending ten hours into the game.

Xlash

I can't recall if I found all 108 in III or not. Even though I used a walkthrough for parts of the game I don't think I felt the need to get them all. If I still have the game I might give it another run to freshen my Suikoden experience.

But that's just me. Thank you, Suikoden V. For making us laugh about love. Again.

-TV's Adam


Xlash

Thank you for the Suikoden info. My only question is would I be missing out on something if I played V next instead I, II and IV? I don't usually like jumping into the middle of a new series but since I have already played III and enjoyed it I may have to give V a shot next.



DS Lite: Lighter. Brighter. Affixed to the counter.


Dear Matt,

Its been a while since I last wrote into Q&A (last question was asked to Goog).

Matt

He's been gone for almost exactly one year now, so it has been awhile! It's good to hear from you.

Ok, so back in about March, I randomly decided to buy a Gameboy SP and relive the days of Pokemon. Since then, I've charged through game after game on the Gameboy (Mario and Luigi Superstar Saga, Legend of Zelda: Minish Cap, Final Fantasy I, Final Fantasy II, Final Fantasy IV...) and its been really enjoyable, seeing as how i've become far more mobile as a college student and have a harder time finding the time to sit down and play a good console game. Now I'm looking at all of the new games soon to come on the DS, and here is where my question comes in. Recently, I had the oppertunity to play New Super Mario Bros. on an original DS (if you haven't played it, I highly recomend you do so, even though it isn't in the realm of RPGs) and i have to admit, I didn't much care for the DS. I think its a combination of the weight and button location because my thumbs started to cramp after about a half-hour of playtime (something i've never experienced on the SP). So I was wondering if you managed to get your hands on a DSLite, and if so, if it feels the same/any different from the DS. the only models i've managed to play with were attached to the EBGames counters, so i never actually felt their weight.

Matt

It's true. My finger-bones would ache like they were nigh-arthritic after playing Mario Kart DS for 4 hours, and I think it's because of a few factors. Firstly, the old-model DSes have "weird" buttons that for whatever reason get annoying to press after awhile. Secondly, the shoulder buttons aren't well-positioned, as they feel like they're "too far back" and at awkward angles to me. It could just be that my hands are fairly big, but then again, it probably isn't.

The DS Lite does many things better. It is, indeed lighter, though its smaller physical size is more noticeable right away. It looks nicer, and the screen is very remarkably bright. I noticed a tremendous difference when I first made the switch, but switching BACK is far more noticeable, as it now seems like the old-model DS is lit by a nearly-burnt-out-lightbulb. The buttons are "plumper and juicier", feeling softer, and are a pleasure to press on the Lite, as is the control pad; snaking on Mario Kart will no longer cause blisters o' ill after short periods of time have passed. I still find the shoulder buttons to be a little bit awkwardly placed, but... that might be because of my big hands? Again? The sound quality also seems like it's a little lower on the DS Lite, and the volume doesn't go as high, it seems, though if you play with headphones, I don't think there is a difference. In any case, the handheld does pose a marked improvement over the original DS.

Final Fantasy III is tempting me, so I have a feeling that i'll be finding some way to make the DS work, but it'd be nice to know if anyone knows what the Lite is like. Thanks

Zindrazil


Matt

If it will cost ten extra dollars, it's a worthy investment to make, trust me. Then you'll be able to play Final Fantasy III along with the rest of us, and we'll all live in joy and happiness for evermore! Or, at least until FFXII comes out. Urp- except for the small fact that FFXII will probably beat FFIII to store shelves in North America. Whatever. Thanks for your letter, Zindrazil!



I wonder how many Davids, Matts, and Chrises are reading this column right now...


Hey Matt!

No, not you, that Matt. The one writing the column!

And you too, Xlash!


Xlash

You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? Then who the **** else are you talkin' to? You talkin' to me? Well I'm the only Xlash here. Who the **** do you think you're talking to? Oh yeah? Huh? Ok.

Matt

Eeep! Don't attack the writers!! (He's got some Berserker in him...)

Much less confusion there.

I hear you about having a common name. The problem with Chris is that it is not only a common guy's name, there are variations of Chris for women, too. My third grade class had three Chris's, a Christian, a Crissy, a Christy, and a Christine. I swear, it's a game for some people. That's why most people called me by my last name in high school, it was the only way to figure out who they were talking to.

Xlash

I kinda like having the common name David. I was named after my dad so I was I a Jr. I also have a uncle and cousin named David Sr/Jr so during the holidays we just had to get pointed at a lot when people were trying get our attention. I also love the fact that that my last name is common enough that there are multiple listings in the phone book.

Anyhoo, I have an off the wall question for the two of you. Have you ever played several games consecutively that turn out to have something really unusual in common? I realized the other day that my game backlog is rotating around the number three. I'm currently playing the second game in Growlanser, which is Growlanser 3. On deck is Ratchet and Clank 3 and Onimusha 3. And, my next-to-buy list consists of Shadow Hearts: To the New World (the third SH game), Metal Gear Solid 3, and Paper Mario: Thousand Year Door (which is the third Mario RPG, if you count the original on SNES). Either there's something bizarre going on, or there's just something bizarre going on in my head.

Thanks!

BigWook


Xlash

This happened to me last year when I was playing Shadow Hearts II, Xenosaga II and X-Men Legends II all around the same time. I'm sure this may have happened before but that is my most recent memory.

Matt

I find that I'll come across names or terms that I've never heard before all at once in multiple games. For instance (and I based a SOCK question on this, too), while playing Wild Arms: Alter Code F, I came across Asgard, the golem. A fine and good name, Asgard was, but then a very short while later, I discovered that the world of the gods in Riviera: The Promised Land just happened to also have that name. It's stuff like that that I often run across, interestingly.

Thanks for your letter, BigWook, Chris, Matt, Asgard, or whatever you want me to call you!



They're plotting...


Hi Xlash

I wonder if we should suggest to Matt that he try Neverwinter Nights. If his computer is only two years old he could surely play that and it is a blast for a computer RPG. Besides, there is so many mods and upgrades available for NWN that poor Matt would never get to the rest of his backlog!


Matt

That's NOT a good thing!!

Xlash

Neverwinter would be a good game thats new-ish and doesn't require massive system requirements. Months ago I purchased the Diamond version and had to uninstall my Gold version so I even have a copy he can try to see if he likes it or not. Let me know Matt if you want to give it a try. The worst that can happen is you become addicted to it.

Matt

That's exactly my worry!

I read the Square Enix announcement about in-game advertising. What are they thinking of. I hate having the real world intrude into my fantasies and can’t imagine how this could play out. What are your thoughts?

Sock
#256 b)
#257 e)

Angus Creighton


Xlash

I'm kinda torn with this news. If the placement is not out of place for the game setting and not in my face I don't really care what they advertise. I don't play too many games set on 'Earth' much less current time period 'Earth' so if its out of place it will take me out of the game completely.





C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

A wonderfully hot weekend is in the works. From the looks of it, we could get up into the mid-30s C (mid-90s Fahrenheit) along with enough humidity and smog to satisfy any sauna-going smokers. It's too bad my basement apartment doesn't have central air; I could end up sweating my brains out.

Also, thanks, Xlash, for a fantastic job in today's column! We had a long one to slog through, he and I, but that's only because I've had so much mail, I don't know what to do with it all. For that, I thank all of you, my loyal readers, for contributing so immensely!

Flashay!


***Answers to July 13th's Questions***

#256. b) 2F - 380 points (This was a relatively easy question to research, and I'm sure that a few fan-made Phantasy Star pages have received a surprise injection of hits as a result. Good job, everyone!)

#257. e) 1/e - 425 points/850 for JokingChimer (Wheee... now HERE is the math question! The probability of not destroying any item successfully with an item destroyer is given by (1-1/x)^x, where x is the number of items possessed. The limit of this expression as x goes to infinity is 1/e! Thanks, JokingChimer, for the crazy submission!)


***Today's New Questions***

Xlash casts Blind! The questions were obscured!

Reader-Submitted #258: WyAt .S t-H olDeat Af;?VFL cl&b/ (400 points)

a) C(ll.Nhw0Of
b) GE#lomg
c) mW--b-rbe
d) N_r%h Mrlb.urNe
e) F*.z-oY


Xlash's #259: @hich (f tH..- is cOmsid_r.. yhe Fu$St !o ... . .pell pOINT W^st-m? (400 points)

a) BiN..-es * _uRr.ws
b) TznNel. & yrollS
c) Erngeons & bbbgons
d) C..vA;rY ^ So-xety
e) cASTord ^ xruxaDers


How unprecedentedly evil! I love 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 after a week, 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!)
  • none to speak of!
--------------------------

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SOCK's Item List

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

2,000 points: Your choice of Quick Spell (1 left) or Blizzard Spell (1 left)
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5,000 points: Your choice of Drainra Spell (2 left) or Haste Spell (1 left)
7,000 points: Your choice of Firaga Spell (1 left) or Demi Spell (2 left)
10,000 points: Your choice of Item Destroyer (1 left) or Warp Stone (1 left)
14,000 points: Your choice of Confuse Spell (2 left) or Thundara Spell (1 left)
19,000 points: Your choice of Rename Card (1 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! [Pictured] (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. [Pictured] [Inside, Pictured] (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. [Slime, Pictured] [Slime Snail, Pictured] (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. [Front, Pictured] [Back, Pictured] (2 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) *********************************************************


And that does it for yet another week of Questions and Answers. Please join me again next week when I resume my duties on Tuesday! In the meantime, Josh will be taking over for the weekend as he always does, so keep sending your great letters in, and he'll do his best to get them up for you!

Have a safe and fun weekend, everyone!

slimey@rpgamer.com
***Matt is getting set to get wet with sweat.


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What is Matt playing?

1. Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones

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3. Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete

What does Matt want to play?

1. Xenosaga: Episode III

2. Final Fantasy III

3. Disgaea II

SOCK's Top 25:

1. Alexander
22,322 pts

2. Macstorm
20,615 pts

3. Alan Tse
18,373 pts

4. Aurelius
18,336 pts

5. Kanato
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6. Erika
15,388 pts

7. MagRowan
14,037 pts

8. DMJewelle
13,335 pts

9. JokingChimer
13,238 pts

10. TV's Adam
11,495 pts

11. Cap
11,399 pts

12. Colabottle
11,196 pts

13. Dermot
10,961 pts

14. LufiaLvr
9,700 pts

15. FinalDelerium
9,147 pts

16. Belthasar2
8,313 pts

17. Xlash
7,942 pts

18. Flamethrower
7,753 pts

19. Purelunatic
7,470 pts

20. Leaper
7,305 pts

21. Knighttrain
6,566 pts

22. Arros Raikou
6,513 pts

23. BLG
5,733 pts

24. Gaijin
5,478 pts

25. Tabor
5,191 pts

26. Gilgamesh
5,168 pts

27. Donovan
4,110 pts

28. DDX
3,688 pts

29. CW
3,583 pts

30. Bucket
2,860 pts

31. Megan
2,855 pts

32. Kyre7Lar
2,520 pts

33. Angus Creighton
2,445 pts

34. Rexy
2,284 pts

35. JuMeSyn
1,779 pts

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