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July 26, 2007

Matt Demers - 13:39 EST

WHOOHOO! Scratch one from that backlog: Matt is makin' his way through. I beat Lunar Knights last night. It was a challenging experience, somewhat, though the ending wasn't exactly what I'd call epic and glorious. Au contraire; literally seconds after I landed the finishing blow on the final boss, the credits started to roll.

The funniest (and a somewhat embarrassing) moment happened after everything was done and over with. On the last screens, a somewhat curious message pops up onto the screen. It read as a 40-character password, followed by:

"Enter this password at the Lunar Knights official homepage!" and subsequently gave the URL. Interest piqued, I gave it a try, and found a message THERE that said something like "Congratulations! You can select one of these wallpapers as a prize for beating the game!" Well, the selection that I faced was a series of grey backgrounds, all with the name "dummy.jpeg". Yeah, it really did seem as if the website was left unfinished! Did they not believe that anyone would play their game to completion? Oh, silly people. I shot them an e-mail to see if they'd respond, so I'll keep you all updated.One way or the other, finishing Lunar Knights means that Etrian Odyssey is next on my handheld RPG plate! I can't wait to dig in. First, though, I must dig into some mail, which you'll now get treated to. Behold:




LETTERS
Cuh-rayyyzy talk.


Matt-o,

What's up? Don't ask about the subject line. Remember I'm normal, everyone else is weird. Anyways, just wanted to touch on the hot topics. Since I already answered the first two in a previous letter, I'll answer the next three....

Matt

Excellent! It's like you're an RPG completionist, if Q&A were an RPG. Those people who spent hours trying to find every last Dalmatian will be mighty proud.

3) E3 2007?.....Honestly I do not get excited over an E3, how can I when most of the games or at least the good ones are not coming out for another year or two. So pretty much every E3 is a disappointment....for the most part.

Matt

I suppose that's true, but the present will only carry us so far. Our hobby needs a bright future as well, so it's nice to see the unveilings and first announcements. Or it would be, if they happened, which they largely didn't. What? MORE Final Fantasy II PSP screens!? Omigosh SO fun! Or not.

4) Favorite Zelda game? I would have to say Wind Waker. I really liked all of the others but the personality given to Link in Wind Waker was great and I really enjoyed that about the game.

Matt

Cool! It's another... three games down my console playlist, and Metroid Prime 3 will almost certainly bump it to #4. I'll get to it someday, though; mark my words and mark them good! Besides, I've had enough Zelda to last me a couple of months. I liked Twilight Princess a lot, but Zelda is kind of like pizza. It's really, REALLY good sometimes, but once you've had five or six slices, you've had enough for a long while. And then you get gas.

5) Tales games galore? OH HELLS YEAH BABY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.......That is if they make it to our shore. I love the Tales games and really wish Namco would have released Tales of Destiny 2 and the re-make of the original Tales of Destiny here, along with Tales of the Temptest for the DS. But I guess we can't have it all. I really hope Namco brings these new Tales games over, only time will tell.

Matt

No matter; I heard that Tales of the Tempest was one of their less stellar Tales showings, so you might not have missed out on much. I have great confidence that the Tales of Symphonia game will make it here, though, and the DS and PS2 games have a decent shot at making the cut too. Keep your fingers and toes crossed!

Until the next time, stay strong, be smart and say hi to some random person on the street....you may just freak someone out.

~Chris~

Matt

I do it every day, multiple times. Thanks, Chris!



Dilithium, move aside!


Hiya Matt,

Hmm, favorite Zelda game? I'd have to make that Link to the Past. I remember finding that one Christmas morning under the tree and playing it nonstop until we had to go see the relatives. Phooey...

Sadly, I remember lending it to a neighbor I used to borrow games from all those years ago, but I never got it back before he moved away... At the very least he forgot his copy of Final Fantasy 1 and Shadow Madness (an odd game I was never able to get into).

Matt

That bastard! I'd hunt him down and beat the game out of him. Really, somebody has my copy of the original Disgaea right now, and it was lent out without my express permission awhile back. I dunno why I tolerate such incompetence from my younger siblings, but I guess that's the hand that my parents were dealt. A five-card hand... Catholic, country-dwelling, farming families tend to like playing cards, I guess.

I see the letter backlog can no longer be expressed in numbers. I'll try my hand at writing negative letters in hopes of helping bring that down a bit.

- Tasukete

Matt

With your negative-letter technology, we might just crack the secret to reaching Warp speed! Get on it... just apply for some R&D money from the US Defense; I'm sure they have some extra funds kicking around.

Or, actually, don't. The Wait Mode over in Sock resulted in everybody fleeing from writing letters, so we're actually back in numerical territory for the moment. Fair-weather friends, I tell ya... (Just kidding, totally.)

Thanks, Tasukete!



Misinterpretatos


Matt, you wrote, in reference to Final Fantasy games: If you're still unconvinced of their "coolness," you only need to look at the sales figures. They sell incredibly well in comparison to just about every other RPG save Pokémon. Indeed, a couple of million others would definitely agree with you that the Final Fantasy series is definitely still very cool.

Well I wouldn't agree with "Final Fantasy isn't cool," I also wouldn't agree with "Every top selling game is cool," and would definately not agree with "Poor selling games are not cool." Some games just ****ing suck (Britney Spears Dance Beat comes to mind), but just about every game out there that is any good has a fan site somewhere out there on the internet - Its clear someone likes them, even if most don't.

Another problem: Marketing budgets. Films like The Blair Witch Project sold far fewer tickets than something like "The Lord of the Rings." This doesn't mean that the first is a poor film and also doesn't mean the second is a good one. Ebert & Roeper reviews have little correlation typically with movie sales, which is a good thing. Movies are judged on the merits of their cinematography, script, acting, plot, character development, and special effects - Not on number of tickets sold.

Matt

Oh, ah, I really didn't mean for it to be taken in that sense. You've been reading for a long time, Flamethrower; you know that I think that a lot of really poor-selling games are (were) highly underrated and deserve(d) better. I used the word "cool" loosely in reference to popularity. I mean, there's no question that Final Fantasy is STILL a very well-liked and well-received franchise, despite what anyone may or may not have said in this here column over the past couple of weeks!

Clearly smaller companies have less to work with, but that doesn't mean their works can't be any less great. Sorry for the confusion, anyway.

The same concept can be applied to games. Games published by large companies (Square Enix, EA, Ubisoft...) will sell better than their smaller counterparts (Sierra, Gamecock, Working Designs...). Games released by the latter companies aren't bad. They should be judged on the merits of the game itself, not simply sales numbers.

I should make this an editorial - one problem though - the issue is related to games in general and not RPGs specifically.

Flamethrower

Matt

Eh, don't worry about it. Eds are for anything gaming. Sure, there are a lot of RPG-related editorials there, but RPGs are a type of video game, and that topic is perfectly fine. Go for it, I say. They'll appreciate your contribution lots, I guarantee you!



Ah, they answered!


Hello Matt,

First off... I'm going to appologize about my english... since it's not my first language. Second, i've been playing FFXI ever since it's out in North América and I must admit i'm adicted to it. The game have some of the best FF stories I ever seen (the mission and quest sotry), the graphic are really nice (on PC at least), i've meet a lot of good people in that game that I consider like my best friends in life (yes... I meet some of them), I love the battle systeme even if there's some flaw in it, the event and the things you can do like assault, raising chocobo, skill a craft etc. I have fun in it and it's still is interesting to me and the point of a game is to have fun. That said, I did tried other popular MMO like EQ2 and WoW and I didn't like them and got bored real fast, but I understand why people like these game, they have fun while playing. These game got their own style, it's just that I didn't get into them, even after playing them for 6 month to 1 year.

Matt

See, it's interesting, because the two biggest MMORPG-ers I know, twins Mike & Matt who I used to reside with, played exactly those games: World of Warcraft, and Everquest, and were absolutely addictified to the maximum possible level. I'm a little terrified that if I ever got into an MMORPG, I'd turn into a husk of my old self and cease to exist in my usual form. Those games... they can destroy lives ... or that's what I hear.

To tell you the truth, at first, when I learn it was 100% online, I was really piss and displease. I didn't want to know anything about FFXI, I didn't read anything about it and snob Square for it. Then, a work collègue started to talk about it, he knew I liked the Final series and the more he talked about it... the more I was curious and started to check the game out, how it would be like and I started to be more and more interested that, 1 week before it's release, I only talk about it and how I couldn't wait anymore!

Matt

Oh man. I remember clearly the day that I first read that Final Fantasy XI would be online-only. It was one of the most depressing days of my life. Actually, that time in general was a pretty disheartening one for me, as far as RPGs were concerned, because it was right around then that the Dragon Quest IV remake was cancelled for North American release, tragically. Sad times.

After the initial shock wore off, I just put it out of my head and tried to ignore it by playing Final Fantasy VI for the seventh time. I still don't know if I'd be willing to take the plunge, though, ever. I just can't justify the monthly pricetag, because to me, that's worth as much as FIVE other brand-new games over the course of a year. It's a lot to give up.

The problem IS that despite my constant yammering about how expensive it is, I really DO want to play it, and I feel a little bit disappointed that at the current rate, I'll never get to experience an important part of one of my favourite series. It's a sad world, a sad world.

When I started to play, I was so nervous, I got lost in Windurst (big city if you don't know how to get around it.. you'll be there for a few hours), didn't like the job I choose to start with and insted of changing it in my mog house... I scrap the caracter and redid one... Waited 1 week before restarting to play, I was playing the Tetra master game that came with FFXI. When I restart with my other caracter, I tried to party with a Tarutaru and it didn't went well, I lock myself on the Taru insted of the monster and we basicly wipe because I link all the mob that was in the area. The Taru disband and never spoked to me again. So, I started to lvl solo, I only spoke to people that asked question, I nearly quit the game then... I didn't know how the game worked and no one really help me. When I hit my lvl 10 on thief, 2 other Mithra started to speak to me and we became friend, they showed me how to party, how to fight in a group, the short cut I could use on my key bord. Basicly, if they didn't help me then I would have quit. The sad part is, 2 years ago they quit and I was the one that stayed.

Matt

I used to think that I'd be really scared to go it alone in an online world, especially given the maturity level I've witnessed in games like World of Warcraft. But, I feel like I've grown up since the game first came out, and many people (readers, in fact!) have reassured me in recent times that the social atmosphere in FFXI is a few steps beyond that of some other PWNeriffic games out there. I think it would be fun to try.

Inconclusion, for me, this game is the best MMORPG that is out there right now! people can agree or not, it's their opinion and I respect that. Game are made to be entertaining, fun and a divertisement, people shouldn't forget this when someone express their opinion on their favorite game.

Thank you for reading me.

Geneviève

Matt

Well, thanks for stopping in to lend your opinion!! I'm very appreciative, and you never know... I might sign up one day. Stranger things have happened, like the other day, when I dreamed that tornadoes were attacking me while stranded naked in some sort of Back to the Futuresque hovercraft with an assortment of random friends.



Ah! Another one! Awesome!


Matt,

I look at each Final Fantasy game as an experience or personal story within itself, as it relates to my association with each one. FF XI was extremely memorable for the hardships and difficulties and moments of pure magic that would also happen from time to time. FFXI is a great game, if you're willing to invest the time, and you're willing to buy into it. WoW may be more easy to play and "fun", but FFXI demanding a ton from its players and it was more about the feeling of attaining something than it was fun, even though it was also quite enjoyable when you'd get a good party experience.

Matt

And sadly, with a very limited amount of gaming-time in the first place, I feel like there's just no way that I could get as much out of it as I should. Like taxes and final exams, it's distressing, but an unfortunate reality.

I think the problem is that many time with games, people don't adapt to the game, they expect the game to adapt to them. That is why there is so much criticism with games, and not enough praise.

Thanks,
Matt D.

Matt

Exactly. This is precisely why there are a large number of people who will always and forever refuse to budge from their stance that Final Fantasy VI and VII are the crux of the series, no matter what. I actually know a couple of people who outright REFUSE to play some of the newer games just because they don't play the same. I think it's important, though, as I always say, to be open-minded. Otherwise, you're just setting yourself up to miss out on some great things!



QUICKIES

Other than being busy with SOCK and Q&A, what are you doing during this RPG lull? Other than my exercise routine known as Wii Sports, I'm probably going to replay Skies of Arcadia Legends.

Vyselocke

Matt

See, this is totally NOT an RPG lull for me. I've got such a backlog to catch up on, it's hard to describe. Next in line: Etrian Odyssey (and Mega Man ZX)! On the consoles, we have Valkyrie Profile 2, followed by Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, and Metroid Prime 3. LOTS to look forward to!

What do you think of properties that originate in the RPG realm having shows based off of them? I ask this because, now that I've watched the OVA of the Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation, I have actual voices to assign to these characters as I play through the second game - though the OVA's script isn't terribly good the thing is worth it for that alone.

JuMeSyn

Matt

Eh, I can't really say that I have much experience with that, since I'm not big on any anime at all, and I haven't seen any news anchors or reality TV contestants gain a level anytime recently.



IN CLOSING

One more day will round out another week! This is my 310th column, by the way. I just did a count yesterday. Googleshng, I'm on my way...

For Friday, I don't really know what I want you guys to write about. Actually, yes I do. Vyselocke asked me, and now I'll ask you: Do you really think that we're in the midst of an RPG lull right now? And, if you do, what are you doing about it to entertain yourself? Which games are on YOUR to-play list?

I look forward to hearing from each and every one of you! Keep the letters flowing, like an unstoppable nosebleed caused by an unfortunate collision with a misguided baseball.



Send a Letter!

Unanswered Letter Backlog: 35-ish.



slimey@rpgamer.com
Matt wrote most of this column last night!


Prioritize: Gaming, tennis, swimming, column, class preparation... ahh, too much!

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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. Etrian Odyssey

2. Mega Man ZX

3. Heroes of Mana...?



On my Console Roster:

1. Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria

2. Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance

3. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker



Hot Topics:

1. Is there an RPG lull right now? If so, what are you playing?

2. Final Fantasy XI: Played it? Liked it?

3. E3 2007... discuss!

4. Which Zelda is your favourite?

5. Tales games galore! Yay? Or Ugh?



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