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Nutkin Suit
August 17, 2007

Matthew Demers - 16:26 EST

I JUST HAVE ONE thing to say here: Happy birthday, mom!




LETTERS
Mega Men


Mattlock!

How goes it solver of RPG confusion-related crimes? I must say that I nearly happiness-crapped my pants when I read the little throw-away comment about how you too enjoyed MMBN:Transmission. So one of my favorite little games of all time. SO MUCH SO! In terms of what exactly is so appealing about it, the appreciated-difficulty you spoke of is definitely part of it, but that game has an enormous amount of atomsphere. I really enjoyed the difference in the levels and enemies, moreso than in the GBA battle network games (although that GBA battle system is unbelievably interesting towards the end of them, especially MMBN3 best-in-series imo) and the music is FANTAAAAAASTIC. I seriously think it may be one of my favorite Gamecube game soundtracks, although Baten Kaitos (both of them actually) were pretty darn memorable...

Matt

Yay! I think that it's an undercelebrated game, Network Transmission. I liked it because it wasn't too RPG-ish, and maintained most of the platforming elements that made previous games fun. And, as you say, the music is absolutely wonderful. I LOVE that techy, fast-paced, future-y sound, and there are so many great examples of it in that game. (This love, by the way, is why I can sit and listen to the title screen music for Planet Puzzle League for extreme lengths of time.)

Anyhow, subject matter. The music is phenomenal, which is one of those essential requirements in games with extra-life syndrome (meaning you must actually want to continue playing the same part to perfect it, and catchy music helps elongate the frustration-turn-off time...), not to mention the combo of Extra Lives and RPGism (hasn't been used since Castlevania 2 as far as I remember) working quite well in this title. The Chip system is great, with the only real problem being how overpowered the buster is at the end of the game. This is one of those games that could have expansion sets too--if the Wii had been designed more hard-drive intensively, I can see new boss characters and levels being downloadable in a Wii-iteration of something simmilar...

Matt

The chip system IS more interesting than you might think at first glance, and I loved the analogy of collecting chips to gaining levels (i.e. the more chips you collect, the more attacks you can use of any one kind, etc.)

Platformer and RPG are very seldom combined into a happy marriage, but this game did it really well. Super Paper Mario did it okay, too, except that it was mind-numbingly simple to play through- SPM was, of course, greatest for its humour.

Continual sidetracking...anyway, the music is fantastic, the side-scrolling format is always interesting when done well, the battles were challenging but rewarding, the overall hook of the game kept you wanting to reattempt difficult parts until completion, and the translation and story were bad-good (cheesy but almost so much so that you enjoy the cheese...) and made you want to see it out til its' conclusion. Anyhow, glad someone agrees with me, and sorry for all the invented terms...I'm not even sure I understand this letter anymore! And yes, Brave Story is the PSP's DQ-fix satisfier. Get it sooon!

-Swerd

Matt

Yes, the translation of just about every Mega Man game that has ever existed has been abysmal at best. It'd be nice to get something a bit better, but I'll take what I can get... I can't help myself when it comes to that series. But in the end, I totally agree with you. I'd love to see more games in the same vein as MM:NT, because I'm still not completely sold on the idea of Battle Network's strange grid thing.

As for Brave Story? I've heard things, I've heard things. Some people think it's awesome, and others think it's boring. I don't have a PSP yet, and I may not ever. If and when I do, though, I might just think about poking around and finding the game. If a developer can do a traditional turn-based battle system right, I'm so there.

Thanks, Swerd.



There there...


Hey Matt!

I was shocked absolutly shocked about the QnA letter form Jeremy that I shouted "what this guy is gay what the...."(in german of course since I never shout in english^^) ok I read your bio but since Im german (and actually not so good in Denglish) I totally overread the boyfriend thing! I never expected te holy QnA master to... wait I remember some other Qna's where you mentioned something like that maybe I'm just to stupid^^

But the whole thing is that I never expected that there are more gays on that site than me... I said it im just stupid -.-

Matt

It'll be all right, it'll be all right. There are more of us out there than you might think. What do the statistics say? The number is supposed to be somewhere between 2 and 10% of people (though I don't really claim to know). So, if a thousand people read my column, you can probably expect that between 20 and 100 of them bat for our team, so to speak, on average. I wouldn't be surprised.

Anyway, to me it's neither here nor there- a gay gamer, a straight gamer... we're all gamers here. It's just that some of us like fantasizing about Sabin rather than Celes.

So enough with that now to the newest yummy topic: wich is the cuttest video game guy ever?
I would say for non RPG its Solid Snake arrw this guys a dream this muscles this perfect body and always a very thigt stealth suit^^ For RPG's its maybe Albel Nox from Star Ocean Tteot if this guy isnt gay! And he's cold and evil just cool and yes very sexy! (Ihave always a wallpaper of him on my desktop just yummy^^)
So I would really like to know what you think of him?

Matt

He's a bit too crazy for my tastes. I couldn't imagine spending time with Albel, only to have him burst out in peals of maniacal laughter every few minutes- a little scary, that would be.

If you like muscles, I just remembered Sabin over the past few minutes, as you might have noticed. The only knock against him is that he's approaching one of those "dumb as bricks but really strong" characters that I absolutely loathe. You know the type, I'm sure.

And do you like the "bad boys" in RPG's more or the "nice always to rescue the world (and of course get the cute underaged girl)" guys?

Matt

It isn't really fair when you look at the Final Fantasy side of things here, because the good boy-heroes of Final Fantasy X and XII were pretty much identical (overly chipper, young, blond, and unrealistically perfect). Step back and look at FFIX: Zidane, as I've mentioned before, looks like a scary oversized garden gnome. That hair just really doesn't cut it, and his super-pink naked hairy trance form is more than a little disturbing. So, the badder Squall and Cloud are clearly the winners there, but almost by default.

Actually, you know, the more I think about it, the more I agree that bad boys are better. I liked the mischievous Angelo in DQVIII a lot, the Dark Knight form of Cecil, and even Kyle from Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete. Hmm, I shall have to think about this further.

Youre the best!
Seiryu

Matt

Ha ha, thanks a lot Seiryu! Write again soon!



Didn't see this one coming...


Hello!

Am I the only person that looks at Soul Nomad's map and am reminded of Shining Force, or really all of the old TRPGs before Final Fantasy Tactics made detailed, 3D-modeled playing fields popular? At first it annoyed me a little since I was hoping for some interesting set pieces like in Disgaea, but I'm getting used to the idea. I just hope the story isnt too much like Makai Kingdom; the "regaining godly power" theme is a little familiar.

Thanks,

Lobster

Matt

Now here's a new PS2 game coming out that has flown under the radar in a big way. Based on the screenshots, it looks most like other NIS games, which is perhaps not very surprising, except that you're right: It looks like single attacks might go to cutscenes of some kind. Eh, we'll see when it gets here, but my guess is that it'll feel quite a bit like Disgaea, which could be good or bad depending on what you're into.

Storywise, I have no idea what to expect. Knowing who's behind it, though, I think it's fair to say that it'll likely be a light-hearted game with some genuinely funny moments. Eh, we might have a sleeper hit in the making, who knows?



We need some destiny music here, no question.


Greetings Matt! Another first-timer here; been reading your Q&A for a while now, and thought I'd finally drop a letter in the box! It's kind of awkward, though. I feel like I know you fairly well, but you don't know a thing about this little bird.

Matt

Nope, not at all. It's like hearing from the bunch of you strangers, though.

Lots of interesting topics are being conversed now -- it's hard to pick just one! However, the one that really piqued me was the talk of working in the video game industry. I'll be starting my first year of college in a matter of days, and I'm already having thoughts of changing my major!

Matt

Wow, congrats! And don't worry- most people change their major at some point. I did, as soon as I realized that Electricity and Magnetism made about as much sense to me as random treasure chests in Final Fantasy XII. Physicist no more, our hero became the valiantly-titled MATH MATT.

I was fairly certain that I wanted to pursue a career in the science field, but I've been thinking long and hard whether it was really what I desired. I've always enjoyed sciency stuff, but it's not something I would really call a passion. I was more inclined to study it because of the excellent job security, market growth, and salary. Gaming, on the other hand, is definitely something I would consider a passion. I've been an avid gamer since I was three, and during my younger days, I had dreamed of working in the video game industry. But, after discovering how difficult things were in the market, I gave up that dream and thought I'd pursue something else.

It wasn't until the past few weeks, however, that I've begun resurrecting that discarded dream. I've been looking further into the industry, examining all the different careers and opportunities, tips on how to get started, what to study in college, and many other things. A job in the artistic development of games sounds very intriguing to me, particularly as a conceptual artist. Drawing is also a passion of mine, but I've still got a lot to learn before I reach the professional level. As for what I'll be changing my course of study to, I'm considering studio art, and possibly double-majoring in business management or something complementary to working in the video game industry.

Matt

Those things sound like steps in the right direction! You'd be lucky to get a concept art job, too- I mean, there are many established bigwigs in character design out there, and I'd feel like a small fish in a really, really big ocean.

The thing is, despite the big, big world of video gaming, there are jobs out there because it's a big industry that is growing bigger. It's just that it seems sometimes that getting one of them is nothing more than an impossible dream.

I'm still not quite sure if this is what I want to do -- or, rather, it IS what I'd like to do, but there is a lot of risk involved; much more so than if I were to study science. Breaking into the industry will prove to be a feat on its own, and knowing that I'll have to compete with so many other people is very intimidating. It's either live a secure, wealthy life where I'll only be semi-content with my job at best, or I can take a gamble and put it all on the line for a shot at true happiness. I've still got a little bit of time before I have to make the final verdict, but knowing that the clock is ticking towards the end is something I can't ignore. I hope it's not too personal, but what would you do if you were in my situation? (Not asking you to make the decision for me; just trying to obtain as much insight as I can get. ;D )

I always tell myself to follow the heart wherever it may lead, and in the end, I know I will have made the right decision.

Matt

That's always a good piece of advice to take. I think that in my case, I kind of took a middle ground. Yes, my DREAM would be making RPGs for a living, there's no question. But, I also love teaching and tutoring and helping people out, even if it comes with its fair share of headaches. I know I'll be very happy leading a life as a teacher or professor, so the risk required to get that DREAM job just isn't worth it.

What you need to do is weigh your options very carefully. If something "just feels right" then that's definitely what you should do. Most importantly, though, is that no matter what you get into, remember that you're ultimately in control of your own path. If you don't like what you've started in your schooling, don't be afraid to change your mind. Yes, if you change your major, you might need to take an extra year or two to finish. But that time is insignificant in comparison to the rest of your life, when you have to live with what you've carved out for yourself.

Well, I think that will suffice for my first letter. Thanks for listening, and keep up the good work!

~ Arcadian Phoenix

Matt

Thanks for writing, Phoenix. BEST of luck making those tough decisions! You've come so far already, so be proud of your achievements and full of confidence as you put your best foot forward.



QUICKIES

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And not the D&D beholder either.

Flamethrower

Matt

Ah, but taste in video games is in the eye of the beholder, too. If everyone agreed on everything, we wouldn't have much to talk about, would we?

In response to Kattiara about her overly emotional moment in gaming...I couldn't agree more. I was in tears at the ending of Lufia II. I never replay my RPG's but I replayed Lufia II 3 times and even though I know the ending I still get choked up. Awesome...simply awesome.

~Chris~

Matt

Concrete proof that you don't need high-resolution, super-detailed, realistic graphics in order to get a gamer into a game. Yeah, that ending was one of the best in RPG history.



IN CLOSING

Thanks for tuning in this week, everybody. As I've alluded to over the past few days, this is where we will part paths for a little while; I'm going home to spend some quality time with my family. I'm hoping to recharge, play some Etrian Odyssey, have some fun, and come back refreshed and ready for more. It's almost September... where has the time gone?

If you feel like writing in new letters, I'll keep the Lufia 2 ball rolling: Which RPGs have the best endings? Write to me and let me know!

One way or another, have a fantastic week everybody, and I'll see you again in awhile!



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Matt has Maple issues!


Argh, that Maple! I'll miss everybody next week!!

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