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September 13, 2007

Matthew Demers - 22:04 EST

EVERY TIME THAT we receive a new piece of Dragon Quest IX propaganda, my heart leaps and flutters, as if the crush of my dreams just "gave me eyes." I swear, it's getting to be ridiculous. Oh, and did you SEE Rydia in that other scan?? If you haven't, just go take a look right now. Back out, back out of this column, look at the newest Final Fantasy IV scans, and then come back. You will understand why I sent you there.

So many games to look forward to... one life in which to play them all! We can do it together. First, some mail:




LETTERS
Whoops!


Matt -

A quick letter, just to point out one thing: In your "Too Close To Call" column, you mentioned that Growlanser has never been released in the west prior to Growlanser: heritage of War. This is where I have to kindly point out that this is incorrect. Working Designs' final release was a wonderful little gem called Growlanser: Generations, and was a compilation of Growlansers 2 and 3. They're both excellent games, well worth acquiring if you can.

- DDX

Matt

Yes, you're right. I've received a few e-mails from different people about my misstatement. Thanks for setting me straight! It's hard to know everything, and sometimes, researching unknowns on the internet can turn up some false "facts." That's why I have to rely on readers like you, too!

I appreciate it! And cool, your encouraging words on the games make the new Growlanser seem more attractive and less obscure, all at the same time. Well done.



Another Growlanser-wanter!


Matt,

Been reading your columns for quite a long while now but never mailed in before. Generally the hot topics only have 1 or 2 questions for me to respond to due to my lack of any handheld consoles. ( mainly by choice as PC / Playstation games already eat up what little time i have free these days ).

Matt

BigWook, you have a friend!

Yeah, there are a few other people around here that like to keep their distance from handhelds, for whatever reason. The problem is that since many- or dare I say most- RPGs are being released exclusively for portable systems, it necessarily comes up in discussion here!

Of course, there are lots of non-portable RPGs too, and you're always welcome to write in on whatever's on your mind: By no means are you ever restricted to the hot topics I've laid out for you!

There's a few hot topics that have caught my attention which interest me a fair bit.

For the RPG that got me into the genre to begin with i would have to say the AD&D games like Pools of Radience, Secret of the SIlver Blades, Champions of Krynn, etc that were on the Commodore 64. I'm almost certain i may have played RPG's before that but nothing sucked me in like the AD&D games. From there i would have to say Zelda, Secret of Mana, Secret of Evermore & a few other RPG's from thre SNES basically ended my game preferences for anything else that was not an RPG.

Matt

Wow... you got your beginnings early. I didn't even know they made decent games for the C64- my only experience with the old buggers was in my grade school classes, back when I was a wee, wee lad. The only games we ever got to play with were things like "LEMONADE" in which you'd have to choose prices to sell lemonade at while running a text-based lemonade stand, depending on the temperature and humidity. Those lines of text... they made it seem like I was THERE, actually standing at the side of the road with a cold pitcher, I swear.

For the games/rpg's im looking forward to i would have to say Growlanser: Heritage of War, Soul Nomad & the World Eaters. Also being based in Australia im hanging out for .Hack// G.U Vol.3 ( not to be released for awhile here yet and seriously considering an import so i don't have to wait & Rogue Galaxy which comes out later this month.

Matt

Two letters, two mentions of Growlanser. Maybe more people are looking forward to this game than I ever thought. Why do I feel so out of the loop all of a sudden?

Longest i would have to say i have ever played a game is 3-4 days in 1 sitting before i passed out at the keyboard. This was playing everyquest and i wanted to get my new toon to 60 ASAP since i really preferred end game content.

Matt

Three to four DAYS?! I think that I would actually cease to live if I tried a stunt like that. My eyeballs just are not built for that kind of endurance race. Man. MAN! I can hardly imagine.

Havent played Blue Dragon since ive never owned an Xbox of any type but i will say i love the anime.

Matt

Oh, I was unaware that there was an anime. That's probably because I'm not much for anime myself- there's nothing WRONG with it, I just never got the taste for it.

As for the rpg's with the best soundtracks, I don't particularly have a favorite all round rpg soundtrack but several tracks from FFVIII & Kindom Hearts 2 moved me enough to get them for my mp3 player while im headed to and from work each day. Anime soundtracks is what i have the most of.

Matt

Mmmm, Final Fantasy VIII does have fantastic music, and I've heard good things about Kingdom Hearts 2 as well. I like making fun of the original Kingdom Hearts, but in fairness, the original did have some incredible music- so incredible that I have some on my computer, despite playing the game for all of twenty minutes. That's highly uncommon for me.

Thanks for sharing, Mr./Miss/Mrs. Nameless! I hope to hear from you again sometime soon, about whatever topics might be on your mind.



Scipot Toh


Hey-o Matt,

I return after my absence. I bring answers to hot topics! In reverse!

Matt

!lufrednoW

Great sound is very important to games. I think we all agree. the one that stands far and away to me is Chrono Cross. I had problems with the gameplay, but the music was awesome. I actually bought an import copy of the O.S.T.(and paid far too much for it). Other games that get credit: Breath of Fire V: Dragon Quarter, Xenogears

Matt

Oh, I totally know. Chrono Cross had some absolutely incredible music, whether you were one of those people who loved the game or not. That game is funny, though- it wasn't my favourite game of all time, and many other people loathe it entirely, probably because it didn't live up to the high standards of its predecessor. Some others, though, truly believe that this game represents one of the best PS1 games ever released. At the surface (graphics + sound), there's no question that it's an incredible game. For me, it's when you dig beneath a little bit that the problems start to arise.

As for the TGS, I haven't been able to go through all the news yet since I was away from internet access for the past month. But I can say anything coming out for the Wii or 360 will get me excited. I still have no plans to buy a PS3, so I'm not too worried about anything coming out for it. Yes that includes any Final Fantasy games.

Matt

I'd really like for Nintendo... or somebody... to step up and announce something for their super-popular platform. It feels like there isn't a whole lot of software in the system's future. When I look ahead, the RPGs that are attracting me are Dragon Quest Swords, which we don't know a whole hell of a lot about (much less an english release), Fire Emblem (which I cannot wait for), and Tales of Symphonia's sequel, which we don't know much about either. There's Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles, which is merely a blip on the radar at this point, and beyond that, I'm at a loss.

Granted, that's still a lot more than I can say for the PS3, which still only holds Final Fantasy XIII and Disgaea 3. The Xbox 360 has some interesting stuff coming out right now, so you should be a little happy about that. Again, though, the place to be is in handheld-land. That's where the RPGs are nowadays.

I'm sure we'll hear some highly-fun announcements as TGS draws near, though, so make sure to keep watching!

The longest I've ever sat and played through a game? I played all the way through Lunar: The Silver Star Story Complete in one sitting. I believe that I got up to 35 hours or something like that. Got to the last boss fight and then wasn't able to beat it. I tried over and over and simply could not survive the onslaught. I was unable to leave the final dungeon for more leveling; So I started over right then and played through it a second time and made sure to level up more before facing the final boss. Grand total I probably spent 60 hours in front of that TV only getting up for restroom breaks and to get more snacks. But it was totally worth it. My only regret about that game is that I(in my idiocy) sold it to Gamestop. You ever look back and think that about games you've traded/sold for credit?

Matt

Oh my god... the bunch of you are crazy machines. I can't believe how many people have stories of multi-day marathons! I always thought that the few ten-hour sessions I've had in the past were pushing it crazily, but you guys are nuts. Where did I miss out on these skills?

As for games I've traded or sold? I haven't. I just... I can't stand the idea. I watch other people in line at EB Games go up, hand a game across the counter, and be told "Great, that's good for three dollars' credit on today's purchase!"

WOWWW. Three whole dollars! Why gee. So you can sell it again for 90% of the sticker price? Yeah, no thanks. Even if I wanted to sell an old game, I'd do it through eBay or something, where I'd actually get a decent return... not that I would sell in the first place.

The game that I'm looking forward to this fall? Have to be Eternal Sonata. The premise is so original and bizarre. I mean Chopin's dead bed dream? That's an amazing place to start. I wanted to expect more from Blue Dragon but everything I hear is that it's easy. I'm all for playing a game for it's story, but if there's no challenge I'm simply not going to stay interested. After Sonata I'm eyeing Mass Effect. I'm really digging the focus game developers are putting on choices the player makes. I hope it becomes even more prevalent.

Matt

You're my kind of guy, Ken. I've heard that Blue Dragon is easy as well, and that's something we haven't talked about too much in-column so far. You know that I love a good challenge, so that aspect isn't terribly attractive to me. I've also heard that the story is somewhat clichéd as well, yet solid. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not, but I don't think you'll get a mind-blowing, inspiring experience out of the game... rather, you'll get a decent, simple, traditional game. With boss music featuring vocals.

And finally the hard question! I'd say Final Fantasy, or The Legend of Zelda, possibly Link to the Past. But the one that won me over completely was Breath of Fire. The first one. If not for Breath of Fire being such an great game that was so fun to play I would never have given the wider range of rpgs a shot. I played FF1 but never got too far into it. It was a distraction game simply because it was different. The Zelda games were good to me, but I've always viewed them more as adventure than rpg. But a buddy bought me BoF for a birthday gift one year. I gave it a shot and was amazed. Excellent story, quirky characters, lots of fun things to do while just wandering the map. When I finally beat it I immediately went out and found more rpgs to play. Given my budget at the time I'm glad that when I had to choose the one game out of the selection at the store I went with Chrono Trigger. The rest is history.

Matt

Nice job. Breath of Fire, eh? That's such a different gateway of entry. I discovered Breath of Fire relatively late (mid-90s, perhaps) compared to Dragon Warrior and Final Fantasy, and I always thought that it seemed so strangely random. It is, however, a good game with a decent challenge level and a more tolerable curve than, say, Final Fantasy 1 of DOOM. So perhaps I could understand after all.

I'm beginning to think my assumptions are wrong. Perhaps most people that read this column didn't just get into the genre with the big bad Final Fantasy VII after all.

So I'm glad to be back to my home where my games are. I desire to finish Bioshock. But I must ask a question! How do you feel about these limited print releases of games? Personally I hate them. I purchased Ar Tonelico and was amazed that there was only one print run of that game. And this new Growlancer is doing the same? It's crazy. They're trying to drum up false demand by making it a collector's item. What about my friends who want a copy of Ar Tonelico? They can't find one anywhere except ebay. How does that make good business sense to the developers and publishers? If they simply did more print runs they could make more money, instead someone else is going to turn a profit selling used games.

Matt

I don't know, really. It could be a defensive tactic, seeing as the PS2's life is nearing its end. At first glance, producing multiple runs might not make sense, under the assumption that the system stops selling as well next year and demand drops off. Of course, as it's turned out, that remains to be seen... My point is, the company really doesn't win if they produce 200,000 copies of a game and end up selling one-quarter of those in the end. That might be it.

Oh, and the question I asked earlier sort of ties into this. Do you regret selling off any of your games after the fact? I know I did, so I no longer sell my games, and I actually stopped buying used games. I read an interesting article on how Gamestop is messing up profits for publishers and developers with their turnaround. I see the closing of places like Studio Clover being related to the money a game is making not getting back to developers. Do you see it the same way? I look forward to perhaps debating this issue with you later.

Ken

Matt

You might have gathered this by my words above, but I've -never- been a fan of trading things in, because I don't think it's fair to consumers AND video game companies.

Why game companies? Well, theoretically, because of buy-back programs, a million people could play a popular title that actually sells only 100,000 copies: They just need to be traded in often enough. Of course, the original company doesn't see a bit of that money; the extra profit goes to the middleman, or video game stores.

Why isn't it fair to consumers? I think it's disgusting that they offer such disgustingly measly credit on games that can be substantially more valuable, too. Back when the PS3 came out, I saw one "incredible" offer at EB Games that made me want to scream: "Trade in TEN reasonably new previously played games, and get the PS3 for 'only' $399." Ugh.

Of course, I guess the argument could go back to the consumers themselves. You've heard it before: "If they're stupid enough to go for it, then they deserve to be ripped off." Sometimes, I agree. But the White Mage in me doesn't.

Thus, I never buy previously played, except for when I'm looking for a game that's impossible to find otherwise. When I go to buy a new game, and they offer me a previously played version for $5 off, I shake my head and give a polite smile by default.

It's good to see you back, Ken. We missed you!



Another budding story.


Hey Matt, Okay, you just brought back a memory from almost 15 years ago. It was my second RPG I have every played. Final Fantasy 2. The first was Final Fantasy Mystic Quest - which I enjoyed and finished. I started playing FF2 because a friend of mine couldn't get past a certain boss - one of the early ones - maybe 4 or 5 hours into the game. I had no clue what I was doing, as I haven't played RPG's much before, but eventually figured out how to win. He had to go home so I persuaded him to let me borrow the game. I started playing from the beginning, sometime around lunch-time, and I didn't stop until late morning the next day. I played for just about 24 hours straight without stopping other than to go the washroom or get something to drink. I knew that I should have probably went outside or went to sleep, or eaten something - but I just had to keep playing to see where the story would take me. From that moment on, I was hooked on RPG's. I had a few more of those long gaming sessions with Secret of Mana, Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy 3, just to name a few. Now, the most I will play in a siting is 3-4 hours with work and a social life getting in the way :)

killerpickle

Matt

That's a fun story. I know, I remember getting really caught up in early RPGs as well, and Final Fantasy IV was one of the first that I ever played to catch me "storywise" and leave me wondering what would happen next. See, my problem (and my siblings' problem) was that our NES was in the family room, so we were always directly under the supervision of mom and dad. If we ever tried playing for more than a few hours at a time, we'd be handed chores to do, or be ordered to "go play outside and get some fresh air." That blasted fresh air...

Thanks for sharing! Don't get too murderous- you ARE just a cucumber, after all.



QUICKIES

Hey super quick, Matt

The music for FF 13 as of right now is Masahi Hamuzu he did alot of chorus work and I believe the Saga series. Uematsu is going to handle the them like SSBB or FF12.

Matt

Oo, I don't know how I feel about that. Then again, Square Enix (Square too, for that matter) has never made a POOR choice when it comes to music for their games. I'm optimistic!

Hi Matt,

One of my favourite soundtracks, though people seem to disagree with me a lot, is that of Breath of Fire 4. I'll admit it's very Eastern, but many of the tracks are so enjoyable to listen to! What do you think?

-Kharamain

Matt

My relationship with that game's music has changed drastically over time. While playing the game, I absolutely hated it. After obtaining some tracks, though, after many years, I now find it refreshingly different from many other games. Yeah, I like it a lot now!



IN CLOSING

Thursday already, and you know what that means: Tomorrow is FRIDAY! Friday is my favourite day of the week.

I haven't had time to do much RPGaming lately; I absolutely hate this time of year for that reason. What about you? Now that September is here, do you find you have less time to game, due to school or work? Or, do you find that with a summer job behind you, you can get back into a more regular gaming schedule? Let me know: This is the new hot topic for today!

I'll be back tomorrow to finish off the week. I hope to hear from you before then!



Send a Letter!

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*hummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm* (I actually don't know yoga at all.)

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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/VC Playlist:

1. Etrian Odyssey/Metroid Original

2. Shining Force

3. The Legend of Zelda (NES)



On my Console Roster:

1. Metroid Prime 3

2. Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance/Valkyrie Profile 2(?)

3. Tales of Symphonia



Hot Topics:

1. What was the RPG that got you into the genre to begin with?

2. What games/RPGs are you looking forward to this fall?

3. What's the longest you've ever played an RPG in one sitting?

4. What announcements are on your wishlist from the Tokyo Game Show?

5. Do you have more or less time to play video games in the fall?



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