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On the Spot
September 19, 2007

Matt Demers - 19:53 EST

IT'S ME AGAIN. Before I begin, thanks so much to Boojum, who pulled off a great column yesterday. Thus ends his tenure as permanent Sock winner- the original contest is finally, officially, over!

I haven't really done much in the way of gaming recently, so I don't have much to report. I was preoccupied all last weekend, so I didn't get the chance. I shall have to remedy this during the weekend-to-come, I do believe.

Oh right, I got a new kitten! Her name is Annie. She says meow.

Beyond that, I have little in the way of interesting news to share, so let's start with the letters!




LETTERS
Oddest question ever?


Quick Persona 3-related question: If you were going to shoot yourself in the head, which way would you prefer to do it? With both hands and aimed at your face, or one handed and aimed at the side of your head? I'm personally a fan of the one-handed, aim at the side of my head, gun turned sideways. It just looks cool.

Matt

The math geek in me would probably try positioning the gun pointing away from me, so I could attempt to ricochet it off of various angled surfaces sequentially before ultimately smacking me in the back of the head. Knowing that I AM able to actually use the math in my brain at long last, I'd finally feel fulfilled, and just in time for me to say the ultimate bye-bye.



Meta-Questions for the win! I hate "for the win."


Matt!

Whenever I see 47, I think of Alias. Before it started sucking, I mean. So thanks for computing the unanswered backlog to be 47. How do you determine this number, anyway? Is there a shelf life for your backlog? Do you throw some out immediately? I imagine many of the letters I've written are obsolete or even more pointlessly random now.

'Til next time,

Joshua

p.s. Yay, meta-questions!

Matt

Well, no problem! See, in reality, the backlog of mail is way bigger than that. But, in the name of answering letters that are fairly recent, I restrict the number to include only the unanswered letters on the first page of each of my @rpgamer.com mail addresses. So, as of yesterday, there were 47... much to the excitement of Alias fans and ex-fans everywhere. (I don't know why this is- I've never watched the show!)

The only letters I throw out immediately are those that say something to the effect of "I am 18yo girl bored tonight am looking for some fun sometime reply and say hi." Well, those and the dozens of other spam-letters I receive.

Thanks, Joshua~



A Puerto Rican's problems


Hi Matt! (Or Sean if you happen to steal this letter)

I'm a first time writer that has been playing videogames for a very long time. Ever since I was a tiny tiny lad. I'm from Puerto Rico so when I was a kid I didnt know English, which in turn made RPGs really hard for me just because I was kind of winging it. I had to keep asking my dad to come translate text for me and he always was "Why do you get these games that require reading?" My first RPG ever was the very first Final Fantasy on the NES. My party was a party of a Fighter, Black Belt, White Mage and a Black mage and I remember being really frustrated with it. Eventually I managed to finish it once I started learning the language a little more. One positive aspect of not having a full understanding of the language back then was that I never noticed those horrible translations people are always talking about, such as Breath of Fire II and Final Fantasy Tactics. I always read people in forums complaining about them and Im always like "I dont remember there being any errors..." but again, thats just me and my ESL self.

Matt

Hahaha, I never thought about it that way! Yeah, Breath of Fire 2 did have a poor translation, complete with an extremely restrictive character-limit to any names of items, enemies, etc. To this day, I've never figured out what exactly a "HelpBL" is supposed to be.

I can't even imagine, though, what it would be like to play a game in a language that isn't your first, and see it through to the end. I've tried to cope with Japanese games on a couple of occasions, but I just lose my patience quickly, due to the fact that I simply get frustrated with things like not knowing the names of your items, characters, spells, and whatnot... let alone not understanding the background story. If I had ever had the chance to, I would have taken Japanese classes in a heartbeat. I really wish that I had had the ability to do so, but they aren't offered at the University of Guelph.

Anyway, in response to your how long have I played a game in one sitting.. I remember playing Breath of Fire III and just playing it one evening until my mom comes in my room and is like "What are you doing up?". I just looked at her like... why shouldnt I be up? And she says to me "It's 6am. Your father is going to work and you are STILL playing that game since last night?!" Yeah, that was kinda ridiculous. I didnt even notice that eight hours had gone by. Fun times.

Matt

Oh, I totally know what you mean. Those late-nights turn into early-mornings way too easily. For me, it's funny: I'll be aware that it's late, but I'll "just want to get to the next save point" or something. When I'd look out the window, though, and see the sky brightening, my heart would sink and I'd get a bit of a cold sweat... especially if I had things to do the next day. Wahh, I miss those nights.

In regards to being attracted to a videogame character, I always get grief from my friends from finding animated characters very attractive. My main videogame man will ALWAYS be Zell from FFVIII. His goofy self, the fact that he did martial arts, his face tattoo... everything just contributed to me finding him incredibly sexy for a videogame character. To this day, he is still the hottest one in my mind, Wakka the 2nd. However, Squall will be always be the best looking main FF guy imo and Seifer will always be the hottest villain followed by Raijin. Although Chris Redfield in Resident Evil 5 is kinda ridiculous looking... and also always thought that Will in Tales of Legendia was sexy too... but Im done with this topic.

Matt

Heh heh, that's totally okay. Zell is one of my favourites too, for some reason. It isn't even like he has a great character or anything- it's just the sum of all of his attributes, plus the fact that he gets teased by others a bunch. Raijin, though- that's a new one. On a barely-related topic, the Demers-family dialect has adopted a bit of a Fujin over the years. Mom or Dad will ask us to go and do some chore, and my brother, sister and I will respond, occasionally, with single-word responses such as "ANGER!" or "RAGE!" How fun.

Anyway, I'd say that lots of us have had our video game crushes, so don't feel like you're way out in left field. If you are, then I'm there with you. ;)

In response to Sean's question about wondering why people join your party (just in case you're answering the letter)... THANK YOU! YES! that has ALWAYS been my biggest pet-peeve with some of the RPGs out there. Chrono Cross. Lots of people love this game. Why? I don't hate it but I definitely do not love it. The whole game felt more... cohesive when I only played with characters that just made sense to have in your party like Kid and Glenn and Harle and characters like that. As much as I loved Pip, it just didnt make sense to have him in my party. More than half of those characters have no reason to follow you through the whole archipielago nor do they have a reason to fight a being called the Time Devourer. God knows that I would not bother without a good enough reason. That is the only game that stands out in my mind when it comes to characters joining you for no reason but Im sure there are others. I just H.A.T.E. that about that game.

Matt

Ha ha, nice little pun there. Yeah, I totally agree with you. What's with the useless french dude? Or the bizarre alien- what was his name? Starky? Like, jeez. That said, pointless allies have been a mainstay aspect of RPGs for a long, long time. This is true in big series as well as small ones. Like, hmm, why does Gogo come with you in FFVI again?

When it comes to my backlog... it is kinda ridiculous. I consider backlog games that I am yet to buy that i KNOW im going to buy, even if I have to go to Ebay for them or wait to find them in obscure places, like for example Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne, I couldnt find it anywhere around where i live. I knew I was going home to Puerto Rico in a couple of weeks and people in Puerto Rico dont have the same appreciation for RPGs that people in the continental US do so I figured I might find it there used and lo and behold, I did. 50 bucks baby. Take that Ebay. Anyway, back to backlogs, 90% of the games in my backlog are RPGs but I also need to get God of War and Devil May Cry and finish Resident Evil 4 so there are other types of game.

Matt

Nice job! That game is getting harder and harder to find, so you're lucky you found yourself a copy. I like to avoid eBay when I can as well. All of my eBay experiences have been good so far, but there's just something a little bit undesirable, for me, about buying stuff from someone you know absolutely nothing about. I don't know why.

Anyway, with so many great games coming out these days across all genres, it isn't surprising that your backlog of games to play is as big as it is. Join the club. Keep me company.

In an unrelated topic, am I the only that was completely underwhelmed and unimpressed with Kingdom Hearts 2? To this day I havent finished it. I was about to go back to the Tron World for the 2nd time when I just gave up on the game and it takes a lot for me to not finish a game after Ive started it. Everything about that game tired me out. The new battle system, the way the worlds just did not inspire exploration like the first one did, etc urgh. I was just not happy with it. And I called out from work that day too to get it. Wish I hadnt wasted that sick day...

Matt

Well, you and Gamespot. Remember that review- a review that didn't give the game 9 or 10 out of 10? It almost sparked World War III.

Kingdom Hearts II is a game that I haven't really heard much about since its release; people just haven't been writing in on the topic. I remember hearing that it was very linear and very easy, and so some people found it quite unfulfilling. It's too bad, because it was very highly anticipated. On the other hand, others sang its praises back in the day, so perhaps its more a matter of personal preference (or hype! Oops), like just about everything else in the entire world.

Anyway, Sean you're doing a great work with your Q&A host job. and Matt, while this is my first time writing in, you're still going to be missed. I always looked forward to your Q&A column. When is your last column by the way?

~ReggaetonCoqui aka Paco~

Matt

Thanks, Paco! Yeah, Sean is doing really great, and I'm glad to have him on-board as the new weekend host. I haven't hammered out exactly when I'll be finished here, but I expect that it'll be sometime in December or January. I'll miss this place, but in all honesty, I can't wait to put my extra free time into other things.

Write back again sometime! It was good to hear from you. :)



A nod to everyone.


Hello Matt (or whoever else is on duty),

I've been reading these columns for about two years, and have written in a handful of times, although not recently. As always, superb work by all of you who write this column over at RPGamer, and a huge applaud for the excellent letters the people send in! I figured it was my turn to re-enter the talk, if you don't mind.

Matt

I agree- this column is absolutely nothing without the letters people write, and those readers don't get enough credit. If I had a neon applause sign, I'd light it up right about now (but I don't).

Anyway, I don't mind at all, and I'm glad you took the time to join in.

Since I haven't written in for awhile, I'll share my first RP gaming experience. My buddy bought a copy of the first strategy guide issued for Final Fantasy I by Nintendo many moons back (I was nine years old) due to one reason : Wizards! We were always drawing wizards and stuff, and being kids, we loved to act out chanting spells and stuff in the school-yard.. Well, when he saw this guide for something called "Final Fantasy" at the store, he snatched it up, and immediately showed it to me. So, what happens next? Well, we drew pictures of the black mages, and read the book cover to cover, soaking in the splendor of a game other then Mario. Finally, after I tortured my poor Mother, she gave me the money to actually buy FF I for my NES.

It was strange gameplay at first, but after getting used to it, my buddy and I devoured the game in about two days, laying waste to Chaos. Simply amazing. I've been playing virtually nothing but RPGs ever since. I am no longer in contact with my friend, but I dearly hope he is still a gamer, and that he enjoys a good RPG every now and then. I simply adore, and hold to my heart many titles, with Shadow Hearts : Covenant being my favorite game of all time, followed by FF IX.

Matt

That's a fun little story. A two-day Final Fantasy marathon as your first RPG experience, though? That's insane. I think that I spent a good month or longer trying to get through the game for the first time. By the way, I secretly hope that because of your love of all things wizardly, the characters you selected were magically lopsided. The random geek in me loves those off-the-beaten-path parties that don't just consist of "Fighter, Thief, White Mage, Black Mage."

Moving onto some of the other current topics :

Most attractive gaming character? Karin Koenig from SH : Covenant. Her whole character and attitude came across beautifully, and I was pleased to see her shocking twist of fate at the end of the game. A real jaw-dropper, for one heck of a strong willed young lady.

Matt

*sigh* I need to play that game. I'm so behind in life.

Which dead series would I like to see revived? Shadow Hearts, of course. I'd love to see a prequel, following the adventures of Ben Hyuga (Yuri's father), as he does battle with Dehaui. Also, I feel Grandia is an under-rated series, and I eat up new releases of this series. Hopefully a new Grandia will one day be on the horizon.

Matt

Yeah, Grandia too. A lot of people lapped up Grandia III, and my sister actually got really into it. I've said it before and I'll say it again: The biggest drawback to being an RPGamer Q&A host is not getting to play RPGs very often, ironically enough. Anyway, a new Grandia is definitely not off the table, as far as I know. No announcements yet, of course, but we'll be on it if there ever is one!

Well, I think I will close soon, so I'll be brief. Matt, you've been a great editor at RPGamer, with some thought-provoking columns. Wherever the road may take you, good luck buddy! Just remember to build your levels before heading too far from Tantegel Castle! Yes, yes.... DW is a great GREAT series of games! I'll try to write again soon, as new thoughts come through.

Matt

Aww! *tear*

On the other hand, any seasoned explorer/warrior knows that unless you spread your wings and explore, you'll never find any of the treasure you seek! Don't worry, I'll buy a suit of Chainmail before I leave.

May you have a great day, and the same to all of the readers! I just went nuts on e-bay, and bought back many great PS1 RPGs. So, wish me luck as I break them open! Heck, with Final Fantasy VII, BoF III & IV, Grandia I, Chrono Cross, and Dragon Warrior VII, I don't know where to start! Any suggestions?!

Take Care!!

-Greg in Philly

Matt

What a selection! Jeez, if you haven't played Final Fantasy VII before, what are you waiting for? No matter what you might hear, the game is truly incredible, and I hope you find it to be equally so. You can't really go wrong with any of those titles, though Chrono Cross and Dragon Warrior VII are the most divisive of the bunch. Have fun with your new treasures!

Take care yourself, Greg, and I really appreciate your words. Write again soon to tell me which of those games you've dug into!

PS - if JuMeSyn is reading this, I'd like to ask a quick question. Can you recommend, in your opinion, the top five best RPGs for Sega Saturn? I'm looking to broaden my horizons, and e-bay is the magic ticket! Thanks!

Matt

Hey, JuMeSyn... you heard the man. Get working!



A most-wanted oldie!


Hi Matt,

Just in case I don't send in another letter before you leave QnA, I wanted to thank you for entertaining me on a semi-regular basis every Tuesday-Friday afternoon.

I'll keep it short, since I know you only have 60 other letters to sift through. The game I am looking forward to the most this fall is Final Fantasy Tactics for the PSP. Almost ten years ago, I asked my mom to rent FF7 for me on her way home from work. I suppose I should have just been happy that she got the first two words right, but once I realized it wasn't the right game, I let my brother play it instead.. After hearing for years how amazing the game was and all that I tried to get my hands on a copy again. By that time however, the game was pretty much obsolete.

It's strange because I feel like I missed out on something I shouldn't have. Maybe I will be like alot of other people and really enjoy the game or maybe I won't but I would at least like the chance to form my own opinion on it, you know what I mean? Plus the new screens for it look darn pretty.

Whitney

Matt

That's awesome, Whitney. And were you all angry and moody about it, too? I just think that this letter is wonderful, because it reminds me so much of some negative rental-experiences from my own childhood. I very clearly remember asking mom to rent some Mario Brothers game- perhaps Mario 2, since I didn't own it- and having her come back home with "Mario is Missing" instead, causing me to stomp off and have a selfish tantrum. (Okay, I was upset, but I wasn't actually that upset... exaggeration is key to a funny story.)

Anyway, what's even funnier is that I had huge misconceptions about what Final Fantasy Tactics was upon its release. I didn't know much about it, because I didn't spend much time online back then, but by the name, I simply assumed it was some strange sort of tutorial game to help explain how to play a Final Fantasy game. How utterly wrong I was.

The point is, you really did miss out on something great, because to this day, FFT remains one of my very favourite tactical RPGs. I'm excited for you to try it, so let me know if you get the chance to! I'm here for a few more months, as I've mentioned above, so you have a little bit of time yet.

Thanks for writing in!



QUICKIES

Dear Matt,

You are awesome!

Love,
Anthony

Matt

And you, Anthony, are equally awesome. Why don't people send me more letters like this?

Matt,

I'm tired.

~Chris~

Matt

Man, you guys really decided to redefine the Quickie today.

It's good to see that this site is still going strong! This is Josh Reid, a much maligned Q & A guy from way back when. Haven't taken a look at RPGamer in years, so I thought I'd say hi and keep up the good work.

-Josh

Matt

Bah... maligned, schmaligned. Keep in mind, everyone, that back in the day, Q&A wasn't the fuzzy lovey-fest that it is today, filled with encouragement and positivity. It was a cynical place where the columnists had it out for the readers and the readers to the columnists! I'd never have been able to survive.

Thanks, Josh- good to hear from you. :)



IN CLOSING

That's all I have in me for today. For tomorrow, we're going to revisit a topic that we talked about a little bit today with my friend Whitney: As a youngster, did you ever have any strange and terribly inaccurate misconceptions of games you now know and love? It seems like a bit of an obscure topic at first glance, but I think that there is the potential for some super-funny stories out of it. There are a few more stories where that FF Tactics one came from, as far as my experience goes!

Thanks for contributing, as always, everyone. I appreciate the letters, and the time you take to write them, and I hope to hear from you soon!



Send a Letter!

Unanswered Letter Backlog: 45 - I wish I could forward some of these to my past self.



slimey@rpgamer.com
Matt has returned!


Matt also has another busy week ahead of him. Urgh!

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On my Wishlist:

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2. Fire Emblem: Goddess of Dawn

3. Super Smash Bros. Brawl

4. Dragon Quest IV DS

5. Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass



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1. Etrian Odyssey/Metroid Original

2. Shining Force

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

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



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