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ASK MATT
Eye of Niece October 25, 2005

Matt Demers - 00:48 EST

WHAT A woefully tiring day. For some reason or another, I have become incredibly lazier in the last six months, and I'm not sure why. Dragging my tail to campus every day seems like more and more of a bother, even though I only have one course on the go. I wish I could just curl up in a ball and play games all day in front of the TV. *sigh*

My gloom was met with a spark of light today, though, of course. Dragon Quest VIII has been moved up, and is now slated for release one week earlier than previously anticipated! Three weeks and counting, my friends, before we can see for ourselves whether or not all of this (my) anticipation is indeed warranted. The world had better make sure it's good, or I'll probably sink into a lowly abyss of sadness. Anyone else could sink with me to keep me company though... it would suck to be all lonely at the same time.

Hum.




L E T T E R S
Change of <3


Question #23: b. the one in the sweater

Question #24: d. birds

My Question: Have you ever played a game where a character you hated the personality of did something really heroic/villianous/cool that redeemed them and made you like said character?

Matt

Why yes; yes I have. There is a very long list of characters that I really don't like, and never will like, in many games, but few fall under the criteria you've laid out for me.

I despised Cait Sith throughout most of Final Fantasy VII, especially the first time I played the game. He's still not my favourite, but after certain self-sacrificial storyline events, some heart-strings of me were adequately pulled to give the silly kitty a boost in the Matt-ratings. However, it would have made a better impact if he hadn't promptly been replaced. Oh well, what can you do?

Other Final Fantasy characters, say Tellah from Final Fantasy IV, made me cheer. What a silly thing... didn't he realize that Meteo cost 10% more MP than he ever had in the first place? It clearly displays it whenever you select a spell to cast, after all. How sad... done in by his own uselessnesss, and seeming inability to read. Tsk, tsk.

And the Disgaea sword is Excalibur owned by some famous guy, used of course

Arros Raikou

And yes even though it is my first Dragon Warrior/Quest experience the DQ8 demo plays quite well

Matt

Right. I guess that would make sense, but again, I have little memory for such details, perhaps because I'm too busy focused on vegetating, or liquefying, or... something else. Anyway, I wish I had an Excalibur, but I have a feeling they'd be hard to come by nowadays. Even e-Bay doesn't carry everything (and we won't get into Walmart).

The Dragon Quest VIII demo is fantastic, as I've mentioned about six times already. I guess that since the game itself is almost here, we can just sit and wait in hopes that the earth doesn't crumble beforehand. Then, we can all go to DQVIII land and frolic in happiness together, and you all can write me letters about how good it is. You could, theoretically, write in about how bad it is too, if that's what you REALLY think, but I might end up laughing at you...a little, at least.



Impossigames


23) [b] is my best guess, from looking at the pic in your profile. Light hair, dark shirt matches answer [b] 24) [d] from Wikipedia\Sorghum What was the hardest game you ever played? This might have been covered already, so I apologize if it's a repeat question. Do you think, if said game was easier, it would have been more fun?

Matt

The award for "Hardest game" just has to go to 7th Saga. It's just so unforgiving and evil, and uninspiring. I played ten or fifteen hours in, once upon a time, but was absolutely hammered with the mind-numbing pace and lack of balance.

It seems that recruiting an ally is absolutely necessary in that game, but almost impossible to accomplish at the same time. I THINK I remember having to fight against someone in order to obtain them as a partner-in-crime, except for the somewhat major issue of the fact that winning that battle was pretty much absolutely impossible. I do remember, however, having a teammate at one point, though experience points, severely limited as they are, are divided between the two, making the necessary levelling-up take twice as long. Ugh. I like the original Dragon Warrior a lot, and many people couldn't stand the pacing of THAT game. What does that say about this one? You be the judge.

I'm sure that if it had been at least a trifle easier that it would have been more fun, if by "easier" I mean "playable".

And lastly, what do you think about games with a selectable difficulty (RPGs in particular)? Which difficulty setting do you usually pick?

Thanks,
Flamethrower

Matt

I think that it's a decent idea, and works well for Star Ocean-style games... as LONG as the increased difficulty does more than just kick up boss HP making for longer, more sleep-inducing battles. If enough work is put into a feature like that, the game could theoretically appeal to a wider range of gamers, including the terrible RPG newbies and the "2-1337-2-B" RPG snobs alike.

In my first playthrough, I don't generally select the easiest mode, because I enjoy spice in my food and sweat in my games. Sweat in my food and spice in my games? Doesn't work as well, I suppose... ewww. By sweat, of course, I simply mean that an RPG isn't challenging enough unless at some point in a cave or a battle, you get a little twinge of worry or panic that makes you worry much about how long it has been since you last saved (or how much money you've accumulated, depending on the series). Um, I usually pick the second-hardest level, whether it's "Normal" or "Hard", though it depends a bit on my mood at the time. If such a game is lucky enough to get a re-playthrough, I'll kick it up a notch.



Cheapo carryovers


Hey, Matt,

Your Friday night dream is what happens when you've fretted about something. You're sleeping mind cuts through all the crap & comes up with the answer. Just like when you're trying to remember someone's name or where you put something. The more you think about it, you can't come up with squat. Then you stop thinking about it, & the answer pops right in your head!

Holy cookie recipes, Mattman, I'm in first place?! That defies even my convoluted thinking!! Congratulations to Nwash on getting a job at RPGamer - can't wait to hear what the Project of Doom entails.

On to SOCK! I would say 23 is "c". 24 is birds.

I just started SMT:DDS2 this weekend. Carrying over my cleared game save from the first only got me a choice in difficulty levels (normal or hard) to start the new game. Is it me or was that cheap? I like the SMT series and am enjoying the new game, but couldn't they give a little more? At least I got a bunch of swimsuits (which were actually useful at least for part of the game) in Xenosaga II.

Matt

And a strong SOCK competitor you have been, Jbumi; strong indeed, and well demonstrated in your answers for today, I must admit. Anyway, yes, Nwash is currently being absorbed into the RPGamer entity right now, and soon there will be no hope; he will be but one of us, and I will no longer be the juniorest of staff members, which brings me delight.

See, I thought that the swimsuits and the meager other small bones that were tossed to you in Xenosaga II were a bit of a cop-out in the first place. It would have been far cooler to actually be able to retain all of your old abilities that you worked so hard on throughout the last game. Why is it that the inter-title gap between games in a series inevitably results in severe amnesia (what techniques are you talking about? They aren't in my spell list now!), causes returning characters to drastically change their fighting style, and devastates all of their accumulated physical and mental strength?

See, the fact that Atlus did anything at all gives them an excuse to say "EXCLUSIVE FEATURES FOR PEOPLE WHO BEAT THE LAST GAME!" and thus gives a little bit more incentive for people like you to go and buy the sequel. It's not a new ploy, after all, but in any event, I am glad to see that you're enjoying it regardless.

If you talk to Cast, tell him if a lot of the site's readers are like me, the only time we get to game is on the weekends. Thus, I'm only on the PC during the week. Read, play SOCK, check email, done - time to unwind & get ready for bed (to go to stupid work in the morning). Come Friday night through Sunday - turn on the console & KILL!!!! That's why the poor guy doesn't get any mail. We're doing the stuff you want us to write about.

Sweet dreams!!

Jbumi

Matt

I do talk to Cast, all the time, and he's not alone in the battle against low letter-flow, since it's something I experience with some regularity too. I really hope that things pick up for both of us as we get closer to the holidays, since the more we have to work from, the better jobs we can do. I think things will get busier, but it all depends on how much you guys feel like chatting with us about whatever is on your minds. Our inboxes are always open and waiting! That much is certain.



Unpolished diamonds


Mattinator, Are there any RPGs you have played that, while not being particularly good (or even being downright awful), still had a good concept or two? For example, the combat system in Quest 64 had some good bits to it. Having to account for your character's position in relation to the enemy to both maximize your attacks and being able to dodge attacks in real-timei s a good idea, but the implementation in Quest 64 (like everything else about the game) is mediocre at best, and much closer to "lousy." Also, the way you have an actual job to gain cash in Lunar: Dragon Song, is a good idea, but was done horribly. I can envision ways that the battle system in Quest could have been expanded into something worthwhile, and I can also imagine ways to change Dragon Song's job system into something fun, instead of a chore. What bad RPGs have you layed that have had the seeds of a good idea?

Matt

Man, that's what makes most bad RPGs "bad" to begin with! Almost every RPG has a few unerlying ideas that are at least somewhat inspiring, and these are the ideas that probably got the development staff excited to, uh, develop.

Quest 64 DID have many good ideas. So did Lufia III and IV, despite their crappiness- Lufia: The Legend Returns had one funky battle system, and Lufia IV tried to re-use a familiar world to tell a new tale; often a neat concept, but in this case, a horrifying failure. Legend of Dragoon had several interesting things in their battle system-- despite the fact that I really did NOT enjoy that game much at all, there were certainly some funky elements thrown in here and there. How about Final Fantasy X-2 and Final Fantasy Tactics Advance? I loved LOTS of things about the mechanics of both games, but unfortunately, the final products were craptacular at best.

So, evidently, this is a working list... I could probably go on, but you get the picture. Bad games are made bad almost always by the complete package; not by any specific parts, one or several of which could be pretty cool.

Also, am I the only person annoyed about the Phantasy Star Trilogy? First, Conspiracy Games announced that they would publish it in like, 6 months, despite the fact that they hadn't even finished the remake of the first game in Japan yet. Now, the first game has been finished in Japan, but I haven't heard any news about the completion of the second game in Japan, or the start of productio on the third. Not only that, but Conspiracy Games has dropped Phantasy Star Trilogy from their list of games. Despite being remake-unfriendly in general, I was kinda looking forward to such an enchancement over the original games. Now, however, I'm not optimistic about an eventual stateside release (although as I said, I don't think they've even finished all three games in Japan yet. Incidentally, in Japan they're all getting released individually, instead of as a collection. Bastards.),

- DDX

Matt

Bastards indeed; I'm sure you're not alone at all. Frankly, with a name like Conspiracy games, what would you expect?



I dare ye


Matt (or Cast; whoever gets this),

Recently one of my friends remarked that there was a serious lack of computer based RPG's being made. This sparked some brief debate and another of my friends pointed out that the problem was that people aren't buying computer based RPG's because the majority of them are low quality, which leads developers to think that no one wants computer based RPG's and they switch to other genres and platforms.

So, considering this to be true, how can we get developers to make more, good, computer based RPG's? We can't go out and buy the crappy ones, because the developers will just make similar crappy ones. And if we don't purchase the crappy ones then the developers make even less. Decisions, decisions.

-- Kalledon --

Matt

Though many of you already know this well, I'm among that very group of people. For SOME reason, computer-based RPGs just don't inspire me. They don't call my name when I'm wandering around Electronics Boutique, and they very rarely get the box-flipover in order to read the back. To me, they just all look the same. It's ignorant, and I know it. Whether they're good or not is certainly beyond me. My interests are chiefly in "console-STYLE" RPGs, if there exists such a genre, and I'll give you all this once-in-a-lifetime (or once-in-a-year, more accurately) opportunity: Name for me a computer-based RPG that I should ask for for Christmas, and tell me why I should. I need to break out of this funk; a funk that really, has existed for me ever since King's Quest went out of style. If someone can do a good enough job of convincing me that I need to play some title I've overlooked (and I guarantee you that there are many), I swear I'll put it on my ever-expanding Christmas list.

So, the computer-based games I've been familiarized to recently consist pretty much entirely of World of Warcraft, just because of the massive amount of attention my friends have paid it (and the massive amount of money they've paid FOR it). No matter what you people might recommend, I refuse to put down $30 per month for a game I paid $50 for in the first place.

In the end, I guess that sales are what ultimately speak to developers most. If games sell well, they'll make more of the same. If they don't, we're more likely to see change. Whether that change is good, bad, needed, or not, depends entirely on what your favourite flavour of game is.



I'm not a great visionary... but I do like kitties


Three questions: Whats cuter, a kitten or a puppy?

Matt

Puppies start cuter, but kittens end cuter, though on the cuteness scale, both are undeniably high up there. So, puppies it is.

On the topic of RPGs, do you think the future of RPGs is bleak or hopeful? It seems like as technology gets more and more advanced, less and less RPGs are made. The only system that seems to be bucking this trend is the GBA and the DS.

Given the Nintendo Revolution's new controller design, do you think RPG developers will shun the new device or simply adapt and create a new 'sub-genre' of RPGs?

- Steven

Matt

...and, might I add, with the GBA making up a huge proportion of system sales out there even to this day, I don't think there's too much to worry about. There is, after all, still a somewhat decent list of RPGs, remakes or not, lined up for both the DS and the GBA, and of course, the PS2 has several big names on the release charts for the coming months. There is, however, a kind of "end of the foreseeable future" coming up, in that everyone looks at Final Fantasy XII, looming like a mirage on the horizon; something that we're walking towards slowly and constantly, but we'll just never get to. We've been hearing about this game for a LONG time now, to be sure, and essentially now, it feels like we have nothing "obvious" beyond that, yet, to look forward to. What will the world be like once it finally IS unleashed? What games will RPGamer be covering by 2007 and 2008? Will a Final Fantasy XIII be officially announced (for REAL)? Anything beyond that? What about other big-name series like Breath of Fire? Another Dragon Quest? We have Suikoden V recently announced, but we know that Xenosaga is ending soon, too.

My crystal ball isn't powerful enough to see through the enshrouding mists... we'll have to wait and see what happens, I s'pose.

As far as the new revolutionary Revolution stuff goes, I can't say for sure. I think that the option to play with the controller turned sideways will guarantee that games will at least have the option of feeling "traditional" in play-control. My hope is that maybe we'll see some of the old, with a bit of new mixed in. This controller is opening the door for some neat originality to be thrown into the mix, and if RPG developers run with it the right way (i.e. not into a wall) we might be in for a treat.



This advice comes to you at the cost of eleven dollars


Because reading the rpgamer qna is so awesome Im going to keep sending you letters daily eveen if I bug you with my n00bishness.

I am beginning to make progress with playing my old games, but as far as buying goes... Im broke. My brother and I are saving up for Path of Radiance (11 bucks so far w00t!) so Im playing Final Fantasy IX in the meantime. Could you at least tell me the bare essentials?

I have (PS1):
Final Fantasy VII
Final Fantasy VIII
Final Fantasy IX
Final Fantasy Tactics
Star Ocean Second Story

Don't bother including PS2 games, I got all the good ones (except Shin Megami Tensei... elusive little b*st*rd)

-Tical
*insert poster complaint here*

Matt

You can't become a regular letter-sender-inner unless you're a n00b at one point, so never worry.

Anyway, there is much to sift through when you're looking at old Playstation games, and a lot of it is liked by some/hated by others. If you like turn-based RPGs, try out Breath of Fire III or IV, which are okay; some people will tell you to get Legend of Dragoon, too, but I disagree. If you like Tactical RPGs, you could always try Vandal Hearts, which I've only seen but not played. I didn't mind Dragon Warrior VII, but you have to be a pretty hardcore Dragon Warrior fan to be able to appreciate that one. What else? Oh, Chrono Cross is much-loved by some, and much-loathed by some others, too. Xenogears, ditto. Suikoden, ditto. It's too bad you can't rent these guys anymore, because there's about a 50% chance that anything you pick up, you'll dislike.

Furthermore, with only $11 on-hand, I'd save up for what you want to save up for, for the time being, and worry about these other games when you've got a bit more dough at your disposal.





C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

That's all the inbox has to say for now, and so I shall shut it in order to conclude for today.

*shut* I'm glad that none of you guessed a) or e), out of all of those sprites. As much as I'd love to be as crazy as Kefka, I don't even come close, unfortunately. Also, I haven't done a single column to this date in my boxers, though I WAS wearing that pair underneath when I drew the sprite... dark red with gold stars! There's some nice imagery for all of you stalker-folk out there. The correct answer was in fact c) Did I fool ya?, since I was wearing my grey shirt and plaid pyjama pants at the time. 15 points for correct-guessers.

Many people did a quick search to read up about the world's fifth-most-important grain crop, though. Indeed, d) Birds are the most deleterious of the five options towards that type of plant, for 10 points.

Here are the day's questions:

Question #25: Which of the following games is Matt NOT in the midst of playing or replaying right now? (10 points)

a) Makai Kingdom
b) Final Fantasy VI
c) Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana
d) Megaman X: Command Mission
e) Dragon Warrior VII

Question #26: Because I'm all out of creativity after I slaved over those sprites yesterday, we have a guest Question-asker, my significant other, Thomas, to do the deed today:

Tom: High in the Bavarian Alps in August 1939, Adolf Hitler commented: "Looks like a great deal of blood. This time, we won't bring it off without violence." At that time, what was he looking at, reportedly? (15 points)

a) His own soldiers, marching
b) The northern lights
c) The Pomeranian Bay at sunset
d) A harvest moon
e) The Polish flag

Obviously, a hopeless history major. Hopefully his question is handled with elegance and correct answers! As always, you're certainly welcome to start earning points now; it's never too late to begin, and there are many prizes at stake! Even if you don't get any of the questions right, you'll still get 2 points for trying.

Things to work for (the SOCK item shop!):

100 points: Tilde (infinite number remaining!)
500 points: Guest-co-host Opportunity #1 (5 remaining!)
700 points: The Final Fantasy 1 "Official" Crazed-Chipmunk-Hold-your-Ears Soundtrack (5 remaining!)
1000 points: The Mattie's Mom Cookie Recipe Compilation (5 remaining!)
100000000 points: All-expenses-paid trip to E3 (can this be yours??)

So, for tomorrow, why don't we talk about some things we touched upon earlier today. Why do you think that so many Playstation 1 RPGs were so loved by some and hated by others? What are your favourites? Also, how high can any series go without getting out of the habit of numbering them? Will we ever see a Final Fantasy XX? If the "numbers" are taken away, does that mean anything for the series?

I eagerly await to hear what you have to say! I have some opinions still rumbling around inside, and I'd love to bounce 'em off you tomorrow. For today though, I conclude. Farewell!

wonderslime@rpgamer.com
***Matt is a kind-hearted soul with only the occasional crazy outburst.

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*twiddles thumbs* What? You mean you want me to write something here? Well, fine.

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About the Host


Matt's Next Unhealthy Addiction

Another Unhealthy Addiction

Matt's Top 3 Current Games:

1. Makai Kingdom
2. Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana
3. Warioware: Twisted!

Matt's Top 3 RPG Desires:

1. Dragon Quest VIII
2. Final Fantasy III

3. Mario & Luigi: PiT

Cookie o' the Week:

Mattie's Mid-Semester Cookies

You can do lots of fun things with these; if midterms are making you suicidal, you can eat them, or you could use them as projectiles to whip at your teachers/professors-of-choice!

-1 1/2 cups butter

-1 1/2 cups flour

-3 eggs

-2 tbsp gunpowder

-1/2 tbsp cement mix

-3 oz. cactus spines

-1/2 tsp cinnamon

Mix together the butter, flour, gunpowder, cement mix, and eggs until very well combined. Roll into balls, and place outside, preferably when sunny, for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until moist but firm. One at a time, press cactus spines into balls to create an urchin-like result. Bake in a 350 degree oven until rock-hard, and then sprinkle with cinnamon. Use one of the cactus spines as a fuse to create a needle-bomb, or simply whip at detestable people for fun!

SOCK standings:

1. Jbumi
235 pts

2. DDX
150 pts

3. Ourobolus
120 pts

4. Binser
95 pts

5. Arros Raikou
94 pts

6. Angel0886
62 pts

7. Yugiohfan1986
61 pts

8. darkcecil13
57 pts

9. Gryphon
52 pts

10. Flamethrower
50 pts

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