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Frozen Meatloaf December 12, 2005

Matt Demers - 02:21 EST

THIS IS THE TIME OF YEAR where you can be insanely happy, insanely depressed, or somewhere in-between, depending on the stage of life you happen to be in.

After going home for my first stretch of holiday cheer with the family, some old man went and dumped a giant blob of snow on top of us Thursday night. The old man's name? I presume it was "Winter", but it could have been Howard or Horace or Harold (why is it that all of the "old man" names start with H?) Anyway, it left my sister Danielle and my mother grumbling; my sister commutes everyday and my mom just hates the cold. My brother, though, was ecstatic, because he got to spend a school-free day at home. In-between was my father, who enjoys the weather but has the "nice-guy" job of going up and down our gravel road with his big tractor and ploughing out neighbours' driveways. Me? I'm definitely in the HATE category. Yeah yeah, I know I live in Canada.

Let's get this week officially KICKED off!

Dragon what now?

My friend,

They say dissent is patriotic. Well, call me Mr. Patriot, then. I have never played a DQ game, for several reasons: 1) As I got more involved in athletics during my time in HS and College (graduated from Hamilton College this past May), my time to play games dwindled severely and 2) With less time, I wasn't going to jump into a new series because if I liked one game..I would HAVE to play them all, and my back-log of RPGs was quite significant.


The backlog... yes, the dreaded backlog, ever-growing in size, is one of the naggiest video-game-related things if you don't count persistent/disapproving parents or significant others.

I understand your desire to play every RPG in a likable series, but hey; there are so many series that have soured over time, you might eventually lose interest in one of them, freeing up some valuable time for something new!

Anyway, this new installment of the series doesn't interest me at all. In fact, it turns me off. One, I don't like high encounter rate. Actually, I don't like all the constant battles in an RPG period, I primarily play them for the story. Two, the artwork. I enjoy very much the art in DBZ, but this game just looks too much like it (yes, I understand it is by the same guy). I can't help but look at the main character and thing "Gohan". And to make it worse, I see in the DQVIII commercial that he does some sort of thing that powers him up to look like a Super-Saiyan Goku, spiky blonde hair and all. What the heck is up with that? Sure as heck not original artwork. I can't get immersed in a story if everytime I look at the characters I think Gohan, Goku, or Trunks. So, I will not be picking up a copy of DQVIII. Maybe it's my loss, maybe not.

-Insert random name here


For one, the random battles are fairly frequent, yes, but they're also frequent in several other incredibly popular RPGs, including the grand FFX. They aren't particularly bothersome though, and the game wouldn't "work" without them. To me, if battling in any form isn't your thing, then why not go read a book? These are called "RPG"s for a reason, and while a great story is definitely a plus, it's worth nothing without a great game experience to back it up, in my opinion.

Secondly, there's more to a game than its graphical style. I've never been really into Dragon Ball Z at all, but I'm fully aware that the same guy did the art for both that and DQVIII. Toriyama, however, has ALWAYS done Dragon Quest's art through all of Dragon Quest history, so having anyone else do it in any other way would be an appallingly bad idea, I think.

That said, it is certainly totally up to you which games you choose to invest in! I will say this, though: The only negative sentiments I've heard about Dragon Quest VIII to this point have come exclusively from those who haven't played the game. I know you've heard it all before, but the expansive world is breathtaking, and the music, storyline, and gameplay are all well done as well!

'Tis about all. Square Enix had better give me a special hug or somethin' for the amount of kudos I've granted this game.

*NOTE: this is now the third time I attempt sending this. For some reason, it won't let me send to So, I've sent it to the qna account. And to think, all this time I thought you didn't publish the email because it was anti-DQVIII!


No no no, absolutely not. I try to keep the column as representative of my readers as possible, so I try to publish as many opposing viewpoints as I can, to reflect everyone's opinions. If there appears to be a large amount of DQVIII love around here, maybe that's reflective of what everyone else thinks about it, y'know?

I'd love to have my wonderslime@rpgamer account, but it's still defunct for whatever reason, which is most unfortunate. You did the right thing by sending it here, and that's where everyone else should be sending mail until further notice!

Sorry about the difficulties, and thank you for your letter, Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms/Dr Insert random name here!

My kingdom for a heart. Stew.

Hey Matt!

Kingdom Hearts 2 is about to be released in Japan and is seen as the largest holiday release over there. Do you think the sequal will be huge over here in the U.S. like Japan? I know the game has a large fanbase in both countries but many gamers in the states are turned off due to the Disney aspect. But the storyline in KH is fantastic and looks like it's about to take a dark turn. I hope KHII will gain a great reputation like the Final Fantasy series has and expand. What were your opinions about the game overall and are you psyched about the sequal?


I'm pretty sure that the release of Kingdom Hearts II is going to be a very big phenomenon indeed; it's almost assured to be the number TWO RPG seller in North America next year, only to be eclipsed by Final Fantasy XII, if that game actually DOES get released in 2006, which of course it had better after all of this time. Actually, wait... hmm, well, maybe Zelda: Twilight Princess will do very well for the Gamecube too, if you count that as an RPG. I guess it's a toss-up after all! Regardless, it's going to make Square Enix much money.

My personal feelings, though? I really hope that they change a few things for the next release. I couldn't stand more than a few minutes of the original Kingdom Hearts' remarkably bland battle system; that alone put a bitter taste in my mouth when I was already suspicious of the game in the first place. No status ailments? "Slash, slash, slash! Slash, slash, slash!" repeated fifty times per minute? No thanks. Also, I've said this before, but blending Disney with all sorts of Final Fantasy games, to me, seems like a terrible combination cheaply designed to gather both RPG fans and "AWWCUTIEDISNEY!!! fans" together to make for ridiculous sales.

Anyway, maybe that's shallow; lots of people have obviously loved the game, and there is a huge fanbase, so don't let me strike down your KH glee. Who knows? If they tweak enough things to keep battles at all interesting in #2, and people rave about it as well, I might just invest my own munny to give it a real try.

An epic question

Hi You,
Will Valkyrie Profile get reprinted?
The Sex.


I never thought I'd get mail from The Sex, but I'm truly honoured. It's funny you ask this question: Valkyrie Profile information has just flooded the world this week. Check the details out in this news update to hear some happy things. The only catch? You'll have to be a PSP owner, which might be depressing. Also, there isn't really any official word yet that it's coming across the Pacific Ocean yet, but if you stay tuned to RPGamer, I guarantee you we'll let you know if it will be in the future!

More FFXII Demo stuff, and a sprinkling of Twilight Princess, topped with an XBox 360 sauce

Hey, Matt.

I would personally like to comment on a bit of everything. First of all, I would like to start on the XBox 360. I know many are going to go at me for saying this, but it is only IMO. I personallly expected the actual flaws on their incredible console (note I am being sarcastic). I will be honest with you (and, if this is published, the readers): I enjoyed that note in which the aforementioned is said. Why? Simple: I thought of this Dew TV commercial in which there is this guy running like an idiot yelling "I got an XBox 360! This is the best day of my life!!!" (or something like that). And I thought of all the guys who bougth the 360 and said that coming out of the store... and obviously, of what they were yelling when it did not work.


Bwahahaha... and while it seems funny at first glance, there is no bigger disappointment. Something even better though:

Some people paid a LOT more than they should have on eBay to get a console as soon as possible. Imagine if one of THOSE were defective, after the buyer paid upwards of a thousand dollars for it? The great irony: These very people who spent copious amounts of money to get it sooner would probably have had to wait much longer than everyone else to trade it in for a working one in the end, in such a case, with the e-mail and the shipping and everything else. Hahahaha... those sillies!

But I prefer to talk (I personally am not interested in Microsoft's console, I have no idea what is MS doing in the video game industry, actually) about other things. Being more direct, I just got DQ8 and played the FFXII demo (I have yet to play the actual DQ game, but I got exams and stuff). I personally like and dislike the way the game is played. I like the idea of the Active game, because, for some reason, I find it lively and intense. Sure, I prefer to strategize, but I like it like this because it just shows how good I am thinking fast without going crazy. That is what I like, what I dislike is, the complex way the subcommands (W., B, T., G. Magic) are set. In Wait, it is all right, but in Active it limits you too much. I am sure glad it was the demo, but then again, I did not have too much trouble with the game. If the errors are improved, FFXII could become a great game, right now, I have no concrete opinion, but it has the potential. I am sure glad it was delayed (though months ago I wanted to kill Square Enix for doing so).


Sure, it certainly has the potential. I haven't even tried the Active mode demo yet because I got fed up enough with the Wait mode and I haven't had a huge amount of spare time in recent weeks. I guess that all games in development phase are necessarily works-in-progress, and that especially seems to hold true for this game, which of course has been delayed again and again and again to "perfect" things. Or course, to me, things are far from perfect, even now; we shall see, though. Interesting thing: My sister just played through the demo too, and her biggest gripe had to do with the menus, but only in that there's no way to run around the map screen pushing X everywhere to check objects out: The button now brings up the battle menu instead of being an action button, and that irritated her to no end.

About Zelda TP... what to say... I expected much of this game, but after seeing some images of Ganon... I kind of think back at the highly overrated fight of Ocarina of Time (I say overrated because you can take him down without even being hurt) and am let down. I will not comment onto this until later.

Goodbye, Matt!


Not a whole heck of a lot has been made known about Twilight Princess to this point, and Nintendo hasn't sent out more than a handful of screens for everyone to ogle while we wait. I guess that's all we do for now... wait. Together. All of us. It'll be okay!

The final boss of Ocarina of Time was pretty easy, I'll agree, but it was STILL darn cool. Don't let a few images cloud your excitement, though; given that this is pretty much the only title Nintendo is working on at all for its Gamecube, I'd be quite shocked if it didn't turn out to be at least pretty good.

Another of those gluttons-for-punishment

Where can i find the Negri Ocean Lab on the Game Lunar Dragon Song for Nintendo DS ? I need a Levitation Stone from this place in order to continue on with the game. Can you help me or tell me how i can get some kind of a online strategy guide?


I could... and I will, because I'm in a good mood. Navigate your way to the games section of RPGamer and search out your title; perhaps there's a walkthrough or something there, if anybody felt inspired enough to write one. It seems to me, though, that no one liked the game you're playing, so the chances of that happening seem to be close to nil. I could, of course, be wrong.

Otherwise, if I can't find something at RPGamer, I usually just type a game's name surrounded by quotation marks " " into a Google search to find out whatever I'm trying to find out, and it seems to be an effective strategy for most other people as well. You might want to try that, though beware: The game is both unpopular AND fairly new, so don't expect to find too much. Maybe a really keen reader could write in and answer your mini-Q!

Mustard of Doom

Hi Matt(?)!

I've never played any of the Mario RPGs, yet run into rave reviews about them everywhere I turn. Curiosity is getting the better of me, and I'm probably going to look into getting one after Christmas. I know you're a big fan of them, so out of the ones available for Gamecube and the portables, do you have a particular favorite? Are there any drastic differences in gameplay among them? I know how you feel about ports....but....but...a Shining Force 2 port would flat out rock and I will lobby for one until my dying breath.

Thanks, bye! *chimaera wing*


Interestingly refreshing and different question, Jeremy! I've got to ponder this one... see, because in my bio (and elsewhere) I have indicated my top ten RPGs of all time, and one of those is Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door. I really, really enjoyed this game; I'd certainly say it was one of my favourite RPGs of that great year.

Thinking back, though, I'm really, really torn as to whether I enjoyed that one or Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga better. There's more to do and more to find for PM:TTYD, but the humour is even more bang-on in M&L:SS than it is in any of the other titles... M&L:SS also contains Fawful, who is, without exaggeration at all, one of my all-time favourite characters in the history of video games.

The games have evolved over time, like most series out there: The original Mario RPG played out like a fairly typical turn-based game, and had a fairly big world featuring quite a bit to keep you occupied. The other three allow you to progress by learning new techniques as you go through the story that allow you to do new things to reach new places and achieve new goals, up until the end. The battle systems for all of the Mario RPG games are more or less similar; they're turn-based with an action element involving cleverly-timed button-presses that works to keep things quite fun and involving.

None of them are BAD... and while the titles are largely easy, both PM:TTYD *and* M&L:SS can be surprisingly challenging now and then. I play them chiefly because they have fun battle systems and hilariously wonderful dialogue, and I highly recommend them to anyone who doesn't take their gaming too seriously.

Also, as beautiful as a Shining Force 2 port would be, we'll only see one if the new Shining titles have invoked any interest in RPGamers at all. Since I'm not really sure how Shining Tears and Shining Force Neo did in terms of sales, I can't really tell you how likely a port would be right now. We'll be keeping our fingers crossed, though!


Two weeks from now, Christmas will be over and done with! It's so hard to believe, mostly because I have an unfathomable number of things to do before then. Why, oh why do I leave shopping until the last minute?? I'm not a "last minute" kind of guy! I get all stressed out... unfinished Christmas shopping gives me the worst nagging feeling, and I also dislike malls, especially ones that feature stores.

*stretch* Now there's a Christmas idea... if anyone is looking for gift ideas, I could use a good massage. At this rate, I'm going to look like the Hunchback of Notre Dame by sometime in the middle of next year.


What about last time...? How badly were you SOCKED by the pair of insane questions? Let us see...

Many of you must have gone on some serious hunting, here. If you're interested, "Raspberry Heaven" was a Q&A column that appeared wayyyy back in August of 2002. In it, there are more "to"s than anything else, so the correct answer was b) to. Your researching skills were enough to grant you a huge 55 points if you were right!

For those of you who attempted the Analysis question that was #70, a family of functions must be closed, bounded and d) uniformly equicontinuous to be compact. Now THERE's some math for ya.

Thanks to Kanato and to co-host of last week Ourobolus for the questions! Remember that anyone who submits a question that I decide to use will be awarded double the points that the question is worth, so keep trying! Also, congratulations to Kanato again for exceeding 200 points! For that, you are awarded the first tilde of the week!


Question #71: Follow me!--> Which of the following eras of Chrono Trigger don't have sealed black boxes or doors that are unlockable by a certain special item? (25 points)

a) 2300 AD
b) 1000 AD
c) 600 AD
d) 12,000 BC
e) 65,000,000 BC

Question #72: Ask Jeremy!--> In the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail, how many real horses are there? (40 points)

a) none, they all use coconut shells and skip about
b) one, in Scene 24
c) one, when the famous historian is killed
d) a few, in the field in the scene with Dennis, various background
e) many, at the end when the castle "Aahhhh" is charged

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

200 points: Tilde (infinite number remaining!)
700 points: The Final Fantasy 1 "Official" Crazed-Chipmunk-Hold-your-Ears Zipfile Soundtrack (4 remaining!)
1000 points: The Mattie's Mom Cookie Recipe Compilation (5 remaining!)
2000 points: Guest-co-host Opportunity #2 (5 remaining!)

Again, if there are any questions about scoring or the top-ten list, or if you think anything is amiss, please contact me and let me know your thoughts! I'm only human, after all (regrettably).

For next time: The Gameboy Advance remake of Final Fantasy IV has been unleashed upon North America at last! Are you salivating with the opportunity to scoop this up? Or, are you fed up with remakes from Square Enix altogether? Would you just like to see them release FFXII already? I can't read your mind! So you'd better send your mail away to Q&A!
***Matt is back in the so-called G-Spot for one more week! No dirty thoughts, people!

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About the Host

Matt's Newest Unhealthy Addiction

Another Unhealthy Addiction

Matt's Top 3 Current Games:

1. Dragon Quest VIII

2. Makai Kingdom

3. Warioware: Twisted!

Matt's Top 3 RPG Desires:

1. Final Fantasy III

2. Mario & Luigi: PiT

3. Wild ARMs: Alter Code F

A PC Game for Christmas?

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Cookie o' the Week:

Mattie's cookies of ridiculous chilliness

Your nipples couldn't get any harder!

-6 to 8 inches of snow, drifting to 1-2 feet
-2 cups of sugar

Walk outside in your underwear on a day when the expected high temperature is below freezing and when the wind is expected to be blowing. With your bare hands, gather a bunch of snow (a few cups) into a large metal bowl and mix it lightly with the sugar (colder snow = powderier snow = better for mixing). Roll up palm-sized portions of the mixture and pat them down into cookie-shapes. Wait outside with them for an hour or longer until they've iced over, and then enjoy with ice cream.

SOCK standings:

1. Ourobolus
850 pts

2. Jbumi
703 pts

3. Flamethrower
604 pts

4. MagRowan
555 pts

5. DDX
522 pts

6. Bainick
506 pts

7. Arros Raikou
425 pts

8. ~Sean~~
397 pts

9. Xlash
395 pts

10. Jeremy
320 pts

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