Possessed Three-Headed Angel Cookie
December 22, 2005
Matt Demers - 04:17 EST
WELCOME, WELCOME, TO THE LAST edition of Q&A from me
for the week, and the last edition of Q&A from me before my family's Christmas celebration of
2005. Sorry my columns have been shorter than usual this week, and there are a lot of
questions I haven't answered, but it's an awkward time of year, and dealing with dial-up
is never a pleasant thing. Things will be back up-to-snuff in a few weeks, I promise!
Today marked the umpteenth annual Demers family sugar-cookie decorating day, featuring
dozens of cookies (and dozens too many) baked by my very own mother. The fun twist, though,
is that over the years, my brother and I have come to appreciate the design of "crazy psycho
cookies", much to the chagrin of my mother. Now, it's pretty divided... the males of the
family spend time designing cookies that shock and appall the females of the family. This year's
- From me: A "hunchback" angel made by putting the face on one of the WINGS of the cookies...
a frowny face, of course.
- By Chris: An angel shot by a silver bullet, portrayed by a single silver ball in her
solar plexus region, with many red sprinkles staining the white icing below the ball.
- By Dad: A decidedly male snowman cookie (using the newest in 3-D sprinkle technology)
with yellow sprinkles trickling down from certain body parts.
- Another of mine: A snowman being devoured by an alien--I outlined an insect-alien
using long green sparkles devouring the poor snowman's two snowballs from above.
I could go on, but I think you see the picture: This IS a pretty good indication of what my
family is actually like. They all say "hi", by the way.
Turn on some holiday music, now, and take a spin through the column! I'd tell you to have
some eggnog, but that stuff is just vile.
More Save-Loss Horror Stories!
Okay, I have a couple of good 'fiendish stories of
gaming woe' to share with you. Ya ready?
Yes! As soon as I'm back from the bathroom.
*trots away from the computer*
Ahh, that feels better. Now you can go ahead.
First one happened during one of my many replays of
the SNES version of FF VI. I was working my way
through the long (long, long, long, long) battle at
Narshe against Kefka and his despicable hoard (you
know the battle). Well, after 2 hours of effort and
no save in site, I finally beat Kefka, and there was
much rejoicing. So, I leisurely stroll one of my
groups up to the save point, and lo and behold, before
I can save, the power blips... Not goes out, not
fails, just flickers for the briefest nano-second...
And my complete battle was lost. Yes, kiddies,
MagRowan had to start all over again from the
beginning of the battle. The moral there, save early,
and save often!
Ah, a lesson that has been learned the hard way for a good twenty years, I'm afraid.
I don't know anyone who HASN'T lost data due to unfortunate circumstances at some point or
another. Just thinking now, I'm always afraid while I'm at the computer that with my long legs and obtrusive
feet, I'll accidentally hit the power bar switch. One day, I'm sure it will happen, but
one thing is for sure: All this talk about file loss has got me saving as I type about
three times more frequently than usual.
The second tale of woe occurred with FFVII PC version.
Yes, like you, I had no original PlayStation. In
fact, the only reason I have a PS2 is cause I took an
additional TAing job at college and treated myself to
one for Christmas. But I digress... Anyway, I loaded
it onto my laptop (student's best friend) and fired
that bad boy up. I got through the intro part, played
up until one of the soldiers asked the damnable
question of my name and up popped the naming screen.
There's one problem with the PC version though. On
the name screen, suddenly only the Num keypad's Enter
button is active, not both the keyboard and the num
pad's. And guess what a laptop typically doesn't
have? A num keypad, that's right, folks. So I was
stranded on the naming screen, no way to name the
character, and no way to move on in the story until I
named said character.
Ugh, Final Fantasy VII PC was a disgrace to the series only to be outdone by its PC sequel,
which was simply horrible, to be generous.
But wait... it gets better! I emailed Eidos asking
for a solution, cause dang it, I wanted to play! They
emailed me back a form letter stating that they were
sorry, all laptops are different, they can't account
for it, sucks to be you. Basically, they couldn't
and/or wouldn't help me, they had no patch for my
needs, go find a PC you college yokel.
Yep yep... sounds like Eidos! A billion possible errors, and cheapo tech-support
solutions to correct about a third of them half-assedly.
But wait... there's more! My mom, bless her, found a
patch on the Eidos site. Get this, it was cleverly
hidden in with two, count 'em two, sound patches for
the game! If you read the fine print of the patch on
the site, it said to some effect, this is the patch
for the Enter key problem with laptop computers. So,
in the end I learned Eidos doesn't know it's own site
or patches, and if you want something done, go ask
So, those are my two greatest tales of video game woe,
though there are a few instances of losing NES save
data to the dreaded hold in both Reset and Power to
That's a skill that I slowly developed over time, but the games were always a bit vague as
to what exactly "hold in the RESET button" meant. My sister and grandma used to always push
both in at the same time, and release them together. I, on the other hand, would push IN the
reset button, hold it there while pressing power normally, and then release the reset button.
Thankfully, I never lost a thing, though once, my dad randomly just pushed the power off while
I was playing Dragon Warrior III just because I hadn't done some chore. Needless to say,
I was NOT impressed. Neither was Queen Brahne.
On a lighter note, I'm thinking of picking up Skies of
Arcadia (GC version) post-holiday season, any
Merry Holidays and Happy Christmas!
Good choice! Considering the large ratio of people that liked the game to people that hated
it, you're probably going to be in for a treat. As far as I know, that ratio is equal to
approximately infinity, because I've never heard anyone say "I hate that game" with reference
to Skies of Arcadia, so if that's any indication... yeah. Good good. Let me know how it goes.
Merry Holidays to you too!!
Not enough Kingdom Hearts Sunshine!
I was curious about what you think of Kingdom Hearts and the upcoming
sequel. DQVIII get a lot of screen-time in your mailbag, but I know there
are a lot of people (myself included) excited about the next Kingdom Hearts
You're absolutely right: Dragon Quest VIII has been taking up a lot of space in Q&A these
days, but that's only because a good 50% of my mail is composed of letters that concern the
game at least partially. I don't know if that's any indication as to how many people are
playing the game right now, but it certainly is a popular topic. I expect that next year, we'll
go through similar periods of time with Kingdom Hearts II, Zelda: Twilight Princess, and Final
I'm not the biggest fan of the original Kingdom Hearts, to answer your question, for a
variety of reasons. The Disney/Final Fantasy blend seems just a bit too gimmicky to me,
but beyond that, the battle system seemed ridiculously repetitive and really shallow. I'm
hoping for some healthy changes in the sequel, but we'll see as its release gets closer how
likely such changes might be! There ARE a lot of people excited about Kingdom Hearts II.
Don't fret, though; your turn will come soon! Enjoy the anticipation while it lasts...
Lufia vs. Lunar, and video game manuals vs. Québec
I'm going to have to agree with you on that one! Lunar and Lufia are very similar in
ways, including having an almost "cult" following. And both franchises kinda want downhill
after the original two. Lufia is a series I feel never really got the street cred it
deserved, despite being challenging, having great characters, and a fun-yet-no-frills
battle system. Lufia II was an improvement over the first, and the ancient cave a was
fun and difficult pastime. Both stories were a little light, but the character development
was right up there.
I know... every single time I talk about Lufia, I have a deep stirring inside that urges
me to go back and play the games. If only humans didn't require sleep... *curses*
As far as Lunar goes, I can't say that I thought the story was weak, however. Aside
from having good, meaningful dialogue, some of the plot twists and story arcs were downright
sinister. And where the original (Saturn) version came out a ways before the PSX versions
(with a Sega CD release in between no less) I think it would be safe to say Lunar spawned
more clichés than fell victim too.. It was the dialogue (voice acting included) that really
got me hooked on Lunar. Ghaleon, still my favourite villain, was just downright evil. None
of this puffy "I plan to destroy the world, yet I haven't really -done- anything yet"
villainy either. This guy was stirring s&%$ up from square one, and he wasn't wasting time
either. Murdering people, destroying continents, enslaving races. The whole shebang.
I've heard much about this Ghaleon character. I'd do well to take some lessons, for
whenever I'm feeling especially sinister... nothing can stop a Wonderslime when it wants
I think I might make Lunar-playing a New Year's Resolution of mine. Like most people,
I rarely keep them, but it's worth a shot. I just really wish I hadn't missed the original
Lunars when they first came out... it's so much more work to track them down now.
As far as Final Fantasy Cid's go, I definitely think of FFIV's Cid when I think
of "Cid". My runner up is FFVII, because even though he lacked a puffy beard and specs,
he had that no-nonsense, badass pilot attitude. And he cursed. A lot.
Indeed! The two characters were remarkably similar, though FFIV's Cid was quite more...pinkish-orange?
FFVII's Cid wasn't quite as acrobatic either-- I didn't see him leaping out of airships and exploding himself
like a crazy suicide-bomber only to survive, after all.
A question for you: I know a few years ago, games used to come out in Canada a
little later than the US because there was a big kafuffle about manuals appearing "en
francais" in addition to English. Is this still the case? I haven't really bought/rented
any games in recent pass (roommates) so I'm not sure. That, and I live in an anglo town in
Canada so I'm sure they just throw away the franco manuals anyway, as the games my roomies
rent come with only English books!
Keep rockin! You got me back on Q&A,
Thank you muchly! It's my pleasure to converse back and forth with all of you, and it's
a great outlet into which I can vent most of my video-game related excitement and frustration.
Anyway, I know exactly what you're talking about. Those little French-language manual versions, with the
red "Français" triangle on the corners of the cover, can sometimes overstuff packaging, as I'm
sure you know. Interestingly, I've discovered many occasions where the french version has been
cheaply printed in black and white, evidently to save money. Now, I come from a very French
family, so I can say this comfortably: French manuals don't make much sense to me, especially
if the game they're FOR is an RPG that's in English. Clearly, most French-speaking people
wouldn't buy an ENGLISH game with lots of reading/voices unless they had a decent understanding
of the English language in the first place. *sigh*
Back on topic, though, if games in Canada were delayed for this in the past, I'm not sure if
they are any more. I'd guess that special manuals must be printed beforehand sometime, because
I've bought two different games in recent times on their release dates (and indeed,
before they were available for many of my American friends). Or, it could be true for some games
but not others. I'm not really sure! It'd be a stupid reason to have a must-have game delayed
by a week, though, après moi.
I'd just thought I'd email to say that, even though Breath of Fire 3 and Tales of Eternia
for the PSP haven't been announced for the US, they have got a European release date. So
if worst comes to worst, the person who wrote in to complain about this would just have
to import the games from the UK or something. As a UK gamer myself, I have to say it's
kind of nice for it to be this way round for a change :p
Aren't there, y'know, format difficulties with cross-ocean importation? PAL stuff isn't
really a "pal", in the friendly sense, to we, the people of North America. Or, does the PSP not work that way? *shrug*
I wouldn't be surprised if we eventually hear more about it in this region eventually; not
creating a North American version would seem to be a curious oversight, in my opinion, especially
for series that have found a fair amount of success here.
Terrible lost save files? Too many stories to tell really. Levelling up for ten hours
straight in Final Fantasy VII only to have the power cut out before I could save, having to
start Wild ARMs three times because a dodgy memory card kept eating my saves and suddenly
not being able to save at all in Wind Waker after exploring for a couple of hours have been
three of the worst for me. Very annoying to have all that time and effort go down the drain.
Although I do save more regularly these days, at least I've learnt something from this.
That's terrible! I'm a paranoid person about that sort of thing, and I think I have some
sort of psychological disorder as far as saving in RPGs is concerned; I kid you not. It's so
bad that I've had friends and past roommates make nasty comments about it: Things like "No wonder you have
fifty hours of playtime on the clock! You've spent ten of them saving to the memory card!"
Maybe I got burned really terribly in my youth beyond the stories I've described in past days.
Anything too monumental though? Perhaps I blocked it out because it was just too horrible...
My definitive Cid? Has to be the one from Final Fantasy VII. He was crass and somewhat
bad tempered at times, but he was a great character and very useful to have in your party.
I did, however, like the one in FFIV as well. My least favourite was the one in IX. He was
just so..dull..and unfunny.
Agreed. He could have been a lot more comedic, given his situation, but it didn't really
turn out that way, unfortunately.
Talking about Cids... perhaps it's a memory lapse I'm having right now, but I can't recall
if there was a Cid at ALL in Final Fantasy X! I know it's been awhile, but it's no excuse;
this is knowledge I should have stored safely in my mind. Please tell me I'm nuts! This
Here's a question for you and the other readers of the Q and A. I'm really looking
forward to Kingdom Hearts 2 and Final Fantasy XII, and I enjoy seeing the magazine scans
and propaganda for them as the games get developed. However, I'm also worried that I'm
being too eager for these games, and am going to expect too much from them. Hence I won't
enjoy them as much as I would a game I haven't been waiting what seems like forever for.
Do you ever feel like that about some games? Or am I just being rather weird?
No way... of course it's scary to build up your hopes, because you're right: They can
easily get shot down, and quickly. I held similar hopes for Dragon Quest VIII, and I talked
about it ALL the time before it was released, and it made me scared too. What on earth would
I do if it wasn't as good as I built it up to be? In this case, it DID end up being as good,
so this is proof that the expectations are sometimes worth it. The anticipation, though, is part of the
fun, and it's no fun to NOT hope for the best. Of course, I'm a notorious optimist in most
aspects of life, so many of you are probably thinking the opposite. I figure... what difference
does it make? The way you think about a game before its release isn't going to change its
ultimate quality, so there's no point in worrying it, OR worrying about being too optimistic
about it, is there? I dunno... I need sugar.
In Tucker Carlson's book he describes his first meeting with James Carville. It was at a
lunch with some suits from CNN and those suits were laying out what was acceptible to say
on air. Carville gets drunk and tells them he's going to say whatever he wants and he doesn't
want this job anyway. He says it more colorfully than would pass the RPGamer censors. That's
how I think of FFIV and FFVII's Cids. Though because the latter smokes in a game marketed to
children, he gets my nod for blatantly going against political correctness. And for panache.
Very nicely put, monsieur. I should *$@#%ing well reward you somehow, but I'm a little low
on funds, what with the $*^@!ing Christmas shopping.
Honorable Mention: Cid from FFVI had that whole Smokey-the-Bear mascot thing going for him,
but for condums instead of careful forestry.
Yoiks! I think that his 16-bit big yellow coat hid his age really well; I didn't really
realize he was in "grandpa" territory until Celes actually used the term for the first time.
In this grandpa state, though, he might need to pop a pill prior to any prophylactic presentation
he might want to put on...he didn't seem especially spry, that's for sure.
Honorable Mention2: To Cid Orlandu in FFT, for being more unbalancing than anything that
can be done with a gameshark.
Ughh... what a horrid cheapo. He singlehandedly took one of the greatest challenging games in
Playstation history and drove it into the kids-only section of Disneyland. Cheapo characters
should all DIE, so needless to say, that would not be one of my favourite Cids. ^_^
I've voiced on several occasions the HATRED I feel for all things wintry. Well, one thing
that I have to admit that I like is a White Christmas, as clichéd as such a thing may be. I'm
quite annoyed at something right now, though: For the first time in MANY years, there has been
a great deal of snow on the ground for the entire month of December. There have been years in
the past where we didn't get a flake of snow right up until this time of year. Anyway, after
suffering through this frigid month o' despair, it looks like we won't even get treated with a
White Christmas, because it's supposed to randomly warm up and rain JUST in time for
the holiday. What poo is this?
That's all I have to say! Enjoy your holidays! For those of you who celebrate Christmas,
have a safe and happy one. I'll be back sometime next week to answer some more of your
questions, and fill you in on any new RPGs I happen to receive Sunday morning (hopefully at
least one or two!)
***Matt wraps a mean present.
I am running out of time to get past Dragon Quest VIII!!!
Dec. 21 - Matt
Dec. 20 - Matt
Dec. 19 - Matt
Dec. 14 - Matt
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
8. Arros Raikou