Brand Spanking New
October 3, 2006
Matt Demers - 23:17 EST
WELCOME to Q&A, the most updated column in the history of RPGamer! As many of you probably know, this would be the very first column of my second year in the captain's chair, and so I've made a few changes to the decor, as you might have noticed! Not only is there a bit of a visual change; there's much more to be excited about. What exactly are those changes? You'll have to read on to find out!
One thing hasn't changed, though: Write me an e-mail, and I might just put your letter up in the column within a few days' time. Ask me a question, answer somebody else's question, provide commentary, express concerns, excitements, delight or dismay; I'll be glad to hear from you! With so many new technologies and great-looking RPGs on the way, there's no better place to talk about it than right here, with myself or my weekend counterpart, Ouro.
And now, to begin Year II!
First off I want to say congrats on your 1 year achievement! And you've definitely been doing things right according to my standards. I had actually started reading the column back around 2000/01ish when Googleshng was around, and while I read it every day, I only submitted stuff a couple of times. For some reason I just felt so intimidated, and because of the fact that he/she remained so mysterious I never felt like I could relate to him/her. Then along came one of the Andrews, and suddenly the column became somewhat...malicious is the only word I can think of right now. I remember reading posts that were responded to in a manner that I would call downright insulting. I'm not sure if it was all in fun, but it turned me away nonetheless. So then I became afraid to send questions in. And then I stopped reading altogether. For quite some time I'd still come to the site but wouldn't even glance at Q&A. Then one day at the start of this year, I noticed a new host and decided to give him a shot. I've been keeping up again ever since. Great job!
I'm glad you've stuck around! I have fun writing, and I really like the exchanges between myself and all of you, even if those exchanges can sometimes be in the form of heavier debates bordering on arguments about turn-based battle systems. You give me something to look forward to every day. Awww...
The Andrews had a great sense of sarcasm that I couldn't hope to emulate in my lifetime, and believe me: Their comments were definitely all in good fun, as you conjecture. I've read Cast's columns ever since he began doing them, and he pretty much inspired me to try out for the silly contest in the first place.
Anyway... enough about me, yes? More about games.
So enough sucking up...here's more answers that I'm basically picking by way of eenie meenie miney moe (is that how it's spelled?).
Hope this brightens your day!
You know, I don't think there's any real definition for how to spell those quasi-words! Funny thing, though: We once had a guinea pig who we were told was male from the pet store; we named it Moe. I came home from school one day to find the little furball munching on the placentae of her three babies. Needless to say, we reached the conclusion that Moe was NOT male, and we named her babies "Eeny, Meeny, and Miney". Oh, I guess that's how *I* spell them, by the way.
Anyway, thanks for the kind words! I hope to be doing this for a long time to come, so hopefully if I celebrate a two-year anniversary in 2007, you're not writing in with more grumbular things to say.
Just can't wait... just can't wait... to go to the bathroom...
AH, I can't wait any longer! I've been trying so hard not to get excited
about this. When I first started seeing stuff about FFXII....wow, almost a
year ago, I told myself not to care too much because it was so far away. And
then as the release date became ever closer I told myself not to get my
expectations too high so I wouldn't be let down. But, now that it's less
than four weeks away, I can't contain myself any longer.
It's so exciting, isn't it? Many of us haven't played a new Final Fantasy in five years if you can believe that (I can't), if you don't count direct sequels, online games, spinoffs and such.
Final Fantasy XI is a game that I almost wish that I had played, but I can't imagine having spent, say, two years of monthly fees on the game. With the amount of money I saved by NOT playing it, I could buy two thirds of a PS3!
We're all excited around here, though. Not only are there a lot of games coming out; there are such a wide variety of them that there is sure to be something for everyone. With raditional RPGs, quirky new titles, remakes of old favourites, more fast-paced games, why, if you don't find a game you like this fall, I say that you haven't looked hard enough!
But, I fear with so many games coming out this fall some will be overlooked
that normally would be getting great attention. I don't have nearly enough
time to play them all on top of my backlog. Some games like Contact, Tales
of the Abyss, Children of Mana, Rogue Galaxy, Okami,
...hack//G.U.vol.1//Rebirth, Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria are probably gonna
get looked over because so many other "big name" games are coming out. I
just hope that I'll have time to go back and play these games. This is
probably the main reason I will not be purchasing a next gen system.
It's true. Why invest in next-gen yet when THIS gen is just reaching its prime? Granted, I'm extremely excited to have the chance to get my hands on new consoles, but with the number of games just coming out now, you could easily entertain yourself for months or years to come, depending on the amount of time you actually have to play. (...and your backlog. Yay! First use of the word "backlog" in the new year!)
I like playing the smaller less known games because for some reason it feels
that much more pleasing when they make a good game. When a big name series
comes out with another title and its good it just gets piled into the list
of good games, but when a new series or lesser known games receive praise it
makes it more enjoyable. I don’t know if that makes much sense. I think my
classes are draining me of intelligence. I’d better go recharge....
The Dark Chevalier
*goes up to his local GameStop to reserve his FFXII collector’s edition*
Nah, you make perfect sense. And not only that, but new series/lesser known games tend to increase in value much more drastically over the years, if you're into the whole eBay scene. I'd personally rather hold onto them just to be able to say "I have the original, and I love it!" Think of JuMeSyn and his Panzer Dragoon Saga pride!
Perhaps a new classic will be born in the days to come. Have fun gaming!
Petitions and video games... *sigh*
So, Sega is doing it again, and now they are doing it in style. All four original Phantasy Star games in one package. And once again, the impending horror of the US likely being left out of the loop again.
Wow! I hadn't heard the news before I heard it from you. And yeah. It's hard to say if the games will ever make it outside of the land of the rising sun, but we can all hope. I'll tell you something: If it comes out for a system that I own, I will be quick to pick the game up. I think it's embarrassing that I've missed out on this piece of RPG history, thanks to my Segaless past!
Someone, somewhere, has to have some sort of petition going to bring this over. I would do it myself, but there are people far better equipped to pull this off (as in, not having a job and a half, or a lack of html skills, or the contacts to give such a thing life). So, please, if you know of one, let me know (or at least let Matt know, so he can let everyone else know). I can write a letter to Sega, but this is the kind of thing that needs numbers.
Well, you heard the man!! I did a quick search and I wasn't able to find anything like that, but it doesn't mean that somebody can't start one.
Of course, whenever I think of petitions, I think of the two great failures of the past. Earthbound 64 had a HUGE petition that got something like 10,000 signatures, but it obviously did little to make Nintendo notice that we were begging for more Mother here in North America. And then... the Dragon Quest IV remake... augh, the agony!! WHY DID THEY HAVE TO CANCEL THIS!? (And don't tell me it was because it was the translators -which is the official excuse- because Square Enix quietly released DQV's remake in Japan only just a little later, the dastardly fiends.)
I guess there's never any point in being pessimistic though, is there?
Thanks, BigWook! Hopefully your wish comes true!
JuMeSyn Letter I of Year II
How goes it on whatever day this turns out to be, Matt?
I asked this of Josh a few sessions ago, and he had NO IDEA.
AHAHAHAHA. I love parsing your paragraphs into something other than originally intended. How
strange that Josh wouldn't know how to answer that question! <3
Hmmm. Actually, I'm doing fantastically, thanks! I handed in the most ridiculously long assignment of history. It wasn't the longest assignment I've ever written, but it WAS sixteen pages in length, and it was only assigned a little over a week ago, making the ratio of size to time relatively enormous.
So why don't
you tell all the eager readers, Matt: what on the Turbo Grafx-16 and the
Turbo Duo should we look forward to on the Wii? Apart from my already
annotated attempt to smash things around in Bonk's Adventure, I have no
direct experience on the system(s). Let the information flow!
I only have fuzzy memories of the Turbo Grafx-16, you see.
Back in Grade 4 (and I've probably told this story before), my teacher, Mrs. Brown, had a nephew or some relative who was somehow affiliated with the company. I don't really remember how, but that's unimportant. The important part is that she actually brought the system into class so that students could play, two at a time, during lunch hours and recesses, if we "booked it" ahead of time. Of course, forty minutes is nowhere near long enough to play, but I remember a couple of bizarre games that... well, if I saw them again, I'd probably start laughing in recognition.
One was what seemed to be a remarkably stupid platformer, in retrospect, starring two modern-looking guys of little consequence; they had names, and I think they made up the title of the game, but I remember so little about it that I wouldn't even speculate. The game was definitely terrible.
A more exciting game was what has to be the most interesting pinball game that I've played other than the Pokémon Pinballs (yes, I've played them). The graphics were decent and the game was oddly alluring to me in my young age. I think that now, I'd consider such a game to be a waste of time, but I was really excited about it back in the day, and I think I spent much time in class doodling ideas for hypothetical pinball games after playing, because I've always been that way.
Anyway, the point is that I don't know that I'm really looking forward to ANY specific Turbo Grafx 16 games, really, but at the same time, I'm just excited that they're there.
Automapping is probably the one thing that makes me like Shining the Holy
Ark far more than Shining in the Darkness. A first-person quest can be damn
hard to navigate if I have to write down where I'm going - what's your
stance on the automap?
Oh, it works well for the games that it's incorporated into. I really enjoy the puzzle of having to navigate my own way through dungeons and such using realistic static maps, but they are not very common these days, are they?
Okay, for some reason I was bouncing around eBay when I saw someone selling
Lunar: Magic School for the Saturn. I know very little about it, save it
being a greatly enhanced version of a title that began on the Game Gear.
Something tells me you're not deeply immersed in its intricacies either - so
this is mostly a fishing expedition among the Q&A readers. Who knows
something about the forgotten Lunar title?
There are a lot of those "secret" games out there. For example, I was shocked to learn that there was a Star Ocean released in Japan between The Second Story and Till the End of Time. Anyway, write write write if you know anything about Magic School!
Your worries about the prices I would have to pay for Fire Emblems 3 and 4
prove unfounded: I got the former for $11 and the latter for $16 (US), neat
and complete. FE 5 would be another story should the thing ever pop up on
eBay. And while I'm thinking about it, in Fire Emblem 4 it seems the
dancers who cannot fight in the GBA editions are capable of wielding swords!
Good for you! It sounds like you got yourself a real bargain, something that is often difficult to do there, in my experience.
It's so weird about the swords thing; it would be really neat if your dancers/bards were able to class change into something effective at fighting in the most recent games, wouldn't it?
Just bought Shadowrun for the Genesis, should be arriving any day now. Josh
must have some reason for never rising to the occasion with information
about the title, so I come to you now. And do tell me if what you uncover
justifies my feeling that RPGamer should have a separate listing for the
SNES and Genesis editions of the game, please.
That's definitely a good idea. From what I've read, while they all take place in the same "universe", they all have different storylines, despite the fact that the title is shared. There was actually a third one, too, released for Sega CD, that was independent from the other two as well, but it was only released in Japan.
Unfortunately, I do my job around here and that doesn't include content control! I can, however, let others at the site know that your concern might be quite valid. Thanks!
I finished Langrisser 2 yesterday (when I write this, clearly it will be
much later by the time you get to a reply). Reading through the script on
GameFAQs I'm struck by how much effort is made to humanize the antagonists,
which is unusual for a Tactical title released in 1994. Vargas doesn't just
barge out late in a battle to fight, which is what it looked like when I
played that battle: he wanted to be with his wife as she gave birth, but the
desire to not be like his father and leave his men to die compelled him to
come forth. Eggbert the sorceror doesn't just show up and wreak havoc, he
honestly believes that his force of will (and Bernhart the Emperor's) is
strong enough to prevent the evil sword Alhazard from ushering in a new
reign of darkness, so he takes whatever measures are necessary to acquire
the sword and let Bernhart unite the continent.
I can't believe a sorcerer is actually named Eggbert; it sounds like something from a certain tries-to-be-funny-but-seldom-is comic strip, not the name of a super-powerful magic-wielding master. Sorry, continue.
Anyway, the final battle was something of a disappointment. Bernhart, who I
had already beaten twice, is the final boss - but for some reason he has a
susceptibility to magic! Admittedly this was a weakness of his before but
to be able to put the final boss to sleep, thus eliminating his ability to
counterattack for a round - does this not seem a trifle too easy? He
summoned some Demon Lords for the final battle that were in fact immune to
magic, making his own vulnerability all the stranger.
That's too bad. You know well by now that I hate it when final boss challenges are, well, unchallenging. It makes for a very anticlimactic conclusion to a game, doesn't it? You should have to EARN your victory, not cakewalk to it!
At least the last fight has a nice theme music:
http://gh.ffshrine.org/soundtracks/6453/99879 This seems to be an arranged
version; the poor Genesis couldn't quite manage this audio fidelity.
Indeed not. As final boss musics go, it's not the most exciting thing I've ever heard, to be honest, even with the increase in quality.
Now here's a cute little Fire Emblem reminescence. I was cruising around
the GameFAQs message boards a few years ago, when the first one was fairly
new in translation, and came upon some poor fellow who related an
interesting story. He had Lyn ruling, as she tends to do, in the chapter at
the end of which Eliwood (or Hector) gets promoted. She had taken a hit but
had smashed about 10 enemies and gained several very good levels. Then the
player noticed that she was in the range of a bandit with a Swordslayer.
What I always remember about this little story was the writer saying that
this bandit was thinking "i r t3h 1337!' as he smashed that Swordslayer down
upon Lyn. Death followed, mandatory restart. Poor fellow.
Awww. It makes me reminisce too! I've had a few close calls with that heroine-of-crazy-powers, but she's never died on me!
Y'know, I just really like the music in Albert Odyssey. Here's another
sampling of it in the form of the standard boss track.
Swell. Hee hee, it even has Chrono Trigger jazz organs. <3
I don't really like when they start doing the jerky fast thing, though. A seven, in the end.
Okay, here's a genuine question for you. Why is Shiva seemingly the only
member of the Hindu divine trinity we ever see represented in RPGs? Final
Fantasy seems to have established Shiva as a mighty ice goddess summon, but
where are Brahma and Vishnu? Admittedly Brahma is the Creator, Vishnu the
Sustainer and Shiva the Destroyer so it might be harder to fit those two in
- but why not try? (Any religious scholars - I KNOW there is a great deal
more to Hinduism. We're not undertaking religious studies right now.)
It's an interesting point, though I've often debated whether the "Shiva" of Final Fantasy games
is actually derived from the english word "Shiver", since she has absolutely nothing to do with the Hindu
deity and more to do with things that are cold. Indeed, the original Shiva certainly doesn't have the, uh, bosom, that Final Fantasy's has, since that Shiva is male.
It's hard to say! I'm definitely no expert in the field, but perhaps someone else has something to contribute.
Have you ever noticed any box art that was repellant to you, Matt? Many
Genesis titles were given Americanization of their box art, thus making
characters who looked like refugees from a Conan the Barbarian movie be the
exterior face of the game. I don't THINK many more recent games have been
barbarized in this fashion but I'm curious about just how substandard the
North American releases are compared to the original Japanese designs.
Recently I suggested to Josh that a Sonic RPG might be in the words soon,
since Mario was about the age Sonic is now when he jumped into the format.
Think it could work?
I don't see why not, though I personally wouldn't find it as endearing, due to the aforementioned fact that I wasn't exactly a Sega player during my youthful years.
I don't usually care about box art unless it includes something that I really, really can't envision. Breath of Fire II's original box, for instance, pictured this blue-haired beast of a man rippling with muscles and screaming with a sword in hand, if I recall correctly. Ryu's sprites in battle and especially while walking around, on the other hand, made him look like a blue-haired wimp. Very silly indeed. Also, the original Megaman game had the most ugly picture on it; apparently, they tried to make Megaman look realistic. Indeed, he ended up looking like a disgusting man in a strange blue suit. Ick.
Remember the Ratchet/Manupil naming debate I threw to you? Well, this is
what Ratchet's voice acting in English sounds like:
really doesn't do justice to this demonstration of thespian skill.
Goodness me, that IS atrocious.
A few more SFIII naming issues while I'm on this kick. There's an Aspinian
general who Medion has to fight pretty early on, named either Varlant or
Valiant. If it helps, the general in question is a centaur with an
Oh- I would have said Valiant, but the eye-patch changed my mind. Varlant it is.
Medion also has to fight, much later on, a fellow who is part of the inner
circle of true nasties stirring the war up. This Destonian commander is
either Crewart or Cruel. Heavily scarred fellow wielding a big axe.
Then there is a fellow who Julian must kill off early in Scenario 3, with
the intriguing name of Defender. This guy appears to be a Celt with his
long red hair and fierce profile, if it helps.
I really don't like "Crewart" because it sounds like... I dunno. I just don't like it. Cruel.
Then we arrive at a man (second in political power in the Aspinian Republic)
whose name you'll most likely prefer in English. In Japanese it is
Brighvable, which I still haven't wrapped my tongue around. In English it
is Brutus. He's an older man who walks using a cane, although something
nasty happens to him that causes him to turn into a gigantic minotaur-like
thing named Kudan, which Julian has to kill.
Actually, I really actually like Brighvable. It's different and interesting. Brutus is a boring, way too stereotypical "big gross monster" name, don't you think?
Then there is the group of six hardened killers the Emperor keeps on hand.
Medion meets up with them in Scenario 2, then an angry Emperor sends them
after everyone in Scenario 3. These are the Rainblood. Their leader is
King, and the others are Queen, Rook, Bishop, Knight, and Pawn. Picking up
on the theme here? Got any suggestions for something better? And for
reference - they are quite strong.
Yep. And nope. It's a pretty neat idea.
Now, to close, I'll do something rather different. This is not my own
material, but I feel it is perfect for reading by anyone a little peeved at
something. I'll just give you something to alter meer annoyance into
REASONS FOR GIVING UP HOPE: Nothing works, nothing counts, nothing fits, no
one cares, no one listens, standards have fallen, everyone's fatter, lines
are longer, traffic's worse, kids are dumber, and the air is dirty. I'll be
back later with more reasons for giving up hope. In the meantime, try to
come up with a few of your own.
Bah! Never give up hope, is what I say! TeraAssignments for dynamical systems classes of doom don't get done that way. ;)
So, as I mentioned above, one of the great highlights of this week so far has been the finishing-up of the disgustingly large assignment of doom. "Yes!" Matt thought, "I finally might get a break for a night or two!" Of course, nothing can come without a twist for me, and yes; I found out today that I've written part of my Ph.D. scholarship application wrong. What a dork! That's what I'm going to be up to tonight, now. O, it never ends...
At least I have Thanksgiving to look forward to. Alas, it doesn't look like I'm going to be around for this Friday's column, as my parents are coming to pick me up early in the day most generously. But you can endure me in the meantime!
For complete contest rules, click here!
Answers to September 29th's Questions
#332. a) A, B, C, D, G, C, D, E - 800 points
#333. e) HP are gained much faster for commanders - 550 points/1,100 for JuMeSyn
This one might have been easier if I had remained in "Do-re-mi" form, but this song should be immediately familiar to anyone who played Super Mario RPG. Yes, this was the third line of Toadofsky's Suite! Good job to those of you who managed to guess correctly!
You could probably guess with ease that JuMeSyn was responsible for this one! All in all, quite a few of you got this one correct. Give yourselves a good-old-fashioned pat on the back (or a new-age one, I don't care)!
Who was in first place on the scoreboard on the day that "items" were introduced to the competition? (1,500 points)
Mach Pizza promises to deliver within how much time?
a) 3 minutes
b) 5 minutes
c) 10 minutes
d) 20 minutes
e) 30 minutes
I've got a few things to update now!
A whole slew of new items has been added to the game, and thus a large number of NEW summon recipes have joined the mix. Check the items out here. In addition, there are now several HIDDEN items to discover through many different means that I can't tell you, since they're hidden. In addition to unlocking the secrets of the summons, there's a lot to discover.
There are also a few new status effects to speak of. Fury and Sadness arrive, fresh from Final Fantasy VII, as well as Float, and the dreadful Virus, which will prevent you from claiming items or prizes. Yikes!
A few of you noticed what the "oddity" is about the column! Yes, it is true that the banner changes colour every day. It changes colour depending on how many one-time-use items are utilized on that day. On a day that no items are used, it appears grey; one item produces purple, two is blue, three is green, four is yellow, five is orange, six is red, and seven or more is black. Interesting, no? And maybe useful to some of you, somehow, someday.
Good luck with today's questions! If anyone new wants to get involved in the game, now is a great time to begin, because if you get both of today's questions right, you'll obtain enough points to bring you immediately to the first benchmark!
Obtain these items upon reaching the listed point benchmarks!
Point Doubler (3 left), Mythril Armor (2 left), or Mythril Sword(2 left)
Any 1st-Level Elemental Spell (5 left), Point Halver (1 left), or Fury Stone (2 left)
Slowga Spell (2 left), Annoying Curse (2 left), or Confuse Spell (1 left)
Gold Armor (2 left), Point Tripler (1 left), or Item Magnet (1 left)
Any Gem (1 left), Ultra Sneak Glove (1 left), or Rare Candy(2 left)
Any 3rd-Level Elemental Spell(5 left), Esuna Spell (2 left), or Wait Mode (1 left)
Call Bead (3 left), Sadness Stone(2 left), or Light Converter (1 left)
Mythril Shield (1 left), Staff of Aid(1 left), or Point Tripler (2 left)
Toxic Waste (1 left), Sean's Dictionary of Doom (1 left), or Rare Candy (2 left)
Regega Spell (2 left), Rebirth Stone (2 left), or Hyper Sneak Glove (1 left)
Dark Converter (2 left), Drainga Spell (2 left), or Apocalypse Spell (1 left)
Rare Candy (2 left), Cloak of Evasion (2 left), or Point Tripler (2 left)
(people who I love, but who still need to check their e-mail or somehow get in touch with me because they have unclaimed items- if you fall off the list after a week, it's TOO LATE FOR YOU! Check your spam/trash folders for my messages if you're not getting them, and I'll check mine, too!)
Obtain enough points, and you may buy items, merchandise, or guest-hosting positions.
Click here for the current list of potential prizes!
I think I might have to throw the towel in. I've been having to guess on way to many questions lately. Oh, well. It won't be today!
Oh please- no one has scaled the ranks as quickly as ye, so suck it up. Try leaving, and I'll throw my own towel right at you, and not only did I just get out of the shower, I haven't done my laundry in a long time! MWAHAHAHAHA!
Whatever happened to the rest of the RPGamer
Idol contestants??? I think I know where Bucket and
powerlord are but what of the other ones o.o
*isn't fond of actual people ^^;;*
How can you not like people? With a little butter and garlic, they can be perfectly tender. <3
Honestly, I don't know what happened to everyone else. Well, that's not true; Bucket is a loyal and true reader. I assume the others just jumped off a cliff or something, but maybe they (or their zombies) will besiege this column one day when I least expect it...
Here's the link to that FF parody you mentioned. Was I the one that showed
that to you long ago? ^^;
Yup! That's the one. I think it was you that sent it to me originally, but my memory is fading in my old age. Thanks!
Yep... Quickies have returned!! I knew they were popular before, so I hope that they once again become a mainstay of Q&A. ;)
In any case, if I keep going, I won't have enough steam to crank out any more columns this week. I guess I'll save some for tomorrow! Give me your best questions, answers, or whatever, and help me get year two off to a great start. Thanks, everybody!
Inbox Status: Not bad. Not great either.
Matt can't believe that he found enough time to make over the column on the weekend!
If there's one thing I'd never get rid of, it's this. <3
Oct. 2: Josh
Oct. 1: Josh
SOCK's Rule Guide
SOCK's Prize Shop
About the Host
What I Want to Play:
1. Final Fantasy III
2. Final Fantasy XII
3. Xenosaga: Episode III
4. Fire Emblem: Goddess of Dawn
5. Final Fantasy V
What I'm Playing:
1. Disgaea II
2. Fire Emblem GBA
3. Grandia III
Summon in Play:
9. Alan Tse
14. Arros Raikou
16. TV's Adam
21. Hunter B
33. William T.