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November 7, 2006

Boojum - 22:54 EST


Since this is to be the first of several co-hostings, I suppose it would be appropriate to start by introducing myself. My name is Gareth Hughes, also known as Boojum. I'm about a year and a half out of college, currently working customer service in the game industry while looking for opportunities to move into something more interesting. I've been into RPGs of all sorts since the original Wizardry, and my all-time favorite is Fallout 2. When not playing games, I keep busy with writing and with designing an independent game, as well as getting ready to get married in a couple of weeks.

But enough about me. You're here to talk about RPGs, and it's certainly a good time to do so. Final Fantasy XII has been out for almost a week now, so at least some of you must be partway into it. Besides that, we've got two new consoles launching in under two weeks, so congratulations if you were one of the lucky ones to get a pre-order in on your machine of choice. And that's not even mentioning the deluge of other anticipated games that we're in the middle of. This is certainly a good time to be a gamer (as frustrating as it might be for those of us whose backlog already looks insurmountable).

Anyway, on to the letters!

His first letter of many!

SlimeyD optimizes "need I say more than the tragedy that was "Earthbound 64"? Of course, they didn't even FINISH that one. Maybe they'll come through. One day."

Well judging by this following site's comparisons, it doesn't need to be "FINISHed" per say.

(Note: Probably contains minor spoilers, I can't actually be sure!)

Although that probably wasn't what you meant by them coming through for us. :)


That's a good point – even if a game gets cancelled, the ideas can certainly resurface in future releases. Not that it does us any good in this case, since it's looking less and less likely that they'll translate Mother 3 for us at all. That's an interesting site, and it certainly does look like a lot of the same events are being depicted in both games. Thanks for the link!

"wow, if I wrote something like that, I think I'd be too worried that the power would go out while typing and that I'd lose it ALL!"

I recommend you use Notepad, or perhaps a slightly more in depth word editor (your choice really,) and then you could save to your heart's content. Once finished, it should only be a simple task to copy and paste it into the e-mail(/etc).

(Sorry Josh. No doubt he'll now be pushing onto that 1000 word limit himself!)


I think most modern email clients can save drafts, these days (I know gmail autosaves every couple of minutes). I would think this is mainly an issue if you're using the automated form on the site rather than an email program. And I agree with you - if you're writing long letters, it definitely behooves you to use some method of saving them so your progress isn't lost.

"Next Tuesday, in fact, Boojum will join us. You might want to ask him how on earth he achieved the impossible, though it's up to you!"

Sure I'll bite (not literally). Boojum, I want to ask how on earth you achived the impossible and came up with a name that looks like it sounds rude, but only sounds like it feels sticky?

No? Umm....*nibbles*


:blinks: "Feels sticky?" Now there's an association that never crossed my mind. Anyway, my name is a fairly obscure literary reference (hey, being an English major ought to be good for something, right?). It's from a nonsensical comedy poem called "The Hunting of the Snark" by Lewis Carroll (author of Alice in Wonderland). It's well worth reading the whole thing here, or you can check out one stanza below.

'But oh, beamish nephew, beware of the day,

If your Snark be a Boojum! For then

You will softly and suddenly vanish away,

And never be met with again!'

As for the OTHER "impossible" achievement, well, nobody actually asked, so I'll leave the full answer to Matt on the 10th as he promised. But since you did nibble (ouch, by the way), I'll at least give a brief hint as to what happened: Ever notice how the items in SOCK make it much easier to inflict massive amounts of damage than to get lots of points for yourself? Anyway, there was a total of nine items involved in the process, and I was working towards getting everything necessary to pull it off for at least a month before the day everything was finally in place, so it wasn't quite as sudden as it may have appeared from the outside.

P.s. As for the trivia being too obscure. How about less chooses with the more obscure ones, such that people have a decent chance for making a guess at the very least?


There's an interesting idea. I think the purpose is already somewhat served by having higher point values on the obscure questions, which makes them more valuable to guess on (a 20% chance of getting 1,500 points is better than a 20% chance of getting 1,000 points.) We'll have to wait and see what Matt does with SOCK 2.0 in (hopefully) January. Thanks for writing in!

FFXII and camera difficulties.

Honestly, I'm glad we're taking a break with SOCK. I spend too much time on some of the questions. I realized this when I went to try to figure out the answer to 365. I turned the game on, and five minutes later asked myself if I ever want to get out of school. I turned it off shortly thereafter.


I totally hear you. I play Ouro's game off and on, and I know that if I get lost in a question, there's no turning back for me until I find out the answer, which can suck as much as an hour out of my day if I'm feeling that passionately about it.

About school, just face it: You'll be there forever. School is a black hole of a time sink; thou shalt never escape. Just look at me! Do you know how embarrassing it is to tell people that "well, uh, I'm in my SIXTH year at Guelph"? Sure, I'm in a graduate program now, but details, details. Ugh, I feel old!

And then picked up DQVIII, of course! =^D


Bwahaha. One helping of video game procrastination, coming up!

I did attempt to play FFXII, but the game is overwhelming me right now.

Speaking of which, my biggest problem with it so far is the camera. It makes me disoriented. And controlling it with the right analog stick? Bleh! That's just evil. What do you think?



Agreed! I've mentioned this to a few friends in a non-Q&A setting already, but it's true. The camera isn't bad at all, I find, until you find yourself in almost any really tight spaces. The camera angles change without warning, and it's really not fun to get backed into a corner fighting monsters for that reason. I do think, though, that it's a fairly minor issue in the scheme of things.

Anyway, Laurie, thanks for writing in yet again!

His second letter of many!

Ooops, forgot to send in answers again! Doesn't bode well for me getting a Mega Man X game, does it? Anyway, I've been playing and enjoying FF12 a lot. I can finally see a city that's actually *populated*, thanks to the "can't talk to NPCs without a little symbol" thing. 'Course, the sudden "bigness" is both good and bad, since it's harder to keep track of who you've talked to, and it's kinda intimidating.


So you can't accost random passers-by to hear about the intimate details of their lives? What kind of RPG is this?! Seriously, though, that's a good technique to avoid having to wade through reams of irrelevant dialogue when you're in a hurry, but still avoid having "metropolises" that only have 12 citizens.

The Gambit system is working out to be more and more of a necessity, given the new complexities of battle. I'm thinking of it less and less as masturbation (as Penny Arcade put it), especially since I'm always manually controlling the party leader.


Glad to hear it - the more I hear about gambits, the more intriguing they sound. As long as you're actually setting up the gambits and "programming" the AI in a fair amount of detail, I can see that being a fairly satisfying way to play the game. The concept reminds me of Ogre Battle, where you set the formation and tactics for your troops, but don't give them direct orders. While that seemed limiting at first, it turned out to be a lot of fun to have to anticipate the settings that would be appropriate in each situation.

And there looks to be lotsa sidequests too, which I love (but also make me nervous, 'cause I don't wanna miss any!). The bounty hunting system is something I liked from Arc the Lad 3, and I'm liking it here too.


Agreed. I'm kind of paranoid about missing out on sidequests, so I try to comb each area pretty thoroughly before moving on.

(PS: SOCK 2.0 in April makes me a sad panda. In January makes me a happy panda! Just FYI. YMMV, since you're the one running this thing, after all. :))


I think quite a few people have their fingers crossed for January. I'm certainly eager to see what new and interesting changes will be made (though I kind of expect to have a bulls-eye painted on my forehead). Thanks for the letter, Leaper!

Don't lose Sight of what we once had!

*Sigh* I'm so sad about some of the changes made to FFIV:Advanced. Yes I realize I'm behind the times by about a year, but that's what I'm playing right now.

Playing it this weekend, though, did get me to thinking about the spell Sight. I mean, in battle it has one effect - allows you to see an enemy's status, and out of battle it has a completely different effect - allows the user to see a wider view of the world map. Now how many other spells do you know behave that way? I certainly can't think of any other off the top of my head...

Have a good one!
Maggie ^_^


Is that the difference between the original and the new version? I thought that in the original SNES Final Fantasy, "Sight" did absolutely nothing in battle, and it was in fact Peep instead that allowed you to see enemy stats. I do remember that Sight allowed you to zoom out a bit to view your surroundings, which was a really neat idea, though by the time you've played through the game about seven times, you of course have little need for such a spell.

So, what changes are bothering you the most? Realize that many of the "new" elements are actually things that were actually included in the original Japanese version before they were ripped out for us Western-world "simpletons". Of course, many of the new elements are indeed new, too. Hopefully, despite everything, you're still enjoying your questing across the Blue Planet!

Oh, that treacherous Novembra...

Hey there, Matt!

Here is what I have to say about Kingdom Hearts, after getting nearly to the end. Wow. And I mean wow. So many twists and turns in the plot, such a wonderful story so far. I'm also so very close to getting all the puppies. 6 more to go.


Good! I'm glad it's going well!

And to all of you out there: There's an illusion out there that at Q&A, we only talk about the games that are just coming out, or the games that are really old. However, if you're one of those people who are just getting around to the great games of months past, or even the games of yesteryear, please feel free to write in and share your experiences with us nonetheless! We'll be listening. The average gamer can't play everything as soon as it comes out, after all.

It helps that I've been writing up a storm for NaNoWriMo as well, so I don't feel guilty about taking time to play a game. I'd say my November is going well. How's yours? I really hope you're getting enough time for Final Fantasy XII.



If the villainous Novembra doesn't completely gut me of my soul or kill me, it will certainly have done a good job of trying. I'm doing my best to get gaming time in, though, and thankfully, none of my hairs have lost their chroma as of yet. As for Final Fantasy XII, I've got a solid seven hours on the clock so far, which isn't terribly bad, considering my situation... and also considering that I'm playing Xenosaga III concurrently! Thanks for asking, and take care!

The new lustgame

Hey, Matt,

Anyway, now for a real question, have you seen the latest Zelda videos that are on Nintendo's Wii website? They are slightly spolierish, though, but not very much so. I feel so fickle, but that makes me even more giddy than I have been for Final Fantasy XII. I'm going to have a backlog of great games this Christmas; thank goodness I have a lot of vacation coming. Anyway, exciting things that I have read in response to the vids and early plays of the game...


Wow, those look amazing. This is definitely one of the games of this year that I'm most looking forward to getting to play (though I might not actually be able to play it until next year). From what I've seen and heard, the gameplay and atmosphere seem to be everything we've come to expect from Zelda games. I hope you're able to make good use of your vacation - the dreaded backlog monster knows no mercy.

I've posted a couple of observations below. I've read how you feel about spoilers, so please don't read them if you don't want to know. There's nothing too, too spoilerish here, and I'm trying to avoid putting some of the other stuff I've seen down.


The vast landscape of the title sequence reminds me of Shadow of the Colossus...which is a very good thing. I've never felt more immersed in a video game landscape than in that game. The music sends chills down my spine.


Yeah, the choral remix of the Zelda theme sounds brilliant. I replayed the start of the trailer just to listen to it again. I have Shadow of the Colossus, but it's still sitting in my backlog at the moment. I keep hearing great stuff about it, but finding time is always difficult.

- I've read several remarks how Link's facial expressions are even more dramatic than in Wind Waker. :o)

- Midna is shown with someone who looks to be Zelda, but it's not definite. That would end speculation that Midna is Zelda, which I never believed, anyway.

- A mysterious masked enemy has been introduced in the latest trailer, and there's a lot of speculation about his identity. A close examination of his armor reveals a Gerudo Symbol.

*End Spoilers*


Interesting points. I've been staying away from story speculation, so I don't have too much to add here.

I'm said because my financial situation dictates that I'm going with the cube version rather than initially purchase a Wii. So, I have roughly 6 weeks to stay out of Twilight Princess media. Sigh. I understand Nintendo's business decision, but I still lament the fact that I won't get to play the game for a while. It will give me something to look forward to in December, though. I just hope there are not any differences in actual gameplay content.



Hopefully, the only difference is in the controls. Gamecube owners who can't upgrade to a Wii right away have had little else to look forward to for the past year or two, so giving them a crippled version of the game would really sting. I still haven't decided which version to get. I probably won't be able to afford either version right when it comes out, but I do plan to get a Wii in the next few months sometime, shortages permitting. I'm a bit curious as to how much impact the new controls will have on a game that was initially designed for the Gamecube. If nothing else, those videos of people playing the swordfighting portions make me itch for a more dedicated, precise, fencing simulator using the Wii controller. Thanks for writing in, Sundoulos!


This is Matt, speaking: I DID NINETEEN HOURS OF MATH IN A ROW YESTERDAY! This column was such a refreshing break. Tonight, I should even get time to sit down with a certain new game!


For complete contest rules, click here!

Answers to November 3rd's Questions

#364. a) Nightmare - 1,500 points
Yep! "Dead Beat" was the background music for the swampy Stages 4-1, 4-2, etc, which led you on a one-way trip to Stage 5-1, 5-2, and so on, featuring Alucard and the creepy "Nightmare" theme! Taking a different path through Stage 3 will bring you to a Stage 4-A instead, a pirate ship level with the "Anxiety" theme; that path doesn't meet back up with the first until you're into Dracula's Castle in Stage 8.

#365. c) Booster's Tower - 1,500 points
Anyone who has played Mario RPG will know this one. I remember how excited I got the first time I discovered this!

Today's New Questions

A character in the original Suikoden has a name that is the same as that of a unit of measurement for what? (2,000 points)

a) Catalytic Activity
b) Illuminance
c) Electric Conductance
d) Luminous Intensity
e) Magnetic Induction

Boojum's #367:
Four enemy combatants suddenly leave the battle, abandoning their leader undefended for my troops to gang up on. Who do I have to thank for this? (2,000 points)

a) The Magician
b) The Empress
c) The Hermit
d) The Fool
e) The Hanged Man

The final item that will be introduced to this competition will be Boojum's Lycanthropic Curse: As long as you possess this item, you have been infected by a werewolf. For all columns posted in the first seven days of the month, the full moon is considered to be out, and you have the Werewolf status (see below). Additionally, you gain Werewolf status for the first seven days immediately after acquiring this item, regardless of the date. This item can't be stolen or destroyed normally, but it can be removed by an Esuna spell targeted against it. If you get both of today's questions right, you'll be entered into a draw to obtain it! Best of luck.

Werewolf Status: While you are a Werewolf, you lose the benefit of all items in your inventory. However, any attacks against you deal only half damage. Additionally, once per day, you can make a bite attack against any target in the top 35. This deals 5,000 damage. You gain half the amount of damage dealt as bonus points. The bite can be blocked by armor, shields, or other defensive items. Finally, any target injured by the bite has a 50% chance of being infected with lycanthropy. Anyone that is infected is immediately given their own Boojum's Lycanthropic Curse.

Note that this is IT, people. The slates are all being wiped clean in just a few days, so take advantage of using your items while you can, if you plan to, because they won't be of any use in SOCK II! The last day with questions will be Thursday, and whoever has the most points by Friday, other than the grand prize winner, Boojum, will win a final, bonus co-hosting position! Stay tuned for more!

SOCK's Item List

Obtain these items upon reaching the listed point benchmarks!

3,500 points:
A.P.G. (1 left), or Mythril Armor (2 left)

5,000 points:
Any 1st-Level Elemental Spell (1 left), Rare Candy (3 left), or Rename Card (1 left)

7,000 points:
Slowga Spell (2 left), Float Spell (1 left), or Blind Spell (2 left)

10,000 points:
Sneak Glove (1 left), Any Gem (1 left), or Biora Spell (1 left)

14,000 points:
Ultra Sneak Glove (2 left), Nightmare Staff (1 left), or Scan Spell (2 left)

19,000 points:
Mythril Armor (2 left), Rare Candy (4 left), or Wait Mode (1 left)

25,000 points:
Vanish Spell (1 left), Item Bomb (4 left), or Flare Spell (2 left)

32,000 points:
Mythril Shield (1 left), Staff of Aid (1 left), or A.P.G. (1 left)

40,000 points:
Rename Card (2 left), Rare Candy (4 left), or Point Quadrupler (3 left)

50,000 points:
Regega Spell (3 left), Rebirth Stone (1 left), or Item Destroyer (2 left)

61,000 points:
Flare Spell (1 left), Rare Candy (3 left), or Economizer (2 left)

73,000 points:
Rare Candy (1 left), Cloak of Evasion (2 left), or Regera Spell (3 left)

86,000 points:
Meteor Spell (2 left), Item Bomb (1 left), or Rare Candy(2 left)

100,000 points:
Rare Candy (2 left), Diamond Armor (2 left), or Meteor Spell (1 left)

SOCK's Prize Shop

Obtain enough points, and you may buy items, merchandise, or guest-hosting positions.

Click here for the current list of potential prizes!


So Matt, have there ever been any Japan-exclusive RPGs that really caught your attention? Just curious.


It's called MOTHER. MOTHER 3!! Wahhhhh...
Otherwise, you should talk to JuMeSyn. Japan-only games make up about half of everything he plays!

What, you can't break letters into pieces anymore? I NEVER do a word count on my pieces - blurgh. Fine. IfIspeaklikethisthewordcountisfoiled!


Alas, for this column is in english, and that mash of syllables just doesn't make the cut. Now now, you don't want me to impose a character limit too, do you? 1000 words, 5000 characters max? Maybe I'll be nice and make it 5100, just for you. <3


Thanks to Boojum, who did a stunning job as Q&A co-host today! He has many more ahead of him, so you'll be sure to get your fill over the weeks to come. For tomorrow, I want to hear from everyone who has played CHILDREN OF MANA. This really long-awaited DS Action RPG has really been swept under the rug; at one time, it was one of my most wanted games, even. But now, it has come out, and well, Final Fantasy XII has stolen the show, as predicted. Has anyone given this little potential gem a whirl? Please, tell me about it!

Otherwise, any old topic will do. Thanks for reading, everybody!

Send a Letter!

Inbox Status: Ewwy
Matt gets frustrated by telemarketers at least thrice daily!

I am officially zonk-ed.

Most Recent

Nov. 6: Josh

Nov. 5: Josh

Nov. 4: Josh

Nov. 3: Matt


SOCK's Rule Guide

SOCK's Prize Shop

About the Host

Quote Archives

What I Want to Play:

1. Final Fantasy III

2. Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance

3. Fire Emblem: Goddess of Dawn

4. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

5. Pokémon Diamond/Pearl

What I'm Playing:

1. Final Fantasy XII

2. Xenosaga: Episode III

3. Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow

SOCK's Scoreboard

Dueling Glove Holder:

Summon in Play:

HP: 15,000
1. Boojum
504,877 pts

2. BigWook
64,867 pts

3. Erika
56,686 pts

4. Belthasar2
48,293 pts

5. Kanato
46,899 pts

6. CW
43,254 pts

7. MagRowan
37,194 pts

8. DMJewelle
36,190 pts

9. JuMeSyn
35,509 pts

10. BLG
33,812 pts

11. Ourobolus
29,638 pts

12. MrMSty
29,630 pts

13. Alexander
28,883 pts

14. TV's Adam
28,721 pts

15. Arpijy
28,587 pts

16. Leaper
27,765 pts

17. Prismatic
26,410 pts

18. JokingChimer
25,466 pts

19. Laurie
25,050 pts

20. Bainick
24,997 pts

21. Thinkfreemind
23,336 pts

22. Kharamain
23,329 pts

23. Erunion
21,640 pts

24. LufiaLvr
20,390 pts

25. Dermot
20,146 pts

26. Waterfiend
19,355 pts

27. Hunter B
18,836 pts

28. Draconn
13,985 pts

29. Gaijin
13,438 pts

30. Arros Raikou
13,420 pts

31. DDX
10,908 pts

32. Macstorm
10,631 pts

33. Carabbit
10,015 pts

34. Genjuu
9,373 pts

35. Cap
9,205 pts

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