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November 16, 2006

Matthew Demers - 18:20 EST

WELL, I HAVE TO HAND IT TO all of you. As soon as I had my first real problem with Final Fantasy XII, I had about three thousand readers come to the rescue. Thanks very much! I'm hoping to give it another shot soon, perhaps tonight, as I do a little bit of hunting.

Last night was my chance to dive into Final Fantasy III! Wow, what an amazing game! I'm so impressed by the fact that while they changed so many little things, they left so many other aspects exactly the same! The challenge hasn't been pared down at all, and the battle system, as far as I can see, is quite true to what it was originally. I thought that the character control (i.e. movement on maps, etc) was a bit floaty and hard to get used to at first, until I realized how wonderfully awesome it is to use the stylus to move about instead. If you're a fan of old school Final Fantasy, it is simple: You must have this game, based on my first two hours of gameplay.

If anyone wants to write me a Q&A letter or pass me some other piece of mail through Mognet, you're more than welcome to! My friend code is 515 480 192 117. Add me when you get the chance, and make sure to pass your numbers to me, too! I'm so excited.

So, here we are. Three of the hardest Final Fantasy games in the whole series are upon us, all at once. Is there any hope of finishing all three of them? The juggling act begins...

...and coincidentally, so do today's letters! Observe:

Self-Sorting Out

So, here it is. The day has come. The Final Fantasy Trifecta has descended upon us in its entirety. And within five days, the completion of the next generation of consoles.


Aren't you excited!?

...but I can't find myself to be excited. I'm in too much disbelief!

FFXII has been out for two whole weeks already, but I don't have a copy.. I know that I could go to the store right now and pick up a copy of it, but I can't. It can't really be there, could it? I've been waiting for it for so, so long, and even though I had a brief period of doubt, I've been excited about it for most of the incredibly long development period.

And here it is. And V. And III, my absolute favorite title in the series. All at the store. All waiting for me. I certainly have the time and the money for all three of them. I could get them all right now, right this instant... Yet I can't. It's just too much; is this really happening? It's been so long a wait; I've been so excited... can it be true? I've never realized just how big of a Final Fantasy fan I really am until this week-until yesterday, when my favorite game of all time graced our modest green Earth like an Angel from Heaven. It's too much to bear! If you knew eternal happiness-and I mean true joy and rapture-lay just beyond the door, how long would it take you to open it? Would you? Could you?


It would depend highly on how much happiness I could find on my side of the door. Also, if there were a big pile of delicious-looking chocolate on a table next to my side of the door, I might take a little bit of time out before I go on through. In this case, though, there is no chocolate, and well, you're just being silly. Get marching!

And you're right. We've been waiting for Final Fantasy XII for almost six years now. Isn't that crazy? And Final Fantasy III for even longer, for that matter; I've been drooling over the remake since the original plans were announced for the Wonderswan Color, and later when it was rumoured for the GBA. Who would have thought that the remake would come to this?

In the process of writing this letter, I truly have become excited.... I have come to terms with the truths that lay before me. The future has truly arrived, dear Alexander! Go forth, and seize the treasures that lay before you! The fruits of your patience and loyalty!

Thank you Matt, for helping me with this.


Alexander M. DeMichiei


Enh, I didn't do very much! Thou hast helped thyself. Now, I send you off: Go and blow a lot of money to get your instant dose of RPG happiness, if you please. (Isn't it scary how new games sound somewhat like narcotics in this respect?)

Sony and the PS3: Tomorrow's the Big Day

When I first heard of this [Backwards Compatibility] issue, I was definitely not surprised. We should have known it wouldn't be 100% accurate, as it wasn't with the PS2->PS1 either. I think consumers may have believed it because Sony actually put an Emotion Engine chip in the PS3 to guarantee capability. But technology changes and grows, and things become harder to work with, especially with all the coding differences between previous games and today's. I saw some people complaining about Valkyrie Profile and I wanted to point out something. To anyone whom has ever tried to emulate Valkyrie Profile knows that the audio used on that game was extremely different than most games, and hard to work around. Even the original PS game itself had problems with its audio, namely Badrach, whom many peoples games would freeze up while attempting to access his voice pattern (mine included, which is why I was excited about Lenneth). VP was one of the hardest games to emulate even using the PS game in the cd-rom drive because of the special audio codecs they used for the game. So this surprises me none. As for the rest of the list I saw linked, many of those say 'sometimes.' Sometimes? You can't claim a game doesn't work based on 'sometimes'. While I understand it may be glitchy, that sounds like it can work or eventually work. I also saw some 'not yet tested' and 'PS2 HDD games aren't supported.' I would like to point out one big thing: They've claimed some 200 titles don't work, but I would like to mention that the Asian PS1 and PS2 market contains almost 10,000 games for both systems. This is all just bad rep people are trying to give Sony in this war. So far their capability of BC is extremely better than the Xbox360's (BTW, I find it funny that MS included Xbox into it's list of known 'good words' in MS Outlook and Word. =P), and I am dying to see how well the Nintendo Wii plays GameCube games to combat this claim. Now, if 200+ titles in America don't work on the PS3, then we're talking, because we only had like 1300 PS2 and 1300 PS1 titles (totaling 2600). This is less than the rest of the world, so 200+ might mean something, but 200 out of 10,000? Wow...


I definitely see the points that you've made. My only real issue, as I stated yesterday, was that if a company claims backwards compatibility, I have the right to expect backwards compatibility, unless they specifically announced before release that there might indeed be issues with some fraction of existing games. Unless they did this, the "Backwards Compatibility" claim is, I feel, a misleading one. I'm not saying this as a Sony-basher; I'm saying it as a consumer in a capitalist country. I'd be annoyed with Nintendo, too, if something similar occurred.

And, I can't believe that Xbox is recognized! Your letter inspired me to go and start typing random things into Corel WordPerfect, and while console names are deemed to "not be words", the corporate names "Sony", "Microsoft", and "Nintendo" are all okay. Very interesting...

I must admit I am a Sony Fan myself, even though I grew up on Nintendo. I started playing games with an Atari 2600, obtained a NES when they were first released, collected, played and loved MANY NES games (well over 200 titles I'm sure), as well as SNES. My love switched with Squaresoft, as did many other RPGamers I'm sure. When they announced a move to the PS, I was happy because I already had a PS and very few games to play on it at the time. I had games like Beyond the Beyond, Arc the Lad, and Suikoden. Meanwhile on my N64, I had Quest64. =/ Shortly thereafter, Ocarina of Time. Not much else in the way of RPG's for Nintendo anymore. That's when I moved to Sony. I have been with them ever since. I do not own a GC, as my friend does and I see no need, even as a collector that I am. I don't care at all for the Crystal Chronicles series, and the majority of the games I do find childish in ways, and those that don't my friend owns, so... I own(ed) every Nintendo Power from the very first issue (Super Mario 2!) to sometime around 1998-2000 or so. So I am not one of those Sony Hardcore fans who never experienced Nintendo's fame, I have been playing since day 1. I do have to say, while I'm looking forward to a PS3, and do not mind the price (even though I'm poor, have a wife and a child (one more on the way!)), as I understand what things cost, I am a businessman through and through, and looking at today's economy? It's no wonder. I do also think some of this 'war' has been quite ridiculous, and Sony has been sitting high on their throne, I think they have made some bad marketing decisions, and some good ones. Every company does. I don't think Nintendo is God, and I don't think they'll be God in the next generation because of how this works. All we can do is wait and see what happens, but no matter what does, all three systems are likely to stick around.


It's true. Everyone thinks that they have the best explanation; we've heard everything from "Sony is going to dominate all of the others at least as much as in the last gen!" to "Each company is going to get an equal cut of the pie in this generation!" ...but the future is completely unpredictable, and you're right: All we can do is sit back and enjoy the show.

I do think, though, that the RPG-distribution of the next generation looks like it might get shaken up a whole lot. As of right now, the PS3 has fewer RPGs announced for it than the Wii, and both of them are lagging behind the 360. In other words, this represents a complete flip from the last generation! Of course, the picture might be flipped again within a couple of years' time. It's all a bunch of speculation right now, though.

People also need to quit referencing Sony and BD to Sony and Betamax, as there are extreme differences in the situations. A) Betamax was a long time ago in a land not near as technological as it is today. B) Betamax was a great format, and they didn't lose because their costs were higher (well ok, they did, but there was a reason!) JVC had a worse system, but kept copying Sony's technology everytime the Betamax started doing better. However, JVC opened up their license, where Sony was holding onto theirs. This was the main killer, as that threw the VHS standard much further into the market (many more companies were capable of producing cheap VCRs and such, throwing their name into the market on a much higher level). I would estimate that this was a bad idea, as look where we are now. So many bad VCRs because they're cheap. Sony held onto the license, allowing many fewer systems to be made, keeping more of a control on the quality, which is what Betamax was about. Also, money was tighter back then than it is now.


Of course, you have a point. Things aren't nearly the same this time, but Sony doesn't exactly have a great track record with introducing new media formats. Look at the last one they tried: The UMD. It's quite amazing, really, how quickly that idea crested and tanked. That being said, Blu-Ray (ugh, I still can't stand the kewl lack of an "e") definitely has a much better chance of making it big by having the Playstation 3 as its trojan horse, so to speak.

Ok, I'm done ranting for now. I hope you enjoyed the read, and good luck on FF XII! =) (I just wish I had more time to play, between a full time job, college courses, a pregnant wife and a 16 month old child =))


Jeremy 'Lightshard' Earl


Thanks very much! I'll give it my best shot tonight, if all goes well. Good luck finding the time to play, yourself! Life would be so much easier as a ten-year-old, you know?

Something addictive is in the air...

After writing in once, I've discovered it's easier to write in a second time, and I'll assume it'll continue into a downword spiral of rpgaming Q&A addiction. It's like I've partaken my first toke of a gateway drug and I don't know where it's leading but I'm looking forward to the ride.


So, Final Fantasy is like a drug, Q&A is like a drug... I'm sensing a theme for the day. An odd/unexpected theme, but a theme nonetheless...

In light of the difficulties of the PS3 and its backward compatibility problems, I've begun to worry if similiar problems will arise with the Wii. I'm intrigued by the motion sensing controller, but what really convinced me I wanted a Wii was the promise of backwards compatibility with the numerous Nintendo systems. I never wanted a Gamecube but now having the options to play some GC games AND a new systems games made me really happy.

But now I'm worried. I read something a while back where the Wii's compatibility would actually only work on those games Nintendo actually made but not any third party games. So, lots of Mario but no 7th Saga, Secret of Evermore, etc. If that's the case just sucks.

So, I come to you, Matt, with my worries. Please! Tell me it ain't so! Or, if you can't do that, tell me how the Wii will work. I can handle the truth.

koala bob


Something you must understand is this: Nintendo has only claimed that Wii will compatible with Gamecube discs. You will not be able to plug NES, Super Nintendo or N64 cartridges into any part of the system, no matter how hard you try.

There will, however, be selected games from the olden days available through the Wii Virtual Console, which you'll be able to purchase and download for a small fee ($5 - $10, it looks like).

That's the lowdown. The only way that I'd get irritated by Nintendo would be if the console is released and within a week, we hear something along the lines of "actually, a quarter of Gamecube games won't work after all." Then, I'll have officially lost the ability to trust any video gaming company, period, end of story.

P.S. Oh, on the part about the FFXII quickenings, I was pretty confused when I first opened them up too. I found that they become a little easier to understand after you opened up the abilities for 2 or 3 party members, though, and then if you just tap the R2 button and pay attention it should become a little easier. I don't want to go into too much explanation, because I have faith in you, Matt! You can do it!

P.P.S What the hell does Wii stand for anyway? and why was it changed to that from the Revolution?


Apparently, the point of "Wii" is to include all types of gamers, and I believe that it was felt that the name "Revolution" was deemed to be too intimidating to most non-gamers. So, to answer your question, it is what it is, and it's not really supposed to stand for anything. But the logo looks cute!

Thanks for your letter. And do not despair; Nintendo will get its just desserts if it doesn't come through now, for sure.

Mist Way-Too-Quickenings

Hey Matt,

Ugh. Mist Quickenings...worst limit breaks ever. Ouro claims to have racked up tons of damage with them, but I rarely got them to work and even then, the damage tended to suck. They aren't too difficult to do, but they require lots of luck and quick reflexes!

The trick is to hit triangle, X, or circle to trigger another MQ before time runs out. If the other MQs are grayed out, hit R2 to refresh them until one becomes available. Unfortunately, it can take a few cycles before an MQ is ready, so sometimes you get caught up in refreshing and you totally bypass an MQ! Time also seems to go by faster and faster, making it increasingly difficult to chain MQs for high damage.

The good news is that you really don't need MQs. Magic, Summons, and outright bashing with weapons will get you through the game. Assuming you aren't weighed down by the obligation to use a poor excuse for a limit break system merely because it's there, you can enjoy Final Fantasy XII without MQs.

So, my slime colleague, you are not alone. You are not stupid. I also despise Mist Quickenings.

Shall we form a "We Hate Mist Quickenings" Club?

Cortney Stone (Alethea)


Thanks for the pointers, Alethea, and thanks to everyone else who wrote in to try and kick me into shape here.

What are my feelings on Mist Quickenings now? Well, I have to go give them a second chance now, but I have to admit that with the extensive hand-holding that is done to explain the other, simpler aspects of the game (i.e. the battle basics, such as targeting lines), it's a bit shocking that Quickenings are completely glossed over in the instruction manual and not mentioned in the game at all, from my vantage point. I checked my Clan Primer, too, and saw nothing about 'em there, either! Grr.

If it turns out that I despise them as much as you do, then I'm totally up for such a club. You can join the already-existing "We Hate Tetra Master" Club, established by me a few years back. I could use a few more members, since we only have, um, one right now. <3

Good to hear from you!! And thanks again. I'll give it my all.

An End to the Saga

Hey Matt!

So, you finally were able to finish of Xenosaga. I'm glad you were able to get it done before the siren's song of Final Fantasy XII drew you away forever. That is one game I would have a terrible time resisting, even with my policy of finishing whatever game I'm on before starting the next one, no matter how badly I want to play it.


Oh, tell me about it! Argh, do you realize that NOW, I have an absolutely huge number of games that are on the go? I never did finish Disgaea 2, and I'm playing through Castlevania, the three new Final Fantasies, Fire Emblem, and theoretically, Grandia III. Despite this list, Final Fantasy XII does have a certain je ne sais quoi that keeps me coming back for more, despite how annoying "certain aspects" can get from time to time.

I'm kind of curious, what did you think of the end of the game? There were a lot of threads wrapped up in a hurry leading up to the ending, but at the same time, it didn't feel too terribly rushed to me. Perhaps a bit contrived to have everyone that close together, but it still worked pretty well. I found the ending to be remarkably representative of the series as a whole: It was really long, with lots of dialogue. There were stretches where not too much happened, and then quick bursts where a lot of things did. There was an undeniable emotional reaction during it, and I was very well moved. All in all, an ambitious end to a remarkable series. I wish we'd have gotten the chance to see the whole planned series.


I agree! Though, I have to admit, I was secretly not convinced that it was completely the end; part of me really suspected that I'd be put back into control of my characters after the long movie, and that I'd be off to some new locale to continue playing. Of course, when the credits started rolling, reality set in, and I was simultaneously happy and sad. I was really satisfied with the ending, and the game as a whole; however, that made me really sad to see the end! I'm really going to miss Shion, KOS-MOS and friends, especially if we never hear from them in a game again.

I have to admit, I was oddly emotional for the 24 hours following completion of the game. It's not like I randomly burst into tears every now and then; I just ended up reflecting and introspecting more than usual, all the while having music from the game run through my brain.

However, Jin needed to stop talking and get his butt in gear.

It feels really weird not to be putting Sock answers here...




I thought exactly the same thing as you at that part! Grr. Ah well. he had his reasons, right?

It's really weird, too, to not receive SOCK answers from anyone. It's a bit of a relief, I have to admit. I'm glad, though, that you're still taking the time to write in! I'm sad to see the series come to a close, but Xenosaga: Episode III is a pleasure to talk about.


Just thought I'd let you know, the lines for the PS3 have already started outside the electronic stores in my state. People have been camping since last night.

Saw it on a news item this morning. That and the fact that ebay has PS3s going for as high as $2000 already according to the news.

And thus the idiocy begins...

Hey- if those people think that the PS3 is really worth blowing that amount of money on, then it's their prerogative. I'll just be standing back, shaking my head, and waiting for some real games to be released, so just never mind me~

I just realized tonight that I have a 97 game backlog and there is no hope for me. If you count me playing FFXII and Yoshi's Island DS, make it 99.

Now I don't feel so bad. I'm only going to get caught up by the time I die, whereas you might be at it well into your second afterlife, if you believe in that sort of thing. If you don't, then... you'd better quit your job, pronto.


If I've learned one lesson today, it's that to generate mail, I should start complaining about some aspect of a popular game, because holy bajebus, you guys wrote a lot to me yesterday! Most impressive. But, if I want to find something else wrong with FFXII, I'd better start searching NOW!

Tomorrow, however, is the day. One of THE biggest days in the video game world so far this century. Yes, the PS3 is hitting store shelves, and chances are that if you're not already in a lineup, your chances are next to zero of obtaining one for awhile.

So tell me: Were you in one of those lines? Was it raining outside? Did you get wet? Did you bring lots of chocolate to keep you wired and awake the entire time? Or are you one of those people who thinks the queuees (what a fantastic word) are just a bunch of bozos?

Let me know your thoughts, and get back to me, either through Mognet or conventional e-mail! I'll be happy to answer the best of your questions, and question the best of your answers.

Until tomorrow, I'm out! Take care, everybody!

Send a Letter!

Inbox Status: Bizarrely good, all of a sudden!
Matt has only two weeks to go before his final exam of death!

It's a take-home exam that will last a week. Expect stress from me then. For now, ignorance is bliss, as they say...

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What I Want to Play:

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5. Pokémon Diamond/Pearl

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1. Final Fantasy XII

2. Final Fantasy III DS

3. Final Fantasy V Advance


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