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December 5, 2006

Boojum - 19:47 EST

GOOD AFTERNOON, and welcome to today's edition of RPGamer Q&A! I'm your guest co-host, Boojum, bringing you the color commentary. Joining me in the broadcast booth is Matt Demers, who will be handling the play-by-play. We've got a barn-burner lined up for you today, so let's head rinkside for the first question.


Hey Matt,

I don't know if it will help Erika and those with a similar condition, but if you imagine a straight wrist being a 180 degree angle, you should only have to angle your wrist to 150 degrees back and forth to play Zelda: TP on the Wii, which involves heavy use of the wii-mote. Most people use not their wrist but their arm. Granted, I can't speak for other games, and I do hope Nintendo is honest about how to prevent the kind of strain Erika mentioned. The only thing that would interfere with enjoying a Wii game would be rather severe wrist strain; in that case, I think I can say with confidence that that person shouldn't get a Wii...


That level of wrist movement shouldn't be an issue for most people. There is a big temptation to wave your arms around wildly when first using the system, but most gamers should adjust to the small movements fairly quickly. The movements in some games are likely to be more exaggerated than others (my short playtime with Wii Sports seemed to require some whole-arm movement, though it's possible that less might be necessary.)


Indeed. For Zelda, I know the control scheme has changed a little bit since E3, but there, it was shocking to me how little I needed to move to get the job done. The movements I had to make were all extremely subtle; so much so that I'd judge that from fifteen feet away, you wouldn't be able to tell that I was moving my wrist at all.

Of course, other games come with different sets of movement, so it's hard to say. I'm sure Nintendo will face a few lawsuits by the time this generation is all said and done, but then again, with profits exceeding one billion dollars last year, they can afford them. (Maybe that's not the best way of thinking...)

In terms of games we're all looking forward to, don't forget Persona 3 on February 1! It seems that will be the last good RPG they come out with on the PS2, unless developers decide to keep making games for it. At least, the last I'm looking forward to anyway


Oh, believe me, I haven't forgotten Persona 3. SMT: Nocturne is quite possibly my favorite current-generation console RPG. It was my first introduction to the series, and I've since come to regret never having a chance to play any of the earlier games. You can bet I'll be ready to snag that as soon as it comes out, especially given Atlus's penchant for small quantities that sell out in no time. Other than that, I'm quite intrigued by Rogue Galaxy, which is also scheduled to launch early next year. I enjoyed both Dark Cloud games, and DQVIII is amazing so far, so Level 5 hasn't let us down yet.

You're right that there doesn't seem to be much else in the pipeline after that for the current systems. Honestly, I'm a bit surprised that there isn't more. While it's a given that most of the big names will move on to the shiny new hardware, the massive PS2 install-base has to be attractive to someone once all the competition has moved on. In particular, I would think it would be a smart move for some of the more niche developers that don't really compete on the basis of graphics (Nippon Ichi comes to mind).

And now for some questions. Do you have a favorite obscure RPG? If so, do you ever wish they would make a sequel? Also, do you have a mainstream game for which you wish someone would make a spin-off? If so, what game and why is it spin-off worthy?


Good questions. Planescape: Torment isn't exactly obscure, but it was spectacular. The story was pretty well wrapped up, so going back to the same characters wouldn't work very well, but I'd love another trip into Sigil, the City of Doors, with a new story and more of the top-notch plotting and dialogue writing that made the original so amazing. Sadly, with Black Isle being shut down, there doesn't seem to be much likelihood of it ever happening.

Other than that, I desperately want a sequel to Gladius, as its swing-meter-based gameplay and unusual style are completely unique in the TRPG genre, and could truly shine with another batch of polish and refinement. I think I ranted about how wonderful it is and how you should all go buy a copy last time I hosted. There were rumors of a sequel in the works, but alas, it never materialized.

I'd also love another sequel to the Ogre Battle series. I've been replaying the original lately, and its gameplay style is still utterly unique, with a fascinating mix of turn-based and real-time gameplay. Now that Yasumi Matsuno is done with FFXII, hopefully we'll see something along these lines for the Wii.

As far as a spin-off goes, my choice actually already exists, but not in a form that I can enjoy it. A game mixing the demon collecting and fusing of Shin Megami Tensei with a tactical battle system would probably prevent me from ever leaving my house again. I hear there were actually two games along that line called Majin Tensei made for the SNES, but they were never translated. Atlus, you need to translate these and release them on the Virtual Console, OK?

Hmm, looking over my choices, can you tell I love TRPGs?


Interesting choices, Boojum. You know mine already (or you should), if Earthbound could be considered obscure, but Nintendo doesn't seem to care that it's my favourite, tragically. If you want more obscure than even that, I dunno what I'd go with. Maybe E.V.O.: Search for Eden, or Lufia and the Fortress of Doom. To be honest, most of the "obscure" RPGs that I've played haven't been very likable.

I should add that it's funny that you want to live in a warm climate, but then you grew up in Canada, didn't you? Brrr! I on the other hand grew up in south Texas, so I'm all about a more moderate, cooler climate. Really, it would be nice to have the gorgeous change of seasons other places have... On the bright side, we get to wear shorts three seasons out of the year...

I really need to get cool-weather clothing...

Wrapped in a blanket,
- waterfiend


My hometown is a short drive away from Windsor, Ontario, which some might consider to be the warmest spot in Canada- we have had 70 degree days in February, for instance, but they happen extremely seldomly. It's warm enough to grow vegetable crops, in any case. Take, though, the amount that I complain about the cold here and imagine if you stuck me up in the middle of Manitoba come January, effectively slicing another 20 degrees off of my already meagre count. Yikes... you'd never hear the end of it! Anyway, I've written Q&A wrapped in comfy blankets many times in the past, too, so just grin and bear it!


Well, I live in Southern California, so I can't really complain about the weather. A cold winter day means that I have to wear shoes instead of flip-flops with my shorts. On the other hand, I'd be willing to deal with a bit of weather if it meant I was somewhere with remotely reasonable traffic levels, so there are tradeoffs no matter where you live. Thanks for the intriguing questions, Waterfiend!

Me? Recommending MMORPGs? Hahahaha.


Recently new to RPG more so MMORPG. I was recently introduced to Guild Wars. Loved it, 400 hours in 2 months and all three versions and the interest dropped like a rock. Quests and missions all seem to be the same now. I have some good friends in WoW and they wish me to join. However, I am not sure the game is for me. I find the graphics cartoonish and blocky compared to GW which is smooth, with somewhat realistic looking characters. Whats else is out there. Lineage 2 looks good, and what about Everquest II. I guess I am really wondering what an expert RPG gamer would recommend, which brings me to YOU. Someone who may have played the different games and can give me and educated comparison of this games. Perhaps a website even that would help me make a decision. Sorry if I have wasted your time here, I am not even sure you answer these sorts of requests. If I am going to Pay and Play an online game I would sure like play one that I am going to stick with. Not fall apart like I have with Guild Wars.

Oh, one other thing here, Oblivion is already on the list but it is single player and man it looks good. Its the multiplayer angle I am looking for.

Thanks in advance,



Well, I have to say that your taste in RPGs is nothing like mine. But, that's why there are different kinds of them, right? In any event, I haven't played any of the games you've listed. However, I do know that you should immediately dispel the "cartoonish" idea you have in your head about World of Warcraft. Given that there are something like six million accounts for the game, there has got to be something great about it. And judging from the number of friends that I've lost to it, it must be pretty amazingly immersive. If you're looking for a great MMORPG experience, I have very little doubt that World of Warcraft will meet your expectations.

As for Guild Wars, I've heard that despite the fact that there is no monthly charge (a big thing, for me), there's not a whole lot to the game in comparison to some others out there. Perhaps you'll be pleasantly surprised. And what else is out there? Well, there's always Final Fantasy XI. I know a few people who have gotten lost in that one, too...

Choose one, anyway, dive into it, and get back to me to report your findings. I'll be waiting for you! Good luck.

A mini-review for you!

Yup, I don't have or really even want FFXII right now. ^___^ ToA is going to keep me busy until Rogue Galaxy comes out. I can't wait for Rogue Galaxy! I <3 Level 5!


Me neither! The battle system looks fun and energetic, though I really don't know a whole lot about the storyline yet. I'm looking forward to it too; that game provides yet another argument why the PS2 is only reaching its prime right now, never mind next-gen heavy machinery.

Mini-Reveiw of Tales of the Abyss:

Not many games have great characterization like ToA has. It is a rare game in that way. Also, it is hilarious. Funniest RPG I've ever played!

That battle system is highly entertaining, especially with multi-player. My sister and I had a lot of fun playing with FOFs and strategizing. Or, I'd play with three of my bestest friends. They changed the camera from Tales of Symphonia so that it zooms out as mutliple players run around the screen. It was rather annoying how the camera would only follow player 1 in ToS - players 2-4 would just disappear off screen. Hard to play a character if you can't see them on screen.

In conclusion, Tales of the Abyss rocks. :D



Sweet! It sounds like they've taken a few lessons from Super Smash Bros. in the camera department. I'm glad to hear that the Tales series is back on its feet after the anomaly that was Tales of Legendia! Maybe, maybe, I'll get the chance to play it one day soon. (...and I have a pretty good feeling that I will...)

It's unfortunate, though, because in conversations with multiple friends, it has become very clear that Tales of the Abyss is sitting directly in the shadow of Final Fantasy XII; no one seems to realize it's out. FFXII is good and all, but it's stolen the show this fall, as predicted. I hope that other franchises don't suffer great fallout because of it.

Thanks for your mini-review, Carabbit, and I hope to hear from you again soon!

The Top 101 uses for the PSP! Coming soon to a column near you.


Been reading the Q & A for about a year now, discovered it while computerless surfing the net on my psp. So the thing can't be all bad right?


Not at all. While I do my portable gaming with a shiny new black DS Lite, I'll be the first to admit that the PSP is a beautiful piece of hardware, and by all accounts is excellent for multimedia and homebrew applications. The software support hasn't yet gotten strong enough to convince me to buy one (as tempting as Valkyrie Profile is), but that situation seems to be slowly improving.

Anyways I got a new laptop as an early Christmas/Birthday present and can finally chime in.

For the guy looking for psp games I have to recomend the Metal Gear Acids. Between the card battle system which is combined with a grid based movement system and the crazy plots typical of the franchise I found them quite enjoyable on a system lacking quality rpg's overall. I guess I'm fortunate I'm the type who can really get into a game of Grand Theft Auto. Vice City's soudtrack is the knock


Metal Gear Acid did look pretty intriguing when it came out. I never got into the Metal Gear Solid system, but there seemed to be some good buzz about it, and I'm always up for an unusual battle system. GTA is another good suggestion – there's always plenty of activities in them to keep you busy for quite a while and I'm in complete agreement (assuming that 'the knock' means you like it) about Vice City's soundtrack (not sure if the one in VC Stories is the same or different than the original).

As to pain playing Wii games, I'll be 30 in January, and have some fun lingering injuries from high school sports (my golfing partners hear and comment upon my shoulder popping in my backswing), but the only time I've had an issue was when I was playing the tennis for a long time and my elbow started to hurt a little. So I stopped.


Basic common sense like that seems like it'll be plenty to avoid any Wii-related mishaps. It is slightly more strenuous than the typical gamepad, but as long as you don't overdo it, I can't see it being much of an issue.

I've actually found that playing Zelda is more relaxing than normal. The sword swipes require little motion, and I can lean back spread out on my couch because of the seperation between the numchuck and the wiimote, as opposed to sitting hunched over the controller held tight between two hands.


That's an interesting point, and one that I hadn't thought of. My only playtime with the Wii so far has been demonstrations and games that don't use the nunchuk (have to wait for Christmas rather than just buying it).

Which reminds me, on the front page of the local paper they had an article about how it was better for your lower back to sit slightly reclined, as opposed to the traditional 'sit up straight' teachings. And they mentioned that the typical videogamer sits all hunched over the controller which is even worse than sitting straight up. So there, Wii reduces lower back strain.


Speaking of posture while playing games, I think mine has to be one of the more unusual ways to play. My PS2 is set up in the bedroom, and I sit on an exercise bike and pedal while playing. This doesn't work very well for games that require a lot of precise movement or timing, but for most RPGs, it works just fine. The game distracts me just enough that I don't notice the exertion nearly as much as I would without it, and it's the only way I've found that I can actually motivate myself to get exercise more than a couple of times per month!

Well I guess that's about it. I hope to participate when the next sock starts up, and when I'm done with Vice City I've got FFIII on the shelf waiting so mognet mail should come your way at some point. Keep up the good work man.



FFIII is yet another entry in the dreaded "Christmas Limbo" for me. Perhaps it's just as well, though, as I'm still trying to finish up Dawn of Souls before my copy arrives. Thanks for the letter, Kezzy!

Unstable drama and excitement versus insipid content stasis. Fight!

O' percolating slimey-one,

So for the first two weeks after October 31st I was on vacation and was so able to play copious amounts of FF XII, and life was good. But then I had to go back to work, and now I'm lucky to get a half hour of play time in during a day. And to make matters worse my roommate has managed to get farther in the game than I have and I'm now forced to hide away while he plays lest I ruin the plot for myself. Which is what I'm doing now, but at least I have a reason to write in again. I have nothing important to say, but I'll say it nonetheless.


Oh, I know what you mean. Back when I lived at home, my brother and I would be the chief RPGamers, but the problem with that was that when one of us would play through a new game, the other would almost inevitably have things spoiled along the way. To be honest, it was probably tilted more heavily to Chris' detriment, since I was probably the "chief chief" gamer, but yeah. I'm so sensitive to spoilers of any kind, too, I'd be locked up in my room to avoid accidental discoveries, too.

Anyway, doesn't work/life suck? I wish I didn't have this final exam hanging over my head, too...

First of, in CW's letter you were talking about how life would be rather interesting if some apocalyptic event occured. I don't know entirely why, but I get a weird twisted quirk of joy out of imagining horrible tragedies and then planning out how I'd overcome them. My brother and I came up with a fairly elaborate plan in the event of a nuklear attack, it primarily centers around stealing an ambulance. An ambulance is a pretty well built vehicle, has a portable generator, and comes fully stocked with a variety of drugs that can be used for recreation, medicaly, or even as trade for other goods. I could become a king in the next Mad Max Road Warrior era.


Yeah... it's a bit twisted, really, to "hope" for some apocalyptic event, because obviously millions of people would die and chaos would ensue and so on and so forth. But, at certain times, times where I'm lost writing exams and going mad because of them, or dwelling tiresomely in the boring everyday mundanity of life, there have definitely been times where my feeling instead turns to "well, if something ultra-apocalyptic happened, at least it would shake things up a bit!" And sure, camping out in the basement with lots of chocolate bars and medicine and a DS, provided the electricity stays on, might be good for a little while. But, on the other hand, it'd be fun to go on a quest to actually save the world to reverse the effects of the apocalypse, RPG-style. The problem is, I'm just no good with a sword.

Hmmm...what else. Oh, someone mentioned how Sephiroth was the best FF villain and after thinking about it I have to agree. The only one who compares is Kefka. I vacillate between Kefka and Sephiroth as my favorite villain; I feel like I got closer to Sephiroth than to Kefka, so I can sympathize with Sephiroth a little more, but then again, Kefka is just so freaking insane that you have to respect him. I think that's one of the biggest strengths of both FFVI and VII, the main villain is introduced and developed throughout the entire game. I got really irritated when I played the later FFs and found out that after I killed the so-called main villain there was a man behind the curtains, so to speak, and then, in most cases, some thing behind that villain. The "sorceress from the future" and Yu Yevon where the biggest disappointments to me, they came from so far out in left field that I felt no vested reason to continue playing the game. I've actually never beaten VIII and I only finished X out of some obscure hope the last villain would turn out to be interesting, but no, he was a giant tick looking thing, woo-hoo.


It's true. I agree with you; the villains in VI and VII were by far the most well-developed of the series, but the change in VIII, IX, and X really isn't anything new. In Final Fantasy I, III, and IV, you barely know who the final villain is until the last couple of hours of gameplay. I hope that XII bucks that trend, but so far, I'm really not sure that it will. Ah well.

In any case, I mostly agree with you. "The guy behind the scenes" scenario CAN be really cool, but a lot of the time, it can be a lame way of tacking a few extra hours onto the end of the game. I thought Final Fantasy X had some of the worst villainry in any game in the first place; even the guy that SHOULD have been the boss of the game, somehow (Seymour), was a waste of space in the game. I just didn't feel the connection with him that I should for an effective villain.

Whoa, sorry for the rant there, got a little carried away. Let's see, something off topic question to get back on track of things...oh, I know. Do you know anyone who is named after or will name their children after a videogame character? I know someone who named their firstborn son's a cool name for a villain, but I feel so sorry for the kid.


You do!? Ugh, that's taking a craze a little bit too far, methinks. On the other hand, there are several names from RPGs that are very uncommon in practice, but would make pretty neat names in real life. Take "Tifa", for instance. No one is NAMED Tifa in the real world, but I think it would be a not-over-the-top, good name to give a kid. Don't you think? Others, however, like "Sephiroth" and "KOS-MOS" ... well, probably not such great ideas.

Alright, time to close things up. In regards to the video game related tattoos, at one point I was really looking into having the Blood Sin from Vagrant Story (the cross looking thing on all the artwork) tattoo'd on me. I went so far to get a personalized drawing of it done and then got an estimate for both an upper arm or a full-back tattoo like Ashley from the game. I don't really remember why I didn't go through with it, probably the cost, but now that I've remembered it I may look into getting it again.

That's it for me, hope this helped make your mailbox a little less mediocre.

Koala Bob


Yeah, I can imagine that something that huge would cost a pretty penny and take a whole lot of time to finish, too. The thing with tattoos is... they're so permanent. What happens in five years when I use my Ph.D. and zitty-faced charm to model for some magazine, because I can't get a job doing anything else?

Anyhow, thanks for writing in!

Wii Smash Brothers, and FFIX. Interesting combo.

Hey Matt!

As I continue to use my excess free time to play FFIX(midnight to 3am is a really boring time of the day, I really need work to move me back to my old schedule so I'm not up that late at night), I'm struck by the amazing number of things that I completely forgot about the game. There are entire areas that I forgot about, it's kind of weird. I knew that I had been a bit unimpressed by the game when I played it, but forgetting that much? Weird. Are there any RPGs that when you think back on them, there are big gaps in what you can remember? There are probably key moments that you remember, but can you remember how you got between those points? It's kind of striking when I think about it. Maybe I've played too many RPGs, and they're all blurring together. I hope not.


Oh, yes. My memory for details has plenty of holes in it. Thinking back over the RPGs I've played, it seems like the only games that I remember fairly well are the ones that I either played fairly recently or played through multiple times. Of course, the same goes for books and movies.

It's interesting to note, though, that the games I have by far the most complete memories of are those on the SNES. Part of this is because I played them when I was a kid, and thus had lots of time and no money to buy new games, so I played through most of them several times, but even the ones that I only played through once seem fresher in my mind than some more recent titles. Titles like Lufia II, Soulblazer, and Illusion of Gaia all stuck in my memory fairly well, whereas the specifics of Final Fantasy VII have been almost completely forgotten. I wonder if it has something to do with my youthful mind simply being better at retaining information.

Other than that, I'm enjoying the game, although the encounter rate is really high, which is an annoying bit that I remembered quickly. I'm thinking a reader retroview may be in my future...


I've actually also been recently playing through FFIX (although for me it's the first time). I put it aside when XII arrived, but so far (25 hours or so in), I've been liking it quite a bit more than the other PS1 installments, though perhaps less than the SNES era. The encounter rate per se hasn't bothered me, but the 10-second load times before and after every battle, coupled with the "dramatic" fly-ins have been somewhat aggravating.

Your comment the other day about a Super Smash Brothers sequel on Wii brought a hilarious thought to my mind. Can't you picture a couple of family members playing that game, swinging their Wii controllers around, and they actually start smacking each other (particularly if they are brothers)? It could be an unanticipated side effect, but somehow I find it to be one of the funniest videogame related images I can think of. Probably not a likely idea for the SSB marketing, though.


That would be pretty funny, and I could actually envision some TV ads with that theme, showing a family gathering together and getting a bit out of hand. However, as cool as that would be, it doesn't look like it will be happening, since it sounds like they're not planning to take advantage of the motion-sensing:

[Under the direction of series creator Masahiro Sakurai, Super Smash Bros. Brawl will feature classic, GameCube-style combat -- not Wii-style motion-controlled combat. That means players who prefer to play the game with the traditional control setup can look forward to using the GameCube control-style they're already accustomed to.

"We found that trying to implement too much motion-sensory functionality can get in the way of the game. We're looking at keeping the control simple, as it has been," said Sakurai. "The Wii hardware has sockets for the GameCube controller, too. So I'll just say now that you may not want to throw away your GCN controller yet."]

As intriguing as the idea of a motion-controlled fighting game is, it's looking like we'll have to wait for something else to come along.

Sigh...I suddenly have an extra couple hours free a day, and there's no Sock to turn my mind to. Timing is everything.




I know – I'm going through withdrawal waiting for the next round to be announced. Reading Q&A and trying to answer the SOCK questions was my morning newspaper substitute, as something to do while eating breakfast to kind of ease into the day. Part 2 can't come soon enough. Thanks for writing in, BigWook!


Je n'ai rien de quickies aujourd'hui. Qu'est-ce que vous voulez faire, enh?


If you have Final Fantasy III DS, send me your friend code, and I'll add yours! My code is 515 480 192 117. Then, send me mail, and I'll respond to you in the column. The moogles will be waiting, kupo!

Good Morning Matt

Create An Adventure Group by Picking One Character From Each FF You've Played!


Fun! OK, how about:

FFI: Red Mage (too cool)
FFII: Josef (the martyr)
FFIII: Arc (poor nerdy introverted little guy)
FFIV: Rydia (we need a summoner!)
FFV: Lenna (pink hair and all)
FFVI: Celes (the coolest heavy armor 'n' sword-wielding female in the history of RPGaming)
FFVII: Cid (what would we do without a Cid?)
FFVIII: Irvine (eye candy)
FFIX: Freya (for all those hard-to-reach places)
FFX: Lulu (we're missing a [voluptuous] Black Mage!)
FFXII: Basch (because wow, he's so strong on my quest~)

What do you think of that? Pretty big party... but all the better to defeat you with, my dear.

How do you like the changes to boss battles in FF3? I find them to have some Dragon Quest-y feeling to them now. They seem quite a it harder also.


I agree! They are very difficult, I've found, and that's compounded by the fact that we've all been spoiled with save points in dungeons for the past fifteen years.

I like the fact that they've allowed strong enemies and bosses to attack twice per turn, making battles a bit less trivial, but sometimes they seem a little bit over-the-top, power-wise. It wouldn't be as much of an issue IF those save points had been included, but you can't win 'em all. Consider your job selection, though; having someone who can get in a lot of hits successfully, and having others that are both speedy and good at healing can be absolutely essential!


Back to exam! Let's thank Boojum for another co-hosting; he's down to four more plus a full guest host PLUS an introductory piece. Ouch, he really wiped the floor with SOCK, didn't he?

For tomorrow, the floor is wide open to you as always, but I ask you this question: How many PSP owners are out there, and who among you are really enjoying what it has to offer? What games would you like to see released for it? Or is it on its way out already, defeated soundly by the DS? I'm looking forward to hearing what you have to say!

Until tomorrow, I bid you a fond farewell.

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Inbox Status: Dangerous.
Matt would like angels to surround him and give him the answer to Question #6!

Oh, Saronia's music is so fun. <3

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