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Paws et al. - February 26 '02- Sometime in the not-so-far future

I'm baaaccckkkkk! Aren't you glad to see me? Yes, tis I, Paws. Resident feline of RPGamer, and on an odder note, the only female staffer currently employed! (Disclaimer: RPGamer is not sexist. It's just hard to hire females when they don't apply.) So...what do I do at RPGamer? Well, I'm head of the Media dept first off, and we're currently a staff of 5. I'm also the creator and lackey in charge of Points of View, our reader reviews section. I'm a staff reviewer (when I have the time and/or games), and lastly I'm a staff editor for both reviews and news stories. Oh, and of course, occasional Q&A thief.

ASV: Well... I wondered how long it would take my obvious talent to be recognized. And then I woke up. Seriously though, I'm here for the rest of the week so if you've got questions about any of the games I've reviewed, feel free to ask them while you've got the chance.

Amish: Evening everyone, this is Paul "Amish" Koehler - Points of View's resident lackey. Send in your inquiries to us, and check out our quote challenge in the latest PSoV update!

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Prerequisite Shameless Plug

Hello Paws. :3

My question today is how do you feel about the decision by Squaresoft to launch the Final Fantasy series (11) on multi-platform, instead of sticking to one system exclusively as they have in the past?

And, speaking of Final Fantasy; I heard there was a chance that they may Re-master and Re-Release the Final Fantasy 4 and 6 games on the Game Boy Advance. Any news to verify or denounce that?

Kataclysm Kat

ASV up to bat:
As far as multi-platform development goes, I'm glad. Not only does it bring the game to larger numbers of people - which is the point of an MMORPG - but it also makes the development team work through a lot more bugs.

Paws says:
Zack has an excellent point, but he neglects one thing: not everyone that plays RPGs has an infinite amount of money to spend on them. I'm sorry, but I'd rather MUSH (online text Roleplay) for free than to pay for some pretty graphics. I simply don't have the money for it monthly, on top of paying for the game.

Ss for FFs on the GBA, it's very simple: not until Square and FF kiss and make up. Which isn't likely in our time, honestly. Oh, and the shameless plug isn't by them, it's by me (in a way). Katac sells a hilarious shirt, found right here which conveniently opens into a new window for your continued column pleasure.

The Guest Host...Writes In? O.O

I know this is gonna look rigged if I get printed in the column I'm co-guest hosting (which it is ^_^) but what the heck?

I've just got to ask some general questions of my co-workers... You'd think I'd have figured all this out on my own, but I'm trei unobservant.

1) What's your favorite RPG and what's the best part of it in your eyes?

2) What's the rarest/most prized RPG you own?

3) Who's your favorite RPG composer and what would you say is their best work?

Well... So as not to take the entire column up by myself, I'll let you get back to your actual RPGamer related works.

~ Zachary 'ASV' Lewis

Amish strokes his goatee:
1. The top on that list would have to be Final Fantasy VI. I remember seeing it in stores when it was released for the Super Nintendo in 1994, but only got a chance to play through the game 5 years later. Solid plot, solid music, cool espers, and a villain who was evil...just cause he was nuts. Solid plot, solid music, cool espers, and a villain who was evil...just cause he was nuts. Even after playing through a few PSX titles by that time, FF6 remains superior...some of us pay homage to 2D titles to this day.
2. There are very few titles that I own per se, most of them have been borrowed through friends...but the prize goes to Final Fantasy Legend III. While growing up, most of my gaming was done with friends' systems...however my brother and I did own a Gameboy Classic, and the favorite game on that system was Final Fantasy Legend III (the series continued to SaGa Frontier 1 and 2 on the PSX). While Gameboy RPG's were nearly non-existent, that was the best until Pokemon came around. Although snagging a copy of Panzer Dragoon Saga would be nice...
3. Nobuo Uematsu of Squaresoft fame. While it's nice to see newcomers make their mark in a big way (like Yoshitaka Hirota in Shadow Hearts), the scope of Nobuo's work in the Final Fantasy series is too much to simply ignore. My favorite track of Nobuo's is "My Home, Sweet Home" from Final Fantasy 5. The FF5 soundtrack is only one of two that I own, and any video game track that passes as casual listening music as well is a winner.

Paws says:
1. Hard to choose just one. It really depends what day you catch me on. Sometimes I'll say FFIX or FFT; other days I'll say Lunar 2: EBC. Other days I'll say Shining Force. I'm ecclectic like that.
2. I own, rare RPGs actually. I wish I could be a collector, but I don't have the inclination with so many friends to borrow and trade you ;) I do own a non-rerelease FFT, if that counts. I have Evergrace for the PS2! Stop laughing! I just need a PS2 to play it =^^;;;=
3. As you well know, as you're mailing me some albums as we speak, I'm just really getting into the music aspect. I really like my FFIX OST, as well as an FF voice collection. I like Macross music, and VP music. Is there a common composer in there, perhaps? =^^=

Requisite...Imperial Mog letter!

Greetings (Hockey Players sing) Paws
I have to ask how are things on the Island? I still haven't started school yet since another major kick-up has occured which gets me more down and depressed. That and accidently hitting my sisters car since I'm very clumsy and have no way of paying for any damages. But what I've noticed is how does Mog boss Umaro around since by any logic Umaro would see in Mog a tasty treat.
Even though I rule over cute animal characters, he just replies "that's a secret" to me which I should of done on the car thing but I was honest for a change. I'm not even surprised that yesterday I was doing yard work in shorts and now it's snowing for some reason.
I don't have a gold medal to give you since if I did have one I'd keep it since I get very starry-eyed at shiny valuables. But I do have some catnip, kitty litter, and a little squeaky mouse toy. Now if I only had an anime version of me plushie to give.
Imperial Mog

Paws says:
Mog! I missed you, where did you go? I bet I know: when I moved from PEI to Brandon, Manitoba, we stopped writing. My plans for school were also put on hold with the sudden move (I was accepted for college in PEI! ;.;), so I'm hoping to go back in September. While I don't watch any TV, I've kept up with the Olympics a bit through friends and, so I wave happily at our medals in hockey :D
As for the banal weather, I wish. We had 2 really nice days, enough to melt all the snow into water, before everything refroze into one big sheet of ice. Speaking Ice Sheets, the Scotts Tournament of Hearts is on this week (it's the biggest female curling tournament in Canada), and I was lucky to be able to go today...I won free tickets! =^^=

NewsCast drops in!

I was wondering, has anyone at RPGamer reviewed Hundred Swords for the PC yet? I saw it at a Best Buy (for $20 no less!) and thought about picking it up, but I wasn't sure if it would be any good..

- GuruClef -

Castomel, the News Head, trickles in:
Having done a news story I can't find anywhere on this game that I remember nothing about some time in the distant past, I'm apparently qualified to answer this question. Now, as a sometime reviewer at RPGamer, I've never had the chance to review this game, nor has anyone else, it seems. On the other hand, loads of Italian people have. Here's the opening paragraph of a review, found at : Comincio col dire che quel poco che ho sentito pare che ci sarà veramente da divertirsi. According to my trusty translator, this means "I start with to say that the news regardingthis Hundred Swords I am really pochine, but from that little that I have felt it seems that there will be really to have a good time him." Wonder what pochine means... Anyhow, I don't mean to be facetious, but if you like the game so much, why don't you review it yourself? We're always looking for good reader reviews, and besides, I personally can't afford to spend twenty bucks on a game. This doesn't usually stop me from buying them, of course. I just thought I'd mention it.

Paws says:
If someone were to offer a review copy, I'm sure I could find someone to do it, actually. We're actually starting to receive more and more of them from companies, which means we have more reviews up the day of release or shortly thereafter; somtimes it's tough, since we don't review a game till we beat it. Yes, Guru, I did cut the slanderous remark out.

Another letter just for me...

Dear kitty and friends,

So what is Amish anyway, is he amish or what? What do ASV and Amish do for rpgamer? When is a raven like a writing desk?

Paws: So you are thehead of media, how does it feel to be responsible for such a big section of the site. Also you get to hire and fire people, what do you think of that?
( shameless plug) Visit RPGuides and send me lots of letter!

TRC- Project Arcturus goes well!

Amish reveals the nickname:
No kidding, what would an Amish guy be doing playing roleplaying games and working for a website? The oxymoron always gets people asking that question, so...
I used to work as a computer salesman for a local OEM company a while back and had a long goatee. My manager thought this was funny an noted that the store now had an "Amish guy selling computer hardware". Although I haven't worked at that store for some time, the name (and the reaction it gets, an "Amish computer/RPG/geek...etc") has stuck. Thanks for keeping up the myth..;)

Paws says:
I'll break this down a bit.
1. Amish and ASV are official staff reviewers. Not everyone on staff is allowed to do reviews, as there is a stringent screening process all reviews written for the site go through (a three tier editting process being included), and not everyone is patient enough for it anyways. Staff reviewers are expected to write a review no less than once per month, barring problems with the editting process. Reviewers are expected to buy a new game once per month and/or as necessary. Reviewers are required to have at least one new system (GBA, PS2, GCN, XBox). No, sorry, we're not hiring any more reviewers right now. I'm just trying to explain the crap these two went through to get in and stay in ;P
2. When is a raven like a writing desk? Uhm...nevermore? =^^;=
3a. Yes, as previously mentioned, I'm the Head of the Media dept. I feel pretty honoured I was picked for it, being that I was pulled from a different section of the site (I have never been a Media grunt; I was hired as a newsie then whisked into Interaction and PsoV). It takes a lot of my time, but I like it. It's a LOT more behind the scenes work than people think. For example, I check every single media update for errors and/or broken links. I also fix all the broken media links sent to I convert pages from the old format or colour scheme, I moved internal directories around, etc etc etc.
3b. I hire and fire, yes. Hiring is fun, but tiring. Especially when you're putting the application up on the main page; usually our hiring is done through one or two people being brought on, whereas public hirings are 3 positions or more. It's very tiring. Firing, well, I've done before. Couple times, actually. People think it's cool, or it's fun, and it's not. It sucks. Really. Trust me on this one.

Robust Stu should review again!

Hellllllooooo, Paws! (evil smile) And hello, Amish and LSD. (another evil smile) In lieu of asking answers, I'm going to give questions.

1)Do each of the Xenosaga episodes have their own names (like Star Wars) or will they just be Xenosaga episode 1, episode 2, etc...

2)I wanted to ask Goog this, but I'll ask you: I often hear Goog talk about how he/she/it/they do the column at like 1 in the morning, but I live in the same time zone as Goog, and the column generally doesn't show up until like 3-4PM. Does the column go through a lengthy proofreading process or something?

3)OK, I've basically got the "to play list" down to four games, and I was hoping as the review GURU you'd have some advice for me. Should I play Dragon Warrior 7, Valkyrie Profile, Vagrant Story, or Final Fantasy 10?

4)You're Canadian, right? Just out of curiosity, is there ANYTHING to do in Canada other than drink beer and play hockey?

This message will self destruct in 30 seconds.

Robust Stu

ASV bats again:
If I had to take a stab in the dark, I'd say yes. But, since I'm not a big fan of Xenogears I haven't been paying much attention to Xenosaga, I must admit.

Generally speaking, the column doesn't go through any sort of staff proofing (at least... not that I'm aware of). Sometimes the server cache can make the interaction portion of the index not be completely up to date for a couple hours at a time. That might be the trouble.

Well, I'd cut off my legs and sell them on the black market for a copy of Valkyrie Profile, so that's easy enough answer from my perspective.

Paws says:
Stu! I feel so special now, Stu's a reg ;)
1. My guess will be the episode number is the subtitle, though I'm sure I will be eventually proven wrong =^^=
2. Some days the column is up the stroke of midnight, some days it's not up till 2pm. If you don't see it, try a ctrl-shift-refresh, or emptying your cache. Or smack the server repeatedly like we do.
3. Vagrant Story. Have it done and reviewed by May 17th. Trust me on this one.
4. I am indeed Canadian, and you forgot making like bunnies to warm up.

Long, long letters go all the quicker.

Greets Paws!

I've just got two thoughts to toss out there.

1.) I just wanted to check to see if the readers here knew that Verant, designers of the horribly addictive drug known as Everquest, was putting out an animated movie and comic book line, according to the station newsletter that I still recieve from being a member of the Everquest community. In addition I was told that a trailer for the movie showed after Lord of the Rings showings! What kinda of joke is this? I doubt their toy stock is selling all that well, being cheaply made and all, so how can they come out with a gimmick like this? An extra little tidbit of information is that while checking an open EQ box at my store, we noticed that they are packaging tiny figurines of characters in the Everquest Trilogy pack. How far are they going to drag Everquest down with all of these items distracting from the actual game. How they feel they can write a movie script and comic book series on MMORPG is beyond me, considering in such an environment usually most if not all the storyline is created by the players as they go along. (Note: I have since stopped playing EQ since the release of the newest expansion.) Alright, my rant is done. On to thinking about Ragnarok....

2.) While reading one of the older Q / A someone was asking about the shortage of PS2 memory cards. At Best Buy we were told that the issue is that Sony, much like Nintendo, did not estimate their holiday sales all that well, and the result is a severe lack of offical accessories. Sony memory cards, controllers, and DVD controllers are all back-ordered until possiblily early to mid March. (FYI In my store in East Lansing, MI, near Michigan State University, of our holiday rev 3% was PS2 alone, which doesn't sound like much, but when you take into account how many millions of dollars go out the door in that span, that is quite a few PS2's) We only got 60 offical memory card stock in Feb. total, and now are completely out of third party lines (we carry five of them) too. From my understanding Nintendo is coming around, there main lack was in the Cube hardware itself, we only got three systems during the month of January. Feb looked a hell of a lot better though.

Hope that sheds some light of hope on the situation for you people looking for offical accessories to come back on the shelves nationwide. Amazingly enough XBOX and Microsoft, having closer bases of opperations, never came short on hardware.

"The essence of imagination is to defy the laws of reality..."
-Essence Knight

Amish strokes goatee with flair:
What, you don't remember all the Pepsi cans with Jar Jar Binks? ;-D Call it shameful, but it's all too common practice for a business with a highly profitable venture (e.g. Everquest, Final Fantasy, etc.) to venture into a new medium or such and milk the profits of their namebrand. From a business point-of-view, it would be foolish NOT to expand on a recognizeable name.
Fortuantely, ventures like that have become so cliche that they have to be done extremely well to have any effect, before true purist audiences (yes, all you MMORPG people out there) laugh at the effort. The first showing I went to for Lord of the Rings has a local card-game dealership handing out free cards for the new LoTR CCG, so the idea of the trailer makes sense.
As far as these ventures dragging the series down...hard to say. Star Wars: Episode I may have disappointed a lot of people, but there are a lot who will still come back to see Episode II. We'll see.

Near my university (in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin metro area), the local Best Buy stores that I visited on occasion were short of GTA3 more than once. Last Christmas season though, I went into one of those stores and picked up a PS2 console, Sony Memory card, DualShock2 controller and was out of the store in 20 minutes. Didn't have trouble finding any of that equipment.
The fact that Microsoft had loads of XBox equipment was pretty obvious, just by taking a look at the displays. Again, my experience is only based on a few visits, not from an employee's standpoint (such as yourself). But with the release of some solid titles for each of the consoles (e.g. Grand Theft Auto 3, Super Smash Brothers: Melee, Halo, etc.), hopefully the hardware shortage is what you said it might be: an underestimate of demand around the holidays. Now for price cuts...

Paws says:
When we were talking earlier tonight, Ess said to me, "I dropped EQ like a bad habit."; my reply was, "EQ is a bad habit." - he agreed.

And Now, Vertical!

Ok, I'm just kidding (or am I? You decide), but here's a question for you: In the game Willow for the NES, how do you survive in the underwater area? Whenever I try getting pass there I just drown quickly. I would read a FAQ, but I also wanted to see if you know what the game Willow is anyway. =)

From whoever it is,

Castomel dips in again: Believe it or not, I actually played this game. Not enough to remember it, but perhaps this will help: Wakka seeds. Either find those, or failing that, find out who Hearty J. is and make him EARN those special thanks he got in the end credits.
You get them from the KeyClan, if that's not specific enough :P

In your personal opinion is Skies of Arcadia good? I am interested in it and have heard my friend's soundtrack for it and it really impressed me. Is Skies of Arcadia going to be released for the Gamecube in Canada?If so do you think it's a better buy then PSO? Thanks for reading my letter!

Paws despairs: Why do you think we call it an North American release date? If the U.S. gets it, so do we. Québec might not, but that's a whole nother can of worms. SoA is good from the bit I've watched people play. Unfortunately, I haven't seen a copy new or used since I got a DC and nobody appears to want to lend it out =*^^*=

who's your favorite evil genius?
-- Hall of Fame Announcer Harry Carey

ASV remains standing: Well, in terms of games I'd have to go with Dr. Wily. Now, if you're talking purely in RPG terms, my vote goes to Rashidi. Nothing beats an egotistical sorcerer who thinks they can command the Gods.

The Last Laugh:

Don't we all love utter mayhem and confusion? See everyone tomorrow.

Paws "Still loving Q&A"
Space for rent. Just kidding!

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