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   Welcome to Q&AK, late nite (or next day, depending on how you see it) edition. Sorry for the tardiness, folks, I was caught up spinning my editorial webs. To compensate, I've made this one a bit longer than usual. Enjoy.

Q: Dear Brian, 1) Do you personally think the American gaming public is mature enough the accept such titles Xenogears? Or should it depend on the age of the gamer? I think that if the person is old enough to recognize the controversy in the game, then they should be old enough to handle it. 2) What genres or games, besides RPGS, do you play?

BSM: 1) Absolutely. There's really no issue regarding human nature or the times we live in that hasn't already been covered by literature, movies, or TV. What makes the American gaming public any different from readers or movie goers? The fact that we play video games has nothing to do with how we can deal with such issues-- it's like applying the same question to joggers, pilots, or any other random collection of people categorized by activities it carries out that have no bearing on the question at hand.

   2) I dabble in action sidescrollers such as Mega Man and adventure/exploration games such as Tomb Raider and religiously collect the NBA Live series, but that's about it. I gave up on fighters a long time ago. What can I say, RPGs are da bomb.

Q: What's with these arguments about your favorite music? I thought RPGamer webmasters would have realized that the best music is in (duh) the RPGs.

BSM: I prefer the term "polite discussion." In any case, RPG music is great (I have several OSVs in addition to FF Pray and FF Symphonic Suite), but it doesn't beat good old fashioned rock / alternative bands.

Q: Well, according to a registration site that Squaresoft maintains, FF5 is coming to the PC. Check it out at http://www.squaresoft.com/reg.html in the box that says, "Which Squaresoft games have you played?" One of the choices is FFV for the PC, coming soon.

   So what do you think of that???

   B-Rok

BSM: Well, given that Eidos is taking a neutral stance and Square proclaims it to be coming out (even if the page is a bit outdated; it states FFVII PC is soon to be released as well), I'd say the chances are pretty good for an impending release. Cross your fingers...

Q: Yesterday I went to Blockbuster, checked the used games, and I found Breath of Fire II and Chrono Trigger for $25 each, and Lufia: Fortress of Doom for $13. I greedily snatched up BoF II and Lufia (already have CT), but it got me thinking. I paid $60 for CT and didn't get a book or box, why not buy it and sell it back to FuncoLand for any profit I can get, keeping the box and book? Then I called them up and they said they'd pay me about $12! $12 for something they charge $60 for, outrageous! And I can't even play my 2 new games because I'm almost done with BoF III, but I'm stuck... Stupid desert of death.

   Dr. Colossus

BSM: Don't complain. When I asked how much I could get for NES oldie Kung Fu, they actually told me I'd have to pay them $3.00 to take it off my hands. The weird thing was, that was the best deal I could find, too.

   In all seriousness, FuncoLand is a bit cheap. You could probably get up to $30 for Chrono Trigger. I'd investigate other options.

Q: Is it me, or did everyone buy Brave Fencer Musashi just to have the FF8 demo? I've hardly heard a thing about the game, but you guys are "blowing out the demo." I've seen entire web sites dedicated to the demo, but barely any BFM sites. Well, I guess I'm being hypocritical, because the deom is 70% of the reason I'm buying the game. Oh well.

BSM: Three words: Tobal No. 1. This is actually a genius marketing ploy by Square. Raise your hand if you wouldn't have bought Tobal if it didn't come with the FF7 demo, or wouldn't be as deadset in purchasing Musashi if it wouldn't be packaged with the FF8 demo. Thought so. Even though technically I can't see your raised hands. (petty details)

Q: Who would win in a fight, Umaro or Chewbacca? The reason I ask this is because my friend and I have a bet. My money is on Chewbacca. He has strength, and brains, and has been in several more fights.

BSM: They would be locked in a bloody stalemate when suddenly Harry from "Harry and the Hendersons" would jump in and beat the snot out of both of them.

Q: Quick question:
   If I changed my name to Brian, could I manage the column temporarily during one of AK's frequent computer malfunctionings?

   -Cerebus

BSM: No.

Q: You know DW3? Right, well did you know Erdrick/Roto's dad's is named Ortega. My theory is Ortega started a Taco company in Alefgard, and King Hydra killed him because Ortega woudn't give him the recipe for the secret Taco Sauce. But Erdrick knew the recipe, and the Ortega Taco Company prospered across the land, bringing peple together with it's rich Tacoey goodness (sniff, I'm all tears.)

BSM: [no comment]

Q: A question and some notes:

   Q: What is your personal opinion on the way the Final Fantasy series has changed over time? My friends and I liked the series the way it was back in the days of FF4j and FF6j; when you learned magic by gaining levels, and when you could wear more than just three items. We also liked the traditional-sounding Final Fantasy Battle Music, which Nobuo seems to have TOTALLY Abandoned. Is Final Fantasy getting too serious, too complex, too simple, or just too User-friendly? What's your take?

   And, just some items of note:
   Brian Setzer is a famous musician who just made a great hit CD.
   BSM is an abbreviation used for rather inappropriate behaviour. (Sometimes seen as BDSM)

   And an item of no note at all:

   Dividing 2000, 1998, or 666 by the number 42 results in a repetend decimal. However, if you take 2000, and multiply it by 42, and then divide that result by 1998, you get the repeating decimal: 42.0420420420420420. . . Which makes for a nice "Repeating 42s" effect. On a totally unrelated side topic, staring at computer screens for long periods of time can incite some people to terrible levels, such as spontaneous math problem creation.

   ~Shawners

BSM: I enjoyed FFIV's battle system the most out of all the FFs. It was by far the most balanced, in my opinion. Zeromus may not be much of a challenge with a level 99 party, but the bugger still takes a while to kill. The adamant magic system (allowing only certain characters to learn certain spells) established an effective set of strengths and weaknesses with each character, which enhanced gameplay and each character's individuality. Not to mention the fact that gaining spells on level ups-- and not knowing what spells you would get, or when-- added to the unpredictability and excitement of the whole affair. Overall, FFVI was my favorite FF (and, indeed, favorite RPG). As for FFVII, I think a huge part of the negative backlash it has received has been its abandonement of many traditional FF features, such as you allude to. It would have been better received had it been its own game, and not a Final Fantasy.

   BSM is also an abbreviation for "Wow, what a cool guy." Well, almost, anyway.

Q: Hi Brian! How's it going? Well, anyway,did you play the FFVIII demo yet? If so, can you answer me one question? At one of my more reliable sites(not an IGn, ok, ok, I am sorry, it is gamefan.com), I read that Biggs, Wedge, and Jesse from FFVII were in the demo for FFVIII. I was totally shocked when I read this. I was wondering if you can confirm that this is true, so is it?

BSM: You betcha. This'll be their 4th cameo appearance in a Square game (FFVI, CT, FFVII). For more info on the matter, check out the translation of the FFVIII demo found in our FFVIII information section.

Q: Hi!!!!

   I Don't mean to sound like I don't know everything about FF because I do.... But I've been wondering. Is the White Mage a guy or a girl??? Some say it's a guy... But I say it's a girl. Haven't all the good healers ALWAYS been female? And just look at the White Wizzard from FF3j. No self respecting man would wear a pair of cat/racoon ears on their costume. I just want some one's opinion on this.

   Beld, Emperor of the Marmo

BSM: I always thought the white mage was a female. That seems to be the general concensus, although it is a bit generic. I mean, FFI's White Wizard did look a bit wide chinned and shouldered, and I don't think they had sex change operations back then. Maybe something in Bahamut's transformation went terribly wrong...

Q: This is a long fact.

   People think that "The Creation" is what inspired "One Winged Angel". They are wrong! Bwahahahaha! I know the secrets of life and death and of heaven and that other place, and this....is not one of them. As noted in the credits of Final Fantasy VII, there were only EXERPTS from "The Creation". Actually, this is BS. Joseph Haydn's "The Creation" was played for about 10 seconds in the game. Wondering when and where? OK. It was played in president Shinra's office when Sector 7 collapsed. Yes, that opera-like music. Am I the only one that knows this? In an earlier post of Q&AK, AK said that "The Creation" inspired "One Winged Angel". I laughed. But I didn't laugh at that...I was watching South Park at the time.

BSM: Very true. "One Winged Angel" was actually inspired by Carl Orff's opera "Carmina Burana." Not only are its lyrics apparently taken from random, widely interspersed parts of the opera, but it sounds very much like it as well. The general rhythym / bass of the song is very similar to a particular drinking song from the opera whose specific title escapes me at the moment-- in fact, you could have fit the "One Winged Angel" lyrics in instead of the actual ones and they would have blended seemlessly with the instrumentals; the vocal styles are also very similar, even more so on the FF: Reunion Tracks remix.

Q: This is a test. This is a test of BSM's response system. This is only a test. Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep.

BSM: Hmm, seems my TV dinner is finally done.

Q: Yesterday, you said that FF7 pc has been rather buggy. I really don't think so. I've been a fan of the series for some time, so I anxiously waited a whole year to get this, thinking- "oh, my 486 with VLB video card will be able to handle it." Of course, this is nothing more that pure fantasy. So, a new processor and video card later, I did finally have FF7. I've gotta say that it's incredible. Haven't had any problems with the game, either. I just hope that FF8 and FFT are put out for the PC, too.

   -Dave

BSM: Point taken, Dave. It isn't a total disaster; many people haven't had any problems whatsoever with it. On the other hand, there have been enough complaints to suggest that it isn't as finished a product as it should be. In any case, it was a pioneer of sorts, so future efforts should be of higher quality.

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