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   The irrepressible Andrew Kaufmann is off at college, getting ready for the upcoming season, and I'm warming up in the dugout to replace the 'ol slugger while he's away for a short bit. Who am I, you ask? Why, I'm Brian Glick, not to be confused with the equally extravagant Brian Maniscalco, who temporarily hosted this ballgame last inning.

   Tired of all the baseball references? Good, me too. Anyway, questions should be temporarily emailed directly to me, so they don't fly off into the void of space, never to get read or answered. Now, let's begin.

Q: Hi. I was wondering of the four re-released Final Fantasy games on Game Boy which was, in your opinion, the better? I was wondering because I'm going to purchase one soon.

BG: You know, I always liked the last game out of the four the best. Final Fantasy Legend 3 was my favorite, because I tend to enjoy the more linear games with storyline and character development, as opposed to the more open-ended Legend 1 and 2. Final Fantasy Adventure, as well, was a great one, and marked the start of the Seiken Densetsu series.
   Sunsoft's re-releasing of the games on the Game Boy is great for RPG fans that are newer to the genre, or missed the games the first time around. Sure beats counting cars on long family vacations.

Q: Not really a question... but I was just looking at the pre-FF7 editorials and a few of the ones around Christmas, when everyone jumped to throw their thoughts on the game in. There was a lot of doubt, a lot of hype, some disappointent, and some people who thought it was the greatest game ever. We face those same things in the coming months of FF8. For the sake a of a question, doesn't anyone care about Xenogears, Lunar, Zelda, and other RPGs I've missed? I mean, come on, Final Fantasy is cool, but everyone kind of forgot about the other gems due out THIS year. Final Fantasy 8 is ONE YEAR away. And y'know what? When I got the original FF, I didn't know what an RPG was. And I didn't buy it to find out. I bought it because there was a screen shot on the back of the box which showed a dragon (in the submarine town). I bought it because I thought you could play as the dragon. That was what I thought would be "cool". Now, no one cares about what's cool, they just say, "FF8, the best game ever" (because of the press statements and a few screen shots), as was said with FF7, FF3, etc. Whatever happened to buying games because they were cool? And no one has played it yet (demo aside). How do you know from a few screens (or the demo) that it is the best Final Fantasy, or RPG? Please tell me Brian. All I know is I'm buying Metal Gear Solid and Zelda, not because of what the media is hyping, but because they just look damn cool. Thanks.
   King Adrock

BG: Getting delusions of grandeur over there, Mr. Adrock? Anyway, I think it's a little dangerous to purchase a game solely based on how "cool" it looks on the box, or how much it's been hyped up. Games should be purchased if you're going to get a high level of fun and enjoyment from it, and that level is based on many more factors than just a perception of industry coolness. What would have happened if you took the first Final Fantasy home, popped it in, and hated it? I doubt you would be so eager to run out and purchase other games based on the looks on the surface.
   Generally, I agree that it's too early to proclaim FF VIII as the best RPG, or game ever. But us media weirdos do have justification to get very excited about the game. The demo is absolutely spectacular in not only the coolness factor, but overall gameplay enjoyment as well. It really leaves a lot of promise for the finished game. Square has also built up a wonderful reputation for making great games, despite the occasionally differing viewpoints of fans. Final Fantasy VIII shows all the signs of being an incredibly fun game, evolving on the revolutionary, immersive experience found in the previous title in the series.
   Additionally, you mentioned how other games are being ignored. That's certainly true, since these games also show great promise for being a lot of fun to play. You can expect much more coverage on these games as the release dates draw nearer. Xenogears looks like the largest of the upcoming bunch this year, judging from the poll we put up a couple weeks ago. I'm just itching to get my hands on a copy of this, and other games.

Q: Hey, Big Lick. Has Yoshitaka Amano left Square? Seeing as how he did the character designs for Kartia, and Tetsuya Nomura does the FF (and Parasite Eve) character designs now, does Amano work for Atlus now?
   - Fritz Fraundorf

BG: I don't know for certain, but that would be my guess. While Amano did do a great deal of early artwork for Final Fantasy VII, that seemed to be the last time he surfaced at Square, as Square wanted to go with something a little less surreal. Not sure if Amano's actually on Atlus' full-time payroll, but he was certainly nabbed for the character artwork in Kartia, which greatly benefited the game. No future Atlus games seem to have his work, however.

Q: Hey Brian! I loved Secret of Mana and Chrono Trigger. I loved those beautifully detailed 2D sprites. I didn't like FF2's or FF3's since the sprites weren't very detailed and had little animation. FF7 was too blocky. Now with FF8 and Suikoden, realistic figures are now being used and I feel saddened. I love the graphics still of FF8, but I like sprites better. How do you feel? Also, any games coming out using sprites like in SoM and CT?

BG: I think that both have their advantages and disadvantages, but ultimately, I think both are great methods of displaying characters -- but only if it's done properly. For example, like you mentioned, Chrono Trigger did a great job with sprites. Alternatively, Final Fantasy VIII does an amazing job with polygons, with a large range of custom movements that you'll only see in the game once.
   Suikoden II actually uses sprites, if you take a look at some of the screenshots. Some upcoming games that are using the good 'ol sprite method are Tales of Destiny, Lunar : Silver Star Story, Thousand Arms, and others.

Q: Hows it going Brian? I am eagerly anticipating Lufia 3... my question is should I be? I mean I know the company that makes it went bankrupt, or was it the publisher? As we speak right now is any work on the game being done? As you can see I'm a bit confused on this but I'm a big fan of the series and I'd hate to see it end. Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated...

BG: I hear you. I'm a bit confused as well. Nihon Flex, the game's developers in Japan, did file for bankruptcy some months back. Last time I spoke with Natsume, the American publishers, they still had no word on what's going on. Things are evidently still in discussion, and the dust hasn't settled yet. We'll see how it turns out, and you can bet we'll keep you guys informed when we hear something.

Q: 1)What's a Pinch-Hitter?
   2)Do YOU wear your video game shirts in public? And don't try to deny owning them...
   ~Ian P.

BG: 1) A pinch-hitter is a player in baseball who, basically, is a temporary replacement at bat for another player who isn't able to bat for some reason or other. In this article's case, I'm the temporary host at the plate, since Andy's not able to make it.
   2) Well, I did get two of those Electronics Boutique FF VII shirts, but that's about it (and they only threw the second one in because the shipment was late and us eager fans lining up at the door had to wait three hours). I have worn them in public before...but usually only when I've had an unbuttoned shirt on overtop. *hides face in shame*

Q: Hey Brian. great job with the page. I got a few questions...
   1. How do they program games in Japan? I'm just wondering if they have to write them in Japanese, because I took a C++ programming class last year, and it was difficult enough in English. Any thoughts?
   2. A while back i heard rumors about a "Playstation 2". Is there any legitimacy to that?
   3. PLEASE tell me that there's a slight possibility that there will be a sequel to FF Tactics.
   4. Any word on the FF5-PC release?

BG: 1. Playstation games are programmed in C or C++, as far as I know. I'm guessing that it games are programmed in English-type ASCII text in Japan, although I doubt it would be terribly difficult to come up with a compiler that could interprate Japanese encodings.
   2. Yes, the Playstation 2 is a system that is in the works at Sony. No hard details yet, but it certainly stands to reason that they'd release a new system eventually, doesn't it? Sony wants to keep things under wraps as long as possible so that people keep on buying PSXs.
   3. Of course there's a possibility. I've heard some rumors to that effect from some semi-reliable sources...nothing substantiated, though.
   4. Eidos hasn't been too clear on their plans. Originally, they were supposed to be working on it, but now we're not too sure. We're getting to the bottom of it, though. Keep an eye out.
   5. What's with all these numbered questions and answers lately?

Q: Hey Brian! Just wondering.. Do you think its worth it for me to import Brave Fencer Mushashiden and the demo even though I can't read it? Or should I wait for it to come out here? I don't think I can wait much longer!!
   PS- I have a friend named Bri-Ann. Think u could use her in your staff at RPGamer? I figured you got enough Brians, and a Bri-Ann would do ya good. Heh, she's rather hot ;) Crap I hope she don't read this!

BG: I think you should definitely wait, just to make it as wonderful and complete an experience as possible when it gets here. It's not like you won't be occupied until that time, with all the great RPGs coming out soon!
   Don't worry, RPGamer is only visited by over ten thousand people each day. What's the chance she'll ever read this? (Note to all our readers named Bri-Ann: I'll send you Cid's contact info on request. If you're found to be the lucky never heard it from us, kapich?)

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