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   Still trapped in this small little room, I have little else to do but read all your letters and post the best ones, with responses. It's fun, but if I don't get out soon, I'll go absolutely and start-ravingly insane! Well...more so than already.

   In short, Andrew Kaufmann, regular host of this daily (read: semi-daily) column, is away for a while. I'm Brian Glick. I'll try to keep going as long as I can, even though I'm running out of food and water. Make sure to email questions directly to me, though, and maybe I'll find the energy to carry on...

Q: Hey, BG:
   I got one of the ASCII Grip controllers with my copy of FF7, and I'd have to say that it's pretty good, within reasonable limits. It doesn't fare too well in RPGs like FF7, where you have to be quick to react and play some action sequences (read: G-Bike, Snowboarding and the Submarine game.) In others, though, it works great! Some games I'd recommend using it with are Riven, Persona, Beyond the Beyond, Vandal Hearts, Final Fantasy Tactics, Breath of Fire 3, SaGa Frontier, and the like. I wouldn't suggest using it for an action game, however. The original purpose was to be able to play a game with one hand and draw maps with the other, but eating works just as well :)

BG: Hey Aeon, thanks for sharing your experience. That sums it up pretty well. Keep in mind, though, that if you're planning on purchasing a second controller for your Playstation system, you'll want to at least consider the Dual Shock controller, which more and more RPGs are taking advantage of lately.

Q: Steve's rule was that there were no letter 'e's.

BG: Bzzzt! Then Steve broke his own rule quite a few times.

Q: So, I'm reading this (last?) weeks list of stuff, and I found someone asking about the whole "Why do they die in plotline, but not in battle" question. And the only thing that entered my mind was noooooooo... (In the whole capitals/Beyond the beyond big, huge wobbling letters style... Is it wierd if I think in dialog boxes?) There's someone out there that hasn't read the Physics of RPGs (or something like that). Do you remember the article from the library on Illucia (for all the quasi-newbies, that was a very cool FF site made by Natao [I think, maybe it Natui] Tatsushi [I think] from Boulder, Colorado [Heh, I think] who's web page has gone down, since he's graduated from college) from so long ago, that was talking about all the rules of physics in RPGs, it was very well done (It was comedy, but it explained it all nonetheless) and it addressed that. (*Pause for breath*) Aaaand, I realized that all the cool stuff that WAS on that site, is now gone... Do you, or anyone else there at RPGamer have the urge to go scrounge around and see if you can find that info and post it on RPGamer?
   -Bjorn Larson

BG: Tatsushi Nakao is that rather creative genius that created that website, and article. I received quite a few mentions of this article after mentioning the "Story Gods" in our previous Q&AK. I must have been subconciously influenced in coming up with that term, since although I don't remember reading the article, it certainly sounds quite familiar. (Great save, Brian...)
   There's no need for me to scrounge around looking for info when, by this simple request, I have thousands of fans doing it for me! Ah, hosting this column has its perks, although I think I might be starting to pick up Andy's laziness...

Q: Hey Brian-dude! I am writing in to comment on a recent statement on your page. I was reading the article about Xenogears release date being pushed back, and I came upon this sentence: "Gamers can now take heart in the hope that Xenogears will feature the highest translation quality found in a Square RPG since Ted Woolsey's translation gem, Final Fantasy VI." I nearly just about fell over backwards laughing when I saw this. (But I did spill my coffee, ouch, darn you!) This game has got to be the worst translation ever since the absolutely pathetic attempt of FF4 back in '91. This game is censored to hell and back, key plot elements are fogged or left out entirely, and almost half the items are removed. I would have gladly paid the price of a few stupid typos to have a more close to the original game translation. I could do a more close to the original game translation with my eyes closed than Woolsey's entire team. Death to Ted Woolsey!
   -P. Vinall

BG: *blink* Pretty extreme view there. I personally feel Ted Woolsey provided a much more in-depth translation than simply ensuring there weren't any typos. He added heart to the game with a unique translation that, granted, didn't match the Japanese version word for word, but took the meaning of a sentence and expressed it as effectively as possible for an American audience. The Japanese and English languages are far too different to simply attempt a word-for-word translation; interpretation and feeling needs to be infused into the work as well.

Q: The rule to Steve's game is that he only allowed to use one syllable words. I believe he is allowed to say java because he believes it is an acronym, but everything else is one syllable... He cannot say java error (or maybe applet...) and he cannot say his full name (steven if that is how he spells it...) if this is not the rule, I don't know what is...

BG: Ding ding ding, I think you've got it! Congratulations. You now have serious bragging rights with your friends.

Q: Hey, pinch hitter!
   1) What ever happened to Enix? Are they still working on a new DQ game or what?
   2) Any word on a Tobal 3? And what was up with that other Tobal game mentioned in Tobal 2's packaging? Did it ever get released in Japan?
   3) Whatever happened to Vestal's homepage? Has it vanished off the face of the net forever?
   BTW, for the record, I really didn't like Xenogears. Then again, I didn't like Saga Frontier or FF7 either, but I'm a big 7th Saga and Brain Lord fan, so maybe it's me.
   But I am happy that EA is trying hard to do a good translation, it's about time!

BG: I feel like such a library...
   1) Yes, Enix is hard at work on Dragon Quest VII. Check out the link for some in-depth coverage.
   2) I haven't heard of any word on a Tobal 3, but this is a sports site, not a fighting site! *consults with Mike* Ah, wait, we're an RPG site. Terribly sorry.
   3) Vestal? I've...never heard of an Andrew Vestal.
   Don't worry about not liking Xenogears. The RPG genre has broadened considerably since its early stages on console systems, and there's a much larger variety of games that you might like -- and dislike.

Q: Hey there! I have a couple of questions for ya... hope you can help me out. (Gonna number them so I can be a trendy fellow)
   1- I was replaying FF2 (FF4 jap if you prefer), and I was wondering something... Edward attacks with a harp, and lil notes go flying at the monster? I searched my house for an instrument, and found a flute! The next day, I tried attacking someone by playing the flute at him, but it didn't work? What's the deal?
   2- In FF7, Cloud says that travelling in groups larger than 3 attracts monsters, but when I'm out with more than 3 people, we don't get jumped. Was Cloud lying?
   3- I tried being an RPG hero once by not taking any showers and never changing my clothes, like they all do, but no one wanted to talk to me! How come in RPG's the heroes always get a lot of attention?

BG: 1- You obviously had the safety on.
   2- Cloud looks rather scrawny and weak. When he's out with lots of friends, the monsters see an easy lunch.
   3- ...Rick, I'm sorry to break this to you, but whenever the music plays and the lights go down at an inn, part of that time the heroes are washing up. Now, please, go do the same.

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