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Column 6: The Return to Work
August 27th, 2007

Sean - 5:27pm EDT

Work was slow today--or so it felt for me. I thought the day would pass more quickly, but instead it was like a hot day in a classroom: seemingly neverending. But, now that I am home, I can have some fun!

Last night I got a glimpse of the Brave Story bad guy. He is nasty. I like nasty bad guys. I am loving the game more and more. Go buy a PSP and this game. Now. And send me some letters. Please?

Metroid Prime 3 is out this week. I am in heaven. Or will be. It rocks. I hope.

Tonight, I am expecting to put in some LOTRO time. Wish me luck!

Hot topics answered

Hey Sean,

Congrats on the position. Anyone who can carry a Q&A column by himself (or nearly by himself), deserves the job.


Thank you!

Looking at the hot topics, you couldn't pay me to play Final Fantasy XI. I spent a small amount of time with Everquest quite a few years ago and I've done World of Warcraft's free trial. Neither enticed me in the least. I just can't get interested in MMORPGs. In fact, the MMORPG elements are dulling my interest in Final Fantasy XII at the moment. Gimme a Final Fantasy X, Grandia II, Xenosaga, or Riviera any day of the week. I like my story heavy, linear RPGs. On that note, Riviera on the PSP is incredible. I haven't been so involved in a game in a long time. I'm kinda disappointed I missed it on the GBA, but extremely glad I'm getting to play it now.


I wish there were an offline version of that game in the style of FFXII. It would rock. I would finally be able to do everything without having to rely on others. Then again, it would be a little boring, as the other players are what make it great (when you can trust them). Also, more people would take the plunge, and it will always be online.

PSP vs DS? Ugh, I'm really tired of this war over the "better" portable. They both have their strengths and weaknesses. Buncha whinny DS lovers complain when the PSP gets a game they wanted and vise versa. It's annoying. Personally, I'm enjoying my PSP more. I have 18 PSP games and 11 DS. But could I imagine Trauma Center on the PSP? No, just like I couldn't imagine Gurumin on the DS.

Ah well, that's enough for now. Keep answering the letters, I'll keep reading.



I am just trying to convince the RPGamers to try out the PSP. It is really a great handheld and it needs love, as does Brave Story. I think I like that game a bit too much... ^_^

Both systems have their own strengths and weaknesses. So they are both needed. A 360 is not needed at all--yet, anyways.

Thanks for writing in venus!

Why do people like giant robots anyways?

Alrighty Sir Sean. As per the request made by you (though partially in jest), I did indeed deliver correspondence to Bari, though it turned out not to be as direly needed as might have been supposed earlier in the week. I can hardly leave you minus additional material from me, however, and thus have determined to transcribe an additional missive.


I'll take any letters that I can get. Thanks for writing to Bari and to myself, Mr. JuMeSyn.

I know not how Stardust made it onto the topical issues bar, but having just seen it yesterday can affirm its worthiness as a cinematic endeavor. Sadly the box office tally does not seem to be rendering justice to a quality production, so seeing it in the theater while still able seems highly advised.


So it gets your vote? I need to work up my courage to go see it myself. I am currently on the fence concerning it, and need to know if I should go solo it, or try to find a group. It seems like it might be an epic encounter.

So you have played Time Stalkers and the Evolution titles, being just as underwhelmed as was I? Setting aside the superlative Skies of Arcadia and the distinctly worthy Grandia 2, is there anything else on the Dreamcast RPG-wise that caught your attention sufficiently to be remarked upon?


I tried Record of Lodoss War for it. It was fun, but then my DC busted. I haven't tried any other RPGs for it--That I remember anyways.

As to Soul Caliber - when I am in the vicinity of another fighting fan that is a superb title. Playing the AI does get a touch undesirable, however. Marvel vs. Capcom 2 wins points for me as the single most insane fighter to have ever been played by me, though again fighting the AI is not the playing method of choice. I have yet to become truly gripped by a fighter for a lengthy period when alone.


A friend of mine (a "canmate") and I were so evenly matched we could play 99 matches and end 50-49. It was a lot of fun. Playing the AI just sucked.

I am a touch curious as to how you might respond should I resume the habit oft-practiced in the past of including a musical link or two for titles that you have never played. Would it meet with disfavor, indifference, resignation, rapture, or perhaps none of the above? I do attempt not to include completely worthless audio links, naturally. Though the ear of the beholder makes a world of difference....


As Bari said, I am not sure if they are legal or not. I need to confess something: I am not a game music enthusiast like Matt is. I tend to play games muted more often than not. I just get bored of it after a while. Portable systems can't play music as it disturbs others, and I tend to have the tv on while playing console/PC games.

Now, a misconception you seemed to possess must be clarified. Under no circumstance do I fall under the category of 'mecha-lover.' The popularity of Transformers continues to baffle me, Gundam is a closed book, I have never viewed Evangelion - you get the picture. I investigated the Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation titles with the understanding that they would offer high-quality tactical titles, and I got precisely that. Though the text is filled with nigh-inscrutable references to the many mechanoids in the games, there are also massive machinations by both Earthlings and aliens to create a very intricate tale set in the future. Character development is in some ways set (all characters learn the same Spirit commands, aka spells, regardless) but can also be changed by the player (pick the skills characters learn, adjust their statistics as you see fit, reassign them to different robots with different weapons as you see fit, upgrade only certain attributes of certain robots - or upgrade only their weaponry - with the limited funds available). This is not easy stuff particularly in the second game, but it is highly rewarding. Then again if you dislike spending a lot of time on one battle they probably are not for you, since particularly in the second game taking down multiple bosses with 100000+ HP and regeneration abilities takes much effort and planning.


I'm sorry, if I gave you the wrong impression. I just said I don't like the genre. I am not a big fan. I like Gundam Wing, but could never get into the games. Front Mission was a double whammy. A tactical mecha game. Ick.

Bleach is a good show, and though my ardor has cooled for it in recent months I still enjoy the thing. I haven't read the manga in awhile but left off at chapter 262. So feel free to engage in Bleach discussion with me - I'll get it.

I have to be in to work at 6 tomorrow, so time to sign off. 7 hours will have to suffice for sleep.



I pick up the Bleach manga when it is released here, and follow the Japanese show. Since my brother is leaving for some months, I will stop watching it until Christmas. It is boring right now anyways. I don't plan on talking about my anime/manga habits unless others want to hear about it.

Random battles in tRPGs

Jim, from the 08/23/07 column, likes exploring world maps, but wants his random battles SRPG style. I can suggest for you three games.

Shining Force 2 (Sega Genesis): You explore a medium-large world map throughout the adventure. There's always more chests to open, and secret items to find. Battles are SRPG style and take a long time.

They're grid-and-turn based, just like most SRPGs. If you walk around long enough, you can get into a random battle, which is just a repeat of a story battle without the story


It is a repeat of the same battle? Ick. That sounds boring. I'm sorry. I didn't like Shining Force that much. It was re-released for the GBA, right? That would be the one I played.

Treasure Hunter G (SNES - Japanese Release Only) - There is a fan translation of this game somewhere on the internet. Battles are very quick. "Random" battles will take you 30 to 90 seconds to complete, but there are a lot of them. Boss battles will take you about five minutes. There aren't any enounters on the world map, but there is a large world to explore with plenty of chests to open and secret items to obtain.


I never played that one. Is it fun? I bet JuMeSyn has an answer to this question. ^^;

Arc the Lad Collection - Arc the Lad 1 & 2 (Playstation - PS2 Compatible): Battles here are also quick, taking 90 seconds to five minutes to complete. Again the quantity of battles is high. You explore each map just as in a normal RPG. I think world map navigation is menu-based in this one.



Thanks for writing in Flamethrower!

I gave away that collection during the first SOCK. I never did get into those games. The whole tactical RPG thing, and all. I did like 1 more than 2 though. I never tried 3.

Unfit for print by author request

Dear Bari,


Sorry, Bari isn't home at the moment. Can I help you?

Why would Drew Carey be tapped to replace Bob Barker? Simple, he got that friendly attitude similar to Bob Barker's, plus he has gotten a following with Whose Line? and the Drew Carey Show as a host and entertainer, so it kinda makes sense.


I am not a fan of that show. I used to be, but then I lost all interest in game shows. Drew Carey? I like the guy. He is funny. But nowhere near as cool as Colin Mockery. Of course, I don't know how to spell his name, but it works like that anyways.

Plus, since he's new, he can introduce updated games such as "One in the Plinko, Two in the Stinko" for our Comedy Centralized generation.

So, would this letter be classified as funny, stupid, or Unfit for Print?



I would say... somewhat off topic, but on topic enough to be posted. I wonder what kind of games Drew Carey plays? Definitely not the Wii or DDR... ^_^

Thanks for writing in, BLG! What does that stand for anyways?

Hello there, Sean! It is a pleasure to meet you. Hope it's not too late, but congratulations on winning the highly-coveted position of Weekend Q&A man!

I can see that you've taken a fond interest in Brave Story. I've yet to play it myself, but it looks wonderful; it's probably going to be the first game I buy for the PSP once I get my hands on one. I don't know why, but I just have this gut feeling that's telling me I'm going to fall in love with it. I've only seen screenshots and read the preview for it, and nothing more.


I just get all the RPGs. This one called out to my soul when I held it in my hands. I needed to play it right away. And I love it still. It calls to my heart even now.

This leads to a question I'd like to ask of you: What kind of media coverage do you like to see of new video games? I personally prefer screenshots the most, and a preview if it's offered. Occasionally I'll check out a few movie clips of the game in action, but I try not to do that too often. If the release date is coming up and there's a review available, I may skim through that as well, but very briefly; I feel like reading the whole thing will spoil my gaming experience just a smidgen. (Not to say I don't care for reviews at all; I just like to formulate my thoughts on a game before looking at everyone else's!)


I tend to not look to much at upcoming games. I only look when I am on the fence, or it is far before the actual release (like White Knight Story). I prefer to play games then to read about them. I do read reviews when I am unsure if I should pick up a game or not.

On the subject of purchasing games, I've been ordering most of mine online lately. The last time I went to a retail game store was back in late May when Odin Sphere just came out. Surely enough, because I didn't pre-order, they were fresh out of copies (way to go Gamestop!), so I went home and bought it off of Amazon. I actually paid less, too, because they don't charge sales tax, and the fact that it comes straight to you without having to go anywhere makes it all the more appealing. I don't mind waiting for my games to arrive, either; I'm a relatively patient gamer.


I preorder 90% of the games I buy. I don't like waiting. I do buy some games off of ebay though.

And I see that you were a player of FFXI! What server were you on, and what job(s) did you play? I was a little Tarutaru black mage / bard / samurai on Pandemonium. I quit almost two years ago, primarily because of boredom and it was starting to get in the way of real life issues. I'm sure you've heard the analogy, but it felt like a part-time job at points. Did you make it to any of the end-game activities, like sky, sea, Dynamis, and whatever else they've added since then? Those things were fun at first, but quickly grew monotonous; I found them to be quite overrated, actually. I haven't played a MMORPG since I left, but I've been tempted many times to either go back or try something new. Maybe in a couple of months, I'll give in, but not now.


I played a white mage (75)/ summoner (51) on Midgardsormr. I have a red mage (56) on Valefor. He has a full set of sub jobs (like seven of them leveled to 37, but not white mage) and is ready for the Zilart missions.

I've done a ton of sky, but never did get to sea. Dynamis was only done once, as I was working during the scheduled runs. I was rank 10 and spent way too much time trying to get to a Yin Yang Robe for a friend and myself.

That will do it for me! Let's do it again, shall we?

~ Arcadian Phoenix

P.S.: Suikoden V should be next on your list!


Yes, certainly. And we can do it again and again! And thanks for your vote!


Dude, play Suikoden V next Sean!

Vote tallied! I need more votes. But it is winning, so good job!


I need more letters!

On another note, I intend to finish Metroid Prime 3 before school kicks in next week. Even if I have to put aside the PSP. Wish me luck!

Ok, until next week, everyone! Enjoy your games, and let me know what you have been playing. I am all ears, as always! I also promise not to bite.

Send a Letter!

Unanswered Letter Backlog: 1. Do the math. ^^
Sean is tired and may nap for several hours.

"Shut up and Drive!"

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