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Email Is Sor Sissies. Real QnA Hosts Use Telekinesis. September 14, 2005

Steven "Z Force" Zimmerman - 00:00 EST

I LOADED UP, the inbox this evening, expecting it to be overflowing with wonderful letters, quickie submissions, autograph requests, bribes from the other contestants, and maybe even a love letter or two, but instead I am treated to 15 pieces of spam, a man begging for a tilde, and a handful of “old” mail from last week that none of the contestants used. I hate you guys.

Instead of being French and running away, yelling at Castomel for not whipping the peons into a letter-writing frenzy, or making up kick-ass fictional letters filled with questions I have the perfect answers to, I’m just going to use the old mail. That means that if you sent a letter one or two weeks ago and weren’t cool enough to make it into the main columns, today is your lucky day. You can have your 20 minutes of not-sucking right here, right now.

Castomel told me something about the mail server being on the fritz, but it has already been fixed by local computer whiz, Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivrusky the Fourth. Send lots of mail for Bucket's column tomorrow. I’ll even give you guys a topic idea after every letter, so you don’t need to fry your brains trying to think up a clever topic for your letter.

Zio vs. Magus: Who would win?

To which ever contestant gets this,

Just wondering if you've played Majora's Mask, and if so, do you think it's worth playing. I picked it up a while ago for my very underused n64, but never got around to playing it. My friend said not to waste my time cause it sucks, and many reviews say the same. Your thoughts? Also, where is Phantasy Star Trilolgy, my wants it now!

Forever yours,

Mr. Snuggles


My experience with Majora’s Mask is limited to about 15 minutes of watching it over someone else’s shoulder two years after it was released. Understandably, it didn’t impress me. If you hadn’t already bought it, I would have done some research and found some opposing reviews for you, but it looks like you are too quick for me. Quick like a cat. I’m going to call you Whiskers.

Since you already bought the game, I see no reason why you shouldn’t go ahead and pump a couple hours into it to see if you like it. If you think Ocarina of Time was the best Zelda game in the series, you will probably be disappointed (but not unhappy) with Majora’s Mask. Alternatively, if you thought A Link to the Past was the best game in the series, not only will you be absolutely correct, but you’ll also enjoy MM even LESS. Finally, if you haven’t played Wind Waker, and you have a Gamecube, play that instead.

Phantasy Star Trilogy? It was originally scheduled for Q1 2005, then changed to Q3 2005, and now there hasn’t been a piece of news about it for weeks. Things are not looking good for PST. Guess I'll have to dust off the old Sega Genesis and play my ancient copy of Phantasy Star 4, instead...

Topic Idea: Which Zelda game is the best, why, and what are your thoughts on the upcoming Twilight Princess? (Hint: The correct answers are: “A Link to the Past,” “because you get to turn into a bunny in the Dark World,” and “so awesome it makes my brain hurt.”)


The Final Fantasy series has long captivated people....etc. However just about everybody's got some bone to pick with Square ever since Final Fantasy 8. This is understandable since FF7 is known for being the pinacle of RPGs whether you're an old school gamer or more recent player (I'm a little bit of both). Between FF8's gimmicky systems, FF9's childish nature (which annoyed me to no end), FF10's general lacking in random catagories (too much Japanese pop culture, plus Tidus switches between Anglo and Asian in every CG but a good game none the less), and FF11's focus on MMORPGing and fantasy basis rather than kicking buttocks, most people agree that the series has been on a decline or at least cannot quite regain the feel it's had since it's begining as a gaming culture phenomenon. Therefore one must as the infamous question wispered in corners but never spoken aloud for fear of "jinxing it"; What do you think will be the biggest letdown/dissapointment in the next instalation of the Final Fantasy series if you believe there will be any at all?



It really bothers me how whiney some gamers are. Not necessarily you, but your point about the Final Fantasies reminds me of a lot of people I’ve talked to over the years. They get a game, they get all super excited about the next game in the series, then they complain when it isn’t exactly like the last game. If you liked the other game so much, go replay it! I enjoyed FF’s 7, 8, and 9, because each one had their own unique charm and appealed to me for different reasons. FF9 too kiddy? I needed something like that after the crazy heavy “love” theme of FF8. But I definitely agree that FF7 was the best by a long shot.

What am I worried about with FF12? The plotline. With FF7 being the center of attention lately, with all the spin-offs and the impending release of Advent Children and the rumors that Square is remaking it for PS3, it reminds me of just how awesome that plotline was. It was so convoluted it would have given Einstein a hernia. I had to play it three times to just figure out the basics. FF12 looks like it will take itself a lot more seriously than the previous few games, but I’m still afraid that Square will use a ridiculously stupid plotline. Oh, and the chick with the bunny ears scares me. I have a fear of furries.

Topic Idea: Are you excited or worried about FF12? What could possibly go wrong? (Hint: The correct answer is: “rabbit hentai.”)

I don't think Freud expected your Id to dress up like a clown and beat up your friends...

I'd like to gather some more opinions on Xenosaga: Episode II. I adore Xenogears and loathe Episode I. For me, the main thing that separates Gears from Ep. 1 is gameplay. Gears is fun to play through with a constantly evolving plot, fun mini-games, and the ability to jump (hey, this is really important to me, actually; jump on some villagers heads and go for a ride to see what I mean :^D). Ep.1 had sparsely detailed environments, sluggish pacing, and I couldn't jump, dammit. A lot of the people, who like Epsiode I, seem to dislike Episode II. This makes me wonder if I might like Xenosaga: Episode II. What's your take? Is Ep. 2 more similar to Gears than Ep. 1?




If you didn’t like Episode 1, don’t bother with Episode 2. The Saga games are the retarded half-brothers of Xenogears; all the ambition, none of the fun. While I fully support the idea of remaking Xenogears into the seven-part epic space opera it originally had the potential to be, I feel that the creators seriously fumbled with Saga 1 and 2. For instance: wasn’t Xenogears supposed to be episode four or five? If that’s the case, why in the world does Episode 2 star many of the same characters of Episode 1? The different episodes should be independent plot bubbles, connected by a common thread, but able to stand on their own, and separate of each other by hundreds or thousands of years. I don’t know what their plan is for Epsiode 3, but I have a feeling it's going to be more of the same. I recommend you replay Xenogears, or sit down and watch Evangelion.

Mmmmm, Evangelion. Hey, speaking of anime, I bet Xenosaga would have been much more successful as an anime. The gameplay is boring, repetitive, and forced, so why not just remove it altogether and make it into a true anime series? That would’ve kicked more ass than Bruce Lee at an ass-kicking competition.

Topic Idea: Which is king: Xenogears, Saga Episode 1, or Saga Episode 2? What are your hopes for Saga Episode 3? (Hint: The correct answer is: “Holy hell, KOS-MOS is hot.)

If it isn't broke, don't fix it.

Well mostly this is just an informative letter, but i'll throw out a question too.

I just bought Radiata Stories, and I was completely blown how mediocre it is! I was like 'tri-ace?' *pre-order 10 years early* Anyway, I can only highly recommend Star Ocean: Till the End of Time over it with gusto because Radiata Stories is pretty much a dumbed down version of it. There are no magic spells, a few passive skills, and each character has TWO special moves. The battles are repetitive and all you do is run up to random enemies and hack skill leveling, no strategy, no nothing. Sure, the graphics are spectacular. The story is fairly interesting, but the gameplay is so boring and unrewarding I am quite regretful of the fifty bucks I just spent. Star Ocean is only 20 bucks now, so you'd be getting a LOT more bang for your buck as well.

Here's my question: I know Wild Arms: Alter Code F is going to be a rehash of 1 with bits and pieces of 3 mixed in, but I'm curious as to what exactly they're changing. I feel if they plant the battle system and rune system from 3 into it, the game would lose a lot of the strategy that the tough boss battles had, and the customization might ruin the individuality of all the characters. I'll still buy it most likely, but I'm hoping it won't be another Radiata Stories...



The biggest change, and problem, with Alter Code F is that they are adding three extra playable characters. This is an unforgivable modification to an already near-perfect game. I can understand redoing the graphics engine or rerecording/remixing the music, but why do they feel the need to completely change the fundamental mechanics of the game? Rudy, Jack, and Cecilia can save the world by themselves. They don’t need any help. All the other gameplay changes are negligible, because the game will already be a completely different monster from the original just from the addition of those extra playable characters. Man, just talking about this makes me mad...

Topic Idea: In 500 words of less, try to quantify just how much Wild ARMs: Alter Code F is going to suck. (Hint: As suckage approaches infinity, your brain turns to Jell-O. Delicious strawberry Jell-O.)

Stop Copying Me! Stop Copying Me!


One thing that's peeved me a little is all the people saying that Tales of Symphonia's story "rips off of Final Fantasy X". Last I checked, Yuna wasn't trying to become an angel, your party isn't trying to defeat a giant glob of matter, and so forth. If it's because of Sheena's trying to make contract with summon spirits, they've played part in the other Tales games (except Destiny). Just thought I'd get this off my chest.


Jeremy, the Duke of Otterland


Hate to break it to you, scooter, but every RPG rips off, in some way, shape, or form, every RPG before it. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: there is a serious lack of innovation in the genre these days, and whenever something new and awesome DOES come along, it just gets copied and cloned by every game thereafter. Usually, the bad innovations get copied more frequently than the good. Such is life.

Note to Self: Where is my secretary? I need to add “Invade Otterland” to my Things To Do List.

Topic Idea: What is your idea for the “next big thing?” How would you innovate the RPG genre, give it a breath of fresh air, or otherwise push it in a new direction? (Hint: The correct answer is: “find a way to integrate DDR into the combat system”)


I don’t understand you guys. I offered to bring back quickies and you failed to send me any quickie letters. Hell, you failed to send me any letters period. See if I ever do anything nice for any of YOU again, you ungrateful cretins.


Oh, and Folding Tool Heavy Duty, I seemed to have missed your commentary for Week 3. What's the matter McFly... chicken?
Steven Z: Althea's Public Enemy #1. And #2, as well, just for good measure.

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