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li'l over three months...
LETTERS WITH AEGIS
     Wednesday, August 1, 2001 "shake harder, boy!"     

CHARBROILED POSSIBILITIES:

Today is officially August first, putting myself and lots of other people less than three weeks away from the beginning of the new school year. Summer just flew by, didn't it? Anyhow, the Greatest Hits release of Final Fantasy Tactics should be in stores today, so those of you who've always been meaning to buy it should do so. It's there and priced to own. I'll prolly buy a copy myself. And speaking of buying games, let's move on with the column.

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    Guess the Quote Contest
    Try to guess (be specific) the quote towards the top of the page. If you're the first one to email me with the correct answer, I'll mention you in my next column.
     

     
    quotient quotables
    Hello Mr. Shield-of-the-Gods,

    This week's quote, "don't you wanna take a ride with me, through my world?" is from the song "Hey Pretty" by Poe.

    On a related topic, the guy who does the speaking part in the more recent version of that song is Poe's brother. Maybe they should leave the incestuous undertones to Wild Arms 2, no?

    -Mimir

    Aegis:
    Yep, he's right, and he was the first. I'd recommend that everyone take a listen to Poe's new album, entitled "Haunted," as I consider it really good. I haven't played WA2, nor have I heard that version of the song. But yeah, incest is bad.




     
    pizza-toting brethren
    Closing late at Papa John's? And I thought that was my job! (Finch= late and/or closing driver Thursday-Saturday) ;\ Pizza people get no respect... Then again, I don't think many people in the whole food industry do, either.

    Anyway, I love rpg's, but I like anything from Treasure's Radiant Silvergun to SNK's Metal Slug series. I buy much more than I play. These days, I'm lucky to clear a few hours a week. I could care less about reviews. I mainly choose by interesting previews or developer/publisher. If a game comes out from a company I really admire (Atlus, Square, Treasure), then I'll probably snap it up immediately. Another factor that's sort of strange is character designs. If I had never known that Megaman Legends 2 had Tron Bonne (I started with The Misadventures of Tron Bonne), I would have missed a really good action-rpg. Speaking of which, why doesn't RPGamer cover it? It's just as much an action-rpg as any Zelda game, and more so than Castlevania...

    For marketing, I'd like to see more companies go out on a ledge with niche or odd-ball titles like Working Designs, Atlus, and Conspiracy Entertainment. Of course, I'd be the one to run the company in the ground by focusing on the odd-ball releases, but until then, I'll just have to stumble through games like Napple Tale without really knowing what's going on.

    I'd also like to see a few people offering a choice of Japanese voices with sub-titles, especially with the extra space of dvd's that are being used more often. I have no problem with good English dubs (Mega Man Legends, again), but I'd really like to hear the originals as well. Atlus did it for Rhapsody's songs (minus the sub-titles), and that was on cd, so I imagine that both tracks, as well as the script for the sub-titles could be done more often in future releases.

    Thanks for calling,
    Finch

    Aegis:
    In addition to the fact that we both deliver pizza, Finch here and I have quite a bit in common. I really don't play very much anymore, yet I buy a lot of games. That and I love quirky, "niche" games, too.

    One thing Finch touched upon that a lot of gamers wrote in about concerning game purchases is company recognition. Most people trust certain companies, such as Nintendo or Square, enough to buy one of their games just because they developed it. And unless they bought The Bouncer, they probably don't regret their purchase.

    If publishers recognize a want for dubbing and subbing within games, I'd imagine they'll do it (as long as there's enough disc space available). Let your favorite game company know what you want. They might actually listen to you.

    As far as RPGamer not covering the Mega Man Legends games, I'd imagine it's mainly because of image. While, to me at least, Zelda feels like an RPG, Mega Man just doesn't, despite the very similar gameplay. I don't make the decisions like that around here, though... if I did, we wouldn't cover the Castlevania games either.




     
    third wheel
    "Who out there will refuse to buy a game based on a foreign song? No one cared about Chrono Cross or Legend of Mana having songs they couldn't understand, did they?" Tristan Adnade, yesterdays column.

    Actually, I cared more about the fact that I really could understand the Legend of Mana theme song. Is anyone else the least bit curious as to why they wrote the song in Swedish? To the best of my knowledge, LoM wasn't even released in Europe.

    Kristian Bjørkan

    Aegis:
    I'm not really curious why they did it. I'd imagine it was just an artistic choice... a stylistic means of expression, if you will. It certainly wasn't to cater to the small-yet-important RPGaming market of Sweden, though. That's for sure.




     
    i choose you, random game
    Hey...Aegis? How's that pronounced?

    OK, Honestly I buy the games I buy through intuition. I don't pay any attention to the reveiws I read or the advertising. I just read some of the the news on the game and look at a couple screenshots. If I feel that it's going to be a good game I buy it the day it comes out without trying it. This usually works as well, the only games out of my 32 RPGs I bought that I regret are, Grandia, Breath of Fire 4, Lunar2, and Koudelka, but that was only $9.99. There may be others but I have forgotten them. I also buy games because I know they will be good, such as the FF series, Chrono Cross, and you know, highly publicized ones.

    My gaming habits are kinda weird. I have an amazing TV and a good but too expensive surround sound system to play my PS2 on. So I turn all the lights off before I play and I usually dive into one game and play it til I've won it. Most of the time this a game which I have won many times but can't get enough of it. Such as FF7, I think I've won that more than 30 times. Most new RPGs I've bought tend to get boring and I just resort to playing an old game such as, again, FF7, or Xenogears, or Breath of Fire 3. The reason new games are boring because they all follow the same flow. Talk to everyone in new town, see a story sequence, then go in a long maze of random encounters that get some goddamn tiresome that I usually fall asleep at listening to the repetitive annoying fight music. Lunar 2 is completly guilty of being as above. And the enemies you can see is WAY worse than random encounters.

    Also, I only buy RPGs (cept SSX because my intition says there is no good RPGs for PS2 yet) And I am not casual I am a hardcore videogame addict. It's hard to believe but I also have a life...when I choose to not play videogames all day.

    I feel like writing more, but I probably shouldn't.

    '/Lacan\' (Doug)

    Aegis:
    The correct pronunciation of Aegis is "ee-jis," with the emphasis on the first syllable.

    Here we have another decently common game-buying tool: intuition. You don't necessarily read reviews or play first, you just look at a game, and if it gives you a good feeling, you plunk down the cash. I know I'm guilty of this on occasion, especially if it's an older game on sale.

    With all your complaints, which could be applied to most RPGs out there, I'm surprised you're a hardcore (nearly) RPG-only type guy. Diff'rent strokes, I s'pose.




     
    prolly not broken
    Hi Aegis,
    Is the joystick on the dreamcast controller supposed to be able to spin on itself? I returned my whole system 'cause the joystick would turn something like 15o on itself, but even my new controller does the same! Is this normal? Thanks.

    ~Xeros89
    PS-You're my third favorite Q&A host since Brad and Thor. Oh! Is the suck-up comment supposed to go at the top?

    Aegis:
    Greetings. *reads question*. *rolls chair over to Dreamcast*. *examines DC controller*. Upon careful inspection of a perfectly good Dreamcast controller, the analog stick does rotate upon itself a little bit... about 5 or 10 degrees by my guesstimation, but not quite 15. I have seen pads in Toys R Us that had been yanked on and would rotate completely, but assuming yours works fine when playing games and doesn't fully rotate, I'm sure it's a-okay.

    As for your other query, you can brown nose anywhere you like. I'm not that picky. Thanks for the compliment, though. It's appreciated.




     
    groovin' wit' my homies
    Yo yo Aegis, sup my brotha

    I myself play many types of games. Besides RPGs, I play the EA sport games, Quake 3, Tony Hawk, and (don't laugh) WWF video games. I'm by no means narrow minded, so I like to expand my gaming experience beyhond RPGs. I think most of your readers have a broad gaming library just by reading there letters and what they say. Why do people by the games they do? Well I think the biggest factor is how well the game is marketed. Commercials, trailers, and TIMING of the game really do determine whether or not the game will be successful. Also it could be soley the title and publisher that weeds out money from the pop-culture influenced gamers. I myself by games for no particular reason (except if they have Final Fantasy or Chrono in the title... i'm guilty of that). I do infact read reviews and watch movies/trailers of certain games before I buy them. I remember waaay back in 1995 when I was a wee lad (wee?) around the month of october. I read a few reviews of Chrono Trigger and it sparked my interest. So I got it for Christmas and loved it till this date. (side note: The game, at the time, cost $99.99 FREKIN BUCKS! For a SNES GAME WHOAAAA!!!) I also bought Final Fantasy Tactics in '98 for no reason, just that I wanted an RPG at the time. So I guess you can say that I guy games at random... but they have to spark my interest with some neat feature.

    There ARE a few things I would change about how they are indeed marketed. Firstly, I think they should release games sooner over in North America. They should have two teams of writers one doing the english and one Japanese. I guess this point only concerns RPGs... But in general games are marketed well besides the fact that some are just being shot out faster then a bat outta hell (Final Fantasy?) I think Squaresoft should wait 2-3 years between every Final Fantasy... They'd make more money. Anyway thats my 3 cents! Or was the 5? maybe 2 I donno...

    Feel free to share your thoughts e-mail me at: Lyle@stratics.com


     - Sincerely,
       Lyle J. A. Smith II
       NB, Canada
      "Sometimes an honest answer can get you in alot of trouble.  But i'll give you one anyway."


    Aegis:
    This letter hits upon what made Squaresoft a big name in the first place. Advertising and timing matter little to the average reader of this site, perhaps, but to the big mass market out there who aren't as informed, getting your name and product into people's heads is more than half the battle. Be prepared to witness the purest example of this in the fall, as Microsoft is posed to spend half a billion dollars on advertising the Xbox. Your grandmother will know about this thing by the time they're done.

    We're getting most (there are exceptions, let's not nitpick) RPGs soon enough after their respective Japanese launches that I really feel no need to drive up costs and rush them. It's not like we're lacking in games right now anyhow. Go finish the RPGs from last year you never got to.

    I think each Final Fantasy would probably sell a bit more, and mean a bit more, if they came less frequently, but Square IS making more money this way. I see no changes to this anytime in the near future.




     
    labeling
    Good Morning Aegis,

    In response to a question yesterday about wether the CDs in actual games and Greatest Hits games are different. I can state from experience that the CDs are different. In the case of Squaresoft games (which all have pretty much the same CD design. White Background, Black/Grey lettering) These CDs remain the same style but the White Background changes to a silver background. I know this because my friend has an original and greatest hits version of Final Fantasy 7, and they are different. So I'm guessing that most Greatest Hits games probably have a slightly different CD style then their original counterpart. Hope I've helped anyone.

    Xenoku

    Aegis:
    Thanks for the tip. I have no doubt that FFT will follow the trend.




     
    jaded
    Aegis, always a pleasure to write in when you have control of the column, you always pick great subject matter.

    I've always considered myself to be very open minded about videogames, but now I realize that I'm becoming very picky. There aren't too many games that are coming out that I have my eye on. I'm really looking forward to playing Code Veronica X on the PS2, I played a little of it on the Dreamcast and fell in love, it was so much better than RE3 I really couldn't get into that game. I'm also looking forward to Metal Gear Solid 2, the demo that came with Z.O.E. blew me away. It seems like lately though, the videogame industry is getting almost as bad as the music industry, there is so much bad music going around and it's all just to push a dollar bill. It seems like lately games are just thrown out and not a lot of time is taken on them. So I say cheers to Squaresoft because they always put out a quality product.

    Wipeout 3 rules.
    -Daeta

    Aegis:
    Although I can't deny that there are a lot of games out there that are horribly put together and don't really deserve the material they're printed on, we've always had this problem. Every single hardware generation has had this problem. Granted, there may be more bad games on the market now than there were in, say, 1994, but the good game to bad game ratio is probably about the same, if not better. Somebody has to be buying these things, though, or publishers wouldn't keep pushing them out. Make sure you stay garbage-game free!




     
    coulda been a novel
    So you want to know what makes us tick, eh? Well, I'm a verbose guy, so here goes nothing. When I was younger, I played games that looked really cool. Really cool to me was Bart vs the Space Mutants and MegaMan 2, but whatever. I played a bit of Dragon Warrior, but thought it was way too hard for a kiddie like me. I'd occasionally play games that other kids thought were cool, so I could be cool like them. I got out of that habit after a week of nightmares from playing Friday the 13th (my Mom hid my nintendo until I proved I was not taking the games way too seriously).

    At this point, I was 12 and in a wonderful little world of MegaMan, Super Mario Bros and Bionic Commando (I swear, that game still rocks 11 years later). Then I discover through my newly acquired Nintendo Power subscription that a new game called Final Fantasy was being released. It seemed really cool, what with the magic and airships and 'time travel'. I played that game non-stop when I got it. I loved that game even more than Bionic Commando. I even made up my own 'sequels' to it, that I never found the time to send to Square yet they somehow knew my ideas and used them (I developed the spell Vanish all by myself, ya know ^_^). I gained a renewed interest in Dragon Warrior and its sequels, and grabbed anything remotely resembling an RPG. Final Fantasy Legend actually knocked Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles out of my GameBoy.

    But the question still remains, why? A large part of it was that Final Fantasy required very little thought or skill, but was still a complete and entertaining game. No more was I plagued by having to press A at precisely the right moment! (Well, not until Xenogears, but that's another story.) I jumped on the intellectual bandwagon - "I play smart games, therefore I am smart. You idiots may play your silly jumping games away from here!" Of course, when the lights were off and no one was looking I'd pop in Bionic Commando, but at the time I didn't know what hypocrite meant.

    Another reason was the underlying complexity of the game. I was under the impression that Fighters go slash!slash! and Mages go boom!boom! when I accidentally discovered that some items cast spells! I was stuck in a hopeless fight with a Vampire (yes, a Vampire), no spells and hardly any HP, when I tried in desperation to hurt him with something. So I used a Mage Staff and a Heal Staff. Lo and behold, Fireballs and Hit Points! A whole new world had opened to me! Now I could use a party of Black Belts without breaking my bank with Heal Potions! My Fighter could now kill Scum within one round, not 24! How one game could offer so much complexity astounded me, spurring me on to buy many more RPGs.

    This story is getting long, so I'll be brief for the rest. After I finally wised up and realized that (1) RPGs are not the domain of the ubergenius, and (2) not all non-RPGs are for ubermorons, my gaming palette became much broader (and I could play Bionic Commando with the lights on). I also started realizing with the dawn of the PSX RPG flood, that not all RPGs are worth my money (though for the record, I love FF8 and Persona so my idea of worth is a bit different from most). I also discovered that TRPGs are immensely fun (thanks to Google for advising me to purchase Vandal Hearts - between that and FFT I almost failed Advanced Organic Chem. I got a B though, so it's all good. ^_^). I now have a new, more mature philosophy that has made my recent RPG purchases very enjoyable.

    (1) I visit RPGamer as you guys tend to share many of my opinions.
    (2) I rent a game to get a feel for it.
    (3) I ask myself, "Could this game offer the myriad surprises that FF1 gave me?"
    (4) I decide which game I'd rather play more - this, or Bionic Commando.

    I hope that's what you wanted. I also hope I didn't make it too long. I said I was verbose, didn't I? ^_^

    Blair aka *Captain Vittles!*

    -Blair MacKenzie
    Blair_MacKenzie@canada.com
    Captain_Vittles@hotmail.com


    Aegis:
    Yep, dude, you are verbose. Your letter was so well-written, though, that I couldn't help but print it. Yes, if in doubt, rent first. If you're not sure about a game, you can save yourself 50-or-so bucks that way. Reviews can help too, but people do have varying tastes, and nobody's opinion on a game is better (for buying purposes, at least) than your own.




     
    why build a random game selector when you have this guy?
    Hey Omni-Aegis

    You asked why people buy/play the type of we do. Well I can tell you that i play any game for no reason at all. I just go to the store and rent any game i think look good at the time(mostly just looking at the back of the box and reading the little explanation of the game). When i get a my annual power card from roger's video I throw caution into the wind and pick one random i haven't played before, just his weekend i rented Digimon card battle and i was amused by it for a while. But when i buy games it's only if i truly know i will play it again after i beat it.The weird thing about that is that every game I have for playstation are all Square games.

    Speaking about Square games I own. I am really angry that i had to pay more for Final Fantasy Tactics, and FF7 then people have to now. It's because of people like me who save my money for months go out and buy games for the full price so that companies will see how good it is just to lower the price. So i have come up with a solution. If you buy a greatest hits version of any game, and you know someone who owns an original version, give them ten bucks to make it fair. And if you don'e know someone just send me the money (hey it WAS MY idea and if it works, great).

    Neobrolly
    "The guy says to me,'I don't like the cut of your jib!'. Then i says' that's tough. cuz it's the only jib i got.'"

    Aegis:
    I'm Omni now, eh? Niiiice. When renting, especially if you've got plenty of time on your hands, picking cool-looking games at random can be a lot of fun. Just make sure you don't keep up that mindset when you walk into Best Buy...

    People have been complaining that same complaint for years upon years. Everything is more expensive when it first comes out. Just ask the people who bought thousand-dollar CD players in the eighties. Paying more is the, um, price you pay for being an early adopter of pretty much ANYTHING. You could have waited and got those games at about half price, but would the wait have been worth the savings?





    End of the Road:

    That's all for today, folks. I got a lot of good responses, and I tried to represent as good an assortment of viewpoints as I could with the time and space I had. Chimerasame will be here for you tomorrow, so keep your distance and carry a fluffy towel.


    Andrew P. Bilyk should be back on Tuesday. Should.

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