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   Touching the Sky  

Cortney Stone - August 17 '03- 11:30 Central Standard Time

Alethea: Tons of letters today! This is fun! Oh, check out the new comic from Queen of Dorks. I'm in it. ^_^

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The Googleshng Theories Will Never Die

Actually, I pointed out the Jake Alley thing on April 2nd, last year, because Fritz Fraundorf mentioned it in his dedication when the GIA went down. Google dismissed it as a random comment in an April Fools' gag, which would have been more credible had it actually BEEN an April Fools' gag.

Seth

Alethea:
Once again, I reiterate that I am not at liberty to comment on Goog's true identity. While writing the column, I have been intentionally vague, neither confirming or denying any suggestions as to who Googleshng truly is. That doesn't mean you all can't have fun guessing!

 
Fairy Catching

Alethea,
Zanzarah is already out, and has been for some time now. It plays much like pokemon, except with fairys instead. Not a bad game, but I picked it up off the clearance rack at EB a month ago for 4.99. Have you ever played a game called Drakan: The Ancients' Gates? You really should. It's a much overlooked gem.

Nigel

Alethea:
I already knew that the PC version of Zanzarah is out. It's the PS2 version I'm waiting for (unless that release has sneaked by us newsies). You see, I have a pokey old computer that we have dubbed "Frankenstein." Over the years, my husband has improved it here and there by adding a CD burner (with the old CD drive as a slave drive), extra memory, new sound card, new modem, etc. We have not yet replaced the motherboard and processor, so it can't handle a game like Zanzarah. Our computer is not a top of the line machine by any means, but it gets the job done. No, I've never played Drakan: The Ancients' Gates, but I'll look into it.

 
Bridging the Gap Without Falling Into It

Hello hello,

I just wrote in mainly to respond to the perosn who was commenting on the gulf between console and PC rpgs. I encourage this person to grab themselves a copy of Bioware's Neverwinter Nights. I know they've heard of it. Sure the packaged module isn't great (I've never finished it though, it may get better), but the shear number of player created modules is unbelievable. A lot of them are truly great. If you are looking for a really deep module I'd suggest the "Shadow Lords" series by Adam Miller. It has a great story, a terrific romance between the player and one of the NPCs (if you play it right...), very story driven, and heavily dependant upon the player's morals. Wanna be evil, do it. Wanna be good, its an option. "Shadow Lords" is definatly blurring the lines between story/emotion driven console RPGs, and more options than one can possibly use / build you own character depth of PC rpgs. There is a sequel to "Shadow Lords" called "Dreamcatcher" but my girlfriend's mother and I are only part way through it, so I can't really comment on it. (Let me tell you, it is strange having my RL girlfriend's mother help me hit on the NPC so she'll stick with me...)

Alethea:
Yes, the best source of advice for dealing with women is a woman.

The new semester starts for me in one week, as soon as that happens my game time will drift away from the PC and land based consoles, and go back to the ever transportable GBA:SP. Maybe I'll finally finish Golden Sun and be able to pick up it's sequel, who knows. Between working full time and going to school full time, the GBA will have its buttons worn off. Maybe I'll be able to hook up with my Order on Planetside and get some base caps in on the weekends, but prolly not :o(

Maybe in a few years (Sony PSP???) we will have mobile MMPORPG (MMPOFPS, etc).

--The Thryll Killer

Alethea:
Portable games...an excellent option for the on-the-go college student. Just don't play them in class...professors don't like that. I know a prof who throws his chalk at sleeping students and humiliates those who didn't pay attention in class.

 
The Profundity of RPGs

in your august 16th column, you mentioned something about the symbolism in the final battle with kefka in final fantasy 3(u.s.), and it got me to thinking. most of the rpgs i played, i played when i was a bit younger and not quite fully, shall we say, aware. then, when i was a junior in highschool, final fantasy 7 came out and the mood changed. we happened to be studying transcendentalism (emerson, thoreau, etc, etc) at the time and, i dunno, everything kinda came together. the theme(s) and ideas presented to me in the game, along with this philosophy we were studying, pretty much formed the basis of my spiritural beliefs and the core of my philosophy of life. now, i'm not saying ff7 and ralph waldo emerson gave me all the answers, just that before that year i didn't even care about the questions. before then, i didn't consider video game to be works of art comparable in depth to any novel or musical composition or whatnot.

so anywho, my question to you is this ... what other games out there have had profound things to say , that have been generally misunderstood or the gaming audience as a whole just didn't realize the game-makers were trying to say anything ? such as in that kefka battle you mentioned ... (btw, what *was* the symbolism behind that ? ff3 is one of those games that i played and loved before i came to full sentience as a human) i vaguely recall reading on some ff3 faq or something about how the opening words on the screen, in the japanese version, were written similarly to some monument dealing with the nuclear bombings of japan, yet of course in the american translation that would be completely lost to u.s. gamers.

so hey, i'd like to say thanks in advance if you or any other readers can make mention of any such moments, or even central recurring themes, in video games. i'd like to how video games make other people feel, besides the majority of gamers who see videogames only as entertainment and haven't ever considered the emotional aspects of thought-provoking games.

-ovafiend

Alethea:
Hmm...right now, I can't think of any game that has been seriously philosophically misunderstood. There are a couple of recurring themes, however, particularly in the Final Fantasy series. One central theme is the interconnectedness of all life with the Earth. All living things share a sort of resonating energy that pulsates to the rhythm of the planet itself. This leads to an emphasis on the sanctity of life, and those who do not respect life often find it taken from them (which creates an odd paradox, if you think about it). Another theme is the power of humans and their desire to be self-reliant (there's Emerson again). In the Lunar games, particularly Lunar 2, Althena grants people the power to control their destinies and take matters into their own hands, without constant divine intervention. This fosters a deep sense of ambition in humans, who are forced to dig deep within to reach their full potential. Yet another theme is self-discovery. Most characters set out on a journey and discover something about themselves, such as their true origin, their identity, and/or their place in the world.

On to the symbolism of the battle with Kefka. Most of us know the tale, and those who do not should avert their eyes. Kefka pushes the statues out of alignment, which throws the world into chaos and reshapes the face of the planet. In Kefka's new twisted world, he sits alone on top of a chaotic, unbalanced tower. Two things are needed to conquer it: organization and teamwork, which both counter his chaos and solitude. At the final battle, Kefka summons a tower composed of various people and monsters. As the characters ascend the tower, they face sections that are created from both people and monsters being twisted together in chaos. Things become increasingly chaotic, and the climax is Kefka himself, descending upon the party as the song "Dancing Mad" roars in the background. Simply put, the tower symbolizes the ultimate madness of disorder, as shown mostly by monster graphics in the final battles. FF6 as a whole is a symbol chaos and restoring balance. Every RPG covers this to a degree, of course, but it seems quite prominent in FF6.

 
Vrumugun Again

Ms. CS!

I enjoy your Q&A just as much as I enjoyed Google's. Is there any chance you might become a regular host a day or two a week?

Alethea:
Oh, anything's possible, I guess. Can I quote you on that? ^_^

As for your idea for a topic, I'm not exactly sure how I manage video games and school. Usually, I put all my work off for the last moment and play games or do just the opposite and finish everything early. I guess it is just according to how I feel or if I have played through the game or not.

Now for some fun questions! What is the most annoying cliche you have encountered in a RPG? Your favorite? Which scene of any game has had the largest emotional effect upon you? What game are you looking forward to being released? Who is your favorite FF6 character?

Alethea:
The most annoying cliché is the weak girl who always trips and falls as a monster is chasing her. I hate that. You know, if fashion didn't dictate that women should wear ridiculous, fancy shoes, women might be able to actually outrun a hungry monster and not need a hero to scoop them up and rush them to safety. I'm going to assume that you are asking for a favorite cliché in an RPG, and for me, there are no particular favorite cliches.

As for emotional scenes, I hate to go with the typical choice of the Aeris death scene, even though that seriously did make me cry. Besides, the real tear-jerker for me was the ending of Lufia 2. I knew that Selan and Maxim were going to die...it happened in the first Lufia game. Nevertheless, I started crying at the end. Honorable mentions for kleenex moments are the endings of Kingdom Hearts and Illusion of Gaia. The endings of FFIX and FFX also made a little lump in my throat. Yes, I'm sappy, but I'm far more likely to cry at a video game than a movie...most likely because I bond better with RPG characters than movie characters. Think about it...you spend only 2-3 hours with a movie character, compared to 30-50 hours with the characters in an RPG.

There are plenty of games that I'm looking forward to, and it's hard to pick just one. As for my favorite FF6 character, I'd have to go with Terra.

Now on to an anime question! Have you ever seen The Slayers? If not I feel obligated to ask you and any other anime fan to view it. Just make sure you watch it in the subbed version because Megumi Harashibara is a PERFECT voice actress for Lina Inverse!

Vrumugun
"Yay! A plug for The Slayers!"

Alethea:
Well, I've never seen The Slayers, but I've heard it's good. The only anime I've regularly watched is Yu-Gi-Oh (although I don't care for how it's become a cheapened behemoth franchise instead of a cool little manga series that became an anime and a fun card game) and Yu-Yu Hakusho (which I absolutely love, even though the manga is WAY better). I've caught a few bits and pieces of Sailor Moon (too sissy) and Tenchi Muyo (nutty but funny), and I've also seen one episode each of Big O (odd but OK), .hack//sign (freakishly cool), and Trigun (which I need to get into a habit of watching...it reminds me so much of Wild Arms). Now that I have cable, I can actually sit and watch this stuff, instead of hearing about it from everyone else. I'm not a big enough fan of anime to actually buy it, however. If it's free, I'll watch it. If not, I'd rather rent/borrow it or buy a game so I can interact with the story.

 
"Glorious Youth Village"...Sounds like a Hippie Commune

Heya,

I would say the hardest I've ever had to work at managing to find time to play video games was at college. Not because I didn't have time, though I always took more classes than I probably should have. It was actually because there was so MUCH to do - not just the academia, but actively participating in what my linguistics teacher had called a "glorious youth village". A lot of people don't realize that you end up losing a lot of your hobbies when you're there - I barely read any books for my own pleasure, only managed to beat a few games, and so on. You really have to put forth a conscious effort to maintain them - like you I managed to sneak in an hour or two of video games a day to relieve stress.

Alethea:
That reminds me...the other reason why I had plenty of time for games is that I didn't do any extra activities, except for helping form a gender equality group during my senior year with some fellow students. I didn't join the glee club, the Young Republicans (yeesh...), or Phi Tappa Keg. There is a lot to do at college, and I looking back I wish I had done a little more as an undergrad, like volunteer work or a poetry club. Like I said yesterday, it's all about time management, and if you really want to play, you'll be motivated to make time for your favorite activities.

Oh, and minigames are good, if they're not FFX's inane minigames. Not to mention the pure idiocy of some of the Monster Arena battles.

What can I say, I just can't write a letter without ranting about FFX. *sigh*

LightPhoenix

Alethea:
Oh, why not...feel free to rant. I'm a good listener...er, reader. ^_^

 
"Gragh!"=The Hot New Greeting?

Gragh!

Concerning the difference between Console & Computer RPGs: It's pretty simple when you get down to it. Computer RPGs are rooted in the USA, Console RPGs are rooted in Japan. Computer RPGs used Pen & Paper RPGs as a basis, Console RPGs didn't. Computer RPGs used a keyboard with 30+ keys, Console RPGs used a controller with a directional pad and 2-4 buttons. It's no wonder they're different enough to be classified in their own genres.

Alethea:
Good point, although I think the differences run deeper. Yesterday, I was thinking about how PC RPG are heavily influenced by D & D, which from what I've heard is an open game that encourages players to be creative and make choices. As mentioned in Thryll Killer's letter earlier in this column, PC games tend to offer players lots of options in character creation and moral decisions. Unfortunately, my knowledge of D & D and PC RPGs is limited, so I didn't want to comment on something I know so little about.

Concerning Minigames:
Funny that you should mention minigames just as I'm playing my latest game: Wario Ware Inc. for the GBA. It's nothing but minigames. Two hundred plus, to be exact. The thing is that they're all just a few seconds long, they come at you rapid fire, and you don't know what you're going to do next (aside from a one-word command that gives you a one-second warning on what you have to do next).

Assemble the vehicle! Eat the hot dog! Bend the spoon! Finish the maze! Stomp the Goombas! As you rack up points, the games get harder and the speed gets faster, until it eventually overloads your brain and you sit there twitching for a moment as the game beats your reflexes into a pulp. It's quirky and well-paced, the type of game you pick up to do something while your computer loads and end up putting down an hour later.

http://www.gamerankings.com/itemrankings/items.asp?platid=12

As for RPG minigames, I always liked the Beetle Run on Super Mario RPG. Catchy music.

-Mike "Kill the bastards!" Lemmer

Alethea:
Ah, the Beetle Run Game. Definitely "catchy."

 
This letter is *censored*

Why would you go and post emails *censored by Alethea*? Somehow, I'm sure that at some point during Google's several year run on Q&A, SOMEONE noticed *censored by Alethea* and emailed him about it, and yet Google did not post the letter, most likely because he wanted to keep the secrecy. Did you not notice that Andrew censored out the details that gave anything away? Why not respect Google's wishes in the same way he did?

-Ultimos

Alethea:
[Dr Evil] Riiiight. [/Dr Evil] When did I give away Goog's identity? Never. I dodged the questions with cryptic answers like "Andrew Long is crazy" and "Right" in regards to the various conspiracy theories. I respect Goog's right to the anonymity of an internet persona. I respect Goog enough to not announce sources for discovering his/her identity. I even snipped out the sources YOU cited...good grief, I'm not so stupid as to post something like that. Theories are allowed in this column, and if someone ever gives the correct answer, I will give no indication as to the veracity of his or her guess. Besides, if Goog truly reveals his/her identity in the source you mentioned, then that's his/her business, and not mine. Maybe he/she doesn't care if he/she stays a mystery, since Goog tends to drop little hints here and there.

 
Get the Hint, Square?

Yeah, i know FFX is under "old issues," but i'm not caring.

After spending forever and a day trying to get the counter down to 0:0 on the chocobo race, i was about ready to throw the ps2 out the window when my sister picks up the controller and gets it on her second try. Do you have any idea how frustrating that is?

Well, yeah. Anyway, i would say she could help you out, but that's sort of impossible.

Alethea:
Actually, Phil gave up on the mini-games and beat FFX yesterday evening. Yes, it is annoying when other people beat a game with ease, while I can't even make a dent in it. For example, I once warned Phil about the Riovanes Roof battle in FFT. During my first play-through of FFT, I saved after beating Velius, only to discover that I was locked into a difficult battle and the ordeal of saving a character with incredibly stupid AI. Nearly every time, Rafa's AI would tell her to run up to one of the assassins, poke her with her lame fighting stick for a few points of damage, and then get slaughtered in the next turn. Phil cleared the battle with ease on his first tries in his first and second play-throughs because he was lucky enough for Rafa to run and hide behind his strongest character. I was so mad. However, I got to laugh at him during his third play-through as he repeatedly died on the roof of Riovanes, courtesy of Rafa's genius battle tactics.

 
Hilarious Moments in RPG History

Greetings (that guy whom ranted about salutations like this awhile ago sings) Alethea! I was playing Chrono Trigger recently, trying to get all of the endings in the Final Fantasy Chronicles version, when I realized that Chrono Trigger is the game that has caused me the most embarrassment. One time when I was playing through, my cousin was watching me play and I got to the part where you materialize into the closet in Medina village. She noticed that the imp guy says, "Hey! Did you just come out of the closet!?" She also noticed that I picked up something called a "Speed Tab." Later, I was at school and during a break a started to tell a friend of mine what my cousin had said. He yelled out at the top of his lungs, "YOU CAME OUT OF THE CLOSET, NICK!?" His mother, whom is a teacher heard and said, "You did WHAT, Nick?!" I muttered something about it being in a video game.... 0_o

-The Nameless Translation Dude

Alethea:
Now, THAT is a funny story. ^_^

 
An Official Imperial Mog Letter...It even bears his special seal!

Greetings (monks sing) AL-E-THE-A
I have to say it must be fun to share interests with the one you love since friendship is most important. I just can't find anyone who shares my interests around here making it very hard to near impossible to find a girlfriend. I can easily get time for my games since my schoolwork doesn't take long since college is incredably easy for me. That and it's not like I can find some part time work that I'd like since I don't want to deal with certain types of work. Well that and I have a low tolerance to stress as well.
Imperial Mog

Alethea:
Yes, it's great being married to someone who is also one of my closest friends. He can be sweet and romantic on our anniversary, or extremely competitive during a mean two-player gaming session. He respects me for more than my body and my cooking abilities, and we really enjoy hanging out together. I hope everyone who wants a lifelong companion is able to find one. I belive that if you have a strong desire for a companion, and you are sincerely seeking companionship, then there is bound to someone out there for you. Before I met Phil, I thought I was going to be alone for the rest of my life, and end up living in a tiny house with a dozen cats, each bearing unique names like Friendless Stranger and Snicklefritz. When I met Phil, it didn't take long for me to realize that I had found my kindred spirit. Even though you haven't found someone yet, that doesn't necessarily mean that you'll never find anyone. You never know...you could bump into someone at a game store, or even connect with someone on the internet (that's how I met Phil, actually). As for finding work...regardless of what kind of work you can do, the current job market stinks. I consider myself very fortunate to have my teaching assistant job. Best of luck to you in finding something that doesn't involve telemarketing or handling toxic substances. ^_^

 
A Lengthy FFX Rant In an Extensive Multiparter

Hey Alethea,
Man, I don't get how so many people can enjoy FF10. If you think about the gameplay, and the story(graphics do not matter, they're not incorporated into how good a game is), you will see how repetitive, linear, and cliched the game is along with a few secrets in the game that are impossible to figure out unless you are using a strategy guide(and if anyone says they've found all the secrets without using a strategy guide they'd be lying, as well as Omega Weapon being a stupid as hell secret that anyone could find without using a strategy guide and kill him easier than the last boss(es)).

I don't ever use strategy guides, and I also had to force myself to beat the pathetic game, yet I never wanted to play it again so I wanted to get all the secrets. I almost got every secret on the game and wondered where the hell Tidus' Sigil(the chocobo racing), Lulu's weapon, and the 200 lightning bolts(forgot what the hell i was missing, I think a sigil for Lulu's weapon).

Well first of all, you wouldn't ever find out about getting 0.00 time on chocobo racing, because even if you get lucky the first time and get a perfect score(as I did, I did each part only once, didn't think you'd get anything), and the first time I raced I got a perfect score, and you recieve some item. When I found out I was missing a sigil for a character, I looked it up, and got pissed when I found out you had to get a perfect which I already did, so I had to get a second perfect, and I tried a billion times before I did.

Second, was the fact that Lulu's weapon is in an invisible treasure box, and unless someone knows exactly where it is, I dont think they're going to go every inch of the entire game and keep pressing the accept button and hope they find a secret weapon, especially the fact that when you know about the weapon it's still hard as hell to find.

The third and fourth, the 200 lightning bolts which no one would ever figure out and it's easy as hell dodging them. And the only secret I didn't get in the game because I got tired of that pathetic game and quit because it bored me out of my mind, I forced myself enough playing the game, was the Calm Land arena secret bosses. I went around capturing one of every monster thinking you'd get each original and species monsters. After capturing one of each, I still didn't have them and so which makes you realize you have to capture 10 of each, with a weapon that has no slots, just the capture ability, and walking around along time bored as hell and doing nothing but attacking(which is alot better than changing characters just to kill different monsters which was the basic gameplay of the entire game). So I quit the game right there, boring game, never to be touched again, and is at the very bottom of my pile of games.

Alethea:
See...I do print rants. Venting keeps us from throwing our consoles out the window and possibly injuring innocent bystanders.

Now that that rant of the most pathetic game I've ever played(which is worse than that pathetic Star Ocean by the way) I will actually talk about something besides the fact that Squaresoft(not Square-Enix, because Enix has nothing to do with the stuff(curse word) Squaresoft has been releasing) sucks.

So Alethea, just a few questions, since everyones going to be answering Andrew about what our first RPG we've ever played is.

What is the first RPG you've ever played?

What is the first Final Fantasy you've played?

Alethea:
The original Legend of Zelda on the NES was my first, "back in the day." Final Fantasy II on the SNES was my first FF.

When you play RPG's what qualities would you like to see incorporated into the game you're playing.

Alethea:
While I demand the straightforward, obvious things like great story, characters, gameplay, and visuals (even 8-bit graphics can be aesthetically pleasing if done properly!), I'm not too picky about issues like linearity, game length, and whatnot. I don't like insanely difficult games that make me want to scream and throw things, but if the difficulty is an option (as in the case of FFX), I'm willing to look past it and focus on the rest of the game.

Are you going to buy Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, Dragon Warrior 8, or Final Fantasy Tactics Advance(or 2/all 3)?

Alethea:
OK, I have a confession to make...one that's probably going to get me some hate mail. I've never played a Dragon Warrior game. They are on my to-play list, but I've never gotten around to them. If I ever get into DW, I'll consider grabbing DW8. FFTA is a definite buy, although probably not until it drops in price or I can find it used. Disgaea certainly has my attention, but it's not too high on the priority list. I can't decide if I want to control an army of demons to take over Hell or not.

Why aren't the Romance of the Three Kingdom's games on RPGamer, since after all they are RPG's?

Alethea:
Around here, the Big Dragon usually decides what we cover. Why don't you ask him about it?

And I didn't realize that they remade Front Mission 2 to an RPG when the original for SNES was just a poorly generic cheap copy of Cybernator(have you played it) and I thought that's what they said they were probably going to rerelease for the PS2, so just wondering have you played the original Front Mission 2(GunHazard)?

Alethea:
Nope...I haven't played either one of those.

And the last, how badly do you think Squaresoft is going to have screwed FFTactics over, just like they ruined almost ever other good series they've had going(Seiken Densetsu(by releasing a remake of the first with the gameplay of the 3rd), Final Fantasy Origins(a horrible gameplay translation--way too easy, even on normal, and bad translation altogether, and also the fact that FF2 sucks anyways), Unlimited SaGa(SaGa 1, 2, Romancing SaGa 3, and SaGa Frontier 1, and 2 turning into crap like that), Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles(Kingdom Hearts with an original Squaresoft story, and KH was way repetitive from beggining to end), and FF11(come on, the beta is the actual game, they're only seeing how the servers work and if they can find any more bugs in the game, and the fact that it's repetitive and probably the most pathetic MMORPG ever, or so it seems). Which if the games storylines and gameplay were as good as the graphics, then the games would be the best games ever, but Squaresoft is just crap now.

Alethea:
FFTA is not going to be badly screwed up. FFT was heavy and serious; FFTA is the other light, youthful side of the same coin. Square-Enix may not take the series where you want it to go, but as long as they stay true to their artistic inclinations, they have every right to deviate from the standards of a few of the fans.

 
Oh, wow! A letter from ORIE HOUSE HIMSELF! *swoon*

Hey Cortney,

It is I, Orie, your fellow newsie here to pose questions to you.

How goes the whole Phil/FFX drama? Still battling psycho birds that are out for blood?

Alethea:
Phil gave up on the birds, which is good because that entire mini-game looks like a Hitchcock movie.

I'd like to give you a proposition, if you want you can send me your memory card and I will do some of that insane stuff for you. I'll understand if you don't want to, I was tempted by my friend's GameShark many a time, but I said No I'LL do it damn it! I'm just giving you the option. I'd be happy to do it, if you can't spare a memory card I'll send you one of my own that's spare. Think about it. Game save exchange apparatus are also an option since I can handle that.

Alethea:
No way, Orie. I'm not getting involved in any more of your crazy schemes. I'm going to do like they told me in school and "just say no."

I'd also like to know (and this is an odd place to ask this question) how I've been doing so far. Rate me. That is all.

-Orie "Evil Saturn" House

P.S. The Potato will have its own religion soon, if I can help it.

Alethea:
You're doing a great job, although I'll have to note in your employee evaluation that you tend to put staffers on the spot and fish for compliments.

Yes, all will worship the natural phenomenon that is the mighty Mr. Saturn Potato. Since I can't bring myself to eat it, I could send the potato to you so you can set up a shrine dedicated to it. EarthBound fans from far and wide could make pilgrimages to see it every year.

 
Orie Finds His Way Into Q & A Again

Alethea,

I'm playing Xenosaga I (Excellent, excellent game to relieve boredom) and I'm stuck on the boss, Tiamat. I've tried the strategies that are posted on RPGamer and several other sites as well, but nothing seems to be working. Do you have any suggestions, or could you tell me maybe what I need to do? It's driving me mad!

Sephira
Sugar-high Fanfic Writer and Pianist Extraordinare

"Maybe he's not really evil. Maybe he's really just a warm-and-fuzzy person gone slightly awry."

Alethea:
I haven't played Xenosaga yet, but our very own Orie House has graciously offered his help.

Orie:
You should start off in A.W.G.S and make sure you have Guard Cleaners and Guard Recoveries. W-ACT Tiamat until he tells you "Shion and Jr.... Only the two of them can defeat their past." Then you want to take all three of them out of their A.W.G.S (I do this because I find that if there are characters out of A.W.G.S armor they get beat up a LOT more than the A.W.G.S, so get that third character to take some of the heat). Try to keep everyone alive and use Spell Ray and Moonlit Serenade most of the time, since the face part is weak against those. Try to keep Shion from being the last to act before Tiamat because it will enjoy doing Ruined Earth, which is probably his worst attack. After either Shion or Jr. has depleted the boss's entire 1500 HP, it will cure itself and you have to finish it off with the other character (Shion/Jr.) You might want to write the damage out on a notepad or something to make sure this happens. After that, boom, it explodes and you win. This worked just fine for me, so it better work for you too.

 
The Answer, My Friend, Is Blowin' In the Wind

hey there Alethea,
I've been on vacation for the past week or so and I usually read the column everyday, but now I'm kind of out of the loop. I'm wondering who took over for Google since he/she was getting the boot. Are you the permanent replacement? If so I'd like to give you a belated welcome. Well that's about it.

Jelstro

Alethea:
While your belated welcome is unnecessary, since I'm not the permanent Q & A host, it is nevertheless thoughtful. ^_^ I'm just subbing for Andrew Duff on weekends while he's on vacation. Apparently, he liked how I did the column during Goog's migration to Japan, so he left it in my hands. So far, there is no official replacement for RPGamer's beloved Q & A slime. Andrew Long, head of news, has taken over the weekday Q & A for now. As for the future of Q & A, expect the winds of change to be blowing, especially if we here at RPGamer increase our fiber intake. In the meantime, you can find Googleshng yakking it up with Kamikaze on Roundtables.

 
Someone who has their priorities straight!

Hi Cortney,
I'm just writing in to share my own thoughts on the time management issue. I'm going to be a senior up at the University of Massachusetts, and I'm the president of the videogame club up there. To this point I've had plenty of time for both gaming and school. I'm an English major, so I do much reading and writing, but very rarely do I not sit down and play an hour or two on videogames each day. I agree with you completly about needing to play games first before I can do my homework. Last semester, I just could not concentrate until I got through the next cutscene in Xenosaga:) I finished the semester with a 3.0 gpa. It does depend on each individual, but almost every undergrad I know has time in their day for both school and activities they enjoy (be it videogames or something else). It's all about time managment, as you said.
Thanks for reading and keep up the great work!
-Rich

Alethea:
Congratulations on your great GPA. ^_^ So much for all that garbage about video games interfering with schoolwork and dragging the youth of our nation down. See, we don't have to do 8-hour gaming marathons...as Rich has suggested, just an hour or two will do.



Quickies

haha, tell Phil that my Rikku does 99,999 damage to all enemies in Omega Ruins! bwhahaha!!

-Tess again

Alethea: Yep, girls can kick butt. Get used to it, gentlemen.

Phil:Well, yeah, at least I...um...I...:P~~~~!!!!!!!!

How does one truly balance his or her time between school studies, working, and being an avid hardcore gamer?

Easy! Stop going to school after you get your first degree! =P

-Doug "Stom" Hill

Alethea: Doug...you stink. ^_^

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Alethea: At RPGamer, we have ways of ferreting out obscure bits of information. Why not give it a shot?


Last Words:

Alethea: Tomorrow, Andrew Long will return to pepper the column with Simpsons references and general wackiness. I'll be back next weekend!

The Magical Feminist Wonder
Cortney "Is there a Ms. Saturn?" Stone - Alethea@rpgamer.com

Queen of Dorks
Claire Belton


If they are all "Mr. Saturn," how do they reproduce?

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