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Much better. Bad spaghetti nightmares are my motivation too sometimes(yeah, that must have been it). Congratulations on sending me more letters than I can handle. I feel I've passed the rite of initiation and bloomed into a full-fledged Q&A guy for 2 days a weeks, so feel free to compliment my pants till your heart's content.

Or, you can read the rest of the column.
 
behold my Shining Wisdom
Hiya Mikey! (Or is it just Michael?)
Nice default subject. :) Got a question for you:

Having read every letters column from the days of Square.Net's Q&AK to current RPGamer's Ask, I've heard nothing but praise for both Working Designs and the Shining series.

Recently, I was at my local Media Play. As they now sell used games, I was looking through their collection, hoping to find a used Xenogears (something I'll probably never find). Anyway, just because, I also looked at their SNES, Genesis, and Saturn games. In the Saturn area they had a game by WD called Shining Wisdom. Not knowing much about the Shining series, I glanced at it, and thought it was interesting. I was also surprised when I saw it wasn't a 1st person perspective game, like Shining in the Darkness. That made me happy, as I don't really like 1st person games. I got lost too easily. Anywho, When I got home, I had forgotten the name, other than Shining Something. So I load up the RPGamer Game List, and get a surprise: There's no Shining game with a title that seems like the one I saw in the store! I looked in the Saturn section, and it's not there eaither! Luckily, GameFAQ's had info for it, including the name. :)

Oh yeah, I had a question: Do you know anything about this game? If I can find out enough info, I may just go ahead and spend $5 to buy a Saturn and Shining Wisdom.

That remimds me, the back of the package seemed to make a reference to something like a memory card. Does the Saturn use mem cards? Or was I hallucinating?
Anyway, thanks for your time and help.
BTW: I love your articles on E-G-A-D-S !, and I look forward to more!

PS: No, Saturn's don't sell for $5. However, there is a local place called Rhino Video Games that sells used console cheap. I got my PSX for $85.
toodles,
Elric, Crossfire's #1 Fanboy!

Michael:

As I understand it, Shining Wisdom is a Zelda clone with a Sonic-teamish type story. It's the Saturn's third RPG by working designs, and is said to have a fairly good story and dungeon/puzzle system. It's nothing revolutionary, but The review I saw gave it an 8.0/10. If you're not dependent on dazzling eye candy and state-of-the-art standards, I'd say go for it. That's as much as Id dare say without having played the game myself.

As for Saturn having memory cards, kinda. It has some internal storage memory(not much) and some cartridge-style memory things that you can buy which sort of act like memory cards. You can thank my roommate, the Saturn semi-expert of 8 months, for this info.

Woah, thanks. Glad to know more than 2 people appreciate my articles on EGADS. Don't worry, I'll think up some more soon.

 
The fallen 1%
Hey Michael,

1) Am I the only person who thinks Xenogears sucks. I know that the demo disk with Parasite Eve isn't much to go by. but what do you ppl find good about it.

2) Whats the deal with FF6(3 U.S.) battles, when you fight soldiers and other ememies that you can see on the screen, the enter the fight and grow about 50 feet. what is this Power Rangers or something.

3)Pepsi OR Coke?? Aeris OR Tifa??

Have a nice Day ^_^ - Walter McKinnon

Michael:

1) Not quite. Drew didn't care much for it, but graphic art was his main forte. Um...you have played the full game, right? Assuming you have is the only way I could dignify this with a socially acceptable response.
2) special left-hand rule of gaming physics, first seen in FF4. Sans the mattress tags of Power Ranger villains and "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!" Zordon, or whatever his name was(hey, my siblings had it on 24/7!). 3) neither. Yep, that's right, I'm that one guy in America who doesn't drink soda. I had a traumatic experience with it when I was 5 or 6(don't ask).
Aeris, 110%. She's much more my type, and unless I get requests for a detailed editorial-style explanation for this I'll keep it at that.

 
Promises, Promises
Mike

While on the subject of Climax (at least I'M on the subject; not sure about the rest of you), I would like to ask if anyone had ever heard called "Ladystalker".

I read in some magazine that Ladystalker was on the SNES and that it was the very little-known sequel to Landstalker. Whereas this time around the game featured a woman instead of Nigel. I even heard that one of the characters in Climax Landers is Lady from Ladystalker. So am I crazy or does "Ladystalker" actually exist?!?!?!?

-Mega Memory Card

P.S. Is Climax Graphics related to Climax itself??

Michael:

It exists, I've seen it listed/talked about somewhere. That's about all I can tell you. Climax Graphics is a spinoff, I think, probably. Maybe. Okay, I had to look that one up from somewhere other than my vast, deep repository of Sega gaming knowledge. As I do for most questions about Sega games(shhh!).

 
Ben Lansing returns

Okay. I was just wondering. . .

You ever notice how, in RPGs, you follow these people more or less their ENTIRE lives, and yet they NEVER have to go potty? What gives? Do they all have chronic constipation? Should I be feeding them Ex-Lax Elixirs?

I know they HAVE bathrooms (FF7 made a BIG deal out of that), but why don't they ever USE them? Have I just been doing something wrong? Perhaps that's how you get the secret ending to FF7. You have to relieve Cloud's bowels...

Anyway, lemme know what's up with all this "s[]t".

Thanks,

Ben Lansing

Michael:

Bathrooms? You think the programmers were given any such luxury? Just look at their faces in those little promo tapes and interviews they send out, and if you're sharp you can tell just how many times they were allowed "relief" during FF7's production.

I just wanted to let everyone know of Ben's attempted escape from Hell by moving to Antarctica and keeping us posted on Square's supposed new branch there. It won't work, pal. There's only one sure way to escape fire and brimstone in the afterlife, and that's to drink a cup of poison and atone as it's killing you(too bad that only works once =/).

 
old and new

Michael-

Now I feel all old. I still have my copy of E.T. for Atari 2600. That was a fun game too, I even thought the graphics were pretty nifty the first time I played it...Times Change I guess.

I suppose I should try to think of a question to ask...Ok...Have you played Legend of Legia? And if so What do you think of it? Personally I'm not sure why everyone thinks it's that hard...I have yet to die...but that may be because I have the MAD SKILLZ!

Second Question of the day...Are you going to buy Lunar? and Do you think it will live up to all the hype? You know..that was more like 4 questions, but I'm sure you'll live...

~Mike Good

Michael: I didn't think E.T. was all that bad either. Of course, I was 5 then(or 6? 7? I was born in 1978. You do the math.), and it took mad elementary skillz to learn the art of climbing up from those dang potholes.

Yes, I've played Legaia(check my past columns) but I'm not very far in. To reiterate, it's pretty good so far. I came close to dying once or twice, but so far by the skin of my teeth I've managed to stay entirely alive. It's not absurdly impossible, but it keeps you on your toes fighting with everything in your little bag of arts and magic.

As for Lunar, maybe and maybe. I'm saving for Shadow Madness, Suikoden 2 and FF8(preordered today. Insane, huh?).

 
dream interpretation

Hey, Mike, I got a really freaky story for you.

Last night, I had a dream. I dreamt it was Saturday, and so I went to my local E.B. Well, when I arrived, low and behold, the Lunar Demo had arrived. But when they gave it to me, it looked like 2 action figure boxes stuck together. That's when the store clerk said "The Lunar Demo is packaged with the Shadow Madness Demo." I coudn't believe it. It scared the crap outta me. Well, I took it and ran, then I turned around, and woke up.

Now, if this story isn't scary enough, here's two facts for all you readers:

1.) I live in the suburbs of Philadelphia, right across the river from New Jersey. Scared yet? I would be.

2.) I reserved my copy of Lunar seven months ago. I'm going crazy from not having that game. I hope that it comes out soon (thank god it's in the SCEA review phase), or I'll go nuts.

Scared? Don't worry,I don't know where you live.

Mike "Give me Lunar god dammit!" Dore

Michael:
Here's my fortune-cookie interpretation of your dream, Mr. Dore:
a) Your mind was associating Shadow Madness with Lunar since they're the next 2 big non-Square RPGs on the horizon, perhaps?
Or,
b) Your love of gardening will take you to new heights.
Don't ask me about the latter. It marks the tender age and moment where my belief in fortune cookies dwindled.
(this marks the last of my free readings)

Oh, and I'm truly sorry about the New Jersey thing. I lived there for 4.5 years once, and I'm still recuperating.
 
good intentions

Yo, Mike.

I know you're in a bad mood, and lack of letters don't help, like you said. Maybe what you need to get over the depression is a little encouragement. Listen, lonely introverted writers with a knack for coding is gonna be big! That's right. So don't be depressed. I'll tell you why. Ever wonder why the average Joe thinks that software documentation stinks like shit? Cause it's written by techies for techies. Listen, with good writing skills like your's, you'd be needed to translate nerd talk to actual english. And that's what you have going for you.

I mean, who writes that s[]t anyway?

Steve

Michael: Actually, game design is what I'd like to think I have going for me. A 2 or 3 or 4 person game company lead by me and a couple of friends is turning in the womb of fate as I type this. Translating geekspeak, while I could make enough money doing it to be thrown in jail if I evaded taxes, isn't quite how I see the [Shakespearian or otherwise] climax of my career. But thanks for the supportive thought.
 
more E.T. follies

this has no link to rpgs,but E.T. is like a bad rpg/adventure so I'll ask you made a reference to ET for the Atrai, I have the thing, (I bought it for 50 cents, sue me for bad judgement) how do you play the damn game?

the Guru of Weapons, and cheap unknown ideas. Melchoir, The TAO

Michael: You did a good deed, my friend. Less programmers, assembly graphic artists and thinktanks are starving since you went ahead and paid the $0.50 for E.T. instead of using the emulator and tainting a good 4 bytes of your hd.

How to play it...um, find 3 pieces of a comb and use it to call a giant elevator that whisks you off the screen. Also, don't fall into holes.

 
the meaning of Suikoden

Hello Neo-Michael, I was wondering what you knew about the ancient Chinese story "Shui Hu"? I was wondering this since I live in China, and well, I, uh, kinda buy, uh pirated games. And you see, I just picked up Genosuikoden II and my dad's bosses girlfriend (who loves my videogames) saw the cover and asked me if I knew the characters, i was like ummm....xiang shui...something something. Then she goes on to tell me that Shui Hu is an old chinese story about 108 "robin hood" type characters who are outlaws but do good...i kinda thought this sounded like Suikoden...do you know anything?

Adam the defender of Hylians in Green Tights

Michael: Suikoden means "water story" I think, but don't quote me on that either. It was a Chinese legend based on 108 stars(probably not identical to the ones in the game). I'm not sure if Shui Hu is related to that, or if it's another legend that Suikoden 2 is based on.
 
parental poison

Hey michael,

I've got a problem with my parents and vidio games. They seem to DESPISE it whenever I play Legend of Legaia or Civilization II for the PC. 3 or 4 years ago, they set a time limit for me on how long I can play Playstation in 1 day. The time limit was 1 hour a day, every day. Since then, they've slowly changed it to 45 of playstation, 30 minutes in the morning, 15 minutes in the afternoon (or vice versa). A few hours ago, they told me that Mondays would be my day off playstation (as in, not playing it at all on monday). What the hell is wrong with them?! I can't get through rogues tower (LoL) in 30 f*cking minutes! I can't even find a damn save point in that time! The point of this long letter is this: What do you think I should do? They are very hard people to compromise with, and frankly, they're blind idiots. I want to write music for vidio games when I graduate high school (I've already written 6 songs), but how can I ever play my RPGs with these tyrants around?! (The number one reason I play RPGs is to hear their music). I hope you've got an idea of what to do.

-Zack S.

Michael: Way back during the summer before I started highschool, I played FF4(2a) nearly all day, every day until my mom threatened to pull the plug. Years before that, she did the same thing with Mario 3 and severely limited my game time. Here are two things to keep in mind:

1) if you keep up the grades and get out enough and in general show your parents that videogames aren't ruining your life, they might be more lenient with you.

2) When you get to college, you'll be living on your own and free to game until your heart's content. Just don't let the latest Square game make a dartboard of your GPA, or it's most likely permanent.
 
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(-----------------Xenogears spoiler------------------------------>)


I received a bundle more letters asking about the "Episode V" bit of Xenogears' ending, and Fei's incarnations. I'll answer them all by saying Fei's split personalities don't count as incarnations. Abel, Kim, Lacan, Fei are the big ones(yes, I consider Lacan one of his past incarnations. In a sense, both Fei and Grahf were Lacan; Grahf was what remained alive, and Fei represented the spiritual part of him that died and passed on). I don't think "Episode V" has anything to do with that. If you've seen Star Trek V, you might(might) find a connection.


(-----------------E N D of Xenogears spoiler------------------------------>)


a minor yet major correction of Yoshi42 yesterday: Andrew Vestal began Square.net, not Andrew Kaufman. Somehow, this slipped by me the first time. Just wanted to keep the peace here.
Michael's mirror

as I said, I preordered FF8 today(woo!), fully trusting the knowledge that I'll be back up here at school in the fall with my self esteem intact to pick it up. All you college gamers might consider doing the same wherever you are. Preordering FF7 2 days before it was released worked, but FF8's sales surpassed 7 in Japan some time ago, so...


Terry Goodkind's new book is out, so I'm in a better mood. Anyhoo...better scout for food. Until next week,

RPG Darwin Award:

"In Zelda: tOoT, I too have been killed by chickens.

Shortly after I was killed by chickens, I found myself needing to go up Death Mountain. But the guard wouldn't let me pass. I spent hours going all over the world looking for something else that I had to do first. Hours. Finally, in desperation, I swallowed my pride and consulted a walkthrough. Show the guard the letter from Zelda, it said. The one I had had all along."

- Charlie Tangora

Shadow Zero Attack Mega! Michael "he came, riding a pale horse" Greenhut

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