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More Like A Bridge Too Short

Andrew Long - March 12 '04- 21:42 Eastern Standard Time

Zowie, I think I'm going to have to cremate my @rpgamer address, cuz the spam filters have been crushing its will to live. I tried to drag this out as long as I could, but it seems that leaving it any later would be a poor decision indeed, and so with heavy heart and less-than heavy mailbag, we shall proceed.

But before we do that, I would be remiss in not dragging this out a little more, so I guess I'll go on about Unlimited SaGa some. Now, I'm no nuclear science whiz, but it seems to me that if you're looking to sell a game, you should probably make it slightly less confounding than the good people at Square have done here. I'm not saying that I don't like the game; after some dumb luck, a little bit of trial and error, and a moonlight escapade involving me, some coconuts, an FAQ, and Barbra Streisand's watch, I've finally managed to get to the point where i can get through a dungeon, and I like the abstract quality the game has. I can see, however, how it's so totally offputting, since I very nearly launched it through my bedroom wall, which, though constructed entirely of a polyboard-styrofoam mix, is nevertheless something I haven't managed to do with either of my elbows in three years of sleeping there. At any rate, I think it could have been slightly simpler.

For one, you don't need a bloody slot machine wheel for every conceivable activity. There's no penalty for failing to swim, so why bother including the reel? It's like the development team wandered into a casino and got hypnotised into turning their game into the frigging Bellagio. Oh, well. I do enjoy it - I just wish it didn't give me a powerful urge to go and blow all my money (not that I have any, but in the event that I did) on slot machines.

Anyhow, I've updated my secret homepage of doom for the first time in over a year. Find it if you dare!




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To quote:
Smeared black ink
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I'm barely listening...

On the leftover menu tonight: week-old lasagna, yesterday's shepherd's pie


I know this was discussed last week, but I figure I'll chime in anyway.

I like to read both Googleshng and your columns. Though some of the people who write in to you tend to go off on strange tangents, I appreciate that your stints have a different flavor. One idea I had to get more letters, is maybe open the floor to things people may find in a FAQ? Perhaps its a bit redundant, but hey, at least its talk about RPGs.

ANDREW
I do always answer questions that I know (or can find) the answers to, I just try to discourage the FAQ stuff because it's really not that hard to look stuff up. Granted, I guess I'm putting myself out of a job by driving these people away, but eh, I'd rather discuss than serve as a librarian/gofer.

Since you've picked a topc I have some familiarity with (FFXI) I hope you'll let me add my two cents.

I had a lot of fun with FFXI, but it gets old quick. After about level 30, it can be hard to find a group if you aren't a mage class (or a paladin.) Plus, there's a lot of idiots in the game. Its quite shocking how many truly bad players there are. I really fear the PS2 invasion. Will the majority of them be able to learn to play effectively, or will they be perma-noobs? I also wonder what the influx of players will do to the game's economy. I assume more low-level gear will be purchased, but it will kill the price of easily farmable items like crystals and silk.

ANDREW
Well, I'm pretty noobsome myself, but I'm finally learning after three long months of doing not much in particular. I don't think there's too much to worry about - more players does indeed mean more idiots, but it also means (at least, I assume it means) more servers, so I doubt the economy should get disrupted too terribly. Speaking of selling random crap, I should really clear out my inventory...

Anyways, I'm pretty tired of sitting around waiting on a group, or hoping a white mage shows up so I can start my own party. World of Warcraft is looming, and at least you can solo while you're waiting for a group there!

My linkshell is pretty funny though, and they really do try to group with each other. I had a nice LS partner who was playing a White mage, and our groups were going well, but then she hit 30 and decided to go Dragoon.

So what are your opinions on the game so far?

Trinis

ANDREW
Now that I've actually managed to team up with people and go places? It's a lot of fun, actually, though I clearly don't have the temperament to be a wimpy black mage. I always get into trouble attacking too soon, which usually ends in disaster, particularly where certain severe tire damage rarabs are concerned...


Speaking of stuff easily located on-site...


I've heard a lot of Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children. Will it be coming out in the US ,if so when? i heard it comes out in summer 2004.

ANDREW
You heard correctly about the summer 2004 figure, but that's for Japan, not here. Square Enix has been rather quiet on the subject of a North American release for the title, leading me to be fearful of a snub. As a result, I'm building a snub shelter in my backyard, made out of scream-absorbing foam and filled with stuffed animals, hankies, and lots of pictures of myself because gosh darn it, if we get snubbed I'll need to convince myself that Japan still likes me, which brings us to the Godzilla doll. That I'll be crushing with my inflatable Mothra.

Disturbingly topical randomblings


Castocrunchy,

It seems that after a brutal, BRUTAL week, I'm still alive and standing. Aside from not being able to feel my legs and mysteriously cutting my finger? Well, my friend, I'm sipping my nice cold ice tea, the Long Island kind will have to wait for sunnier days, while trying to ponder facts about life. Seeing as though that will grow rather tiresome, how are you doing? The weather's been crappy, but what can you expect in our little place in the world? As for your recruitment of Shroudie, topic-gatherer-extrodinaire, I will only work if you give me delicious amounts of donuts and tangerines. Cause nothing says sleek like citrus and sugar. It seems that Square-Enix and Namco are duking it out in seeing which gamers' interest they can grab first. S-E unveils a new logo for DW:VIII along with official names for the characters. Not to be outdone, Namco releases new images and information on Xenosaga ep.II. S-E then decides to start a FM4 giveaway. I'm probably just blowing things out of proportion, but it does sound better than just coincidential information, wouldn't you say? Dear Friends has sold out. Sad, I know, but that's a good thing. Maybe more non-RPG playing gamers and people will recognize Uematsu's work now. That would be a good thing. In other RPG news, Pokemon Colosseum will be the series first full RPG in 3-D! It'll probably bring back the nestolgia to us all. My friend has caught my interest with an online text-based RPG called Ishar. Now it's probably old news for other people, seeing as though it was started in '94, but I find it quite interesting. You get to take corpses of animals AND people!! I can now start my plan to control the market of dead body selling in a fantasy world! Possible topics, which one to pick? That's up to you, my dearest friend.

Mmmmm...ice tea,

O' Shrouded One

ANDREW
Hmm.. somebody's stuck his hand into the news archive jar... You have indeed hit on the topic I will choose to propel forth, however - read on to the next letter as our good friend Carl declines to acknowledge the goodness that is teh Uematsu.


Yikes


Since everyone is on the subject of video game music I just thought I'd drop by to state my view. I've always been baffled by the discussions on this site regarding music. I thought video game music was supposed to act the same way as movie music; like a background enhancer to the events in the foreground. But since viewing site the first I found out that you guys would actually buy a seperate soundtrack and listen to without even playing the game. I mean come on you guys; don't you have anything better to do on your spare time? I'm sorry if I offended anyone but as a musician this really astonishes me. Thanks for your time. Butch PS. The worst gaming moment of my life was that horrible german sounding rock tune playing behind the fight with Jecht in FF-X. And another thing; please keep rpg's J-pop free in the future. I had to turn off the sound in the beginning of both KH and FFX-2.

ANDREW
Well, just as people buy movie soundtracks (and as a person who likes music, that often astonishes me, especially when they involve Britney Spears or Justin Timberlake crying rivers and generally making bad music) because they contain music that is both pleasant to listen to and a reminder of the movie, people like to buy game soundtracks because hey presto - they contain music that is both pleasant to listen to, and reminds them of the game. And I don't know why this astonishes you so - if you're a musician as you say, then you should probably know that people will listen to just about anything, and a lot of videogame music is more technically sound than some of the crap you find out there these days. Of course, there's a lot of bad VG music too, but that's the same as any other genre - and it is a genre, like it or not.

Secondly, while music acts as an enhancer, if you hearken back to the good old days of the NES, it also served as a hypnotising force, a jingle, and a parent repellent at once. Melodies in those days had to be strong, and if you were a kid and a gamer back then, you DO remember at least ten different NES jingles, and you WILL randomly hum them from time to time, and that's just the way it is, cuz they were written to addict.

Finally, the soundtrack phenomenon originated in Japan, where songs from commercials can hit number one on the charts. Not only are games a much bigger element of Japanese culture, their music is too, and that's why you get the J-Pop and buttrock - because people like Uematsu are trying to be cool after years of being forced to tinker around with bad MIDI samples and square wave sounds. I'm not saying I enjoyed Jecht's musical accompaniment any more than you did, but dude please - I can't do crap about the J-Pop, and I don't see it going away any time soon because for some reason people LIKE those songs (believe me, I've been trying to figure it out myself, although certain other mysteries like Celine Dion's continued existence continue to baffle me as well). Anyhow, I don't take offense to your comments, but I rather imagine some other people might.



DA LAST GRUMBLE

So, my musical friends, what do you have to say about Mr. Greder's comments? Has he thrown down the gauntlet? Do you think he's right? Wrong? Do you even care? I know I'm hungry, which has nothing to do with anything but I thought I'd mention it anyway because nobody noticed my haircut, and now I'm sad. This can mean only one thing - to the snub shelter! Huzzah!

castomel@hotmail.com
Andrew Long is in an undisclosed location.

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