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ASK ANDREW
Splendid China Tower February 26th, 2005

Andrew Long - 19:16 EST

HMM.. WELL, THIS WOULD HAVE GONE UP EARLIER, but for some reason, everyone waited until this morning to submit letters, so regrettably this is pretty much as good as it gets, since I got to go to work for the final day of our thrilling hawaiian-themed sale. My wacky shirt now safely returned to its dusty hole for another year, I can now proceed to answer your questions, right some wrongs, and maybe eat some lasagna if my dad ever gets around to finishing it (apparently, fresh basil is highly distracting.)



Ramblebox
more snow on the way <3

-AL  


L E T T E R S
See what I mean about my affinity for people with short attention spans?


Radical question-dude!

.... Yes, I just watched Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3: Turtles In Time for probably the fourth time in my life. Oh god is that movie ever stupid. So why did I watch it until its end? It's like a train wreck, y'know. You can't bear to look away. At least I made up for it with Big Fish later on, and the movie made me cry.
ANDREW


Incidentally, the term "radical" was also recently used (repeatedly) in an interview I saw with the musical group Blink 182, which I found pretty funny since my friends and I once concocted a scheme whereby we would go around calling things "rad!" and "radical!" in an effort to trick someone we disliked into picking up the use of the word, which we figured was the most believable crappy 80s slang word that could possibly be revived ("tubular" being just a little too crappy to pass muster.) How sadly right we were... Anyhow, we though it would work on the guy since he was a sponge for that sort of thing, but it failed miserably.

But, oh! A question! Right. I suppose it should be RPG related, too. So, why does everyone claim that Cid in FF3/6 is wearing a raincoat or a hazmat suit, when it's clear that like all weirdos who live in secluded places, he's actually wearing an anorak?
ANDREW


Hey.. don't be dissing parkas, and anyhow, I've never seen one that is bright yellow, so that's just crazy talk!

And what the hell is this trend I'm seeing in some places about making RPGs insanely long? Final Fantasy Tactics Advance kept my attention for 100 hours since it was portable and addictive, allowing me to play it anywhere while doing almost anything (a fact that probably extended its gameplay a lot, seeing as I tend to put down my GBA without turning it off when I type or read or something exciting happens in the real world), and then it lost its luster as I finally completed it. Star Ocean 3 is having me lose interest after 50 hours, 45 of which have been spent going back and forth between the same towns on the same godforsaken planet. At least things picked up five hours before I last put it down, before going into YET MORE ANCIENT DUNGEON WANDERING OH GOD. And Tales of Symphonia had me really wanting to pick it up until the box claimed 90 hours of gameplay. 90 frick'n hours. You -can't- go ninety hours without the same battle system being tired.

--
- Person -


ANDREW


I do believe that little tendency got its start back in the SNES days, when a game's length was, for whatever reason, equated with its quality, at least in advertising. FFVI, for instance, is billed as having "100+ hours of gameplay," which was why I was shocked and disappointed when the game ended after I had plodded through it in a bloated 62. Thereafter, the practice fell into disuse, since games really were getting too long, as the average time to complete an RPG crept up from 20 hours to 30. Now, however, a lot of action-oriented games have taken center stage of late, which means that once again, lengthy meatliciousness in RPG is something that those crazy ad execs can use to hype their less than meatlicious products. They also, strangely, fail to use the word meatlicious in any of their promotional materials, which I find baffling, to say the least. I know I'd buy a game that promised meaty goodness!

...Yes, dinner still isn't ready ;_;



The trouble with dying


Heyas,

I have been a big fan of the Ogre Battle series since March of the Black Queen. I played Knight of Lodis and purchased an N64 pretty much solely for Person of Lordly Caliber. I thought those were all of them that came out in the US until this month when I was informed that Let Us Cling Together was really and truly out for the NTSC PSX and available at an eBay near me. I have heard many people claim that this title is the best in the series and perhaps the best in the genre; case in point being the Swedish writer in Saturday's QnA who said that very thing.

Unfortunately, when I started playing it I found myself to be disappointed. The graphics were about what I expected and the interface was fairly canonical (could have been done better, but I can say that about many great games), but what bugs me the most is the battles. When one of your soldiers dies, he (or she) is dead and that's pretty much all she wrote. Presumably at some point I will get a spell that lets me resurrect the person, but at this point every time someone dies it's reload at a previous save time for me. Maybe I just suck at it, but I am a TRPG enthusiast and I don't think it's my lack of skill. Fire Emblem treated death with the same finality and I had no problems completing it--since the turns worked in a different way it was easier to keep my characters from eating it unexpectedly.

So my question is, does this game manage to redeem itself? The plot is fairly interesting (if also a bit generic for a TRPG), but since I have to play most story battles at least twice then I have a bit of trouble remembering what has just happened by the time I get to the next plot point. I'm so disgusted with it that I'm ready to call it quits, but if there is some incredible gem of gaming goodness later on that I'd be missing out on then I'm willing to grit my teeth through the early game.

Thanks,
Nathan


ANDREW

I've never actually played this game, so I can't really give you an opinion, to be honest, but if the lack of a resurrection spell is your biggest gripe, I'm not too sure you've given it enough of a chance as of yet. Granted, it's not much fun losing characters left and right, but perhaps the battle system is designed with character expendability in mind. Assuming you don't lose tons of items every time a character dies, why not just go with the flow? If you like the series as much as you say you do, maybe you'll find something you like about the game if you just get down and play it.

Incidentally, if you happen to have some sort of device for the tracking and / or finding of TO CDs, I could really use it... I seem to have misplaced Zach's.



Uhh... wtf?


I have been reading in certain places that Square's copyrights to Xenogears runs out in 2007, is there any truth to that, or are some people spewing crap around and getting the rest of us hopeful?

If it were true, 2007 is the year Xenosaga III is supposed to come out if they continue their biennial trend of game releases, and could mean this was more or less planned to happen this way.


ANDREW

You know, the answer to this question is inherently obvious, but first, you have to explain a few things to me. First, why exactly is it a terrible thing that Square holds the copyright to Xenogears? Is this somehow influencing the development or storyline of Xenosaga, cuz last I checked, Square had no input into either whatsoever. Secondly, what do you suppose the magical expiration of this copyright will allow Monolith to do that it can't do already? It is entirely independent of Square Enix and makes all its decisions as it is, so it's not like 2007 will suddenly herald a new age of... well, whatever it is you think the expiration of copyrights is designed to do. Thirdly, I guess I should probably ask whether or not you're even aware of the fact that it is Monolith Soft and Namco that are responsible for Xenosaga.

So yeah, I guess I'm saying that I'd like to know exactly why you would believe anyone who tells you that copyright expires after only ten years. If that were the case, I'd imagine a whole lot of companies would be pumping out Final Fantasies right alongside Square Enix. No, my misinformed reader, copyright law in Japan states that if a corporate body has published something, it retains the rights to that something for fifty years. As such, I'm afraid you'll be old and grey before that day you're so feverishly awaiting arrives, if in fact you're still feverishly awaiting it in 2047.



Boingy, Boingy!


Dear Andrew/Google (Androogle?),

I knew something was wrong when RPGamer readers took the 1337 speak letter about "FF13" seriously. Oh well...

I don't think the general RPGamer reading folk seem to realize that the Xbox Next (2, 360, Xenon, etc) is not based on PC parts like the Xbox1 was. I keep hearing arguments that "if Sakaguchi's games sell well on Xbox 2, it's bound to be ported to PC." Other than referring to Mistwalker's games as "Sakaguchi's games," the error here is that the only reason Xbox1 games were PC-ported was because the systems were exactly the same (x86 arcitechture, embedded Windows 2000 kernel, etc).

But Xbox Next is based on PowerPC architecture. In other words, Apple Mac parts. In specific, the IBM PowerPC 970 FX processor (Apple G5). Interestingly, Nintendo Revolution is slated to use the same processor too. And both systems are planned on using ATi graphics cards. It could mean both systems are the same, with the difference being 1st-party support and exclusivity contracts. Even the PlayStation3's Cell processor is PowerPC-based, however it doesn't have the same Assembly programming language so porting between PS3 and NinRev/Xbox2 will not be as easy as porting between Xbox2 and Revolution.

Well, if "Sakaguchi's games" do sell relatively well, they won't be ported to PC but they could easily be ported to Mac OS X at least. Do you see Mac gaming rising high, perhaps above PC gaming, as a possible by-product to next-gen systems being programmed for PowerPC technology?

- Elranzer


ANDREW

I rather doubt that will come about anytime soon, much as I'm sure anyone with a Mac will disagree with me. There is no doubt that the lot of Mac gamers has improved significantly in the past few years, as many major PC releases now have Mac counterparts. On the other hand, the PC market is established, huge, and while it may very well end up being less suitable for console-to-PC ports than Mac OS X, that just doesn't matter at this point, because console-to-PC ports make up a very small portion of the computer gaming market. True, shared architecture could make them more appealing, but really, I don't see the next generation of consoles making that big a dent in that particular situation.



Has a ravening band of crackpot rumour monkeys taken over the internet?


Hello rpgamer staff, I've been an RPG fan since I became a gamer, and I must say that despite the somewhat sub-par recent releases, I am still very much a Final Fantasy fan, and I must say I was devastated at the loss of Sakaguchi, and even more devastated at his alliance with MS (hey, that kinda sounded like he died, didn't it? Whoops, didn't mean it that way.)
ANDREW

Le sigh...

Anyway, back to Final Fantasy. I've been eagerly awaiting Final Fantasy XII's release, yet it keeps getting pushed back further and further... I'm starting to wonder if it'll even be a PS2 title, although I'm sure it will be.

As for the question part of this letter, I've heard a rumor and though it makes no sense to me, I've just got to run it past you: I've heard, from more than one source, that with all the delays Final Fantasy XII is getting, it may even be released AFTER Final Fantasy XIII. That just... confuses me. What are your thoughts on this?
ANDREW

As I seem to have to be saying frequently of late, if you hear a rumour that sounds utterly cracked, then chances are it's pure misinformation, and designed to make anyone who gives it credence look stupid. At any rate, I can only assume that you've gleaned this fantastic bit of news reporting from a message board, since that's the only place online that I could locate even mentioning this nonsense, and so I will repeat my warning from yesterday: never believe anything you hear on a message board. Ever. It doesn't matter if the message board is at the "Truth Agency Organization of Honesty and Frank Discussion", there will still be some asshat lurking in the wings who is either woefully unequipped to deal with the possibilities the internet offers for voicing valueless opinions and positing random statements as fact, or else somebody who does both of these things for fun. In either case, you will only find them and their misinformation on message boards because reputable news organizations (ie, RPGamer) do not touch them with a ten-foot pole. If in fact FFXII is going to be delayed past the release of FFXIII, which is both a ludicrous notion and insulting to your intelligence, then we will report on it. If, on the other hand, the asshats continue to be the only ones meowing about something, chances are you shouldn't listen to them - unless, of course, you're the sort of fellow who goes absolutely wild for David Icke's collected works , in which case you should probably know that I'm being controlled by mindsnakes from space and will drink your blood at your earliest convenience. HISS!

Also, I've heard that after Final Fantasy XIII, Square-Enix will end its newfound alliance with Sony (though that is cracking already... Crystal Chronicles and Tactics Advance anyone? Not to mention the upcoming Final Fantasy III on DS.) Then there's the rumor that FFXIII will be the last Final Fantasy ever.... could it be? This pains me.

Sincerely,
Rebel


ANDREW

Could it be? Sure! Could it not be? More than likely! There will always be dark and dire rumours afoot that Square Enix is on the doorstep to disaster, and just as certainly, until you see these rumours materialize into actual reputable reality-based news reporting, you shouldn't give them the time of day. Just because someone says something doesn't make it so - if that were the case, just think of all the trouble I could cause!

Speaking of which, I hear Xenosaga III's going to be cancelled based on copyright failure! DISCUSS!



In the beginning...


Hey Goog, Cast, and All,

Since everyone's been talking about Mistwalker, I began to think of Final Fantasy. Since VII was my main intro to the RPG scene, I'd like to hear how you came upon RPGs. Doesn't matter if it's tabletop or videogame, but I don't have a clue about those tabletop ones. Well, thanks and take care.
V

"He wouldn't stop talking. Like a parrot of the sea he was!"
- Zoidberg (Futurama 4th Season, episode 12:The Sting)


ANDREW

Well, Zoidberg, my first RPG was Dragon Warrior, unless you count the Zelda series, which for tax purposes, we shall. I don't remember why it appealed to me, beyond the fact that I got it free when my cousin subscribed to Nintendo Power and decided he didn't want the game. I do know that it hooked me, though, as obvious as that statement might be.



Frammy breaks the streak


Dear Lemotsac,

In lieu of going another day without the rapier wit of well....you, I shall do my best to aid in the quest for a question.

It seems that even thought the next-gen systems (PS2, GC, and XBox) haven't really been out that long, the owner's of said systems are already rushing headlong into creating bigger, better, newer systems. I know that in this day and age, the perogative of many developers is new, new, new, new, and not stopping to enjoy what they already have. With the gaming market poised to recieve these new consoles in just a few short years, (here's the question,) which company do you foresee coming out on top?
ANDREW

Honestly? It's a bit early to say, but I've been blowing Microsoft's horn pretty loudly the past couple days, so I guess I'll throw my lot in with the Nextbox.

You have the PS2, which is and has been the dominant console, and then you have the Gamecube and XBox, neither of which really gained nearly as much notority and acclaim as Sony did with the PS2. I mean, with Nintendo, you will, without fail, have at least a Mario, Zelda, and Metroid title to hold you over, and once in a gray while, another good game will squeak out, i.e, Tales Of Symphonia, MGS:TTS, and Baten Kaitos (My apologies to any other good games I may have missed.).

With the XBox, what do you have? Halo 1 & 2, KotOR 1 & 2. What else? What other big names are there? What can step up on the "XBox 2" and really help Microsoft sell some systems? In my personal opinion, the XBox craze would've died long ago had it not been for the truly genius creation of XBox Live, as this seems to be the only reason to own an Xbox. But you what else lets you play online with lots of people? I'll supply a hint: Starts with "C", ends in "omputer", and is what you're reading this on right now. I see the XBox as a useless system that could have all it's games ported to PC and have little to no effect on anyone's life. But then again, that's just my opinion.

Pardon The Interuption,
Frammy


ANDREW

A thousand apologies, but in your haste to slag Nintendo and Xbox, you somehow forgot to mention exactly what "notoriety and acclaim" Sony managed to garner. As far as I can remember, the PS2 is most notorious for its hardware breaking down, which doesn't exactly scream "auspicious" to me, but I'm sure you know what you're talking about, so I'll do what I do best: smile and nod.



Unfit for Print


you are a hockey fan? Damn I knew you were gay but I didn't think you were stupid...until now that is.

Mookie


ANDREW

You're.. Oh, forget it... I hope you get hit by a train.





C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

Remember.. Message boards are the devil. Repeat after me: Message boards are the devil. Message boards are the devil. Send Andrew a crate of creamsicles.

castomel@rpgamer.com
Andrew Long told the witch doctor he was in love with you...


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