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ASK ANDREW
A Juicy, Chess-Club Brain March 12th, 2005

Andrew Long - 01:45 EST

SO I CAN'T HELP BUT SEE THAT NEW ZELDA VIDEO and think that it looks a whole lot like they're doing their level best to remake Ocarina of Time from the ground up. Don't get me wrong - Ocarina of Time was an awesome game, and a graphical update would be most welcome - but the fact remains that if Nintendo does go that route, it means that it will have failed to have advanced the series any yet again. Ever since OoT, they've been falling back on the same tiresome routine of fetchquests for heartpieces and deedling flutes for... well, whatever purpose deedling flutes serves.

Actually, though I was only thinking this for a while. You see, the video also includes evidence of Nintendo's dirty, dirty secret weapon: Cool, useless new stuff for Link to do. In this case, that evidence I refer to is the charging pig you can see Link riding about halfway through. Now, I know that seems awful gimmicky, but that little 2-second segment sold me right then and there. Once again, Nintendo has wormed its way into my chest, clutched my heart, and then squeezed it slightly, proving once and for all that it owns my soul no matter how shamelessly the Zelda series continues to rip itself off.

Yes, now that I can crash around on a giant boar, I won't give a damn that remaking Wind Waker in that visual style does nothing to improve the parts of Wind Waker that sucked in the first place, since the graphics were kind of a high point. I don't care that I couldn't give two whits for "realism" in video games, however much I may like pretty graphics. No, I am a slave to the Big N, and for that I feel vaguely shameful. On the other hand: that new Zelda looks soooo frigging sweet!



Ramblebox
Ah, my poor soul.. I do wish I could regain it somehow x.x

-AL  


L E T T E R S
All too well


Remember that game Secret of Evermore for the SNES? It was like a bad bastardized version of Secret of Mana. It had some of the worst audio I've ever heard in a game, and the story was really slow. I could go on about other issues, but I was wondering if you could answer something about it for me. I seem to remember (this is back in about 1996 or so) that the game was developed by a subsidiary of Squaresoft (as the company was called back in the day) based out of Hawaii. I think the game was actually developed by Americans, as opposed to Japanese. Of course, my memory could be off too. Anyway, I figured that since you're in the RPG news business that you could tell me whatever happened to that studio? Did they go under because the game was so bad? Or did they go on to make other games and I just slept through it? Thanks.

Nathan


ANDREW


Actually, the Hawaii studio wasn't a subsidiary, but rather a high-tech movie studio of doom that, after years of development, managed to churn out FF:tSW, which is all in all a rather miserable return on such a huge investment, but oh well. I don't think it was ever responsible for game development, to be honest; as far as I know, Secret of Evermore was cobbled together in Square's LA HQ, and thus was the dream of Podunk, New Jersey born. The LA HQ, for its part, was downsized once in 1998, and again in 2003, but remains the face of Square Enix in North America, since Enix closed up shop long before and had to move in with Square. The Hawaii studio, meanwhile, was razed after the colossal failure of the Spirits Within.


More tales of doom


Dear, uh... sir:

I have had many failed attempts at introducing loved ones to the world of RPGs.

My grandfather once watched, mildly interested, as I started up Chrono Trigger. (The intro is really dynamic and all.) He said, "What's this?" I said, "A game." He said, "What do you have to do?" I realized a golden opportunity to introduce The Greatest Generation to the world of gaming! I had to choose my words carefully. "Uh. Um. Beat this, uh, kill this alien. And travel through time --" He said, "How long does it take to win?" I said, "Uh. Um. A week, maybe." "A /week/?" he shouted. I said quickly, "But, no, you see, I don't have to do it all at once, I can save -- I can save my progress along the way --"

He said, "Find me my bridge score on the computer." And I did, ashamed. (Here's to you, Grandpa.)
ANDREW

Well, that's one up on any of my older relatives, who to a man restricted their comments to "Gee, it's really neat what those things can do these days, eh?"

Next was my best friend. She, on the other hand, had enjoyed watching me play Chrono Trigger and was enthusiastic about becoming an RPGamer. So I brought FF7 over to her house and coached her through the bombing missions. (She named Cloud "Pedal-T" for reasons unknown to man or beast.) Then she got to Aeris's introduction, and Aeris's payment for Pedal-T's protection. "One date?" she exclaimed. "What a slut." She stopped playing soon thereafter. (Here's to old times, Sabrina.)

That's all I can think of right now.
Nistelle


ANDREW

Thanks for sharing Nistelle, and I must say, Pedal-T, while bizarre, is all in all an excellent name for Cloud.



Arros at length


Hey there Castomel,

I apolagize for my really weird out there atempt at humor, and for mentioning the thing which shant be mentioned, but I really have a poor attention span so I just half ass read things, plus I don't want to be anticipating a game only to have it not meet my over blown expectations

As for the correction, that one person asked about FF12 not 7

And on mispronunciations that don't involve Hey you, I myself got in a pronunciation debate with my girlfriend over Yuffie and Chocobo, I thought Yuffie was pronounced like stuffy, and thanks to my friend who got me into rpgs I pronounced Chocobo as Co Co Bo cause he told me the h was silent... I believed him blindly because he was the one who let me borrow FF7
ANDREW

Damn straight you say it like "stuffy", and don't ever let anyone tell you different. Honestly, those Yoofie bastards will believe anything! In other news, while that is a hilarious pronunciation of Chocobo, I'm afraid a letter a little further on does you one better.

Further more I think pronouncing roman numerals as letters is hillarious but I myself stick to 1, 2 etc etc, Though the thought of someone saying Final Fantasy Vee Ai Ai Ai fills me with many a giggle

I'll also second that the PS2 hardware wise sucks major portions of ass, I've had 2 PS2s neither read discs anymore, I thought it was just me but I guess I was wrong, here's hoping the PS3 doesn't suck, and as far as the X-Box goes there aren't any games I'd like for it so yeah... I really wish Nintendo would draw in more RPG makers... Since my gamecube still works perfectly where as my PS2 is huddled in my bedroom hoping it doesn't get hocked

As for a question:

Is it me or are consoles getting less durable? My NES which was bought used worked way after the stopage of NES games, as did my SNES, hell even my PSX which was bought used lasted longer than either of my PS2s
ANDREW

Oh wow. Did you just claim NES units are durable? That's like blasphemy to my ears, because let me tell you, my NES was a clattering cacaphony of clanking crap that stopped working 100% after two years or so and stopped working entirely two years after that. I had to blow air into the games to get them to work, and even then I was usually treated to vertical scan lines running down the screen, or worse, these little horizontal ones that would gradually eat up the image and make whatever I was trying to play unplayable. Then it just stopped working period, so I bought a second one, which stopped working in an even shorter space of time! I know that top-loading NES units are much better, and my SNES still works like a charm, but never, ever, ever make the mistake of thinking NES units were durable, because everyone I know had the exact same problems except for this one guy who, you know, actually stored his NES carefully and didn't leave his games lying around where they could collect the dust that would inevitably prove fatal to their operation.

And another question:

Do you think older systems by Nintendo will ever be remade and rereleased? Just curious cause I'd like to legally own some NES and SNES games or is porting over tio a handheld and compliations this best I'll ever get?

Arros Raikou

Needs to stop eatting chocolate before writing rambling nonsense...

Oh yeah is SH3 out yet?


ANDREW

I don't remember where I read it, nor can I vouch for the validity of the statistic, but I was reading an article a few years back that mentioned that Nintendo still moves a truly incredible number of NES consoles yearly. I don't know how this could be, since the system has been obsolete for almost 15 years now, but according to the article, the third world figured prominently in these figures, so maybe there's some sort of salt mine in Nepal pumping out NES units by the thousand.

And the proper question is "when is SH3 coming to North America", and the answer is still die.



Ah, Magic Cards and the devil


To the QnA-ers

This is my second letter. my first one never answered, and well...hopefully I get to see this one on the main page. Onward...

I grew up in a Christian/Jamaican household. Believe me, RPG's were very hard to play since anything with any sort of magic was considered witchcraft (obia in the islands). My favorite was when I was playing FF7 and some church members stopped by. I was summoning Iftit, also casting some spells with vincent, etc. When asked what I was doing and properly explained so there would be no problems i still got the. "Heavens boy what kind of demon worship are you doing? For the good of your soul..." etc etc.

While my mom laughs as she reads and remembers this my deal with her was different. I played RPG's but had to give up Magic:the Gathering, and had to keep that to myself because she knew with my sarcastic attitude i wouldn't last long in the church i was in. Now? I play my RPG's and Magic and was introduced to DnD 2 years ago. and no...no witchcraft and summoning and killing babies. I am 21 by the way.

Now for my actual question. I am currently playing almost every game in my collection. This is very wrong because I am either near the end halfway or more than halfway through these games. What do you do to keep yourself on one game and finish it? I find them all enjoyable but really I do want to finish some of them.

Ro (Thatblack1)

PS. Listen to family radio one day. They have some of the most biased garbage about videogames, Roleplaying, Anime and music. They are very misinformed and very closed minded to everything.


ANDREW

I'm pretty much just like you, I'm afraid. I currently have about fifteen games that I've played some, but not all, of. When I do manage to beat something, it's usually because I either really like the game, or because I get close enough to the end to make that prospect seem appealing. To be honest, though, a lot of RPGs just aren't interesting enough to keep me hooked.

And I remember well the hysteria surrounding Magic cards, the very same hysteria that enabled my school's librarians to ban all card games, then all activity, then all students, from the library at lunch so that they could go about the very important business of eating their lunch. Following that dubious victory, they then banned all non-class-related library activity, operating on the self-declared basis that "what are you doing, reading? This is a library.. You can't do that here!" Bear in mind, these women were the same ones that played the Titanic soundtrack every day for a year, so perhaps logical consistency isn't to be expected. It sure didn't instill much respect for authority in my grubby little heart though.

P.S. No. I can encounter enough ignorance without seeking it out, thank you.



A fixitup for the rest of us


Sup Castolicious,

After the recent slew of PS2 knocks (mosty by one nameless QnAer), I figured I'd throw this in the ring. Might not help everyone, but from your vague descriptions it seems like it could:

See spiffy PS2 fix-link here

I had a similar problem with my PS2 about 3 years ago; it stopped playing all DVD's and most PS2 games. I called their hotline and was told I'd need a new drive and that it'd run me $120. Obviously this wasn't a viable option so I made due. Until I stumbled upon this article. Seems that you are correct in your statment that PS2's are about as durable as an elephant in a mine field, however Sony is FINALLY doing something about it. (Mainly because they were threatened with a lawsuit... but hey, who's keeping track?)

At any rate, if you're getting "Disk Read Errors" with any of your games, call 'em up and they'll replace much of the hardware and all you pay for is the shipping to their locale. Took all of 5 business days from the time I UPSed my baby out to the time I got it back. So, they may make shoddy hardware, but at least they'll fix it. Mine works like a charm now. Hope it helps!

- Ian

Still thinks you need to sell a few body parts and buy Ys...


ANDREW

Well thanks, Ian. My PS2 hasn't progressed to the point that I'm particularly inclined to do anything about it, but tui will doubtless be happy to hear there is a solution in sight for his problems. Right now his PS2 is basically a big ugly paperweight, so any possibility of fixing it will probably come as welcome news.

Incidentally, I need all the body parts I can get, though I am amenable to selling the whole (wink wink!)



Oh! Kids! Back away, Disco lady! Not today, Disco lady!


Hey Cast,

I don't know if this would necessarily count as an out of touch gamer story, but more of an uneducated gamer story. Anyway, here goes. Back in the neon and stretch-pants days of the 1980s, I was strictly a PC gamer, didn't have a Nintendo yet. My best friend James, on the other hand, cut his teeth on the NES. So one day I'm telling him about King's Quest 2 (for those of you who have never seen it, picture something like Myst, except with less polished graphics and a character who walks around the screen instead of a first person view) and actually showed him some of it. Keep in mind this is a game with absolutely no battles or anything, the closest thing is if the evil witch or enchanter gets ahold of you, you die. Anyway, he says "so how do you win, do you fight a boss?" I may have been an elitist asshole, but I thought that was one of the most ignorant statements I had ever heard, and I spent a lot of time chastising him about it. But we're still best friends 20 years later, so I guess it didn't bother him that much.

Robust Stu


ANDREW

Thanks for sharing, Stu. I know all too well what you mean, and I was prone to the same sort of thing when I was that age. Well. Except that I was, you know, normal and had an NES ^_^



Wow. Just...Wow.


I've got one guy i used to know who called them "Cock-a-boos" . we ridiculed him publically over that little mistake

another friend ive got insists on calling them "coco-bos"
how people come up with this stuff is beyond me....


ANDREW

I know I'm really in no position to talk, but geez.. At least I used elements of the word that you know, are contained in the word. Cockaboo? That's just crazy talk!

CRAZY TALK THE COCKABOO

ZWARK! THE Z MAKES ME ZKWEEEEAZY!



This guy sounds suspiciously like he works for Sony


Hi Andrew

I never thought about writing in but the whole thing about you hating Sony and liking Microsoft (even though I can see that you donít really have a preference but more of an opinion on how Sony has gotten a little lazy due to lack of competition when the PS2 came out). I saw that one of the reasons you dislike Sony (Currently) is because there lack of innovation with their current system. So this is my question,

What do you think about the Next Generation System Sony is releasing next year?

And do you think what there doing is innovative? (*I know as of now thereís only speculation but I can generally see where there going with this)
ANDREW

Yeah. It is only speculation, and until actual physical systems are showed off, I don't think it makes sense to say anything about those actual physical systems. Could Sony put an end to X86 architecture? Certainly. Could the next Xbox and Nintendo platforms fry Microsoft's dominance of the PC gaming market? Sure, why not! The trouble with saying these things, though, is that we just don't know what the specifics are going to end up being able to produce, which is why I'd at least like to wait until I see something playable before I shoot my mouth off about just how revolutionary Revolution is, whether Microsoft will knock its own socks off, or whether Sony will deign to stop churning out comparatively mediocre hardware.

As an aside, please never structure an email like that again. I'm sure all that white space seemed very dramatic at the time, but I can process questions faster than it takes to scroll down that far, so you really don't need to give me that much time. Oh, yeah: SNIP! Developer propaganda is fun, but I think I'll forego it today.

In my opinion I feel that they are being very innovative and showing what they can really do. The problem is, the only reason this is coming about is because of competition. It sucks that a company canít be innovative without any external pressureÖbut this is how it is I guess. I have a preference toward Sony, even though my PS2 died on me (I got the famous Disk Read Error). Mainly because of the developers that develop for the PlayStation console. This competition between this triangle of companies (Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft) can only do good.

In conclusion I donít think the PS3 is going to be anything remotely like the PS2, Sony has got competition now and theyíve got a whole lot to lose.


ANDREW

Well, if that's the way you feel, that's your business. Developers are ever fickle, though, so if that's all your loyalty's based on, I'd hold out for E3 before deciding.





C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

And that is the weekend, such as I choose to call it now. Google will be back tomorrow, and as you may have noticed, we've adjusted the days slightly since I seem to be constitutionally incapable of posting Sunday's column before midnight Monday morning. Since we're all reasonably certain Google will be more efficient in that regard, we have shifted things accordingly. Anyhow, make your letters topical for this week's news come Thursday, and until then, may all your troubles be creamsicle-related.

castomel@rpgamer.com
Andrew Long is the second part in a five part series.


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