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ASK ANDREW
Steppin' Softly In A Danger Zone January 27th, 2006

Andrew Long - 16:09 EST

I MUST USE THIS COLUMN TO MY OWN TWISTED ENDS; herego, if anybody is in possession of episodes of Droids, contact me and I will love you forever and give you a guest-hosting spot. In any event, on to other things, such as mentioning that yesterday's column was, as usual, eaten by a lack of mail.

I do not begrudge you your Friday nights, but yeesh... Roku's gonna kill me if I keep missing Saturdays ^^;. Either way, I don't suppose it's entirely your fault, since I was in no fit condition to be writing a column that night (who knew that whiskey could be consumed in 40 form? I sure never thought I could have helped bring it about, but here we are!) but let's make it a goal next weekend to get me five letters for Saturday so as to appease my dreadful six-overlord, whose wrath shall surely be fearsome (especially if I don't get him that Oracle of Ages review soon). In any event, I shall stop airing my problems and get on with the letters.






L E T T E R S
Adam returns


Andrew, thanks for answering my e-mail. Of course, my positive sentiments weren't just Matt-specific.

I haven't played the first two Suikodens, but I have played the third and fourth installments. In fact, I really enjoyed the third game. I found it somewhat engrossing--with a quickly moving plot and fairly interesting characters (well, the characters central to each of the three heroes). I lost interest in the game, though, when it started taking itself too seriously towards the end (that tends to happen in most RPGs). To this day, I haven't beaten it. I have the same complaint with many other games, including the Shadow Hearts series.
ANDREW


Well, you have to bear in mind, when a game's plot centers around saving the world, there's bound to be a certain amount of gravity involved, so people with limited writing talent can perhaps be excused if the wet paper bag that is ponderous exposition and excessive gravitas remains resolutely unpunchable before them. In other news, you are my exact Suikoden opposite; I have played the first and second games, but not the third and fourth. The question is, will you dare touch Suikoden Tactics? If you do, a paradox will form, and one of us will surely be forced to destroy the other. So... Don't say you weren't warned.

Anyway, I rented Suikoden IV and was instantly turned off by the battles at sea, obnoxiously slow sailing mechanics, bland color scheme, innocuous music and the high encounter rate. Oh--the voice acting didn't do anything for me either.
ANDREW


Voice acting never does anything for me, so I shall take note of that and avoid Suiko IV like an even worse plague than the one with which I was associating it. So long, bubonic... helllllo, ebola!

So, between taking itself too seriously or just being an overall poor videogame, I'm not anticipating Suikoden V. However, if it gets good reviews from you guys and some other sites, I'll definitely give it a try.
ANDREW


Suikoden Tactics, I think, was a step up, even though it did feature some fairly ouchin elements, among them a terrible plot and poor voice acting. If Suikoden V is given adequate development time, I therefore think it is reasonable to expect that just maybe the trend towards ass-suckage will be put to rest. Then again, nobody ever made any money overestimating people's abilities to consistently improve upon themselves.

Sounds like the "Need for Speed" incident is "alarmism"--but you have to wonder if it really did have an effect on the driver. Can games really have an effect--positive or negative--on someone's thought processes like that (such as encourage us to do things that we wouldn't do in our "right minds")? Can they even train us to kill? Do they make us anti-social? Do they dull some facet(s) of our intellect? Are we all "sheep" under some kind of an influence from our games?

Like everything else, they must have some effect on us, even if it's not so easily generalized...

Here's a better question to con sider regarding the crazy things that gamers do: Are we pretty knackered up before we even touch our games?

...Not the most concise thoughts, I know. In any event, have at it or something!

Thanks,
Adam


ANDREW


Mmm... I am not one to subscribe much to the theory that media is responsible for violence and impulsive behaviour, simply because since time immemorial, people have been both violent and impulsive, and with a distinctly noticeable lack of violent TV, violent video games, and violent movies to spur them on as an added bonus. That said, I will cautiously agree that if someone immerses oneself fully in such a lifestyle as import racing, and all its concomitant values, as these young gentlemen apparently did, the overall shift in perceptions brought about by such frequent exposure to unrealistic ideals may possibly prompt a shift in thinking that is detrimental to dealing with reality.

That said, I am still more inclined to believe that a certain percentage of people are simply predisposed to this kind of behaviour, and insurance companies certainly agree with me; 16-24 year-old males are the most expensive drivers to insure, simply because they crash the most, statistically. Last I checked, that's a pretty wide-ranging group, and we certainly don't all have the same interests and influences.

So yes, I will agree with you in that gamers are certainly influenced by their upbringings prior to ever touching a game, and in fact, the decision to do so is likely a direct offshoot of that particular influence.



King's Whatnow?


Matt or Andrew-- Lately I dusted off some of my older games and started playing them again. One of the games that I thought I would play again was Kings Quest VI. The only problem is I don't have the manual anymore so this means that I can't figure out which stones to push for when I get to some of the puzzles. I remember the words I'm supposed to spell I just don't have the translator. Do you have any idea where I could get just a picture of the translator so i could print it out? True I do love the game but I'm not ready to go out and buy the thing off of ebay again. If you know of any site or source that I could get a copy of the translator from that would be great. Thanks, Megan

ANDREW

I regret to inform you that most of the FAQs available on the internet all sagely warn gamers to hold on to their manuals at all costs, and that to divulge such information as appears in them would constitute an impossible degree of illegality. Thankfully, those people have not spoken to one Matt Gerrald, whose helpful website contains all the seamy, illegal Sierra reproductions money can... not buy. So enjoy your lawbreaking alphabet, and I wish you luck deciphering junk.

Also, if you're feeling thoroughly cheatriffic, he's got full solutions somewhere on his site. I'll leave you to find those, though, since I cannot condone such behaviour.

AMIDALA

And I cannot condone a course of action that will lead us to war!

ANDREW

Listen, Spotcheeks Larue, nobody asked you...

AMIDALA

Senator Palpatine shall surely destroy you and your embargo!

ANDREW

Embargo? I'll show you embargo...



Do not speak of the Leafs, for it will make me angry and prone to spitting things in your general direction


castomel,

man the leafs suck right now. like, wtf happened over the last couple of weeks. they just collapsed, like the raptors did after their winning streak. we need a newer, younger goalie, like Pitts Fluery whos gonna be great.
ANDREW

Quinn needs fired, Belfour needs retired, and the whole damned team should be traded off so they can start over. Boourns, I say. Perhaps even... Pat Boourns.

anyway, back to the task at hand, suikoden. now i am a huge suikoden fan, I loved 3 so much due the unique gameplay and the trinity site system, that i bought suiko 1, and then shelled out the 100 + bucks for the second. but, that and valkyrie profile were well worth the 100 bucks. suiko 4 dissapionted like nothing else, (not as bad as xenosaga 2 though) and i just hope that tactics is worth the name suikoden. i am liking the look of the new suikoden, and i just hope that Yuber plays a big part in it, maybe even Luc as well.

my first question is which do you think is the better look, the dark knight Yuber, or the daoist styled Yuber? i think that daoist styled looks better, and more mysterious.
ANDREW

Meh. Dark knights all the way. There's just something about spiky armour that says "cool" to me.

on to the second question. personally i hope that those kids get the book thrown at them, and some serious jailtime. i mean the cabbie was just trying to earn money to send back to his family so that they could join him in Canada, and these two spoiled brats driving daddy's BENZ take him out. video game or not, they should get some serious jailtime.
ANDREW

Well, on that we are agreed. I feel very bad for the cabbie's family, and I hope the embassy does whatever it can for them.

and yes, there are some video games that have a effect on people, esp kids. now, i know some are saying, "well i played gta, and i never killed anyone", well good for you, but you have to realize that those saying that probably learned not to do what they see on tv from their parents or another rolemodel, but their are those that have neither, and they are the one that are susceptable to this imagery of violence. it only becomes a big media thing when those that dont fall in this category are guilty of something. but it happens more often people.

anyway, thats my rant.
ANDREW

...And on that we are disagreed. I do not blame the media in those instances, and in some cases you can't even blame the parents. If someone is unable to distinguish between reality and a video game, then whoever enabled that person to get behind the wheel of a car is to blame, not society or the parents or anyone else. In this case, however, I am more than willing to place the blame on society, since society is what creates the mindset of entitlement amongst people like these selfish kids. When you grow up in the suburbs, or even in an affluent neighbourhood, too often there is a sense that nothing bad can possibly happen to you and when our culture places such an emphasis on passing off blame on others, how can we expect people to take responsibility for their actions when something does go wrong?


and to close with a question, what was your favorite 2005 game?


ANDREW

My favorite game of 2005? I didn't really play very many games in '05, but I guess the one I had the most enjoyment out of was World of Warcraft.



Counterpoint II: First Blood


Hi there Castomel,

While I have no knowledge of Suikoden at all I did read the news story about NFS causing the death of someone

My real question on this and the other evil video game caused mayhem and murder news stories is who the ---- carries a copy of a game arround in their car? I'd say anyone that does that has more than his share of loose screws so the game shouldn't be at fault and further more you have to start thinking that their must be some anti-game police that plant games that feature the crime that happened in them at the crime scenes...
ANDREW

Or more likely, as in the case of many people who modify their vehicles, there was a tv monitor somewhere in the car with a PS2 hooked up to it, or otherwise it was a PSP game, in a PSP.

So yeah that was highly ridiculous it's obvious their need to race may or may not have had something to do with racing games, but what clearly killed some one was their piss poor driving skills

Me personally like all things I blame the fast and the furious

Arros Raikou


ANDREW

Amen to that... I hate that movie like pestilence.



PSA


Yesterday was the relese date of dirge of cerberus in japan, don't know if it already bean seen. Wanted to share it

ANDREW

Thanks for sharing, Jerome.





C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

And so we've come to the end of another weekend. Matt seems to have deciphered his math assignment, so he should be back in full action next week for your general question-answering edification. Until next Friday, then, may all your mishaps be creamsicle-related, and let's all count down the days until reading week!

castomel@rpgamer.com
Andrew Long couldn't care, but it's a dangerous affair.

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