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Harry Come Lately

Andrew Long - May 23, '04 - 18:29 EDT

SO ANYWAY, there's a few things you should know about Hall-of-Fame broadcaster, Harry Carey. For one, he decided to pull a no-show last night, leaving me without guest host. Secondly, he is here now, ready to atone for the woeful error of his ways by being the best darned co-host I could possibly scrape together on a whim - seriously, he was lying all over the floor when I got there, but with the help of my trusty scoopula, he was back in a nice, congealed ball in no time at all! It's kind of like cantaloupe, except not edible, and not orange. Well, unless you get him in the right light.

Anyhow, the carnies are in town, as evidenced by the big, bright, disgusting mass of stupid amusement paraphenalia clogging up the parking lot at the local Toys R Us. Now, I'm not one to discriminate, but the carnies have a host of issues that only carnies can create. For one, their power-sucking extravaganza of crappy rides, loudspeakers blaring lousy dance music (yes, Alice Deejay, I really am better off alone where these smelly carnies are concerned!), and fully equipped satellite TV trailer generally result in at least one brownout a year, and with the Ontario government still trying to find the right way to tell us that we've officially become California II: First Blood as far as our power grid goes, I don't hold out too much hope for tomorrow, the official holiday which warrants their presence in this town. Secondly, their RV nest reeks like an open sewer, possibly due to the hasty construction of a temporary open sewer somewhere onsite. This generally kills my appetite when I walk by, which I often do on the way to getting food. Finally, I hate carnivals.

Yes, I'm a joyless bastard, but I stand by my anti-carnite status. And now, with another perspective, here's Harry!

Hall of Fame Announcer Harry Carey

Hey, hey! RPGamer's one and only Hall of Fame Announcer, Harry Carey, is here to guest star in America's favorite Q&A column (Source: RPGamer)! I've been visiting RPGamer for years and years, and have always wanted to contribute to this series of concerned letters and cultivating quickies. Over that time, I've been an avid reader (... at times), and not too long ago I contributed more than several news articles. You may also know me as that nutty guy who keeps submitting quickies that make little to no sense (we'll never know why Andrew accepts them) and finds (hopefully not sadistic) pleasure in the process.

For those looking for a topic to think about: What do you think of handheld RPGs?

Last year, we experienced the strategy RPG sequel Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, another tactics-oriented work with Fire Emblem, and Nintendo's own Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga. The DS and PSP look like quality machines, but there is a severe lack of RPGs in the lineups of both systems. I believe that the situation in the console world is also similar, although not as serious. Final Fantasy XII (Mmm... delicious graphics and plot details... ahhhh...) and Star Ocean: Till the End of Time look phenomenal, but we live in an era where even Metroid is becoming an FPS (depending on your definition). Just something to think about.

Anyway, sit back in your favorite chair, drink some alcohol-free beer, put on your favorite tunes, and let's get Q&Aing... Hall of Fame style!

Andrew Long

Alcohol free? What kind of crazy rooftop lameatorium do you think this is? 160 proof vodka or your life!




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Ohhh... I can see the music!


You know I've been musing over many different battle systems. And I have to tell you, one of my least favorite battle systems has to be the one in Xenosaga 1. The battles are mercellessly LONG. And when you loose, you get to sit through another half hour of "Angel Blow! Angel Blow! Angel Blow!" Good grief, can we at least skip the mini cut scene? Nooooope. Skipping the mini cutscenes would make the battles more fun! And who wants to have fun while playing a video game? Obviously not the designers. I'm hoping Xenosaga 2 will do a better job with the battle system. 'Cause I don't know if I can take another game with "Angel Blow! Angel Blow! Angel Blow!" What battle system do you despise?

ANDREW
Well, from the non-fights of Rhapsody to the mystical autobattles of FFMQ, there has been a remarkable wealth of asstacular battle systems in my day, but the award for the most putrid piece of rubbish that was ever passed off as a battle system would have to go to.. No, wait. Rhapsody is definitely it.

HALL OF FAME ANNOUNCER HARRY CAREY
Final Fantasy II (the old Famicom one, not FFIV). When you can smack up your own party members for strength, that's pretty sad. I wouldn't be surprised if Jack Kevorkian designed it.

On an unrelated topic, did you hear that Squeenix is making a FF7 pre-quel for cell phones? That means I can never have it. Why can't they just stick with the hand held? I can hardly see the screen as it is! Now they want to make a game on an even smaller screen? I also think it's a bad business error. Now this is just my opinion, but don't you think a pre-quel to the most loved FF game would make more money on the PS2? The decision to make the game for a cell phone makes no sense to me but then again I don't understand most things.
-The Lizard

ANDREW
Why yes, I did in fact hear about that game, since I had little choice but to. I have to agree that I can't quite understand the logic behind putting the game on cellphone, though. The only way it makes sense is when you consider that Square has been doing its level best to piss off its fans for the past three or four years now, so you can be pretty sure that any move they make has some diabolical intention behind it.

HALL OF FAME ANNOUNCER HARRY CAREY
Square Enix whole-heartedly loves the U.S. dollar, so I'm betting they saw a business opportunity and chose to run wild with it. I do agree that a cellphone isn't exactly the ideal platform for a Final Fantasy prequel, but I'm guessing the game itself is easy for Square Enix to program. Easy programming and a bucket of dough? The Pillsbury mascot says "Woo hoo"!


I'll show you hockey... hockey gooning, that is! Eat punch!


Field Commander Andrew,

Well, you Canadians finally made it back to the Stanley Cup (the ironically the Canadians didn't make it). My friends were talking and we got to the topic of "Eh, what does Canada know about hockey anyway?"

Then inspiration (with a healthy mix of Rum and Cokes and Chicken Nachos) hit me! Ice Hockey RPG. You take a rag tag team of Canadian hockey players and try to rise them to the top against the evil corporate American hockey franchises (cough Flyers cough)

While learning the fundamentals of the game, you can uncover evil plots to drain the life force out of the planet, save a few princesses from wizards and even uncover the point leader's mysterious past through a chain of flashbacks and side quests.

I think I would certainly consider buying that game.

Tad Ghostal

ANDREW
You eat chicken nachos and you call me crazy? I think YOU are the one who knows nothing of hockey. BEGONE!

HALL OF FAME ANNOUNCER HARRY CAREY
Mr. Ghostal, with all due respect, there may be a hockey strike next year. Let's not blame things on America alone... ey?


Square Enix has stated it may eventually release FFIII, but has no specific plans to do so


Dear Castomel,

Do you or anybody else know what the deal is with Final Fantasy III? Is Squaresoft planning to release it like they did with I & II? Why or why not?

Thanks,
-----Lockshe

ANDREW
As it so happens, there is someone who knows what's going on with that game. And as it so happens, that someone is me. You see, when game companies release news, rather than posting it on RPGamer, which after all is primarily a news site, I sit on it and strain with all my might, hoping to turn it into a giant lump of gold which I can then sell back to the game companies for a considerable profit. You see, this is how news sites operate - not by disseminating information, but by hoarding it, just so we can laugh at you when you dare to demand answers, again and again and again.

HALL OF FAME ANNOUNCER HARRY CAREY
There's a decent shot that Final Fantasy III will be ported to the Game Boy Advance. However, this may be released only in Japan. But you'd buy it anyway... right? Right!? I can't hear you! ... Oh, wait, I just went deaf.


Boingy, boingy!


He used to be a former newsie? So... what is he now? Even if he were rehired, he'd be both a current and former newsie... I'm not entirely sure it makes sense.

EB Games wants me to pay $35 for a used copy of Tactics Ogre: Knight of Lodis for the game boy advance. The game is old enough that the price should have dropped to, well, less than five dollars more than it cost new, and nowhere near old enough to be a valuable collector's item. I mean, hell, they don't charge half that much for Link to the Past. Is it a really rare game or something? Gamestop only charges $20...

HALL OF FAME ANNOUNCER HARRY CAREY
I'm everything you want me to be... except for a chocobo. As far as EBGames and GameStop go, it depends on the game you're looking for. But here's a suggestion: know the prices of the games you're interested in before coming into the store. I spent $30 on Skies of Arcadia Legends, just a few days before it dropped to $20. D'oh!

Something's been bugging me. I distinctly remember reading or hearing, presumably in FF8 or its instruction manual, that a gunblade does not shoot bullets, the trigger is just used to send a shock through it to damage the enemy more, which is what pressing R2 does. But every time I hear people talk about the gunblade, they always start arguing about how it works, and what it is, and why Squall never shoots anyone. Am I the only one who read all the Garden tutorials and everyone else is dumb, or did I come up with that myself some time long ago and then remember it as being the truth, like Cloud? I must know.

Charmingly,
LockeZ

ANDREW
Gunblades actually existed back in the day, in that charming period when people couldn't decide which they liked doing better more - carving their enemies to bits, or shooting them full of holes, then reloading, then shooting them full of more holes, and so on and so forth. I'm pretty sure those gunblades failed to harness the power of electricity, so if the FFVIII versions did indeed have that electric touch, it was only due to some sort of lame censorship.


Hmm.. someone obviously missed the editorialetter special


Cast,

About the peak of video games... I can't say I disagree with that article, even if it WAS written as a spoof. I'm 24 years old, and I haven't significantly played any games in years. I own all three current consoles and have a few games from each, but I was looking at my inventory the other day and it occurred to me that I haven't beaten a single game for any of the current systems. And I have lots of them. This is due to the fact that I've gotten older and have numerous other things to occupy my mind. Not to say that you don't, seeing as we're near the same age, but I live on my own and have a very busy full-time job. I simply don't have the extra 50-70 hours it takes to really conquer an RPG. I played Knights of the Old Republic and enjoyed it immensly... but I only played it for about 15 hours over the course of several weeks. And then I stopped playing for a while and when I came back, I couldn't get into it again. I know I'm not the only one who feels this way about gaming... and my generation is only getting older and getting more to think about! I don't have a girlfriend, so I can't use that as an excuse for why I hardly have any time to play games.

ANDREW
Funny you should mention KotOR... I had the exact same thing happen.

But I also think that games are losing their originality and appeal. Online gaming offers nothing that I want. I have always been a largely single-player gamer. Playing games online with strangers when I rarely even play them with real people in my living room is not something I would do. And originality... Squaresoft, once one of my favorite gaming companies, is releasing nothing that even comes close to what they once produced (yes, I know they aren't even Squaresoft anymore, which may be part of the problem). I loved Final Fantasy Tactics... but Final Fantasy Tactics Advance pales in comparison. It has no story at all, and gameplay that lags behind that of its predecessor. I don't see how THAT is an improvement. FF: Crystal Chronicles... ugh, don't even get me started on that one. Not to mention the fact that Xbox has a pretty big lineup and I only own two games. Nothing else that's out makes me want to buy them.

But, this is getting long and probably obnoxious. I could go on, but I won't. I think that the writer of the peak video game article has excellent points and it may be possible that the video game industry is on the decline. Take for instance a piece of evidence I see first hand everyday: The RPGamer letters column. Compared to just a few years ago, this column is shorter and generally has considerably less content. Not the fault of the hosts... but the fault of contributors. It doesn't seem to me that there are many readers here anymore aside from the regulars. And I personally am completely tired of reading the nonsense that some of these regulars spew forth on a daily basis that passes for humor. And they get printed becuase there's nothing else to print. I'm not intending this as a flame towards you or RPGamer, it just seems that this site's popularity has declined, gauging from the one part of the site that offers the most interactivity. Google prints about 3 or 4 letters a day, many with no questions other than some silly 14 year-old asking what game he should buy next because he only has $50 that his grandmother gave him for mowing the lawn. The chances of me picking up another video game system are getting slimmer and slimmer. I busted out Tetris on my Gameboy the other day and was entertained up to level 17, where I died.

Funny how that can still entertain me, but nothing new can hold my interest for more than a few days.

Thanks for reading this massive and steaming pile of flame-invoking filth,

Seth

ANDREW
Well, you probably shouldn't have added that third paragraph, because it's going to elicit a response from me that will probably get me in trouble. Nevertheless - you're right. This column's readership peaked a few years ago, when roughly five to ten times the readership it now gets frequented this space. Over time, things have been reduced to a handful of regular contributors, and I can't say as it isn't partially my fault for not doing more to innovate, but nevertheless, consider. If you think way back to Josh Reid, in this particular column, he says he received roughly 330 letters from his readership. Now obviously, that particular day was a rather unusual circumstance, but when you consider that the most letters I've ever received is 25, I think there's definitely been a steep decline in the intervening period, and you're right - I'm basically forced to print everything I get because there's no recourse other than to print nothing at all, which I suspect would lose me my job (although that has yet to be an issue where other hosts are concerned, so maybe not.)

At any rate, flame away, because I agree with you entirely. I wouldn't be saying this, except our delightful donation campaign, which you will notice was set up with no option for public feedback whatsoever, has driven me to the point where I no longer care what happens, because quite frankly I don't support that campaign, I made it very clear that I did not support that campaign, and then it was instituted anyway without so much as a by-the-by in my direction. I'm not suggesting that I expect to be contacted about every administrative decision, but given the fact that I stated very clearly and in no uncertain terms that it would make me very uncomfortable to work here while such a campaign was taking place, I feel no particular compunction about stating here and now that I disagree with it entirely.

Think I'm just going up in flames for no reason? Well, you're also right that the site has been foundering slightly of late. Our content, quite simply, has not been up to the standard it should be, and while it's easy to say that snatching money from you guys could solve this problem, which for all I know, it could, I simply don't think that throwing money at it is the full answer. There are much more coherent strategies that can be employed to improve the condition of this website and raise funds at the same time, and I made it exceedingly clear that I was willing to do whatever it takes to achieve those ends. No such luck, it seems.

Basically, then, I don't feel we deserve to ask for your money in our current state. If this makes me bad and disloyal and worthy of sacking and will end up with this entire column erased and labeled "FILTH", then so be it - I may not be quite so candid as the Andrew before me, but I value honesty dearly, and my conscience compels me to say that I am in total disagreement with this campaign. Whether or not you choose to donate is up to you - the money will go towards the site's improvement, although how effective that will end up being is anyone's guess. Personally speaking, however, I am terribly embarrassed that we're begging for your hard-earned money in this way, under these circumstances, and if that means I'm no longer fit to work here, then that's fine by me - I've had a good run, and I think I've done my best to try and maintain RPGamer's standards while here.

That is all.

HALL OF FAME ANNOUNCER HARRY CAREY
Judging by how long Andrew's (no pun intended) response is, I suppose I shouldn't go into a rant. But I will say this, though... I agree with you, for the most part. By the time I got midway through Final Fantasy X, I kept asking people if I was near the end, as I was still playing it mainly because I wanted to say I beat it. I tried Kingdom Hearts, and found it a random excuse to use Disney characters (the storyline seems like it was written by somebody who hit the bong too much), and I thought Wild Arms 3, from the little bit that I played, was mediocre at best. This isn't to say that they're horrible or even inferior games (I actually quite like Final Fantasy X, now that I've had a chance to look back on it), but it seems like they're directed towards a different, newer generation. I think this began with the 32/64-bit movement, but there were still games like Super Mario 64, Mega Man 8, and for RPG gamers (no pun intended, again), Suikoden. In other words, I think gaming is heading in another direction, and to at least us, it's not one that we can approve of. Sometimes I think I'd rather play Duck Hunt than Halo. Simple, fun, addictive games... that's supposedly Nintendo's viewpoint, and I guess that's why I love my GameCube and Game Boy Advance. Super Smash Bros. Melee comes to mind...


More fun with electricity


Castobolt and Harry Carrey(!!),

As I sit here tonight and write this long letter, I hope not to get electricuted to death. Granted, while computer usage is a risk, I'd overcome anything to get this letter in for tomorrow. Harry Carrey, how've you been? It has been quite some time since we last spoke. What have you been up to since those days? Any comments on "O' Creamsicle One"?? Yes, he has a tendency to escape from my grasp, but the polaroids always makes him come back to my clutches... So, with the storm still a stormin', let us move on to "The Witcher", shall we? Now, from the E3 media viewpoint, it looks pretty tasty. The environments are beautifully done. Honestly, I most likely will not pick it up, due to my ever-growing list of games that seems to get longer every day, and to the fact that naked woman in media is quite disturbing. See, I envy Roku as he has a head start on his list... Oh well, tomorrow I pick up my pay, so maybe I'll get a game. KH, Xenosaga, or perhaps Disg aea? Well, give me your opinion, but I'll probably pick up KH just because Square-Enix is tempting me XII and VII:AC. Anyways, I would comment on a "particular" news post, but I wouldn't do that to you, my stalkee. So, on to another topic! What about that official "RPGamer Beauty Pageant"?? Swimsuits? Creamsicle dresses? "What's one thing you wish for" speeches? Please, tell us while twirling firey batons and singing musical numbers. I'm crowning the winner!

And the winner is....

O' Shrouded One

ANDREW
Okay, I like to eat creamsicles, personally, so I think if I had to wish for one thing, it would be that such a garment is never brought up again.

HALL OF FAME ANNOUNCER HARRY CAREY
Haha, yes, it's been a little while... greetings! Of those three, I'd say you should pick up Disgaea, mainly as a process of elimination. Besides, many people find Disgaea funny. ... Hey, remember that one scene in Austin Powers where the evil people start laughing, and though they quiet down, Dr. Evil doesn't? ... That was pretty cool.


And now, unfit for print!


welll.....i neeeeed an answer and i neeed it back im gunna make it short cuz i wanna know andi have to know and stuff, so when IS the release of "Tales Of Symphonia" but not anywhere i wanna know when it makes it to Japan cuz its almost my B-day and im waiting for the game thanx....

Tyler Curtis Fortin

just call me Kolok, i should be joined on the site

ANDREW
Sure thing, Kolok I should be joined on the site. Shaka, when the walls fell. Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra. Release dates on the website.

HALL OF FAME ANNOUNCER HARRY CAREY
With all due respect, check out dictionary.com.


YOU 'DREW (HARRY, too!)
QUICKIE I
Hey Andrew and Harry Carey

I dont know about this witcher game people are talking about. It doesnt look too special to me.It just looks like another hack'n'slash.With good graphics.

The Batman
P.S Sorry Harry, no oranges. The jabber wocky was guarding the orange field and I didn't have my vorpal blade in hand.

Andrew:
Well, you've seen it, so you're one step up on me! And the only person on topic for today!

Harry:
Those darn jabber wock(y,ie)s! Oh well... as long as it was like that one scene in The Godfather with the orange...



DA LAST GRUMBLE

And there you have it. I'm going to leave Friday as an open topic day because a)I'm feeling monumentally uncreative, b)it's already late and there are slimes nipping at my heels, and c)because my mailto may once again be acting up, leading me to believe that selection may in fact be an issue. Nevertheless, try, and try, and try again, for I like letters only slightly less than I like my creamsicles, and I like those a lot! May your troubles involve them exclusively.

castomel@rpgamer.com
Andrew Long.. my Andrew Long and me!

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