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Send a letter I Talk to me, baby I Old columns I Really old columns
ASK ANDREW
A Flurry of Squabbles June 3rd, 2005

Andrew Long - 23:47 EST

SO YOU DO KNOW HOW to write letters! I was beginning to worry there, because every Thursday I seem to get nothing. Try and remember, even if a lot of letters don't get printed at various times, I will always try and print a significant percentage of what I receive, and there's no such thing as a bad question (except for the ones that end up in Unfit for Print, but since when do media establishments have to respect actual facts?)

So thank you. This column is brought to you by you, and I hope for more of the same tomorrow.




L E T T E R S
Startoff Multipart


Hey,

All right. You guys do need some letters, I hate not seeing a column each day. Ill try and muster up some questions/comments for you.

1) Disgaea. What are your thoughts on the price that this game is going for on eBay? I know everyone says its awesome, and it looks exactly like my cup of tea, but is it really worth 90 some odd dollars Canadian? I have recently purchased La Pucelle Tactics and Phantom Brave, but are still awaiting them in the mail.
ANDREW


If you subscribe to the notion that an hour of gameplay is worth a dollar, then yes, Disgaea is more than worth the $90, since you'll get hundreds of hours of playtime out of it in all likelihood. That's irrelevant, however, since you're apparently not searching your auctions very hard if $90 is the best price you can find. Here's one for $50 on the buy it now - it alleges to be new, so if you're a stickler for that sort of thing, you're covered.

2) Next generation consoles. I am in agreement with whomever said "we hit a graphical wall / These are basically our current systems with more reflections / shiny objects" My question is how come no one is "re-inventing" the systems and not just churning out more of the same crap with faster processors? The only hope left is what Nintendo plans to do. I say take that holographic patent and do something with it. What would you guys like to see most in a next gen system? (other than what they are planning on doing already)
ANDREW


A holographic patent, eh? Sorry, but I remember a "holographic game" I once played at Canada's Wonderland, and if that's what they'd be like, I'm not so sure I'd want to sit through the first generation of slush waiting for good games to come out. Sadly, "re-invention" succeeds because the gamers who drive sales don't seem to be particularly selective about their gameplay. Take GTA. While I enjoy Grand Theft Auto titles, I really don't need to see shinier and shinier versions thereof, and I'd be much happier if Rockstar did something to shake up the gameplay rather than just adding bells and whistles, because at its very core, GTA has never changed, and while it's solid gameplay, it really doesn't do anything for gaming in general for Rockstar to keep pumping out new iterations with no real change in style. Unfortunately, this sort of thing plays out repeatedly with the most popular software titles, which leads me to wonder, as many other online game media have, whether or not we might be in for a repeat of the Atari crash of old if something doesn't shake developers off this course.

3) The Final Fantasy series. Now as far as I can remember I thought that one of the worst game play systems was implemented in FFVIII. That aside, I remember the story being extremely good and easy to relate to (minus the fantasy aspects) How The main character would never speak his mind and always get pushed around by everyone, and how he finally snaps and starts to talk. That coinciding with the love story between Squall and the other main female character (I cant remember her name, its been a while). I just remember that scene of them in outer space being heart warming. Of all the Final Fantasy's of that era (released on the PSX) which one do you think has the best story and/or game play? If they are the same one they you have found yourself a gem.
ANDREW


The moment in space was definitely well-done, even if the whole space-station itself seemed a little extraneous to everything. Overall, I liked the story in FFVII the best out of the PSX titles, because it actually strove for complex storytelling and was very well-presented cinematically for its time besides. In terms of gameplay, the nod also has to go to FFVII, because its load times were the least taxing and the system was fairly diverse. Overall I liked the Junction system better than Materia, but the load times really hurt FFVIII, much as I would give FFVIII an overall positive review (would and did, no less!)

4) Destiny Of An Emperor. Personally my favorite NES RPG. Falling *just* in front of Dragon Warrior IV and the first Final Fantasy. The fact that it is based on ancient Chinese history amazes me, and thus got me into reading the 4 novel series "Three Kingdoms" Not to mention the game "Romance of the Three Kingdoms IX" I know this game has been mentioned before, but it truly is one of, if not the best RPG back in the day. Maybe you had to have played it back then to appreciate it now, but it still is a fun game to play these days. Have you guys played it? isn't it awesome? how about Romance IX? that i think is the best strategy game ever.
ANDREW


Can't help you there, my friend.
5) Favorite name for a RPG hero or supporting cast member. Which is yours? Im still stuck on Kain after all this time.
ANDREW


Name? Hmm... I'm gonna have to go with Magus' original name, Janus. It was way cool, doodz.

6) RPGamer. The site is great. What are your plans for the future of the site? Are there any? Are you allowed to divulge that kind of information to us? nevertheless keep up the good work.

thanks for your time,
Kainage


ANDREW


RPGamer, believe it or not, does have plans for the future, but I'm not really at liberty to divulge them, and in any event, many of the improvements we are envisioning will have more to do with the operation of the site than its actual appearance or what you readers end up seeing. That said, in the upcoming weeks and months you can expect the relaunching of the Roundtable forums with industry panelists, a revamped fanfics section, the relaunch of the guides section with a different focus, and improvements to our message boards.


...sdrawkcab uoy wohs ll'I


Hello QnA fella,

In regards to the PS3, we've all read that it is backwards compatible with PSX and PS2 games. but in all the pictures and specs i've seen there is no indication of a memory card slot for the good old psx and ps2 memory cards. Are we doomed to starting new games if we want to play our classics? the part of the PS3 to the left of the disc loader looks like it could potentially flip up and i have to assume that is where the old memory cards would plug in. Question: Have you seen any pictures or did they show any other angles of the system at E3 that had a memory card slot visible?

Thanks,

Chris


ANDREW

Sony didn't provide any images other than those widely available online, so it's impossible to say whether or not there's a memory card slot. Given the move towards hard drives, I have to think there's a passing decent possibility there will be no memory card slot; however, I wouldn't be too worried, because with the PS3's wealth of USB hubs, I'm sure if this is the case there will be an enterprising hardware accessory manufacturer out there somewhere that will come up with a doodad to allow connection of a memory card to a device hooked up to one of these.



Timing, or lack thereof


Hey Andrew

Since you want a question how about this; why does the gaming industry insist on giving us a whole slab of games for the Christmas season and only dribs and drabs for the rest of the year? I am dying for new titles right now and, other than Atelier Iris at the end of June, I can see no hope on the horizon until sometime in the fall. What gives?

Angus


ANDREW

In a word? Habit. Also because the Christmas season is the time of year during which the most people are spending the most money the most recklessly. It therefore makes sense to throw your game onto shelves while people are willing to whip out their plastic on frivolous purchases rather than in March and April, when the 20% interest rates are causing them to deeply regret same. While it'd be nice to have a more balanced release schedule, the reality is that basic economics are too powerful a force for even videogame publicists to ignore. Now, if only we could somehow convert our complaints about shoddy gameplay into identifiable spending patterns...



Le sigh


Even though no one really needs them, whatever happened to those announced remakes for Final Fantasy VII-IX? It seems they simply decided to forego the latter two to concentrate on VII, but I would like to make sure. Here is the old link: http://www.rpgamer..com/news/Q1-2001/012201c.html. Also, Even though I cannot provide a link, unfortunately, I believe I remember a time when Nintendo toted that their new Gameboy Advance was to be as powerful as the Sega Dreamcast, was this too big of an exaggeration, or plans that had to be downsized? A final thing, I once heard that an early detail regarding Final Fantasy IX was that party members were to have Familiars with them to aid in Limit Break-equivilent attacks. Was there ever more information regarding this? The last one is more of curiosity, though. Thank you.

ANDREW

Was it an exaggeration? Gee, I don't know... Why don't you wander into your living room, basement, or bedroom, pick up your GBA, and plug in whatever game you have lying about. Does it look like something you might find on a Dreamcast?

As to your third question, I am now officially wondering if this letter has somehow found its way into my inbox via some sort of five-years-ago timewarp. If there was more information regarding it, then obviously it would have ended up in the game, so no, no there wasn't.



THOSE EGG COUNCIL BASTARDS GOT TO YOU TOOOOO!


Current Q&A representative,

I've got a question, while it may not be specific to RPGs, I feel it certainly still applies. I look at games like FABLE, Kotor 2, and Dungeon Lords (to name a few), it seems obvious that the more advanced technology gets, the longer it takes for developers to make games. It would seem to make sense that this is not what publishers want. Therefore we end up with half finished, sometimes completely unpolished games such as those mentioned above. By reading up on some old interviews it's obvious that just weeks before these games are released, developers have a very different vision of what we have in our hands. On that note, sometimes developers have a very different vision AFTER the game is released...

Anyway, didn't intend that to come off as an editorial, but here's the question. Do you think as far as RPGs are concerned, these new systems will help or hinder that growing trend? I question whether we even NEED six brand new systems right now (Xbox 360, PS3, N Revo., Mini Advanced, I also count PSP and DS), when we've just realized the potential of the current systems. I'm sure that my opinion is in the minority, but what do you think? Wouldn't this be called 'over-saturating' the market?

Sal Pancho


ANDREW

It might be under your definitions, but I have a few things to say about that. For one, the GBA Mini is not a new system. It is the GBA, crammed into a little cube with a brighter, smaller screen. While it ensures that GBA titles will continue to be produced, it does not signal any advancement in technology; thus, it will function more as an adjunct to the DS in the current generation than anything else, sort of a dumping ground for non-experimental / online-capable titles to wander off to die in. As far as the DS goes, early indications seem to be that it is frighteningly devoid of RPGs, which is a little disappointing considering how handy that second screen would be for inventories, maps, and even separate map / battle encounter interfaces. At any rate, this leaves us, for the time being, with four systems with viable RPG possibilities, which isn't so unthinkable when you consider that before Sega went belly up, the DC, GC, PS2, and Xbox were all vying for dominance for a brief period.

At any rate, it's not oversaturation until there are systems that plain nobody buys, so giddy up and get your wallet out if you've got a fetish for collecting things, cuz they're probably all going to have established user bases.



Idle threats


Anyword on wether this is going to be coming stateside or not? A friend of mind says its not. I would be horribly dissapointed if it didn't.

Have they said they arent going to send it here at all?

If they aren't, who's knees do I have to break to get them to send it overhere?

Your non-violent friend,
Bahamut810


ANDREW

At this point, there has been no indication that Namco has any intentions of sending the game over, and I seem to recall hearing that somebody ruled a localization out, though I can't be sure. As far as kneebreaking goes, the title is probably a good place to start, but failing that, I suppose you could go after M. Bison or Dhalsim... His moves would be pretty useless with busted kneecaps!



Emotionless? ...


Sorry about the lack of letters, you woulda had one from me if i had internet access.

Anyways i've been having this problem with rpg's i'm playing. Non-expressive characters. Seriously it pisses me off, guy happens to be angry, but he stands perfectly still. Girl is sad, she doesn't move her damn body. She maybe sobs a bit. I know I shouldn't expect too much, it's probably not something developers think about, but it really bugs me. The only two games i've played that really satisfied me in this category are BOF3 and BOFV. Do you think the same thing? Do you think characters act like robots most of the time?
ANDREW

Obviously back in the day, when character animation was somewhat limited, the range of expressions which could be portrayed by a character was somewhat limited, but polygonal characters, I think, aren't too bad at it, although a number of developers use character portraits to show the emotion rather than animating the actual character. I haven't really found this to be an issue, at any rate.

I have a non-rpg question as well. I believe Canadians are awesome. I don't know why, I just feel it. Can you explain this phenomenon to me an American? Canada has some crazy power over me for some reason.

veserius


ANDREW

Hmm.. Canada really isn't that different from the States, but if you're looking for me to point out differences, there really isn't much to point out, other than the fact that Canadians(and most Canadians outside of Ontario would argue that by Canadians, I mean Ontarians) tend to fear ultraconservative governments rather than embrace them, to the point of reelecting a corrupt bunch of thieves who, while predominantly centrist in theory, are actually fairly right-wing themselves. At any rate, if we seem awesome to you, it's only because we don't have the likes of Bill O'Reilly shouting obscenities and outright falsehood at us twenty-four hours a day, and are therefore able to focus on more important things, like being superduper, making pot legal, and counting the ways in which we are not American. Actually, that last one would probably give you trouble, so you probably shouldn't move north... you'd only be offended by the vast sense of smug superiority, and then you wouldn't think we were awesome anymore. That just won't do.





C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

I had hoped to include more letters today, seeing as how I received a whole bunch, but regrettably, my delightful fellow staff members decided en masse that I just had to hear about every little problem ever. On the upside, you will get the chance to send letters to someone whose attention is much less diffused tomorrow. Yes, the one, the only, teh Roku will be sitting in tomorrow and fielding your questions, comments, complaints, and perhaps sexual advances if you're into that sort of thing. So play nice with the sub while I'm off helping to get my friend cited for public drunkenness at his bachelor party, and I shall see you next week!

castomel@rpgamer.com
Andrew Long cannot help but think that Armadillo schlongs are a crime against nature.


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