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ASK ANDREW
Hmm.. Needs More Goat Soul
April 22nd, 2007

Andrew Long - 22:43 EDT

I CAN'T BELIEVE I actually laughed at the Simpsons today @.@ Something must be horribly wrong. Well, actually I know something is; not a single new letter in the qna@ inbox >_< If you guys are sending them, they must be dying in transit, because all I got was some spanish spam. And let me tell you, if there's one thing that nobody should have to taste, it's the bitter sting of spanish spam.




LETTERS
Well, someone followed the topic, at any rate


Slashlen casts hellstorm! Rant mode activated!

Yes, a lot of people jumped to conclusions. It turns out the shooter didnít play a lot of games, he spent all his time on his laptop writing disturbing stories. Perhaps high schools forcing students to write stories for English class caused this. Ban creative writing! :P

What bugs me is the ďresearchĒ these people keep throwing out. They, at most, show a correlation between violent games and aggression. However, as they seem to forget, correlation doesnít equal causation. Example: There is a correlation between being African American and being a Democrat(the black vote goes overwhelmingly to Democrats and a larger percentage of Democrats are black than Republicans). If correlation equaled causation, this would be sufficient to prove that voting for a Democrat will turn you black!
Andrew

Indeed. I've always found these studies a shade below engaging, and in any case, there are also a number of studies that show minimal or no correlation, so I find the whole thing kind of silly. I'll grant, though, that there are certain children that do like to emulate the media they interact with; there was a kid on my street named Adam when I was growing up who couldn't make a move without an accompanying sound, and I think that it is probable that a certain degree of aggression results from interacting with violent media. This does not, however, a murderer make.

I canít say violent games have no effect, but I think itís much more likely that the popularity of violent games are more an effect of larger cultural issues. Americans like violence. Weíve liked it for a long time. Video games are simply another way we show it. RPGs arenít really relevant because they arenít the most violent genre out there. They are capable of getting caught in the crossfire though. Some RPGs have gotten edited when they came out over here. If a push to get rid of violent games succeded, perhaps Persona 3 would be included(people shooting themselves in the head!).

Fortunately, nothing like that will happen because the people who try to pass those kinds of laws get beat regularly in court. It wonít stop politicians from trying, and it wonít stop media outlets from trying to scare people. Anyway, if gamers were so violent, someone would have shot Jack Thompson by now.

Andrew

Another few good points. Life itself is violent, and to pretend otherwise would be to sugarcoat a simple fact of existence. You can make laws and put up houses and employ police and nanny-state your citizens into wooly little cocoons, but at the end of the day, the fact of the matter is, civilization is only a facade. Then again, you can also pass gun-control laws and deeply limit the amount of damage someone like Seung-Hui Cho can do, but then how would Charlton Heston (or Michael Moore, for that matter) find work?



Bad news: if it requires scrolling down, it's a noveletter :P


Hi there Andrew. Apparently the evil email filters have been eating my messages for awhile, but I still pay attention to your output. Condolences on the broken limb by the way - be prepared for an incredibly dirty, pale, flabby part of your anatomy when the cast finally comes off.
Andrew

No cast for me! I cut myself, so there was a risk of infection in using a cast.

Let me think - the only titles I've played recently that I believe you have also partaken of were complete crap (to me). Why did I bother? Mostly because if I'm going to be reviewing so much stuff I felt it was necessary to broaden my horizons and endure pain. Which Act Raiser 2 most assuredly was. That game infuriated me like few others have.

The quality stuff I've played lately has been imported. Der Langrisser is superb. As you haven't played a Langrisser, a quick encapsulation seems warranted. The characters in the games are commanders on the field, and can hire up to six troops for use in battle (8 in the first game per character). These troops are completely expendable, but serve the function of expanding each commander's reach. The troops also receive bonuses when within their commander's range, which are substantial enough to make keeping them within range a good idea. Kill a commander and all the remaining troops of him/her die, but in the case of enemies experience will be passed up by taking that route.

This holds, or so I understand, for every Langrisser. Der Langrisser is interesting by virtue of branching paths. After the initial battles of the game, join with the empire, stay with the Light, fight on the side of Chaos, or just fight everyone. It guarantees massive replay value.

As questions relating to your nationality have been aired before, I must inquire about The Tragically Hip's appeal. I do not dislike the band, merely wonder why they are so lauded by some.
Andrew

Search me. The band has a few songs that I don't mind, but overall, I'm just not all that keen on them, and I find them rather generic (cue flood of mail accusing other bands of copying them.) I think it's just one of those things where my fellow Canadians are seizing upon something that they perceive to have an inherent Canadianness, and while I'm sure some would argue they're one of the better bands out there, I don't buy it.

I'll second you on disliking Secret of Evermore. A friend loaned me a copy six years ago, and I was very bored very quickly. A quick note regarding the Sega CD. The system unfortunately has a very high ratio of crap to quality (even with my carefully chosen pickings, there were a couple of stinkers). But sifting through the dross does reveal a few worthwhile titles that cannot be found anywhere else. Along with the best home version of Final Fight. Am I into noveletter territory yet? I have no idea, for you are The Definer.
JuMeSyn

Andrew

Yeah, my friend and I traded Sega CD for SNES one summer, and I found the results to be distinctly less enjoyable than I had hoped for. Also, during the first week I had it, my wisdom teeth came in, causing my jaw to lock up one morning, so I shall forever associate the two. Curse you, Sewer Shark!



Nobody seems to know I do them Sunday and Monday too either :(


Hello Andrew,

First, I laughed when I saw you write "You know, people, I DO THE COLUMNS ON SATURDAY!" That just cracked me up when I saw that, with all this mail directed to Matt, which leads me to my first question. What are the rules when writing in to you? Obviously, two of those rules are no nove-letters worth 1100 words long (with the limit is a 1000 words per letter) AND no incoherent babbling supporting Sony's sh** (with your infamous SNIP attack ready to cut that letter down to size). What other rules do you have?

Second, my quick responses to your Hot Topics are as follows.

1. Puzzle Quest, since FFF:Chocobo whatever is a cutesy FF-themed card game while Puzzle Quest gives you Bejeweled with a plot. FFF gives you recycled repetition while PQ gives you something to care for with addictive game play.

2. FF: Mystic Quest, simply because it was one of my first RPGs to play along with FF6 on the SNES. It's got nostalgia going for it in my case, despite its obvious crapitude.

3. Chips, since I like spice in my foods. You get tasty flavors like Ranch, Nacho Cheese, Spicy Garlic, and Hot Jalapeno. Plus, I don't know of anyone that ever got sick off chips, compared to indulging on chocolate or cookies.

4. The most embarrassing moment in gaming I've ever done is work overtime to complete that Thunder Plains minigame to perfection in FFX-2, with their respective rewards, and forgetting to pick up those treasure chests in Ch.5 instead opting to finish the damn game without caring for percentage points anymore since I was so close to the end.

5. This is touchy, so put it like this. They blame everyone but the actual shooter/source of pain at VA Tech; therefore, they're idiotic asshats. They add insult to injury, making a mountain out of RPG-unrelated molehills. Phil wants ratings, and Thompson wants the people's support to limit 1st amendment rights in his vision under the guise "to protect the children." Let them make asses of themselves; the only real thing to care about in this argument is gun control, and I don't mean Halo either. Beyond that, forget them.
Andrew

I'll second that, though gun control doesn't seem to do too well in your neck of the woods (which I'm sure is just fine by our politicians; that way they can blame all the violent crime on 'handguns from American crime cities'). Still, I saw an article today about Australia's laws, and since they tightened gun control in 1996, they haven't had a single mass shooting. Then again, Canada has fairly strict gun control laws (if relatively little in the way of legal teeth to back them up) and we just had a school shooting in November. So who knows whether it would actually do any good.

Third, and finally, I live in Chicago, and we get a free paper here called the Reader's Guide. This week's edition is promoting this multimedia festival where artists pay tribute to fantasy role-playing. Nothing wrong with that, but the article starts like this...

"In the nerd hierarchy, role-playing gamers are way down at the bottom, sharing a rung with cosplayers and furries. Comics geeks, video-game addicts, and even online fan-fiction writers can all look down on the Dungeon's & Dragons dweeb, who combines the clumsy efficiency of a second-rate fantasy novel with the repellent maleness of a pointless obsession with statistics. As most of the world is concerned, D&D as a cultural phenomenon issued its final Frito-flavored belch sometime in the mid-80s-after a media-induced moral panic about the game's supposed links to satanism and suicide-and crawled back into the cave where it spawned."

Okay, I'm a role-playing video gamer, so am I high or low in the nerd hierarchy? How about RPGamers in general? I find this partially insulting to a point, but what do you think of this?

Have a good weekend,
BLG

Andrew

Eh... sad to say, I have to agree with senor writes-cuz-he-gets-off-on-being-able-to-say-he's-a-journalist; most of us on this particular rung of geekdom ARE pretty repellant. I haven't showered in days!



Ok three of you followed the topic ^_^


Hey Cast,

Just a tip: DO NOT bother getting the rare game in FF12. The Espers and marks are marginally satisfying though still tedious, but there's just no point in fighting around for literally tens of hours just to get a palette-swapped enemy to show up so you can beat it. The prizes are totally useless and you'll never get those precious hours of life back. I ended this game with 120 hours on my clock and msot of the rare game remaining unfought, and I still felt that I wasted about 40 hours too much.
Andrew

Eh, I've had the luxury of time to kill since I broke my foot, so honestly, frittering it away hunting rare game hasn't bothered me much. Now Fafnir on the other hand has given me a great deal of vexation, from actually finding him to the oneshotting he keeps inflicting upon me.

Re overworlds, several people have mentioned DQ8's overworld. While quite nice, it was a little *too* large at times, and in particular suffered from astronomical loading times. Getting off your ship literally took something like fifteen seconds. So yes - great ideas, now let's not get too far ahead of the available technology. I've found that I miss overworlds less and less as the actual places you walk around in get bigger.
Andrew

Well, 15 seconds may be bad by PS2 standards, but don't forget, just 7 years ago, the horrid 19 seconds FFIX's battle took to load was the norm. In any case, I don't necessarily see why overworld maps and horrendous lag should follow in step; if you simplify them a la Tales of Symphonia it shouldn't be too hard to avoid turning it into a slowfest.

As for gaming and Virginia Tech, it's been pretty well debunked that Cho had any sort of gaming experience whatsoever. No games at all were found in his dorm room and no one had ever seen him play any games. In any case, I'd be more inclined to say that violent games *decrease* the likelihood of someone becoming a murderer, as it gives people an outlet for their violent tendencies. Killing pixels is a much less antisocial thing to do than killing people. I'd argue that the gun culture in the States probably lends itself more to the chances of this sort of thing happening than any kind of media would. If you can't get a gun, you can't shoot people. End of story.

--Cidolfas

Andrew

Well, there you have it; three of three writers agree, gun laws are to blame! It would seem my readership among NRA members is impressively low.





IN CLOSING

Well, that's all for me for today. I hereby declare tomorrow a free-topic day, in the vain hope that it will elicit some sort of response. *Shakes fist* respond...



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castomel@rpgamer.com
Andrew is hearing that this Pokeyman thing is pretty great, eh?


I hate hidden text.. haven't you people grown tired of it YET?

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