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ASK ANDREW
Neo-RPGuru X! July 16, 2005

Andrew Long - 21:14 PST

WELL, THIS INTRO ISN'T GETTING ANY MORE WRITTEN, so I think I'll cut my losses and move into the letters.




L E T T E R S
RPGMaker, eh?


Andrew:

How bout a little more info about RPG Maker 3? Having tried the first one years ago, I was a bit disappointed. The concept immediately caught my attention, but the interface and options were too restrictive to allow me to flesh out the majority of ideas I had. I quicky lost interest, and it now rests in my entertainment graveyard. I never took interest in the second, but I may give the third installment a shot, if you think there's been any significant upgrades made. Most importantly, I'm looking for more freedom in character interaction and battle design, rather than flashier graphics.

Thanks!
-Jason


ANDREW


Unfortunately, with games like this one, flashier graphics are about all you're likely to get; my personal assessment of RPGMaker-style games is that if a developer has staff talented enough to make an open-ended game creation engine, it would be better suited using this talent towards games it can market and sell itself, which leads me to conclude that any utility like this one will inevitably end up being neutered in some respect as a result of all actual development muscle going towards the creation of games that will actually make money. I'm not saying a building set doesn't have potential to sell well, mind you - Neverwinter Nights offers a lot of flexibility for campaign creation, and it is one of the more popular PC RPGs to come along in the past five years - but I just don't see it happening with the RPGMaker series, and bear in mind that NWN also shipped with extensive developer-created scenarios, which gave it popularity among more casual gamers. Also, there isn't much coverage hereabouts, and as such I have little in the way of solid info. That said, our own Phil Clayton will be reviewing it shortly, so stay tuned.


Quotable Notables


Dear Rock of Stability,

What are some of your favorite RPG quotes? Hey, you need letters, I'm doin' what I can to help out.

-Jackson Ferrell


ANDREW

Anything involving Fawful is good, and I have a spot in my heart for all the FF classic lines like "You spoony bard!" and "Son of a submariner!" and "Let's mosey!" and "This guy are sick." I guess you could say that while I regularly lament terrible translations, I do tend to enjoy repeating them, mostly because they're funny sorts of things to say (try "Let's mosey!" sometime; nobody will notice, but you'll get a warm glow inside!)



The ins and outs of importing


Dear so-on-and-so-forth,

I know not many people talk about this much, but for lack of sanity thereof and mental frustration on my part, I must ask this question.

How long does it take (on average) to buy an RPG from an Online Import Store (say Lik-Sang for example) and have it delivered to the states? I ordered a game recently, but due to some retarded aspect in Global Mailing, I can't track it, so I'm sitting here twiddling my thumbs and toes and they're coming to take me away ha-HA. *cough*
ANDREW

For the answer to this question, I reached deep into RPGamer's past and picked the brain of one Ryan "hyuganet" Mance, our erstwhile crack uberjunior translator, whose tenure occurred before we imposed the age limit on hiring. Ryan, now old, gray, and going blind in one eye, swore at me and threw his cane through the wall beside my head when I entreated him to provide assistance for this letter, but after shouting randomly for ten minutes about some crappy hockey team he seems to like and the dismal state of fish and chips, he indicated that his general experience is that most imports take 1-2 weeks to arrive, depending upon where you buy them from. Seeing as how you're having difficulties, I also asked him for the upper limit; he says 4 weeks is the longest he's had to wait. And then he fell asleep; these old people can't handle much excitement.

Also, speaking of purchasing RPGs, or rather, the rarity thereof, I've noticed a great many games previewed and reviewed by RPGamer that are either a) Not coming to the U.S. for a while, or b) So rare you'd have to sell your soul or luckily find one in a record store to find said RPG (Valkyrie Profile comes to mind). This bothers me greatly, so greatly in fact that I think at some point (if nobody's thought of it already), someone should create an online shopping website dedicated to the selling and buy-back purchasing of old, new, and rare RPGs. You have any idea how many mounds and mounds of Sports games I had to dig through just to find half the RPGs I own. Games made by Atlus in particular, have a nasty habit of doing the disappearing act. So yeah, that's it from me.

~Blade


ANDREW

Yes, I've done the dig through the sports bin before, and while it is almost always infuriating, you have to admit it's nice when you finally do manage to get your hands on something that's actually worth playing. It would almost be worth buying the whole lot though, just so you could torch the zillion copies of Tony Hawk Underground Live Action Ninja Skateboarding Duel Fighters XIV and Madden 198x.



On ridiculous thievery


Andrew Oh my god I was laughing so hard when you said a lady thought she could steal a recliner by moving it slowly twords the door.

-Clayton


ANDREW

Thanks for sharing, Clayton. For reference, since she put on such a show, we decided to let her take it all the way home (well, actually we're just not supposed to accost people no matter how preposterous the thievery they are attempting). Of course, someone was watching her the whole time, so we got her license plate number, but I'm sure she had a fine ten or twenty minutes before the cops showed up at her place, found her sitting in the chair, and hauled her down to the station.



Meh meh


Dear Andrew,

I hear the new Harvest Moon is coming out for the N64. Is it going to be as good as the original for the Super Nintendo?
-ATG, circa 1999
P.S. That new Star Wars movie is going to be SO awesome!!


ANDREW

Looking into my highly spectacular crystal ball, I'm going to say that while the N64 will continue to have a deserved reputation for a lack of RPGs and smart in terms of the depth of some of its games by virtue of the storage medium, that yes, Harvest Moon will be if not as good, then certainly good enough. Yes, I have a feeling we'll be seeing a lot out of Natsume in the amazing years to come, and you know what would be really awesome? If they started giving out little plushy farm animals at shows like E3!

P.S. DUDE! I KNOW! Fully animated characters are really a gas! I bet we'll all be singing their praises :D



I just can't say no to hockey


Andy...rew.

Not very rpg related, but what r your thoughts on the nhl finally signing a labor agreement. im xtremley(sp) happy! Bruins Rule, Yankees Suck (even though they won today, lucky bastards)

My thoughts,
Mr. Snuggles


ANDREW

The Bruins have 3 players under contract but hey - maybe Sinden will actually spend competitively. My thoughts on the agreement, meanwhile, are fairly succinct: final-freaking-ly. I don't think the players got hosed quite as badly as everyone thinks, but I do think both Goodenow and Bettman should hit the road, since neither of them took any hit to the wallet (Goodenow didn't draw a cheque during the lockout, but he's still ridiculously overpaid, making more than the head of the NBAPA and the MLB union).



And finally..


Crabbits are rabbits bred with cabbages. I though that was obvious.
ANDREW

That seems highly unintuitive, even though I am compelled to admit that when I think of the word crabbit it does immediately conjure up the image of those little bunny rabbits in FFVI with the awful awful glowy eyes and the creepy piece of lettuce.

Also, I found a letter I had sent to RPGamer spin-off site six and a half years ago... Yoshitaka Amano's artwork sucks. I've met grade schoolers that can do better.

(http://www.squidbunnies.com/letters/l9811/24.html)

Current topic: Revolution backwards compatibility question: Will it just end up being first (and second) party games? Has any specific information been provided on this information?

-Herandar (Luciferage).


ANDREW

You would think that it would end up being first and second party games, but Nintendo was a company whose evil often matched that of Microsoft back in the day; thus, every official game that ended up on the NES (we'll ignore Bible Adventures for now) was licensed by Nintendo, a fact that you could ascertain by looking for the Nintendo Seal of Quality in the instruction manual. This was, of course, slightly laughable, since that seal wasn't worth the paper it was printed on once the connector pins in NES units worldwide began to bend and fray, but the upshot of it all is that as far as I am aware, Nintendo owns the publishing rights to a significant number of old NES titles and probably not a few SNES titles. Still, I don't imagine it would be able to force companies to have their games made available on the Revolution if it didn't retain the publishing rights, so we shall see what happens.





C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

Hmm. Googleshng, so far as I am aware, continues to be rendered inaccessible by virtue of the many constructions taking place upon his house, so to prevent gaps in the schedule, I will suggest you address the mail for tomorrow to one Heath Hindman, of MMORPGamer fame. As he is our resident expert on this type of game, it suggests an obvious topic, but who knows - maybe he wants to talk about something different. Either way, if Google manages to find his way back, he will (hopefully) change this outro to reflect that, so either way, you're in good hands.

Also, for next week, I need something to replace the lamentable commissioner of the NHL in my sidebar. As such, I would like to announce a contest, which will of course net the winner a fabulous prize*: send in suggestions for a replacement in the sidebar. You have until next Saturday's column, where the winner's idea will appear, so get cracking... I may even include fabulous items** in the fabulous prize* this time! Until Thursday, at any rate, may all your mishaps be creamsicle-related.

castomel@rpgamer.com
Andrew Long is to hat as cat is to ball.


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*Prizes are not fabulous. **Fabulous items, while potentially fabulous, are most certainly not fabulous.

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