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questionanswer&andrew


Another Year, Another Dollar

Andrew Long - December 31 '03- 5:37 Eastern Standard Time

AS MERE HOURS REMAIN BEFORE 2003 DIES the ignominous death it deserves, stabbed by a bum for its lunch money in the seedy parks of Midnight, December 31st, I bring you a new and wonderful tale of woe for your general enjoyment, if indeed you take joy in the misery of others as I so sometimes do. My (a term i use loosely, since I've been borrowing it from my friend for about seven years now) FFIV cart has become rather waspish in recent years, going through little psychotic episodes such as the time it randomly erased all my save files, only to bring them back upon resetting, or the time I played all the way to Tower of Bab-il only to be met by a glitch that locked the front door on me, forcing a restart. Ironically enough, I was on the fourth floor of the Tower of Bab-il when our current tale of woe occurred.

You see, the best working controller I have is this Super Famicom dealie my friend brought me back from Japan, along with a 12 dollar SFC and Yoshi's Island. It has just one fatal flaw: the cord, apparently designed for the walk-in closets that pass for rooms in Tokyo, was a mere two feet long. So anyway, I make do, hugging my SNES close to my breast and all that jazz, praying devoutly that something doesn't go horribly wrong as has been increasingly the case in recent years as my faithful and eleven-year old SNES reminds me that it was, in fact, made by the same people who churned out the abysmally faulty NES console. It still works, mind you; it's just the games that have started to sport a variety of strange quirks, particularly older ones like FFIV.

Moving along, then, I was on the fourth floor of the Tower of Bab-il. For all you kids out there, that's about a third or halfway through the game (I can't quite remember as the last time I actually managed to complete an actual playthrough of FFIV was 1993) and represents about ten hours of gameplay for me, the newfound completionist that I am. At any rate, while tooling about in search of fun and Rubicant, I kind of moved the wrong way and jerked my controller upwards as I stretched. Being so terribly short-corded, this naturally meant that the console came with it, and when it went back down it was with considerable force, or at least enough to jazz my crappy SNES into fux0red mode. So, being familiar with such things, I reset it, only to find that all four of my save files were gone, including my friend's 52 hours of level 99 characters.

Fortunately, he no longer really cares much about video games, but I must still weep as I am now forced back to Toroia and that stupid magnetic cave. Actually, I appreciate the stupid magnetic cave because games never try crap like that anymore. I guess what I'm saying, at any rate, is happy New Year's, and may 2003 never recur in some bizarre science fiction setup that forces me into an infinite loop of forever reliving the flu that has so waylaid me recently.




SEND LETTER




12-27-03
12-26-03
12-24-03
12-22-03



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The kupomogli LJ



21-7-7-3
In Boston tomorrow
Streak's gone
So's the worst of my flu
But, I still can't DO anything
Which won't stop me from trying
It is NYE, after all
Still, this can only end in disaster
And perhaps, further nausea
In other news
my cat ran away ;_;

I remain bitter


Too-hot-for-TV FFX-2 spoilers

I really thought that the opening video to FFX-2 was ridiculous.. you wrote:
Call me grouchy, but that concert makes me want to build a gingerbread house, lure Yuna inside, and then push her into a stove.
However, did you actually play the game? It's not Yuna in the concert, its an imposter. I dont know if that eases your pains, it probably doesn't.

ANDREW
You've got that right; the video is still hateful to me, real Yuna or not. Thanks for spoiling the plot, anyhow. Now I'll have added reason to look forward to the game.


A public service announcement, brought to you by Essence Knight


Quick note to ChocoMog ZERO and others finding themselves in his dilemma. There are three ways to get that Zelda Classic disc. It'll probably be damn near impossible to get your hands on a Game Cube bundle with one, seeing as how those were out to retailers as early as November 11th. ((That's when my store first got em anyhow.)) Details on the other two ways can be found here. ((http://www.nintendo.com/zeldaclassic/))

1.) Purchase limited edition Game Cube Bundle (Triforce Sticker)
2.) Previous Game Cube Owner and Purchase 2 Featured Games (Mario Party 5, Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, Mario Kart Double Dash, or 1080 Avalanche)
3.) Subscribe to Nintendo Power Magazine

ANDREW
Thanks for sharing, Essence Knight. I have a feeling that if ChocoMog had been willing to buy NP or two of those four titles that he already would have, though.

On an altogether different matter what flavor of creamsicles are we talking about to accompany the afore mentioned discussion? I do so love creamsicles....

- Essence Knight

ANDREW
Orange, of course. What other flavours are there (and chocolate doesn't count, because that would be a Fudgesicle)?


Kinky 3-way action


Castomel,

I was bored yesterday and went back to read some of the news for Final Fantasy, which sparked a thought, which brought on a 3-way phone conversation after which ensued a gathering at the local McDonalds...you get the idea. We had a discussion about whether FFXII might be the last great fling of the series, with FFXIII (having only been hinted at) possibly ending it. We decided it not only depended on sales of the upcoming Final Fantasies, but also with the success of Advent Children. If that tanks, though with the amount of fandom it's not likely it will, we thought that FFXII might be the end of the series. My question is: what do you think? Is FFXII the end? Will Advent Children signal the end of FF if it does indeed flop? Are we all crazy? What?

S. Netzach
"You keep nasty chips!"

ANDREW
You're all nuts. S-E has been working on FFXIII for over a year, and the trademarks are out for every FF up to XV. As for it being the "last great fling", well, you can find people who will argue that FF's all the way back to FFIV were the last great fling the series has had, so I would have to say that particular distinction is entirely subjective.

On another note entirely, FF7: AC doesn't hold quite the same importance to S-E as FF:tSW did to Square. For one, the infrastructure for producing high-quality animated video is already in place, Square having blown the hundreds of millions of dollars required back in its fiscally irresponsible heyday. For another thing, FF7: AC is not a theatrical release, but will rather be an exclusively DVD affair. Since this probably means significantly reduced production costs, it won't be nearly as critical to Square Enix as a fullblown theatrical release would be, and thus, even if it does happen to flop miserably (which seems much less likely than tSW's failure since it deals with an existing group of characters that people are, to say the least, deeply attached to) it won't cost the company as much as a tanked film release might. As such, I don't think it holds any huge importance in the overall FF scheme of things, except perhaps as a deterrent to Square Enix's moviemaking division in the event it fails.

All this said, I encourage you to continue your FF discussions at local McDonald's, because if the world needs more of anything, it's three-way action in public.


The dreaded multiparter


Hey Cast, since I just got my internet service back after two and a half long weeks, I figured I'd try to catch up on some of the stuff I missed out on.

1)If I was an RPG villain, here is how I would go about taking over the world. I would start by going around and stealing all the magical crystals/amulets/whatever in order to open the portal to the evil world of evil demons. If there are any crystals/amulets/whatever that I can't get to myself, I'd just let the heroes find a way to get it, then I'll kick their ass as they're leaving and steal it for myself. I'd also have to have a stupid sidekick that would always get his ass kicked by the heroes, but in doing so buy me enough time to do my evil deeds without having to worry about the heroes interfering. Then, once I'm about half an inch from fulfilling my evil plans, I'd sit and wait in a really big castle, and wait for the heroes to come kill me. I pride myself in coming up with such an original scenario.

ANDREW
I salute your hackneyed villainy, for if there's anything the world needs more of (besides those public three-way encounters, of course), it's cliched plotlines. Also, a really big castle would be a refreshing change from a floating moon-base, so I definitely support your vision of a villainous future.

2)What do I want for Christmas? Well, since it's technically 1:48 in the morning on Christmas as I write this, I guess I can still get this in before I really get anything. The answer is that I want the Ultimate Ric Flair DVD Collection put out by the WWF. Not that that probably means much to anybody reading this.

ANDREW
I've heard the name, but I must confess, if you want to discuss wrestling in this space, you'll have to dredge up Thor from the briny deep and then nail him to the floor, because I've never really seen the attraction.

2a)Okay, since it is now a 1:14 PM three days after Christmas, I got the Flair DVD set (yay!), and I also got Final Fantasy Ecks Two and Breath of Fire Dragon Quarter, because I'm sure my brother knows how much I loved the other Breath of Fire games. Actually, just my looking at the packaging, it doesn't look all that bad, and I've played a bit of FFX2, and it's...interesting.

ANDREW
Yeah, never fear: BoF V is well worth your time, and everyone keeps saying FFX-2 is all that and a bag of chips, so I guess your Christmas haul is one any young scamp would be happy to put his or her name to.

3)My great Christmas videogame gift and tale of woe actually happened the same year. One year, I got both TMNT and Narc for the NES. Of course, being a rabid TMNT fanboy, I immediately opened up TMNT and started playing it, but it was nothing like the arcade game, so in my opinion it totally sucked and I was completely disappointed. It didn't even have any characters from the cartoon except for the Turtles, Splinter, April, Shredder, Bebop and Rocksteady. No Krang, no Rat King, no Baxter Stockman. But we DID get Metalhead, which was no consolation. So then I somewhat disappointedly started playing Narc, and was instantly hooked. There's nothing like recovering from a complete disappointment than by sitting there killing drug dealers like "Hypo Man." Fighting the big floating head than exploded and turned into a floating skull was just an added bonus. How could I not love a game as bizarre as that?

ANDREW
Yeah, you can't go wrong killing drug dealers. Unless, of course, you subscribe to the school of thought that this super fellow advocates, in which case, well, good riddance to you. I wonder if he knows his article, which does a marvellous job of turning a boring financial story into a rabid diatribe against the evils of violent videogames, makes me want to play GTA, a game I rarely (if ever) touch?

4)Does kupomogli really bug you every time you sign on MSN? That SUCKS, dude. He kind of reminds me of this guy I know named Ryan that lives in town here in NY, all the EVER talks about is cars, and if he sees your car parked somewhere, he WILL stop and come in to talk to you. We've even made a joke out of it, that whenever we see him walking up to us, we'll do the "ch-ch-ch-ah-ah-ah" noise from whenever Jason's around in the Friday the 13th movies. His ineptitude with chicks is legendary, and some of the stories about stuff he does have become timeless legends. Like one time, he comes up to me and says "Stu, I met this chick last night and got her number!" So I said "That's great, Ryan! What is it?" So he says something like "BFR-1641". It turns out he got the girl's license plate number, and then told me he was going to get his dad (a town cop) to run the license plate so he can find out where she lives.

ANDREW
Wow... that's really sleazy. Sounds kind of like a guy I know, except a little craftier. This guy is literally incapable of telling the truth and will always lie no matter what the occasion. As a result, nobody I know really likes to hang around him, which forces him to stalk people until he can corner them in a parking lot with one exit or something. Then he blasts music at them from his trunk, like some sort of bizarre mating ritual gone horribly wrong, before proceeding to tell the most obvious lies you can think of, like claiming he beat up a pack of bikers, or that the local transit authority where he worked euthanizes squirrels in specially made squirrel ovens. It's gotten to the point where we have to say "you're lying, aren't you?" to get him to stop.

Well, I think that's everything...hope you had a Merry Christmas, and have a great new year. All you other guys out there in RPGamerland have a good new year, too.
Robust Stu

ANDREW
My Christmas was indeed merry. Happy New Year to you, too!


FFTA and clarification


Cast,

I agree with what you said the other day about FFTA being made to play in short bursts. However, I believe it is also lacking one other extremely important thing: A PLOT. The plot it has is so extremely simplistic and dimensionless. The characters who are supposed to be important, including Marche, say a line or two here and there and that's all. I don't empathize with them because they aren't developed. It's very uncharacteristic of a Square game, especially a "sequel" to the first Final Fantasy Tactics. That game had a plot so confusing most humans couldn't quite comprehend what was going on. There's got to be a happy medium between excessive story and no story at all. The gameplay is FFTA's redeeming grace... it's really good at that. Still, I could never stand to play it in a car (especially if I was driving). That screen is just too small.

ANDREW
Which is why Nintendo invented the GBA player, but anyway, yeah. The utter lack of plot is kind of silly, and the lines the characters do spout seem like a jarring reminder of the badly translated spell chants from FFT, rather than anything resembling a plot. Add to that the fact that the lines are interchangeable depending upon which character leads a party, and well, you get exactly the situation you've described.

On another note... sorry if I came across as excessively rude in my rebuke of Kupomogli the other day. I actually wasn't expecting you to print that letter... it was more of a "For Andrew Only" sort of thing, rather than to be put in the column. But regardless... I meant what I said, but I'm not a jerk. It's just that I was so frustrated after reading his last letter that I couldn't help myself. There's rambling with a point, and there's rambling that's just plain annoying. I'm sure he might be a fine guy, but his rantings are meaningless. He needs to start up a blog out there somewhere. Just like every other weblog in existence, no one will read it or care about it, but at least he'll feel important... and the loyal readers to RPGamer Q&A won't have to put up with it.

ANDREW
I apologize if you didn't want that printed, but I have received similar complaints before, and so I posted it. You know what, though, you're right about that weblog idea. To that end, I have taken the liberty of creating one for kupo, at LJ, which I will update anytime I receive one of his rambly, unprintable letters. If you want, Andrew, you can just update it yourself; just ask for the login info and it's yours. To ensure that people can always read it if they want to, I'm going to link it from the sidebar, so hopefully this will make everyone happy.

Other than that, I really don't have anything to complain about with your column. So yeah, rock on. Hope you had a great Christmas, and have a Happy New Year. Or in politically correct terms, I hope you had a satisfactory non-demoninational gift-giving holiday and urge you to responsibly enjoy the ringing-in of the new year represented by the Western calendar but which does not reflect the New Year of other cultures or religions. Man, it's hard to talk in the world today.

Seth

ANDREW
Only if you actually run into somebody who buys into all that crap, which by and large does not seem to happen too often around here. A Happy New Year to you as well, at any rate.


The Good Ship Lollipop? Have you been watching Shirley Temples videos?


Castina,

I did have a whole page, like usual, written for today's column. But, because the internet is a bitch, I lost it all. Your letter was erased because of the damned thing. But since I'm an insomniac, I'll write you another one. Is it hypocritical if someone plays a game that they despised two weeks ago? Septerra Core has beckoned me to dig into it's dark core filled with darkness and lollipops. Sweet, SWEET lollipops. How I would love to just lick thy...HEY! Don't steal those!! We need them to get aboard the Good Ship Lollipop, where we'll search for the missing crown jewel of civilization as we know it. Then the gravity field will lift, and we'll sail all the way to the moon. On said moon, we'll find Dubya's future ranch, complete with Dick Cheney operating room! I knew that you have been harboring cows up in your room, I KNEW it! You have played your hand very well, my sometimes evil friend, stealing a dairy farmer's identity and forcing Grandmama to churn the butter. O.o Regardless, it seems kupomogli has gotten unpopular lately. Poor, poor kupo. Why would anyone want to stab..I mean, try to belittle him for all his hard charity work with the nuns? The things that boy comes up with.. Enough about kupo, I hereby declare that Thursday's topic will be Shroudie, and only Shroudie!! Send your love letters, fanfics, and all your money to Cast, to appease The Great One!

Yes, I am that shexy,

O' Shrouded One

ANDREW
Well, if it is hypocritical, then I'll be hopping aboard theGood Ship Two-Faced instead of the Lollipop the second I pop in FFX-2, so I'm really not the one to ask about this. As for your proposed topic, I'm not so sure that's such a great idea, but you can co-host if you like, since I haven't had anyone over in a while.


Newsies, doing what they do best: anything but news


Muh-muh-muh-my, Cuh-Casto-

Remember a few days back when I wrote in and proclaimed my new-found hatred for Yuna from only seeing the opening movie? Well, let's just say I've gained a tiny bit of respect back after playing it a bit further. You might too, given the chance.

But then I played further, and that's why I only said "a tiny bit". I don't wanna spoil the exciting and detailed plot (Pffft!), so I'll just say that's not her only performance...

ANDREW
Oh, goody.

And now to FF:AC. Oh yummy yummy. Ahem, anyhow, I'm glad their actually giving us some plot info, so we're not all going "Gee golly! He's fightin' that guy who SO is Sephiroth! Or maybe he's not. No, wait..." and so on and so forth.

ANDREW
Hmm... judging by that first letter and now this, I'd say Square's former love of evil empires has been replaced by a love of clones and clone mayhem, especially if FF's VII, IX, and X-2 are any indication.

- Quistis Chick

P.S. OMG! u told us whut sexx G00gle iz yezterdai!!!!!! OMG!!1!!!!!!! FAINT!!!! ^_^

ANDREW
Err.. I told everyone what Google's name was back in August, with the help of some readers who kept insisting that he was Ben Matlock, for some reason, so divulging that he's a he isn't terribly shocking ^^


"I was very good this Christmas..."


Heh heh, bet you took one look at the subject line and thought this email was a pr0n spam nyo! :) But really, I was so good, I got DDR Konamix and a dance pad. It's so fun. Fitness mode is the best, I'm gonna do it every day before I go back up to school. And for my own present to myself (heck, I get them for me all the time) I got the Squeenix rerelease of Final Fantasy Anthology.

(FF Anthology and FF Chronicles: available now at Best Buy! Or at least the one in Salem, NH.)

ANDREW
Wow... you consider FFA to be a gift? You are brave. As for the spam factor: to be honest, I base my suspicions on email addresses/names rather than subject lines. For some reason that I can't possibly figure out, a large percentage of you guys have email addies that involve either Japanese/Japanese-sounding names, VG characters and game names, or "@aol.com", and since I don't get much AOL-based spam hereabouts for whatever reason, I usually suspect all three of being genuine mail. And oddly enough, they usually are.

There were some FF7 character goods, most notably a Shinra logo wallet that I saw at Animate when I was in Japan last semester. It would be so cool if they put out UFO dolls of the minor characters. I'd take my Onii-sama to bed and run over the rest of them with my car. (I'll let everyone guess who my Onii-sama is.)

Bucket Mouse

ANDREW
Well, since I'm not sure what you mean by Onii-sama, I'll just back away quietly looking spooked. Actually, that's mostly because a good percentage of the quickies below are really -_- questions.


YOU 'DREW
QUICKIE I
whats P2P ???

Andrew:
Well, here's somebody who RIAA won't be targetting, unless he has KaZaa and doesn't even know what type of program it is. To you, my clueless friend, P2P stands for "peer-to-peer", which is the method through which programs such as the aforementioned KaZaa allow users to exchange files.

QUICKIE II
I am playing the fist Shadow Hearts game
and i am in the cannible village and i have the torch and the metal vessal but i dont know what to do . all my charaters are up to level 10 and i just recieved the water fusion but i dont know how to smoke the cat person out.
Please help

Andrew:
I'm afraid I'm not the person to ask this question. I suggest asking Google, who is a big fan of Shadow Hearts and probably knows more about this game than any lousy FAQ could tell you.

QUICKIE III
Hello,
Ive been playing RPGs and found them my favorite type of games. Some say RPGs are linear or non-linear. One game i have on reserve now is Fable, and it is a non-linear video game. I have no idea what that is?

Andrew:
Here's a piece of advice you should always call to mind when you don't know what a word means: look at the word. In this case, we have "non-linear". Now, "non" means "not", and linear means "like a line". Thus, if you take it literally, it means the game is not like a line. Since this is an abstract term, you can probably guess what part of the game is being referred to, but just in case you can't, it's the plot. Therefore, Fable does not follow a set series of quests or events, but instead leaves it up to you, the player, to decide what order in which to complete events. Other examples of non-linear games include Legend of Mana and Star Ocean: the Second Story. A linear game, meanwhile, would be something like FFX.

QUICKIE IV
I want to know how in the hell
are you supposed to beat the game with a battle every minute? You can hardly go any where and everything is boring [snoor]. It's changed I hate it.

Andrew:
Well, perhaps if you keep praying to Snoor, your wish will be granted and FFX-2 will suddenly turn into the uber-easy RPG you want it to become. Then again, you're the first person to make this complaint, so maybe you should either just cut the whining and suck it up, or go play another game, since nobody's forcing you to play this one.



DA LAST GRUMBLE

Wow. That miserable pack of quickies has completely soured me on 2003. Bring on the new year, and make it snappy! As for me, I will indeed be coming at you, live tomorrow, and while I may be drunk as a skunk, or hung over as a... drunken skunk, I promise to give you all the best and maybe a breath mint too. I can smell you from here, you know. Wait a second... that's me! Ugh. Well, Shroudie may or may not be along, so be sure to title your letters accordingly. For tomorrow, let us share tales of New Yearses past. Bonus points if they involve RPGs or burning your house down!

castomel@rpgamer.com
Andrew Long has to dress up like a penguin tonight thanks to his troublesome friends.

I'LL PROVIDE THE ANSWERS, YOU PROVIDE THE

QUESTIONS


Semi-formal? In THAT house? HA!



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