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Andrew Long- September 9 '03- 2:39 Eastern Standard Time

So anyway, I hear there's this game called Final Fantasy Tactics Advance coming out tomorrow that everyone is apparently willing to kill their families to acquire, and I mean that in the strictly plural sense - anyone who doesn't have at least two extra families they can do away with in exchange for material goods is obviously missing out on something the rest of us can achieve with tireless ease and minimal guilt since if we've got at least a couple of extra families we probably don't love, like that batch of magpies I have roosting in my rafters which I really need to sic a gecko on or something then there's sure to be no qualms at all.

Yes, FFTA will likely result in the end of my academic career as I know it, which is probably not the worst thing that could happen given that said career has been precipitously declining in recent years with the introduction of such stimulae as "freedom of choice" "money to spend unwisely" and "Warcraft III" into my daily sphere of influence, which once included the grain trading board in Uzbekistan for some reason, possibly because I won an email sweepstakes run by the Russian mob.

Speaking of the Russian mob, wouldn't gangster be a cool character class for a T-RPG? Their skills could be crap like "Extort" and "I busta you face" and if you leveled them up really high they'd require some sort of stereotypical spaghetti upkeep, which would then enable them to grant wishes on this, the day of their daughter's wedding. That would, of course, somewhat limit the usefulness of a Don, but then again that Corneo slickster wasn't much of a character, except where the ladies were concerned (wink, wink).

Now that my left eye no longer has a wasp in it, I guess we should get on with the column. My poorly concealed threats have led to a doubling in letters, while the number addressed to the other Andrew have declined by half. I should offer to break knuckles more often!

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What's Andrew reading this week?
All Families are Dysfunctional, by Douglas Coupland
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F-Zero GX

 
Consarn it.. he's hitting on me again!

Dearest Andrew =P,

1. Got Disgaea? The time it took me to write this letter to you is one of few precious minutes I can successfully pry myself away from that game. It's just so dang addicting! One of the reasons is probably because the battles are really quick, just barely half the time it takes to finish an FFT battle. Plus the battle system is one of the most unique and original I've seen in years. Those, and Etna's just one hot demoness, but that's besides the point. I haven't played an addicting SRPG since FFT, and if you like that sort of thing, you should be out there finding this little game. I'm pretty sure I got one of the staff members addicted to this.

Officially, I've sold my soul to the devil. Laharl, that is. Join us, don't be afraid....

Andrew:
As those crazy chemists say, my limiting reagent is lack of a PS2. While I'm working on that situation, a concerted lack of money is dragging me down, so unless you've just won the lottery and have an extra kicking about somewhere, it'll be awhile yet - assuming I don't just decide to forego things like living in a house and buy a PS2.

2. And speaking of SRPG's, I still can't get a copy of FFTA. A lot of people told me how addicting the game is, though they say it's a tad bit on the easy side. One of the things I liked about the original was that there's a challenge in every battle you fought (without Orlandu that is). Some called FFTA a "dumbing down" of FFT. What do you think?

Andrew:
I think it's dumber still to say anything about a game that hasn't been released yet, regardless of how many illegal pharmaceutical copies may be circulating about on this here internet.

3. After seeing that you had barely anything to put in here, I guess I decided to send you a letter out of the goodness that is my black heart. Maybe if you didn't post so many long ramblings about silly little things... =P

--MeoTwister5
Gabe "Is such a nice guy!" Ang

Andrew:
Damn.. Those first impressions really do stick. After that Rabid P Gamer fellow tore a strip off my hide and I got to realizing doing 26 giant responses to 26 letters daily gave me really bad Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and bad breath, I sort of inadvertantly slimmed down my response sizes, for the most part. Still, I do reserve the right to occasionally go on at length - I mean, it's not like I don't care bout nothing at all, after all. Like grammar for instance - I love it so much that I do it unthinkable abuse at every given opportunity. Except there. That was pretty grammatical.

 
It's HSUP, duderino... Although that by no means justifies saying "duderino"

"TCELES B SSERP"
Ahhh, those wacky brooms. In Mayota's cave. In FF1. ...wacky.

Well, this weekend I found myself rolling around on the ground after something very stupid my friend said. I see you were mugged by people on bikes with a cap gun.
Let's call it even. And LoK: Defiance needs to come sooner, dammit.

-Rich

Andrew:
Two lousy weekends do not a good weekend make. Also, ~~~, since we have extra unawarded tildes stemming from rudy's brush with the law and last week's obsession with Zero Wing, as opposed to MMBN, where our trick question originated. Hmm... On second thought, what's this "SSERP" business? You're lucky the only requirement for tilde awards is to actually guess where the quote came from, or you'd be losing on a technicality here :L

 
Now that's dedication to plumbing through my archives!

Hello (kittens sing) Aaaan-Drreeeww,

So you only got five letters yesterday huh? Blech. I'd send more regularly, but um, I usually don't know what to say, or even how to say it. I kinda like to stop and think about things before I open my mouth to really say how I feel on a topic, so I think I'm about ready for some of the old topics to come out, hey, it's something to read about, isn't it?

Star Trek vs Star Wars: I'm sorry to all the War fans, but I'm gonna have to be a Trekkie here. The coolest guy was um, the bald captain who went on to become Prof. Xavier in X-Men. He ran an awesome ship, an' the characters in that series were fun and really a blast to watch and see how things happened. Besides, they have a bit more technology then a glowing sword. They had a HOLODECK. I mean, what's cooler than THAT!?

Andrew:
Psshh... Holodecks.. Only Barclay really knew what to do with those, and his fantasy Troy and Dr. Crusher were hella scary, so even he doesn't get any credit in the end.

First RPG: My first one was the original Final Fantasy, but I had NO clue what I was doing, so RPG's fell into the back of my "To Play" list until my parents got me Final Fantasy Legend 2. We were going on a long summer vacation, and they gave me that to keep me quiet, and it worked. Being clueless as to how most of it worked, I feel rather proud of myself, except for the fact I got all the way to the end, and was so under-powered that I couldn't beat the last boss. *sobs* Can someone PLEASE explain to me just what the Alert skill actually DID in that game?!

Andrew:
Having looked through a reasonably comprehensive FAQ, I'll have to go with "no" on that one, which I'm hoping will spur the more sanctimonious - I mean, helpful - among my dear readers to deluge me with email informing me just exactly what it does. I warn you though - I won't print any responses that aren't condescending, so break out your superiority complexes! The things I do for fun...

So now I'm just waiting on DDRMAX2 to come out, followed by dear sweet Half-Life 2. Because I don't have a lot of money, so I'm kinda stuck on getting a lot of games. (kinda like the guy yesterday who's 19 with no job an' evil parents, I'm in the same boat. Was fired a month ago, have unemployment coming in, and my parents are taking half of what I get, only my other half covers food for the house AND my gas, so that leaves me about...50 cents, which they then put into some kinda plastic bottle all taped and glued shut that has "Vacation Monee" written all over it. *sighs*)

On to more video-gamish things, I've just recently traded in some games at one of the local EBX's and now am a proud owner of Metroid Prime and Final Fantasy Tactics. My sister's fiancee has Metroid Prime addiction now, as he's always here playing the game forever, so I can't exactly tell anyone anything about the game besides the fact it is just GORGEOUS. And as for FFT...um....I do believe I'm going to be needing help with that game. A LOT of help. Because strategy games are NOT my cup of tea. So why'd I buy it? To try to learn how to get good at strategy games. LOL Yeah, crazy, but what better way, right? So I might be sending in some FFT questions every so often for ya :o)

So Andrew...do you like to read? Any favorite books to speak of? Anything you're waiting with bated breath for? For anyone looking for a good solid fantasy series, check out Dennis McKiernan's work. That man is amazing. Eye of the Hunter was the first book to really WOW me, and I re-read it now about once a year. (which is great for me, since it usually takes me about 10 years before I can re-read anything. Once I know the plot, I leave 'em alone) I'm also patiently waiting for the next part of Stephen King's Gunslinger series to hurry up and get out to stores. I'm not a huge fan of his horror stuff, but this is a REALLY good epic he's got going on. And it's not the random fill a book with 600 pages of nothing that doesn't move some obscure huge plot thread forward as we read about characters, this MOVES (Sorry Terry Goodkind, but if you don't MOVE YOUR SERIES yer gonna lose me next book).

Yeah, so I figure this should be a nice enough letter for ya :o) So is there any advice for just starting out in Tactics? Besides praying? Anything will be nice to hear.

Hope that you get more letters today!

~PhoenixAngel

Andrew:
Books, you ask? Kurt Vonnegut owns my soul, and I have a grudging respect for Margaret Atwood and Margaret Laurence, though I find books by either to be terribly depressing. Hunter S. Thompson is also pretty entertaining to read, and there's a couple of other authors I've been forced upon that aren't too bad, although I can't quite remember their names. In a more leisurely sense, I'm waiting for the fourth entry in George R. R. Martin's forever series - you know, the one that keeps taking him forever to write because he just had to unfurl a giant ball of a thousand characters or so and then make me care about every single one of them. I suppose it's his TV training - he must've been in soap operas or something, cuz that's pretty much how those books are set up. I also like Tad Williams and David Eddings, although I do wish the latter would come up with a plot every so often.

Finally: I haven't played FFT in a while, so my only advice is to test out the different classes to see what you like and then go with that. Specific questions I can probably deal with since I got stuck on almost every even remotely difficult battle in the game.

 
Hey, don't be dissing my boxers!

Castomel, WOOOOO!!!

Today, I feel all sick and like crap. Gotta hate allergies season in western NY....blah!! This, of course, makes school suck REAL bad. Try sitting through 3 periods of english, physics, and us history at the end of the day, while constantlly running out of the room in search of tissues. (which is quite similar to like Andrew Dangerous' journey to find the Jade Whiskey...) Man, you wouldnt know how hard it is to search for a stupid box of tissues!

On to the topic that is extened to today!!!! Actually, I'm looking foraward to but FF Tactics Advanced IF I get a GB Advanced for my birthday this thursday... WOOO! I also put on my list FF Anthology and Chronices. Old titles, but I'd figure I'd get them just so I can play them legally! (+ FFVI is a GREAT game!!)

Hmmmm..I think I'd take a "mugging" from stupid kids then be sick right now... Heey, if I was with ya, I could've sneezed at them!! That would be fun, but I don't think I'd want to see your boxers...you never know though.

Til' we mug again,
O' Shrouded One
(16 on the 11th!!!)

Andrew:
For the love of all that is good and holy, don't do it! Don't get FFA, lest you regret bitterly your foolish actions. Besides mauling Final Fantasy VI horribly, it doesn't do much justice to V either, and if you're looking to play FFVI legally, just suck it up and buy the SNES version, or wait for the inevitable handheld remake that will surely come one day, or so I keep telling myself. As for five - well, if I was just a little more loose with facts, I'd say you'd be better off learning Japanese and importing.

Finally, I would in fact know about your difficulties involving tissues, as I've just spent the past three weeks cheerfully investigating the feasibility of a portable flamethrower which I can use to destroy every goldenrod plant I come across. Do you know how hard it is to hit on people at parties when you've got kleenex hanging from your nose?

Ah, well. Happy almost birthday :)

 
The title time forgot

Hello again Andrew,

Can hardly ever pass up a plea for letters, so here's something to ease your somethingsomething. Please don't write about patios and Dumpsters, unless it's as funny as your vaguely homoerotic mugging story. Thanks. ^_^

You seem to've recovered from the mugging fairly well. Those guys can't be the brain trust of the criminal world, then again I get the impression you guys weren't entirely in the sharpest frame of mind either. If it was me I'd, to say the least, not have seen the humor in it, but that might be a gender thing.

Andrew:
Well, it wasn't like I was laughing in their faces when they first showed up, but after their scheme fell apart like a cheap tent, it was pretty hard to keep a straight face. Then again, I was more pissed off than I was amused, so it took me awhile to look upon the situation with equanimity.

My current most anticipated game is FFTA, but considering it won't be "anticipated" by the time this letter would be posted, I'll have to think of something else.

Gladius is one: I haven't played a tactical RPG whose origin was anywhere but Japan, so that'll be something different, and I'll be happy if there's an interesting story and some challenge to it. The Xbox demo of it I played at the store was pretty cool. It was fun to maneuver characters that didn't look like sprite blobs on scenery that didn't look like grid squares. Nothing against sprite blobs or grid squares, of course...I do love 'em, honest. I'm miffed that the GC version of Gladius comes out a month after the other two systems' versions. Now I'm torn between my desire to support third-party GC titles and my impatience to play the game!

I'll sink myself deep into the mires of populist scummery by saying I'm also looking forward to FFX-2.

You mentioning FFIX's pseudo ATB system made me wonder, because I've always set my FF games to "wait." "Wait" only goes into effect when you're selecting items or magic, as I recall. So is there a real difference, or even an advantage, to choosing ATB for real instead?

Beth.

Andrew:
Well, Active makes you feel like more of a real man, but I doubt that's much of a concern for you, so not really, no.

 
Damn... I didn't realize how desperate I sounded for letters yesterday o.o

I figured since you were begging for more letters that I'd send you one.

Recently I've been playing Neverwinter Nights and I have noticed one thing. These chests are harder to bash than the first few enemies you fight. What are they made of, ironwood? Most of the attacks I send towards them are absorbed immediately. My dark elf ranger (Xelkar Taruk) can't even bash in most chests with an axe and a long sword! Of course, he's only at level 3 (hey, I just started the game).

The next expansion to that game is going to focus on the Underdark, and it will bring the level limit from 20 to 40. I'm looking forward to picking that one up.

Japan's gluttation of video games make me want to live there, but American's propensity to speaking the english language is higher, so I'd rather live here. If I could speak Japanese, there would still be the issue of employment. I don't know the Japanese job market. The lack of respect for video games make me want to cringe.

I'm hoping that was the right topic for ya (that last paragraph).

So bye...
...
...
...
...What are you still doing here?

Oh, yeah, this is a Q&A column.

Ok, I was wondering if there would be an issue with me working in Japan? You know, me being American and all. Would I have a chance?

What was the dumbest idea for a video game and why?

-Peppermonkey

Andrew:
The only issue would be you not working - I think you can get a working visa for a year provided you can line up employment, barring which you'd need some sort of educational pretense or citizenship of some description. The dumbest idea for a video game ever would have to go to Rhapsody because nobody wants to go see a musical anymore, much less play one. Well.. Except that tuinte character who used to work here... He'll watch any movie.

 
Not-so subliminal advertising is fun

Hello, Andrew L.;

Maybe this will start some discussion. We are always talking about what we do and do not like about the various games we buy, rent and play. What do we like and dislike about the console (and PC) systems we use? For example, I like the PS2 because of the tray load CD, which is very space conscious, as opposed to all those top-loaders. I really like the comfortable design of the 'Cube controller. I think they should make a wide-body (wide-screen?) edition of the GameBoy, for those of us with big hands. The X-Box and the N64 just look chunky. Yeah, like Campbell's. Ever really think about the fact that all console controllers have the D-pad on the left, but on a Mac or PC we use the ten-key on the right? Don't you agree that they should have come up with the memory-card concept a lot sooner? "Hold reset while powering off." Sheesh. Why can't OEM controllers have eight-foot cords like the aftermarket models? Six-footers are never quite long enough. Why the hell did the NES have the line-level audio and video connections on the side?! Ain't it cool that SNES, N64, and the 'Cube all use the same AV cable? :-D Yeah, the PSX and PS2 use the same cable, too. I have no idea about the Dreamcast, as I've yet to get one, and now that Skies of Arcadia is available elsewhere, I have no real reason to buy it. Doncha wish the 'Cube played audio CDs? I really like the visualizations on my PSX when playing audio CDs (model series 7001). Should I have bulleted this, instead of one, long paragraph? :-p

Thanks for the space
-Wesley (no, not the RPGamer staff-member)

Andrew:
Now, I'm not going to claim a GC controller is less comfortable than, say, anything made by Sega or that Xbox behemoth of yore, but if you ask me the best controller ever made was the SNES pad, followed closely by the PSX dual shock. Being as how I own a grand total of two audio CDs, I could care less about whether the Cube plays them, but were I to be one of those altruistic fellows who paints pictures on sidewalks paints pictures on sidewalks paints pictures on sidewalks (sorry, the record I had when I was little always used to skip at that part, so I never did get to experience the abject horror that is Supercalafragilisticexpialladocious or however you spell it) I guess I'd have to wish so too. Finally, good idea. I'll steal it and claim it was my own, like on cartoons where a henchman would come up with an idea and then the evil bad guy would say "Hey, I know...Let's do that thing you just said" except they don't admit the other guy said it. Which is why you should buy a GameCube.

 
Why must it always be FFXI?

Ok. So Rpgamer has a thing on about Final Fantasy XI, right? So i read it and look at the screens and such. Then i go to play online and see what else i can find. Everything looks pretty good. EXCEPT.

I found nothing pertaining to subscription prices at all. (Is this handled in game-like EQ?) Upon examination of the system requirements (if they could be appropriately called that) for the PS2, i see something i dont have. a 40gigabyte Internal hard disk. Where does one aqcuire this peice of hardware? And about how much should it cost?

Thanks.
Spike

Andrew:
There's a good reason you can't find the pricing: none has been announced as of yet. The Japanese version costs $10 US a month or so, with an additional 78 cents per extra character a player keeps. As for the HD, I've seen various prices quoted, none of them terribly inviting. As for where to get it, starting with Sony's Official Site is always a good way to get the ball rolling.

Quickies

If your life was an RPG...what character would you be? I'd be...that old guy at the End of Time. Balthasar?

- Feep "I beat a staff ghost!"

I'd be Strago because I'm a grumpy old man at heart and then I could be tactless enough to destroy you for attempting to spawn such a subject as this. No, wait... I think Strago's got a heart of gold or something. Better make that... Ultimecia, because she probably has some crazy silk garments which, as I believe we've discussed, would be strictly for the purposes of comfort.

Andrew,
Ok, I haven't picked up Xenosaga or .hack//infection, and both look cool...which should I pick in your humble opinion?
Hexem

Neither... Get Disgaea. Failing that, go with Xenosaga, because .hack will result in you paying for one game four times, and it doesn't sound good enough to justify that.

In Disgaea, there's a song by a band called Tsunami Bomb. I've met them, they're sweet. The lead singer is hot. Oh baby.

See? Another reason to get Disgaea. Thanks for sharing, random insaniac.



The Final Grumble:

And so, the clock ticks down and yada blah, I sure hope I don't sleep through my classes tomorrow like I did today. The problem yesterday was my roommates were up at 8:30 yelling at each other for reasons unknown to me, suggesting I should probably murder them all as they sleep to prevent that sort of thing from happening again, although then I'd be on the hook for three thousand dollars worth of rent monthly, which means I'd never be able to get FFTA. I guess, therefore, that they get to live. But I'll be waiting, and when the time comes to strike...Then I hope you'll have sent scads of email about what you hate about your consoles, and any other topic under the sun, since tomorrow is Wednesday.

Andrew "Sword of Damocles" Long

Insert Simpson's quote I actually forgot here

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