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  Ask Cheshire Catalyst  

   The Day Pittsburgh-3 stood still  
Chris Martin - September 22 '01- 2:00 Eastern Standard Time

I used my feet more today than I have for the past twenty-one years of my life. Jogging with friends along the lake (one of which is named Steve. Brad knew a lot of people named Steve. Just a side-note for all you conspiracy theorists out there) is a good way to stay in shape. Provided, the shape you're thinking of is a horizontal position on the floor, clutching your calves in horrible pain, and begging passerbys for Tylenol. Second wind my hairless, slovak ass.

New student week is great if you're not a new student. An entire week to get your stuff together and go to parties. Parties just aren't the same in college, though. No paper hats, no cake, no goddamn Voltron goodie bags. What the hell kind of parties are these? One interesting piece of news, however.

Remember back over Labor day when hell froze over because Cowboy Bebop aired on Carton Network sans the standard Anime-on-TV mangling? It seems hell had just enough time to thaw before it froze over again tonight. You see, I actually talked to a girl at the party. Cute too. So, if you'll forgive my uncharacteristically optomistic self, let's get on with the column.

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It looks like Tenchi finally wrote in.

hey whats up?
I've never written in before but I read Q&A just about everyday. I remember one time you encouraged us to write in about life in general, well, thats a great idea! so thats just what I'm gunna do. besides, for some reason, I feel better asking a complete stranger about this anyway. okay here we go

1. I'm at that point nowadays where I feel like I need someone to really care about me. but at the same time, if I do get a girlfriend, all the other girls are gone. I have lots of lady friends and I love each and every one of them, and to not be able to flirt with them anymore is a big pill to swallow! but like I said, I'm looking for "the one" and I just cant seem to pick! please help me out with this one! by the way, I'm a senior in high school incase you were wondering.

2. I was also wondering, which do you think is the most delicious looking rpg? I'd have to say mario rpg, with the kerokocola and yoshi cookies, mmmm..... even the cricket jam sounds good! if not that, it'd have to be paper mario, they even have a cook who makes great looking food for you!

well thanks for your time
-JD

Cheshire Catalyst:
1. First, let me remind you that pretty much everyone on earth would like to be in a loving relationship. It can be one of the best feelings in the world (which is why so many songs are written about it. That and booty.) Looks like you've got a bevy of platonic friends there. Go ahead and take one out on a date. I've taken female friends out on dates before, and they can be fun since you don't have to spend the whole night trying to impress her. She already knows you (also, she probably already knows if she'd like to go out with you too.) Flirting can be fun, but if you wanna be serious with somebody, you owe it to her not to.
One important thing. Don't get in a relationship just for the sake of being in one. Even if you want one, it's just not going to work if she's not interested.

2. Star Ocean 2. Damn, there's a lot of food in that game. Claude likes Steak. Mmmm. Hell, cooking is a big part of the game. Even dishes like "Baby Rabbit Risotto" are in there. "Baby Rabbit Risotto." Jesus, Celina, what's the matter with you? Were they out of "Kitten Chow Mein" and "Puppy puu puu platter" at the store? I don't care how many HP the damn thing restores. Don't eat animals that often find themselves on hallmark cards and precious moments statues.

 
Three sides to every story?

Hey Catalyst,

First off, my thanks goes out to the column for answering my question in its last update. I had been pondering over the issue of late, and it's nice to get some outside opinion.

Secondly, and more importantly (though in all probability, not any more interesting), my question:

There's been a lot of talk lately concerning the up-and-coming, highly anticipated (by me anyway; to each his own) "Suikoden III." In the first two installments to the series, and as many have fore noted, the abundance of playable characters seemed to hinder the lengths to which said characters were discussed and detailed. In the upcoming title, three different playable points of view to what will undoubtedly be one massive event would in all likelihood grant more of an opportunity to develop secondary characters. Do you think, as I do, that the minds behind this series are attempting to conjure new strategies towards more extensive character development?

Whether or not my hunch is true, we'll all know when the game finally arrives. I hope it is true, because as mentioned earlier to some degree, some of the past "Suikoden" characters were flatter than a pancake under Ed MacMahon. My expectations are flying high with this third chapter, and if I'm let down, I'll personally give "The Hero" a McDohl-style beating.

- Lyniad

Cheshire Catalyst:
I never really liked the whole "Gotta catch 'em all!" style of Chrono Cross and Suikoden II. I'd rather have a dozen well crafted and well written characters than two hundred little cliche's. ("I am a fighter! I am strong!", "I am an uppity mage! Ho ho ho!", "I am a dark and mysterious thief. Also, a loner")
I really like the whole "three-perspecives" idea. Especially in a game about war. Because, let's face it, no side in a war ever sits around saying, "Boy, we're evil. Evil evil evil. Everything was going fine until we decided to march into our neighboring country. Why? We're evil, damnit! Naughty and evil." If there's one thing about war, it's that any action, no matter how heinous and dispicable, can be rationalized by its perpetrators. I'd really like to see that explored in an RPG. I think it'd make a damn good story.

 
My ship works when I kick it....

Welcome back, CC. Hope you had a good time vacationing.
Guess which episode of Cowboy Bebop I watched before I wrote this letter?
(Hint: It's the only episode with an insane Victorian-style assassin.)
20 eps down, 6 more to go...I'm not sure my eyes can stand this much goodness.

Now, itemized in no particular order is my rambling letter:

1. I just borrowed Suikoden 2 from a friend, and it is rocking my small world. Question is, am I missing anything by not playing Suikoden 1 first?

2. I know it's a non-RPG question, but speaking of Konami games, in Metal Gear Solid, there's supposed to be a gag when fighting Psycho Mantis : he reads your memory card, and comments on any Konami games he finds on it. Does he notice either of the Suikoden games?

3. In reference to your old issues, Grandia is goofy - that's what makes it great. Two kids who play make-believe actually end up saving the world, and having one of the best darn end sequences ever, despite the Resident-Evil quality voice acting. Oh, and a really good battle system, too.

4. What, to you, are the best 3 books of Preacher? (I'm slowly collecting them after having read all of a friend's copies). Until the End of the World, Proud Americans, and Salvation are my favorites. Hillbillies, racists and rednecks + angry Texan preacher with holy power = bad guys you can scoop up and put in a bag.

5. Here's an RPG cliche' that few people seem to notice: How often do heroes get knocked unconscious? It happens multiple times in a single game, as if the game scripters say, "There might be a chance they could escape our forced plot point!" What's the deal? Are heroes born with soft , pumpkin-like heads that can be clonked on easily from behind?

6. Finally, if you have not already done so, see Memento. Multiple times. I will not spoil it for you by describing it here, but suffice it to say you won't be disappointed.

And there's my schizophrenic diatribe.
(P.S. - I got your "SUPPLIES!" joke way back when - UHF rules).

-Johnathan "Toys In The Attic" Mason

Cheshire Catalyst:
We love Tong Pu. How about that noise he makes when he grinds his teeth? That episode also contains the best setting for a fight ever. "Spaceland" I felt a grim satisfaction when Spike accidentally shot that Goofy look alike. (Who, in the English dub, has Goofy's voice. Too funny.)
1. Not really. Suiko 2 will read your original save if you've played the original. It'll name your hero McDohl and some other possible things, but II's story is self-contained. Just sit back and enjoy.
2. I think he might notice the original. "Ahh, I see you are crap at Suikoden."
3. Yeah, it's a fun game. The sequel's pretty decent too.
4. Those are some nice selections, but I'd have to add "Alamo." Unfortunatly, I don't know which one to drop for it. Damn.
5. Yes, this usually occurs shortly after the obligatory "impossible boss" battle. Heroes are beaten, and for some insane reason, the guy doesn't kill you. He just let's you get stronger so you can kick his ass later. What a maroon!
6. It sounds good. Looks like a trip to Blockbuster is in order.

 
Hardcore gamers. That's like "Extreme Monopoly" or "Ultimate Girl Scout cookie selling"

Hi (monks choke on overused gimmick) CHESH

I'm curious. I often see people in positions of gaming authority (and their self-proclaimed "hardcore" followers) mentioning how easy various games are -- usually those series which have received a great deal of attention. Is this just gaming elitism masquerading by another name, or is it a valuing of the now arcane game mechanic of endless character building? It seems to me that the games proclaimed easy are often those which are also the best balanced, keeping the player from having to take an inordinate amount of time in between plot points, gearing up for the next battle or saving up enough money to equip the latest weapons and armor (anyone remember walking around trying to earn enough money for a Full Plate in DW1? CC: God, yes.). And even with this careful pacing, even the easiest game has its challenges -- requiing extra devotion to master the game, but not necesarily to proceed with it. Or do you think that the issue is of somethign else entirely? Am I mistaking something of substance for merely another manifestation of our fragile gamer egos? Is it not just another way for us to perpetuate a myth of superiority over "casual" gamers?

Thanks,
FF

Cheshire Catalyst:
Sometimes, the challenge isn't there, and it's not always in the form of levelling-up. Puzzles, treasure hunting, and even actual role-playing (Do I turn on the charisma here, or do I just try and act like a bad-ass?) are other ways you can increase the challenge of an RPG. Games HAVE gotten easier over the past few years, mostly due to the push by the game companies into the mainstream media.

Sadly, the elitism is there. Part of all this "Hardcore" stuff. I never really understood what that meant. "Hardcore Video Gaming" easily translates to spending entire decades on your ever-widening butt. If it's your hobby, cool. If it's your favorite hobby, great! Just don't try and make other people feel like crap just because they prefer downhill bus racing to Grandia II.

 
Scary, ain't it?

Hey (monks sing) CHRIS MAR-TIN

I wonder what your characters have done over the summer? Also what is you opinion on Kingdom Hearts since it's now looking like a demented crossover fanfic. Also I cackle at the mental image of Luca Blight, Dilandau, and the Stay-Puft Marshmallow. Just picture Luca and Dilandau laughing maniacally while setting a giant marshmallow on fire.
Imperial Mog

Cheshire Catalyst:
The staff went out to Dairy Queen tonight and didn't tell me. Assholes. Here's what they've been up to.

Prof. Cranium: Still doing super secret experiments for the government. Which government, I have no idea. I think I caught him watching "Mama's Family" once, but he threw acid on me, so I can't be sure.
Queen Beryl: Having given up on ol' what's-her-name, she's crafted a devious plan to thwart the mailman. She worked for three days creating an elaborate trap, which sadly failed when Queen Nehelenia accidentally spilled an entire can of diet Shasta on it. So, instead, she clawed him to death and stole his sack. Now SHE has ALL the mail.
Mega Man: Sadly, the 2nd amendment doesn't include personal plasma launchers, so his arm was severed and replaced with a foam ball launcher.
Everyone else just kinda sleeps all day in a field of magical strawberries and bunnies.



Quickies

I really want to but a new copy of the working designs Lunar 2 EBC guide, but their website says its sold out... is there anywhere (other than e-bay) that i could find one?

-OneWingedAngelVI

-1220

I guess it would be cold of me to say that I bought it and it's hilarious. Check the local game/book stores. If it's popular enough, they might consider re-printing.

Hey Chesh,

How's it going? I'm a reader that's been around since the good ol' days back when this was square.net (not saying this isn't a good time :) I've never written into the Q&A at all! But I have a single question. Other than Kartia, are there any games based on cards? Also not including games based on card games. Thanks a bunch!

-Jacon Fireborn

That's a tough question, dude. Most cards involve games. I suppose Ogre Battle would be one. You cast spells and affect the world map by collecting tarot cards.

If you happen to talk to Mr. Google , tell him he ain't as cool as he thinks.

Sady, Google desn't think she's that cool. If Google's actually less cool, then his self esteem is gonna just plummet. Such a sad revelation.

The Last Laugh:


So late...

See you tomorrow.

chesh "A goodbye that came too soon" @rpgamer.com
Jooooooooooooooooooooooeeeeeeeeeee!

Old Issues
  • Old Suikoden
  • Dragon Warrior.
  • I wanted a diet coke, but not anymore.
   Have a question? Ask CC  
New Issues
  • New Suikdoen
  • My legs hurt.
  • I think I'll have a pretzel.


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