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Justin Weiss - December 23 '01 - 4:00 Eastern Standard Time

Apparently, the second time's the charm. I ended up with a great selection of letters for the day. The topic I threw out was "Guilty Pleasures," and I guess it's time for me to confess one of mine - I really enjoyed Final Fantasy VIII. Yes, I breezed through it by abusing the junction/draw system and using only Limit Breaks, yes, I abused enc-none, yes, I beat it on a very low level, making the whole game that much easier. But, you know, the story was something I could relate to at that time in my life, the CG scenes were some of the best I've seen, anywhere, and the ending was one of the best I've experienced in recent memory. Avoiding all those random battles helped me experience the story more, too... more games should have an option like that, IMO. On to the letters!

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Guilty Pleasure #1

Hello Mr. Vortex,

I guess my guilty pleasure would be Earthbound for the SNES. I loved that game so much I would play it again as soon as I beat it. Anyway I have a question for you.

Do you think they will port Earthbound to the GBA? (I bet you saw that question coming) And better yet, A link to the past? (Also a favorite of mine)

It seems to me that as a system gets older its games get better and better at using the systems full potential to give games better graphics. Do you think the GBA will be the same, so we can expect ports of games such as Super Mario RPG?

If they port A link to the past as Zelda Advance I think I'll puke... its already getting old with the Mario Advance games. Er, question, right... um... Won't you puke too? =P

'It takes a big man to cry... But it takes a even bigger man to laugh at that man'

Earthbound... I never really got into that one as much as I'd have liked, but I really loved the humor in it. There's something about seeing a sprite with a huge smile on his face saying, "I'm feeling sad" that just kills me. I'd love to see an Earthbound or a LTTP port for the Game Boy Advance, and seeing as how Nintendo's already begun porting SNES games with the upcoming "Mario Advance 2" (Personally, I would have rather seen a SMB3 port as the next Mario Advance), I see ports of at least some of Nintendo's flagship SNES titles in the GBA's future. Link to the Past is probably a more likely candidate than Earthbound, however. I'd guess the "Zelda Advance" title would go to the first original Zelda GBA title, but I'll probably be proven wrong.

Mmmmmm, Unexplained Bacon.


Hey. I just thought I'd point out here that your sig looks like a cross between a Wormhole from Farscape, a tunnel from Sliders, and maybe the Gates from Cowboy Bebop. I like it.

Hmmm... A game that I like that no one else does... Well, I guess I better come clean. I... Yes, I... Loved Summoner! <Cactuar Joe ducks thrown tomatoes.>

Oh, I need a question answered here. Does the Lord of the Rings game have any chance of being anything other than an over-merchandised piece of marketing crap? Let's just say it's one game I'll be waiting for the reviews to come in before buying, if I buy.

-Cactuar Joe

Thanks for the sig pic compliments, but they're better directed at our fanart director (and former newsie!), Merripen, who's also responsible for the Christmas theme and (I believe) a great deal of the random graphics necessary for contests and awards. Summoner I have not had the chance to play, but I've heard from a few people that have enjoyed it, and a good deal more that haven't. It could just be an acquired taste. There was actually a Lord of the Rings game released for the SNES a while back that WAS, in fact, an over-merchandised piece of marketing crap, as well as insanely difficult, mostly because your party members would, when faced with a battle, walk directly into your enemies' swords. It wouldn't have been that big of a deal, except for the fact that if a character dies, they stay dead. Hopefully the newer ones are better, Middle-Earth would be a fantastic setting for a video game, even if it didn't follow the storyline of the books.

The Million-Dollar Question

Hey Justin,

Great having you hosting. I was wondering what constitutes an RPG. I always thought it was fighting enemies to gain experience and increase levels. That would thus exclude games like Zelda (which Nintendo considers to be an Action game). I however think that Alundra is an RPG, even though it has the same base as Zelda. What do you think classifies a game as an RPG?

Chad R. Scott

I think everyone has a different idea of what constitutes an RPG, especially in this age of mixed genres, but I personally consider an RPG a game in which a player can better himself or herself through means other than just collecting new weapons or items. I personally don't think the Zelda games constitute RPGs, though Nintendo didn't consider them Action games (unless they recategorized them while I wasn't paying attention) -- They were originally considered Adventure games, which Nintendo said were "Like action games, but involve the collection of items to make a character more powerful or versatile." I think Metroid was the original NES adventure game, the genre-definer, if you will. That's just what I remember, though.

Beyond the Sun

My guilty pleasure was Beyond the Beyond. I didn't think it was terrible.
It had good music, cool battle graphics, and looked and played like a
non-strategic Shining Force (both are by the same team). Hey.....did I just
describe Golden Sun?? Yeah. Golden Sun is is pretty much a better Beyond
the Beyond. Seriously, if you like Golden Sun, go look for Beyond the Beyond
in a bargain bin. (Hahaha. Say that 5 times fast! Hmmm. It's not that
hard, but it's funny!) Lata


My brother actually played all the way through Beyond the Beyond, and I watched him through much of it. I didn't consider it as bad as a lot of people do, but it seemed pretty uninspired and had a moral problem with giving a player any direction at all. I guess the game engine and music were pretty good, but the rest of it was seen by us as just one more RPG to hold us over until FF7 came out. Of course, as soon as we picked up the first Suikoden, we sold Beyond the Beyond, and I don't really miss it. You're right about Golden Sun, though... If Beyond the Beyond had had a better story and the quirks worked out of it, it might have become a fairly good game.

Bargain Bin

yes, many of the more fun games i've played have been picked up at that mythical bargain bin of fun at my local EB. take "guardian's crusade" for example. a wonderful game with some interesting elements and simple graphics that was scorned and overlooked by many thanks to it's kiddy theme. sure, i can see why people would ignore a game featuring a giant pink blob thing that follows you around, but the game tried to achieve a nifty dynamic between the two. you could send the little pet out to find you items, and then (depending on the results of his search) could ignore, praise, or punish him. it was like a tamagochi RPG. you had to feed him treats, keep him happy, and so forth in order to keep him attacking his enemies in battle in stead of turning on you. at the time of it's release (97 i believe) it had a good graphics system, using fully-3D environments on the PSX, with character models using the flat polygonial look with single color shaded surfaces. imagine FF7 with 3D backgrounds and you've got a decent idea of what this game looked like. personally, the graphics did an excellent job portraying the "kiddy" theme of the game. i personally liked the game, even though the relationship between you and your pet was a bit rough to predict sometimes.


I love bargain bins. Best Buy has a rack of $9.99 computer games in the front of the games section, and I always stop there before I leave, and picked up such gems as Septerra Core (bundled with Shogo, another fun, short game), The Curse of Monkey Island, Grim Fandango, and Alpha Centauri. It's a great opportunity to pick up games you might have missed or games you wouldn't play enough for them to be worth $50, and once I show people that GOOD games can actually be found in bargain bins, they're hooked.

It's... MADNESS!

I enjoyed the game Shadow Madness. Everyone hated that game, and I understand where they're coming from, but it has it's strong points too. I love the way the characters respond to each other. The story is prolly more suited to be a novel, but it was worth playing through. Yeah, the battle systems sucks...but that made it easy to breeze through the game.
-Nigel Strife

Hm, I never got around to playing that one. Of course, I'm becoming increasingly more fond of games that I can breeze through, while still experiencing a good story - it's the consequence of a more hectic lifestyle.

Where's the Pole?

Greetings (Googleshng sings) THE VOR-TEX
I have to wish everyone a Happy Festivus. I wonder what grievences do you
have to air this year? I got a big grievence for the people who mess my
orders up at fast-food places. Also I wonder who you'd challenge in the feats
of strength?
Imperial Mog

Grievances? Only a few. Brothers who take the car without telling anyone. People who shout stuff during Lord of the Rings ("HEY! He's not supposed to have wings! Tolkien must be spinning in his grave..." "Shut UP!"). Whoever stocks the stores up for the Christmas season. A certain web network that has begun charging for air (Well, not yet, but that's the obvious next step). Who would I challenge? My CS TAs. Because curving grades down is bad.


Can you tell me where to get an ormagon

Well, I personally haven't played Magi-Nation, but this FAQ right in front of me tells me that it's a "long and involved process spanning the entire game." In other words, if you haven't been able to get it, you'll probably have to start over.


What I'm looking for is a very long shot, I know. I'm searching for a copy of Final Fantasy Mystic Quest for the Super Nintendo. Any help or hints?

Would appriciate ANY feedback at all.


I'd suggest eBay, or local used game stores, though the first can be expensive and the latter difficult to find. Can any readers help? Let me know and I'll get you two in touch.

Secret of Evermore.
Nuff' said.


Heh, one of my friends actually decided one night during Finals week to play through SoE. He told me it was a decent game. Then he got killed by some mechanical dog and threw his controller out into the hall. For some reason, I don't quite believe him.

The Last Laugh:

I must say that today's column went much better than yesterday's did! I had a lot of fun hosting these past few days, and I hope you all enjoyed it too. If I'm lucky, maybe I'll be able to do it again. Until then, be nice to Aegis, and keep reading the news on the front page of RPGamer... there's a lot of interesting stuff on there!

Until next time,

thevortex "Too Legit to Quit"
"I don't think we need a 'sexy chicks' room."

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