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Send a Question I Mail the Storm I Old Stuff I Ancient Stuff
ASK MACSTORM
Who Are You? June 30, 2006

Michael Cunningham - 09:45 EST

WHAT DO YOU WANT? Ok, before all of the SOCK players attack me, just know that I didn't steal your Full Host Opportunity, nor will I ever. I'm just filling in for Matt today while he's bound and gagged in a closet off partying for Canada Day. I tend to think of Matt as the White Mage and Ouro as the Black Mage around here, so I'm going to fill the Red Mage roll.

*Macstorm casts Firaga on the inbox*

This should be fun. Now, time to see what survived the flames.





L E T T E R S
Lost and Found


Hello Matt, or Ouro, or whoever else decides to host.

I've recently just started to read the question and answer section of RPGamer and to my surprise, found it the most interesting part of the site, so I decided that I'd write in.

Mac

I love Q&A myself. Heck, I'm on staff and I still write in just like I did as a reader.

My big question is, what are some video game series that you suggest (RPG or other), as I've recently run out of games to finish, and I'm stuck with very little. If it helps, some of my favourite series are:

Final Fantasy- While every once in a while, they run into a huge dud (Mostly X and X-2, who's dialogue was so horrible it was impossible for me to like) the series in general I find is amazing, and epic. I have played all of the North American released ones (excluding all the remakes), and my favourite to date is Final Fantasy IX. The story and the characters of it was just so wonderful, and I love it seperated itself from FFVIII and FFVII by taking away all the futuristic stuff.

Mac

I can understand your feelings for FFX-2, but to hate FFX! The sadness. Final Fantasy IX is in my opinion one of the most underrated games of the FF series, so I feel the love you have for it.

Suikoden - The series seriously hodls some of the greatest, and most tragic stories ever. While IV was a horribly dull game, Tactics and V were simply amazing, plus I and II had such amazing stories and characters.

Mac

You are really narrowing down my options of things to recommend.

Legend of Zelda - Can't help but love Link!

Mac

*bow chicka bow wow*

Mario - While not an RPG, I just can't resist running around as the little plumber jumping on Goomba's. I still have yet to play Super Princess Peach, but I did get New Super Mario Bros. which was amazing, albeit way too easy.

Mac

Well, if you like Mario and you like RPGs, have you played Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga for the GBA or Partners in Time for the DS? Both are fun distractions. If you have a GameCube, be on a lookout for Super Paper Mario in the fall. It's an action game with many RPG elements. That doesn't help you for something to play now, but it will in the future.

I also play the Xenosaga, Dark Cloud and Kingdom Hearts series. That being said, once again, do you have any series to suggest?

Merci Beacoup,
LostAddict

Mac

You might want to try Grandia III that was released this year. It was a little slow at times, but overall quite fun. If you've not played Dragon Quest VIII Matt will flog you when he returns. That one will give you MANY hours of playtime, so look it up as I think it has dropped in price. Last, try the Shadow Hearts series. It is definitely something different.



You Speak My Language


Matt -

Well, it's been an incredibly long time since I last wrote in... the rigours of higher education keep me rather busy nowadays.

Mac

Sorry that you had to return to me, not Matt.

Anyhow, I have a rather... unusual game addiction, myself: Lunar. I can't get enough of those games

Mac

I'm going to like this letter.

(well, except for the hideous mockery that is Lunar: Dragon Song. But that's another matter entirely).

Mac

We won't go there. *Macstorm casts Vanish on Dragon Song*

I can't think of any time since I first got my hands on the game that I haven't had a current game saved and ready to go. I plop down at least a few hours into one of the games every week, and at least once a year, I sit down and play through the entire series in order: from Sega CD games to the Playstation remakes. Obsessed, you say?

Mac

You might be a little obsessed, but being a Lunar fan myself, I forgive you. I'm really glad that I've found someone else out there besides myself that has the Sega CD versions. I still feel that gameplay wise they are much better than the remakes.

Perhaps I am... but perhaps I do not care. Other recent, albeit less drastic gaming addictions of mine include The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, and my current marathon attempt at finishing every Dragon Quest/Final Fantasy game in order.

Mac

Yeah, that's going to take a little while, especially if you try to find every thing you can in Oblivion. A friend of mine has barely touched the main story line of the game and already has over 130 hours invested in it. The DQ/FF undertaking is brave enough. Best of luck with that.

Also, something happened in December that I didn't hear a lot of outcry about... the closure of Working Designs.

Mac

Oh, I cried.

Now, perhaps I am biased, what with my unhealthy love of Lunar and all, but still... Working Designs is probably the single greatest game publisher of all time, and they never got the credit they deserved. What, exactly, did WD do for us? Well, one could point out that WD was the first company to wrap their games in fancy packing, or that their later games all included "Omake" boxes with tons of goodies. Now, that's all well and good, but rather superficial. What WD *really* did for gamers as a whole was love their job. They cared about the localizations they made. They cared about the game, and their fans, and it showed. WD made the best localizations that have ever been seen in the US. WD also made gameplay tweaks to the games they published. Check the back of any WD manual, and you'll find a list of all the changes they made. Many of these changes and additions are things requested by fans.

Mac

Oh yes. The packaging and extra goodies were great, but Working Designs gave their games heart. Even some of the best non WD localized RPGs I've played could not stand up to them. Plus John Truitt = the greatest, my favorite voice actor ever. Ghaleon <3

And what, exactly, was it that killed Working Designs? Mostly Sony's asinine policy of not allowing great games to be published in the US (these are the same jerks who are responsible for the fact that the US will never see the PS2 remakes of the original Phantasy Star Quadrilogy... they refuse to allow the games to be released individually, the way they are in Japan... no no, in the US, they HAVE to be one big package... Growlanser Generations suffered from the same problem). Bear in mind, these are the same people that allow immense numbers of worthless liscensed games to be released year after year. A selected quote from the company's closure statement:

"The most frustrating part of all of this is that I know that our fanbase is still there. Growlanser Generations sold well, but of course not better than it would have sold as two separate titles. We just spent too much time fighting the good fight to even get it out, and other games approved.

Mac

I really wish that something could have been done to prevent their demise, but they were merely puppets in a much larger play. If some of the good games they could have localized had just been on other systems, then maybe they would still be around today. Also, my copy of Growlanser STILL WILL NOT PLAY ON MY OLD PS2!!! *stabs*

Though almost finished and substantially improved from the Japanese release, Goemon is dead for the US, and that was really the final straw. If I can't guarantee that the games I personally choose for us to release in the US can actually get approved and come out, there's no business to be done. There is a possibility that it may be released in Europe (as well as Growlanser Generations), but nothing is finalized yet.

I know many of you will have lots of questions, and there will be some I can answer, and some I can't. Sony has made it clear that they do not want the details of their dealings with any publisher made public. Suffice to say that you would buy what we wanted to sell if we could sell it."

Mac

True. *Macstorm pours out some Dr. Pepper in memory*

I don't really know what more I can say without sounding corny, or repeating myself... but Working Designs loved their work, they cared about their fans, and all the hard work they put into every single game shines through when you play it. There has never been another caompany in the industry like Working Designs. Hopefully, someday there will be another company to fill their shoes.
-DDX

Mac

You and I both. There are some companies that are at least making attempts to get games into US gamers' hands, but it will take more than just simple translations to ever match Working Designs.



Who's Your Daddy?


Howdy Matt,

This isn't my first time writing to Q & A, though it's been a couple of years (I appeared in Brad's column twice - once in quickies and once in actual question form, I believe). Hoo, what a break.

Mac

Once again I'm sorry to say that you are not appearing in Matt's column either, but I'm saving this so that he can answer it as well. Either way, please write again soon.

First thing I wanted to mention is that we have the same last name.

Mac

Hahaha, tricked you. Demers =/= Cunningham. You would have gotten away with it if it wasn't for this meddling kid. Wait, I'm 25. Huh?

Not that crazy, but it's rare to have Demers as a surname in America. (I hear it's the "Smith" or "Jones" of Canada and takes up, like, 3 pages of the phonebook typically in Quebec or something.) Anyway, how annoyed do you get when people mispronounce "Demers"? I tend to just grit my teeth and grunt.

Mac

I grit my teeth and grunt as well, but not for the same reasons as you. I do it when people steal my e-mails. Oh wait!

Anyway, this talk about Vagrant Story has me thinking about all the awesome RPGs I have stashed away that I've never even touched, but got for the sake of everyone saying they're so awesome. I'm partway through Xenogears, Tales of Symphonia, and Chrono Cross (I don't even remember what's going on in the story in all of them... hell, my Chrono Cross experience ended at the beginning of Disc 2 some three years ago), and idly on my shelf sit VS, Lunar: SSSC, Xenosaga Episode I, Disgaea, Dragon Warrior VII, and Shadow Hearts I & II. What the hell should I be playing first? They're all supposed to be great games.

Mac

You really want to know? Ok, here is the order in which you should play them.

1) Xenogears (Get through it NOW! I would restart it though, unless you just stopped playing it recently.)
2) Dragon Warrior VII (If you typed VII truly meaning 7 and it wasn't a mistype of VIII/8, then move this down five spaces. If you have DQ8 sitting there, play it when you have a month or two to spare.)
3) Disgaea (Evil demons = hours of fun)
4) Xenosaga Episode I
5) Shadow Hearts I
6) Shadow Hearts II
7) Lunar: SSSC
8) Vagrant Story
9) Chrono Cross

4 through 9, I just picked at random, but still play them. They miss you.

Do you get a bunch of games when you find them because you hear of their ZOMG AWEZOMENSS!!11, and never really get around to them?

Mac

All the time. I have tried to cut down buying new games quite a bit, because of backloggedness. My problem was not really in buying new games, but in not finishing the ones that I would start. Helpful hint, don't start more than one RPG on a console at a time. It will encourage you to finish the one you have going.

Good job on the Q & A... way to keep up the (apparently large yet unknown) family name. :)

Kyle De-- Duh-meers? Dem-ears? Duh-- Hm.

Mac

Demers. Lemers. Lemurs. Lepers. Yeah, I don't know.



Thanks. You Anger Me.


Will there ever be a shadow hearts 4?

Mac

Nope, they were going to make it, but then you started rushing them and they just quit. Thanks. *storms off*



Milkshakes? Sure, I'll Take Two


Attention:

The Only Clinically Tested N-largement Pills that works..

Mac

Hahaha, not funny. Who put you up to this? Matt? Grrrr.

- add 1-4 in chs

Mac

What is a chs? I'll take Swords for 1,000, Alex!

- 20% thicker

Mac

Is this an add for a milkshake? I hate watery milkshakes. Where is the RPG question?

- 5x more enjoyable

Mac

I found Kingdom Hearts II to be 5x more enjoyable, so maybe that's what this is about.

- or your monneyy back without question ask!

Mac

Umm, it's called Munny in KH, you moron. Get your facts together.

Click below

Mac

Oh, I clicked below... on the delete button.





C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

Well, that is all for me. Thanks for reading and if you liked my take on things, write Matt or Josh and tell them so. I really doubt that will happen, so if you hated me, write a lovely letter to Josh this weekend. I know he wants them. SOCK will return on Tuesday and THONG should be going all weekend. Don't fight it, just know you love the THONG.

I liked Bainick's question about a favorite characters, so everyone should write in and share their thoughts on this. I posted mine on the side bar. I just replaced favorite characters with hottest babes. Bring on the babes!

Love ya.

macstorm@rpgamer.com
***Macstorm will probably *not* be back soon.


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*Macstorm casts Invisible* Hey, it worked. Woo hoo!

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