Active Time Cattle
January 2, 2006
Matt Demers - 02:14 EST
HAPPY NEW YEAR to the lot of
you! It's time to reflect upon the year behind us. How far have we
come? What have we learned? What haven't we learned? That's the
sappy way of doing it... so let's talk games instead.
All in all, 2005 seemed to be a pretty dry year for RPGs somehow,
didn't it? Maybe it's just me; I'm not sure. Let's see... what have
I played in the last year?
I started out by playing an old game, Disgaea, which I had finally
received for Christmas 2004, and then hit a streak of disappointments:
First came Xenosaga: Episode II, which was "just okay", and then I
borrowed my brother's copy of Star Ocean: Till the End of Time, which
I obviously had issues with. I hit a giant dry slot where I didn't
play anything new until I picked up the also-disappointing Makai
Kingdom. Follow that up with Atelier Iris (another
disappointment) and we finally get to the gem of the year, Dragon Quest
VIII. Christmas 2005 granted me Wild Arms: Alter Code F, which is
passably interesting so far, and Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time, which
has been brain-scrambling and funny for the first couple of hours.
Hopefully, 2006 will be a busy year for RPGamers, with a sequel to
Kingdom Hearts slated, a slew of Final Fantasy games in the works,
another Disgaea, a return to the Mana series, and much more!
It'll be interesting to
hear what you guys have to say about last year's RPGs, but
I'll ask about that later on when I'm making my closing remarks. In
the meantime, cast your votes in RPGamer's Reader Awards!
Wild Arms, Shining Force, Radiata Stories, and more!
Hey again. I just wanted to answer your question and one of your
reader's questions as well. For you, in Wild ARMs, the word ARM
as an acronym (not gonna tell you what it means, for spoiler
purposes). Usually when you write an acronym you would place
periods betwixt the letters to denote that each one stands for
something else. My guess is that the word lacks the periods due
to aesthetics...and there is a part in the story that kinda makes
it make sense.
Aha... I guess I'll shut my mouth and keep playing then, yes?
Curiosity killed the cat, as they say, and while I'm not a cat, I
sure would like one.
As for Shining Force Neo, I bought the game. It is in real time,
but it lacks interesting dialog, and the battle system leaves
something to be desired, in my opinion. I traded it in.
Yeah, I've heard mixed things too, but I still wanted to give it
a spin to see how things have changed first-hand. Maybe I'll give it
a quick rental one day when I have a free afternoon (because THOSE
tend to happen oh-so-often).
I'm very glad you have Wild ARMs now. Enjoy it. Are you
looking forward to Radiata Stories? I haven't even gotten very
far in it and I got it the day it came out. It seems really
interesting, but doggone Castlevania and Katamari...and PoPoLoCrois..
and Dragonquest...And Wild ARMs...and so on and so on....I better
get back to work.
Wild Arms is interesting so far. Star Ocean-esque graphics, turn-based
gameplay, and a varied mix of puzzle-solving and exploration... what's not
to love? Well, I do
have a few little complaints so far: The "echolocation" world-map
system is utterly lame, as far as I'm concerned. I assume that the
characters aren't blind; they should be able to notice if they are
standing in the middle of a city without having to emit special
green radar waves. Also, the game is incredibly frightfully
easy to this point. Of course, it's very early on, so presumably,
I have a long way to go. I'm excited to keep plugging through!
I have yet to open Radiata Stories, and I'll probably wait until I'm
totally finished with Dragon Quest VIII to do so. I can't add yet another
RPG to my currently-playing list, or the screws inside my head may start
to scramble (not a fun status ailment).
Humourous, rumourous remakes
Sup Guru of Q&A i got a question for you as i been pondering
now its on square-enix. there is a person on the nintendo forums
that claims he has a friend in the developement team at square-enix
and he claims he heard from this friend that we will see
as well as possibly secret of mana ported to the gba as well as
the 3 saga aka legend series from the gba to DS as well as we
will see earthbound 1 and 2.
That's a lot to claim. Unfortunately, this just points to the
well-known fact that forums tend to be the optimal breeding grounds
for rumours, both of the founded and unfounded varieties. We've
heard mumblings and grumblings about Mother 1 and 2 (Earthbound and its
prequel) but really nothing terribly concrete; frankly, I'm not going
to believe a word of any announcement Mother-related that comes from
Nintendo until I see details, screenshots, release dates... something
to indicate that actual action has been taken.
Chrono Trigger is absolutely just an empty rumour at this point. I
wouldn't be surprised if Square Enix announced it sometime in the future,
but for now, all has been quiet from the big company on that subject.
now my question is whats your thought on it?
also 1 other question. if snes rpg games are being remade do
you think super mario rpg or lufia 1 and 2 will be remade again?
i hope so.
lets hear your thoughts on what your thoughts are on this person
talking about chronotrigger and secret of mana.
also he claims we will see chronotrigger by summer time possibly.
Secret of Mana? Lufia? Mario RPG?? Yeah, they're all rumours now.
I'd bet a fair bit, though, that if this new Children of Mana bit
goes down well for Square Enix with the populace, we might just see a SoM
remake sometime afterwards, wouldn't you agree?
Matty! Im planing to get Mario and Luigi:Partners in time after christmas is it ant good?
If you liked Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, then I'm sure that you'll
enjoy Partners in Time. I've put in 4 hours or so, and it's certainly
a hoot so far, though I actually find it to be a little harder than the
first. You know the coordination game you play where you're supposed to
rub your stomach while patting your head, trying not to mess up? I find
that the play control is something like that, both in and out of battle.
It's hilarious and infuriating all at the same time. In fact, it might
be hilarious because it's so infuriating, somehow. I'm not sure;
I just know that there are a lot of people at Nintendo with very silly
senses of humour, and I love them all very much <3.
Some people must have really, REALLY liked Final Fantasy VII...
Fun times with save files. When I first got FFVII, I was able to get
out of Midgar in 6 or so hours. Then my memory card wiped my save.
So, I started over. 10 hours in (and only 4 in Midgar) it wiped
again. Gah. 30 hours in, another wipe. Finally, at 50 hours,
Disc 3, heading into the crater, a final wipe. I broke down and
went out to buy a Sony memory card, rather than the third party
one I had. The only good thing to come out of this? I was able
to get out of Midgar in 3 hours by my 5th time through!
Everyone learns their lesson sooner or later... this goes down
as reason #27718 NOT to invest in cheap, trashy third-party equipment
when it comes to video game stuff. I've told my horrible childhood
stories in columns past, as some of you will remember, so trust me when
I tell you that I can feel your pain.
Thrice bitten, though? While you've been a slow learner, I guess
this says something about your perseverance and dedication. Allow me
to be a reference for your next resumé!
Thanks for writing in with your story, PJ!
So what does "PAL" mean, anyway?
I'm american military living in the UK, I ~may~ have some insight into
the UK gamer problem. We had to buy a new TV to get cable here. The UK
uses a different format for their pictures. This is why DVD's from the UK
don't work on USA dvd players, the regional coding seems to be just an
extra. I can play their CDs fine, but we would need a new DVD player as
well as the TV to make the dvds work. Our new television is dual format,
I'm not sure if a DVD player would be able to do that, or if a video game
player would either, without a television that was also.
I had also heard that the power differance makes disks and such spin at
different rates. I think this is a hardware issue, not something the disks
need to take into account. As I mentioned the cd's work fine, though our
american clocks, running through power adapters, tend to lose time.
I hope I explained this properly, the holiday season has left me groggy
and unable to think clearly.
Happy Holidays, WhisperLily
Yes. I'm pretty sure that this is what makes up the difference
between North American versions and "PAL" versions of different
products... the PAL releases of video games, for example, are
designed to work with the different electronics formats in Europe and
Australia (and maybe some other places, too). For all of you
people wondering what the heck "PAL" means, when it comes up in this
column--and it does quite often--then, there you go. In that case,
thou hast learned one new fact; now, you can consider this day a
I was reading through your last Q and A and saw that you weren't
sure if there was a Cid in FFX and I thought I would let you know
that yes, indeed there was. Cid was Rikku's father and the leader
of the Al Bhed in FFX, and was a crazy bald guy flying around on
his airship much like the Cids of the past. Anyhow, I suppose I
should ask a question, hmmmm I was curious if you have played
Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne, because I recently played through
the Digital Devil Saga games and was very impressed, so I wondered
if it was worth tracking down a copy of Nocturne?
Right from my brother's mouth, Nocturne was quite inferior to
Digital Devil Saga, but still quite playable. In many respects,
they're quite similar, from a gameplay point of view.
I'd say that unless you really, REALLY liked the DDSes, you might
want to give Nocturne a quick rental if possible before you go and
buy it. Nocturne might be hard to find by this point, though... I can't
recall seeing it in my neighbourhood Electronics Boutique in recent
history, which is a bad sign. Of course, given that the Electronics
Boutique in Guelph is quite the little craphole, you might still have
a good chance.
I promised you a new line of questioning in the intro, so I'll hand it to you here.
What do you think was the best game of 2005? How about the worst? Is there something
you wished you had bought? Is there an RPG that you now regret buying? Tell me about
your thoughts on last year's games, my friends, and I'll get back to you next time, on
***Matt is a glutton for food and punishment alike.
I didn't hear Auld Lang Syne this year... not a single time. Is this a blessing? I
used to find that song really annoying as a little kid for some reason, but I'm really not sure why.
Dec. 29 - Matt
Dec. 27 - Matt
Dec. 22 - Matt
Dec. 21 - Matt
About the Host
Matt's Newest Unhealthy Addiction
Another Unhealthy Addiction
Matt's Top 3 Current Games:
1. Dragon Quest VIII
2. Mario & Luigi: PiT
3. Mario Kart DS
Matt's Top 3 RPG Desires:
1. Final Fantasy III
2. Children of Mana
3. Disgaea II
8. Arros Raikou