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ASK BAINICK & MATT
Flicker April 6, 2006

Bainick - 15:33 EST

WITH MATT DROPPING HIS GUARD, I the king of the cold, Bainick, will sit on his uncomfortable seat to answer as many letters as I can before he gets back. Oh wow, MineSweeper......

So with Suikoden 5 coming out soon (maybe before christmas down here), how is the opening credit theme? Does it match the sad brillance of that that was Suikoden 2 (so I cried, I have feelings too)?

Bainicks evil side: You also cried in Bear, The Lion King, when Boromir died In LOTR and in Milo and Otis.

Back to Bainick: You would cry in Milo and Otis too, those poor poor cats. Just for a movie.

Anyway, as the gods have seen fit to purge the land and begin anew, they have given I, Bainick, the chance to save humanity. And all I must do is answer your questions. Hard, no. Big knights away.

(Bainick must be the only person in the world that bought a Game Boy Advance after he bought a DS...)




L E T T E R S
Q&A: aka Anger Management class


Hey Matt,

I know I'm sending alot of letters lately, but I think this needs to be said.

Due to some brilliant financial management on my part (read here cashed savings bond), I've been able to buy three rpgs recently all for the PS2: Tales of Legendia, Shadow Hearts II, and Grandia III.

Bainick

Hopefully if my finances pick up, I'll be getting Suikoden Tactics, Dragon Quest, and Princess Peach this month, but please continue.

While I faced mild disappointment with all three, only Tales of Legendia has caused me to become angry. VERY angry. Why? Two words: undefeatable bosses. I HATE that! Why would you create an in-game battle that the player is programmed to lose. It makes no sense gameplay wise, is frustrating as hell until you figure out its unwinable, and is lazy storytelling since the obvious plot point they are trying to make could be accomplished with much more depth with good dialogue. I'm not even half-way through Tales of Legendia and have fought two, TWO, unwinnable battles probably with more on the way. I nearly destroyed the disk in rage.

Bainick

Don't do that! Once your Playstation 2 gets old enough it will gladly destroy all of your favourite games, CDs and DVDs; I own 2 copies of Dynasty Warriors 5 *sob*.

Now, I've played several games where a boss is just uber-strong but is still beatable if the player is dedicated enough; usually the battle results don't effect the plot. The first battle with Kratos in Tales of Symphonia was one such boss. I love those types of battles because they are a great gauge of the relative strength of my characters. Everytime I face one of those situations I always go back to a previous save and either strengthen my characters or change my tactics to win which makes the game longer and more enjoyable for me. But pointless omnipotent bosses just make me wretch. Why do rpgs even have unwinnable fights? What's the point!? Am I the only one who gets angry over this?

Bainick

Don't hurt me, I'm just the temp. Anywho, the short answer is no. Having played Star Ocean 2 and Suikoden 2 (more to do with the unwinnable field battles, and Mum calling me in everytime she lost one, after resetting, and blackmailing me to do the battle for her. Mums are like that.) But both of these games have unwinnable bosses. This is usually to impress apon the player that they are in deep doo doo (your comment Matt) and to show that their characters are far from being in a position of winning. Now that I think about it, Lufia 2 had a few sinister battles that were nigh impossible to win, but I think I did manage to beat the first Sinistral boss in the + mode after 20 hours of working up...

Ok. First rant over. Time for the second.

Why all the flaming? I read reviews before I buy a game so that I won't be surprised or enraged by setting my expectations too high or too low, but if I've already bought, played, and loved a game, no review is going to change my experience or my opinion.

There is no reason for me to be upset by another person's opinion. The rpg genre is vast and varied, and everyone likes something and hates something else. So what's the big deal? Why can't we simply converse, persuade, and debate without becoming personal and immature? "Because, most of us are hormonal, over-emotional, immature teenagers," you say. Well, I'm not talking about the kids; I expect immaturity from people who have yet to mature in age. I'm talking about the twenty-eight year olds posting hundreds of flames to dozens of message boards at all hours of the day and night just because someone gave the "Best Game Ever" a 7.6 out of 10. We CAN play video games WITHOUT turning into children can't we? If you can't, maybe you should reconsider this whole gaming thing.

Bainick

People like to complain, like yourself at the moment. Hey, I complain all the time (Radiata Stories, Chrono Cross, Xenosaga 1, all Dragon Quest games, etc... WHERE ARE THEY FOR US PAL CONSUMERS?) and even the bad RPG's I've played (Aidyn's Chronicles, FF would still rate around a 7). And what is this best game ever anyway? Wait, I know, Pong! Bear in one hand, controller in the other; simplicity at its finest!

Sorry for all that, but I'm tired of having message boards locked.

cap
I'll take the "Drain Spell" for a thousand, Alex.


Bainick

Hey, I took one too! Um, sorry MagRowan, I need those points so I can create my sheep-powered Laser Beam. Bwah ha ha ha ha, now Private Public where's my teddy? WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU LOST MY TEDDY?! HULK SMASH!

Matt

@_@

Thanks, Cap! I know; it's been almost humourous to sift through different fansites to see all of the absolutely horrified reactions to some of the scores that Kingdom Hearts II has been given. If I were to have rated the original Kingdom Hearts, I probably wouldn't have given it much higher than that myself; sure, it could be a fun game, but I felt that it lacked in many departments. From the sounds of it, the main improvement of the sequel centers around the camera, and not the battle system, which I must admit will severely hamper my likelihood of ever getting a copy myself. Anyway, wait it out, and the mass pandemonium will pass, I assure you.



Uh-oh... lawsuit city awaits!


#166 = c (Rose Crochon = Pink Pig)
#167 = e

Imagine you could slide into a million different worlds where it the same year and you're the same person, but Jack Thompson's pants are different......

~Kanato


Matt

Pssh... you know what I hate most about that guy, besides the obvious? He's the spittin' image of Maria Sean Scott, who was a contract sessional teacher that taught me second-year Numerical Methods, three years ago. You'll never meet a more embittered, cynical man, and while it was occasionally funny, it most certainly wasn't when it was time to hand in your latest twenty-page assignment o' death. UGH. Anyway, that's all.



Damn... I only caught 21 :(


Dear Matt or Bainick

I see the discussion of female RPG characters is back in QnA. This topic always seems to find its way back to these kinds of discussion columns. Well, I'm not complaing; in fact, I really like sharing thoughts on this topic, as there are always some good ideas to be heard. Anyway, about "strong" women in RPGs, my favorite is Presea from Tales of Symphonia, partly due to how unexpected this was. Who would ever believe that the little girl character in an RPG would be the best "tank" character in that game (as in slow-but-strong fighting style and being able to take a lot of damage)? As for a "weak" male character, I think the most humorous one is FFIV's Edward. He was so feeble that he actually had a command to run away and hide in battle! (Or is that a bard thing?)

Matt

Yes, and might I take this opportunity to apologize for the vagueness at the end of yesterday's column; certainly there have been many "strong female characters" in RPGs, but I was kind of referring to strong as in "I wield a big sword and do massive damage with physical attacks and don't piddle around with piddlily piddlesome white magic!"-style strong.

Anyway, it seems that Edward always gets a bad rap, but I kind of liked the poor guy. His status-inflicting attacks could be surprisingly useful against monsters like Tortoises and those ghastly looking Screamers (...or were they "Creepers"? I can never remember.) Edward is one of my brother's favourite characters of all time; in the recent FFIV remake, the moment that the option came, he immediately switched good ol' Eddie into the party for good. Don't ask me!

So anyway, I think the one who brought this up yesterday is on to something. It seems like a Catch-22 situation: developers think that gamers have a hard time relating to female characters, so they don't bother giving them strong personalities; but their not giving female characters strong personalities is the very REASON why gamers tend to have a hard time relating to them! Therefore, I think someone should stop this cycle and give us another FFVI kind of RPG with excellent women roles. Similarly, someone should also make a game that features well-developed homosexual characters in order to break the stigma that people have with them.

Matt

Those are some great points. What would be TRULY ideal would be to just break away from the mold completely; this idea that games should be geared towards males seems to be outdated, because I have more than a few female friends who, after losing their RPGVirginity, have gone on to love the genre, and video games in general. One of them even came to RPGamer, fell in love with Andrew, and then got me to start reading Q&A. She, Lesley, is pretty much the reason why I have the job I do now. Bizarre, huh? Girl gamers rock, and there should be far more of them!

So yeah, I believe that how well gamers relate to a particular character type or minority is greatly influenced by how much the developers are willing to give them a chance to be well-portrayed and shine in a game. Keep in mind, though, that Japan, the country that makes most RPGs, is a very homogeneous and male-dominated nation. Most Japanese developers would have a difficult time trying to make and sell a game with a foreign, female, or homosexual character as the lead role and have a lot of faith in it. I'm actually quite looking forward to the day when the more multicultural nations learn to make good RPGs, as they would have a much better understanding of each minority group, and hence, better represent them in RPGs.

Matt

That's another great question... when on EARTH are any decent RPG developers going to spring up in North America? I know I've been criticized in the past for not being on top of American RPGs, but most of them seem to PC games that don't really appeal to me at first, second, or heck, even third glance. Consoles! Console games are want I want, dammit.

Finally, I'd like to see Resident Evil spin off into a full-blown RPG someday. It has lots of unique characters, tons of different and interesting enemies, and a plot that rivals even FFVII in "the most mind-boggling plot ever" category. In my book, that's perfect!

Alan


Matt

Oh, yes... I was going to mention that yesterday, but then I ended up not when I decided to randomly go on a Kid Icarus spiel instead. Yeah, it could probably turn into a nice, dark-themed RPG, which might appeal for fans of games like Shadow Hearts; that sub-sub-genre certainly isn't overpopulated at this point in time. It could also serve to draw people into mainstream RE games through the back door.

Thanks, Alan, for writing in!



Chaos, with a little bit of music. Electric violins, though? :S


Ttam,

Ah music, one of the greatest aspects of RPGs. Normally, I would say that you have pretty good taste, but I can't say that XSII was a huge jump forward unless that huge jump was into a wall. It had some outstanding tracks on it, but most of the casual tracks were boring and forgettable. Am I a crazy Mitsuda fan? Yes. Did I love XSI's OST? Yes, it is one of my favorites.

Bainick

I'm sorry, but I refuse to buy Xenosaga 2 or 3 until they release number 1 in easy-to-purchase PAL format; I don't want a PSP version. The PSP still costs far too much for a handheld console, more than twice that of the DS. But the subject is music, my favourite RPG subject.

Matt

Also, to clear things up, Xenosaga II and III aren't coming out on PSP. At least, there hasn't been anything announced about such a thing, unless I've been completely asleep for the last several months. Sorry if Bainick got you excited there, for a second.

Now FFX-2 is a different story. The J-Pop crap can go, but non J-Pop tracks were really good. 1000 Words is a wonderful song. I can't say that it's one of my favorite RPG OSTs of all time, but it has some redeeming qualities.

Bainick

I don't know much about J-Pop crap; is it a new style of music? Anyway, I loathed the music in FF X-2, with the exception of said track and the opening before-pressing-start track that runs with the credits. Damn Square Enix; they lied with music. I thought it was going to be good, not BubblePop music. Now, who wants a lollipop?

Anyway I like music from MOST FF games, Terranigma, Secret of Mana, Harvest Moon, any game featuring Donkey in its title, Suikoden 2, Lufia 2, and any remix featuring any of the above. Neclord's battle theme ranks up there with the Sephiroth Battle Theme.

Though I'm not a ravenous FFVII fanboy, I do feel that VII sports one of the greatest FF soundtracks to date, rivaled only by FFX's. I <3 me some FF OSTs...though FFIX was my only real letdown. It just didn't seem to be memorable enough for me, just two or three pieces in the whole collection. So sad.

Bainick

FFIX? I think I might have some midis of it...... nope, just some remixes. I have Kirby, though, and that brillant Another World from Chrono Cross. (Bainick left the Playstation running for a full 30 minutes listening to that song the first time he heard it.) I know that my brother and I (YaY PrOper Inglis) had for a short time all of the FF7 tracks in piano; one of those Japanese Collections. Where were the violins, electric style? Where, I ask?

Matt

Bainick, man, I have never heard of an electric violin in my entire life. I think I need to get to Australia on the double... it's a bit crazier than I thought it was at first thought! On second thought, the $2,000 plane ticket required seems slightly prohibitive. :(

The End,
Macstorm


Bainick

Yeah, we've been having storms for the last 3 days down here in the Colac Otway Shire. Its the first time this year we've had the fireplace going, not that any of the heat filters into MY draft filled room.



Amazon women and pretty boys... why not?!


Hey Matt

I really don't see why a strong female character in an RPG has to be strong physically. Sure, the typical weak female magic-user gets kind of boring and I'd like to see a little more variety in that area, but is it really such a bad thing for a female character to deal less physical damage than a male character?

Matt

Heh, absolutely not. Realistically speaking, they should, on average, do a little bit less. That doesn't change the fact that there are about a billion women in the world who could whip my sorry ass if they wanted to. :)

I mean, in the real world, females are generally not as physically strong as males are so I don't think this is an issue of gender equality.

Personally, I'd like to see more strong, intelligent female characters in RPGs but they don't necessarily have to be able to deal an unholy amount of damage with physical attacks.

Matt

Bleah, by "strong", as I mentioned above, I meant muscles-strong, because certainly, there are plenty of strong-willed, strong-minded females in RPGs with strong personalities. I just think that it's fun to see things get switched up every now and then; to have the axe-wielder be a female for a change, or on the other side of the same coin, to have a "wimpy" male white mage. When's the last time that happened (outside of customization-based systems)?

What do you think? Should characters of different genders be more evenly matched in their stats?

As always. you're doing a great job,
--The Gorerilla



Matt

Stats-wise, I like there to be nice differentials between different characters; I don't like this FFVI bull where Relm, the wee little girl, has 18 fewer HP at the same level as Umaro, the enormous sasquatch. It doesn't make any sense at all! I just think that the stats should go WITH the character, and that it's nice to see a little variety, instead of the typical party: "Sluggish male soldier-like character in the forefront; quick-on-his-feet male thief in the middle; useless white mage girl stuffed in the back so that she only dies once every four battles." You guys know the stereotypical story by now.



Double take...triple take... votes, please: Is Bainick too crazy for a co-host spot?


awesome, I love fake endings as well. the two best I've ever come across were castlevania: symphony of the night, and lufia 2. lufia 2 is probably even better because you actually get a happy ending. you get married, have a child and everything is going great untill your kid gets taken and the real arc of the game starts.

Bainick

I know, and that like thing with Guy and Jesse, so like totally cool. But I sort of like knew that like it was only like halfway through like the story. Then the enemy like comes and steals like your son. That like was new to me, as, like most RPG's like don't have the heroes like have children like during the actual like story.

REVENGE.

Bainick likes like likes.

Matt

Keep that up for much longer, and the rest of the, like, readers won't, like, like you anymore!!

oh well not to much to say today. but since this is QnA and not send in letters happy time, What is your favorite love story/friendship arc from an RPG? I think mine has to be friendship: kain/cecil FF IV. love: Squal and Rinoa FF VIII. whoa I wasn't expecting both my answers to be final fantasy, but there ya have it.

TheBluick


Bainick's Evil Half

None. Love stories are for the weak, and Bainick is strong like mountain. Bainick don't need love, Bainick want world.

Bainick's Normal half, if you could call it normal

I could follow the mainstream and say Cloud and Aeris (not Aerith) but I actually liked Terranigma's Ark and Elle love story; they even get together at the end, but I won't ruin it, heh heh. If I had to say another one, then maybe Grandia 2's love triangle. Chaos and confusion, yes yes.

Hey, are you a fan of mine? Hey, do you want my autograph? It changes all the time, so i'll give you my linked-messy-including-middle-name one. Hey wait, I haven't finished yet. Do you want more?? I have plenty to give. Hey, how am I supposed to give it to you if you keep running?





C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

Now, finally, *I* am back in control here! For some reason, I'm feeling a surge of positivity in recent days about Nintendo's next generation plans. I'm really, really looking forward to buying a Revolution; even if it turns out to be a flub (and I have a feeling it won't), I don't own a Gamecube of my own anyway, and I could certainly use something that could play GC games. Between that and the release of the PS3, this is setting up to be a really exciting year in video game land, isn't it?

Flashay!


Let us look at answers two; one for a question posed my me, and one for a question posed by KnightTrain. #166 asked what the group you spend the first few hours of Radiata Stories with is named after. "Rose Cochon" translates to "Pink Pig", which of course is c) a barnyard creature, for 180 points. Now, for those of you that have this game, go back and take note that all of the Radiata Brigades are named after barnyard creatures; at least, all that I've heard of to this point in the game. Silliness is lovable. <3

#167 was asked by KnightTrain; e) Empedocles was the first early Greek Philosopher to propose that the world was made up of four elements, good for 160 points, and 320 for KnightTrain. Thanks for the submission!

Apparently some of you were very comfortable with your answers today; we've got some serious item-usage happening all of a sudden in the rush to grab the last couple of co-hosting spots at the 5,000 level!

Question #168:
Ask Macstorm!-->Which voice actor spoke the following line? "Cower in fear as I demonstrate my true power!" (200 points)

a) John Cygan
b) Alex Fernandez
c) George Newbern
d) John Truitt
e) Steve Staley

Question #169:
Ask Bainick!--> Foaly is a ...? (Hint: He's not a Fowl) (200 points)

a) Sprite
b) Pixie
c) Goblin
d) Centaur
e) Dwarf


SOCK's Award List

*You may obtain these items upon reaching the listed point benchmarks!*

500 points: Point Tripler (1 left) or Quick Spell (2 left)
1,000 points: Your choice of Fire Spell (2 left) or Mithril Armor (1 left)
2,000 points: Your choice of Mithril Armor (1 left) or Fire Spell (1 left)
3,500 points: Your choice of Warp Stone (1 left) or Wait Mode (1 left)
5,000 points: Your choice of Quick Spell (1 left) or Drain Spell (2 left)
7,000 points: Your choice of Point Doubler (1 left) or Quick Spell (1 left)


Click Here For Item Descriptions!

SOCK's Prize Shop

*You may SPEND points here in order to obtain any of the following prizes- new ones may appear at any time*

1,000 points: Matt's Mom's Cookie Compilation- 6 fantastic recipes right out of Matt's mom's amazing kitchen! Yours, upon request. (5 left)

2,000 points: Intro Paragraph Cameo- If you feel like having a piece of Q&A all to yourself for a day, but you're not up for answering a bunch of questions, this option might be just for you! Say the word, and the Intro Paragraph is yours to do whatever you want with for a day. (5 left)

5,000 points: Cohost Opportunity #3- The goal of many a SOCK competitor is to rule the column alongside me for a day. Say the word, and it's yours, if you have the points to spend. (2 left)

10,000 points: Cohost Opportunity #3.5- Ah, why not? Cohost days are fun, so here are a couple of extra chances for you to snag, if you're so inclined. (3 left)

20,000 points: Cohost Opportunity #4- It might sound like a lot, but it'll be here before you know it. Your next chance to reign over Q&A with yours truly. (5 left)

25,000 points: Full Host Opportunity #1- This is it. Write your own Q&A section, without having me interrupt, break in, or steal your sunshine. Be RPGamer's new idol for a day! (1 left)

30,000 points: Your choice of Megaman X4, X5, or X6 for the PSX. If you're into the Megaman series as much as I am, and you don't own any of these, I don't need them any more, now that I have purchased the collection. You can take your pick, and I'll send it to you in the mail with a handwritten note of congratulations from myself. They aren't RPGs, for sure, but I'm working on it for the future. (Sorry, NTSC-format only) (1 left)

*********************************************************


Well, that was certainly exhausting! Thanks very much, Bainick, for the entertainment; our next co-host experience will occur sometime next week, when Erika rises to the occasion, so look out for that! Hopefully, I'll be able to dole out my columns normally, despite the horrorDialup connection of death that I'll inevitably experience at home. To round out the week, let's talk about the question that the last writer asked today, since it's kinda cool and different. What are your favourite friendships and/or love stories in RPGs? I've got a couple in mind, but I'll wait until tomorrow to tell you about 'em. May you all have an excellent day until then~


slimey@rpgamer.com
***Matt only has three more columns to go before the big 100th!!!


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