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ASK MATT
Line In Use April 21, 2006

Matt - 21:25 EST

I SEEM TO HAVE come down with a bit of a head cold during the past day or so, because I've been going through Kleenex and toilet tissue like there's no tomorrow; you really don't want to know the volume of fluid that has emerged from my head, but let's just say that it's best described as "a surprising amount."

What else should I report? Not much is new on the RPG front; I'm saving my RPG-playing for the weekend, when I can concentrate on it sufficiently. For now, it's been all about Tetris DS and Metroid Prime Hunters, which have both been delightful, thus far.

Onward, now, to the questions!




L E T T E R S
RPGaming diseases, backlogs, and the Mother of all new releases.


To Matt and/or Guest Host!

Yes gaming is a daunting task, considering I still havn't passed Dark Cloud yet, and we got it before we purchased our first PS2. (Yep 2 PS2's, none working at 100% capacity!). Then there's the fact that i've yet to pass a single Gamecube RPG, which includes Mario RPG and Tales of Phantasia, 2 games I love. I guess I have issues with ending a story, like how you find it hard to finish the last book in a series because it means the end of the world (something Raymond E. Feist fans will never suffer through!). Oh well I have four RPG's to pump through, before I even think of playing through my back catalogue.

Matt

Aha! We talked about this mysterious ailment a month or two ago; you aren't alone, my Australian friend. It seems like a certain fraction of the RPGaming population has a distinct problem with actually beating an RPG. I know that my sister has this problem chronically, and so did my girl-gamer pal of yesteryear, Lesley, and for exactly the same reason: "They just don't want it to be over with!"

While I used to be sad to see good games come to a close, I've been really happy to finish new RPGs as of late, because it means that my own backlog is effectively reduced by one. Amazing; I never would have thought that I'd have this problem a few years ago.

Oh and Mother 3 has been released!!!!!!!

Matt

...in Japan! A good first step, certainly, but utterly useless to me unless it can make the localization cut, which I am honestly becoming increasingly doubtful about. I read through my brother's most recent Nintendo Power last week, attempting to stomach the extreme bias, and discovered that they're playing the innocent "we have never heard of this game" act with regards to Mother 3. Slightly saddening, but maybe we'll be delightfully shocked in a few weeks at E3. NO promises, though.

Bainick has gladly had in his brain since 1995 the Super Mario World Castle theme (The games best redition of the theme song).


Matt

Mmm, yes, that is a good one. Boy, I haven't played Super Mario World in years and years...

Thanks for writing in as always, Bainick!



Ah, Flash animation crossovers.


Hey Matt,

First off I would have to say #172 d) a shrimp dish with a garlicky butter sauce and #173 b) Alright I'll give it back.

JuMeSyn's letter was a chore to work through, but long letters are good every now and then right? When the subject of a Sonic RPG came up it reminded me of this flash sprite animation HERE I came across a few months ago. There are probably better ones out there but I found it mildly amusing to go through the episodes.

Xlash the dwarf berserker


Matt

Ha ha ha, well, I guess that that idea in particular has already been thought of many times before! Thanks for the fun link. Flash movies are so funny; I watched one last year that featured a villainous PSP facing off against fifteen other consoles in Final Fantasy VI's last scene, and I nearly died laughing, partly because it was incredibly funny, and partly because I've never liked the PSP in the first place. There are a few good Final Fantasy ones on that same site, so if you have a few minutes, check them out if you haven't already; you likely won't be disappointed.



Colour me wild!


Yes, the red-haired axe girl assassin from Final Fantasy IX is named Lani. I remember her now, but she played such a bit part that I forgot all about her. In any case, she nary could be called a hero, what with trying to kill the princess and all.

Matt

Yes, Lani, the random assassin who appears in the storyline along with the ultra-random Amarant, who seems to have no reason at all to join your party. Ah, Final Fantasy; only you are truly unparalleled at making randomness seem okay.

But, after a little thought, I was able to recall a red-haired axe-using female as a protagonist, and in the very game that made me love axes in the first place: Disgaea's Etna. Sure, she could equip any weapon, and many usually stick her with a spear, but she was also just as skilled with our heavy sword alternative.

Matt

She was definitely my spear-bearer, probably just because that's what she started with. If I played through again, I'd certainly change things up; my brother equipped Laharl with a Bow and Arrows on his quest, in his never-ending attempt to ensure that heroes are never all-powerful.

Good call, there, though.

I think the reason axes are so unpopular is because their obligatory detriment far exceeds their increased attack power, resulting in an undesirable choice in the end. They're always too slow, too inaccurate, or too random in their damage. Disgaea was the first game I found that properly balanced axes (though swords did end up surpassing them at the highest ranks), and I fell in love with them.

Matt

They were definitely useful in Disgaea, especially with the number of really inexpensive techniques that they came with. Axes are also useful in Dragon Quest games, where they don't really have any drawbacks to speak of. There must be other games out there, too, where they serve as fun alternatives to the overused sword.

I realized that my last letter contained no question, and this being a Q&A, I was quite embarrassed. So I have two today to make up for it.

First, in a sea of blue, pink, green, and purple haired characters, do you think redheads are underrepresented? Sure, we have Etna, Aika, Monica, Zelos, Adol, Jessica, Nel, and Zetta, but is that enough? Actually, probably..

Matt

Yes, I think that your list is a good sum-up, and there are many more I can think of: Shion, Crono, Quistis, and Maxim (from Lufia) immediately come to mind; if I tried extra-hard, I could come up with lots of others, I suspect. Thus, I'd have to say that there are plenty of redheads in the RPG world.

And second, do you recall that eager reader who sent you that Final Fantasy quiz a few weeks ago? Did he ever send the answers, or did I just miss that day?

--

Alexander M. DeMichiei


Matt

Ah, that was Blade! He had sent a couple of quizzes back in October or so, and he followed up with answers, but for some reason, he didn't do so this time. Blade!! Send us your knowledge!!! The twelve-or-so of us that remember your little quiz are still eagerly awaiting!

Thanks for pointing that out, Alex, and thanks for taking the time to send a letter.



Wild Arms has the initials "WA" for a reason... it might make you cry!


Hey Matt!

I finally found got some spare time at work so I'm have time for a proper letter after all.

Matt

Excellent.

*drums fingers*

OK, I'm ready. Lay it on me.

Your problem with WA:ACF reminds me of what happened to me in Wild Arms 3. That game has a 100 floor dungeon, which you can't save in or leave until you get to the bottom and there are several bosses along the way including two very hard ones right at the end. I spent the best part of two hours making my way through that dungeon, you had to collect a certain number of crystals to open the door, all the while fighting random battles. I managed to make it all the way down to the bottom floor, killed the first hard boss, was a few hits away from killing the second hard boss when... the game froze up! Despite the fact that I had entered their commands my characters just stood there looking at the boss. I tried everything but nothing I did convinced them to take those last few shots at the enemy so I just had to turn it off. Two hours wasted. Wild Arms doesn't seem to be the most reliable series does it?

Matt

Ohhh man, the pain!! That would hurt an extreme amount; I hate losing fifteen minutes of my time, let alone two hours, and if that were to happen to me, it would be highly unlikely for me to ever revisit the game again, especially if it was a bonus dungeon of sorts that caused the trouble.

Interestingly, my brother had a similar problem occur while I was watching HIM play Wild Arms 3 last week: He was in the middle of a battle somewhere (perhaps the battle arena?) when it came to be his turn... but his people just kept running around; the cursor decided not to appear, and the camera just kept panning around the battlefield while his party members and monsters scurried about as usual. After about two minutes of waiting, his turn actually started, so I don't know if the game had a mini-stroke at that point, or what, but from then on, it was okay. Absolutely bizarre, though.

From the number of people I've heard from, Wild Arms really doesn't seem like a very reliable series as far as technical crashes and major glitches are concerned; not at all. I still can't believe that the "piece of disappearing overworld" glitch would actually have allowed me to progress to the final area in Wild Arms: ACF without even obtaining the correct airship, prior. Stuff like that is stuff that should be caught before release.

Also, it just occured to me that as well as the black characters I mentioned in my last mail, the Suikoden series also has a blind character in Suikoden 1 named Morgan. His blindness has no bearing on his battle ability at all, he's as powerful a character as anyone else in the game which I always thought was pretty cool.

Dermot


Matt

Oh, neato. Good job on remembering that one. I think that blind characters would be awesome mages or clerics. I could definitely envision some spectacular character development as a result, too, with a dusting of real-world; we've all heard that the other senses of blind people are much stronger as a result of their disability, so just imagine what that would mean in a world full of magic and special abilities!

Thanks, Dermot!



Possible connections?


To whom gives a crud:

I recently finished Final Fantasy X-2, and i was pleased with the ending...but i can't believe how easy the final boss(es) was(were). I don't know if this was ever discussed before, but did you ever discover that Shinra, the Bobby Hill sounding masked guy in the Celsius made reference to Final Fantasy VII? He mentions that the Life energy of the planet is limitless, and that it would be cool to harness that energy for commercial purposes...but then states it would take generations to accomplish...i thought that was pretty neat.

Matt

Very interesting observation! I must admit that I don't remember Shinra saying that, but I remember the character well, and I remember his voice even better. Maybe everyone in FFX is an Ancient! Maybe the ruins of the City of Ancients are actually the ruins of some town in FFX! Maybe Blk Magic Spheres are just a specialized type of Materia! Then again, maybe not...

now for a question...umm...Why does it seem that every Q and A host is from Canada, and has great ambition to take over the world? Sounds like a conspiracy. I should warn somebody.

Thanks.
King Peekaboo.


Matt

Why, of course! There's nothing wrong with that, though, as a land flowing with milk and maple syrup would be great fun for all. If you don't like hockey, that's okay; our national sport IS lacrosse, after all.



Some technical pointers


Hi Matt

I havenít got the faintest idea what a wind mouse is nor can I claim to have persevered in FFTA far enough to know the end statement in the Yellow Powerz missions.

On the subject of your experiences with the dirty DVD in Wild Arms I can give you a simple explanation. The laser in your PS2 reads little holes (pits) in the disk as one number and the lack of little holes (flats) as another. It adds up the two numbers using some neat algorithms and puts pretty pictures on the game screen. If the disk is dirty then the pit can look like a flat and the algorithm comes up with the wrong number. When that happens the game will lock up as you experienced. The neat thing about CDís and DVDís though is that even simple cleaning can restore the disk to the point that the laser can read the pits and flats and get the right number again.

Angus


Matt

I'll be the first to admit that I have very little idea of how discs are actually constructed and I know even less about how they actually work, but your information is good to know.

The odd thing, to me, is the question of "Why are some CDs so much more prone to these types of errors than others?" and of course, by CDs, I mean DVDs, CDs, Gamecube discs, UMDs, or whatever else you can think of. It seems like dirty or clean, there are just some games in particular that have more difficulty running than others do. It could, of course, just be me.





C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

This time of year is an interesting one in Guelph. It's largely a university town, so as exams have finished up, the place has become quieter and quieter. Today, I went onto campus to retrieve my gym stuff from my locker, and I ran across a grand total of six people, two of whom I knew. Yes, summer in the city is a beautiful thing if you like some peace and quiet; I just hope it doesn't become downright lonely.

Flashay!


OK, #176 was a different kind of question about my favourite series. c) Dragon Quest VI is the only game of the entire series where normal blue slimes are not the easiest enemies you'll fight; in fact, you might not even encounter them until the third or fourth areas. What takes their spot? Spotted yellow and black slimes! Hopefully, we can see a translation of this game someday, so that we might get the opportunity to play it. In any event, that question was worth 205 points, for those that guessed correctly.

#177 was Erika's homemade question, and it was from a different subject area than we're used to: Poetry! The answer that she was going for was b) Deor, for 200 points. Congrats to ye literature buffs and google-users. (I don't actually know how easy it is to find the answer online--I didn't try.)

Question #178:
Which game's "realm of the gods" shares its name with a massive machine from which other? (220 points)

a) Sword of Mana and Xenosaga: Episode I
b) Sword of Mana and Xenosaga: Episode II
c) Legend of Mana and Xenogears
d) Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana and Xenogears
e) Riviera: The Promised Land and Wild Arms

Question #179:
Ask Bainick!--> In the game Inindo, how many torches surround the password's chest in the first dungeon? (200 points)

a) 3
b) 4
c) 5
d) 8
e) 9


SOCK's Award List

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


That does it for this week of questions and answers! Thanks very much to everyone who has submitted letters, whether they've been included or not; there has been a lot of very interesting and fun discussion over the course of this week. Whoever will be doing the weekend updates (and I don't even know who that will be... Tiptail? Ouro? Someone else?) welcome them warmly! As for me, it's time to, uh, go get some toilet paper to blow my nose yet again.

Bye, everyone!


slimey@rpgamer.com
***Matt has officially run out of Kleenex!!


Send a Question

Toilet paper isn't bad... unless you have to go through ten rolls of it. THEN it leaves your nose just terribly red and sore. I hope that's not me in 48 hours. In any case, I made myself tropical fruit salad tonight including a whole pink grapefruit, a banana, and a bunch of fresh pineapple. Immune system: Armed! (hopefully)

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