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ASK MATT
Hither and Thither May 17, 2006

Matt - 15:35 EST

I'M SO HAPPY! I managed to make a little bit of headway in my research computer program today, so I feel slightly accomplished, being a little closer to being finished my current project at hand (I'm about halfway done now, until the next step occurs). Now if I could only find the time for coursework and a good social life on the side! We all do our best in the balancing act, I s'pose.

Oh, something I wanted to report yesterday: As much as I absolutely love Dragon Quest VIII, as you should all know quite well, I think that the final boss was an utter disappointment. Sure, the music was kick-ass, but big deal. After such a wonderfully challenging game, it was way too easy; I realized this when I watched my sister beat it without any problem whatsoever last weekend. Sadly, I think that the last boss only uses his biggest attacks if and only if you happen to possess the spell of Omniheal. It's just a hypothesis at this point, but it's held true so far, and if it IS true, that would mark a disturbing watering-down of challenge that I'm not fond of. Anyway... end random gripe. ^_^

I'm so pumped to buy the New Super Mario Brothers; if I don't do it today, I'm going to do it tomorrow. It looks so sweet, I've been aching inside to play it; the only other DS game I've looked forward to this much is Final Fantasy III, but since that's not due in stores for a few months yet, I've got to pounce on this one to satisfy my Mario hunger! And boy, am I hungry. Super Princess Peach was a great game, but this platformer should really deliver.

Anyhow, I'll quit my unabashed Nintendo fanboying and get to a column filled with a few good letters! Ready? Heeeere we go:




L E T T E R S
Controller erosion: Not a good sign.


Hey Matt!

Welcome back from glorious Los Angelos, the cause of half of Phoenix's pollution, most of our recent real estate surge, and the occasional half decent movie (not that I don't like the place or anything). Like everyone else, I've got some E3 questions, so I'll fire away.

Matt

Deflector shields: Ready

Database Initialization: Complete

Nachos: Consumed

OK, I'm ready. Fire at will.

With the ridiculous price of the PS3, it's very apparent to me that I won't be buying one for at least two price drops, maybe three. Thus, I've suddenly become even more interested in the Wii (having more actual info about it helps, too). I'm kind of curious, how durable is the new controller? With as much waving and pointing, it seems more likely than most controllers to be dropped, banged, or otherwise damaged. Plus, with that nunchuck attachment, I can see myself yanking one or the other right out of my hand. I wonder how sturdy the gyroscopes are, too.

Matt

Good question! The controllers were incredibly light at E3; definitely no more than an ounce or two, but they felt pretty solid in my hands. The fact that they are so light could very well be good protection from hard falls, since I think that heavier controllers generally fall harder, if that makes any sense. Nintendo hasn't really had a bang-on controller since the SNES: the Gamecube's controller felt awesome, but had a really terribly-placed Z button and an unintuitive button-layout until you got used to it, and the Nintendo 64's controller's analog stick was just terribly made (can anybody say "controller erosion" five times fast?) The Gamecube's controller was really durable in my experience, especially compared to its predecessor's, so hopefully the Wii controller continues that trend.

I saw that you took a look at the Namco area, and said Xenosaga Ep3 was your favorite in the area. Was that just because you've enjoyed the series, or was there something tangibly good? While I've enjoyed them, the first two parts have had their ups and downs, so I'm hoping this one wraps it all up with a bang.

Matt

Oh, definitely because I'm a fan of the series. Sure, the Xenosaga games haven't been perfect, but I'm really looking forward to Episode III. I've been meaning to post some news on the game, to be quite honest, but I haven't really gotten around to it lately...it IS exciting though, and if it doesn't wrap up the story with a bang, I'll be bummed.

Lastly, have you heard the latest news about the terrific Phantom, a disappointing no-show at E3? Their CEO just got charged with artificially inflating the price of the stock so he could sell at a greater price (aka, the pump and dump). Plus, he violated some other SEC rules, like not disclosing the sales (as required as an officer of the company) and paying off a promoter for the stock publicity. This seems like the perfect end to such a great story, what else do you think they could do to top it?

BigWook


Matt

Wow! I'm sorry, I didn't hear about that story at all! With a name like Phantom, maybe they didn't actually have any games in development at all, in order to provide a grand illusion to stage this whole affair! Of course, whoever was in charge must not be that grand in the first place, because I sure as hell haven't heard of him. Poor guy... did he wind up in jail? Oh well!



More anti-Sony sentiments


Ouro Guru or Master Matt,

Last week was an exciting week for gaming all around. Not so exciting for the bank accounts of some gamers, but nonetheless a very promising future for gamers of the console persuasion. I can name at least 8 or 9 games I can't wait to purchase. That list is dominated mostly by Nintendo titles or titles coming out for Nintendo systems because of one simple reason: the Wii will be enough for me.

Matt

Not to play the devil's advocate, because as you know, I'm on Nintendo's side as well, but how can you be so sure when you haven't even picked up the controller before? What if the play control is absolutely rotten in every single game that's released? I mean, hopefully, it won't turn out that way, but there's always the possibility...

If one of my previous letters didn't already indicate it, I won't be buying another Sony console for the rest of my life -- I have zero faith in their hardware longevity. If it has good games, I'll play them at a friend's house because surely one of my friends will be gutsy enough to invest in it, but no more of my hard-earned money will be going to Sony after my PS1 abruptly kicked the bucket and my fat-model PS2 died a slow-motion dramatic death. I'm already predicting the demise of my slim PS2, and I'm taking requests on what to carve for the epitaph.

Matt

You too? It took my PS2 three tries to load my Megaman X Collection disc yesterday, so I'm guessing that I'm going to need to buy another PS2 long before I ever consider purchasing a PS3. I don't think that it's too much to ask that consoles last more than a few years, but maybe we're just unlucky? I doubt it, though, considering the vast number of Sony complaints as compared to with other companies, in all honesty.

Most of my money will be going to Nintendo on the console side of things. The Wii will be my primary gaming system of choice because of the unique, new playing styles it promises. I'm much more interested in that than what the "standard" controller can do. I know how a standard controller works and frankly I've grown tired of it. This generation of console graphics were A.O.K. by my eyes; that said, I cannot justify dropping $600+ on a console that has nothing else to offer me when I can get a much less expensive console and a handful of games AND peripherals for that same amount. My bank account agrees. If I buy a 360 at all, I won't be buying it for at least a year and a half after the Wii is released, and that's fine with me. Other expenses and financial obligations will prevent me from making a big splash in the next generation of consoles, anyway. For RPGs I'll stick with my existing PS1 and PS2 libraries (while purchasing a few used games that escaped my grasp); I'll keep my PC updated for the newest RTS and MMORPG games. For everything else, I'll have the Wii.

Matt

It's a really good point to make, especially if you're not into gaming for graphics alone. I'm not. Some people are. And while there may be the diamonds in the rough gaming-wise out there in the world of Sony, I can't justify spending that much money either. Since Nintendo has always managed to dole out some good, fun games (even on their weaker consoles) I personally think that for myself, the Wii will be my best possible investment because its pricepoint, while undetermined as of yet, should be far lower than that of the PS3. Also, I really don't know what to think about Final Fantasy XIII, the action/shooter; the seemingly incredible change in style is very unattractive to me, despite the graphics, which were of course sopping with gorgeousness in the trailer.

I'm trying to think of innovative ways to use the Wii controller to apply to the RPG genre, since this is a RPG-centric website, but I'm not sure how to slice it without being too gimmicky. I'm sure there are a good number of ways smart developers can utilize the features in the Wii controller. Any ideas on your end? How else could the Wii revitalize the RPG genre apart from visual appeal? Or any console, for that matter? What about isolated online elements for a mostly off-line RPG? It may work, though it may not be a new concept. I guess the Wii's 24 hour connectivity thing can organize something in that regard as well as X-Box Live. It'd be like a mini-game that has the capability of playing against other gamers around the world along with the option of playing against game AI if internet is not available. Sort of like an online Blitzball or Triple Triad only not those games, obviously. Just my two cents. I'll ponder more later.

-- Kaz (Next Gen hits Bank Account for 9999 damage. Bank Account dies.)


Matt

Obviously, the controller is going to make a world of difference in gameplay, and some games could easily feel really gimmicky. So, I really hope that developers are careful to pick and choose carefully which elements will use motion sensing and which will not, because just inserting it everywhere will certainly make games feel stupid and perhaps overcomplicated. This is why Nintendo opted to make Zelda: Twilight Princess' sword slashes to be carried out using the A button instead of by swinging the remote about. While it might seem cool at first, it would probably get tiring really quickly.

I could see the controller playing a really strong element in a "Turn-based Action RPG" like the Paper Mario series, where by shaking the controller at the right time, you can dodge or add special effects to attacks, etc. In mainstream RPGs, it's a difficult call. The first ideas that come to mind are definitely sword slashes and spell-symbol-drawing in midair, but those seem pretty "boring". I'm sure some company will do it, but hopefully, over time, some really neat ideas evolve out of the first steps (and missteps) to occur. And yes... the omni-connectivity thing really opens the doors for some awesome possibilities for RPGs. It's all in the hands of the developers at this point!



More Sony, from a different angle!


Good to see ya Matt,

I'm glad to see you enjoyed yourself at E3. Now, on to business.

Matt

Thanks! And sure. What have you got for me today?

Don't you think we are all, myself included, being a little hard on Sony. The PS3 is expensive but not overpriced. Of the three "next generation" consoles, the PS3 is the only one actually using new technology in its media, read system, and processors, particularly in the graphics processors which may be the best on the planet. New technology is always expensive. The fact is the PS3 specs far exceed both the X-Box 360 and the Wii by a WIDE margin, and the price unfortunately has to reflect that. I still won't buy the damn thing but I'm going to stop bashing them.

Matt

Yeah, you're right. The technical specs are huge, and in order to subsidize the ridiculous graphics, the price has nowhere to go but up. I'd probably buy it, too, if it weren't so expensive, but I argue that it doesn't have to be this way. Aren't game companies missing the point? These are games, and thus the primary focus should be on fun; not graphics, necessarily, at the expense of consumers. Aren't graphics getting good enough, anyway? Is there even a real reason to push the limits and drive prices up further? I can't tell much of a difference between Xbox 360 and regular Xbox games, and while the PS3 games that I saw looked pretty, they weren't "leaps ahead." Maybe I'm the one who is missing the point. Sony has made a decision; the major reason that I "bash" them from time to time is because their system reliability has tended to be shockingly bad.

Along this same vein. All companies steal a little, and Sony has a long track record of theft. So, I don't know why everyone was shocked and dismayed when Sony ripped off Nintendo's idea for a motion sensing in a controller. That's just Sony being evil which is what they do best. You can't fault a snake for biting you, after all.

Matt

Perhaps. On a strangely related note, my Mémère (grandma on my dad's side) used to say in a heavy french accent: "If I see a snake in my garden... I chop it with my hoe!" Take what you will from that, though I'm not quite sure that Sony is as easily chopped.

Speaking of the Wiimote, I'm starting to get a little hesistant in that regard. It seems as though the controller is a little unweildy, but that may just be a side-effect of extreme novelty. I hope it turns out to be functional and not just a gimmick. I will be buying the Wii. Will you?

Matt

I will! It's going to be a risk, too. If developers aren't careful, games could really have terrible play control. I played the system myself, and I can tell you right now that there's a potential for incredible greatness, but only if great attention is placed on making the control feel as natural as possible. If Nintendo is going to make play control their number one priority, it is going to have to be done perfectly, or things are going to crash and burn, because graphically, the games obviously won't stand up to the other systems. Hopefully, they realize this fact before the system is launched.

Microsoft has continued to fail to impress me. Not only are they continuing to cater to FPS games, which I loathe, but I still don't see much that makes the 360 a better buy over the PS2 much less the PS3. Oblivion is ok, but I can play it easire on my PC, while the technology in the PS3 is superior to most PCs bought in the past year.

Matt

Indeed, and with Microsoft losing money with every Xbox sold, Microsoft really does seem like the evil guy in this game, because it feels like they're in the industry just to try and steal market share away from Sony and Nintendo, which seems quite unproductive. I played a couple of interesting Xbox 360 games at E3, but not nearly enough to warrant a purchase.

I'm going to buy FFXII, of course, but am more looking forward to 'Tales of the Abyss' and 'Valkery Profile: Silmera'. Those two games look to be fun and well executed unlike FFXII which looks dark and unintuitive. In general I was fairly disappointed FFXII's showing at E3. I was hoping more of the major issues surrounding the game would be resolved before the show.

Matt

You're not the only one. The most surprising thing of all? By the end of Day Two, there were almost no lineups at all to play FFXII. I walked by empty demos more than a couple of times on the Thursday, with a whole day of show to go. I really hope that the final version can reverse my sour opinion of the game, though from the incredible hype over the Japanese version, I'm still pretty optimistic, despite everything. I really hope I'm not setting myself up for a huge disappointment, but so far, I have yet to come back from playing a FFXII demo truly "wowed."

Speaking of Square-Enix...FFXIII looked amazing if those are actual gameplay. I think someone somewhere mentioned that it looked like a FPS which I didn't see at all. Did you see anything at E3 that would give you a feel for the style of gameplay it may use?

Good to have you back, Cap


Matt

I think I mentioned "shooter" a little while ago because part of the gameplay that is shown involves one of the characters shooting an enemy from afar in real-time jaw-dropping graphical goodness. The game looks incredibly, incredibly action-oriented, and really does not bear much semblance at all to an RPG, from what I saw of the trailer. Gameplay-wise, it's really difficult to say for sure, based on such preliminary footage, but it looks like Final Fantasy XII with more freedom, less organization, and, well, more action. It makes me ache inside, a little bit, because it's really cementing the fact that the old days of traditional Final Fantasy really are gone. As great as the final product might end up being, I feel like I got married to Square a long time ago, but that we've grown apart recently, with FFX being less than my favourite, FFXI being unplayed by me, FFXII being unattractive at this point, and FFXIII looking like an even greater step away from what I used to love. On the other hand, though, I'm sure that the new Final Fantasies have attracted a whole new crop of gamers at the same time.



Thoughts on the next-gen


Matt! Welcome back! You have no idea how hard it's been in the time you've been gone. But that's all in the past. I'll try to keep this short, but I have a LOT to say about E3 2006. So...let us begin. I shall order my comments in a somewhat chronological order.

Matt

Ah, chronological order, my favourite! Begin.

To start it off... Final Fantasy XIII. At the Square Enix Press Conference. Considering how skeptical you are on FFXII, I can only imagine your thoughts on this upcoming gun-heavy adventure. My thoughts? Well, if you look at the screenshots, there are still menus in-battle, therefore the combat in FF13 must be menu-based, just like every other game in the series. This means that you will most likely NOT be aiming and tapping the R1 button FPS-style. There will still be an ATB bar, and all that turn-based jazz. Basically, it looks to me that FF13 is using a steroid-infused version of FF12's battle system. This makes sense, considering all the critical acclaim that FF12 is receiving. (Yes, however bland and stupid it may seem in the demos we see, the many reviews I've read for the import version of FF12 actually PRAISE the battle system. Go to GameRankings.com and read Gamebrink's review. Read ANY review.)

Matt

Oh, I know! Trust me, I know. Those rave reviews are what keeps me going, because none of the demos I've played have turned my crank at all. SO, it's been with quite a bit of effort that I've tried to remain positive about the whole thing. The jury is, despite everything, still out for me, and I'm still optimistic about the final product. I guess I just ranted about FFXIII above, but you're right; it's a little depressing more than anything. Maybe I just haven't evolved alongside my games enough. It looks fine enough, but it'd be nice to have a little old-school flavour twisted in every now and then, you know?

Now I understand that not everyone can endure change. But people need to stop and consider what makes a Final Fantasy game. Is it really the aesthetics? Were FF1-10 good because the characters and enemies arranged themselves in a line, while you strategically selected "attack"? And will FF12 and 13 both be bad since this doesn't happen? Almost every RPG has turn-based battles, huge swords, spikey-haired protaganists, and airships. What sets Final Fantasy apart is the high production values poured into each and every iteration. The little traditions that people are used to seeing are not, in the end, what define the game. So try to keep an open mind. FFXII, according to every review I've read, is a high-quality title. Just like every other Final Fantasy game before it. And somehow, I don't see FF13 breaking that tradition.

Matt

Yes, yes, yes, yes. And believe me when I say that I try my best to approach things with an open mind; there are all sorts of old-school gamers like myself who have just thrown up their hands in disgust and found other series to play instead. FF XII and XIII could very well turn out to be just fine, and you're right that there hasn't been a single Final Fantasy that I've ever played that I could truly describe as "bad".

Uhh... is it just me, or do I suddenly feel like you're the host and I'm the writer-inner? It should be ME consoling others about these new developments, not the other way around!!

Enough preaching. Anyways, one thing I did think was strange was the announcement of Final Fantasy Versus XIII at the same time of FF13. Apparently, Square is skipping the part where FF13 becomes massively popular, and going straight to the spin-offs. Now, I didn't mind the Compilation of FF7. But with this FF13 stuff, Square might be getting ahead of themselves. In the past, it's been shown that a Final Fantasy title doesn't necessarily have to sell well. (FF9, for instance.) I'm not saying FF13 will bomb, but Square is definitely making quite an assumption when they predict that the FF13 name will become popular enough to sell a bunch of sequels, prequels, and whatever-quels.

Another thing to consider is this. Not only are they assuming that FF13 will be a hit, they are also assuming that the PS3 will be a hit. And that brings me to the discussion of the PS3. $599. Five Hundred and Ninety-Nine dollars. (Forget about the stripped-down $499 version). As if I really need to say it, that is an absolutely insane price for a video game console. Listen as I offer these concise, and inarguable words of wisdom: Final Fantasy XIII will NOT sell well at all if NOBODY owns a PS3. And I am inclined to believe that very few people will be willing to shell out $599, or hell, even $499, for a PS3.

Matt

Exactly. I'm really worried that Sony and Square Enix are really starting to take their popularity for granted, and it could very well come back to bite them hard one day if they don't tread carefully. The PS3 will cost many Canadian gamers over $750 after tax is included, and that's just too high, I think, for the general supply/demand curve.

I'm sure that Final Fantasy XIII wouldn't have been announced in multiple parts if XII hadn't been quite as smashing of a Japanese success. The reviews were phenomenal, and a lot of people really love the game, from the sounds of it. It's all hype, and they're doing a good job. Will it draw enough people to the PS3, though? Only time will tell!

The PS3 is a big, fat ditch that Sony dug themselves. Sickeningly enough, $599 is CHEAP for a blu-ray player. Sony will, in fact, lose money for every console they sell. Now, I know that this is standard strategy, (Microsoft did the same with their 360,) but it just adds to the insanity. The PS3 is, in fact, underpriced. But this raises the question: Did Sony really need to included blu-ray technology? The 360 launched with a standard DVD drive, and so will the Wii. Was it worth the insane price to include a Blu-Ray drive? Hell no.

For all my bashing, I don't see a need to boycott Sony, or do anything extreme. It may be a few years, but I'll probably end up purchasing a PS3 one day, and playing FF13. Better start saving my pennies.

Matt

Indeed. Consoles are not computers. They shouldn't come with computer prices, either, as far as I'm concerned. Why not wait until the technology is more feasible to offer at a reasonable price (a reasonable price for the average gamer, not for Alistair McCEO's son Hubert.)

Now for my thoughts on Nintendo. Well, I have to admit, they probably had the best showing at E3. (With the sheer amount of playable Wii games). However, their press conference seemed like a bunch of nothing. I became tired rather quickly of the "graphics don't matter" message that they insist on delivering over and over again. They'd better be banking on that assumption, because their Wii games look like high-end GameCube titles at best. I know that graphics don't completely define a game, and I admit that they aren't very high on my priority list, but to say that they don't matter is ludicrous. Graphics are a valuable aspect of a videogame. They help tell the story, and define the emotions the producers are trying to convey. (Go play a game like "Shadow of the Collossus" and tell me that the graphics didn't matter.) And also, while me and you are not among this category, you know the sheer number of foolish gamers in the world that will take one look at the Wii's dated graphics and turn up their noses. If Nintendo hopes to pull the same stunt they did with the DS, then they will fail. The PSP is losing out to the DS because of a lack of quality software on the PSP. Such a thing will probably not happen on the PS3 and 360.

Matt

Really? Maybe so, but there really aren't very many games on the horizon for Sony and Microsoft that have me drooling over their next-generation systems at all. Nintendo, on the other hand, has Zelda, a nifty-looking Mario game, Metroid Prime 3, Super Smash Brothers Brawl, and the promise of the ability to download all sorts of old games that really hit home with me, personally. The PS3 has Final Fantasy XIII, which, well, we've already talked about. Xbox 360 has Enchanted Arms and maybe another hit or miss game that I'd consider picking up if I had one. To me, the Wii is most attractive from a software point-of-view as well at this time.

That said, you have a good point. Nintendo really has to come through, because graphically, the games really do fall short; the games I saw were all pretty much indiscernable from Gamecube games in that respect. And, of course, for some people, it IS all about the graphics! I'd argue that you don't need capabilities beyond the Gamecube, but I guess that's up for debate.

Anyways, while Nintendo's strategy seems a little shaky to me, it can't be denied that the Wii looks really good. I love how Zelda plays on the Wii, (although I am somewhat pissed that is was delayed just so they could add those features), and everything really just looks great. Software will undoubtedly be good this time around. My only fear are the games that make heavy use of the motion-sensitivity, such as Red Steel. According the the impressions I read at GameSpot and IGN, Red Steel is quite awkward to control. Hopefully it will be tightened up before release, but I think Nintendo should avoid overly-heavy use of the motion-sensitivity.

Okay, I'll stop now. More later, perhaps, when all my thoughts are collected. I suggest you start catching up on all the sleep you inevitably lost.

-Oliver.


Matt

I'm working on the sleep, and I'm slowly catching up! It's a winning battle, albeit slowly.

Thanks for your letter, Oliver! It's going to be an interesting year in the video gaming world, and it'll be fun to see how things shake out in the end.



Just for a change of pace...


Hi Matt Since you deal with numbers so much, do you know the significance of 255? I've read that it appears in several FF games as the number for max stats. Since this number doesn't seem to be arbitrary, do you know how the designers have come to this number? I suspect it has to do with how numbers are represented in binary or some other technical reason but I thought I could get a more informed answer from you.


Matt

In the world of programming, it all boils down to billions of zeros and ones, zeros representing "off" connections and ones representing "on" connections. These are easily representable using binary (base 2) expansions of numbers rather than the more familiar (base 10) decimal representations. For example, in binary, you "count" using only two digits, so 1001 in binary is equal to 9 in decimal. Try it out.

The significance is that if eight binary digits are allocated to hold the information for any piece of data, the biggest number that can be stored would be 11111111, which is equal to 255 in decimal. Don't ask me why games tend to choose eight, though I suspect it's because eight is also a power of two. I'm not big on artificial limits, especially on stats in RPGs, myself, but that's more or less the reason why they exist. I hope that helps!





C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

Phew! So many heartfelt opinions on the great next-generation battle, and I guarantee you that there will be many more to come. For now, let's move on to something we haven't touched in awhile, so I can give out a game or two eventually!


Flashay!


***Answers to May 5th's Questions***

#192. d) Eggplant - 300 points (that was from Adventure Island; for some odd reason, eggplant used to often be made the "evil" vegetable in old video games)

#193. b) Trauma Center: Under the Knife - 250 points/500 for Arros Raikou (thanks for the submission!)


***Today's New Questions***

#194: Which other video game featured evil eggplants? (225 points)

a) Kid Icarus
b) Yoshi's Story
c) Kiwi Craze
d) Kirby's Adventure
e) Joe and Mac


#195: What did the title of yesterday's column refer to? (275 points)

a) The high temperature in degrees Fahrenheit yesterday.
b) The number of new DS titles scheduled to be released before the end of this year, according to Nintendo last week.
c) The number of new messages I had in my slimey@rpgamer.com inbox after a week of being away.
d) My father's 57th birthday, which occurred last weekend.
e) The percentage of people in a new poll I recently read who believed that Nintendo had the best showing at E3.


SOCK's Item List

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

1,000 points: Your choice of Scan Spell (1 left) or Point Halver (1 left)
2,000 points: Your choice of Point Doubler (2 left) or Wait Mode (1 left)
3,500 points: Your choice of Blind Spell (1 left) or Point Tripler (1 left)
5,000 points: Your choice of Mithril Armor (1 left) or Sneak Glove (2 left)
7,000 points: Your choice of Fire 2 Spell (2 left) or Drain Spell (2 left)
10,000 points: Your choice of Scan Spell (2 left) or Point Halver (2 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)

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. (5 left)

15,000 points: Nintendo Wii Canvas Carrying Bag- It's white with blue print, and two drawstrings; I picked this up while waiting in the nigh-infinitely long line to play Nintendo's new console at E3 2006. If you'd like it, I'll mail it to you free of charge! (1 left)

15,000 points: Pokémon 10th Anniversary game case- Not as special as it sounds, but useful for carrying up to 4 DS games or 2 DS games and 2 Game Boy Advance games. Translucent plastic with a silver Pikachu and print on the front. (1 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)

22,000 points: Slime Keychain Dangler- Fresh from the Square Enix booth at E3 2006, this cute little guy can be yours. (1 left)

22,000 points: Slime Snail Keychain Dangler- Anyone remember Slime Snails from Dragon Warrior III? I managed to snag one of these, too. Strut with Dragon Quest pride!! (1 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: Nintendo DS Lite Carrying Case- This won't quite fit old-model DS handhelds, but it's lightweight and flashy. White and black with an extra zippered pocket for carrying games, and a hook to attach to clothes, backpacks, or whatnot. I received this at Nintendo's Pre-E3 Media Briefing. (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) (3 left)

50,000 points: Suikoden for the PSX. Play the game that started off the entire series! Josh was generous enough to donate this exciting prize, so it would be cool to send this to a good and loving home. (1 left) *********************************************************


Well, you must have some thoughts rustling through your heads, so let me know what they are! Does Sony deserve the negative sentiments? Is Nintendo really that set to become a real player in the video game industry once again? How important are graphics in games? And most importantly, does RPGaming have a bright future among the next-generation consoles? That should be lots for you to play with, so I leave it to you to do so. For now, ta ta!

slimey@rpgamer.com
***Matt's favourite dark leafy green is spinach!


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All of those people who say that there's sand in spinach are idiots. I'll tell you something, though... it's a lot better than eggplant. What a useless vegetable... perhaps not EVIL, necessarily, but it's pretty pointless, tasteless, and good for a grand total of ONE dish- eggplant parmigiana, which is usually better when chicken is substituted anyway.

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Matt's Top 3 Current Games:

1. Riviera: The Promised Land

2. Radiata Stories

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