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Un-Slept
May 15, 2007

Matthew Demers - 20:42 EST

LAST NIGHT, I GOT almost no sleep. After staying up late battling Pokémon to Pokémon with my brother over Nintendo Wi-Fi, I sat up a little longer and helped a friend through some break-up issues. When I finally laid my poor weary head on my pillow, I was jolted awake by a horrifying blast of electricity. I'm really not used to hearing thunderstorms while living on the top floor of a high-rise apartment. With the lightning blasting twice per second, and the wind howling outside... oh my, I felt like a scared puppy.

So did anyone notice how utterly awesome the Dragon Quest media looks?!? The new trailer looks incredible, as far as I'm concerned, and all of a sudden, I can't wait for this game. Also, who'd have believed that DQM: Joker would be announced for North America after all? In the world of video games, this was a good weekend for a guy like me.

My one pet peeve: I'm beginning to wonder if Final Fantasy XIII is going to be a twelve-minute game in the end. It's been an entire year now since we saw the original trailer, and the new one tacks just a few seconds onto it. If this is the price to pay for super-awesome graphics and a "sick" battle system, I'll take my shitty polygons and Final Fantasy VII-style gameplay, please.

Anyway, feel free to add your two cents at any time! Let another week begin.




LETTERS
34 years old? Where's the nearest retirement home?


Hiya Matt!

Apparently S-E has me trained like Pavlov's dog to drool everytime they re-release a FF game. As much as I am looking forward to FFIV DS I wish it could have been something like DW4 or ya know, a game that wasn't still relatively easy to find a copy of and play on the DS. I hope their isn't some kind of Mognet requirement to unlock stuff this time.

Matt

Yeah, given that Square Enix just adopted a new set of additions for the game less than two years ago, it's hard to imagine what else they want to add besides prettier graphics. If there is a Mognet feature, hopefully they'll get with the 1870s and realize that having the spacebar in the same place as the alphabet is probably a good idea.

I don't think I despise Pokemon, I just don't get Pokemon. I've only played the games on display in stores, but they really fail to grab me. Maybe I'm just not willing to become a full on addict yet, which is probably good because at the moment, I don't have the time for it.

Matt

See, you can't very well get hooked with a couple of minutes on someone else's game. The whole thing is "bringing up" a team that you create yourself, and feeling pride when an up-and-coming lower-level critter manages to get in that final blow or otherwise come through just when you need it. Building that team from scratch is part of the picture, and it's a part that's completely hidden unless you actually play it.

Of course... you're right, it's probably a good idea if you don't have the time. It's a deadly toxin if the poison takes.

As for what I miss from RPG's... I miss places like the Millenial Fair and the Gold Saucer. Places where you could waste hours on mini-games and they are all within running distance. That seemed to be the trend for a few years at least and while I'm not asking for another basketball game for Cloud to suck at, I wouldn't mind if a game had a few little games to play instead of one and only one intricate mini-game to choose from.

Matt

You know, mini-games haven't completely disappeared from RPGs, though they have been exiting stage right from Final Fantasy, now that Square Enix is intent on making the series super-serious and somber all the time. Even in the games that do have them, though, I find myself less interested in playing those minigames, in general. I'm not sure why. Perhaps they're just lamer, plain and simple. (Who actually tried that incredibly awful mini-game racing thing in Balfonheim more than once? Admit it.)

I just started playing Shadow Hearts and their is an "old man" character in it, for some reason I seem to be on a quest to find as many of them as I can (which is completely your fault btw) so that makes what? Three now?

That's it for me
Whitney

Matt

Dove started their "campaign for real beauty" awhile back, so perhaps I should start "the campaign for real characters." I can also think of Tellah and Galuf from the FF series, as well as Brey from Dragon Warrior IV; I think there was an old martial arts dude somewhere in Legend of Dragoon, but seeing as that game is garbage and a half, I choose to put it out of my mind.

Thanks Whitney! Sorry it took so long for the letter to get up.



Restart/Retry/End?


Heya, Hiya, Ho There Matt,

Question time, 'nuff said.

-Wouldn't it be wicked to have save points in real life?

This, like most questions ever asked EVER has two very solid and distinct sides and points.

Yes! Of course it would be awesome to have save points in real life! Save before a big game/test/date/day at work, and if it sucks, do it over again! Never get another crappy score/handshake goodbye/final paycheck again! Having the ability to record your movements, and be able to go back and amend your life as you see fit could help improve the lives (at least, social lives) of people around the world! And what if tragedy were to befall you or a loved one at some point in time? Why just reach for the handy-dandy reset button, and boom! It's like that car wreak, or drive by, or freak accident never happened! Lives could be saved, precious time spent in a better way, and a lot of grief avoided. So having the ability to literally save your life would be pretty amazing....

....Assuming of course you're a good person in general.

Now, while the average joe would probably use this power for mundane things like what I describe at the beginning, gaming, girls, and grades (The 3 G's of life for us male-types), what would a n'er-do-well, or a 'villian' do with these powers? I think that answer to that is all to easy. Evil. Duh.

Try to rob a bank but got caught? Restart. Tried to steal that nice sports car but couldn't hot wire it? Restart. Tried to break into that house but the owners caught you and the alarm went off? Restart. Not to mention that kinds of things REALLY bad guys, a.k.a., terrorists and dictators, and warlords, and whatnot, would do with that kind of power. I won't go into for the sake of decency, but I'm sure you all can use your imaginations.

I know this was supposed to be a light-hearted topic, meant for informal but interesting banter, but it's just the world we live in today. Of course we would rather just cling to the parameters of video games, where we are a main character, and the rest are just NPCs there to give us useless nuggets of info along the way, but we aren't, and neither are they. We are only the main characters to our own lives, but we don't have control on anyone else's, and we never should.

Matt

But... we can influence them. THIS is what is completely interesting to me; I'd never get bored of life. If I had the chance, it would be so amazing to go down one of life's paths, and then right at the end, restart from the age of, you know, 15 or something. Then, I'd see if based on the decisions I make, would the "Butterfly Effect" cause earth-shattering results? Could you perform a certain set of actions that could eventually cause a war (or prevent one?) If you had infinite retries, you could compete with yourself to see exactly how big of a mark you can make in the world. We're too afraid to try risky things in real life because of the fact that we have only one chance. When that stipulation is taken away, the game changes considerably.

What a wonderful invention the save point would be, even if some creeps out there would take advantage of it in unfortunate ways. And one of those complete-heal save points that RPGs have become so fond of these days? All the better. Imagine what we could invest our health-care expenditures in instead! (No, US Government, not another trillion dollars in defensey stuff. Tsk, tsk.)

Lordy, I didn't even ask a real question in that, did I? Well, then here, let me ask you this, what parts of RPGs would be best suited for the real world? Random encounters? Being able to enter and exit anyone's home at will? (Almost) Every citizen being nice and helpful and easy to intereact with? Itmes shops with potions and ethers and whatnots? What rpg elements do you believe would be best suited to real life?

Sorry to be so serious, I really didn't mean to, it's just where the question took me,
Frammy

|= |=

Matt

Maybe it's just me, but I really like to think that as social creatures, most people you meet but don't know would be perfectly helpful and friendly. Yes, it isn't normal to go around and chat with people at random, but all in all, I think that humans are growing unfriendlier not because they ARE predisposed to unfriendliness, but because they believe that everyone else is unfriendly. Silly.

In the real world, then, I think that we could all take a lesson from the RPG world. As long as we're not all confined to saying exactly one line until something earth-shattering happens, whereupon we switch to another fixed line. It would be a difficult existence, wouldn't it?

Other than that, I'd take a shop with potions and whatnot...or the ability to pretty much live forever, until some little brother in FOUR-DEE SPACE erases the savefile.

Thanks, Frammy!



Worlds and worldliness


Matt:

Regarding Shadowchancellor's question about summer games, I give a resounding "YES" to your suggestion of Etrian Odyssey. I'd also like to throw Odin Sphere out there.

Matt

Oh yeah, and that's coming out soon, too. Odin Sphere kind of flew a bit under the radar for me, but it looks sweet.

Now, the rumor about FFIV has been confirmed, but there's another rumor floating about the internets re the game: that it's nearly complete. This makes me smile. What would make me smile even more? FFV DS. Because that is one awesome job system.

Matt

It is! But man, they could stand to do a lot of tweaking. WHILE the job system is great, the abilities you get in Final Fantasy V are wildly disproportioned. Why would anybody choose to make their one and only skill slot "Equip Whips"? Honestly, abilities like these should have been auto-abilities of some kind that are usable across all jobs once you acquire the skill... it wouldn't be "cheap" either, because those Equip abilities are usually a pain to unlock in the first place (which makes the current state even more pitiful).

But totally... I'd love to see the void in action in three dimensions; I'd love to see, uh, the different dimensions in three dimensions; I'd love to see Exdeath's creepy pink castle in three dimensions. Even if the game just came out six months ago. Ugh.

With only two badges under my belt, I have put Pokemans away. I'm playing through FFIII again instead (though, when Etrian comes out, FFIII is going on indefinite hold). Pokemans just can't keep my interest for long periods of time. It may, indeed, be the slower pace.

Matt

Hey, to each his own. One funny story: I had thought that the battle text speed was excruciatingly slow, even set to Fast, but when I went back and checked, I discovered that, no, I had it on Slow after all. I can totally remember adjusting it early on, but I must have accidentally hit right or left an extra notch. What a pain!

Anyway, perhaps you'll get back to it someday, but you're right... we have a lot of other gaming to do, too!

Now, I'm not one to say that buying Disgaea is a bad idea. But, at this point, if you don't already have the game, I'd wait for the PSP version. Strategy RPG + portability = Instant Win.

Matt

Oh, absolutely! And the PSP version looks absolutely wonderful, too; if I had a PSP, that's exactly what I'd have my eyes on. Final Fantasy VII: CRISIS CORE? Sorry, Square Enix, but Disgaea is less overdone and more interesting than yet another FFVII story.

Besides, I think it would be exceptionally difficult to find the original Disgaea by now. And not only that; I think that the PSP game is being told from a different point of view or something. Perhaps the voice actor for Laharl was on a limiting schedule or something (because there IS no replacement for Laharl's voice, sorry).

And, as regards the 360 vs. PSP debate...well, I sold my 360. I just wasn't playing it, ever. I'd rather play my PS2, or my DS, or even my PSP. Now, this isn't to say that I won't eventually want a 360 (I will, when Blue Dragon is released), but at that time, I'll probably invest in an Elite.

Matt

You're buying and selling your consoles like a Wall Street trader! I'd take stock of the situation if I were you. AHAHA, I kill myself.

But you're right; the 360 looks like it's going to blossom into a viable RPG console, which I can't really say about the PS3. The PSP has come a long way, too, considering that this time last summer, it was looking pretty bleak for the little machine.

So, the Square Enix party is coming up. You have your ticket already?

-Jeffrey

PS: SOCK 2 FTW

Matt

I only wish I had such a ticket. The announcements during the party have been fast and furious... from FFXIII: more of the same, to Super Smash Brothers, Final Fantasy edition, it's been an exciting week. (Though, those Dragon Quest announcements had me all-smiley.)

Anyway, if anybody else is having a party anytime soon, be sure to give me a ticket ahead of time. I'll be there! Especially if there are drinks. And... ESPECIALLY if they're free.



Words of wisdom, and a gentle nudge.


Something different today. You need this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Segata_Sanshiro And THIS is the music video! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=joNwYPdEBTc&mode=related&search= Man I find this song catchy (wonder why?). And there's quick footage of Shining Force III Scenario 1 before the nightclub incident, along with Panzer Dragoon Saga and Sakura Wars after.

I cannot discern that FEDA stands for anything. It's just a fine tactical title, which the Super Nintendo didn't have many of in English. Have a musical sample: http://gh.ffshrine.org/song/5060/33 Early battle theme, interesting?

Tengai Makyou talk time, as I have now completed two of the games. This series began on, of all things, the Turbo CD. The first three games are all on it, though the first has been remade for Xbox 360 and the second has numerous redoes - the most convenient of which for me would be the DS version. As you know, lack of English does not bother me overly. As for the third, it would be great to see on another system considering it's set in England - but so far it's only on Turbo CD.

Then there's Tengai Makyou Zero on the SNES. It's got some interesting facets and manages to be have a very worthy final boss along with a consistent challenge, but possibly the music is the most interesting aspect. I'll give two samples: http://gh.ffshrine.org/song/7248/13 is the standard boss theme (and rocks), http://gh.ffshrine.org/song/7248/32 is for the shrines housing the Chinese Zodiac deities of the lands. I'll talk more about this game later.

But of course Tengai Makyou IV is the game I've been talking about, because it is the most ludicrous RPG ever made (and I'll place very high odds on that). So let's have some bizarre music from it! Like http://gh.ffshrine.org/song/6603/96, when Zengo gets lost in his own memories thanks to Draculoa, the master of Louisiana. Different, yes?

Or http://gh.ffshrine.org/song/6603/92, from the castle of Carube the master of Michigan. His castle is in Detroit and should be quite visible from the Ontario border, Matt. Nice Romantic feel.

Matt

Hahahaha, if you've ever been to the Windsor riverfront, you'll know that the only castles in sight are those of the FORD MOTOR COMPANY and other corporate headquarters like that. I've yet to witness anything terribly beautiful about the city of Detroit, I'm afraid, unless you think that interestingly-tinted smokestack emissions fit the bill.

Or this http://gh.ffshrine.org/song/6603/20, played when visiting the many Indian villages around America. Why should it be called Suffering? Hmm. Or this http://gh.ffshrine.org/song/6603/94 played during the escape from Atlanta. How can you escape? Because everyone in town is hypnotized by the aerobics workout on the TV screen, of course - and that's what this music captures. The moment when everyone in Atlanta is exercising because the TV tells them to!

Have a Grandia musical link: http://gh.ffshrine.org/song/213/39 I like this, it's from an assault upon an airship because a party member got kidnapped.

Quick thanks to Bigwook for pointing out that error with my letter when Boojum cohosted last: I thought about mentioning it but it seemed like tooting my own horn.

Matt

Eh, everybody makes mistakes. With the exception of air traffic controllers and possibly Vanna White, it doesn't really matter if you make an error now and then.

Speaking of a Boojum co-hosting, he's almost down to his last couple! It's so sad... we've lived through this great era of occasional he-columns, I'll miss 'em.

Last musical link for the day, from Tales of Phantasia for the overworld in the future: http://gh.ffshrine.org/song/1189/39 Oh, and Lufialvr - yes, Motoi Sakuraba did some of the music for this game, but it was with Shinji Tamura.

Awhile back DMJewelle mentioned Baroque, which I assume you haven't heard of. So here's information:

http://hg101.classicgaming.gamespy.com/sting/sting2.htm Intriguing, yes?

Ah, topics. I will probably pick up Pokemon (whichever one is there) at some point, and can then give an assessment. This summer I will doubtless do what I did last summer: play all the stuff I have around that hasn't been given a try yet. Reviews? I let mine speak for themselves - and there are plenty by now. Considering I mostly play older stuff, the things missing from newer games I'm poorly equipped to comment upon.

Matt

Don't forget about the outdoors! They're fantastic this time of year.

I must honestly warn you about Pokémon, because I've found that the games have pretty much taken over my entire life, and I want it back just a little bit. If you've never played one before, take this message home with you: They're way deeper than the five-year-old playing it on the bus would lead you to think they are.

Right now I'm playing Treasure Hunter G, with Wachenroder ready to go in the Saturn and Phoenix Wright in the DS with CIMA in the other slot. And we're out of space!

JuMeSyn

Matt

I don't mean to come off as rude or anything, but you must realize that as much as I like video game music, I simply don't have the time or patience to download ten different music/video links and comment on each one of them! I know that you might not have much to do, but keep in mind that Q&A is not something that I can afford to take five hours to write every day, with many, because frankly, I'm a really busy guy. For future reference, when writing letters, please be more considerate of Q&A hosts like myself, in the interest of not burning poor me out, and thus in the interest of keeping this column alive and healthy for a long time to come! I'd really appreciate it.



QUICKIES

Matt,

Which system do you think has the best bunch of RPGs out right now and has the best RPG outlook over the next 6 months?

Me

Matt
Nintendo DS, hands-down. If you don't have one yet, then I highly suggest you do before Dragon Quest IX stops everybody with its sheer awesomeness. You need to be a part of it!

For all your RPG goat needs, check out Soul Blazer again -- not only are they cute and fuzzy, they're plot points to boot!

JDX

Matt
You're kidding me! I'd never have known...that's pretty fun/ny. I've also thought of a couple of others: Dragon Warrior III has a Goat monster, and my brother thought of Earthbound, which I think does as well. Muttonous.

A quick goat I can think of was in Soul Blazer (two, actually). Where it was much more pleasant than my fleeting interactions with goats in actual life....
JuMeSyn

Matt
Ah, so you're also privy to this knowledge. Yeah, they like to nibble. Or butt. If you come with food, play nice, and don't send them three hundred musical links in a single letter, goats aren't generally ferocious creatures.

IN CLOSING

That's all for today. It's all a-rumble outside, as a new storm seems to be blossoming, all chock-full of agitated atomic particles. So, I'd better get off this computer, lest I get zapped somehow through the wiring (I think I'm hooked up to like two surge protectors, but still.)

Until tomorrow, everybody!



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On my Wishlist:

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2. Fire Emblem: Goddess of Dawn

3. Super Smash Bros. Brawl

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5. Metroid Prime 3



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2. Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria

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