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May 18, 2007

Matthew Demers - 22:01 EST

WHAT A GREAT DAY! A perfect precursor to the long weekend upon which I will be journeying home to the family, eating much in the way of barbequed food, and playing many-a-round of Pokémon with my brother. The sun is shining brightly, my class earlier today was fantastic, and I'm feeling all-around awesome.

Except for one thing.

I need a bit of a catnap. I'm a bit drowsy, strangely, and so, I'll be back to finish this intro in about, oh, twenty minutes.

...

There, much better. That was actually closer to forty minutes, but it felt so gooood. OK, time for a letter or five.




LETTERS
Opening attack! 9999! 9999!


Here's a letter on a subject I thought of just now: the hidden uberboss.

I tend not to like them, because their implementation is generally flawed. They usually require one of two things, possibly both: a lot of tedious level-upping, and/or a "cheaty" strategy designed to take down anything at all that moves (*cough*knightsoftheround*cough*). This is done so the programmers can grin in sadism at the stats and abilities of the horrible thing they put into the game.

What do you think of them? What's the best implementation you've seen?

(I'll save DQ9 until next time if you're still in need. :))

Matt

In Final Fantasy, I'd say that I agree with you most of the time. Final Fantasy XII was a bit different, though, I think, because the marks all formed a set of uberbosses of escalating difficulty. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that the game contains one of the best implementations of this, except for one minor irritation: I can't believe the things you have to do to search for some of them. The last mark that I killed was Fafnir, and after I finished the game, I looked online to see what things you have to do to find some of the last marks. Really and honestly, there is NO WAY that anyone could figure out how to find some of them in the first place unless they fished around online (irritating, to me). There should be some kinds of in-game hints that provide ample information for you, but they aren't there.

Anyway, I have to say that Dragon Quest VIII also contained some spectacular bosses. They didn't require cheap strategies, generally, and not only that, they helped to tie up the storyline very nicely, too. One could argue that fighting seven different final dragons is a bit overkill and repetitive, and I kind of agree. But, they provided a solid challenge to heroes wanting to push a little further... not a challenge that would send most people to the closest strategy guide looking for cheap ways out.

Thanks, Leaper!



Eight player gaming and the Wii? YES, please!


Hiya Matt-type person,

First things first: looks like I have a slight break in my normal schedule enough to be able to get in my long overdue cohosting session next Friday, the 25th. Is that doable for you?

Matt

I don't see why not! That reminds me, I should get Boojum to get his finished with. We'll have a new crop or co-hosts to deal with soon, after all. I'll e-mail you the stuff you need next Thursday night, okay? ^^

My question is simple: it occured to me the other day that the Wii has four regular controller ports and four Gamecube controller ports, making a potential eight controllers. Wouldn't it be totally awesome if they came out with some eight-player game? I'd love to see an eight player co-op RPG a la X-Men Legends, or better yet, eight player Smash Bros! (But let's all not pick the Ice Climbers, because then I'd have no idea what's going on.) Any thoughts?

Matt

It WOULD be incredible. The problem is that it would also be a dangerous move, because a lot of people picked up a Wii who did not own a Gamecube. It'd definitely be risky for a company to come out and say "LOOK! We have an eight-player game here! (but you need $250 worth of controllers to play...)"

For the people who have the equipment already, as I do, it would be holy-EFF awesome. Super Smash Bros would be heaven on earth, though my living room would probably not appreciate it quite as much, I imagine.

Speaking of SSB, there's a website that's ticking down with a three-day counter attached. Chances are we'll learn more sometime soon.

Of course, that would also require that we can get eight people all together at the same time, and my group of friends seems to have enough trouble with four. Oh well, one can always dream...

You guys bring up some interesting ideas about the save points, and yeah, it'd really be an interesting concept in life. But you know what would also be cool and probably a little less problematic? A pause button. Essentially, the ability to think about what you want to do next for as long as you want, but react in real time!

Matt

SO TRUE! Ah, I can't believe I didn't think of that one. Imagine how handy that could come in on big huge scary tests, or in the middle of a job interview, or while trying to find those perfect witty comebacks to high school bullies. (I always came up with mine while sighfully looking out the window of my school bus on the way home.) Nice idea!

That's all I've got tonight. I'll catch you later, during SOCK!

-- Arpijy

Matt

Be there, or be Square... Enix. Okay, that was terribly bad, and I need a slap.



What-weres, what-ifs, and what-should-have-beens.


Seetings and Gralutations,

First of all, and, call me a suck up, or call me lame, heck, call me both, but I really enjoyed reading about how you cramatize all that busyness into one day. Me personally, I work a full time job and go to school full time, and that's enough for me to have only a scant few hours of Pokemon goodness, which by the way, is exactly what I just said. You know what? No, not goodness, GREATness. Can't seem to put the dern thing down!

Matt

You know what the worst part is (and it's really bad)?? The game, unlike Ruby/Sapphire, gets astronomically AWESOME once you finish. You'll see what I mean. But when I say astronomically, I mean GALACTICALLY. My brother and I have been in heaven.

Anywho, question time:

- Consider any game or series. What would you change about it?

Now, as opposed to going into long-winded rants about 37 different games, I'm just gonna throw out some quickie changes I'd like to have made:

-FFVII, Cait Sith. Nuff said. Also, was Red XIII's tail supposed to be on fire? It like, glowed in the cutscenes or something. It really should've been on fire.

Matt

Yeah, so strange. Cait Sith was pretty much the most random character of all time. He had a few comical moments, though; my favourite is when he forces himself into your party by walking into Cloud and disappearing, Cloud protesting all the while. It's a wonderfully pseudo-subtle way of FF making fun of itself in a Paper Mario-ish way, which is very, very rare for the series.

-FFVIII, come on, only 9 at a time max when you draw? REALLY? Couldn't kick it up to an even number, or, god forbid, get some double digits to at least ensure I don't hit my next birthday by the time I finish drawing 300 triple from Cerberus!

Matt

Truly... though drawing those tiny amounts of giant spells was, I think, instrumental in creating the great feel of some of those battles. "How long are you willing to risk Game Over just to get some more magic...?" Sure, for some bosses, they were trivially easy and this never came up. For some, though, it worked. However, when you're drawing friggin' Cure spells from Caterchipillars for the 76th time, I totally agree that getting 15 or 20 at a time would have been nice.

-FFIX, The hell was up with THAT card game? In FFVIII the card game was instrumental in advancing your characters with startling ease so very early in the game! It was the perfect mini game! The FFIX card game reminds me why I don't play stupid games with no reward: THERE'S NO REWARD.

Matt

Thank you. SOMEONE agrees with me! I'm so happy. Not only was it absolutely pointless, but the fact that the game never bothered to explain how it worked made it idiotic as well. Pointless and idiotic... not the best winning combination, I'd say. I just loved playing against a computer that DID know the rules perfectly, just to lose all sorts of cards that would have won me... nothing to begin with. I 100000% agree with you on this, because I have no damn idea what the hell Square was thinking when they came up with this.

-FFX, Tidus' voice was more obnoxious then Joan and Melissa Rivers at the oscars. It made me wince. A lot.

Matt

Ahahaha yes. Not to mention "My old man." "My old man." "My old man." RAGGGH! It sounded so unnatural, I wanted to transform into a virus that could somehow go into the screen and destroy Tidus' very soul.

-FFXI, Na ah, not EVEN gonna touch it.

Matt

^^ All I know about the game is that there are spells called Barsleepra and Thundaga III. 'Nuff said.

-FFXII, Balthier did not have nearly enough lines. Neither did the smarmy/weird/perv/fashion mogul? Al-Cid. Also, the espers were totally useless. They make it so that your awesome party of three, with finely-tuned gambit machines, is reduced to you and a brainless pal. You spend most of the time using it as a decoy, hoping the enemy/boss/mark/whatever, will target IT instead of you. At least, that's what I used it for. I might've used my espers... oh, I dunno, 4, maybe 5 times the whole game (100+ hours), and forgot i even had them most of the time.

Matt

It's true. There are SO many little things I'd love to change about the game. My biggest gripes are the RANDOMNESS. Ugh, the randomness. I'm not going to search out every distant chest if all I'm friggin' well going to get is yet another Knot of Rust! Square Enix, again... what were you thinking!?

-FFXIII, dubya tee eff what the "new" trailer? That's like starting out thanksgiving with a nice, appetite wheting appetizer, and then when it's time for the next course, they bring out a glass of water. Buh-mer.

Matt

Indeed. I was looking forward to seeing some gameplay that looked believable enough to be actual gameplay. Instead, we got more flashy CGs and ridiculous battle sequences that, as far as I'm concerned, can't possibly be what the finished product will look like for about three hundred practical reasons.

Oh yeah, and one more (My brain won't turn off), I would make FFI exactly like the 8-Bit Theater web comic. Seriously. I have tried to play FFI over again like, 3 times, and ever time I do, and they don't speak like they do in 8BT, I get disappointed and turn it off.

Matt

Yay for stabby black mages!!

Oh geez, and another thing (MAKE IT STOP!), going off of what you said about the starter pokemon always being lame grass/water/fire, why not let the PLAYER pick from ALL the different types? Then, after a type is chosen, you get 2 from that category too choose from. Obviously they would be the more common of that type, so as not to give a crazy unfair advantage. Also, it would be amazing if the town you started off in was based on how you filled out your name, gender, etc. They could have additional questions like about weather and colors, and start you off in the environment that most closely corresponds. You could start in a totally new places, with a totally different pokemon like a billion times! Well, not a billion, but you get the idea.

Matt

I don't know about having two dozen different possible starters, but I totally love your idea of starting off in different towns depending on some initial questions. What a neat way to potentially shape what would otherwise be a predictable game.

Exit Light,
Enter Night.

Oh man, forgive my lameness, it be the fatigue, I swear it!

Frammy

Matt

Eh, I'm lame all the time. REALLY... I CAN'T WALK WITHOUT A CANE! Ahahaha. Bye! (Don't kill me.)



How many times have I said "GO ON THE PAPER"?


Hey Matt,

I'll jump into the whole save point thing if you don't mind. Aside from the whole morality and lack of consequences thing, if everyone could just restart, couldn't that result in a loop if two people had conflicting objectives? For example, if you wanted event x to happen, you could keep trying until you made x happen, but someone else might want event x to not happen or want an event y to happen that requires x not to happen. Events would just keep going back and forth until someone gave up. Anyway... on a positive note, it would be nice if you could have multiple save points for particular moments in your life you would want to experience again. Also, it would be the perfect answer to everyone that suffers from lack or time or a massive backlog. Since you keep your memories, you would be able to play a game all the way through, save, and then just load the save right before you started and gain back all that time.

Matt

Aha! How ironic that the solution to all of my backlog worries lies in the very games that I'm having difficulties playing.

Oh, there's no questioning that the physics behind exactly how multiple people would have multiple save files that co-exist with one another would be dubious at best. Yikes, that's one of the most unwieldy sentences I've written in a fortnight.

But there have been stranger things, after all. Take, for instance, time kompression. It seems impossible on paper, but Final Fantasy VIII proves that it could happen, as it turns out.

Speaking of backlogs... mine goes back to the playstation and I have a habit of buying games I can't play and don't foresee having time to play them anytime soon... further adding to the backlog... At least that means I'll always have something to play I suppose.

Matt

Yup. That's how those devils work, sadly.

As far as pokemon goes, I got pearl the Sunday it came out and I've just recently hit the 200 hour point somehow... But, as the weekend draws near, I'll be dropping it for Etrian Oddysey. I don't believe I've played anything like it, but I can't help but feel compelled to play it after hearing about it. Making my own party and dungeon crawling just seems so appealing right now.

- Tasukete

P.S. If I could have anything else from an RPG in real life it would be a moogle because they're just cool, kupo!

Matt

!!! Wow, you've put my Pokémon hours to shame! (And I was ashamed of the amount of time that I've put into the darn game.)

Etrian Odyssey looks awesome, and from what I hear, it really is a fun game to play. I haven't played a traditional dungeon-crawler in ages, and from the sounds of it, the turn-based combat hits the spot too.

As for Moogles, you can have mine. He kinda stinks up the place and pees on the floor every now and then, which isn't fun to clean up. A Moomba... now those would be neat.

Thanks, Tasukete!! I appreciate the letter much!



QUICKIES

Etrian Odyssey looks pretty cool. Would be better if it were multi-player.

Of course, everything would be better if it were multi-player.

Carabbit

Matt
Yeah, you know a good way for Square Enix, and indirectly, Sony to earn some BIG points with me? If they came out and said that Final Fantasy XIII would be multi-player-able, just like it was in the olden days. Oh, those golden olden days.

IN CLOSING

Thanks to your letter-writing prowess, Casto no longer has an excuse for not updating on the weekend! <3 I appreciate you taking the time to think up of things to ask/write about, because without your e-mails, we would have no columns. That, presumably, would be a bad thing.

Anyway, I'll be back next Tuesday! Be good until then.



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Matt is lovin' the teachin'!


Long weekends are great! Thanks, dead queen! <3

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On my Wishlist:

1. Dragon Quest IX

2. Fire Emblem: Goddess of Dawn

3. Super Smash Bros. Brawl

4. Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker

5. Metroid Prime 3



On my Portable Playlist:

1. Pokémon Diamond

2. Lunar Knights/Final Fantasy VI

3. Mega Man ZX



On my Console Roster:

1. Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess/Super Paper Mario

2. Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria

3. Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance



Hot Topics:

1. Wouldn't it be wicked if we had save points in real life?

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4. Etrian Odyssey: Excited about a new dungeon-crawler?

5. Don't you hate it when you're addicted to buying games you can't play?



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