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ASK MATT
Helpful Little Monkey
June 6, 2007

Matt Demers - 20:24 EST

AS I MENTIONED yesterday, I believe, I put Super Paper Mario to rest last weekend. Well, I have to say it: I can't get the damn game out of my head! The music has been running through my ever since I finished it off, and while I find that this is proof that yes, I really did love the game a lot... well, I'm getting a little tired of it, to be frank. Having the same music run through your head on loop for 72 hours is not fun, no matter how great the music might have been.

What's the solution to this problem? I don't really know. Eh, I'll write a few answers and see if it helps any.




LETTERS
The Hunt for More...


Hi,

I hope I'm emailing in the right place to ask questions! ^^

I have played Final Fantasy VI till XII... liked VII,VIII,IX and X a lot. I loved Shadow Hearts 1&2, Chrono Trigger & Chrono Cross. I've now run out of games I want to play!

Based on those, what other RPG's do you suggest I try? (preferably PS1 era and later)

Thanks a lot!
Clyde

Matt

Yep, you chose the correct e-mail address! Just for that, you will win a one-of-a-kind brand new all-expenses-paid response from none other than me!

Based on what you've told me? I think you need to diversify that portfolio a bit. It sounds like you like a good mix of story and gameplay, so I'd point you towards the Xenosaga series, if you haven't tried it already. The story is layered on thick, just so you know, but the games are also good and challenging, especially in the first and third episodes. Yeah, try them out.

Now, what else? Hey, while it's fresh, you might consider giving this Odin Sphere-mabobber a try. It seems that the game is flawless in most respects, so you might walk away from the game a happy Clyde. Finally, I just have no choice but to get you to at least try Dragon Quest VIII. Okay, okay, it will feel a little bit different from the others-- the story isn't quite as deep, though it is told well. However, the world within is vast and amazing to explore, the battles are well-balanced and the challenge is relatively high. A lot of people who were never DQ fans have come to the conclusion that DQVIII is one of the greatest RPGs of all time, so perhaps it's worth a shot!

Let me know what you decide to try. Hopefully your search for a new series will be a smashing success!



Darn.


Hey Matt,

You'll need to sit down for this... I just want you to know that I've fallen in love with Odin Sphere. Before you start panicking, I want you to know this wasn't a snap-decision for me. We've spent many hours together, and as I've become more acquainted with the game, I've decided we could have a life together (in gameplay time, about 40-60 hours). Sure, she's a little slow (when there are too many enemies on screen at once), and she might take a while to respond (people say it's her load times, but I tell them she's "thinking"). But she has a lot going for her: she's pretty (in the 2D sense), she can tell a heartfelt story (five of them, actually), and she's very forgiving when I make mistakes (the Retry option lets me restart the area when I die).

People ask, "Are there moments when you wish your relationship were less difficult? Do you want to lower the difficulty level?" The answer is yes, of course there are those times, but they soon pass when I remember what makes her so great - her gorgeous hand-drawn graphics and compelling plot. Heck, I'll even do the cooking (if I have the items) and cleaning (the square button makes item sorting easy) - just as long as I have her. Do you think it'll work out for us, Matt?

Ever gaming,
- Waterfiend33

Matt

NO! I mean, yes. I mean, I don't know...

You have my blessing. I just wanted to be the one... *sniffle*

But go. And hey, if you have a wedding rehearsal dinner or something involving cake, send me a slice. I'm going to eat myself out of this depression you've caused me.



Hmmm... I love fun people.


is there any chance that FFIII will come to the PS2, PS3, or the PSP? I'm really pissed that Square Enix is screwing with us playstation owners. No Way in HELL I'm getting a DS just to play Dragon Quest IX. If squenix say they have no such plans, here's my response to them:

.................... ..//)
.................... ,/../
.................... /..../
................../. .../
.............//' ...'/`
........../'/.../... /......./\
........('(...... .... ./'...')
.........\.......... .......'...../
...........\........ ....... _.
............\....... .......(
.............\..... ........\

Matt

Hmm, I don't know if that will turn out so great in html, but you've made your point. And, you're silly.

Square Enix has been developing games for multiple systems for a long time. It's not like FFIII is the first non-Playstation game they've made. They released remakes of FFIV through VI on the Game Boy Advance over the past couple of years, and they have been busy developing games for the PSP as well. The reality of the situation is that with more than 40 million people, it would be absolutely silly for the company NOT to take advantage of that fact. Why not make each game multi-platform, though? I dunno, ask them. Perhaps it lets them concentrate on each project more fully. There are features of each system that are unique, and simply porting everything across means that each version of the game likely won't live up to its potential. I don't have all the answers, though!

I do think that you contradict yourself quite obviously, though... if you're worried about both Final Fantasy III and Dragon Quest IX, then surely you wouldn't be buying the DS just for DQIX. When you add to that the fact that so many other great RPGs have come out (and are on the way!) besides those two titles, and there are plenty of reasons to look at the DS in a positive light. Just for reference:

Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings
Final Fantasy Tactics A2
Heroes of Mana (well, we'll see)
Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker
Lunar Knights
Etrian Odyssey

...and that's just scratching the surface. Put the middle finger away, or better yet, use it to scratch your chin and come to the realization that the DS loves you, and you might just love it back if you were to give it a chance!



Hypothetically speaking...


Hey Matt,

The other day you mentioned on QnA that you hadn't reviewed any games for a while and would like to do so again. Reading that made me wonder something. Let's say that hypothetically one of your readers made an RPG for the PC (for arguments sake we'll say me). Now lets say that hypothetically he wanted someone at RPGamer (such as yourself) to review said work of awesomeness. What do you think the chances, hypothetically, would be of such a review taking place? And what should said person do to try to facilitate such an event? Just curious, mind you.

Kolphyre

P.S. Nice prize for Sock 2, btw.

Matt

Hypothetically, I'm sad to report that the chances would be nil. At this time, RPGamer doesn't cover any home-brewed games, even if those games were (hypothetically) really great.

Sort of off the record: It's somewhat disappointing to me, too, that I have to say that! One of my number one FAVOURITE hobbies, if you couldn't guess, is to make up my own RPGs, and so I really strongly support anyone who has the ambition and creativity to do that by themself. If you were to hypothetically make up a game, you could hypothetically send me a personal message and we could hypothetically chat about it "unofficially" to your heart's content. But, you'd have to find a website that covers homemade games in order to get that review that you'd hypothetically be looking for.

OK? Thanks, Kolphyre!



And now, some technical specs on that awful, horrible DS system.


Matt or Other,

You (or Matt, if this is Other) mentioned that you *thought* the DS Hardware was "about as good as that of the Nintendo 64", but that you weren't certain. You're correct, but the DS hardware is actually quite a bit better than the N64's. Anyone could have looked this up, buuuut:

The Nintendo DS has ARM 9 and an ARM 7 chips onboard. The ARM 9 handles most of the 3D processing and is pretty similar to an N64 chip, while the ARM 7 is comparable to GBA hardware. The Nintendo DS's hardware is therefore actually much better than that of the N64, because the extra GBA hardware helps it deal very well with the one thing it sucked at: textures. You'll find that games like Mario Kart or Mario 64 look much less blurry on DS than they do on N64, specifically because the textures are sharper. This is true even if you scale screenshots to the same size, so it isn't a case of the Nintendo DS' tiny screen looking much higher res than it really is. Also, DS carts can be up to 1024 megabits (128 megabytes) in size, while N64 carts were at most 512 megabits (64 megabytes -- and very rarely were), which gives developers much more room to store textures. 512 megabit N64 carts were ridiculously expensive and therefore pretty rare.

In short, a good way to look at is that a Nintendo DS basically has N64 hardware with much better texture handling. Because the N64's major shortcoming was it's inability to handle detailed textures, the Nintendo DS outshines the N64 in very conspicuous ways.

Regards,
Brandon Abley

Matt

Thanks, Brandon. You're right: I could have looked all of that up, but I probably would have been swimming in the jargon without the delightful interpretation that you've given us, so again, thanks.

One thing that is awfully nice is that the DS cards, though cartridge-like, are just nowhere near as expensive as the N64 cartridges were. Good friggin' god, N64 games could be expensive. I remember seeing some awful sports games in the local Zellers flyers for prices in excess of $100 Canadian... though in fairness, the Canadian dollar is worth a lot more now than it used to be. Anyway, this isn't a business-news column, nor is it a "Back in my day, we..." column (most of the time), so whatever.

Anyway, I appreciate the response!



Delicious treats and time/money/ALLsinks


Hi Matt

I've been reading the Q&A column now for over a year but this is my time writing. I would say the only time I skip a letter is if I see a wall of writing with .midi links for games I've never heard of, mostly because I've never really enjoyed video game music. By the way, is it possible to hold a vote to ban .midi links in questions?

Matt

Heh, um, hmm, I don't know anybody that does that... really... :S

I'd hate to give an outright BAN to musical links, just because unlike you, I really DO appreciate a lot of video game music. Of course, though, I'd rather chat about them in text than be required to download multiple music files in order to write my column. That's my only concern, really. Selfish, no? One way or the other, thanks for your input.

In fact, the only time I recall enjoying in-game music was when playing the SMT: Nocturne, DDS1 and DDS2. All three games have soundtracks that are rock/metal based and heavily laden with electric guitars. Great games in all respects by the way, and I can't wait for Persona. Funny thing about liking the SMT soundtracks is that prior to those games I had never willingly listened to heavy metal in my life.

Matt

Persona 3 is well on its way! And yeah, my brother is in love with the music of that game too, since he frequently bombards me with musical links through the magic of instant messaging. I'm sure I'd like it if I ever played the games, but ah, I find it hard to get into music from games I haven't played for some reason.

So now imagine my surprise when two weeks ago my life was taken over by the Guitar Hero phenomenon. I admit, I'm totally addicted, even now on I'm tapping out Black Sabbath's Iron Man on my desk. Which leads to my question: Have you ever been surprised by a non-rpg game genre and had it sucked you in? Personally, I've seen DDR and Singstar-type games on display at Best Buy and told myself I would not be caught dead doing that; particulary after witnessing one gentleman's rendition of "It's Raining Men" *shivers*. However, here I am addicted a rhythm game myself with no signs of ever getting back to whittling away my backlog.

Matt

Absolutely! I just talked about it a bit recently, but Metroid Prime totally took me by surprised. Never have I EVER enjoyed first-person shooters (OK, "adventures" if you must), but once I started with MP, I just couldn't put it down. That's really my one most recent example, although it's happened before with certain very dangerous puzzle games (Tetris Attack would be an excellent example). These "surprise" games tend to be on Nintendo platforms, for some reason, even though the bulk of my gaming has been on Sony systems over the past ten years or so. I don't know the reason for this.

So on to the hot topics, I too am addicted to buying games so they can sit unplayed on my shelf, I believe my backlog peaked at around 20 titles. Now, it's been reduced to Kingdom Hearts 2, Super Paper Mario, Tales of Abyss, Tales of Legendia, Baten Kaitos: Origins, Suikoden V and Wild Arms 4. So through the shear power of will, I refuse to buy anymore games until my backlog is empty. So even though I really really want Odin Sphere and Okami, I've successfully restrained myself thus far. Another good strategy to prevent buying games is to get a girlfriend (or boyfriend as the case may be). My gf does an amazing job at spending my spare cash.

Matt

Be careful of becoming the sugardaddy! Of course, since you are a Timbit, you're likely sweet as sugar anyway. (There's a pretty bad joke that relatively few readers will understand.) My partner isn't really a money drain as much as he is a TIME drain, though once you're past the first year or so of relationship-bliss, that drain gets a little clogged and you get some of your time back, I find.

So now I to need to apply my willpower to my Guitar Hero addiction and I might be able to get through World 3 of Super Paper Mario tonight, between periods of course, Go Ducks Go!!!

Call me, Timbit

Matt

Agh, you aren't cheering for your Canadian team? My dad would KEEL you!

Have fun watching the game!



QUICKIES

On the subject of humorous RPGs: Magical Starsign and Contact, both for the DS, come to mind.

-Jeffrey

Matt
Isn't that funny? I didn't even mention 'em above, but here are two more interesting and different RPGs for Mr. Wah-Square-Enix-Wants-To-Make-Money up above. The DS is the place to be for RPGamers of all stripes, looking at it from a completely objective point of view, all fanboying aside. The closed-minded will simply miss out, and bigtime.

IN CLOSING

Well, we had one reader come out swinging against the DS and Square Enix. What say you? Is this guy alone? Or do you despise the idea of playing RPGs on the DS so terribly that you wouldn't even consider the thought for a second, lest you pollute your poor brain?

I want to hear from you, so that you can hear from me! This is RPGamer's Q&A, and I'll see you all again in the morrow.



Send a Letter!

Unanswered Letter Backlog: 6 - Yeah, not great, but okayyy.



slimey@rpgamer.com
Matt has no choice but to command a ton of respect for someone who can create a text-based middle finger THAT well.


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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

3. Mega Man ZX



On my Console Roster:

1. Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

2. Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria

3. Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance



Hot Topics:

1. Is there anybody out there who DOESN'T like Odin Sphere?

2. Dragon Quest remakes (possibly)?!? What are your thoughts?

3. The DS: Hunk of trash, or rich with greatness?

4. What is it about an RPG that keeps you coming back for more? Graphics? Story? Gameplay?

5. Which console RPG would you like to see legitimately in handheld form?



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