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Send a Question I Send to Me Specifically I Old Stuff I Ancient Stuff
ASK ALEXANDER & MATT
And Sometimes Y July 6, 2006

Alexander M. DeMichiei - 18:27 EST

GREETINGS FELLOW Q'ERS! I have crossed to the other side and am now an A'er, for today at least.

Even though Matt wished us Americans a good 4th the other day, you probably read the column before your fireworks, so I hope you enjoyed them. I'm not a huge fan of them myself, not as much as a good RPG anyhow. Four years ago on the 4th of July, my family was at a long-time friend of my step-mothers; we spent many holidays and barbecues there in the past, and she always was on the edge of gaming technology. I fondly remember the Memorial Day I spent playing Illusion of Gaia, and the Labor Day playing Star Fox. This particular year FFX was on the plate. Needless to say, I didn't watch any fireworks that year, even though you could easily see them from her back porch. Good times, good times.




L E T T E R S
Music, death, and other flowery topics like these!


Hi

This is Singh, writing form the UK. First off, I have to totally agree with Josh and Leaper's letter, in regard to when you-know-who dies in FF7. It was done in such a unique move which I have never experience in an RPG that really affected me. Especially when I spent so long running around in circles in the world map, levelling her up, then going to the nearest town to rest or use tent, and repeat. It was very surprising and a little emotional when she got killed off.

Alexander

While it's nice of you and Josh and such to try to be spoiler free, FFVII is nearly ten years old. I think the statute of limitations is up for spoilers. I remember when I first witnessed that scene: I was at a friend's house, and his sister was crazy about this game. She's like, "Check out Aeris' death!" and proceeds to load her save file for that point of the game. My response was, "Who's that?" Essentially the very first thing I knew about the game was that Aeris died. Took a lot of the impact out of the moment.

The music not just in that scene but the game was so memorable (in my opinion), but I have to say Squaresoft (S-E) did a great job with FF7, even though the whole game was rushed.

Alexander

In my experiences, one of the most effective tactics for underscoring the importance or excitement of a moment is to keep the music playing through the transition to battle(s), as seen in this scene, and others such as FFIV's attack on Fabul.

Still while I agree most of my favourite music, I have ever been moved by are contained in the FF series and Chrono series. I have to say one of the best has to be, during the ending of terranigma. When the main guy defeats the dark gia, his world starts to disappear, he then gets turned into a bird to see the world evolve; the music that was played was very peaceful for such a unique game.

Alexander

I loved Terranigma, but regrettably I don't remember that particular song, and I can't get my Terranigma SPC's to work at the moment. But knowing that game, the music would have to be perfect at that moment, as it was for the rest of the game. I'm sure Matt would want you to write in again soon, so... write in again soon!



A Sony-styled question


Dear Matt and Alex (I hope you don't mind me calling you Alex),

How's it goin' guys? So on July 4th I picked up Mega Man: Powered Up (awesome game), and Astonishia Story (not so awesome). This brings me to my question. Why haven't any of the major RPG companies jumped on the PSP wagon? I mean, I've played most of the few RPGs for the PSP, and they aren't that great. Conversely, if you look at the DS, it has Children of Mana, FF III, Mario and Luigi, Dawn of Sorrow, Portrait of Ruin, Contact, Lost in Blue, and a few other mediocre titles in the RPG department. The PSP will have Lenneth and Blade Dancer, two games I'm really looking forward to...but the rest of the RPG fare (and I've played them all except Legend of Heroes 2, Generation of Chaos, and Untold Legends 2) just doesn't seem to be what I would expect from this powerful machine. Why should we be slighted on one system, and abundant on another? For those of us that just have the PSP, or even those of us who have both (which I do) it seems like if you put them both on a scale that measured the quality of the genre in relation to that specific system, that the DS would win hands down. When I first got my PSP though, I could literally feel the potential of it. Why don't the companies tap into that? Can't you just imagine a fresh Breath of Fire, or Lufia, or Dragon Quest, Or Wild Arms for the PSP? I know I can.

Matt

I honestly can't tell you, Donovan. I've expressed this before from time to time, but it is my belief that the majority of PSP owners out there do not place RPGs as their number one genre-of-choice. Unfortunately, companies have, I believe, tapped into the fact that there are a lot of people - a majority of people - who are much more into those sports games, racers, and PS2 ports that can't be found on the DS. I say "fine". Unfortunately, it sucks for PSP-owning RPGamers like yourself and many others, and while it's undeniable that the DS looks to be much more RPG-friendly in the months to come, there are a few glimmers of promise that RPG developers haven't completely turned their noses up at Sony's pet handheld. Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth is on the way soon, and allegedly, Crisis Core: FFVII should be a reality sooner or later. You can hope and pray that those Tales games, recently announced, will make it across the ocean as well, though there's absolutely no guarantee that that will happen.

It's a funny thing, because the PSP has largely been lost on this huge population of gamers, and no one would have guessed a year and a half ago that the DS would ever have a strong enough library to overwhelm it. As it stands, I'm really struggling to understand how I'm going to cover the costs of investing in the huge number of games coming out for the DS alone this fall and winter, let alone the numerous PS2 and Wii games that are due for release as well. I think I need to find myself a real job...

In answer to Cap's question, I believe that if Sony price points it's PS3 games at 80 a pop, they'll stagger and fall. That's just too much after you've paid 500-600 dollars for a system. Blu Ray or not y'all, there's a line that even the most dedicated gamer won't cross, and I think Sony's about to crash the PS3 into the unbreakable brick wall in front of it!

Oh yeah...SOCK:

#246 c) #110
#247 d) Stupid Monkey! (It's been sooo long since I've played that game.)

Thanks again, Matt...and it's good to see you in here too Alex! Later guys!

The slime has knowledge
If the right question is asked.
What will he tell thee?

~Donovan


Matt

Nice haiku... and one featuring yours truly?? You shouldn't have!

And indeed. With $80 PS3 games, to buy a system, an extra controller, and a couple of games to start might cost upwards of a thousand dollars, and that's a VERY significant amount of money, especially when that thousand could instead be invested in the incredible number of attractive games that are also up for release this fall I mentioned above. It's a little ironic, isn't it, that given the price of the PS3, I'm more willing to put that money into PS2 games? It's a little ironic, isn't it, that myself and many others will needfully forego Sony's next generation system in order to buy their current-gen gems?

Thanks, Donovan, as always!



Soul-searching as an RPGamer


Hello Matt

I have always liked RPGS but in the last 3 or four years that's all I have been playing. I can't really seem to get enough and my backlog is incredibly sad. I used to have this fear that everything is going to go out of print if I don't buy it right away. I think I let Atlus scare me into this. But I am calming down about that lately. No next gen for a while for me.


Alexander

I know how you feel. After picking up Disgaea at launch and reveling in its awesomeness, I bought La Pucelle, Phantom Brave, and Makai Kingdom at launch as well, for full price, thinking they would be as rare and hard to find as Disgaea. I could get any one of those for $19.99 with relatively little effort now, but that's the gamble you take. All in all, you can probably ease up a bit; I found Atlus' Riveria a few months ago right when I wanted it. Though, I can't and probably never will find a copy of SMT: Nocturne. Curse thee, Atlus!

Anyway my question is when I try to play something in another genre the games seem hollow to me. I am so used to epic stories, complex battle systems, etc etc that running around pointing a gun at someone or trying to collect 100 pieces of fruit seems rather dull. I am not trying to be an elitist here. But what the heck happend to me? I think if Rpgs did not exist I would just quit games altogether. Maybe I just a special case but does anybody else have this problem? I think its just me as it seems most people enjoy outside of the genre.

Alexander

A high percentage of my games are RPGs. I grew up with my dad teaching me D&D and it stuck. RPG's also usually have the best hour-per-dollar ratio for any genre, and that fits well with my brual stinginess. But if RPG's just up and disappeared? I think there are enough Metal Gears and Katamaris out there to piece together into a gaming career, but it would always feel somewhat empty.

Secondly every time I go to another forum someone always complains that all the Final Fantasy's are exactly the same. I have played every single one available in the US and I felt they were all unique. I think people are lazy and assume that just because Square decided to brand their rpgs under the same name they automatically assume they are all the same. But to me really GTA3 seems no different than GTA5. Is this just a case of reverse bias on my part?

Alexander

Not at all. Anyone who says that all Final Fantasies are the same has never played any two of them. Even FFII was radically different than FFI, and FF8 upset a lot of people at first (even me, but then I got smart) for being too different. I've played everyone of them and each holds a unique place in my heart. The GTAs, on the other hand, are almost identical, down to having many of the same bugs and glitches.

Lastly, I must say this is the best RPG site on the web as it seems to have real personality that some of the other sites lack. In other words it feel more of a community than simply an information site, it seems more fun here.

Alexander

With columns such as Q&A, RPGamer is a blast! Seriously, I can't remember how I found RPGamer, but I couldn't imagine staying on top of all the RPG news without it.

Thanks for listening.
Nick


Alexander

Thanks for writing.



I wonder if Sony will have dramatic background music playing when it launches the PS3?


Matt and Alex,

Or Alex and Matt. Which ever way youíre doing the co-host thing. So I was driving the other day and caught myself humming a tune for Lufia II and I remembered the question a little while ago about music in games that has really enhanced the game. The score for the Fortress of Doom and the final battles with the Sinistrals falls into this category. When you step into the Fortress for the first time and that music starts up, you know itís time to finish it. You can feel the excitement of the upcoming battle. Other than that Iíve never really been moved by any video game music other than to think it was a good score.

Matt

Really! That's surprising, I think. I personally believe that RPG music can be so important that I'd consider it to be a potential game-maker or game-breaker. To me, music binds an RPG together, because it is what ties an emotional or dramatic storyline to an exciting battle system. Character themes are one of the strongest ways to build personalities, too, I think. Just imagine Relm from Final Fantasy VI or Eiko from FFIX: They have very similar personalities, I think, and both of them come with peaceful or innocent-sounding pieces of theme music to illustrate that. If either of them had had a sillier, more "Palom and Porom"-like theme music, I think that we'd view them in a more silly way as a direct result, because their mannerisms/attitudes/etc could, I think, be taken that way. I really believe that their theme music has helped to shape who we see their characters to really be, if that makes any sense!

I guess all I'm trying to say is that music can be a very powerful force in an RPG, and any game with subpar sound is more likely than a game with GOOD sound to fall flat, as far as I'm concerned.

Onto PS3 and itís crazy pricing. I definitely think that $100 games will kill the system. No matter how good they are it will cause people to think probably thrice (not just twice, but three times) before buying them. As to the system itself, Iím willing to fork out $500-600 for the system IF it can prove to me itíll have games worth playing. That was the main reason PS/PS2 did so well. They had an incredible selection of games, and excluding a few gems (Zelda, ToS, etc), was the only system with decent RPGs. So far I canít say the same for PS3. Only RPG Iíve heard about for it is FFXIII. Sony really needs to start promoting the games that will be coming out with the system and the ones that will be coming out shortly after it.

-- Kalledon --


Matt

But Kalledon! There are two versions of FFXIII on the way for the PS3, don't forget, for double the fun. If you have a cell phone, you might be able to play a third version at the very same time, too!

I don't know, but if I were a game developer, I'd be a bit leery about jumping on the PS3 bandwagon at this point. Who would want to release games that will have to cost an offensive amount to consumers? With the market-share-winning prospects of the PS3 being called into greater and greater question as the days go by, I really wonder if developers will be thinking a lot more seriously about putting their money with Microsoft or Nintendo instead.

Time, as always, will tell!



Ohh... my.


Hi there Alexander and you to Matt,


Alexander

Hey that's me!

I thought I'd chime in on my favorite classes, and ask a question, but first let me explain the coconut thing from my last letter, you know how some candies have mystery flavors, more often than not the mystery flavor tastes like coconut to me, and hince since Matt didn't reveal the mystery host to us all and since I didn't want to be rude I adressed the mystery host as such, also thanks to Matt for the answer to my weird question, I just happen to love that song for whatever reason.

Alexander

I always thought that Dum-Dums mystery pops were made of mixed-up leaveover from other flavors, in some twisted amalgam of flavors that only coincidentally tasted like coconut. Perhaps coconut is the flavor of the universe as a whole?

Now onto my favorite class types of which there are three

1 Martial Artists/Monks: I love martial arts in general despite the fact I suck very badly at them... also there is something just cool about devestating an enemy with your own bare hands, which is why I hate that newer games give the martial artist characters claws, it was much sweeter when your unarmed strength rivaled the swordsmen

Alexander

I agree as far as theming and cool factor go for being unarmed, but the reason they added claws is because in many games, unarmed attacks, even when classes or skills are specially made for them, usually just can't keep to weapons since every new weapon adds more attack power than the last, but you're using the same fists throughout the game. And, if fists did actually rival weapons, why would one waste money on them? It's a difficult thing to balance.

2 Ninja: This goes back to my childhood of TMNT as well as the aforementioned martial arts movies ^^, wielding two katana and tossing shurikens, kunai, and such are really cool atributes of the older FF Ninja, however much like the martial artists the new generation Ninjas suck very badly IMHO *glares at Yuffie and Amarant*

Alexander

Hey, I'm not the biggest Yuffie fan, but she IS a ninja. Why else would she carry that ridiculous star? And Amarant has Throw, sealing his role as a Ninja (/monk/gambler?)

3 The Transforming Character Type: From Terra to Vincent to to Ashley Winchester to Kevin to Yuri to the Dragoons to Alucard and Soma something about transforming into something more wicked looking and even more powerful is just all too awesome to me, I always hate it when the bosses get some awesome badass alternate form but the heroes rarely do, so these kind of characters help even the odds in that sense

Alexander

Don't forget Ryu from all the Breath of Fire games, particularly Dragon Quarter, in which the transformation is both awesome and terrifying. The entire plot of the game is based around it.

Also out of love for Kain, an honorable mention goes to Dragoons/Lancers

Alexander

I'm more of a Freya fan as far as Dragon Knights go. Remember when she !Jumped up that statue at the end of Disk 1? It's depressingly rare how often a character's class abilities make a showing outside of battle.

Anyway as for a question: Do you ever play a non-FF game and assign character's a FF-style class/title I just can't help doing this sometimes, like with SH2 I labeled every mermber of the group as either a class from FF or a hybrid of classes from FF, so my question is has this ever happened to you? or am I just going through withdrawl since it's been such a long time since a new FF?

Arros Raikou
*knows Anastasia is a blue mage*


Alexander

You kind of have to; Final Fantasy has such an established and broad base of classes' roles and abilities that they pretty much can be applied to anything. I think of everything the same way, too. By the way, did you know that FFVI's characters have official Job names? Relm is a Pictomancer, Edgar is an Engineer, and Banon is a Priest.





C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

Many thanks to Alexander, who has done a fantastic job today! His role isn't quite done, though; he'll be providing one of the questions in today's episode of SOCK, below. Prepare yourselves!

Lately, I've been brainstorming a lot of cool ideas for my latest "DX" pencil-and-paper game that I'm sorta starting to create; I hope that my brother and possibly a few close friends could play it by next year sometime. The Lost Legend VII? I never thought I'd go back to game-making, but the bug bites too hard! This sequel may feature up to fifty job classes, which is exciting, since I've never made up a job system before, and I'll share with all of you some of the ultrafun ideas I've come up with sometime soon, when I'm bored and have nothing else to talk about.

Flashay!


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

#246. d) #114 - 400 points (Josh Martz, or Ourobolus, our wonderful weekend columnist and genius behind THONG, last participated in the SOCK by answering question #114, which he coincidentally got wrong.)

#247. c) Fat pig! - 400 points/800 for TV's Adam (Thanks for the submission! Wow, it's been a long time since I've played Breath of Fire II...)


***Today's New Questions***

Reader-Submitted #248: In the original Magical Vacation, in order to collect all 8 Love Spirits, how many gummy frogs must you catch in the wild? (375 points)

a) EVERY SINGLE BLASTED ONE IN THE GAME
b) 100
c) 50
d) 25
e) not a single one.


Alexander's #249: Each one of these characters has an identical trait, except for one, who is close but only similar. Who's the odd one out? (420 points)

a) Paladin Anderson
b) The Strong-Arm Alchemist
c) The premiere Holy summon
d) Jewel-based thief/assassin/shop clerk
e) American currency star


--------------------------
STRAGGLERS: (people who I love, but who still need to check their e-mail or somehow get in touch with me because they have unclaimed items- if you fall off the list, it's TOO LATE FOR YOU! Check your spam/trash folders for my messages if you're not getting them, and I'll check mine, too!)
  • Purelunatic
  • Gilgamesh
--------------------------

Click Here for a Complete List of SOCK Items and Rules!

SOCK's Item List

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

2,000 points: Your choice of Drain Spell (1 left) or Quick Spell (1 left)
3,500 points: Your choice of Point Tripler (2 left) or Mythril Sword (1 left)
5,000 points: Your choice of Light Converter (2 left) or Haste Spell (2 left)
7,000 points: Your choice of Firaga Spell (2 left) or Super Sneak Glove (1 left)
10,000 points: Your choice of Damage Deflector (1 left) or Warp Stone (1 left)
14,000 points: Your choice of Confuse Spell (2 left) or Thundara Spell (2 left)
19,000 points: Your choice of Rename Card (2 left) or Vanish Spell (1 left)
25,000 points: Your choice of Demiga Spell (2 left) or Nightmare Staff (2 left)


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*

2,000 points: Matt's Mom's Cookie Compilation- 6 fantastic recipes right out of Matt's mom's amazing kitchen! Yours, upon request. (4 left)

4,000 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)

15,000 points: Nintendo Wii Canvas Carrying Bag- It's simple and 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: Pokťmon 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)

15,000 points: Bonus Cohost Opportunity- I like giving these out because I don't have to pay for shipping. (2 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. (Sorry, NTSC-format only) (1 left)

100,000 points: Arc the Lad Collection, for the PSX. Donated by ~Sean~~, so thank him! This collection contains four RPGs from an often-overlooked series. If you can get to 100,000 first, you can call this your own. (Sorry, NTSC-format only) (1 left) *********************************************************


One more day will round out the week before I pass the ever-cycling baton back to Ouro for the weekend! I know that a lot of your mail hasn't been answered yet, but I hope to get around to it tomorrow. Keep me on my toes by sending even more in! What do you think of the Disgaea 2 impression recently posted on RPGamer? Personally, I'm really disappointed that some of the music from the original will be recycled, though I'm still really looking forward to the game! How about the announcement that there will be MORE Disgaea games in the future? How about Wild Arms V? How about I shut up and let you guys do the talking for tomorrow?

Thanks, everyone! So long, for now!


slimey@rpgamer.com
***Matt really does know someone who ate a Snickers with a knife and fork yesterday...


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It was TOM, my housemate/boyfriendish! Apparently, he thought it would be a funny thing to do because there's something like that in an episode of Seinfeld, which he's a huge fan of.

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