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Der Wille zur Matt October 5, 2005

Matt Demers - 01:34 EST

I WAS FACED with a huge sort of false moral dilemma today, as I started my day. Guess what, guys... it's STORY TIME again!!

So yeah, I departed from my place, and trotted towards the bus stop as usual. As luck would have it, the #52 University/Kortright was 14 minutes late (or, maybe I was 1 minute late). Either way, I ended up stewing around sweating on the streetside like an idiot for quite some time.

Then, I noticed that, oh... about 100 feet to my left, there was some random middle-aged guy who evidently had car problems. He was pulled over, and had the curious habit of pretending to be a Mr. Fix-it, evidenced by the fact that he would periodically walk to the front of his car, open the hood, touch very little, and then get back into the driver's seat to attempt ignition with unsurprising failure. Seeing as I have an extremely low amount of knowledge in such matters, and also that I had stuff to do at the school, I pretended to ignore him, despite his wanderings-about and occasional looks o'er in my direction.

Then the bus came, and that was the end. Should I have just gone over and said "Wow, this sucks. Too bad for you!" ...? I don't have a cell phone, so that's about all I could have done. Maybe it's not so bad. At any rate, I've pondered it ceaselessly since, and I just had to get it off my chest and share with you all.

Exciting story? Definitely not. But my WORD do we have a column for you all today! The inbox hasn't seen this much action since, well, ever, in my incredible three days of answering.

It is time to begin.




L E T T E R S
For me??


To Wonderslime, First off, congratulations on winning the contest! Earlier on in my last letter I sent to this column, I said that whoever would win the contest would get from me a copy of Riviera for the GBA, and I was absolutely serious about this, so I was wondering would you like the game as you're the winner of this contest?

Matt

My word! I didn't realize that this was a contest with actual tangible prizes involved! As long as you're not just throwing the game at me because you simply dislike it so much that you'd rather not own it, then by all means. Riviera looked all right when it first came out, though I haven't seen/heard much about it since.

Second, a serious question about Shining Force Neo. I looked through the news archives about this, but I could not find anything about it. So, I was hoping you could answer this. If I preorder Shining Force Neo from a Gamestop or EB Games instead of online, would I get the mini-strategy guide from the store as a bonus or would I only get the bonus if I preordered online? That's all; have a good day. BLG

Matt

You looked through news archives, and I went right to the source by contacting ebgames.com by phone, to ask them directly! The people that I spoke with said that they don't have such an offer for either online OR in person, so you might be out of luck. Gamestop might be a different story, but since they don't have a toll-free long distance number, I couldn't get ahold of them for you (I'm not important enough yet to get covered for incidental fees, whatever those might be.) At any rate, I sent them an e-mail, so we'll see if they care enough to reply.



A REAL geography lesson


Are there many Monty Python fans in Canada? If I made a reference to some random society dedicated to putting things on top of other things, would anyone recognize it?

And does everyone really add the "eh" to the end of every sentence? Yes, I'm a Texan bigot who wants to know these things. =D

Matt

Well, at least you can admit you're a Texan bigot. The fact is, that you're absolutely right: We DO all follow everything we say with "eh", we get seal meat cheaper in the grocery stores here than in any other country of the world, guaranteed, and I only get a chance to do this column every night after I come in from my daily forestry club at the school. It's not that big of a deal-- the calluses that develop on your hands quickly prevent you from blistering too terribly. The scarring that does occur doesn't show through winter gloves anyway.

Oh, and I have many friends who are ridiculous Monty Python fans, so if you passed any silly quotes by me, I'd refer them to these aforementioned people, who would then get back to me; then I would pretend to know what you were talking about. I do know about carnivorous bunnies though, spam and eggs, and a few other randomnesses... so I'm not completely devoid of such knowledge.

But on to your questions. From prolonging procrastination and actually looking at the Guelph city website, I'd say it looks closest to (D) Toronto. But this was probably a trick question for those of us who just read the section today and/or thought we could outsmart the new host. Curse you! Or maybe this isn't true. But on to the RPG question. I'd guess (A) Dragon Warrior. I can't say that I myself have played many old RPGs (Dragon Warrior included). Does this make me a bad person?

Matt

People did work for yesterday's questions! Most impressive. I guess the answer will be evident when it is exposed officially at the bottom! I'll have you know that the Guelph city website, by the way, is full of nonsense, quite like the people who run it (the city). That, though, is an issue for a totally different column. And no, you're not bad for not having played Dragon Warrior. It's never too late to start though!

Matt notes that DQVIII's release date is November 22nd...

However, I do love a good romp in the old-school style. Lunar:SSSC was incredible, in my opinion, and deserves celebration even nowadays. Nostalgia, even if logically unsound, comes as part of the human experience, I'd argue. It's inescapable. And if games in the now "ancient" style promote it, I'd say they're part of a business world who knows how to cater to major interests.

For a question, I'll ask: do you think the Nintendo Revolution will sell well with that added feature of old Nintendo games?

Yours,
Another Matt (from Pittsburgh)

Matt

There's nothing wrong with nostalgia. Nostalgia is the reason that I will probably never tire of playing through every single Dragon Warrior/Final Fantasy game of the 80s/90s on a bi-annual rotation. Nostalgia is the reason that I still get up the urge to buy new Megaman games upon their release, despite the fact that really, nothing much changes from game to game.

And indeed, nostalgia is partly what Nintendo is banking on to make their next-gen system (and retro-gen system, apparently) a success. It remains to be seen, of course: I've read MANY sources that claim "virtually any game from the NES/SNES/N64 eras will be available for download"... but I would not be surprised if that astonishing claim gets whittled down in the end to include only games produced by Nintendo (which, incidentally, is still worth my dime, I think).

More Matts!! There are so many of them around... but I've never met one from the Pittsburgh in Texas. ;)

Do write again someday...



Games Down Under where?


G'dat to you Matt ( Although it's probably night where you are)

Firstly
(3) Montreal
(4) Crystalis

Alrighty then, if I havn't said it yet congrad's on becoming the new columnest.

Now for the questions

What's your view on FF XII, i am still wondering if it will ever make it all the way out here (although we are the closest Western Culture) to Australia, what do you think of the new character they've released info on.

Matt

G'dat to you too! And never worry about the time thing... my personal clock decides independently to completely ignore concepts of night and day alike. Also, thank YOU for being a good reader.

My view on Final Fantasy XII is, I think, much akin to that of many of my RPGaming cohorts. I am carefully looking forward to it, though the changes that have been announced make me very, very anxious. My first reaction to hearing (and seeing) the battle system was that it was a betrayal: It really looks like an online RPG-style battle system, from my limited knowledge of such things, and that's NOT what I meant when I begged Square years ago to "pleasepleaseplease make future Final Fantasies not online." Also, the fact that they're setting the game in a previously developed world really rubs me the wrong way, initially.

Of course, they've put years of effort into this, so I'm really hoping that at the end of the day, things turn out all right. Perhaps my fears will be put aside, and we'll have a spectacular game to enjoy next year. If not, then several other companies out there will surely be willing to help subside the great FF disappointment: FFXII isn't the only game coming out in the short-or-mid-term, after all!

The new character? If you're referring to the youth revealed in this recent piece of propaganda, then sure, he sounds like a good enough addition to the crew. *shrug* I certainly hope that if nothing else, FFXII maintains the degree of character development present in almost all of its past games.

Do you think they might make a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy RPG. I'd love to play as Marvin and use the 'ultimate weapon' on anyone I met in the universe (2^276709:1).

Squarenix + Taito = Lufia remake? (Due to Square's love of remake's).

And lastly, for someone who also bought a secondhand gameboy DS for $60 (that's $10 for you American's) less then what I would have had to what RPG's can you recommend a boy from Pal's Pal region.

Bainick

P.S. Help me the English are coming for the Commonwealth games and they've just won the Ashes and they'll be staying in my town! I'll be good, I just need a small corner, you won't even realise i'm there.

Matt

*pant, pant*

Is that... one, two... four... six questions in a single e-mail? Well, IMPLIED questions, anyway, if you include the last little blurb there.

I'll try to answer as quickly as you threw them at me:

Hitchhiker's Guide? No, but it would be random and fun, I agree! And yay for text versions of power-notation!

Lufia Remake? They need to re-establish the name first, to (re)build enough fanbase to warrant one. So no.

Pal DS games? I don't think much has changed since I last wrote about this, but I think that FFIII might have a good chance of seeing your island-continent, if it actually makes landfall here first. Also, considering that Baten Kaitos managed to make it to some (or all?) PAL-regions, you might get a taste of the DS sequel too, of which little is known at this time.

I have a corner, but it is currently reserved for my pet slime. Sorry!!



I always wanted to poke Gaea's navel...


Matty boy, Do you think it's a shame that Seiken Densetsu DS has been given the name Children of Mana? I do because I feel that would have been the perfect name for SD3 if it were to ever be released stateside (one day please!). Also, with LoM not being SD4 and SD DS: CoM, I guess it's safe to say that the SD games have gaiden stories, huh?

I think this works out well because back when we all were under the impression that LoM was SD4, it kinda ruined the continuity (though thin as it is) between Secret of Mana and Sword of Mana and SD3. That continuity being that SD3 takes place first, and is kind of the beginning of the SD world, Secret of Mana is next, and Sword of Mana follows. The continuity is really between Secret and Sword, as there are allusions to the empire in the two games being the same and the three adults (forget their names) in Sword constantly hint at being the three heroes in Secret of Mana.

Anyway, the Densetsu...or 'Mana'...series is the bestest! Discuss...


Matt

Oh, well... what's in a name, really? At least they didn't drop the "Mana" part; I'm sure you'd blow a fuse or six if that happened. My only real hope is that they just stick to what, to me, makes the Seiken Densetsu games what they are: Ring menus, fun combat, weapon-levels-up, and "Whirligiggish" music, if that makes any shred of sense.

While Sword of Mana didn't do a whole lot for me, Secret of Mana is one of my personal favourites of all time, and is a game that should require a re-playthrough in the not-so-distant future from me, and anyone who wants to have the 2P controller! I'm sure we'll be hearing much more about Square Enix's return to the franchise in coming weeks, so get extra-excited!



I will never be a mechanic


Matt - Well, to get this out of this out of the way... for question #3, I'll guess Toronto. For #4, I'll say Dragon Warrior, on the grounds that Dragon Warrior is awesome. So, on to my questions: First of all, what's your favorite battle system mechanic? Now, I know most people will instantly think "ATB," but I've always been partial to turn-based battles, myself. I think that my own personal favorite is any mechanic that adds button pressing during your character's attacks. For example, hitting the button at just the right time during the attack animation to do extra damage in Mario RPG, or pressing the trigger to do more damage with Squall's gunblade. The king, naturally, is Shadow Hearts' judgement ring, where well-timed button presses are the key to success. Personally, I enjoy the added interactivity that such systems bring to combat, without accelerating combat to more of an arcade-style system (ala the Tales or Star Ocean series).

Matt

Now now; there's nothing wrong with ATB, since it works wond'rously when performed well. In fact, I think that despite everything else, I honestly have to say that Final Fantasy X-2 has one of the strongest battle systems of the entire series.

However, it is not my favourite style. Of course I'm a turn-based-lover, as many know, evidenced by my love of thinking, puzzles, strategy, and chess. However, I'm not big on super-complicated versions of a turn-based system- I like to keep things relatively simple. Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter is nice in that regard, I think- as are all of the Breath of Fire games, come to think of it. Needless to say, Dragon Quest and Earthbound fit this description beautifully as well.

To me, Shadow Hearts' system is only OK-- mind you, I've only played the original. The ring is a neat idea, but for some reason, the battles still seem quite lifeless (and not for atmospheric purposes either).

Second, why the lack of PC RPGs? These days, it seems like all the PC gets is MMOs. I mean, yeah, we have Oblivion on it's way, but that's not enough to whet my appetite. Especially since for several glorious years I was spoiled by the likes of Fallout and the Infinity Engine games. Planescape: Torment is still my favorite RPG of all time, by far. I know the PC market isn't nearly as lucrative as the console market, but still, we deserve SOMETHING, don't we?

Matt

If by "we", you really mean "you", then yes, we do. I need someone to inspire me to pick up a PC RPG one of these days, because it's something I've never REALLY done. I played lots of King's Quest/Space Quest, back a LOOOONG time ago, but that's not really an RPG as much as it is saving, walking-around-until-you-die, reloading, and repeating the cycle continuously. Oh yeah, I played Final Fantasy VII's and VIII's terrible PC versions, as well. They were terrifically horrible...in fact, all of my tiny dabblings in PC RPGs have been less than inspiring. Then, when I hear about issues of MMO games such as monthly fees, mindless item-collecting, and antisocial jerks that like killing people for fun, it completely un-turns my crank, so to speak.

Finally, what's your take on the push towards real-time combat in RPGs? Games like Tales of Symphonia, Radiata Sotries, etc, are becoming increasingly popular... even Final Fantasy seems to be getting in on the act. Now, those games aren't bad at all... I love them, in fact. However, as I mentioned before, I'm partial to turn-based combat, and I would hate to see it fade away any more than it already has.

PS - Have you considered using "SOCK it to me!" as a slogan? Har!

With respect,
DDX

Matt

I know! AND, some series that DID start a return to turn-based goodness are going by the wayside... Golden Sun and Xenosaga both appeared promising, but we might get a combined total of what, ONE new RPG between the two series ever? Blah. I view this as reason #2598235 to purchase Dragon Quest VIII... or, a selection of all sorts of other RPGs, because there ARE still many turn-based-ers that are hanging around these days. Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana is a new RPG that is certainly old-school in its combat system; you might want to give it at least a rental. Shadow Hearts, Wild ARMs (I'm pretty sure), and the Mario RPGs haven't changed too terribly either over the years.

So, we haven't completely lost them yet, and you should not lose hope. "SOCK it to me" isn't bad at all, to boot. Thanks for paying your respects!



Reading? You mean, textboxes?


Hello Matt

What else besides games do you do for fun? Do you read? If so what is your favorite author? If you don't say George R.R. Martin you do not get a cookie or an envelope either.

my answers are c and a but I could be wrong because I forgot the questions. I just remembered that there was questions and I am too lazy to reopen the column and read it again :|

anyway i hope i get points a plenty.




Matt

Me? Have a life? Nahhhhh... you can't really expect that, can you? Reading isn't my number-one pastime, since I really like playing with my keyboard, drawing, cooking, and playing the RPGs you guys ask me about.

I used to read all the time, but university quickly whittled down my desire to do that very much, and I'm only slowly recovering. I used to read Dean Koontz and Michael Crichton in high school.

That being said, I've always kept an eye open (at least passively) for a decent swords-and-sorcery style novel, because I have yet to find one that's been truly gripping without seeming silly. I've picked up a Dragonlance or two in my day, but I had difficulty taking them too seriously; I've been kind of turned off of such books ever since. However, seeing as you've recommended Mr. Martin so heartily, maybe I'll make a trip to the library or bookstore one day soon if I'm feeling in-the-mood.



It'll make your head spin...


Hey Matt. Be-lated congrats on winning. I started rooting for you day 1, w00t! :D Ok, so as depressing as my life is, way to many family issues involved to list; but its a bad long one unfortunately, i figured now would better than any other time to jump in the gaming pool to maybe enjoy my time instead of worrying about it. Especially since im a college student living far enough away form home not to be there. Anyways, should i play a light-hearted love story like Lunar: Silver Star story? Or maybe one like Kingdom Hearts (Ok Ok, i know its not really a love story, but *kinda* a dark one thats just plain-old fun). Or should i put my copy of Xenogears in and have some fun as i question ethical issues and if God is real, or just made up to control people. Or could you ever go wrong with FF7? If you could, gaming holy-ness, which of the 4 would you prefer?

Matt

Hellooooo thar. I want a gaming pool too, as long as such a thing came with a non-electrocution guarantee and a lifetime supply of floaty-mattresses. Those damn things don't last more than a couple of months before they get holes in them, and then they're just no good anymore! How shameful...

I've been meaning to throw in Xenogears for the last two and two-thirds years running, so that one. You could play Kingdom Hearts if you really wanted to... maybe playing it will serve as a platform that its sequel can leap from to prove exactly how much it has/hasn't improved. Really, no status ailments? Come now. And I want some keytechs... or something. Then we can talk KH, you 'n' me, and Disney, and maybe Square Enix too.

On to an actual, industry related question eh? What is your opinion on FF7:DC. I mean it sounds like a cool-new genre SE is devolping, but im still not really sure how it will turn out...

Greg

P.S. Russell Peters is the coolest Canadian i know! (Well besides you and Cast ;) )

Matt

Funny, that. Cast is about the coolest Canadian I know too, with the possible exception of my Dragon Warrior-playing grandma, and Ben Mulroney. I'm glad that this great country can bring you such delight, day in and day out.

Um, Dirge of Cerberus hurts my head...my brain knows not how to handle this one. RPG... like! Shooter... loathe! Final Fantasy... love! Final Fantasy direct sequel... hate! What? Who? I can't deal with it! I need some Tylenol, now. Or Aleve. Or, the Doctor's Book of Home Remedies, again.

Disclaimer: Matt is still not affiliated with Prevention Medicine or its affiliated health magazines



Eeeyah ha ha ha! Next it is the turn of you!


Hey, Matt!

Some crazy weather around here.. we've had nothing but rain in the last six days. Such is the never-ending happiness Brazilian spring bestows upon us.

Anyways, here's a guy who thinks Radiata Stories is mostly a nice game. The story in Radiata is your standard RPG fare, but I have to say the script is incredibly well-written. It's very humorous and light-hearted. The characters' dialogue is often funny, which isn't something common in RPGs, because they tend to take themselves way too seriously. Notice I'm not really complaining about seriousness in RPGs, but I guess we can always make use of some good laughing here and there and rest a bit of all those contrived, complex and sombre storylines. Radiata Stories does just that -- it's packed with insane, quirky stuff ("Your trouble is my bubble... wait, that doesn't make any sense.") that manages to turn even the longest of the cutscenes into something enjoyable.

Also, the visuals are amazing. Characters are beautifully detailed and have some nifty animation. The world is a sight to behold. And the sound doesn't disappoint either. I just happened to find the game a bit tiresome, because I didn't enjoy the battle system as much as I thought I would. But that's just me, though. It's a nice game, but in my opinion it's pretty middle-of-the-road -- neither a masterpiece nor a garbagepiece.



Matt

Ooohh... that single quote really piques my interest. Ahh, amusing script and writers that don't take themselves too seriously. We don't have enough of those around, and such people give rise to great games such as the ones you're about to describe. Anyway, I'll take that as a "hooray" for Radiata, since by and large, your points-made were positive. So-so battle systems, however, are distressing, so I remain quite on the fence.

More pushing required to get this one off the Christmas list and onto my game shelf!

Ah, talking about hilarious scripts and all, I noticed the inclusion of Mario and Luigi: Partners in Time in your "Top 3 RPG desires" section on the right. I'm really looking forward to this as well. Superstar Saga was perfect in almost every aspect (Nintendo / AlphaDream delivered some brilliant stuff indeed), so I guess Partners in Time has some big shoes to fill. I'm really hoping for another round of that great mixture of adventure/rpg gameplay they've presented, along with that unmistakable sense of humor that goes so well with the Mario series.

By the way, what do you think of these, say, whimsical scripts, Matt? And if you like them, what would be your favorite? Mine would be Disgaea's -- it's just splendid. Ah, Fawful's lines in Superstar Saga are quite memorable too.

Anyways, that's it for the moment. I'll be back with more soon, I guess. :D

Thanks and take care!
Lucas.

Matt

Oh, do I even need to say!? These games have the best lines of all time, and the Nintendo-made ones are my favourites, because they're just so well 'n' wittily translated. I will be hard pressed to ever find a game that can top the mustard of doom, ever. I was so depressed when "Mario RPG 2" was revealed as being what it was, but now Paper Mario is one of my favourite franchises. Also, IF they ever decide to release this alleged Mother 3 project (didn't it originally have to do with pig-people or something??) it had BETTER manage to carry a similar air, or I will burrow my head in the nearest sandpit, and cry like an ostrich. Err- that is, "like an ostrich, and cry". It's after midnight; sue me.





C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

Definitely, the longest one yet! Absolutely, let me know: Does "long" = "too long" (in the context of these columns)? I want to include as many of your letters as possible, but I don't want to put anyone to sleep, so give me a shout and complain vigourously: It's YOUR column, after all.

Answers to yesterday's SOCK questions?? Of course. Most of you did really well, but again, 2 consolation points to anyone unfortunate enough to be dead wrong on both.

Firstly, I live nearest d) TORONTO, for 10 points, but for most of my life, I grew up much nearer the lovely city of Detroit, Michigan. Piece of mildly interesting trivia: The Windsor-Detroit border is the only Canadian location where you go north to cross into the United States!

Nextly, I of course was introduced to a) Dragon Warrior by my awesomely cool Grandma, so 15 points to anyone who got her mentioned on the internet. She'll be SO excited to see that she's been featured on an RPG website! Maybe I'll get her to be a guest host one of these days...

Today's question start with this, #5, in honour of that vibrant lady:
Which of the following is Matt's grandma's name? (15 points)

a) Judy
b) Effy
c) Muriel
d) Marie
e) Eva

Question #6 continues with the randomness. People are gonna EARN their points this week, dammit. Which of the following five articles is most frequently advertised in the ever-present spam that clutters my rpgamer mail account? (15 points)

a) "Timeless" timepieces and wristwatches
b) Magic Bullet blenders/juicers
c) Free Airmiles offers with a long-distance plan
d) Low-priced "outrageous" offers on new desktop computers
e) Things I really cannot mention in this column


Anyone at all can send in their answers here, and I'll keep reminding you until I'm blue in the face, or at least until the end of this week. Tell me what you think!

For my last column until next week, we've got several ideas lined up already from previous days (and a lot of unanswered mail, too)! How about we talk about what you guys would like to see in this column? What is good? What is bad? What should stay, and what should go? What things would YOU like to start a debate about? What would be the best ultimate prize for rising to the top of the SOCK standings?

Keep sniffing up those SOCK slogans, too. I've had some good ones so far!

I shall see ye all soon. So long!

wonderslime@rpgamer.com
***Matt tries not to be too Hitlerish when he marks, but some people are just asking for a zero...

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Matt's Next Unhealthy Addiction

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Matt's Top 3 Current Games:

1. Makai Kingdom
2. Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana
3. Warioware: Twisted!

Matt's Top 3 RPG Desires:

1. Dragon Quest VIII
2. Mario & Luigi: PiT
3. Disgaea 2

Cookie o' the Update:

Mattie's Customer Relations Snaps (they're a snap!)

-1 cup of pretzels

-4 squares of baker's chocolate

-3 drops of vanilla extract

-2 tbsp of butter

-1 Nestle Crunch bar Slowly melt the butter and chocolate over low heat, constantly stirring to prevent scorching. When throughly melted, stir in vanilla extract, and dip pretzels into mixture with a spoon and set onto wax paper to dry for 2-4 hours. Call up the national customer service department of EBGames, and crunch very loudly pretzels together with Nestle Crunch when the numbskulls try and put you on hold. Enjoy.

SOCK standings:

1. Yugiohfan1986
40 pts

2. darkcecil13
30 pts

2. Jbumi
30 pts

2. Kupomogli
30 pts

5. Another Matt
25 pts

5. ATG
25 pts

5. Binser
25 pts

5. Benny
25 pts

5. DDX
25 pts

5. Nwash
25 pts

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