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Beware of Platypus October 18, 2005

Matt Demers - 02:31 EST

MY NOTES from my PDEs class (my only class this week, might I add on the side) are nearly illegible. I bobbed in and out of consciousness for the duration of the fifty-minute lecture, and while I DO have the option of pleaing ill, it's still disturbingly obvious when one out of ten students in a small classroom is snoring away. Very, very embarrassing indeed.

If I had to make a guess, though, I'd say my sickly whining is getting tiresome, so hopefully this is the last day I'll use that topic to come up with something to stick in this here intro section. Something always has to go in the intro section, though, and while I'd love to just talk about me all day, we should change it up from time to time, no? A different subject... like pandas, or the Klondike.

Actually, call me evil (many of you already have), but I'm very excited about the prospect of there being a month and a half left in the hurricane season with no names on the list to spare. Seeing tropical storms named after greek letters is like a mathematician's dream! Of course, I hope that this newest one (Wilma? Can't they do better than that?) stays away from the already-twice-ravaged region that doesn't need to be mentioned.

To the Mattmobile!




L E T T E R S
The RPG Pride Parade! Let us march.


Dear Matt,

Q15: You give it an Elixer, of course! What else would you do with a Magic Pot?

Q16: I don't know, but I'll guess Matthew, just because I like the idea of someone's parents being that cruel.

I've done a lot of things I'm proud of in my life, but the accomplishment I hold dearest still remains the first time I defeated a Metal Slime in Dragon Warrior. I get warm fuzzies every time I remember it. I swung that sword, and heard the sound that told me I'd scored a critical hit, and that smiley-faced little coward went down. I went up two levels, if I remember correctly, and I think a wyvern killed me on the way back to town. Best moment of my childhood, bar-none. The killing, not the dying. I told this to my wife once, and I'm pretty sure she seriously considered leaving me on the spot.

So my question is: What is your most cherished gaming-related accomplishment?

Matt

What indeed. I remember feeling a smidgen of pride flow through my bones when my last character reached Level 99 in Final Fantasy IV-- also, when I stumbled upon Pink Puffs on my own (probably one of the few people in the world to actually do so without divine intervention, and by "divine" I really mean *cough*BY USING WALKTHROUGHS*cough*). I was also triumphant when I maxed out my last person's last job in Final Fantasy V. Not enough to beat any of the ridiculous superbosses, but fun to do nonetheless.

Other that that, I was pretty proud of levelling up to Lv.99 with my entire Dragon Warrior IV cast of characters back in the day; I highly don't recommend this to anyone if they don't have a seriously huge amount of time on their hands. Oh, and I maxed out everybody's weapons in Secret of Mana long ago. Sure, they're all pretty run-of-the-mill "great achievements," but what can I say? I'm a run-of-the-mill type of guy.

1st runner-up for me was finding a pristine copy of Suikoden II six months ago at a used game store for $30...2nd runner up is beating the Emerald and Ruby Weapons on FFVII...and Honorable Mention is not falling asleep once during the Xenosaga cutscenes. (I actually liked that game, call me crazy, but when you have to add an option to PAUSE a cutscene...maybe your cutscenes are a little too long.)

Matt

Yeah, I had the exact opposite problem, unfortunately. My dabbling in Xenogears came in my sleepless second year of university, when I borrowed it from one of my housemates in Glengarry Hall residence on campus. My errant sleeping patterns caused me to doze off pretty much wherever non-interactive attention was required, and Xenogears, of all video games, certainly fit that bill. Watching movies and staying conscious during lectures was also a greater challenge than perhaps it should have been.

Also, what's everybody's problem with the recent slew of remakes? When those of us who grew up on the NES were kids, we had to wait years between decent rpgs. I mean, I played all the way through 7th Saga...that's how hard up for rpgs I was. I remember wishing many, many times during those long, dark days between FFIV and FFVI that I could simply forget I ever played FFIV just so I could go back through it and enjoy it the way I did the first time.

Am I the only person on earth who is just thrilled at the prospect of having an excuse to go back through one of the all-time classics? I'm all for these remakes, man. Bring 'em on. I work the night shift as a security guard in an empty building, and the gbc remake of DWIII is keeping me some mighty-fine company. Now I'm waiting for a remake of Crono Trigger, Secret of Mana, and anything else Squareenix decides to dust off, clean up, and repackage for me. And could somebody please get on the ball and sell me a localized version of DQV, VI, Star Ocean, Seiken Densetsu 3, Front Mission, or Tales of Phantasia?Here's my money, Japan, come get it. What's so bad about more of a good thing? There just seem to be other things more worthy of complaining about.

Thanks,
Chris Belt

Matt

Here's what I say: You don't need an excuse to play old games! It's not like there's some moral barrier preventing you from playing any of your favourites from yesteryear. Sure, I can understand it, maybe, if you sold them or never owned them in the first place, but otherwise, I just lack whatever spark ignites all of those who get really excited to buy games we've bought before.

CERTAINLY, I don't think the same is true about games we haven't, and I hope to the dickens to see Dragon Quest V and VI translated and brought over to us one day. I was unbelievably excited when I read the RPGamer news bulletin all those years ago regarding Final Fantasy V's translation, and I'm very pumped to buy Final Fantasy III at long last. Final Fantasy IV and VI, though? Don't we have enough versions of these already? If they put an incredible effort in and remade one of these old games in a modern style with gorgeous graphics and higher-quality music, I'd be more interested. As I've said in the past, though, I have more money than brains myself, and will probably buy almost any non-line game Square Enix pumps out. *sigh*

Oh, and you're quite welcome. Thank YOU for writing (I mustn't forget my manners.)



And now, from the other side...


Hey person,

First of all, I'd like to thank Andrew for sending subliminal recommendations for Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter in some past column. Without his "broken record" approach of advertising the game, I probably wouldn't appreciate the game for what it is. When I first got it, I popped in the disc for maybe ten minutes, yelled at it for not being "Breath of Fire"ish and then stuck it on the shelf to collect dust. Now I consider it a worthy piece for any RPGamer's collection, and it now sits on my shelf...collecting dust, but at least it's not a blemish among the others anymore.

Matt

That is definitely a quality title; quite a nice bump up from the two preceding it, which had me thinking that the future of the series looked bleak. Of course, we haven't heard from Capcom since then, so maybe it's bleak regardless. We're almost due for a new non-Megaman-related RPG from them anyway.

Anyway, could anyone possibly explain the whole "I want a remake" craze? Geez, all I see is "zomg liek chronotrigger is so hawt i want a remake of the remake's remake plz." But...what exactly do people want out of a remake? Improved graphics? Don't most people argue that they play RPGs mostly for the story and characters rather than seizure-inducing graphics? Do they want a different story? But...aren't most fans purists at heart, wanting nothing to taint the perfection that is, supposedly, Chrono Trigger? If you're going to change the story or basically add more to it, just make a sequel? I need someone who wants a Chrono Trigger remake to explain why they want a Chrono Trigger remake. Well anyway, the only reason I can see why remakes would be good is to let the new generation of gamers experience the goodness that was; also, it'd be an opportunity for players that missed out during the time to play it (if the game is hard to obtain).

Okay, that's it for me. Oh! I just remembered. Someone post the answer to those eight questions in Matt's last column; I'm curious.

--Young

Matt

Annnnd, we have the other side of the coin. The subject of remakes seems to be a somewhat passionate one these days, doesn't it? We should have a gladiator-style battle one of these days to settle this, and what a draw it would be! Imagine the crowds that would come to watch a bunch of video game geeks duke it out in a wild deathmatch over an issue like this. I can't participate, but I have to be biased... don't worry, I'll secretly poison the "Yay remakes" team members before the match. How? Ummm... my special powers; they are all very much top-secret.

I think most people buy remakes to either a) relive an old game; or b) catch up on older games in a newly-discovered series. A remake, for me, is one place that I like to see some audio-visual yummies... I'm very happy that they've upgraded the style to such an extent in FF III, and in most remakes, I enjoy hearing how the background music has been enhanced, which obviously (in the case of Final Fantasy) is always done well in the first place.

If there are new features added, they can't seem too gimmicky and stupid. I like new areas and new challenges, not bonus unlockable character sketches. At the same time, I don't like the "core game" to deviate from the original, because it just destroys the experience for anyone who actually hasn't played it. Much extra storyline added on, taken away, or otherwise changed equals RAGE.



It's funny how "Dead Forever" seems so impossible in the RPG land


The Gamecube Fire Emblem looks very nice from everything I've seen of it so far, I enjoy Advance Wars greatly.

My problem, to be honest, is that I'm terrible at tactical games. I could not come up with a decent strategy to save my life, usually I just try to make more units until they die.

So, despite my little.... deficiency, are the Fire Emblem game worth the effort? It looks good, and hopefully fun since its the same development team who made AW.
~Sean

Matt

Hey, no one said you had to be GOOD at a game or genre to enjoy it. So enjoy it, and forget about how good or bad you may be. Practice makes perfect, or so they say. Advance Wars is a good starting point for a budding tactical gamer. I would hesitate to call it an RPG (we've been arguing for the last week about this one), but yes... good series; much fun.

Of course, Fire Emblem is a particularly difficult and a bit of an unforgiving series, in that if a character dies, they actually die forever and ever (or so I've been told).

Hey... if you try it, I'll try it. What do you think of that? We can find out together. Despite its difficulty, I'm pretty sure that Fire Emblem is a high-quality series with a growing fanbase, so if you can afford at least a rental, give it a shot and get back to me.



I think I've run out of Kleenex...


Hey Matt,

Sorry to hear about the your recent acqusition of the common cold. I myself have been plauged by it off and on for over a month now.... (damn RPG's stealing my sweet sleep time!!) Anyways, firstly I will answer your most recent questions. #15: A) Give that sucker an elixir and let the beatdown commence! #16: I'm gonna take a guess at this one (due to limited research time) and say A) Andrew, I vaguely remember thinking how it was weird you had the same miiddle name as Cast's first name (is it a true memory, or perhaps embedded in me by the government, I guess we will find out).

Matt

Ahaha! I guess we'll discover! I'm pretty sure the government is embedding lots of things in you, but I hope it's not details of my full name. That's just so... boring.

Alright, with that out of the way, I would like to say that I am also eagerly awaiting the looming release of Dragon Quest VIII, not only because I've loved the previous installments in the series, or because the demo kicked some serious arse, but also because it will be the first of the series released here as a 'Quest' game rather than a 'Warrior' game. Come on, how cool is that!!

Matt

Pretty cool, I must say, pretty cool. It's a shame they couldn't name it that from the beginning, but well, what's a youthful video game company to do?

Okay on to the question, I would like to know your personal oppinion of Atlus's Digital Devil Saga series. I find them to be deliciously magnificient. Gotta love the up to 5 hour long dungeons!!! Now remember: If you french fry when your supposed to pizza, your gonna have a bad time!

-Binser
RPGamer Legends - Rise of The Demers

Matt

Digital Devil Saga is an interesting change of pace, I think. It's nice to see a different setting, a darker atmosphere, and a decent difficulty level in a game from time to time. I hope to receive both that and its sequel on Christmas morning, though Santa might think I'm greedy.

And bah, legend? You make it sound like I should be played by Kevin Costner in some epic role. Or maybe I actually am Kevin Costner! Wouldn't that be a twist of fate? I wonder what his middle name is...? Everyone! To the researching chamber! Don't come back until you discover the truth!



I guess I'll have to resort to the dreaded toilet paper...


Hey, Matt!

In order to demonstrate my superior knowledge of RPGs, I will endeavor to answer the questions posed on Monday's column:

Question #1:
OK, so I don't exactly remember the answer to this question. I'm going to guess that it's because the orb contains YUMMY BAT FOOD.

Question #2:
Rudra no Hihou, a Square game that tragically never came out in the US.

Question #3:
Mimicry.

Question #4:
I played about ten minutes of this game and thought it was crap, although I'm sure I'll get reamed for admitting this

Question #5:
The goofy and masked Mystere.

Question #6:
Culex. Anybody who won this battle without the aid of the Lazy Shell really deserves a star or something.

Question #7:
Byuu the cross knight. Much like Chrono, the only dialogue he has is what you give him.

Question #8:
I admit my answer to this question was Front Mission: Gun Hazard, as I momentarily forgot it was for the SNES. I concede the point on this one.

Matt

Well, you demonstrated something all right. Tell me more about Rudra no Hihou! I've never heard of it, to be perfectly honest, but I do find it mildly amusing that the spell system involves constructing new words, while the name of the game quite resembles the sound of a solid yodel. Try it out!

Additionally, I would like to comment that the real flaw of Wild ARMs 2 was the translation. The story was actually pretty good and the gameplay was about as fun as the original, but the translation was so bad in places you just have to wonder if the translators ran out of coffee at some point and drooled on their keyboards, thus producing the terrible dialog seen in the English version. Lest you think I am exaggerating, I present an image from the actual game: http://filebox.vt.edu/users/nathanb/wtf.jpg.

And you use Elixirs on magic pots, though I suspect your middle name is actually Vinsfeld and you are too embarrassed to admit it.

Cheers,
Nathan

Matt

The flaw of many games is the translation, which is an unfortunate side-effect of having 90% of our console RPGs coming from across the Pacific. I think, all-in-all, things have come a long way in recent years, though; take a trip back in time and play some Breath of Fire 2. Better yet, get your hands on a fun little side-scroller called Kabuki Quantum Fighter for the NES. You'll see what I mean.





C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

Well, there you go.

Yes, yes... it's a bit shorter than average today, but I promise more tomorrow and beyond. I'm deathly tired as it stands. My bed and my Advil are both calling my name... and besides, if you don't have any columns that are shorter than average, you don't have any "average" at all, unless all of your columns are exactly the same length, which would truly be a feat.

So, everyone... in other news, I'm frankly disturbed by how many of you got the middle name question right. How? I totally thought I had you all in the palm of my hand! I included "Andrew", because I thought it would be a silly mini-coincidence if that were true. I added "Matthew" as an option because yes, many people go by their middle names. I included "Jayson" because it's more commonly spelled without the "y", and thus I thought some people would take notice. But no; a good majority of you said that my middle name was c) Ryan and those crazy stalker-people/good guessers shall receive 20 points.

The other one, about the Magic Pot- almost everyone got that one right. Surely the answer was a) The Elixir thing, but I was prepared to give part marks to people who said to run away, since that's often what I do if I don't feel like sparing one of those precious potions.

Okay, let's see what I can conjure up today.

Question #17: What does "Rudra no Hihou" mean in English? (15 points)

a) Rudra's Clue
b) Mystery of Rudra
c) Rudra's Treasure
d) Legacy of Rudra
e) Rudra's Story

Question #18: If you were to receive 100 points every single week in the SOCK without exception, how many decades would it take you to save up for the great E3 trip? (15 points)

a) Just over 1,923
b) 5,200
c) Almost 19,231
d) 52,000
e) No one's going to E3!

As always, send your responses in a self-addressed, stamped envelope to nice little e-mail to my e-mail address e-mail address, and perhaps, if you're good, I'll do my best to respond to it as soon as I can! In fact, it's almost assured that I'll respond at some point or another, so if you've never sent before, there's no time like the present. I want to know what's on your minds!

We've got three items in the points-shop right now. If anyone has fantastic ideas for something new, then by all means, let me know what you're thinking up.

Things to work for (the SOCK item shop!):

100 points: Tilde (infinite number remaining!)
500 points: Guest-co-host Opportunity #1 (5 remaining!)

100000000 points: All-expenses-paid trip to E3 (can this be yours??)

I desire more Questions to answer! So send 'em 'round. Has anyone else heard of this Rudra no Hihou game? Does anyone have an opinion on it? Word-construction as a way to invoke magical skills seems like a fun way to show off your vocabulary. In other words, it's a good thing this ability doesn't exist in real life, because Andrew would have conquered all by this point.

Mmhmm. I bid you all farewell!

wonderslime@rpgamer.com
***Matt is cowering before Cast's deadly Scrabble breath!

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My wallet keeps leaking change, so every time I take off my pants and look in my pockets, it's as if some magical money fairy deposited a present. They're so kind to me!

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Cookie o' the Week:

Mattie's Mom's Oatmeal Cookies
That's right! A real recipe! If SNES Final Fantasy games are my nostaglic video games, these are my nostalgic baked goods.

-1 1/2 cups butter

-1 1/2 cups brown sugar

-1 egg

-2 1/2 cups oatmeal

-1/2 tbsp baking soda

-1 3/4 cups flour

-1/2 tsp cinnamon

-------- -a little bit of cinnamon

-a little bit of white sugar

Cream together butter and brown sugar. Mix in the egg. Separately, mix together the next four ingredients with a fork. Combine the wet and dry mixtures. Roll into balls, and place onto cookie sheets. Flatten slightly with a moistened glass dipped in a mixture of white sugar and cinnamon. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 350 degrees, and cool on a rack.

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