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ASK MATT
Sleepy Bus November 2, 2005

Matt Demers - 23:28 EST

THERE IS no bigger annoyance in my day-to-day life these days than one thing in particular. It may seem insignificant, or minor, or silly to all of you people, but this ONE thing just drives me insane like absolutely nothing else can. I never noticed it until this semester, either, but lately, it has happened more and more often, and it's just really starting to pry at my nerves. Truly, if writing this column is the highlight of my day, then this thing I speak of is the "lowlight", if you will, and I would be a happier soul if I never had to endure it.

So what in the world is this thing, anyway? I'll tell you all, so pay attention: I HATE, more than ANYTHING, having to go BACK to campus after coming home, and that is all. I don't mind a single trip there and back, but getting back here, sitting in my comfy chair, watching some TV, playing around a bit online... and then having to make a SECOND trip back to the university later on in the day... is just about the most loathesome irritant of all time. In fact, it's so loathesome that if I have class at, say, 10 in the morning, and then have some other on-campus obligation to attend to at 5 or 6 o'clock in the afternoon, I'll actually occupy myself at the university during the seven-hour interim. This is one of those days: See, I'm writing the intro now, between trips, and I'm just feeling 100% irked.

This has been Reason #8821 that Matt is, indeed, insane! On to the letters...*




L E T T E R S
O woebegone bank accounts...


Hello there. Long time listener, first time caller.

Your topic was about the gaming bounty that inevitably comes with the holiday season. I personally have a love/hate relationship with the pile-up of great games at the end of every year.

There are so many! At once! I'm a broke college student, I don't have the money or the time to be running out and buying that absolutely vital RPG every week for two months. Or vital Non-RPG for that matter. Not to mention new hardware that usually creeps up around this time (360 anyone? Or the DS last year...). And I'm at the age where, as crotchety as it sounds, I actually prefer getting socks for Christmas to knowing that someone in my family spent $50 to get me a game whereas I have enough money to make them macaroni pictures and go without dinner for a week.

Matt

Ahh, SWEET... you knew those Kindergarten craft-classes would come in handy, didn't you?? In my oh-so-lovely Catholic school years, I clearly remember making some sort of Nativity scene out of bowtie pasta, popsicle sticks, and white glue. Some of us crunched on the pasta, and a few people took to the glue, and some had much fun putting the popsicle sticks to various uses, but we all learned that yes, Baby Jesus was in fact wedged between two pieces of rock-hard semolina flour, and spray-painted gold. I'm pretty sure I lost a mark because my piece of masterful work happened to cover half of his face in dried-up glue, all gnarled and scabbish. Is that a sacrilege?

Ah, pasta art. The gift that keeps on giving... in memories, anyway.

What was your actual question? Oh, there hasn't been one yet. Socks are GREAT for Christmas though; I'm always running out of them, and holes are ever-forming in the ones I do have. My other suggestions are to either a) win a lottery; b) be showered upon by scholarships; c) get CIBC's $500 Overdraft Protection and put it to good use. It's damn fun to know you can have $ -200 in the bank and STILL have $300 left at the same time!!

Oh, and if you're practical, you don't buy systems until they do promotions eight to twelve months later. I waited to buy a DS until they started offering two free games with it at Electronics Boutique. Right after I bought it, though, they lowered the price, which was of course predictable. Anyway, game libraries aren't even substantial at launch, and in the XBox 360's case, the game library will probably never be substantial anyway, so you're not really missing out on anything by skipping out and investing in more pasta.

Do you think that holiday sales are really that big of a motivation for developers to lump releases around this time of year? I mean, I think that it could really go both ways. First of all, with all of the games coming out at around the same time, you'd think that some developers stand a chance of losing some of their sales to other titles, where if they released during some of the more lull periods of the year (you know what I'm talking about: The point in the year where you dust off your oldies or incompletes) they stand a much better chance of their game getting bought by someone hungry for something to play. Then again, with the ammount of money changing hands during the holiday season, it seems ludacrous to not try and snatch up whatever you can in the hustle, competition be damned. It comes to a head, this Starbucks-esque, "Halo 3 on PS3 release day," head-to-head cutthroat sales tactic, and all it really does is hurt the growing majority of gamers who do not have the time or funds to play through everything anymore. But I guess that's what makes you a corporate giant, right?

Matt

See, and the funny part is that lots of games that were supposed to be released for this holiday season were pushed back. Twilight Princess, most notably, got kicked into 2006, and up until yesterday, I had two or three other examples in my head that have since fallen out. Final Fantasy XII was probably ORIGINALLY slated for last holiday season, but who the hell knows if now we'll even see it by Christmas 2006? Yeah, so the release list isn't even as big as it should have been to begin with.

Anyway, you have to realize that it would be pretty stupid for a developer to release any game in January, or even February, just because so many parents out there will have the "Ugh, I just SPENT $xxx.xx on you for Christmas! You already HAVE new games to play through! Bugger off!" attitude, when children start whining. The holiday season itself, though, is like Thursday night Prime-Time TV: If the name is big enough, and the show is popular enough, it can steal the Thursday night scene and make a killing, because Thursday night is indeed the night of TV-watching. In the gaming world, we have a glut of games around this time of year because everybody is vying for a piece of the holiday pie. More kids ask for stuff at THIS time of the year than any other time, so it only makes sense for companies to release everything now, despite the contest that will inevitably unfold.

Dragon Quest VIII is coming on at 9... anyone wanna watch it with me?

I don't know. What it all boils down to is that I'm bitter because there are so many good games coming out in the very near future, and I can't purchase them all. Yay DQVIII. Bah humbug.

Considering Gamefly,
-MX

Matt

Rest assured, my mxy friend, that you aren't alone. You're right there with the rest of us! I couldn't afford any games while I was in my first years of university either, but that doesn't mean you can't save up to get (or rent) them over the course of the next year. Get one game you really, REALLY want, ask for a couple as presents, and then start putting money in the bank (I just got 14 cents interest on my last statement!! It builds up in a hurry... at this rate, I'll have an extra $50 by the time I'm sixty years old).



IV gets no love


Hey Matt,
You asked about my opinion of Suikoden IV--so here it is. The game promises high adventure on the seven seas, and indeed you will spend quite a bit of time sailing your very own schooner from island to island, but this is mainly because your boat travels about as rapidly across the game's map as a real boat traveling across the real ocean. So be sure to pack some oranges with you when you sit down to play, because you wouldn't want to die to scurvy--though honestly you're more likely to die to boredom as you fight a tedious random encounter every 3 mm you sail. Add to the mix a forgettable storyline, poorly developed characters, and "naval battles" whose top-down view and grid system make you feel more like you're playing Battleship than engaging in a rollicking sea battle, and you've got yourself forty dollars better invested in a game which doesn't suck.

Matt

Point taken. I'm sure there are at least seventy people out there somewhere that think it's the best game ever, though. Me? I just have what you guys tell me to go on... otherwise, I just sit back in my rocker (I wish I had a rocker) and view things from afar, making the odd comment here and there, like those about sitting in rockers I don't actually own.

Tuesdays are generally very sleepy, but this is the first one in awhile that's actually made me feel old. Where are my bifocals, ye little twits?

I feel obligated to ask a question: Have you ever played Okage Shadow King? It's got a quirky and hilarious story, 3-D models that are reminiscent of Tim Burton's claymation, and the most awful gameplay I have ever seen in an RPG. Given its other positive merits, the game's bad game play was really a pity as it truly marred an otherwise pristine RPG experience.

-Pilkman

Matt

Obligated? If you guys feel like I'm holding you to gunpoint to ask me questions, please tell me... I'm doin' something wrong here in that case.

Okage Shadow King... ugh, honestly, you guys are going to be the death of me. Released during my poor period, I never picked it up. Despite its creative-looking intentions, it was mostly quietly-received, ill-reviewed, and is one of those early PS2 titles that hasn't seen life on a store shelf in quite some time. A good RPG has to urn its keep, after all (is it okay to make puns about games I haven't even played??)

Anyway, thanks for getting back to me! It has verily been a pleasure.



Yeahh... we've gamed a lot in our day


Hehe, I play WoW too much. Anyway, your answers are

#32 - C

#33 - E

Now for a letter, if you please.

I saw that you say you spent 180 hours of DQ7, and I have to say I'm impressed. I know I stopped shy of beating the game, just the regular endguy, at 140 hours. Just couldn't bare to grind anymore. I was working on getting a top end monster class and just ran out of gas. Very impressive that you managed to make it to the end.

Matt

Well, thanks. I must admit that I actually beat the final storyline boss at about the 130-hours mark, with the remaining 50 spent on levelling up, jobbing-up, and God-slaying. I don't blame you though; the grind in Dragon Warrior VII can be like grinding a one-pound block of Parmigiana Reggiano using a normal cheese grater. There is a tasty and gratifying result in the end, but good friggin jeepers, it takes forever (and your muscles hurt after the first few minutes). If you're unacquainted with parmesan cheese in its non-powdered form, then never you mind.

As for pokemon ruby, that is ridiculus. But I need to know, did you hit that 315 before you beat the elite four? And if not, wouldn't that be considered "post single playthrough"

Matt

I suppose I could have defined things better, but what I MEANT by "in a single playthrough" was "without starting a new game with a different group on a different save file". If I restricted it to JUST the main storyline, then Dragon Warrior IV probably only took me 50 hours; Pokémon only took me 80 (I had to catch them all, after all); and Dragon Warrior VII would have been just a MEASLY 130, as I mentioned above. However, that's not what I meant, so I defend my correct answer. Live with it; everyone else got it wrong too.

Lastly, if that is your ruby time, what is your combined time across all the Pokemon games? I know I clock in a combined, Red through Emerald, 1100 hours or so. That is counting the time that my red reset with 115 hours on it.

-Redbeastmage

Matt

Ahhh, I played with making that very question SOCK #35, or whatever number is next, but then I thought better of it. Really, it's about 320 hours. I never actually played any of the others except to gain my brother some levels on long car trips to see what the original game was all about. Too many people criticize Pokémon though... honestly, if they gave a Pokémon game a more substantial storyline and made the gameplay more extensive/less gimmicky (battle tower? Spare me), with actual villains and big dramatic challenges, the result could be amazing. Maybe the Gamecube installments cure this issue... I haven't bothered to look, though from a distance, they haven't interested me much.

The gameplay itself, though, has a lot more depth than some people would ever dare give Pokémon credit for, and I think it's unfortunate. At the same time, if I invested 320 extra hours into my current work, I'd have a HUGE pile of money at my fingertips. Ah well...



It's so cold in here that I'm getting goosebumps


OK, first off, I'm gonna go with 32c and 33e. Now, as for the actual topic, I'm looking forward mostly to DQ8 and Shining Force Neo, but I may try out Wild Arms in rental form, as I was no fan of 3. I haven't really seen much information on SF Neo, but I could really go for a good hack and slash Diablo-style dungeon crawler. I've had a pretty decent fix of old school gaming via emulator, and in the last few weeks I've worked my was through the first Breath of Fire (which I was quite sick of by the game's end. It hasn't aged well) and I'm partway through BoF 2. As I am currently console-less, there are a number of games I need to play when I return home for my college's super-long Thanksgiving to New Year break. Highest on that list are Shadow of the Colosuss and Burnout, and I still need to finish Katamari Damacy, Atelier Iris, and even Disgaea (One day, I WILL finish that final battle).

Matt

Oh yeah man... with both Disgaea and Makai Kingdom, I had an amazing time with the games, but was terribly disappointed by the final battles. They were just so... flat and unexciting. There were no really fear-invoking awe-inspiring attacks launched towards you with a sickening range and even more sickening attack power. Once you get powerful enough, too, they both become sad excuses for jokes.

Running through the rest of that paragraph, the original Breath of Fire really isn't good at all; BoF2 is a slight improvement with what I remember to be one of the worst translations ever; Katamari Damacy is something everyone but me has played; Shadow of the Colossus, ditto (already); and Shining Force Neo, I hope, will be fun and different for me, even though it has been a long, long time indeed since I have taken a peer into the series.

Oh, and if you're looking for a good PC game, I gotta recomend the Civiliz ation series. You can download the first two as abandonwear, but be warned they are some of the most purely addictive "I'll go to bed after just one more turn" games I have ever played. I guess that I should include an actual question in here, hmm, OK, how do you inspire yourself to finish games once you've put them down for a while? Or are there just a pile of unfinished games on your shelf? Oh, and who won the stuffed Prinny in the contest? I mostly wanted to throw that thing at people, but I guess I'll have to pay money for that privalege now.

Eakin

Matt

Yes yes, my mother would agree with you, since she's a bigger strategy gamer than I am. I'd argue that Civilization isn't really an RPG at all, and those are kinda what I'm looking for, but Tom just picked up Civilization IV the day before yesterday, and it really does look like a bucket of fun with confetti on top. Apparently it's been really hard to acquire though... no stores around these parts have had it in stock, at any rate.

As for your question, I don't have to worry about it, really. If any particular game is good enough, it will usually EARN the right to be finished from start to end within a reasonable period of time, unless there exist extenuating circumstances, such as the departure to university that interrupted my play through Majora's Mask. If a game is unworthy enough to be deposited unfinished, then I usually just have to wait until I'm bored enough with the rest of my life to start over from the beginning, whether that's months or years later.



A Gauntlet of Qs


I'm a big fan of the Wild Arms series (okay all RPGs in general) and although I will definitely be purchasing Alter Code F, there's one change I read about that worried me more than the extra characters and story re-writing.

That would be the lack of equipment. First of all, what would replace all those treasure chests? What about all the fun I had going back to getting crest graphs in secret areas? WHAT ABOUT THE SHERRIF'S STARS? I mean I can understand that the game is making changes to try and fit the WA3 formula, but it seems like they're totally boning the first game out of what was so loved about it: a very well done TRADITIONAL RPG.

So yeah...oh! Have you played the Parasite Eve games? I'm one of those people who does NOT bash Square-Enix to try and be cool, and I can say without a doubt that one of the most FUN games they've ever created is PEII.

Matt

Mmhmm, I have definitely read about these changes, and it will be interesting, because Wild ARMs is a completely new frontier for me, so I won't notice when I play it; this is somewhat akin to the situation in of the huge flock of new Final Fantasy VII players who never knew what the roots of the series were like. Maybe I should hunt the originals down too, to observe the difference for myself.

Square-bashers, or any-company-bashers for that matter, are just not cool, especially if they don't even have reasons to back their bashings up. I mean, Final Fantasy X wasn't my favourite game of all time, but if I hear one more angsty person say "Final Fantasy X was @*@%ing terrible", I'll have a small fit. If the average RPG were as well-done as Final Fantasy X, we'd be in pretty good shape, wouldn't you say?

Parasite Eve, no, but it looked unique. That came out even before poor widdle me had a Playstation at all... I had to borrow my friend Ken's Playstation to play Chrono Cross, and I had the most expensive rental charge of my whole life from Blockbuster just so that I could play Final Fantasy VII...and ugh, a smoker had had the system rented out before me, cuz Je-sus (said Spanishly) was the controller greasy and terrible-smelling.

In Tales of Destiny 2, I read somewhere that you can unlock a secret dungeon in a new game +, but I have yet to find it. Any information on that?

Matt

This is a recording. For service in french, press 1 now.

For specific in-game questions, please refer to the Games section, at
http://www.rpgamer.com/games/games.html

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and do hope you'll visit again soon.

I wholeheartedly agree with that person who talked about how good Suikoden III was. The first game was crap and a half, and I don't think I could have played it longer than the 15 hours it took to beat it. Suikoden II was a VERY large improvement, and III was even better. I have yet to play IV, and I was wondering why people hate that game so much?

Do you think the next Shadow Hearts game will *spoiler...sorta* have Karin in it? There seemed to be some foreshadowing at the end of Covenant.

Matt

Whew, you're just full of pent-up questions, aren't you? It's been medically proven that relieving your Q&A urge can prevent several forms of cancer, so surely write in more often, before your extra questions become tumourous. Anyway, it doesn't matter much, because I haven't been that helpful to you so far, and I'll continue to be unhelpful in this response by saying that the original Shadow Hearts was enough for me (for now), so I don't even know who your Karin character is, and I don't like posting spoilers anyway, so you'd be outta luck even if I had played it. If you're that interested though that you're thinking about "the next Shadow Hearts" already, then the foreshadowing is evidently doing its job.

Oh yeah, and look up a couple of questions, because there you'll find a good many reasons why Suikoden IV isn't so popular amongst the masses... something about boring sailing and stuff.

Have you gotten Excalibur II in FFIX? I currently have a game with all the secrets and items EXCEPT that, and then I have a game where I rushed my brains out to get Ex.II. Being a huge OCD completist, is it humanly possible to get all the secrets and items (including Ex.II) in one run through the game?! (It's one of the best FFs...such nostalgia in it)

Lastly, how come none of the STAFF members of RPGamer have reviewed SMT: Nocturne yet? I mean, DDS I and II were good games, but were honestly nothing compared to the philisophically mind-bendingly awesome beyond all reason Nocturne...which I would even consider to be the best game of 2004 (with SOIII and ToS runners up).

Thanks for your time...sorry if that was a bit long winded. I haven't sent a letter in a few months...so congrats on the column winning too!

Matt

All of them?? Boy, I don't think it would be possible... to get the Excalibur II, wasn't the criteria to get through the whole thing in ten hours or less? The thing is, to get EVERY single treasure in the entire game, you'd have to make it to Disc 4 in under ten hours, if I remember this correctly, and since so many secrets seem to get sealed off after Disc 3 (a major, MAJOR disappointment for me... what a cheap way to save disc space :P) I don't know how feasible such a goal would be at all. My beef was, with Steiner at the end of the game, he was doing 9999 damage with the normal Excalibur... what the heck, then, is the use of a better one?

Oh, my brother totally disagrees with you, by the way, about that your Nocturne views. While he says it's good and interesting and challenging, he highly prefers Star Ocean AND Tales of Symphonia to it. What IS it with you crazy Star Ocean lovers?? I'm not sure why there hasn't been a staff review done, but I'll be sure to launch an internal investigation with haste.

At any rate, thanks for your ridiculous number of questions; they've kept me busy. Oh, and I hate you (but in a loving way) for causing me to reveal so many more of the titles I haven't played. *shakes fist*



-ointing (a disappointing ending... HAHAHA get it?)


Hi Q&A Master,

I just last night completed Radiata stories. It was a really fun game to play. Great visuals, easy and fun battle system, catchy music, funny character, all that good stuff. All in all, I really enjoyed playing that game. There was a major flaw, however. It was the extremely short ending. I won't give anything away, but once you beat the last boss, that's pretty much it. I was left with so many, no, TOO many questions left unanswered. The only reason I'm going to play through it again is to see the alternate story line, and hopefully see if there will be an extended ending for finishing more sidequests and stuff. So I have a few questions:

Matt

Alrighty... shoot.

1) Have you ever played through a game that you really liked only to be dissapointed by the ending? Another example for me is Zelda: Majora's Mask. Who the hell was that friend of Link's that he's searching for, only to be interupted by the game's story. I have a hope that it will be answered in the upcoming Twighlight Princess, though it probably won't be.

Matt

Have I? Of course. Yes, games have come a long, long way from where they used to be: One screen endings with a couple of paragraphs of celebratory text are not sufficient for one such as me, as "old school" as you'd like to believe I am.

This would, by the way, be another reason why Star Ocean 3 bit the bullet so hard for me. The ending occurred so abruptly, and then was so insufficient, that I was left in a bit of a state of shock.

Some of my favourite endings of all time have been in Final Fantasy games... Final Fantasies VIII and IX were my favourite by far, and I remember exclaiming in delight over FFVIII's long ending movie for months after I had finished the game. However, the parade at the end of Super Mario RPG was wonderful as well, for a completely different reason. Earthbound's photo-album ending was a pretty neat idea, too.

2) Though I know you don't like strategy guides or walkthroughs, have you ever deemed it absolutely neccesary to use one? FFX-2, for me, was a game where it was needed direly needed. I doubt that anyone who has gotten a 100% story completion in that game hasn't used a walkthrough or checklist of some kind.

Matt

I've never really been a "100% Completion" kind of guy. I'm sure that to actually find every single thing in Final Fantasy X-2, I would require some sort of aid, but I didn't really care about that when I was playing. I like playing and discovering on my own during a first playthrough, as I've said before... but on the other side of the coin, I only really replay games that REALLY inspire me, and then, only if I've got some extra time on my hands. FFX-2 didn't really turn my crank all that much, even though I missed cool Spheres the first time around (I refuse to say "Dresssphere", or "Dressphere" and fuse the two words together... it's just WRONG).

I have, though, looked through manuals and online FAQs/walkthroughs many times before though, especially if I'm replaying something and can't remember where to find this or that, if I'm getting frustrated.

3) This isn't really an important question, just interesting. As of now, I have completed every numbered Final Fantasy (we all know that 11 don't count) exept II and V (and III, but we'll find out soon enough I hope). And those two games just happen to be two of three that originally skipped the US. I've had the oppertunity to complete them both, as I have FFOrigins and have borrowed FFAnthology. And I keep meaning to finish them, I just never get around to it. I have to say, though, that FFII's level-up system is really crappy and annoying in my oppinion. Is it just me?

Well that's all for now, thanks,
KnightTrain

Matt

Mmm, no. It's an acquired taste. To be fair, though, SO is having a 35% Hit Rate for the first 10 hours of Final Fantasy 1 gameplay, so I gave Final Fantasy II a full trial despite my initial doubts, and was rewarded in the end. Really, I had more fun picking out how the series evolved from the first game than I had actually playing through the game itself. There's lots of good to find though; the game pushes the challenge-bar a little further, and puts together a bit more of a focused storyline. You even get to venture inside a tornado that for some strange reason, doesn't blow your characters around violently. Ah well.



All Games with too many characters are not the same


Heya Matt,

Well, first of all I have to say comparing Suikoden's character system to Chronocross was WAY off the mark. Chrono's characters did nothing after you recruited them. The optional characters just kind of sat there as a picture frame in your game windows. In every Suikoden game, you get a castle, or a whole town and a castle. The 108 folks you recruit EACH have a job there. You are populating your new area, and creating a home town basically. Tired of going to an inn in a far away city? Recruit one. Tired of going somewhere else to buy your items, find an item store guy to recruit. Your once ruined town, or castle, begins to get beautiful. Much like a Sim-city, it grows with time. The bonus is that you can play almost any of them in the game if you like them. That's how they get 108. Sure, not all of them have incredible backgrounds and stories, but there are many underlying stories that continue through the games. While 1 and 2 do it best, there are some very interesting people in part 3 also. One and two features many of the same characters, while three introduces man of their offspring.

Matt

Fair enough. I guess it's easy to draw comparisons when you're knowledge-free on a subject, though it's difficult to comprehend balancing so many characters while maintaining some degree of development. All I do know, is that I didn't even care about the majority of the characters that joined in Chrono Cross... they didn't really mean anything to me, and much of the time, it seemed like the most unique thing about each one was just in the way they spoke. I was not driven to want to get to know any of the people that joined me in that game, which was unfortunately one of its many flaws.

In the examples of Futch and Luc, you must play all 3 to get their whole grand stories. It is great to see these guys in their early years, and watch them grow and develop. Another example of why 108 characters is not a big deal, is you frequently get whole families, like the Lapants. You get the father, the mother, the son, and the family assistant. A major act in the story involved the father and the mother, and then the son goes through the next two games as a womanizer.

You should pick up 1 and 2 when its out on PSP, even if its just to have them 3 years from now when the PSP is more affordable lol. They may have been lower budget than the big titles, but much like Lunar 1 and 2, they had big heart.

Matt

Ugh... the PSP?? WhyyyyYYY do games have to make me go get multiple systems so that I can play them? Groowwwwwrrrr..... rooarrrrrr! If there were a compilation of the first two released for a system I owned, I'd certainly consider grabbing it. If it's a PSP-only title, though, Konami might not see my money, which is unfortunate.

2) P.S. I also read you have the same sort of stigma I have with games now. I can't help but work up everyone just in case I get stuck with them in a fight. I hate that, that's just terrible game making in my opinion. You should never be stuck at a point in game where you'd have to start over. Anyway, in 1 and 2 this never happens. Also, if you have a level 22 that you decide you like and want to play with at lvl 44, like 6 super easy fights in your current area will have them within 3 levels of your main party anyway.

--
~~Rick
~~~aka. Skypp

Matt

Oh, but you see, it isn't out of necessity that I practice that policy!! It's a strange combination of guilt and sorrow... I just want to include everyone, because they're all putting their hearts into fighting for whatever they're fighting for, and I wouldn't want to break those hearts, fictional or not.

Is that weird? I don't know. I think a bigger part is, no matter how useless a character is, there is always the possibility that they will learn a KILLER move at a high level, and I'd just hate to miss out due to ignorance.





C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

Ah, the evils didn't wash over me yesterday, and no black holes came to gobble me up and swallow me forevermore, so I managed to make it yet another day. These weeks go by so fast though, I'd almost wonder if time dilation were involved (see: Einstein; relativity).

The gum question was my cheapest trick yet. In my desperate search for sock material other than cotton or wool, I found some gum packaging on my desk. VOILA, instant test question! In any case, there are b) 5 calories in a two-piece serving. Why is one serving two pieces? I don't remember the last time I saw someone take two sticks of gum out to gnaw upon. The problem is, though, that as Angel0886 pointed out, if you go to Wrigley's website, for some reason, Extra gum exactly as I described it has 5 calories in ONE piece. I don't know if they actually make it different in the States, but something stupid is amiss, so I certainly can't say that people who guessed c) 10 were wrong. Anyway, what was that, 15 points? Yes, 15 points. For everyone who got it right, that is (in either country...grrr).

#33 tricked relatively few people. MAN, I love the word "apostilb", but I don't even know what it is. Some of you guessed acre, but the correct answer is that 100 ares equals 1 HECTARE, so e) None of the above was in fact the right choice to make.

SO, I'm running out of ideas, obviously, so I've decided on an exciting new way to keep things fresh and tasty. I'm almost always doing a re-playthrough of some old game at any given time, so I'm going to play a follow-me type of game and ask questions relating to whatever game of yesteryear I happen to be playing. No worries: I won't be playing anything terribly new, so I won't be giving anything away from games you're still itching to play. Also, if it's a game that's your favourite, then you'll be set for points! Or will you be...? One question will come from this area every update, and the other will be random as ever. Also, I'm going to DOUBLE any consolation points starting tomorrow to 4, from 2. So, if you suck terribly at guessing, you'll get to play co-host twice as fast!

Question #34: (15 points) Follow me!--> In Final Fantasy VI, Kefka utters the most massive string of the repeated word "hate" in video game history. In this chain, how many consecutive times does he say the word hate?

a) 17
b) 23
c) 26
d) 27
e) 34

Question #35: (10 points) In the somewhat well-known 8-bit theatre comic, which character is obsessed with Dungeons & Dragons-style strategizing and diceplay?

a) Black Belt
b) Black Mage
c) White Mage
d) Red Mage
e) Soldier

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

100 points: Tilde (infinite number remaining!)
500 points: Guest-co-host Opportunity #1 (5 remaining!)
700 points: The Final Fantasy 1 "Official" Crazed-Chipmunk-Hold-your-Ears Soundtrack (5 remaining!)
1000 points: The Mattie's Mom Cookie Recipe Compilation (5 remaining!)
100000000 points: All-expenses-paid trip to E3 (can this be yours??)

Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of my life, and coincidentally, it's the first day of the rest of your life too. So, give it some purpose and write in to tell me about your favourite game endings, since we discussed them up above. Better yet, which games had disappointing endings? Am I all alone in my opinion of Star Ocean 3? Try to keep the spoilers to a minimum if you're gonna chat about newer games, but write in all the same.

Without your questions, I am nothing! Bye bye.

wonderslime@rpgamer.com
***Matt's happy it's November at last!

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Less than two weeks left on the clock-to-end-all-clocks...

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About the Host


Matt's Next Unhealthy Addiction

Another Unhealthy Addiction

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. Final Fantasy III

3. Mario & Luigi: PiT

A PC Game for Christmas?

Current Leader
Planescape: Torment

Recommended by:
DDX

Cookie o' the Week:

Mattie's All Saints Day Cookies

These treats commemorate the oft-overlooked observance that follows Halloween. Indeed, All Saints Day certainly goes ignored, probably due to the fact that nothing sweet and sugary is traditionally consumed on that day, except for things acquired on Halloween.

-1 large zucchini

-1 cup of holy water

-2 freshly laid golden eggs

-1 cup of fairy dust (I'm pretty sure this stuff is actually dandruff...)

-a sprig of ambrosia

-an olive twig

-1 tsp vanilla extract

Peel the zucchini and chop into smaller pieces. Put into a blender with the eggs, water, vanilla, and olive twig, and mix until very uniform throughout (it might take a minute or more). Add the fairy dust, and then pulse the blender at high power for a few seconds at a time until a muddy dough is formed. Roll this amalgam into balls and place on a greased cookie sheet; press a piece of ambrosia into each ball. Bake on Cloud 9 until they look heavenly, and then enjoy in your own favourite Utopia.

SOCK standings:

1. Jbumi
280 pts

2. DDX
222 pts

3. Ourobolus
215 pts

4. Binser
135 pts

5. Arros Raikou
112 pts

6. Flamethrower
95 pts

7. Angel0886
87 pts

7. Jeremy
87 pts

9. ~Sean~
82 pts

10. Yugiohfan1986
61 pts

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