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Sizzle Shop November 21, 2005

Matt Demers - 02:54 EST

YOU KNOW HOW IT IS OFTEN SAID that "time flies when you're having fun"? Well, two weeks from this very day, I'll be writing my final exam in my Partial Differential Equations course. I'm quaking in my boots a little, because while I'm doing really well in the course, I don't feel like I've picked up any of the material along the way... kinda like a dirty snowball, the kind that's covered in gross, brownish-green dead grass: The nightmare of the laundry-doing parent. Yay for smelly snowpants!

Dragon Quest VIII has officially taken over my life, as predicted. It's not that I'm doing nothing but playing the game, but it's haunting my every thought, and all I really WANT to do is play it when I'm not. The music has been in my brain since the very first moment that I turned the game on. In any case, the worries that I vocalized last week have been vanquished. The game is, in a word, incredible!

That's enough advertising for this column, at any rate. Let's get to some actual questions, before your heads pop off.




L E T T E R S
Nothing like starting the week off with an XBox rant


Greetings again Matt!

So you want to know what people think of the XBOX 360, eh? How does 'ultimate ripoff' sound to you? Or 'waste of time' or most definitely 'waste of money'? Or even 'why the heck would I want to buy a system that runs an OS where BSoD is its motto'? Ummm... yeah, not so fond of the XBOX in any of its mutations and not so eager to ever own one unless someone pays me to do so.

Matt

Outside of the blow-chunks-y library, I don't really have THAT much of a problem with the console, except that the controllers are terribly awkward. No, it's not because they're enormously large; it's because the A/B and X/Y buttons are reversed from the setup I'm used to on the SNES control pad. The result is that any Xbox game I've ever played (a small number) has taken twice as long to pick up as perhaps it should, with my sister or brother yelling at me all the while to pay attention to what buttons I'm smashing and what ones I'm failing to. Of course, this just makes me want to smash the controller itself. O violent side of me... it is a good thing that thou art restrained so.

What's worse is all the pictures I've seen for upcoming games look pretty bad for something that is supposed to have a rockin' vid card. And of course none of the opening games even tickle my fancy. Maybe, maybe, maybe the eventual Mistwalker (it is Mistwalker isn't it?) offerings, but not really. Shelling out that kind of money for to play only a couple of games is not rational in my mind.

Matt

Okay, so I'm not completely psycho. I tend to agree... the graphical leap really isn't all it's cut out to be. Yes, they look amazing, but come on: SO do regular XBox games. It makes me so mad to see the video game shows go on and on, spending so much time raving about anything graphically lovely, and everything Microsoft-related. These shows (and the magazines are just as damn guilty) are the SEEDS of the graphics whores that overpopulate the world today! Hmm... or, at least, the fertilizer. I want to stab them all!!

Wait... *reads the first sentence of this paragraph* ...

Hmmm, sorry for the tangential remarks, but yeah: Mega expensivo, and no-want-playo, at least until some half-decent games are revealed... o.

Couple that with the fact that usually kick ass games coming out for the XBOX (at least the first gen console) were quickly released for the PC as well (i.e. KOTOR, HALO, Fable, Morrowind, etc...) Why buy a console when you can get all the best for PC as well, eh?

I am looking forward to the Nintendo and the Sony offerings for next gen, but what can I say, I'm a loyalist. That and they're all toting backwards compatibility! Now that is incentive to keep with those lines!

So, thinking of next gen consoles, have you heard anything new about Roms being offered for Nintendo Revolution? Maybe a possibility of some RPG oldschool goodness?

Inquisitiveness personified,
MagRowan

Matt

Right, I kind of became a Nintendo loyalist too over the past couple of years, just because I really think that they put some serious effort into their games, and I think that a lot of passionate people are the great minds behind them. I could be quite wrong, but this is what I like to think, in my little world.

I wish I could tell you more about the "download 'n' go" aspect of the Revolution, but Nintendo has been quite tight-lipped about their pet project since the controller was unveiled a couple of months back. I'm sure that as we get into next year we'll hear more, but wouldn't it be amazing if we could get our hands on good-oldies like Final Fantasy, Crystalis, and the first four Dragon Warrior games?? I'd be in hog-heaven, as they say, whoever "they" is.

Thanks for the letter! Anyone want to write in who is actually ravenous for Microsoft's new incarnation?



Chrono Fantasy GrandiARMs XVII


Sooo, regarding Kingdom Hearts although its battle system was just button smashing and its bad camera I really liked it. It had something nice to it and I am definitely gettind KH 2. But I hope I got enough time to play it. At the moment there are some games which await finishing, not to mention Disgaea, which I finally imported, still being untouched. I am not so ichy about FF XII coming out too. I really want to like it (just like in the old days) but from the impressions about to now ... nah I don't know. Stunning grahpics but graphics is more a low priority for me.

Matt

I played the Final Fantasy XII demo, and I have to say that I'm really not impressed by it at all, except with its graphical jaw-droppingness, and as you say, such things are of only slight importance. HOWEVER, don't let me influence you here; many others have played through the demo and were delighted by the gorgeous chaotic action-RPG style and necessary camera-swinging that comes with it. You might like it too! Thus, don't pass judgment before giving it a try yourself.

Alright questions.

Matt

All right!

Do you have any clue to when Dragon Quest VIII will be coming to Europe? I don't want to import it, I can wait, but I want a date. And what about Wild Arms Alter Code F and maybe Grandia III? One think I just ran along: Why are the Xenosaga series titles named after books from Nietzsche? I can't remember hearing the reason for it somewhere.

Oh, one last thing, in February I'm going to kinda celebrate 10 years of playing Chrono Trigger the first time, by playing the game all day long. (Yes, I love it soooooo much). (" and I bet you are just dying to use it!")

Well, good day to you (despite the dentist appointment)
Gr dich

Manuel "Belthasar2" Leitgeb

Matt

Well, you might as well get on the backlog in the meantime. I think that there was a vague indication that Dragon Quest VIII was to be PAL-ized, but I'm not even sure of how long ago that news blip happened (IF it even did). I'd say that's the most likely one of the three; after a ten-minute hunt on the Internet, there isn't even much speculation over European releases for the other two titles you mentioned. However, Wild ARMs games HAVE made the cut in the past, and hopefully this won't be an exception. Play Disgaea for now... it's amazingly fun, especially if you're in a tactical sort of mood.

Oh, and I'm loving Chrono Trigger too in this playthrough I'm doing currently. My favourite part, I think, is the silliness that is everywhere, spun together with a serious/epic tale. The quotable quotes from just about every character make me laugh, as does Marle's super-happy leap-in-the-air graphic.

Good day to you too. Hopefully, I actually end up with an appointment this time around (it was cancelled last week, if you recall... curses! If my teeth fall out before the morning, I'm SO getting a lawyer.)



Wahahaha... a Dragon Quest letter!


Matt,

Yes I am excited, as I have reserved both Alter Code F and Dragon Quest VIII! My favorite Wild ARMs (I think it's proper to have acronymns in all caps...isn't it?) is Wild ARMs 1. Why? Well without going into the story, I just love the trials that everyone has to go through. As far as Dragon Quest, I like DQ 3 the best. I dunno why, I guess the whole character class thing is neat...at least it was back then when it was less common. I really am happy you'll get to experience Wild ARMs Matt! Please let us know how you like it! You are getting it...right? RIGHT?!

Matt

Your excitement is spilling over! I am indeed hoping to get my hands on it. If I don't get it for Christmas, I'll likely be purchasing it soon afterwards, and then I won't be a Wavirgin no more. Yes, I can say "Wavirgin" on here.

Here's my question for you. Is there a moment in Dragon Quest history, where you were just floored? A boss that made your jaw drop with it splendor and difficulty? I know they're kinda old school, but I'm not as familliar as I'd like to be with Dragon Quest, and I want to know what a devoted fan considers to be his best moment. Was there a point in the story that was wonderful? Let me know.

~Van

Matt

I guess that with the new release of Dragon Quest VIII, it's not too surprising that my inbox is sopping with DQ/DW related questions. For a fan like me, it's like a dream, to put it fairy-tale-like.

Some memorable Dragon Quest moments:

  • DWI: Searching the depths of the Dragonlord's Castle, and getting more and more scared with every drop in the pitch of the music.
  • DWII: When I finally found my way through the horribly ridiculous Cave to Rhone after literally months of searching.
  • DWIII: Fighting against Baramos... what an incredibly hard fight!! Also, how the game unfolds afterwards...
  • DWIV: Taking a trip through the world in a balloon, winning 3000 tokens at the slot machines, and fighting the final boss!

Actually, I want to stop it there: The bosses are something I like a LOT in the Dragon Warrior games. They're SO masterfully built, in that the battles always seem to be incredibly close in the end. There is no other game in which you'll have a greater number of close victories; the kind that you win with one ally left alive with 13 HP and 1 MP. Those are the battles that you remember in Dragon Quest games (I've already had one of those in Dragon Quest VIII, in fact.)

There are lots of great moments in the series, even in Dragon Warrior VII. It just takes a lot of effort to get TO those moments, which is most unfortunate.

Oh, and if I may: One last thing that I absolutely love about Dragon Warrior/Quest games is the cast of monsters. I LIVE to see which enemies the developers bring back from past games, and how those enemies have changed since. Admittedly, that's yet another reason why I'm loving the brand new one: There are so many great monsters from other games in the series; seeing them decked out with cool new moves and animations makes me very happy indeed!



O Edge, dreamiest of ninjas


You know Matt, thanks to your Chronoitis I now have Chronoitis, and I am far past the point of the first future meeting, as in Restoring a certain sword further on. And also, 1 more sleep to Mario Kart DS.

Anyway what is Space Quest? As I'm not the best at guessing answers

Matt

Mmm, Chronoitis. If that's the strange illness that I've had off and on for the last month, ongoing, then yes, I certainly have it, and I'm sorry I gave it to you. If, on the other hand, it is my current playing of the game "Chrono Trigger", then I'm quite enjoying this spell of illness. It's still not on my list of all-time favourites, but it's certainly close. I'm just a tad further than you, though, I believe.

Also, Mario Kart DS = YUM and I want it.

Also, Space Quest was a kooky, crazy, hilarious adventure series published by Sierra back when they used to make good games. There were six games total; I've played through the first two to completion and partially played III and IV. They're so incredibly funny in such a cheesy, wonderful way, it makes me wonder why they spun out like they did. Oh well...

51: E
52: B Isn't there only 7 Space Quest games?

You know whilst playing Chrono Trigger today I realised something, that SNES games are still vastly better then modern games. They have great; stories, music, character development and seem to be far more enjoyable then games that get carbon copied games that are chuirned out by EA and such. Anyway are there any news in a release date for Mario and Luigi: partners in time. The first one on the GBA was great and it seems that the Mario RPG's (Paper and Plastic) are more successful in a story line then the platform games they are making at the moment. Anyway my NEW Morrowind game is back to the stage that my old one was, at the sacrifice of all my games bar Chrono and Romance of Three Kingdoms 4, Everybody make sure you have 2 Save slots that are never further then one main event between them. this week so more time for me to finish up these addicting games. Anyway last question If you could interupt a certain event in a RPG what game and what event would it be?

Yours faithfuly ~Bainick~

P.S.~~~Go Australia in next years World Cup~~~

Matt

There will always be a place in my heart for the games of yesteryear, as I've mentioned countless times before around these parts; however, that doesn't mean that there isn't any hope for the future. Surely, there are many games in more recent times with some wonderful character development... they're just hiding from you, perhaps.

Mario and Luigi: Partners in Time promises to be hilarious and wonderful as usual. At the very least, I will be extremely disappointed if it is, well, disappointing... but, every game in the series has brought me great joy so far. The dialogue is always wonderfully amusing, and has caused me to burst into laughter while playing on many occasions (making people around me stare, especially if I'm on a train going home at the time).

To answer your Q, you know that scene in Final Fantasy IV where Kain and Cecil are on the bridge between the airships which are hovering in the sky while they make a certain exchange? I'd love to just freeze time right there, waltz into the picture, and push the two of them off. How things would have been different then. Dammit, though, I'd have to go and be all heroic afterwards and stuff, though it might be worth it to meet Edge in person... rowr! He might SAY he likes Rydia, but she's easily slayable. In the middle of the night, I tell ya, she'd better sleep with one eye open!



Some generic questions, and a different VIII


Hey Matt,

I've been reading Q & A off and on now for a while. Never have written in. I've found myself enjoying your segments though. You seem to hold yourself on our levels instead of thinking you are superior like some others I've read.

Matt

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHA... apparently, my master plan is working. Subdual first, slavery later! I need someone to come and dust my room anyway, and I can't do it without a zombific enough fanbase to come and perform the deed for me, especially because if you look behind my computer tower under my desk, it is one SCARY hole full of dangling cobwebs and bunnies made of dust.

Back to the real world, though... I'm glad you're enjoying it. ^_^

Before my question I thought I would comment on a question that was asked to you before. **Spoiler ahead** In Chrono Trigger the Bromide is used to give to an old man in the town near the desert. Yea I forgot the name of it but its been a long time since I've played. Bromides also make an appearance in the Lunar games as little pictures of the characters that you can view. So simply put he's a dirty old man. Anyway he gives you the key to his drawer in which you receive a tab of some sort. **Spoiler End** Anyway onto my questions. When did you start playing RPG's? I started as soon as i could read half decent. I didn't understand much for storyline plots until i was much older, but they really appealed to me. Also I apologize if you have answered these questions before. What game was it that got you started with RPG's? Mine happened to be Secret of Mana.

Matt

Oh, I've told the story before, but I'll tell it again. My grandma taught me how to play the original Dragon Warrior when I was about eight years old. She was very grandmalike in many ways, but she was mega-coolized by the fact that she had an NES. So that started it all! Obviously, then, storylines weren't the biggest focus for me either back in the day; my love for a good RPG story began when I first borrowed Final Fantasy II (IV) from my friend Ken. I must have been about eleven or twelve years old at the time. Ahhh, the good old days. I distinctly remember eating porkchops for dinner the first night I played that game...

Another question is what did you think of FFVIII? I keep hearing that a lot of people despise it. I actually loved the game. Yea there were some flaws the game, but what game doesn't have flaws? Yes that remark is gonna come back and bite me but oh well. Everybody has their own opinions. Well that about sums up my writing. Sorry it was so long and boring. Have a nice day!

The Dark Prince



Matt

Final Fantasy VIII, contrary to what many people think, is the number-one biggest selling Final Fantasy game, if I recall correctly, and that is no doubt due to the huge expectations that people had for it after the amazing success that was Final Fantasy VII.

There are several reasons that people dislike the game. Firstly, many believe that the "Draw" spell-system was garbage. Others like to whine about the fact that summoning GFs spawned incredibly long animations, all of which were cool at first, but quickly got boring to watch after the thirty-fourth summoning. Many people say that the storyline is crap, and I think that they have a point. The plot COULD have been masterfully spun, but they crammed a whole lot of key stuff into the third disc instead of introducing (or at least hinting at) these storyline elements earlier on. Some people will point out that the whole "Oh, we grew up together at the same orphanage" bit was quite tacky and stupid, but ridiculous coincidences are certainly nothing new to the series. Play Final Fantasy IV and V, and see how many impossible coincidences occur in these games; then get back to me.

Anyway, I love Final Fantasy VIII myself, despite its few flaws. I personally love the junctioning system, and the musical score is one of the best of the series. Add some ridiculously beautiful FMVs and some killer dramatic moments, and you've got yourself one heck of a game.



8 days a week...


How do you find the time to play games? Most of us spend 40 hrs per week working, 10 hrs driving to and from work, and 56 hours sleeping leaving a scant 62 hours!

Thanks,
Flamethrower

Matt

I wish I knew! I inevitably spend at least a part-time-job's worth of time putting these columns here together every week, and I have a grad-level course with lectures and homework that I try to stay on top of. Add that to the fact that I'm heavily involved in the Math + Stats club at the university, and that I have to work 10 hours per week as a graduate TA, and it might seem that I don't have a lot of time to spare!!

However, I've found that all of my busy flying-about tends to land between Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, so despite everything, I usually end up with a pretty free Thursday-Sunday period. That's when I've done most of my game-playing as of late, and that's where I did fifteen hours of Dragon Quest VIII playing this past week. As I've said before, too, sleep is for the weak!

*collapses*



Time for some fear-quelling...


Hi,

As an answer to Angus Creighton's fear for PS3 I will suggest to read the following article from megagames http://www.megagames.com/news/html/console/ps32ndhandandrentalsfriendly.shtml

In the article Jennie Kong, UK PR Manager at SCEE says: I would like to clarify that this is false speculation and that PlayStation 3 software will not be copy protected to a single machine but will be playable on any PlayStation 3 console.

With regards,

Loukas "Mazerius1st" Vasilas

Matt

Well, thank goodness, because what was suggested was absolutely crazy... Sony would be totally shooting themselves in the metaphorical foot if they implemented protectionary measures such as those. So there ya go, Angus! We'll all sleep 3% better tonight, I suppose.





C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

So I get to try ONE more time with the stupid dentist: I have an appointment in the morning at 11:10 a.m., whereupon I shall receive a thorough teeth-cleaning. I'm looking forward to it... it's been over a year since my last visit, and tooth decay is among the last items on my list of things that I would like to experience.

Soooo, yeah, now that you're all up to speed on my dental state, why don't we exercise your mental state by playing with my sock?

Flashay!


This will probably be the week, folks; the week where someone will surpass the great 500 threshold, and very probably, more than just one person. If you're that person, never fear... I'll contact you backwards through e-mail to discuss whether you wanna co-host with li'l old me, and then talk about what you want to do and when! Exciting, no? What's even more exciting is how close the competition is: DDX and Ourobolus have crept up upon Jbumi in recent days, so number ONE is still up in the air. Stay tuned!

Now for the solutions from last time:

Question #51 was a bit tricky, because as most of you pointed out, there exist both a Lab 16 AND a Lab 32. The correct one, though, is Lab 32, and since the FIFTH power of two is 32, the correct answer was e), for 15 points.

#52 was a little more obscure yet, but it stirred up some good memories for some of you. The question doesn't even make sense unless you've actually played the game, but in Space Quest IV, you begin the game in Space Quest XII, and proceed to travel to different games in the series, including the original (a land filled with CGA graphics!) The right answer was b), for 25 points.

Today's offerings:

Question #53: (20 points) Follow me!--> In Chrono Trigger, in the AD 2300 time era, there are several robots that you come across. What is the difference in Robo's serial number and the others?

a) The others all contain two letters at the start instead of just one.
b) The others all contain three numbers instead of two.
c) The others have the hyphen placed after the first digit, instead of the third.
d) The others have two hyphens.
e) The others end in an X instead of a Y.

Question #54: (20 points) A famous portrait of Albert Einstein was taken with his tongue sticking out. When was this taken?

a) On his 66th birthday, after an event in his honour.
b) On his 72nd birthday, after an event in his honour.
c) While in a limousine on the way to a private function in 1947.
d) While in a limousine on the way to a private function in 1950.
e) During a press conference, shortly after revealing one of his greatest theorems.

Remember! QNA mail continues until further notice, so if you want to send in your best guesses, send here.

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

200 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!)
2000 points: Guest-co-host Opportunity #2 (5 remaining!)



That's all for now! For next time, I've got a couple of letters lined up already, if you could imagine such a thing. If you can't think of anything else to write in with, let me know if you've picked up any of the new games this week: Dragon Quest VIII, Magna Carta, or Wild ARMs: Alter Code F. I suppose if any of you bought those new PSP RPGs, you could talk about those, too. Of course, I'm open to any questions you might have about anything, so don't feel restricted! Ask, ask, ask... and I'll answer, answer, answer.

I bid you a fond farewell.

wonderslime@rpgamer.com
***Matt is bracing for the final boss of the semester: Neo-PDEs-ex!


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Such a funny quote...Lucca, from Chrono Trigger: "Liar! I was a perfect lady last night!"

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Matt's Top 3 Current Games:

1. Dragon Quest VIII

2. Makai Kingdom

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Cookie o' the Week:

Mattie's False Delight Cookies

Ah, a recipe full of delicious almosts and not-quites, great for someone who "sort of" has a palate. Give these to guests that you don't really like, and maybe they won't overstay their welcome for just as long. Final Fantasy XI and X-2 fans might like these as well.

-1 1/2 cups white flour
-1 cup oil
-1 cup Splenda
-3 portions egg substitute
-1 tsp imitation vanilla extract

Combine the wet ingredients, then add the flour and stir until doughy! Bake in an Easy-Bake Oven until they look like cookies. Try to just about enjoy them!

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5. Arros Raikou
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6. Bainick
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