November 22, 2005
Matt Demers - 23:33 EST
LIFE IS FULL of little surprises, reportedly, and just once, I'd like for some of
the good kind to happen to me, because I don't get surprised much at all, to be frank. I'd just love it, though, if a
random cloudburst of money just happened to appear above my head one day on the way to school, you know? Or a genie...a
genie would be splendid as well. Anyone got some old lamps to sell to a crazy lunatic like me? I want things in my
Speaking of which, I'm getting bitterer and bitterer in my old age also. Today I was walking down the halls of the MacNaughton building
on the University of Guelph campus, and there were a group of girls in the hallway laughing. They weren't laughing in
an especially annoying way, but they just kept giggling about something or another. For some reason, I was immediately
filled with an extreme feeling of annoyance... like I just wanted to grab random squids and stuff them in their giggly mouths
to shut them up. NO ONE ELSE IS ALLOWED TO HAVE A GOOD DAY IF I CAN'T! This kind of ideology is exactly the reason
that Kuja is my greatest idol.
On that happy note, we begin another day. Enjoy!
Dragon Quest Not-So-Great?
You've probably had plenty of answers to this already, but I figured I'd
join in the horde and throw in my two cents. There is an old man in one of
the towns in 600 AD who is a horny bastard and would love to get his hands
on some pictures of serpentine beauties. I believe he's in the town just
south of the bridge, just outside of Guardia's Kingdom. I think he throws
you a Power Tab or Speed Tab or something of the sort in return. I just
played through the game last April, on the tried and true SNES.
Too many people don't realize what they're missing when they play Playstation (or other console) remakes of SNES
classics. Loading times are terrible, and tragically, musical scores are mutilated.
Anyway, you're absolutely right! At least five of you wrote in about this too, so all of yas give yourselves
a pat on the back. I never found this guy, by the way.
Anyway, as for a question, I've been checking out Magna Carta in stores and
online recently and though it looks beautiful, any idea at how fun it is? I
mean, it is North America's first glimpse at a Korean-made game so it must
have something going for it, but I was wondering if you knew anything about
You know, I had had it in my mind for awhile that it was a tactical RPG, and I'm not sure why. Nay, it appears
to be a game with gorgeous graphics and an interestingly interactive battle system that appears, from pictures,
to be fast-paced. I don't really know that much about it though... people haven't been chatting about it much,
except that it's pretty. Maybe I'll be able to tell you more in a month or two.
It's getting either that or Dragon Quest VIII for me, though the demo
didn't impress me much. I understand the appeal for a "classic" battle
system, but turn-based cambat doesn't get my heart going anymore after
playing through Star Ocean 3. I admit, the voice acting was great and the
character animations and characterization were awesome but silent heroes and
rehashed gameplay just don't do it for me anymore. Maybe I'm just cynical?
Even still, I'll probably still give it a rent.
Have a good one.
It'd have to be a long rent, since it appears that the game would last you a good 80+ hours. Let's face it... while
98% of everyone I've talked to has absolutely loved the game, it's not going to be for everyone! Turn-based combat
and typical RPG storylines just won't turn everybody's crank, so don't feel like you're committing some grievous sin
by saying that the game doesn't interest you. I'll say, though, that actually getting to explore the world outside the
confines of the demo disc really opened my eyes to how incredible the game really is.
Also, Star Ocean 3 would have had a fantastically fun battle system if your allies decided to act at all rationally
from time to time. It was a bit of a button-masher, though, and that's where I like it less than a game like DQVIII
requiring a little more calculated thought or effort. To each, their own, as they say (the mysterious 'they' show
up again!! Creepy...)
Hi there Matt,
Answers to the Sock contest first. For question 53 the answer is option c and for question 54 it would be b.
I have never played a Dragon Quest game before and I'm considering playing Dragon Quest VIII. I have played the Demo and
found it interesting. Nice graphics and voices. I did not like the high rate for random encounters though. Now for
Is this high rate normal for Dragon Quest games? Is it lower in the final release?
Can you name some elements that make a Dragon Quest game? (consider Chocobos for Final Fantasies and their epic stories)
Does Eight ever speak? Does he have the same syndrome Crono had?
The final release has, as far as I can see, the same encounter rate as the demo. There are ways to get around it,
though: Holy Water is quite effective, I've found, at keeping weaker monsters at bay. If you don't have any of that,
then there are TWO ways to end battle instantly: Running or "Intimidating", an interesting new addition to the game.
The encounter rate is pretty much on par with the rest of the series, and to me, it feels "about right". However, in the
incredibly-long Dragon Warrior VII, the encounter rate was so ridiculously LOW that I was able to make it through the
entire final area many times without getting into a single battle at all. To me, that's not good.
The thing is, the battles tend to go by really quickly in the first place, and there may be some situations where levelling
up might be helpful. The game isn't an easy one, and chances are that you're not going to be able to breeze through from
start to end without hitting a snag along the way. This is part of the Dragon Quest package, and the challenge/character-building
is something that a lot of people, including myself, love. It's an "acquired" taste, for sure, but the game doesn't work
right without a moderate encounter rate (one that is, indeed, QUITE "moderate", too... have you ever played Final Fantasy
IX or X? If you enjoyed them to bits, I don't want to hear you complain about random battle frequencies!)
Elements of Dragon Quest? I'd say that first and foremost, the monsters are a big part, with emphasis on the eternal
SLIMES. The little raindrop-shaped monsters with big googly grins have been around since the very first game of the series,
but several other monsters also make a return. Drackys, scorpions, and skeletons all hail from the 1986 edition, and
all of them look great in their new animated forms. The spells, items, and sound effects are also repeated from
game to game, though several names have been changed in this translation for the first time (making many hardcore
fans very disgruntled indeed).
Finally, the idea is supposed to be that you, the player, are the Hero character, so naturally, he never speaks
in-game. Yeah, it's a little bit of cheese, but I guess it helps to underline the "RP" part of the RPG genre. I guess,
if you wanted to put in a word or two during conversations with your allies, you'd be more than welcome to; just don't
expect much response.
Hope your trip to the dentist went well. Other than the dude in Little Shop of Horrors, I can't think of anyone who
likes going to the dentist.
You'd be surprised. When she was cleaning my teeth with her little pick, I couldn't believe how good it felt when
she was running over my gums at the very back of my mouth; they really must not get a lot of attention. I've never known
that a gum massage could be pleasant. ANYWAY...
Played the FFXII demo. I was underwhelmed. As I've mentioned, I'm not big on action-RPGs. Until at least XIII,
FFX will remain my last FF purchase. I FINALLY got to start DQVIII (Saturday got shot with the movie - 2 hours
each way to the theater & the movie itself was almost 3 hours long. I would have to say that with only a few hours
in, I'm already extremely impressed. Forget that it's beautiful, forget that it's turn based fun - love the batlle
animations, forget all the cool monsters, forget the really great voice acting (I love British accents - that's why
I found it ironic that the Brits don't have a release date for the game there yet),forget the wonderful music,
forget that it's funny & quirky (I got to control Munchie)
Urmm... don't forget everything!! I think Gingko Biloba is supposed to be good for that... or Ginseng. Maybe one
of those is supposed to be good for your sex drive. I can't remember. Dammit!! I guess I need some myself...
Sorry to interrupt. ^_^
- it's all of those things, but what really makes it
the little things. In WA3, I often went nuts because if I didn't walk away from walls with a crate when I smashed
it, the item would likely get stuck in the wall (& it would taunt you - you could see it, but not get it). This is
not a problem in DQVIII. You've played AI too so I know you're familiar with freezing problems - DQVIII is smooth
as silk. I like that my new shields & weapons show on the screen (don't know why more games don't do that). I love
the ability to talk to my teammates. I know I'm only a few hours in, but I get the feeling that this may be the best
game I've ever played. Because you can tell that a lot of care & attention went into it. It flows across the screen
(as opposed to jiggety-jag). This proves that games can be made without all the annoying flaws - my hat's off to
Indeed, they've made a masterpiece. Graphically, you're right: Seeing branches swaying under a light breeze; taking
actual books off of bookshelves when you go to read something; watching the twilight slowly setting in during a scenic
hike to the next town (and being able to watch the sun set!)... it's ALL of these little things that polish the game
off and set it apart. The amazing music just takes what's already gorgeous and gives it some oomph.
Ok, I'm done gushing. On to SOCK (it's alright if I'm not numero uno, so long as I manage to stay in the top 5
so I get can to co-host with you)! 53 - ooh, it has been a long time since I played CT - I'm going to take a stab
in the dark (ala Black Mage) & say "e". 54 is "b".
Yes, you've been overtaken, I'm afraid!! You can still pat yourself on the back knowing that you've been first for
the longest period of time total, though.
The Evil Santa (this person asks me every year to write down a game for Christmas & then never comes through) asked
me again. I opted for WA:Alter Code F. I know you're going to get it, & you're currently a Wavirgin; so I was
wondering - if you enjoy it, will it make you curious to try out the original to see how it was changed? I know
I'm like that with movies - if I see & enjoy a remake then I like to hunt down the original.
Don't fret about your final - my glass, now, crystal ball says you'll do fine (yes, Burtless is Swahili for
Kalderasha). Have a super evening/tomorrow.
Absolutely!! I'm hoping that I do have a good enough experience with it that that does, indeed, occur.
Things like this have happened before: I never would have played the original Zelda if it weren't for Link to the Past.
I never would have played the original Final Fantasy if it weren't for Final Fantasy IV. I never would have picked up
Xenogears if I hadn't played Xenosaga: Episode I.
I'd love to see first-hand what changes they made for the sake of the remake, and then judge for myself which
of the two I enjoy better. It's all a waiting game, now!
Eyeballs... eyeballs falling out of my head~~
The only game I've ever beat in one sitting is Secret of Mana. Took 17 hours. Have you ever done that?
Specifically Secret of Mana? Heavens, no, though I distinctly remember taking a LOT longer than that both times
that I beat the game... and what a good game it is!! I'm really looking forward to the next installment, and I only
hope that it DOES feel as similar to Secret of Mana as they claim to be aiming to make it. Bleah, that's a mouthful.
You know, I don't know if I've ever beaten an RPG in a single sitting, ever. Ever! You've puzzled me... but in
all of my years, I don't think it's happened a single time. Damn... now I'm going to be thinking about this for the
rest of the night. I don't usually like to play in big blocks of time, because I start feeling panicky about not
moving and being completely unproductive. I generally have several other things I COULD be doing whenever I'm
playing RPGs, but don't we all?? Isn't that the one thing we all share in common? We all like to waste our time in
the exact same way, and that makes us a big family!
This is why I'm not in marketing
As for all the RPGs coming out in November, I went with Wild ARMs Alter
Code: F, given that Agetec is a relatively small company, and its games
could quickly go out of print; I'll probably get DQ8 for Christmas, and I'll
probably pass on Magna Carta. Why *do* companies let their games go out of
print like they do? Do they not care about losing money to used games bins
Jeremy, the Duke of Otterland
It's a difficult call for a lot of companies, really. I'm not entirely familiar with how the process works,
exactly, but a small game company can't afford to release more copies of a game than it's likely going to sell,
because they might have to purchase shelf space, depending on the store, and/or deal with extra shipping costs if
unsold copies need to be returned to the company.
In the end, it's probably just risky practice for small companies to keep producing games that may or may not be
successful! Beyond that, your guess is as good as my own!
A pre-recorded live-action real-life game-opening
I bought Magna Carta on Saturday, along with Dragon Quest VIII but I have
yet to try either because of the onslaught of final papers and tests in the
next couple weeks before the Christmas Break. I can see their boxes teasing
me... I don't even want to open Magna Carta for fear of being seduced into
Ugh, I hear you there, loud and clear. Why must they choose to release the best games right when we have the LEAST time
to play them? If they had just picked July 15th instead of November 15th, I'd have had alllll the time in the world.
But you know, as I sit here writing this, how about we open up the packaging
together? Shall we? Here we go. Wow... the art book is beautiful... with
only a quick flip of the book, there are plenty of gorgeous character shots
with renditions in both consept art and CG modeling. It looks like it
details almost every major character in the game. The second half is a
strategy guide that looks like it details some of the introductory sequences
in the game and possibly even more.
Bad! Bad Derek!! RPGamer is a bad influence on you!! You have to study!
Random sidenote: Don't you all just HATE it when you go to open up the game you've looked forward to SOOO much, only to
have incredible difficulties getting past the shrinkwrap, stickers, and tags? It's even worse with controllers...SO
irritating. Anyway, I'm being really rude today, with my interrupting ways; you may go on.
It also comes with a full-size double-sided poster featuring the main hero
and heroine in the game. It's pretty awesome and I'm probably going to put
it up after this email. The game itself comes in a box with different art on
it than the cardboard box-set packaging - it's also double-sided, featuring
more of the characters on the back. Is everyone a girl in this game?
The game also comes with an instruction booklet featuring yet more art
(albeit smaller versions of the art book samples) and some idea of how to
play the game...
How am I not going to play this game now... damn essays...
Oooh... it sounds fancy! I want a poster! The barren walls in my room are pretty damn lonely, after all. Keep your
chin up, though, and think of how close Christmas break is getting! Think of how many free hours (I hope) you'll
have then! Keep your eyes on the prize, and remember just how great it will feel to submit your very last paper of the
year... only to make extra work for a marking-TA like *ME*.
The SHIN-RA of video gaming?
Sony has proven to be a pretty dirty, evil and corrupt corporation. First they get caught making fake reviews from
fake movie critics for their crappy movies, then they get caught paying off millions of dollars to radio stations to
push their crappy music. Yes, that is why you heard Avril Levine and Coldplay all the freaking time on the radio.
Next, they get caught putting malicious spyware on all of their cds that install without any knowledge of the purchaser.
Then, only after recieving much negative press, they release a patch for the malicious software. The only thing is this
removal software is nothing but spyware itself.
My question is how can we trust them not to pull this with the PS3? There is no question that the PS3 will have a lot
of stuff online. I guarantee you they will be pulling info off of your PS3's and using it or selling it to other
companies who will then bombard you with ads for crap you don't want.
Texas is suing Sony for their actions. A story about it can be found
Zowie! Such concentrated anti-Sonyness is something I haven't seen in a long time. I, too, question the quality of
many of their video-game products, as I've talked about in the past. Unfortunately, I'm an RPG fan, and because of that,
I can't simply refuse to buy a console that my favourite series is destined to be designed for, as much as I wish I could.
It's all about the library, but hopefully some people wake up and realize that when you sell crap, your company's name
begins to smell a little like a toilet.
Hopefully other states and consumers will join up and put them back in their place. I love my PS2 but I refuse to buy
another Sony product until they have been humbled a little. Hell, who doesn't know atleast a half of dozen people with
faulty PS or PS2 stories? Their policy for over a decade has been to release crap whether than quality test it.
It's much cheaper in the long run for them to have to exchange a small portion of their faulty equipment later
on than it is for them to release things right the first time.
I guess, I'm rooting for Microsoft or Nintendo in the new generation. Sony, the way Nintendo had before, let
their power get to their heads..
Thanks for your heartfelt response. There's a lot of rage out there these days towards many different consoles... I've
had letters ripping apart Microsoft's consoles, as we saw yesterday, and Sony's offerings are always under the gun in this
little column. Top it off with a hefty dose of Nintendo-Revolution-suspiciousness, and the future is a pretty scary place
to look. I suggest that we should just go play all of our new games and forget about it for a few months. Ignorance
is bliss, after all, isn't it?
It looks like Andrew's weekend sickness might just be serious enough to keep him away for awhile longer,
unfortunately. He could be back to do this weekend's columns, but there is the possibility that he won't be!
I promise I haven't done anything underhanded, but in the case he's not around, never fear... there will still be
Q&A this coming weekend, even if I have to step up to the plate!
I can't believe how well you guys did yesterday... it pisses me off. Sure, I tripped up some of you, but nooooo,
you're just too bright for your own good. Well, you asked for it!
Anyway, first the ANSWERS, and then the QUESTIONS:
#53 was supposed to be hard, but more than half of you got the right answer. Robo's serial number is R66-Y, but his
"brother" robots are all numbered R-67Y, R-68Y, etc. THUS, the right answer was c) The others have the hyphen
placed after the first digit, instead of the third, for 20 points.
#54 was worth 20 points, and it wasn't terribly difficult if you went for a quick Googling. The right answer was
b) On his 72nd birthday, after an event in his honour.
Today's offerings (things aren't going to get any easier until you guys start slipping up!):
Follow me!--> Consider the following screenshot from Chrono Trigger:
Which area in the AD 2300 era does it depict? (25 points)
a) Trann Dome
b) Arris Dome
c) Proto Dome
d) Sewer Access
Question #56: (20 points)
If you add the number of the city bus I regularly take to my current age, and subtract the total number of columns
I've written as an official RPGamer staff member, what is the result?Things to work for (the SOCK item shop!):
Remember! QNA mail continues until further notice, so if you want to send in your best
guesses, send here.
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!)
SO. The first of you have surpassed the barrier. The world will come tumbling down!! Stay tuned... you might
see a brand new Q&A host steal the scene one day quite soon!
I'd really like to hear from some people who are really excited about the next generation consoles. Sure, they've
come a TAD early... Microsoft's XBox is only four years old, to be sure. However, with every new generation comes a
new set of opportunities. Annoyances aside, what are you looking forward to MOST? And... how much further can things
go? What are next generation systems going to be like in 2009/2010? I bet we'll be having a similar conversation then,
too, if I'm lucky enough to be kickin' around still.
***Matt is currently draped in his comforter.
Swiss cheese is only good on sandwiches or in casseroles! NEVAH eat it by itself.
Nov. 21 - Matt
Nov. 19 - Zack
Nov. 18 - Cast
Nov. 17 - Matt
About the Host
Matt's Newest Unhealthy Addiction
Another Unhealthy Addiction
Matt's Top 3 Current Games:
1. Dragon Quest VIII
2. Makai Kingdom
3. Warioware: Twisted!
Matt's Top 3 RPG Desires:
1. Final Fantasy III
2. Mario & Luigi: PiT
3. Wild ARMs: Alter Code F
A PC Game for Christmas?
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!
6. Arros Raikou