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Poinsettia Pie December 21, 2005

Matt Demers - 03:11 EST

THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT being at home that makes me about twelve times lazier than usual. Correction: It FEELS lazier than usual. Today, I actually had an incredibly busy day in preparation for the Demers household's Christmas, to be held on Sunday. All of my shopping is done, most of my gifts are wrapped, and I even baked some muffins (banana chocolate chip) this afternoon for Christmas morning. The holiday spirit is a-surgin' here! Hopefully, for those of you that are celebrating holidays of your own out there, wherever you are, your spirit is strong as well.

I'm pretty sure the holiday spirit has come at the price of about five extra pounds to this point. Unfortunately, there's also something about holidays and home that causes me to eat about three times as much as usual, each and every day. Oh well, gyms have to make their money somehow.




L E T T E R S
O capitalism, how we love and hate thee simultaneously


Does the Rpgamer QnA column have any pressure to "get ratings?" You know, so you can sell ads and such?

Matt

I had to blood-sign a contract before I started here, you see, and it stated that if my hit-counts fell to less than 50% of what they were prior to my arrival, that dire consequences could ensue. Fines, imprisonment, the murder of random baby seals are examples; the penalties get more and more dire the more I offend. I probably shouldn't talk about it...

When I shell out $50 for a game, how much of the cash goes to the developer, publisher, hardware owner, and retail markups? I understand these numbers will be different for different games, I am just looking for a typical scenario, if there is such a thing.

Thanks,
Flamethrower

Matt

Great question! I'd really like to have a better answer for you... but while I have absolutely no first-hand knowledge myself, I'm almost sure that the retailers are not the ones with the biggest cut of the profits. I'd guess that producers and developers make more money, and I'd hypothesize that based solely on the fact that EB Games hypes their pre-owned games and other offers so incredibly much. If retailers made such a big chunk of change off of every game sold, why would they scrounge for alternative methods of profit-generation? Anyway, I could be completely wrong, but that's my best stab at it.



Syrup Ball Z


Hi there Wonderslime,

On the subject of save-file corruption/loss this has happened to me a few times, first was the copy of the original Zelda I had which was notorious for losing each and every savefil if you even looked at the game funny, which is why it was years later when I was finally able to finish the game ^^;; another time was with FF9, I'd heard that the final boss was terorfyingly hard so, I packed in about 30-40 hours into running arround that one area with those funky cats and green dragons, gaining every ability and geting my party to 99, sometime during that extended period the power went out while I was saving during the don't remove memory cards or insert controller blah blah speel, when the power came back on I tried to load up my save only to be told it was corrupted >.< thankfully I had a save made a few hours prior that I continued from but man did that tick me off

Matt

Gotta love those delicious "battery back-ups" in NES cartridges... holding in the Reset button was really one of the little pleasures in life, I'm sure you'd agree. As for your corruption, three or four wasted hours of my life might be just enough to piss me off to the point where I might not be able to go back to the game for a week or two. I'm normally a patient person, but BOY do I hate losing precious time invested into gaming for nought.

On a related note, this is actually the very reason why unlike what MANY people say, Dragon Quest has a very forgiving save system. Yes, it's true that you can only save at churches in towns or on the countryside. The fact is, though, that if you are ever wiped out, you never lose any of the treasure you've accumulated, and you retain all of your experience and levels that you worked hard to obtain. It comes at the price of half your un-banked gold, but if you're silly enough to not use the bank, you deserve it.

*this has been reason #29623 that Dragon Quest VIII rocks*

The definitive Cid for me is Cid from FF7 since he took my Cid virginity I suppose, my least favorite Cid is Cid from FF6... he didn't really feel like Cid to me and more over I hated that fish catching game, and even though Celes is always sad when he dies during that part I always laugh like a maniac because my poor fishmanship lead to the death of a Cid bwahahaha

Matt

Yeah, he was annoying to keep alive. I've only cared enough on two of my historic playthroughs to do so, but I remember feeling joy when he got up for the first time.

I agree though that for whatever reason, that Cid is not as Cidlike as some others. Final Fantasy VII's Cid would have been my first-runner-up, too, followed by... ugh, I don't know. Headmaster Cid? Nah... The original Final Fantasy III's? OH YES; there was a Cid in Final Fantasy III as well, for those of you who are out of the loop. Whee, I can't wait for that game!

And as far as Draghon Quest is concerned I'm having a few issues with it, one the expansive world isn't mapped so somehow I've twice stumbled onto areas I wasn't supposed to be at and two the encounter rate is way way way too low for my tastes, it seems that the love child between Aunt Jemima and Goku as I've dubbed him runs arround for hours before getting in a fight, sure I could just use Yangus's whistle but opening the menu and clicking arround between ever fight is just as bad as running arround randomly, which brings me to my question

Is there some item or spell that increases encounters for a certain period of time?

*wishes Yangus' whistle worked like the microphone and the kramer's doll from Wild ARMs -.-;;*

Arros Raikou

Matt

Okay... this is a unique complaint. I'm sorry to break it to you, but I think that whistling is about the best you're going to do if you're looking for something to fight quickly. Most people complain about the opposite, and while I'd say that Dragon Warrior VII's encounter rate was far too low, I think it's about right (or maybe even a bit on the high side) in VIII. My suggestion? Man, I dunno. Suck it up, I guess! Sorry I can't do ya better on that one.

Your Aunt Jemima/Goku hybrid, though, is spectacular... I'm awarding you a nice gold star for that one! Thanks for writing in!!



Specially selected topics for your viewing pleasure


Hey Matt

I've been meaning to write in for a while now. While I was initially shocked at Googles departure from Q&A (having read his columns on and off since about 1999), I am now used to the idea that he is no longer around, and I must say you are doing a fantabulousistic job of replacing him.. There was a brief period when I really stopped reading Q&A altogether but now it has become part of my daily schedule once again.

Matt

Hey, I have some big shoes to fill! I just do my best, even if "best" includes random silly competitions and shameless plugging of certain recent gaming phenomena.

Anyway, enough flattery, time to wibble on about various subjects:

First of all I'd like to lament the loss of Working Designs and share a few memories of their games. My first experience of their work was Alundra, a very nice little action RPG in the style of Zelda with some pretty tough puzzles. Am I right in thinking this game was actually developed by WD themselves, rather than being a localization job?

Matt

Hmmm... but I believe the answer is no. From what I can discern, the developer for Alundra was Climax Entertainment, a smallish Japanese outfit; that game was probably one of their bigger achievements.

Then years later I heard about the Arc the Lad Collection. I devoured all the info I could find about the box set, before finally deciding to import the game(s) from Canada. As I live in the UK, it takes about 7 days for an import game to arrive and so anticipation levels were going through the roof by the time it finally arrived. Do you find that sometimes looking forward to a game's arrival is almost as fun as playing the game itself? Maybe I'm just silly like that. Anyway, I played through all of the games and loved every minute. Despite being "Tactics" style games, the battles are extremely fast-paced and easy to get to grips with. For some reason I enjoyed Arc 3 the most, despite it being most peoples least favourite.

Matt

It's not "silly" to anticipate a game in advance, for the same reason that it's not silly to feel excited or happy on the week of your birthday. For me, I used to get SO excited for Christmas day that I wouldn't be able to sleep for two days in advance, and then I'd crash and burn on the actual occasion, completely out of HP, if you will. I digress, of course.

I guess I'm truly inexperienced with Working Designs. I haven't played Arc the Lad EITHER (I've mentioned before that my life has been Lunar-free also), but it's not really a game that people even talk about much at all, like the black sheep or dysfunctional/imprisoned unmentionable-second-cousin of RPGs. Why? Why is this? Did I miss something? I guess this might be one of life's great mysteries...

I then decided to look up Working Designs on the Internet and discovered they were responsible for all sorts of eclectic gems. The Lunar series was next as they were fairly easy to obtain (unlike some of the companies Saturn offerings). While the stories in the Lunar games are nothing spectacular, it's the characterisation that sets it apart from other games, that and it's sense of fun.

Matt

Lunar has quite a strong little following for a not-in-the-spotlight game, and few people have anything negative to say about the original games in the series; these two things might be pretty good indicators of the quality of the early games. Of course, for some reason, things apparently went to hell in a metaphorical handbasket, but hey... I guess you have to take the good with the bad.

Discussing Lunar reminds me so much of my own experience with the Lufia series. The first and second are really great games, I think, but beyond Lufia II, things really went downhill for some reason. The storylines weren't incredible in any of the Lufia games, but the characters were wonderful. The comparison to me between the two series in my mind is remarkable, whether it's justified or not.

That brings me to my next topic, PSP RPG's. I believe it was last week that you said that the PSP didn't really have much to offer in the way of RPG's, and those that are available for it aren't all that great. I have to say I disagree. I currently own both Legend of Heroes and PoPoLoCrois and I have to say that I am having great fun playing my way through them. After the huge disappointment of Lunar: Dragon Song, I was surprised to find that Legend of Heroes is similar to the classic Lunars in more ways than one. For starters, the battle system is very similar, being fairly traditional, but with distance playing a part. If you're to far away from the enemy when you choose to attack them, you will stop before hitting them. Also, while the plot is hardly earth-shattering, the characters more than make up for this. The life-long friendship that main characters Avin and Mile share is very believable and quite touching at times. In the new year Tales of Eternia is supposedly being released as well, and in Europe first! So, the PSP might not have buckets of RPG's for it (yet), but those that are out are worth investigating

Matt

Mmhmm... I've mentioned it a couple of times. To be fair, as well, the DS isn't exactly swimming in RPGs either right now; up until a few weeks ago, we had what: Lunar: DS, and that Lost in Blue thing (that didn't really look like a "real" RPG at all)?

You're honestly the first person I've heard to communicate this to me! I've heard a few different stories from disappointed RPGaming PSP owners, so maybe your opinion will help to open the minds of some people out there. To me, there still isn't a comparison-- the DS is still a more attractive system, at least in this point in time. A new Tales game, though (!!), and the possibilities of future offerings (like a possible NIS game... ohhh Makai stuff, how I love <3) could make the PSP a much sexier machine over time, so to speak.

Thanks for the letter! Your tribute will be appreciated by at least 612 people, guaranteed*.

*not really guaranteed at all



Sad and Sighful Save-Loss Stories


Hi Matt!

I've never had save data become corrupted or anything like that, something I'm quite grateful for. My memory cards are among my most precious posessions, they act as sort of a scrapbook for me. I never delete any of my save data for a game unless I am replaying that game; in which case I keep my original save on the card also until my new one 'surpasses' it. I'm sure it sounds pointless, but I still have files on there for games I don't have anymore. Anybody you know need any Beyond the Beyond data? =P Do you do anything like this? Keep files on your memory card just for pride's sake? If so, are there any that you're particularly proud of? One of my favorites is my Suikoden 3 file, which has 108 star data from both that game and the previous 2.

Sounds like you're having a great holiday break so far, even handling the DQ8 withdrawal! I hope you have a good christmas!

Jeremy

PS- FFIV Cid all the way!

Matt

Thankye for the story, Jeremy. I used to have a similar old-file-keeping policy on my SNES RPGs, but I haven't done enough replaying with newer games to justify a system of deleting/retaining. Also, I have a curious habit of misplacing my memory cards... oh, how I miss cartridges. Well, except for their prices, that is.

And, of course! My vote is, as I said yesterday, for Final Fantasy IV's Cid, with bonus points for the crazy goggles, and even MORE bonus points for the delightful "KHUB-KHUB" sound effect that occurs with his hammers.



Warning: Nephew alert!


Matt,

Oh man. You just hit the mother of all questions for me. What horrible save file losses have I endured? Listen to this one. I let my nephew borrow my memory card for my Playstation so he could save his game (he hadn't gotten a card yet). On the card there was a save from Final Fantasy 7 with everyone at 99, a Suikoden file with 20 characters at their high 70s, my Persona 2 file at the end boss, and I think my Breath of Fire 3 file where I was getting all the extra stuff before the end boss. I go over there to retrive my card, and my sister-in-law walks up to me and says "Oh Jared (my nephew) spilled his drink on his Playstation. I hope that it didn't hurt your card." Yeah. It was Kool-Aid. And he took the card out and laid it on his carpeted, crumb-laden bedroom floor and forgot that he had put it there. The Kool-Aid had dried up and was covering the connectors in a film of sugary, linty, junk food nastiness. Needless to say, they replaced my card. Upon getting the new card, I looked at my darling nephew and asked "Now...who's gonna replace my time?" He's never asked to borrow anything of mine again.

Matt

Omigosh!! THE DREADED EXTENDED-FAMILY YOUTH strikes again! Yes... it's always a terrible idea to lend anything to nephews, younger cousins, toddlers, or anyone really except for your close friends. I totally forgot about that whole element, so I MUST talk about it.

My brother, Chris, really loved Diddy Kong Racing for the N64. We worked on getting through it together, but he took it upon himself to work on opening all of the special tracks, bonus features, extra characters, secret codes, and free hot dogs he could find. He put a lot of effort into it, too.

Then came my six-year-old cousin and his younger brother (also a cousin... imagine that!) This dangerous duo used to come to our house for no other reason but to spend hours in front of our current gaming systems (now, four years later, he's fully addicted to his own). We tried to supervise them... we really did. Somehow, though, within a five-minute window of time, they managed to push just the right combination of buttons to fully erase all of my brother's hard-earned data in a flash. Don't ask me how... we just walked back into the room, and everything was GONE, like that. It seemed almost impossible; needless to say, my brother was not impressed! Anyway, I thought I'd share.

Definative Cid? Come on, Matt. Can you not tell just by having talked with me before who I'm gonna pick? Cid from FF IV, man! He hits stuff with a hammer!! And he's got the bushy "I sit on my porch and drink burbon all day so I don't worry about shaving" beard! He's the best. I now have Kingdom of Paradise, Legend of Heroes, and FF IV Advance, the latter of which I'm already level 76 on. Merry Christmas, oh Slime of Wonderment. I hope you get everything you ask for.

~The spoony bard with the shiny new harp,
Donovan

Matt

Hahah! Three votes for FFIV! Now I have his delightful theme music running through my head, and it's almost making me want to replay the game yet again (gasp! Just in time for the GBA re-release!)





C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

Well, Andrew's still in the dungeon, and he's still alive. I've decided not to let him out until 2006, though, so you'll see a lot more of *gasp* me in the meantime. Remember way back when, in September and October, when I said that my ultimate plans were working?? Well, if this isn't PROOF of my great strides forward since then, I don't know what else is. My Q&A wrath is building! The tension is mounting! And soon... nothing will be able to stop me. NOTHING!!!

Ahahahahahahahahahaa!!!!

*insert lightning effect*

In reality, Andrew's been going through a move in recent weeks, and has consequently found it very difficult to access the Internet much at all. In any case, he sends you all his holiday wishes and enough delightful sarcasm to make a camel die of thirst. What does that even mean? I'm not really sure...it's after 3:00 am by this point, after all, so I'm likely making less sense than usual. Anyhow, he'll certainly be back in the new year, so rest assured that it won't be that long before you see the familiar words "ASK ANDREW" back at the top of the page every now and then.

That's it from me! Until next time, I bid you a fond farewell.

wonderslime@rpgamer.com
***Matt is suddenly feeling strangely sinister


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I was less than $250 away from the retail prices of BOTH of the showcases in the guesstimates I made this morning while watching The Price is Right for the first time in months!! I was SOOO excited!

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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

SOCK standings:

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7. Xlash
470 pts

8. Arros Raikou
458 pts

9. ~Sean~~
422 pts

10. Jeremy
400 pts

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