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ASK MATT
Strange Attractors
October 24, 2006

DMJewelle - "25:13" (yes, it's late) EST

BECAUSE Q&A ALWAYS NEEDS Asian female gamers to make it all better!

Hi, you may have seen me in sporadic letters sent to Google or my name in the SOCK scoreboard. I'm from the country slightly above Singapore, where the games are abundant and time is short. My dad and I play a ton of PSX and PS2 RPGs, I work as a lab technician, I also like anime, manga, and a bit of cosplaying, so apparently I just need to be Japanese to be everyone's dream girl. Or actually enjoy science-fiction, one or the other.

It's been one of my personal goals to get a co-hosting spot - now I've gotten it and offended the entire gaming population, I'll be darned if I don't keep on going! Grab a comfy chair, you're not leaving till I'm done!




LETTERS
Sphere Grids 'n' Such


Hi! First time writer, long time reader (not of your Q&A, but of the english language in general)


DMJewelle

Hi there, I'm a long time reader, sporadic writer, and this is the first time I'm answering a letter! This is an exciting moment for both of us!

I kid, I kid, I've been reading the Q&A off and on since the days of Thor, but I guess I just never got around to sending anything in. Forgiveness Please!

DMJewelle

I think one of my regrets was never sending in letters to Brad - he kept on talking about Asheron's Call which I never played, so I didn't have much to send to him. I'm pretty sure I read Thor's Q&As too, but that was almost six years ago...my memory fails me. Forgiveness, Great Thor! m(_ _)m

First, a be-lated congrats on your 1 year hosting anniversary. I have to admit, that over the course of time I've been visiting this site, you've certainly left your mark (for the better!) on the Q&A section.

DMJewelle

Let us celebrate by throwing Matt as many confetti bags you can find! *chucks 100kg confetti bag at Matt* Keep it up, and he'll soon have a comfy chair to answer Q&A from. He deserves one for such a good job anyway. </sucking up>

Matt

Oh, come now. If you keep this up, you won't have enough energy left to boo and hiss at me by next October, when my second anniversary comes along and you're all fed up at me. Besides, those bulk confetti sacks really hurt when they connect... ^^;;

Now, for my question! I've noticed how you keep praising the spheregrid in FFX. I really don't understand where you're coming from. The sphere grid is, IMO, the lamest skill/leveling system in a FF game. The only thing it does is make you have to use like 10 button presses to advance when you level up. For 90% of the game, it's pretty much a straight line, with only the slightest of possible detours. Then, in the last 10% of the game, it opens up completely and we have the possibility of having every character learn each others skills, thus removing the uniqueness of the characters. Anyway, the game's so easy, I can't imagine it being necessary to even use the grid near the end, unless you kept your party underleveled up to that point.

DMJewelle

Sphere grids are the lazy man's way of saying "we don't want gamers to believe in archetypes, so we're letting you do whatever you please with them." It's true - only in FFX can people hit for 99999 damage with a fragile rod and a stuffed toy (maybe it's full of lead). I wasn't excited over it, but I didn't hate it either. If there was one thing I didn't like, it was how they said the characters could be fully customizable, but to get stat bonuses you had to backtrack to an empty node, and have the corresponding sphere. Most of the empty nodes were barely filled, and when you have up to four nodes in a row, it feels like a waste of sphere levels.

The whole thing just seemed like an illusion of customization, when in reality, it's pretty much a more time consumming version of the classic level up=stat bonuses which are the norm in rpgs.

Anyway, just curious what your take is!

Matt

I think I mostly liked the step up in complexity from Final Fantasy IX's rather simplistic system. And there WAS an element of customization, especially once the specialty spheres came into play. Key Spheres and Spheres that warped you across the board? I agree that the grid would have been a little "vanilla" without these elements, but I thought that what we got was the most engaging thing since, well, FFVIII, whose Junctioning system remains my second-favourite of all time. Yay! And now back to DMJewelle...

DMJewelle

I'd agree with the time-consuming bit - the party would gain a sphere level after every battle, and I can't stand leaving my charas undeveloped, so I'd go to the menu, go to the sphere grid, gain a new skill/stat, and then resume. Doing the same thing with six people got tedious.

In fact, the whole game was tedious - I kept on playing because a friend reassured me the story would pick up from all the temple-hiking, and I gave up sometime before the Suteki Da Ne scene (which was nice, granted) for three years before finishing the game. It's the first time I've done that for an FF, and I hope it never happens again.

Thanks for writing in!



Sean, reporting in.


Hey Matt!

Long time no write. I know how the 300k occurred. Devishly evil, but fully legal. You have to plan for these things in advance... unlike Square with the Vanish/Doom trick...

Matt

That's the way it goes, I guess, though I'm quite frankly surprised that something like this didn't happen earlier. Never fear, everyone. The world will know what happened in SOCK last week come November 10!

On Friday night my parents had friends over for a dinner party. Later in the evening their children joined the group – aged 13 and 11. They come downstairs and look around – PS2, GC, N64, 2 PS1s and 2 PCs are there for them to see. What do they ask me? "Can we play something?" No, they ask me "Can we play GTA?" When I told them I don’t own junk like that they called me several things, none of which I was happy to hear.

Why am I expected to own junk like that? Why should I feel the need to explain to underage kids that I don’t play that crap, and that they shouldn’t be playing it either? And their parents ask themselves why their kids are violent... Sigh. It was not a fun evening… at least until they left.

I don’t have much problem with violence in games or movies. Too excessive or stupid, and I don’t watch/play them. A game that rewards the player for running over the elderly or throwing babies off of cliffs into the waiting jaws of sharks is not for me. Why am I judged for not embracing these games? Anyways, off of this topic before I get depressed.

Matt

It's so true. And the worst part is, those games give the entire medium a bad rap. RPGamers have to worry about overly stringent censorship rules and such just because someone decided to make a ridiculously over-the-top FATALITY in some Mortal Kombat game twelve years ago. Not only that, people point the finger, blaming video games as soon as some chemically-imbalanced miscreant goes on a shooting-rampage in a school somewhere. It IS depressing, so you're right. Let's move on.

I turned down the opportunity to pre-order a Wii this morning. There is no point in owning one now, when I only really want one game at launch. The rest come out "later". I bet Final Fantasy XII will keep me busy for a while anyways... The one problem with this decision is that my reputation will be sullied. My family expects I will have EVERYTHING that comes out. Come Christmas, I will be expected to have a PS3 and a Wii, if not also a 360. Come our annual cocktail party, the lack of any or all of these will be noticed as the flock of cousins need to force themselves to play the inferior technology. Who knows, Santa might be kind and gift me one, but I am not holding my breath.

Matt

Yikes! The way you describe it, it sounds almost like a chore to have to stay on top of all of these releases.

I don't think that your actions are unwarranted at all for now. I feel that there is absolutely no telling what will happen with the next generation until it is well underway and we get the chance to actually play some games. I'm not entirely convinced that the power of the PS3 is worth the $600 yet, and heck, I think that $60 is a hell of a lot to pay for a Wii controller too. While for me, there are many more games coming out for the Wii that look appealing, it's anybody's guess as to which games will be best in the end. Time will tell, and you never know: Santa's a jolly old elf, after all.

This weekend saw a great amount of gaming. I have several games on the go, which is not usually the case for me. This season has been a bit expensive so far without system purchases, and leaves me with quite a bit of backlog.

Valkyrie Profile 2: I am enjoying this game, even though I find it too difficult at times and hard to collect the items I want. Also, some levels I find I go into the dungeon, then when I want to beat it, I just run from everything...

Dark Age of Camelot: Double XP for a month? Had to go back for that. I am level 42 (of 50) in a week, so not too bad. I’ll be 43 tonight for sure.

Guild Wars Factions: Finished this one last night. It was enjoyable and had a decent ending for what it is.

My portable gaming has been on hold for a couple weeks (reading more now instead).

Matt

Nice to hear about the last two, though you know how my general feelings on online RPGs by now. That's something I've never heard about VP2, quite honestly. You've got me intrigued. It's not everyday that challenging games rear their head these days...

I’m sad to see SOCK go, and wonder where the rest of my donations will end up now. Maybe I can run my own competition for them? Who knows... ^_^

Matt

They'll almost certainly be on sale at a shop in the Second Sock; don't worry, I'm not about to run off with them laughing maniacally. If you want your own competition, though, you'll just have to find your own column to do it in!

I did something the other day which I have never done before. I bought a Dragon Quest 8 Action figure. Not only did I do that, but it is sitting in my office at work. Not only that, but it is posed in such a way that when I look up, I see a scowling Angelo staring down at me at rapier point. He gets a lot of attention.

Matt

*gasp*

I want one...

Actually, I'd LOVE one of Dhoulmagus, if such a thing exists. Does such a thing exist? And where did you obtain this item?

I find it surprising how many fans there are of game music. It is very common for me to just mute whatever game I am playing. I guess it might be because I play in a room with others who watch tv, but I hardly ever hook up headphones to my DS either...Unless I see voiced sections coming up, I keep it quiet or muted…. Weird, eh?

Matt

I dunno, Sean. I think it's actually pretty common, though I just couldn't deal with that, personally. I've mentioned it a couple of times before, but my parents/sisters have yelled at me while at home to "turn it down" while I'm playing something, and usually, I'm not playing very loudly. My response, though, is to turn it off and get sulky/pissy, because to me, music is pretty essential to painting the atmosphere, if you're feeling metaphorical, and without it, things just aren't the same. This is also why I'm quite honestly less likely to enjoy a game with sub-par sound, even if other aspects are lacking.

Now I am going to plug my favorite anime/manga series. Everyone give Death Note a read. Or download the shows. You won’t regret it. The plot? One bright high school student + a notebook that kills people + a penchant to become a god by killing off all the world’s criminals + a pinch of super detective on his trail = mega fun! It has hooked me and many others!

It makes me feel like sending you a couple volumes just to hook you! ^_^

Matt – if I recall, I sent you a DVD full of random anime episodes. Did I? And if I did, have you watched them?

Matt

Negatory. I'm almost positive, unless I put it aside as soon as I got your package and immediately forgot about it because I was so hungry to play Lunar, though I don't think that was the case. Sorry to disappoint you! Thus, no, I haven't watched it... though, on the other hand, I barely have time to watch my own shows these days, so I probably wouldn't get the chance to even if you had. Bleah.

(I'm going to look around, just in case you did... though I'm 98.3% sure you didn't, plus or minus a few tenths of a percentage point...)

Now, before I become JuMeSean, please allow me to ask a couple questions.

1 – If you knew that by completing a certain next-to-impossible objective you’d get something really precious, would you do so, even with the knowledge that it might take 50+ hours? We’re talking pretty early in a game, not at the end.

Matt

Enh. I'd have to be really, really into the game for that to happen, since side-quests and minigames are very seldom something I worry about in RPGs. That's not to say it couldn't happen; it's just that the game would have to be a Final Fantasy VI or Dragon Quest VIII-calibre title, I think.

2 – Do you find it to be a requirement to beat a series in order? Such as... can’t play Suikoden 5 until I play through 1-4!

Matt

Nah; if that were the case, I'd never have discovered the joy that is Fire Emblem. It's hard to imagine life without that series now, and I only first played it a few months ago! Not only that, but I bought Grandia III in Montréal this summer, never having played a Grandia game, and I thought about buying Suikoden V without having played more than a few minutes of number II back in the day! So, definitely not.

3 – My birthday is coming up as it usually does at this time of the year. Should I act mature and ask for a winter coat or something boring like that, or for something gaming related?

Well, I am gonna sign off now. Good luck on the thesis and hope it all goes well!

Later!

~Sean~~


Matt

Psh... Christmas isn't fun without games under the tree, or at least in my family. Go for the games, and go shopping to spend your money on a coat you actually like, rather than receiving something you pretend to like because a family member gave it to you.

Thanks, Sean!! I hope to hear from you again soon.



How many times have I told you? MMORPGs are just "teh evil".


Q: About 4 months ago, I finally broke down and bought FF11. I had fun at first, but recently quit. I just found it taking up way too much time, working way too hard to accomplish anything in the game. It didn't seem like I was 'getting anywhere'. Plus, I didn't like that you pretty much HAD to be in a party to gain experience. Well, I guess this was more of a rant than a question, lol. What are your thoughts?

FirstTimeCaller


DMJewelle

Hi there FirstTimeCaller!

I've never played FF11 (currency conversion has it cost about $50 per month here), but from what I've heard parties are the only way you can explore later areas.

I think "not going anywhere" is the case with MMORPGs - if you go faster than they add content, you'll get bored and stop playing, and you can't stop playing because they need to pay for rent and utilities, so they make sure you don't level up fast enough to go too fast, and then you get so sick of not going anywhere you give up anyway. It's a horrible challenge to ensure the balance of the force, indeed. Korean MMORPGs are probably the worst offenders around, if Ragnarok Online is any indication.

Thanks for writing!



I normally don't do this to my cohosts... but...


"When your world is full of strange arrangements, and gravity won't pull you through, you know you're missing out on something, well that something depends on you!
All I'm saying - it takes a lot to love you!
All I'm doing - you know it's true!
All I mean now - there's one thing, yes one thing, that turns this grey sky to blue!"
Name the song! I cut out the lyric right before it hit the chorus, so it's not TOO easy.

DMJewelle

ABC's "The Look of Love". So that's what the name of the song is, I've been hearing it on the radio since I was a kid!

You said name the song, but nothing about how to find it. >D

Y'know, I think that pinball game you mentioned seeing on Turbo Grafx-16 might be Devil's Crush. For whatever reason several publications think it's the pinnacle of TG-16 games. Let us not forget, however, that the first two Working Designs-published RPGs were on the Turbo CD. There's Cosmic Fantasy 2 and... something else I cannot remember.

DMJewelle

Cosmic Fantasy 2...the first time I heard about it was on the now-defunct GIA's Worst Box Art Showcase. Apparently it had a pretty mature story despite the positively revolting cover. As for the other game, It would have to be one of these, I guess...

I have to confess - I have never played a Working Designs game. Arc The Lad Collection doesn't count because only my dad played them. Maybe it's just because I can't find Thunderforce V or Sillhouette Mirage, or was never interested in either Lunars due to overhype, we'll never know.

Besides, there's no point in getting the game if I don't get any of the free junk.

I find it odd that no one is mentioning Baten Kaitos Origins. After all, it's a new Gamecube RPG! How often do we see these, especially when it's the final one for the system? The game has been out for a week as I write this and no one appears to have posted a review - even at GameFAQs where the loonies are notorious for writing up reviews of games that haven't been out in English yet!


DMJewelle

I'm surprised too - one day they announced a sequel of sorts to Baten Kaitos, never heard about it again, and now the ads are all over the site! Doesn't make a difference to me since I don't own a Gamecube. ^^;

You know why nobody's writing reviews? They're all either playing VP Silmeria or holding out for FFXII - no sense in creating new backlog.

Did you think I'd reached the bottom of the barrel with my obscure titles? Not so! Do yourself a favor and research Zillion for the Sega Master System, Matt! It's kind of like Sega's answer to the original Metroid, with the proviso that every room has a password to enter and exit it - written in symbols that I got pretty good at copying down rather than resetting the passwords repeatedly. Any Q&A readers ever own a Master System? Mine was sold about 10 years ago but I still have memories.

DMJewelle

....I don't think I could even play long enough to reach a password, platforms aren't my forte. The only Sega console I owned was a Sega Genesis. I played Sonic, that strange Michael Jackson game, Golden Axe, Columns, Doraemon, and Shinobi. Neither me, my dad, or my uncle finished any of them. Except maybe Street Fighter 2, that console had no RPGs....at least no RPGs sold in the country.

And with respect to the one title that everyone reading knows about on Master System - how the hell would I have ponied up $70 for Phantasy Star back when I owned the system? I didn't have a job until much later. I did play some of it on the Phantasy Star Collection for GBA but never finished it - I just started to get motion sickness from 8-bit first person adventuring. I'm not entirely joking here, those mazes were laborious to pick through!

DMJewelle

The person who thought first-person dungeons were a great concept should be shot.

Now then Matt, I'm going to pose a hypothetical question. This is intended to gauge how you would have reacted in the same sort of scenario that Shining Force III found itself in, with YOUR personal favorite series as the guinea pig. Suppose that Dragon Quest 5 had, in fact, been released in English - but only the first third. The other two parts were released separately - and never brought across the Pacific. What would you do? And now I feel like just proclaiming that I would gladly buy a TMNT RPG. I've always wanted to explore the Technodrome, and the only way to do that would be with an RPG really. Not to denigrate the classic TMNT games, because they're still a lot of fun when I want to smash a bunch of foot soldiers into the dirt (every other day, seems like).

DMJewelle

Since I'm not Matt, I'm gonna replace this with...hmm....Xenosaga. Yeah.

So if only Xenosaga Episode 1 was translated but not the other two, I guess that wouldn't faze me as much as other English-speaking countries - I have access to Japanese games, and I know enough Japanese to grasp basic storylines and commands to know what I'm doing as long as the entire game isn't written in kanji. Sure it'll be a pain, but I've done it with Shadow Hearts Covenant when I thought they weren't going to translate it. Someone will always be ambitious enough to provide a translated script these days, so I'd just need to finish the game to understand the script. No biggie there. Considering cases where the translation is butchered and scenes are cut out or edited from the original game (Xenosaga Episode 3 I'm looking at you) before releasing it in America, I'd say the game was better off left alone in Japanese.

As for a TMNT RPG, I can imagine that the system would have to be an Action-RPG. It's not the same if Michaelangelo isn't bounding all over the place. It could be like the Tales series where you control the turtle you like, and the rest by the AI. The Technodrome could be dungeon, the turtle van is your primary transport, the only downside is you'll be seeing a LOT of the sewers, and really, haven't we had enough of sewer-based locales? ^^;

Matt

Hey, at least there would be a valid reason for those sewer-based locales rather than every other RPG in history, where they're inserted just because there isn't one yet in the game in question and the developers need a place to put poisonous enemies and/or magic and/or weapons. Yes? No?

As for Dragon Quest, though, I'd be absolutely fuming if Square Enix ever decided to tease us with only a fraction of a game. And that goes for any game, too. Firstly, they'd probably end up charging a full game's worth of money for the title (at least Xenosaga's Episodes take a good 30 hours apiece) and secondly, well, that's just a cruel idea. My reaction would likely be to stomp all over them in this column and help to gather forth a collective voice in making the company look all-around bad. And then I'd go sit in the corner, hug my knees, and cry. Cry, baby, cry. However, I'd probably hold out on spoiling the end, nonetheless, in the faint hope of one day being treated to the rest of the story.

Now then, Matt. I ask of you this: why have all but the most recent anime representations of Sakura Wars, along with its manga, been brought to the English-speaking world when the source of all the spin-offs, the games that originated on Saturn and went to Dreamcast before Sega put them onto the PS2, have never been translated? I welcome your input actually, because I would really enjoy Sakura Wars 1 more if I didn't have to look at a FAQ detailing exactly what the conversations onscreen are about. You may want to take a quick Wikipedia look at the series prior to answering. I'll wait.

DMJewelle

It's a lot easier to translate a set script/manga of 24 episodes than having to translate the 10 hojillion or so lines for each character, the text choices, battle quotes, item descriptions, making sure character reactions match the main character's choices, translating the songs (surely you don't think non-fanatical gamers want to hear Crazy Japanese Takarazuka music!), *and* resyncing the character's lips during speech (since their lips move according to Japanese pronunciation, they'd have to redo certain animations), not to mention assembling all the voice talents for the game *and* making sure the purist fans don't froth at the mouth when they butcher the game beyond recognition.

The people who already adore Sakura Wars figure it's not worth the trouble to wait and have learned Japanese to play all the games by now, and Thousand Arms for the PSX by the same developer had a similar concept but didn't sell well. In all honesty, if I was a publisher, I'd figure if people aren't going to be excited about a simple Dating-Sim-based RPG, what's going to make a Strategy Dating-Sim RPG sell FF-style millions?

What, my experiences with the game thus far? The characters seem to be fun to talk with, since that's what a lot of the game is - thus my frustration at not getting what they're talking about. As for the strategy portions, they move pretty slowly (the mechs don't just warp from place to place, the have to clank around) and pack very little challenge. They're still fun. And here's something ELSE I forgot to put in about Fire Emblem: until FE 4, the weapons triangle did not exist! Same with the magic triangle.This appears to make axes less useful in FE 3, which I will get to soon; axe users tend to have a problem hitting smaller, more accurate units in my experience.

DMJewelle

Before we continue, I'm sorry, but I HATE Sakura Wars.

I have a friend who is a really, REALLY big fan of Sakura Wars. He saved money and went to the Sakura Wars Cafe in Japan. He bought the DVD musicals (showed them to me too), the manga, the games, the t-shirts, the merchandise...I'm not sure if he made the Kobu, but I'm willing to bet that he would if he had the time and materials. His obsessiveness with the game started six years ago, about the same time he tried to get me interested. Unfortunately, hearing him yammer about nothing but Sakura Wars for a few years or so drove me insane, and I have an extreme prejudice towards anything Sakura Wars.

I'm sure the games are extremely good, but the thought of putting the game in my PS2 sickens me - I *may* be able to stomach Sakura Wars 3, but that's about it. One can only imagine my relief hearing that they've finally ended the franchise after ten years - about time!

I'd also imagine axe users have trouble with accuracy for logic's sake - sure you'll hit for massive damage, but it takes effort to swing that thing. If you want damage and accuracy, that's what swords are for. ^^

Where's an RPG set in World War I? This is my favorite war to study, actually! And I don't mean around the war's events as Shadow Hearts apparently does, I mean in the trenches! Watching as all of your friends get gunned down by machine guns while you get stuck in barbed wire and are promptly gunned down in turn! Watching the rats eat the corpses of your former comrades! Grabbing a gas mask when the chlorine comes in and hoping it didn't get into your lungs! Hearing the neverending artillery duel and hoping one doesn't make it into the trench! Dreading the rain because it makes a muddy morass of corpses and neverending death stench in your trench! Feeling the lice crawling over your body because there is no way to bathe! And that's just the WESTERN Front! The Eastern Front is even better, what with the Russians running low on armaments after 18 months and telling soldiers to stick with a buddy; once the buddy gets shot, take his gun! Or the Turks with their killing nearly 2 million Armenians just for the hell of it! How about Gallipolli, where the Anzac Corps got to feel the joy of their superiors keeping them right on the beach so that the Turks could grab some soldiers and keep them stuck on those beaches for the rest of the campaign! The Italian front where the Isonzo river became the scene of 11 bloody offensives simply because it was the only front the Italians could attack onto!

Y'know, I think I understand why WWI isn't used in games. It's just not fun to go over the top and get shot. Because that was what would happen unless you wanted to get shot for desertion. Catch-22 don'tcha know.

DMJewelle

Unless you made a WW1 game where all you do is sit in the trench. Pop your head out and bam! Game over. A WW1 game would be nifty, if only because your enemy won't always be the Germans and you won't always be American/British.

Matt

It exists. Well, kind of. Shadow Hearts takes place right around that time era, though I'm not sure how much the game actually has to do with the war itself. I didn't play very far, you see...

And it's time for our Shining Force III voice acting Hall of Shame moment: http://www.audioatrocities.com/games/shiningforce3/clip10.mp3 It's Noon again, with his comment whenever he makes a physical (he's a wizard, getting him in for a physical attack usually isn't his best use) blow. Poor fellow.

DMJewelle

I just wonder what the voice director told the poor sap to have him sound like that; If you're voicing something for a game, it's a given that "Take this!" should be some sort of battle cry...unless it's for a very dull exposition cutscene. Unless they wanted him to sound like a sissy, then it's not even sissy enough.

Now for a subject I'm rather curious as to your views on: reviews of games. I'll always remember Gamepro giving a 5 out of 5 to every aspect of Super Mario RPG, which really seems to inflate the game a bit too much. This would be the same Gamepro that gave FFVI a 5 in every category except graphics - anybody think the graphics of FFVI were less than stellar (considering the SNES capabilities, mind you!)? I have a subscription to EGM, and even though I don't really care about a lot of what they cover it's still quite useful (especially when my grandmother paid for it!). Dragon Quest VIII got a Silver award from them, FFX got a Gold. Actually Kingdom Hearts 1 got a Silver and 2 got a Gold - interesting. Of course the elusive Platinum award has never gone to an RPG unless the N64 Zeldas are considered RPGs.
DMJewelle

Your grandma pays for EGM? How much money does she make a month? O_o

Game reviews tend to be a cliche themselves. I make it a point to follow Gamespot's annual game awards, and I find myself being more accurate each year. It's obvious that FF = Godly, KH is becoming the next best franchise, and Everybody Loves Zelda And Mario, so if any of these gets less than fantastic, heads will fly and blood will fill the rivers. FF6 getting top marks in every category in this day and age can only be given by someone who absolutely despises new-school graphics, since back THEN it was beautiful, yes, but most GBA games have better sprites than FF6, so there's really not much excuse.

Matt

Agreed. Game reviews reek of bias these days. I find it difficult to trust most reviews because of that very fact that DMJewelle mentioned: If an abysmally bad Final Fantasy game were ever released, it would never, EVER receive as abysmally bad grades as other games might.

Another problem comes into play when you read RPG reviews that are quite evidently written by people who are not chiefly RPGamers, or who have not played RPGs outside of the Final Fantasy series. It rips me to pieces whenever I read a review for an RPG like Xenosaga or Dragon Quest that accuses them of having dull battle systems because they aren't "fast-paced" or "in real time". This is also the reason that I can't stomach more than thirty minutes of G4 at any one time. Did I mention that they pretended Nintendo never made it to E3 back in May? *explodes*

I seem to recall EGM also giving BoF: Dragon Quarter a 6 and two 8's. How would you grade it on their 10 point scale?

DMJewelle

A 7 and three 8's should cover it.

Matt

I'd have to give it an 8 overall. It's a refreshing game with a whole lot of originality. Sure, it's hard sometimes, and it's about as linear as you can possibly get, and it isn't very long at all, but there is so much else going for it. With a unique setting and storyline, an awesome tactical/traditional battle system hybrid, and one of the strongest soundtracks of all time, I loved it.

And now for ANOTHER obscure game no one ever mentions; Tokimeki Memorial. I can understand actually why it never garnered a translator, but from what I can tell it seems pretty well done. Not sure how much it would appeal to you, Matt, but at the very least it might offer some amusement. Then again it's apparently quite repetitive. I've never played it, anyone want to field the call for some expertise?

DMJewelle

The biggest achievement in that series is that the girls can pronounce *any* name you give your main character provided it follows the rules of Japanese syllables. You make the call. =__=;

Incidentally I bought Tokimeki Memorial Girl's Side for about $2 several years ago. I've still yet to play it.

Godzilla or Gamera?

DMJewelle

Neither, Ultraman will mow both of them down. And if not him, his entire legacy will, all forty years of it!

Matt

Gamera? What is that, a second-level Gamer? I just have no choice but to go with that one! Never underestimate the power of a gamer (or the palette-swapped harder kinds of gamers)!

Now here's YET ANOTHER GBA title I wonder about. Zone of the Enders: The Fist of Mars. As an earlier title on the system I doubt it's exactly the best demonstration of the hardware, but in a fit of laziness I cannot be bothered to find anything else out. Your turn, Matt!

DMJewelle

I got lazy too.

Dare ni mo jama wa sasenu!
JuMeSyn

DMJewelle

Oh noes, I have disturbed you! D:

Even though it took me two hours, I really enjoyed answering your letter, thanks for writing in! ^__^/

Matt

And now you know... what it's like!

Thanks, JuMeSyn, as always!!





THE NEXUS

I've spent a horrific twenty hours on campus over the last two days. Definitely painful. I will make it through though! December is only a few weeks away! I will persevere! I will k*splat*

Zzzz...zzzz...zzzz...


Caption


For complete contest rules, click here!


Answers to October 18th's Questions

#348. b) Materia - 1,600 points
Yup. Here's how the numbers shook out:

a) Espers: 5 votes (17.2%)
b) Materia: 4 votes (13.8%)
c) Junctioning: 8 votes (27.6%)
d) Crystal Points: 7 votes (24.1%)
e) Sphere Grid: 5 votes (17.2%)

Interesting, huh? And then we had this one...

#349. c) 174.02 - 900 points/1,800 points for BigWook
And yes, as many of you pointed out... THIS is the reason you must learn high school math, if nothing else! Ha! Thanks for the submission, BigWook!



Draconn duels against BLG!

BLG gets 900 points of questions correct!
Draconn gets 900 points of questions correct!
The duel ends in a draw.

BLG remains the Duel Glove holder!

Today's New Questions

Reader-Submitted #350:
Which Tales of Symphonia character is never depicted in a battle during the game's opening video? (1,000 points)

a) Colette
b) Genis
c) Regal
d) Kratos
e) Sheena


DMJewelle's #351:
In "Assault of the Dreadnaught", how much HP does the Final Hunter (I think it's called Hunter-X-) have? (1,000 points)

a) 300,000
b) 250,000
c) 200,000
d) 150,000
e) 100,000


Sorry to those of you who tried to get in to duel BLG, but Draconn beatcha.

The people that get both of these questions right will be eligible to win a Ribbon. Good luck!



SOCK's Item List

Obtain these items upon reaching the listed point benchmarks!

3,500 points:
Mythril Shield (2 left), Mythril Armor (2 left), or Regen Spell (2 left)

5,000 points:
Any 1st-Level Elemental Spell (2 left), Point Halver (1 left), or Drain Spell (1 left)

7,000 points:
Slowga Spell (2 left), Float Spell (1 left), or Damage Deflector (1 left)

10,000 points:
Sneak Glove (2 left), Any Gem (3 left), or Biora Spell (1 left)

14,000 points:
Any 2nd-Level Elemental Spell (3 left), Rename Card (1 left), or Scan Spell (2 left)

19,000 points:
Mythril Armor (3 left), Merton Spell (1 left), or Wait Mode (1 left)

25,000 points:
Vanish Spell (2 left), Sadness Stone (1 left), or Rare Candy (2 left)

32,000 points:
Mythril Shield (1 left), Drainra Spell (1 left), or A.P.G. (2 left)

40,000 points:
Toxic Waste (1 left), Sean's Dictionary of Doom (1 left), or Holy Spell (1 left)

50,000 points:
Rare Candy (2 left), Rebirth Stone (1 left), or Demira Spell (1 left)

61,000 points:
Dark Converter (2 left), Drainga Spell (1 left), or Item Destroyer (2 left)

73,000 points:
Rare Candy (2 left), Cloak of Evasion (2 left), or Point Tripler (1 left)

86,000 points:
Meteor Spell (2 left), Item Bomb (1 left), or Any Gem(2 left)

100,000 points:
Rare Candy (2 left), Diamond Armor (2 left), or Gold Sword (1 left)

STRAGGLERS:
(people who I love, but who still need to check their e-mail or somehow get in touch with me because they have unclaimed items- if you fall off the list after a week, it's TOO LATE FOR YOU! Check your spam/trash folders for my messages if you're not getting them, and I'll check mine, too!)

  • none to speak of!


SOCK's Prize Shop

Obtain enough points, and you may buy items, merchandise, or guest-hosting positions.

Click here for the current list of potential prizes!


QUICKIES

And that "poor" estranged Louisianian missing his spicy food....if he was only reminded of the sauna that encompasses 85% of our year. Sometimes I'm not sure if the great food is worth it. Does Canada need more citizens? No, I'm serious. I might just buy a lifetime supply of Tony's (Chachere's) and "Slap Ya Mama" and move up there. (www.slapyamama.com if you want to know)

Hope you have a safe and fun trip home! Please send cold weather.
Laurie

Matt
There's plenty of it. I love this country, but I hate the fact that I involuntarily assume fetal position whenever I step outdoors October through April. And yes, home was very nice, and so was the wedding, thank you!

Question 1: What happens to our points and items, is there some bonus stuff you get for them or what?

Question 2: why bother continuing the questions if SOCK 1 is over??

Arros Raikou

Matt
I think it would be pretty cruel of me to just cut it off right away, don't you? I'm giving a few weeks of notice so that people can use their well-earned items if they wish, in order to obtain some of the other prizes, if there's anything that looks appealing. The big prizes are gone, but there are still some other goodies up for grabs!!



IN CLOSING

I'm whipped, people. I hope tomorrow night's doesn't go as late, but school is just killing me these days. I'm glad I can get anything done, columnwise at all!!

Thanks, DMJewelle, for a fantastic job. And please, all of you, come back tomorrow for some more Q&A!



Send a Letter!

Inbox Status: Hmmm. OK, actually.



slimey@rpgamer.com
Matt has a huge presentation to deliver on Thursday!


Anyone want to learn about the Lorenz Equations...?

Most Recent

Oct. 23: Arpijy & Josh

Oct. 19: Alethea

Oct. 18: Matt

Oct. 17: Matt



Links

SOCK's Rule Guide

SOCK's Prize Shop

About the Host

Quote Archives



What I Want to Play:

1. Final Fantasy III

2. Final Fantasy XII

3. Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance

4. Fire Emblem: Goddess of Dawn

5. Pokémon Diamond/Pearl



What I'm Playing:

1. Xenosaga: Episode III

2. Disgaea II

3. Fire Emblem GBA



SOCK's Scoreboard

Dueling Glove Holder:
BLG
-----------

Summon in Play:

-BOREAS-
HP: 9,300
----------
1. Boojum
288,329 pts

2. BigWook
63,490 pts

3. Erika
56,786 pts

4. JokingChimer
47,966 pts

5. Draconn
41,885 pts

6. Kanato
35,429 pts

7. Belthasar2
31,588 pts

8. Ourobolus
29,758 pts

9. Alexander
28,883 pts

10. JuMeSyn
27,449 pts

11. MagRowan
27,164 pts

12. Alan Tse
26,856 pts

13. TV's Adam
26,521 pts

14. BLG
25,912 pts

15. Macstorm
25,151 pts

16. MrMSty
24,930 pts

17. Prismatic
24,610 pts

18. DMJewelle
24,290 pts

19. Thinkfreemind
23,336 pts

20. Kharamain
23,329 pts

21. Arros Raikou
23,155 pts

22. Erunion
21,735 pts

23. Leaper
21,365 pts

24. Hunter B
19,406 pts

25. Jwcooley
17,220 pts

26. Arpijy
16,907 pts

27. Dermot
15,246 pts

28. Sundoulos
15,005 pts

29. Bainick
13,813 pts

30. Carabbit
13,215 pts

31. William T.
12,990 pts

32. Laurie
12,850 pts

33. Waterfiend
11,350 pts

34. DDX
11,098 pts

35. LufiaLvr
11,090 pts

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