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ASK MATT
Happy Hurt
October 15, 2007

Matt Demers - 14:52 EST

WELCOME TO QUESTIONS & ANSWERS, everybody's favourite Q&A section here at RPGamer.

You might notice that I come to you on a Monday, which is unusual. Really technical analysts would say something like "Due to the demands of a changing reader demographic, the structure of this column has been overhauled." To cut the bull, though, readership is down significantly- whatever the reason might be. While Q&A is still an important part of the site, the format is being changed as of this week, to a Monday/Wednesday/Friday format.

I will be doing Monday and Wednesday's columns of this week, and Sean will be taking over for me thereafter, permanently. I wish him all the best!

I just want to say that I'm really going to miss doing this column as I've been in charge of it pretty much constantly over the past two years. I've learned so much from all of you, and made a lot of friends along the way. I hope that you enjoyed the show while it lasted, but more importantly, I really encourage you all to keep supporting this column by actively participating in it. This site is made unique by the constant reader interaction, and without that support, we risk losing that great aspect.

Two columns to go! And what do you know? My last one will be column #350. Not the evenest number out there, but it's not bad.




LETTERS
A Change of Plans


Persona 3! I finally finished that godforsaken game! Great game, but it had some kind of hold on me. Now I can sleep!

Matt

Man, I totally know what you mean; I have my own brand of 'em. Games like Etrian Odyssey, and just about any NIS game under the sun- I go into them thinking "wow, this is awesome!" yet by the time they're over with, I'm quite happy to get my life back, thank you very much. With Disgaea 3 and Etrian Odyssey 2 on the way, well, damn... I'd better start stocking up on some caffeine-loaded American Mountain Dew soon.

As far as what I'm playing after, I might as well admit it now. I'm putting off the plan to import PS2 games again. I have a good excuse! Through a twist of fate, I have the opportunity to obtain a 360 for 200 bucks. Despite the things I've said about MS, I'm going for it. God help me, I'm going to be a 360 owner. I'm looking forward to Eternal Sonata, but I now have to worry about red rings and xbots trying to get me to try Halo 3. At least when I say things about MS I'll be able to do it "as a 360 owner". :)

Matt

Lucky rascal- I'd probably jump at the opportunity too, if I had it. There are some sweet looking games coming out for that system. Actually, there's one that especially stands out, and that is Lost Odyssey. This is the problem with a generation that is split between three consoles: Quandaries are created! Unlike the last one, where the PS2 had the lion's share of great RPGs, things aren't quite so cut and dried this time around.

I still plan on getting a PS3 next year, and I swear to god I WILL PLAY FRONT MISSION 5! For now, the gaming plan is Guilty Gear until I get the 360, then Eternal Sonata.

Slashlen

Matt

Have fun with it, Slashlen! Make sure to write back to tell about your new 360 experiences... and let's just hope that those experiences never, ever include a red ring of death.



Back to the hot topics!


Hey there Matt

Been some time since I've written, so let us cut to the chase and answer those hot topics.

Matt

Sounds like a plan!

1. I'd take Link's spot in a heartbeat. Any game, I don't care. I would just love to wake up one day and then get tossed into this crazy adventure I couldn't even begin to comprehend. Plus, a place like Hyrule would be amazing to see if it existed.

Matt

Eh, as long as it's worth wearing tights for. Imagine having the ability to hold thirty bombs in a little bag, or having a sharpshooter's archery skill! Better yet, being able to turn into a wolf, go back in time, and cast Bombos? I'm there.

2. Are the main characters in RPG likeable or annoying? Hmmm. Well, it's not that they're annoying... it's just that, I don't think I can name a single RPG where the main character is my favourite. Or even in my top three for that matter. It just seems that there are always more interesting characters somewhere else in the game.

Matt

I can! But I can only name one: Shion Uzuki of Xenosaga fame. I thought she was the cat's meow, especially in the first game. Shion represented a great change from the everyday brash and moody hero.

I suppose that RPGs featuring one main controllable character would be an exception to your rule, though... heh heh. I mean, there aren't exactly many playable characters other than the hero in Dragon Warrior or Pokémon, say.

3. I have almost always had a TV and videogame system in my room, so when I was still in school I used to always play games when I was sick in bed. Whether or not the sickness was real. (Come on now, you know there's always the odd day you just don't want to go to school)

Matt

Oh, you bet... especially, coincidentally, on the days that my Grade 9 Gym teacher thought that football in the rain and 45 degrees would be a great idea. My stomach felt REALLY upset then.

I didn't have the luxury of a gaming system in my own room, and I didn't even have a portable system until my university years. Mom and dad were nice enough to let me play sometimes, but I found myself watching talk shows and The Price is Right more often (everyone's favourite sick-show).

4. If life were RPG-esque, there would be one major downfall. Odds are, you would be an NPC. After all, we can't all be main characters. So we'd all be stuck in our ruts saying the same thing over and over waiting ever so patiently for the main character to get on with his life so some new dialogue can be opened up.

Matt

On the upside, we'd never age, and we'd never die. You know, a bit of give and take here- though an existence consisting completely of walking a predetermined route and the ability to say only one thing would be fairly depressing, I'd expect.

5. Another company breaking into the games market, eh? Hmmmm...no, I can't really think of any. Not seriously at any rate. For some reason, I keep seeing two different consoles that look different but do the exact same thing. One made by Pepsi and the other Coke. And for some reason, people only like one or the other.

Matt

I hear you- you know, out of Sony and Microsoft's end-of-the-year lineup, a considerable majority of the software titles are not console-exclusive? In one sense then, you're absolutely right... outside of those few titles, there isn't really much difference between the systems except for their exterior paint jobs and their pricepoints.

Anyways, that's all from me. Keep on trucking.

-Shawn 'UFJ'

Matt

Thanks Shawn! My trucking route is coming to an end soon, but write again soon nonetheless... make the Sean with an "e-a" a happy man!



On RPGamer intelligence and heroes.


Hi Matt!

I believe you got your GP from the bet! At least, from my very humble analysis. In Annalou's letter you wondered about RPGamers IQ. Well, I brought this subject up in a RPG Maker forum some time ago, and people got around 115-120, about 1 SD above the standard population. What about me? Well, I tried two different tests and got 126 and 132, about 2 SD's above. At least, someone out there thinks I'm smart, even if it's just a computer! The test was in English - had it been in Portuguese, I believe I'd get a few more points, even though my vocabulary has increased greatly from playing RPGs (Thank you, thousands and thousands of pages of D&D books!).

Matt

Ah well- I wouldn't have wagered the GP if I didn't know I was right! I guess that my feelings are that RPGamers are, largely, a very thoughtful and imaginative group of people. When I think of my non-RPGamer-gamer-friends and compare them to my RPGaming-gamer friends, the RPGamers, on average, just have a totally different personality. Part of that personality is a generally brighter intellect. It's not necessarily an "I'm better than you" thing, and I'm sure that there are some drawbacks to this average personality that I speak of, but I think it's a fact.

About interesting heroes... I know talking about CT is cliché, but it had TWO great heroes! Even if you donīt use ressurect Chrono, you can still have Magus as the leading character. I actually did that once, and it was awesome. About other games, I think female protagonists are much more balanced than most male teenagers (Tidus, you tried...). Nothing against how a character behavem him/herself, but you MUST be cool to lead a party. Just take a look at Lenneth, Terra, Eve, Etna... But forget all about Rhapsody, please ;)

- Alael

Matt

Magus, the alternate main character that you don't even have to recruit? Cool as he is, I dunno...

And it's true- a lot of male heroes are just so stereotypical, it's really refreshing to see a female in the lead role. I'm very encouraged by the fact that Lightning is the main protagonist of Final Fantasy XIII- it'll be a nice change from either the needlessly moody OR overexuberant male leads we've had ever since FFVII without a break.

Thanks, Alael!



Another one bites the dust?


Hey Matt!

I just found out about BioWare getting sucked up by Electronic Arts. Is it me, or does it seem that BioWare has gone to the dark side?

The reason I feel like this is disheatning (besides all of the money given them to close the deal) is EA's history of making souless sequals, horrible liscenced games and cut and paste sports games. I fear that one of my favorite development houses for PC style RPGs is going to be churning out crappy Harry Potter RPGs (Oh, I love the Harry Potter books and movies. It's the games that suck). On second thought, maybe they could actually make one that is actually good!

Another reason this bothers me is that BioWare has been around for a long time and it feels wierd that they would merge with EA so suddenly like that. They were already extremely successful (The Original Baulder's Gate and KOTOR games more than established that fact). It just seems to me that they caved into their own greed and not for security, like what some smaller developers did(IE Flagship).

Lets hope that BioWare didn't bite off more than they could chew.

Witecat

Matt

*sigh* Just another example of a Canadian company getting lapped up by a big, bad American one. You have no idea how big a bone of contention stuff like that can be with certain Canadian citizens. For more, please join my parents during their next evening meal.

I don't know what to think about it. Bioware has been responsible for some cool stuff... as well as some bizarre RPG-related announcements (remember, these are the guys who are supposedly developing the Sonic RPG). One could hope that in the best of worlds, the merger will just provide Bioware with a greater ability to create large-scale projects. The pessimist in me knows that EA has already had a dubious influence on some of the companies that it has sucked up in the past. Let's hope that the supercorp called EA won't tarnish this little guy.



QUICKIES

Hey Matt,

You know, when I put that slap in there, I was picturing someone else slapping me for saying that. You made it much funnier...

Chris

Matt

Ahahaha- wellllll, you did say it right after making a pun about an ASH, so that's the first thing that came to my twisted mind. Ah Chris... after two years, if I had to choose anyone around here to slap me inappropriately, it would be you.

One of the best abilities I think? There's about a million in the Suikoden series that I think are great. The one that comes to mind is a combo attack between Lucia and Dupa - they call a thousand or so minions to crush your opponent. Makes sense! If you're a warlord/general you ought to be able to call on your soldiers to deal with those pesky random battles.

Carabbit

Matt

I really need that ability to wipe out the disgusting masses of people that clog up the hallways right before classtime. It's just like cholesterol-buildup, except with people.



IN CLOSING

Well... one more will finish this era in Questions and Answers. What a run it has been, full of letters, and my responses, and that's about all.

I'm sure that my little Sock 2 contingent has been frantically scrolling through to see what has become of their little game. Well, I fear that it will also come to a close... in the winter as scheduled! Yes, that's right: While my Q&A days are officially done with on Wednesday, the game will continue onward until it is complete. To finally answer the wishes of more than a few contestants, the game will be linked-to directly on the front page, and will continue from Wednesday every day as it did in its old schedule.

I'll return for my final bow-out episode on Wednesday, as dictated by the new restructured Q&A format. I really hope you'll join me then for more questions, answers, and general commentary!



Send a Letter!

Unanswered Letter Backlog: 22 - I don't think I'm going to get to them all...



slimey@rpgamer.com
Matt counts "349" with today's...


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On my Wishlist:

1. Dragon Quest IX

2. Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn

3. Super Smash Bros. Brawl

4. Dragon Quest IV DS

5. Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass



On my Portable/VC Playlist:

1. Etrian Odyssey/Metroid Original

2. Shining Force

3. The Legend of Zelda (NES)



On my Console Roster:

1. Metroid Prime 3

2. Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance/Valkyrie Profile 2(?)

3. Tales of Symphonia



Hot Topics:

1. Which RPG character, if any, do you wish you were... and why?

2. Do you find main characters of RPGs to be, on average, likable or downright annoying?

3. Nintendo just vomited a ton of new information! Your thoughts?

4. If the world were more RPG-like, what would the best parts (and worst parts) be?

5. Write letters to Sean! He needs them for this column to continue strongly forward!



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