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ASK MATT
End of the Error
October 17, 2007

Matt Demers - 18:48 EST

SO HERE WE ARE, at the end of all things. Actually, that's a little egotistical, even for me. This is my last column, sure, but I'm just a little glob of ornamental icing on the much grander, decadently delicious cake that is RPGamer. I sincerely hope that this site remains alive and well even when the next batch of next-gen systems come out... and the ones after them (and the ones after those, even).

As I mentioned on Monday, Q&A has officially switched to a new format, where only three columns are published per week instead of seven, on a Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule; after today, this will be under the sole direction of Sean with an occasional guest-host making an appearance from time to time. If you liked Lusipurr, you might see him again! Heck, I can't even rule out another column sometime in the future myself before the contest is done with.

Well, we won't put it off; let's see how many bye-bye letters you decided to send me.




LETTERS
Xenosaga Spoilers Ahead!


Hey hey Matt!

(At this point it's probably already Sean)

Matt

Nope, you caught me!

So, first to Matt:
Thank you for this great 2 years you granted us with both your columns and your Sock games!

Matt

It was all my pleasure. Interacting with each and every one of you has been a fun experience, and as I've mentioned, I've made some really great friends out of the whole deal.

And to Sean: Congratulations for becoming full-fledged QnA Master. Judging from your weekend-columns you'll be doing a great job too, at least in my opinion. Just remember please: You are now the end of the means for us QnA readers, we're looking up to you!

Matt

You bet. So treat him well, and write to him lots! No host can flourish without letters to respond to, after all.

ANYWAY:
Cause life is getting the better part of me, this will be short.

Matt

Belthasar2, I like you lots, my friend, and I've heard from you many times over the past two years. However, this letter is most definitely not short. ;)

On RPG main characters: I think we agree by now that there're likeable and hateable ones, but which annoys me the most is when there's a main character I really like, and then over the course of the game (or the game series) he complete changee, and in the end you just wanna kill, or at least really hurt him.

Matt

Yes, I can see what you're saying. Take Yuna, for example. While she was a soft-spoken, almost shy individual in Final Fantasy X, she regularly used words "disasterrific" and ran around with shorts cut about twenty inches above the knee. Sure, it was supposed to be a more light-hearted world two years later, but somehow, that dramatic personality shift is a little hard to buy.

For example: Shion
Like Matt, I really liked her in the first Xenosaga, for different reasons, e.g. she was so refreshingly different. In the second game she was still okay, looked even more "cool". In the third game though?

SPOILERS:

She always kept whining like a little girl, mostly about Kevin, while the experienced player already knew in the first game, that he must have been an obnoxious, backstabbing asshole (Pardon the language). The two best parts of the game were, at the end of the first disc, when KOS-MOS stopped her whining through cold punching her out, and the battle near the end of the second disc, where you knock some sense into Shion yourself.



Matt

Heh heh- one thing that my brother and I make fun of all the time is how through half the game, she'll have these random spells where she collapses, dream something crazy, and then say "Oh... it's nothing" when asked whether she's all right. Though I definitely prefer the character that she started out as in the first episode, I think that given her circumstances, the shift to a more "whiny" personality is at least somewhat believable.

I do have to admit that it was more than a bit fun to see Ziggy beat Shion up with massive metallic Karate Kicks, though. Don't get me wrong; it's not like I regularly enjoy seeing women being battered and bruised, but, well, you know. (Way to offend all of your female fans on your LAST DAY, Matt.)

END SPOILERS

Concerning Nintendo: I just read in a newspaper that in Germany in the third quarter of 2007, the Nintendos DS is marketleader in sold games in total (right ahead of PS 2), and also in Next Gen Games (WII first, XBOX 360 second). In the top ten sold games for the same time, there are 6 DS games (one of the DS Dr Kawashima "games" is numero uno).

So at least in parts of Europe, Nintendos is top-notch at the moment and the new infos will contribute to that even more, I think. The question for me is: What will the other companies do, in reaction to the Nintendo news? Especially Sony, who seem to be really lacking at the time?

Matt

It's a funny little "race" in that it isn't supposed to be a race. I keep reading articles and interviews with representatives from Microsoft and Sony in reference to Nintendo that keep changing in tone. At the start, it was clear: Nintendo was in its separate sector of the console race, and would be most correctly viewed as a "secondary console" to be owned alongside the 360 or the PS3. Then we heard from Bill Gates himself a few months later stating something about outdoing Nintendo on its Motion Control Scheme (Thanks, Kotaku!) Since then, I've heard comments with regards to the Wii that range from low-blows to a completely dismissive attitude altogether. Sony and Microsoft, at times, seems to view the console as serious competition, and at other times, seems to choose to act as if Nintendo isn't even part of the race. It's confusing.

One thing is for certain: Nintendo's Wii is doing very well in its own right, and its handheld brother is on fire. Especially for RPGamers. I'll say it one last time, but DRAGON QUEST IX! OMG!! You guys had better still be into the idea even after I'm gone!!

Oh, I'm sorry but I have to show some pictures from where I was in summer:

Matt

Oh great, you're gonna make me html-ize links on my very last column? Evil! Well, I guess it's only fitting.

Behold the place, where the "Holy Grail" is situated:

Link 1

The Halls are lined with intriguing signs:

Link 2
Link 3
Link 4

And finally there it is:

Link 5
Link 6

That's right I've been to Square-Enix (former Enix) headquarters in Shinjuku, Tokyo. Sadly it was late Saturday afternoon, so no one was there anymore, and everything was closed. Also I didn't have the time to visit the former Squaresoft-Headquarters, but believe me one of these days I'll do it. Maybe when the have another Open-to-public party.

Matt

Whoa. Actually, that's awesome. Think of all of the incredible secrets inside that very building!! All the details on games and game ideas that we won't see until 2010 or later... blueprints for the next Chrono game... the plans for the Final Fantasy VII remake... I bet they're floating around somewhere in there. It's too bad- you'd need some sort of [key item] to find your way through though. Maybe they have Adamantoises guarding their biggest stashes? I can't tell you.

So it seems, this letter got way longer than originally planed, but oh well.

Alright then, best wishes,
Belthasar2

Matt

Thanks a lot for the letter, and for the pictures too! Take care of yourself. :)



I'm totally serious here: Some little thing came loose on my brakes, and they're still broken, but I haven't had time to look at them yet.


Ah, dear Matt,

I have thoroughly enjoyed your stint as host here. I wish you well.

Matt

I appreciate it, Jbumi! You've been a loyal follower ever since I began, and it means a lot that you still follow my column even after all the bingles and bungles. What's a bingle? I have no idea.

Something I've never understood - why are Pokemon games always released in pairs? Are they different games or basically the same game with little differences just to get you to spend more money? Guess you can tell I've never played them!!

Matt

You see, the original Pokémon was originally released in two versions with the idea that you'd have to work with other people if you ever wanted to "catch 'em all." There were several creatures in one version that were rarer than in the other version or even non-existent, so if you wanted one in particular, you'd have to trade in order to obtain it.

As time has passed, this has become less and less the case. There are far fewer creatures that are exclusive to each, and the differences lie, most noticeably with Ruby/Sapphire, in the storylines. It isn't anything major, but they differ slightly. One thing I'd like to see in future Pokémon games is a "widening" between the two versions- MAKE me actually wish that I had friends to trade with, because now, I don't really care that much. I miss the bigger differences in the critters available, darn it, even if it makes finding them all a bit of a pain.

As a parting gift, here's my Goat Doll (if you're ever in dire straights, it will revive you).

Best of luck,
Jbumi

Matt

This is my first-ever 1-Up! I thank you from the bottom of my heart, and I'm sure that I will even moreso when my heart decides to stop. Interestingly, my bike's brakes failed yesterday on the way home from school and I skidded out into the middle of an intersection, whereupon I got yelled and cursed at by some uptight woman likely on the verge of having a heart attack. I HAD the right-of-way, too, as she was turning left onto the street I was crossing from the opposite side of the intersection, and I had the walking-dude showing. She, as a typical road-rage-fraught driver, failed to notice that other people in the world exist besides herself, and nearly prevented me from fulfilling my promise to give you one last column. Bitch.

Thanks a lot, Jbumi! I hope you're doing very well- and thanks too for representing a segment of gamers that I haven't often heard from throughout my time here. I've enjoyed hearing you weigh in on things from time to time.



Thinking back...


It's been a fun two years Matt. We've both grown since RPGamer Idol, haven't we?

Matt

You bet we have. It's was almost 10% of my life ago!

Let's think back to that fateful month- September of 2005. I had just begun my Master's Degree, which I've since finished. We were all (well, many of us) eagerly anticipating Dragon Quest VIII and the FFXII demo disc insert. Many people thought that the Nintendo DS was going to tank, and the PSP was selling at least as well as it. Everyone was simply under the assumption that the PS3 would be the king of the castle without question this generation, and no one knew of its pricetag. Microsoft's consoles appeared to be a barren wasteland for RPGs of almost every variety.

Yeah, it seems like so long ago, but at the same time, only yesterday.

On a non-RPG related note: I completely forgot that this Monday was the start of the new Price is Right shows with Drew Carey hosting and unfortunately I don’t have a VCR...Have they started airing in Canada yet? If so, please tell me how he did.

- Bucket

Matt

Ahaha... you know I'm a not-so-closeted fan of game shows, so you bet that I was on top of Drew Carey's debut. I think he's doing a great job so far, though he seems a little rushed sometimes. It's obvious that he's new to what he's doing, but I'm enjoying watching him fill Bob's big shoes.

Anyway Bucket, I wish you all the best, and I hope you continue to play games to your heart's content. In another world, I'd be the one saying "thanks" to you for all of your hard work- I'm sure you would have done a fantastic job if the memory that was RPGamer Idol had turned out differently.



A Mother Lode


Matt,

It is with a sad heart and deep sense of loss that I bid you adieu from RPGamer's Q&A column. I won't mince words--you are the best host ever to fill that position. I remember reading Googleshng's columns for years, enjoying them immensely, and then being extremely put off by Andrew Long's arrogance and unprovoked insults on the faithful readers in between your own columns. Eventually I simply refused to read Andrew's columns, waiting patiently for the weekends to end so I could get back to yours. That's how great you've been. You have done a phenomenal job of opening yourself up to the RPGamer loyal and connecting with them on a level no other host has managed to reach. And it's been entertaining as hell!

Matt

Awww, thanks for the kind words! I'll miss corresponding with all of you. I often complained and whined about not being able to come up with new things or being too busy for the column and feeling overtired for whatever reasons... but believe me when I say that it was always with a smile that I opened up new e-mails in response to things that I had written. It's very neat to run this whole show from afar, and it gives me the chance to talk about my passion- RPGaming- with people that are at least equally passionate about it. Sometimes, in real life, it feels like people are "in the closet" regarding being a big fan of RPGs. It's cool to be a fan of First Person Shooters or Fighters or Sports Games or Racing Games, but RPGs? Not so much, and it seems like a lot of people keep it hidden, given that there are MILLIONS of fans out there. Here, we all (or at least, a few hundred of us) come together.

(You may or may not be able to print the next paragraph, depending on RPGamer's policy on emulation, so if not, I fully understand; it's mainly for your benefit, anyway. Not that you'd want to print this boring letter in the first place.)

Matt

*pastes Adam's mouth shut*

This is one OTHER thing that I'll miss- seeing people eat up their own letters and spit them on the floor. I don't know how many times people have discredited their own letters in the past, but the answer is many.

Oh, whoops. *unpastes* Now you can talk again. :)

I had a lot of letters in the pipeline which I had planned to roll out to you over time, but since you're leaving, I'll save those topics for Sean, with the exception of the one subject I was saving just for you: Mother 3. Specifically, playing an English translation of it. Now, I know how you feel about emulation, but I also know that you've used it in the past, so I just want to inform you of a few things, just in case you weren't already aware of them. So, to the point: there is a fan-based English translation of the game coming, relatively soon. And it's not some crappy slapped-together job, either; this is a professional-level translation by the biggest names in fan translation itself. These are people who know and love Earthbound to death, and are doing everything in their power to make their translation of Mother 3 retain that style of humor that can be found in no other series. You can find out all about the English patch (and eventually download it) here: http://mother3.fobby.net/faqs/ . There are preview shots of the work-in-progress, and it looks sweeter than honeycomb dipped in cotton candy. They also have a link (http://www.play-asia.com/paOS-13-71-67-49-en-15-mother+3-70-13ba.html) to a store where you can purchase the game for $19.90, if you have qualms about playing a ROM of a game you don't own. Of course, you'll need that ROM of Mother 3, which I have and can send to you, or you can Google around for it. Also, I don't know how much you know about emulation, or if you even have a GameBoy Advance emulator, but you can download it here: http://www.fantasyanime.com/emuhelp/emulators.htm and learn all about how to set it up here: http://www.fantasyanime.com/emuhelp/emulators.htm . It's really pretty simple. Anyway, you may or may not be interested in this, but at the very least I wanted to let you know about it, if you didn't already.

Matt

I thought I'd escape without tackling another emulation-related letter, but you leave me no choice!

Actually Adam, I thought about editing out the links, but at the heart of things, I really dislike the idea of censoring a letter for whatever reason. RPGamer isn't responsible for the content on any of those sites, so to anyone interested: Click at your own risk!

Mother 3 is a delicate thing. After a few little hints that the opposite might occur, Nintendo decided firmly not to release this game Stateside. I don't understand the reasoning for this. If they wanted to focus their attention on the DS, they didn't need to, because it was already catching on bigtime by the time it would have been released here. Furthermore, it hails from a series that has done nothing but tease us in the past. Earthbound is a game that I regard to be one of the greatest RPGs of all time, and it provided a taste of what the rest of the series has to offer. But then Earthbound 64, one of the most eagerly-anticipated games for the N64, was flatly cancelled, and then the sequel that DID get released just didn't make the cut for an American market. It seems almost malicious towards the extremely loyal fans of the series, as this comes at a time when more and more non-FF-related Japanese RPGs are being translated for us.

Nintendo can't hide the fact that other Mother games exist to ravenous fans, but what exactly are those fans supposed to do? It's like we're being placed on a forced no-Mother diet; but we all know what excessive dieters do: They hold off, hold off, hold off, and the "naughty" foods become more and more attractive. Finally, they BINGE.

Here, the naughty food is emulation, and you can hardly blame fans who have waited so long and so patiently.

I wrote an e-mail to Nintendo on this issue and others just last week, on one thoughtful reader's suggestion (I can't remember who exactly it was, so I apologize!) Why? Because there IS hope. Two weeks ago, Nintendo released previously Japanese-only games on the Virtual Console, and announced that more import-days *could* be on the way. If there are a few great minds at that company who are willing to sit down and translate the original Mother (or some old Fire Emblem games...), well, perhaps we'd have a little bit of sustenance.

I urge you all to follow suit. Fans of Earthbound have always been vocal, but adding fuel to the fire can only help our cause. Become active and help us convince the big N to be more thoughtful of some of Mother's biggest fans.

Matt, I wish you the absolute best of everything in the world, greener pastures, and a world where Final Fantasy becomes great again. Thank you profusely for your great Q&A work, your sense of humor, your love of RPGs, and for your indescribable patience in keeping the untamed monster that is Sock 2 under control. I'll be with it to the end!

An enormous fan,
Adam

Matt

Adam, this really means a lot! I'll miss hearing from you. I know it's easy for me to say "Oh, I'll miss you" and "Oh, waah, thanks for the letter" to everyone who writes to me here, but it's really true- Q&A wouldn't have been nearly as fun without the personal correspondence, and so I'm really a bit attached to many of you, as I would be a friend, and the column itself, as I would a good TV show or a favourite game. My conclusion? Q&A is like a terrible drug.

Keep on playing the games you love, enjoying the pastime that unifies us all!



A few meta-Q&A questions!


Hey Matt,

I can't believe you're done already... I feel like you just began.

Matt

Wow, coincidence: Me too. My life is flying by me in the blink of an eye. No white hairs yet, though, thankfully.

I started coming to rpgamer almost 6 years ago, and the only thing I read everyday is QnA. I can't believe that readership is down, but then again I never really got fanart either.

Matt

It's true! While the site's overall traffic has increased significantly, the interaction sections: Music, fanart, and Q&A, to name a few, just aren't as popular as they used to be. My first kneejerk reaction was to take it a bit personally, but I think it's just that most people view RPGamer as chiefly a news site now. RPGs are more becoming increasingly mainstream, so I suspect that there's a little less of a closely-knit interactive community here than there used to be, and that's part of what used to pull 30+ letters into Q&A each and every day... way back when (and without the promises associated with contests, too).

It's life, I suppose.

So what to talk about? I feel almost obligated to write to you at least once more, since I've spent literally hours chuckling over all your little ramblings, so lets celebrate you (are we at the oscars?).

Matt

Ah, I'm glad to hear from you. Of course, just like always, no one is ever (or should ever!) feel obligated to write... you should feel inspired to! Either way, it's always nice to see the mail in the box.

Do you think about what you're going to say before you write it out, or do you just go off and hope it comes out well in print? I think I would be to self-aware to respond to total strangers everyday, but you've always been so inclusive. Maybe that's why I've enjoyed your writing so much.. But lets talk about video games.

Matt

Oh man, that's a tough question that no one has ever asked me! Oftentimes, if I'm bored or procrastinating, I'll take a look in my inbox before I start writing, and do some preliminary reading if there's any mail. Occasionally, I'll be very pleased with one or two and have answers bubbling in my mind until I actually get to constructing the column.

More often, though, I fly by the seat of my pants. It feels more natural that way, and it makes the column feel a little more personal- for ME. One of the biggest things I like about doing this is the conversational approach to writing responses. Even though people have written big long paragraphs well in advance, it often FEELS to me as if I'm just engaging in some kind of halfway quasi-paused-unpaused-yet-kinda-realtime conversation instead. It's hard to explain. But just writing what comes to mind helps me to achieve that feeling and to find the job enjoyable, I think.

If real life was like an rpg? I'd get tired of going to a new town every second day and having to shell out for a new version of my clothes that were made of a better material that apparently wasn't available anywhere except there... I would have bought diamond at the firstplace, thank you very much. And if I'd realized I would just find it on the fifth floor of wherever I happened to be going next, I'd be loaded. Though I do like the dynamics of a town made up of one person for every job, four children and a wise old sage...I always like to feel like everyone has their own purpose, even if it is chanting about magitek armor. Also, I'd like to be able to cast meteo (but not ultima....ultima sucks.)

Matt

Yeah- much different than real life, where so many people are just "that guy in Cubicle x" during the day. I personally would love the idea of being able to walk outside and start making big bucks by beating up easy-to-defeat enemies. With the price of Gold these days, those GP would be worth a lot!

And I totally agree with you: Final Fantasy IV's Meteo is way, way cooler than any Ultima that has ever existed. Part of it is because it's ingrained into the storyline- there's great buildup and almost "expectation" for this ultimate magic. Another part of it (a much bigger part) is the sound effect. Who here has imitated it at one point for one reason or another? *ahem* "Eeerooo, ayroooo, airrroooo, oooorrooooo!"

I just wanted to let you know that your advice on getting aquainted with the DS was totally worth it, since I"m now addicted to Luminous Arc (and my girlfriend has mario kart, which keeps here from noticing just how much time I'm wasting playing it), and I already have a long list of games on my want list for it (and for 15-30 bucks a shot, how could that be a bad thing.) Plus I like challenging children at the mall, since children are easy to beat...terrible as that sentance may read.

Matt

Man, I did not expect this column to revolve around THAT of all themes. First women, now children... what's next? Cute fuzzy kitties?

Heh heh.

Um, yes. I'm glad you took my advice. I have to admit that I had my moments, back in 2005 when I bought the handheld, where I believed that it might not turn out so successfully. "The next Virtual Boy" though? I don't think so; I'd sooner wager that by the end, the DS will be well on its way to truly compete for the title of "best-selling video game system of all time."

I could ramble on, and writing this letter makes me wish I'd written more over your time, since you really were quite good at this. Top 15, for sure. Seriously though, good luck, and feel free to name your next dragoon after me,

mrwheaters

p.s. I would also appreciate you naming your next female SLUTCAKEs12, since that was the name of my first love....ish.

Matt

Ah, but what do I do if the next character I play is a female dragoon? Somehow, mrwheaters or SLUTCAKEs12 just don't fit in terribly well with Freya's character. Eh, but maybe I'd do it for you anyway. Thanks much!



A quick bye-bye.


Matt,

You certainly surprised a lot of people when you announced your leave in three months, so imagine how we felt when you announced your leave in just two days. Talk about sudden. I'm sure that you probably got plenty of goodbye letters by now. Sorry that I'm writing mine so late, but do know that I'll miss your witty columns just as much everyone else, despite my late letter.

Matt

Yeah, it was a bit sudden, I'll admit. But really, it's been a long time coming. It's no secret that I've been more than a little swamped lately, and it was becoming more and more apparent that Q&A needed a small overhaul anyway.

Thanks a bunch, and help to make future hosts at least as successful! Succession of Q&A hosts: The Final Fantasy VIII spinoff we've all been waiting for.



More personal questions...man, I feel so selfish today.


Hey Matt!

Wow, your final Q&A. It feels so...sudden. I know you had been talking about it for a while, but this certainly was abrupt. I'm sorry to see you go, although I'm glad you're getting the chance to finish Sock. At least now you're down to one all-time-consuming bit, even if Sock is still just a little bit of detail work...just a bit.

Matt

Ahahaha, it's more than just a bit, as you probably know. As the contest as developed, I now spend about as much time on it each day as I do the column itself! Time consuming indeed, but I wouldn't do it if I didn't have a blast all the while.

So, have you even decided yet what you are going to do with your extra free time? I know from my past co-hosting experiences that they are fairly involved, so I would expect that you suddenly will have an extra couple hours of free time on your hands during the weekdays? Sleep? Gaming backlog? Mass planning for the finale of Sock?

Matt

I suspect that without Q&A to worry about, I'll save myself around ten hours per week. I have -no idea- how I'm going to spend that extra time, but I'm a bit giddy thinking about it, to be honest. Practically speaking, I have a ton of work that I should be doing, but from a gaming point of view, it's been ages since I've really been able to sit down and play RPGs like I used to. To anyone hoping to be a host sometime in the future: Expect the time that it takes to come directly out of your gaming time, and DON'T expect to get through many RPGs! It's a little ironic, but that's the way it is.

It's going to feel weird around here without you doing Q&A. I feel like I should be better able to describe it, but I'm not sure there is. For the longest time I've just gotten used to you being on the site. I know it will be a relief for you to be able to relax, but it's going to be odd not to have you here. I mean that as no slight to the other hosts, it's just always sad to see someone go. Especially as much fun as I've had with you hosting things.

So, happy travels (and gaming)! I look forward to completing Sock, and I hope you stay in touch!

Thanks for everything!

BigWook

Matt

Thanks a lot, BigWook... you've been one of my biggest contributors over the last couple of years, so I'm really grateful for your comments. And I definitely want to keep in touch! If it hasn't been apparent up until this point, I'm Canadian, and as such, MSN is my Messenger of choice. If anybody wants to add me, my "real" address is wizardofpandemonium@hotmail.com, something that I came up with during my slightly less mature years (try giving that address out in a bar- actually, don't).

If you'd rather fire me an e-mail sometime in the future, send it to that very same address, and I'll be happy to hear from you!



You knew it was coming...


Well Matt, I know you haven't been able to respond to much from me lately. Nor will I write much today, given that my computer has become an enormously expensive paperweight and I'm endeavoring to extract something from the mass of data on a mysteriously inoperative hard drive before I consign it to recycling.

Matt

Eh, I don't understand it either, but my computer has been operating E X T R E M E L Y slowly lately too, for some reason. You know that little Windows flashlight that comes up when it's "searching for files"? I get that a lot. I hope I'm not on the verge of losing my hard drive or something; that would truly be a crisis. Perhaps I should back up my contest information... yikes.

So what great thoughts can I give to you in this last letter? You've hopefully garnered that the two Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation titles deserve your time in the name of great tactical action.

Matt

Yup, you've certainly beaten that into me over your many letters!

I never stop singing the praises of Sega (even with all the horrible things that company did) because there are a lot of worthwhile titles only extant on Sega's systems that deserve recognition. The Wii is a good chance to catch up with some of them, but the Saturn and Dreamcast are excluded from the VC and will probably never be played by you. Which is a shame.

Matt

Ah, I wouldn't be so sure. One thing that this generation has taught us is that the games of the past are games to be treasured and enjoyed again. The RPGs and Adventure games, the Platformers and Puzzlers, the Shooters and Racers of previous generations are games that people of today's generation still enjoy and are still willing to pay for. Even if few Saturn games get featured "virtually" over the next few years (it's still possible on XBLA, you know), the potential is definitely there for greater exposure in the future. Be optimistic! But, be patient.

In a nod to conventionality, I'm actually playing a game I believe you've played: FFV in its Advance form. Clearly I'll have to give it a proper review in the future (which is going to be difficult without a computer of my own) but I find it worthwhile and annoyingly good at having me tramp about to trigger random battles incessantly.

Matt

I'm excited for you! Final Fantasy V is an interesting creature, as it's definitely a "transitory" title between the old brand of FF and the newer one epitomized by FFVI and VII. I really enjoy the game, despite a few of its quirks, and I hope you do too.

Enjoy your new free time, seek out Sega's legacy (as the company's recent offerings are by-and-large dispiriting), and try not to become enraged at the idiocy of fellow humans more often than your blood pressure can handle. SEGA!!!!

JuMeSyn

Matt

Ah, I let most irritations roll off my back. Except for enraged inconsiderate drivers, of course. I'll be fine!

Thanks for your dedication, JuMeSyn- you have made your mark at this site, and I'm glad to hear from you one last time.



Some more kind words.


Hey Matt

Blast! Well I guess this is goodbye...

Having worked on the site I guess I should be used to sudden departures, but you always seemed to sail through all the turmoil untouched so I have to say I was more than a little shocked when I read your Monday column today (Tuesday) at work. I'd thought we'd get at least another month's worth of columns from you!

Matt

Ah, well, that's how it goes. I've made my impression, and I'm more than happy to move aside; it's someone else's turn now, and it's time to make Q&A a better, more manageable place. Seven columns per week isn't just hard on our end; I imagine it's a little difficult to digest as readers, too.

I'll miss reading your columns; they always brightened my day at the office. And I happen to like your "white-magey" approach; it was the only reason I got up the nerve to write in the first place. I mean why would I take the time to write in to someone just to have them mock me? In any case, I don't believe I'll ever be able to play a Dragon Quest game without thinking of you. ;)

Matt

And I hope it stays that way, in response to many things you've said. I came here as a diehard Dragon Quest fan, and I'm leaving the way I came- I only hope that I managed to dispel a few terrible misconceptions and somehow open up at least a few people's eyes to this awesome series. I wouldn't love it so much if there wasn't something lovable about it. Well, duh.

I also came here with the intent of making Q&A a less sarcastic, more "meaty" column; at least, for me. I'm glad that it rang as a positive, because it really was a big risk- columnists in the past have often been very obnoxious, and while it's funny, it's also somewhat... intimidating. Plus, I just don't have that kind of personality.

Just don't expect a Curaga anytime soon- I just don't have it in me. (Not enough MP?)

Take care. Good luck with you PhD and here's hoping you get lots of gaming time in now that you don't to have to spend eight hours a week on the column.

It's been a pleasure.

Best,
Erika
aka wolfraven80

Matt

I hope so too, Erika, and I hope you get in lots of gaming-time yourself! Thanks a bunch for your support and well-wishes.



How many can I do!?


Filmore Slime -

Wow, outie five thou wit your dope and a smile huh? Well, there's not nearly enough time to fully lace your tennis shoes up on this here game now, so if you have access to cartoon network watch the latest Boondocks, A Pimp Named Slickback lays it down pretty good, also the aforementioned American Pimp documentary. Thanks for kickin' us your RPGame and enjoy the extra time you got to play these games we love.

Thug means never sayin' sorry,
Kezzy

Matt

Kezzy, I've only ever understood about 80% of what you say, but trust me that this pimpin' slime is well on his way to hittin pow and unwinding my PS2 controls yo, fo sho. Mayhap I could take some special lessons from you to learn the ins and outs of making geeky conversation non-geeky, heh heh. Seriously though, I'll sift through the channel listing next time I think about it and check out your suggestion.

Thanks much, and take it easy!



Oh, I've got more in me...


Hey Matt,

I got the game you sent me today! Thanks! There's actually something cool about getting a package from someone a whole country away. Liking it so far, though I've only played maybe an hour and a half so far. And actually, I unexpectedly found Disgaea 2 yesterday, so it looks like I'll have several good games to keep me busy until...well, I dunno, but still, it's awesome. (If I find a Zyxenfryx or however it's spelled, does that make me a better person?)

Matt

Ahhh, I still can't believe that they took my silly name-entry. What a strange legacy to leave upon the video game world, eh? And yes, you've spelled it *perfectly*.

I'm glad that Contact arrived safely, you first-big-Sock-2-winner you. It's one of the DS's earliest RPGs, but I've heard good things. You'll have to report to Sean your conclusions, if and when you draw any!

I've attempted the whole RPG creation thing as well...I wrote down a whole trilogy of ideas in the form of a strategy guide, it's a surprisingly good way to get ideas organized...it's sort of a parody on RPGs a la Beath of Flams (if you don't know what that is, do a search, you won't be disappointed). I can send you the ideas sometime if you're interested in sharing ideas. I haven't done anything of that sort for over a year now, but I still come up with some ideas occasionally, I just feel like I don't have the time to write down ideas for what I envision as a 25-40 hour game (and, like you may have realized with my site, my creative energies have been going towards something a little faster to put together).

Matt

Yes, for sure. RPG creation is a frustrating joy. It's frustrating because planning it out carefully can be very trying of one's patience, and when you sit down to think of it, it's mind-boggling how many things must actually be considered. It's joyous, however, because it actually gives you the chance to invest your creative juices to pump out EXACTLY the RPG that you want to see. Frustrated that main characters are always moody morons? Do you wish that storylines had more interesting twists and turns? When you're in control, an RPG could be anything you want it to be.

Sadly, I don't think I really have any burning questions or insightful answers for you for your last column, but I wish you luck with whatever you decide to get into after the Q&A stint is over!

Matt

That old thing! Now that I'm done here, I might get back to updating it more regularly, so if you'd like to check that out or add me as a friend, please feel free. The link is here. The last time I updated was in April, and it was a bit of an emotionally-charged rant on Virginia Tech; clickers beware!

For anyone interested too, hunt around on Facebook and add me as a friend. Also, add the Scrabulous application, because I'm always up for the chance to destroy yet another victim in my favourite board game. <3 (Now would be a great time for a "MWAAHAHAHAHAHA!")



OK, this is the last one...


Hello Matt, First, its sad to see you leave the QnA this soon. I figured we had a few more weeks left with you as our moderately evil QnA host, since SOCK2 will be around for a little while longer at least. BUT, I digress. You were a cool QnA host while you were still around, and I was glad to call you a friend. I'm glad I was able to mail you that Rivera Promised Land game 2 1/2 years ago as a "prize" for taking over Googleshang as the weekday host, and you made this column into one of the few outlets I have in my life where I could be myself, and for all that, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Matt

For anyone who didn't know, BLG revealed to me very early on the amazing generosity that I've come to witness from so many of the people here. Just for arriving as the new host, I got sent his copy of Riviera, and went on to love the crap out of it. What a great, offbeat, innovative game! I likely wouldn't have played it if it wasn't for you. I ended up passing it on to somebody else as another prize in the first contest, but I don't remember who it was.

For those that are curious about that outlet part, I have a handicapped brother at home which causes me to lack a social life except when I'm out of the house for school or surfing the web online when I'm at home with my brother. To make things weirder for me, I lost my mom and grandma to cancer back in 2004, and I became responsible for my parents' house. This responsibility has made me sell all the RPGs I owned in order to keep paying bills and stuff, but I still read your site every day since I'm an avid fan of RPGs and one day hope to get into the fold again as an active RPGamer. Seriously, I barely have any social life at all, and once I figure out what I want to do with my life, I hope to go back and backlog thru all the great games that have been out for a while since 2004 and beyond. That's the story behind my handle, by the way...I'm BLG, aka BackLoGger. But yeah, my point is your site helped me feel like I belonged in the world, and again I'd like to thank you for that. So, thank your for your 350 columns here.

Matt

I'm glad that I managed to touch you; it doesn't sound like you've had a terribly easy life, and I don't mean to be trite, even if it comes off that way. A lot of us need to realize just how lucky we are, because few of us have to deal with the sorts of things or make the sorts of sacrifices that have become part of your everyday life.

Keep smiling though, and aim high. One day, you've got to believe that you'll be able to play alongside the rest of us once again as you've always wanted to. You have one life and one only, and living it to the fullest means being able to do the things you love. Remember to leave some time for you.

Second, have you thought about leaving as one of your hot topics asking people what dream host would your RPGamer audience want as a weekday columnist? Everyone enjoyed Lusipurr as the QnAbuser for that day, and there were probably some memorable contestants from that brief weekend columnist game the QnApprentice that could try out for the position. Of course, they would need the time available to do such a thing...Sean did one of his recent weekend columns during classtime, right? AND for you to do this column takes/took at least two or three hours out of your day to do, right? No wonder you're leaving...but yeah, what do you think?

Matt

Sean does a great job now, and I'm confident he'll continue to do provide us with top-notch columns in the future. Part of the reason (a less important reason) that Q&A is being restructured to a three-days-per-week format is to combat this wear-and-tear that inevitably hits the host. We're human beings, after all, and an extra part-time-job's worth of unpaid labor every week comes with a hefty toll after a long while... there's no avoiding it.

And yes, a few people, including Lusipurr, are very interested in popping their head in from time to time to provide a different viewpoint and a little variety.

Third, for anyone to ask about the possibility of SOCK 3 would be out of their mind since SOCK 2 is still in play...its too soon to consider! But, how about after SOCK2 ends, you could work with Sean as a guest judge in deciding who would be worthy to create a SOCK successor for the site? After SOCK2 ends in November, maybe Sean could resurrect the THONG game with THONG3, and after that, SOCK3 could be up and running by then in the hands of someone other than Matt. You two could probably work with other RPGamers on this site to create a new text RPG since that's what SOCK seems to be...a text Dragon Quest RPG, essentially. What do you think?

Matt

It'd be fun, for sure... but I really can't speculate on that at all. I've been worn thin enough lately, so if there ever is a third contest, sometime in the future, it will be sometime in the distant future, I'm afraid. I DO have so many other wonderful untapped ideas that I'd love to use...

Finally, in contributing something other than talk of QnA and SOCK, I thought up a new type of online RPG...a YouTube RPG. On YouTube, if you search hard enough, you would find people re-enacting live battles from FF9 and such. If you were well organized enough to create a story on par with SOCK2, you might be able to create an interactive RPG where you would have to motion-capture your moves to actually make a move in the game. I know this is being done already with the DS touchscreen, the WiiMote and Nunchuck, and the Playstation EyeToy and SIxaxis technology for the PS3. However, the YouTube RPG would be smilar to a FreeWare RPG in that its cheap and easy and that it just requires you to upload onto a YouTube channel you saying "I use item X!" or acting out an attack on Monster Y. It's essentially a console-free, but online-camera-required way to have fun with online RPGs. After typing this out, I see its a lot of trouble to actually make happen compared to ready-made online RPGs, but I'm still curious as to your opinion on the potential of this idea.

Matt

It's a neat idea, but probably not for the faint of heart- the coordination required would be quite something. But, it would be the dream of RPGamers who are also big fans of D&D (or anything Saving Throw-related), not to mention all of the cosplayers out there. Why don't you start one?

I've said my peace for now, but I want to wish you good luck Matt on life beyond RPGamer. I'll still write in to Sean and your eventual successor, but maybe never to you again at length like this except for SOCK2. Beyond that, see you around.

Have a nice life,
BLG

Matt

Thanks a lot, BLG, for opening up and sharing your life with us. It's a courageous thing to do, and I really, truly, wish you well also.



QUICKIES

Thank you, thank you, thank you for reinvigorating my interest in QnA. You rock--all the best after this. (Tho I'm sure we'll still be in touch.)

-Mike

Matt

I rock. You scissors. I win. *smash* Hee hee.

Goodbye Matt!

--
Chad Riley, Harbinger of Boredom

Matt

Is it good that a Harbinger of Boredom is bidding me farewell? What does this mean for me??

(RPGamer - Matt) = 0
...And sadly thatīs a very real number :(

- Alael

Matt

There's an error in your math. I get that RPGamer - Matt = Ma(RPGer-2t) myself. ;)



IN CLOSING

This is it! There are so many letters left that I didn't get the chance to respond to, and I apologize profusely. For all of the happy wishes from Leaper, FirstAid, FoxKelfonne, DMJ, Knighttrain, The Dark Chevalier, Ice^Tiger, Strawberry Eggs, Ken, and anyone else that I might have regrettably forgotten... I thank you too, and for sure, I'll take your farewells with me.

If you take just one thing during my RPGamer run, it's this: Remember to always keep an open mind, and never judge a game exclusively by its review scores. No matter which game you can think of, I can almost guarantee you that someone out there has really enjoyed it, and you might be that someone. If you look at screenshots and hear about news on an upcoming RPG that has you really excited, don't lose that excitement just because some random site gives it a mediocre mark. Try it anyway, and make the judgment for yourself.

And once more, please continue to support this column and ALL of Interaction on RPGamer in my absence! I don't want the place to crumble while I'm gone, but the only way to keep interaction alive is to interact. Enjoy the fanart and music, and if you have the time and ability, contribute. RPGamer was made great by the fantastic community-interaction aspect, and it's up to readers, including myself, to keep that aspect alive and healthy.

Thanks so much! One last time, I bid you all a fond farewell.



Send a Letter!

Unanswered Letter Backlog: 476 - actually, that's the total number of "unread" in my inbox, most of which is likely spam.



slimey@rpgamer.com
Matt will continue to live on his little game, as Godmaster!


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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



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