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Deterministic Finite Automata September 18, 2006

Josh - 11:44 EST

EDIT: Internet crapped out on me last night...so this is a little late. ^^;

It's odd...you know, when you work out, you're tired, but effectively awake for the next few hours? Gotta love the way the body works. I got a whole two hours of sleep last night, went to PT, then to class. Worked out a bit more during my fencing class, and then decided to forego a lunch to head to the gym and hop on the bike for about 20-25 minutes. Now, I'm wide awake. Sweet.

Oh yeah, not to toot my own horn or anything, but...

Everyone who knows me

Liar.

Yeah, ok. So, to toot my own horn, I beseech you to take a look at the Editorials section today and watch as I make it my mission to take down idiocy on the internet. Honestly, being unimaginably moronic should not go unpunished. Sorry, Joystiq, but I'm watching you.

Colbert

You're ON NOTICE, *****!

Oh yeah...you heard him.

Hopefully the new THONG format will be better. 'Cause honestly, I like giving tough questions, but I also want to see you make progress...but those that try to get the harder ones should be well rewarded, too! There's been a change to the Spiky items, due to the potch inflation - Only one of each type may be in play at any one time. It's up to you guys to try and keep them for yourselves...pay attention to potch levels, and then try to steal them or hope (hope?) they hit you with it and you keep it. If one is destroyed, another will be placed in the shop.




L E T T E R S
Comma comma comma comma comma chameleon...


Hiya Ouro,

Uurgh, Chinroku_sama's letter definitely scared me. I mean, Quest 64! Hey...pssst...reckon he's been possessed by the Devil (or your nearest RPG alternative) to try and subvert your column? By the way, how many contenders for the column are there? It seems every time someone guests hosts they indulge us with their diabolical plots to become Ruler of Q&A. And just who is Ruler of Q&A? Is it you or Matt, or do you just share co-Rulership? Or is it a Democracy.....

Josh

Contenders? I think I'm the only Q&A host in history to gain my hosting spot completely by subversion and trickery. It'll take quite the person to try to take that away from me....Mweeheehehehe...

We share the Q&A throne. I'm the evil side, he's the moderately-evil side. We don't really have a good side, and I don't think we ever will. So...you're pretty much stuck with what you've got. Is that ok?

Of course it's ok! You don't get a choice! ^^

Hehe, thank god for multiple choice questions. I have a 1 in 5 chance of getting them right, right? Anyway, I just want to say that I totally agree with Zohar Gilboa about people being obsessed with categorising everything, which can often put people off something they otherwise might have enjoyed (regarding the FFXII example, if I was told it was an Action-RPG, I'd immediately assume it to be a more hack-and-slash game than the great and complex game it is).

So, on a final note, please, everyone, don't bring back those demons from the darkness in my past. I'm looking at you, Chinroku_sama!

Genjuu realises he used 4 commas in one sentence. Is that legal?

Josh

Exactly. It's understandable to form some opinions before a game is released, but until you have a complete grasp of what the game is (which usually doesn't happen until its release), then just talk about its core concepts, rather than some vague label you've created for it.

Don't worry, Genjuu, 4 commas, while quite a lot, isn't nearly that many, especially since I've been able to, at times, use as many as 7, or even 8!



Wahoooo!


Tovarisch Ourobolus...

One reason my letters can be so lengthy is because I use dial-up. I find it a better use of my time to write out a small paragraph for a letter to you while another page is loading than to twiddle my thumbs. Of course I am also a bit long-winded at times. But surely you aren't the only one reading this stuff. Bainick, Arros Raikou, Genjuu - you've read my ramblings before! Have you deserted me now? Am I shouting at the dark?

Another reminiscence regarding that Action Replay I just lost for the Saturn. Because the Saturn's internal memory isn't very large, I had the habit of backing up my files on the Action Replay. Since it's dead, all that data is now lost. My Symphony of the Night files? Gone. All 7 completed Dragon Force 2 saves? Gone. My Radiant Silvergun data (which is quite possibly the best top-down shooter ever made - no competition) - also gone. Worst of all - my Shining Force III save from when I leveled every unpromoted person up to level 17 (the last level at which any stat gains happen), promoted them, leveled everyone to level 30, then promoted them again in Scenario 3 and leveled them to 30 as Apostles of Light - all gone. That cumulative save file took me in the neighborhood of 250 hours to accomplish. I was blindingly angry the day this happened, now I'm just very sad because I don't think I can ever invest that amount of time into the game again - though I will play it again.

Josh

;_;

I hate when that happens...I had a PSX memory card that died one day, and I lost practically all the RPG data I owned all in one shot. I was so pissed, I just stared at the screen for days without wanting to play.

And yes, the Saturn version of Symphony of the Night has Maria with her triple-jump and invincibility technique. Nya ha ha ha! It also has the Underground Garden and the Cursed Prison with their reverses - and you'll never see either without a Saturn! Plus a tough fight with Maria over whatever that thing is that makes Shaft visible when fighting Richter, plus some good music not in the PlayStation version! Like this track http://gh.ffshrine.org/soundtracks/1344/5 (go down to the click here link, I can't link you straight to the track) that plays in the reverse Underground Garden! Oh, and the voice acting is really good even if I can't understand most of it - because I do recognize a lot of the actors from various anime. Unlike the English voice acting - which I've heard enough of to laugh at. Like this: http://www.audioatrocities.com/games/castlevania-sotn/clip1.mp3

Josh

The graphics quality was lower than PSX...so there. I think. *runs*

Last night and this morning I struggled over a certain battle in Langrisser 2 more than I ought to have. Now, the battle itself is no cakewalk by any means, but what makes it worse is my having an NPC who must stay alive. An enemy set an expanding fire onto the field, making me have to rush things because any unit caught in the fire dies. So of course my moronic NPC ally marches out to within one space of the fire and when it spreads she dies, costing me the battle. I moved my own soldiers around repeatedly trying to deter her from this - but then she just sat there and waited for the fire to envelop her. Argh! I had to restart the whole damned battle. What experiences of this sort can you lay claim to?

Incidentally, the fellow who set the fire appears to be named Eggbert. He's rather powerful by Langrisser standards but... Eggbert?

Josh

Ugh...AI was really lacking back then...and still nowadays, in some cases. I had some issues in Final Fantasy Tactics with that same sort of problem...stupid, stupid NPCs...

Lately I've been thinking strongly about getting Grandia for the Saturn. If I recall correctly your introduction to the series was 3, which you just beat a couple of weeks ago: what have you heard about the first one, and whether or not Sony whiffed badly with its translation? I KNOW the voice acting isn't anything good except to laugh at: http://www.audioatrocities.com/games/grandia/clip1.mp3

Josh

Nope, I played the first one! Well, most of it anyway. I didn't really mind the voice acting all that much, and overall, I had a great time with the game, and would recommend it to anyone with a PSX! I don't recall the translation being anything too horrible that nothing was left out that needed to be in...I think you're ok.

Now then. The Virtual Console may very well be unveiled to us this week, if the rumor mill is accurate! But what titles on the Turbo Grafx-16 and the Turbo CD are worth acquiring? My only experience with the console was a good 15 years ago when I slammed a bunch of stuff around in Bonk's Adventure, so I'm pretty much an open slate here.

Josh

I never touched it. So, I'm at a loss. Any of you other readers have any ideas?

Oh, the poor Game Gear - its pitiful battery life is probably what doomed it against the Game Boy back in the 90's. But it did have one title I'll wager very few people on RPGamer know anthing about: Shining Force Final Conflict. Released in 1996 in Japan only. I gather it links Shining Force 1 and Shining Force 2 cohesively, which had not been done before. Along with packing those typically enjoyable Shining Force battles. Tracking it down now... well, buying a Game Gear, about 20 AAs, and the cartridge itself (which is a mighty rare one) oughtn't run more than $200! Or there's the ROM world. Is there anything else on the Game Gear that has potentially stood the test of time?

Josh

Sonic. And that puzzle game...what was it, "Columns," or something?

Ever heard of Dynamite Headdy? It's a typically intense Treasure title - and one that is only on the Genesis, so you probably haven't played it. I like it but suck too much to beat it - about par for the course. While I'm talking about Treasure, that Astro Boy title on GBA is really good. And I just got Gunstar Heroes thanks to the seller using Parcel Post to skim some money off the shipping fee - but it's in good condition so I gave him positive feedback.

Josh

I didn't play it, no, but I do remember it. *resists urge to grab an emulator* I tell ya, the urge to do that is overpowering sometimes.

I'd send you the Medovnik if I wasn't positive the postal service would wreck it.

Josh

Meanie. Just write "fragile!"

Guilty Gear. This series just seems ripe for expansion beyond the fighting realm. And it's got air guitars! Whoo!

Josh

Maybe an action game? I don't really see an RPG in its future. Good fighting games, though. ^^

Has anyone ever investigated why it is that no Working Designs titles ever made their way to Nintendo consoles? It may have something to do with Nintendo's usage of only cartridges for so long with no Working Designs title being on a cartridge - but is there more to the story?

Josh

Probably carts. Their games generally had a great deal of cutscenes, in much more detail than an SNES and such could handle. They probably also had some working relationship with Sega.

Seeing all these Pikemen in Langrisser 2 makes me wonder why pikes don't play a bigger role in RPGs at large. Pikes in Langrisser are good against cavalry but impede maneuverability enough to make the pikemen vulnerable to infantry, but as I recall Swiss pikemen in the Renaissance-era were highly reputed due to their ability to withstand damn near anything. Thoughts? The Economist recently had a little article celebrating the 25th anniversary of the PC! Let us all celebrate as well! Look back at IBM's unit for sale in 1981 that had a 4 kilobyte hard drive - ooooh!

Josh

Well, it's just a point on the end of a really, really, long stick. Guys on horses aren't too good at blocking that...guys on foot...not so much. I'm not too learned on the maneuverability of Swiss pikemen in the Renaissance era, though. It's been on my todo list to learn for so long, too!!

Do earlier Koei games count as RPGs? I've played some of Liberty or Death and Pacific Theater of Operations, plus Gemfire. Modern Koei games seem to go the Dynasty Warriors hack & slash route however.

Josh

For the most part, I just thought they were War Simulations...but...in an effort to keep up the anti-labelling stigma I've created, I will just leave this one alone... ^^:

Even though I frequently don't read it comprehensively, I like to have the manual for my games. Hell, even if they're Japanese I like to have it. And the case seems to be lost for cartridges so easily, but I absolutely hate having cartridges by themselves. Yourself?

Josh

Yes, the case just seems so damn empty when there's nothing else in there. They could color the inside of the case or something!

I just watched Radar Secret Service. Track it down if you dare. Last Clear Chance paves the way, but the movie is dull. Once you get past people thinking radar can do anything early on, they just stand around and talk in a very gray fashion. Good luck - a friend of mine can never make it through the whole movie in one go.

Josh

;_; Kinda like Dude, Where's My Car?

Week after this I may very well go full time in working, which means all the ADHD-afflicted readers won't have to suffer through overly long prose! 'Applause from all avenues, confetti streams the Web, crying in the streets.'

JuMeSyn

Josh

Oh, don't worry. I still have another letter from you in the inbox. ^^ Until then, JuMeSyn!



Aw... ;_;


And it was all Ouro...

Anyway i'll send this to you Ouro, my trip to the "Australain Pokemon Tour".

7am Wake Up, Have shower, forget breakfast, leave home.
8am Reach Geelong, eat brakfast at the evil Capital letter get fuel.
9am Reach the Western outskirts of Melbourne. Take the tunnel, bad mistake for my clostaphobia.
10am Near Destination, although unsure of where exactly destination is due to the fact that i'm what the city folk call a country boy.
10:15am Reach complex
10:20am driving around looking for complex building
10:25am driving around looking for complex building
10:30am enter gamestore to ask where the Pokemon tour is, surprisingly they're not exactly sure either.
10:32am find tour; first impressions: that's a big line, second impressions: that's the weirdest line i've ever seen, third impression: oh that's not the line,n that's justall of the people jammed into a tight space they're calling the pokemon tour.
10:33am sign up and get a pokemon tour card, and enter the competioton for A single black DS lite, as the Australian Nintendo Corperation don't have the money to other more then 1! Second thoughts whilst filling details out, how much are these guys going to sell this for to the big business people?
10:35am they were defintly not planning for this many people especially with how close the playying booths were to each other, I notice that Pokemon Ranger has no one playing any of the demo's, not that I can reach it over the strangly placed table with very little kids colouring in Pokemon with crayons.....
10:40am Hmmm they'res more people gathering around the front, I wonder if that's where the downloadable Pokemon are.
10:45 Still waiting
10:50 Still waiting
10:55 A spot opens up on the Mario 3 on 3 hoops demo and I quickly shove old ladies and little kids over to get it as frankly i've been waiting a long time. I find it very enjoyable though I don't like the enermy Shy Guy as Waluigi seems to have a hard time grabbing the Bball from him.]
10:56 Slam dunk hoy.
10:57 So that's how you pass.
10:58 Is that an opening at Star Fox DS, damn now there's someone playing Mario 3 on 3
11:05 Still waiting
11:10 "Hey do you know where about the downloadable pokemon are?" "Nope I thought you knew?".
11:15 See a lady about 50 wipe clean a kid about 15. Feel slightly better.
11:20 Finally find a person and ask where about the downloadable Pokemon are. "Um like sorry but we don't have anything like that"
"............................" (In Bainick's head "%^$%%&^%#@%%&%@#%")
11:25 Angryly leave cursing Nintendo for making such a crappy Tour (And all I got was a losy Tour Pass) AND after looking at the main site, Find out that the Topy's R US stores that have the downloadable pokemon, are all in the Eastern Suburbs, completly ignoring those of us in the West.

So I think you get the jist of it.

Bainick is annoyed at the lack of thought put into this by the Nintendo crew. SHAPE UP

Josh

Ouch ;_;

I'm sorry to hear that it turned out so horribly, Bainick! Here's hoping that you find some way to enjoy Pokemon in the near future! Maybe we'll get some sort of Pokemon prize around here somewhere...



Mmm...Taco?


What game do you most want to see a sequel for? Unrealistically, I'd love to see a Planescape: Torment sequel. More realistically, I hope Bethesda Softworks comes through with the Fallout 3 rights they picked up. Baldur's Gate III has been a long time coming as well. The day Black Isle died, I was a sad panda.

Josh

Mmmm...Fallout 3. I...want...now. I hated Fallout Tactics, so another entry in the same vein as the original series would be great. I...think I need to sit down now...

I'm looking at picking up some older games (PSX-era). I'm specifcally looking at picking up Koudelka, Vanguard Bandits, and/or Persona 1 or 2. What do you think the best sleeper hit PSX RPG was? I think the best PSX sleeper hit would have to be Arc the Lad Collection, if only because of Arc the Lad II. I would have actually enjoyed the collection more if they had excluded Arc I and III...oh, and Arena. Hmm...That only leaves Arc II. Guess that isn't much of a collection, huh?

Vicissitude

Josh

Koudelka was decent, if a little slow-moving. I didn't play VB or Persona 1, but Persona 2 was quite good. Sleeper hits, though...Hm.

Kartia: World of Fate was a pretty good TRPG title. I also enjoyed Threads of Fate...it wasn't anything spectacular, but it was a nice, easygoing Action-RPG. Speaking of which, if you haven't played Alundra, go play it NOW.



Come on down, you're the next contestant on the...oh, wait. Copyrights. Right.


Hey Josh, I want in on this new THONG version. Can I be McDohl? I don't see anyone using that icon. Ideally, I'd be the one that spins round and round on that site you linked to, but I'll take a regular-old McDohl too.

Josh

*Waves his hands*

*Puff of smoke*

Presto, Chang-o...And...here's your bunny!

Oh. You wanted McDohl. Yeah, I can do that. Here.

After avoiding RPGs for a few weeks in favor of God of War and the Half-Life series, I just started playing Elder Scrolls IV. I know I'm behind the times on this one, but still...my God. A guy could spend forever playing that game.

I mean, Morrowind didn't really do it for me. I own it, and I kept TRYING to get into it, but the utter lack of structure always kind of overwhelmed me. Just having a mark on your map to shoot for, let alone being able to travel instantaneously if you want, is enough to finally get me hooked on an Elder Scrolls game.

That said, I'm trying to limit myself so that I don't end up slavishly devoted to an imaginary world. Or at least not just one. Plus I won Civilization IV on eBay (for dirt cheap, I might add; eBay is largely awesome) and that'll be a whole other time-sucker when it arrives. I keep getting games I don't have the time to play; Oblivion is probably the worst thing I could've possibly purchased.

Having such a big backlog is doubly frustrating because I'm constantly talking about games that have been out forever. I just finished Alter Code F last month, for crying out loud. My talking about how much it sucks would make way more sense if I were doing it last Christmas when I got it. And in five more months I'll be like, "Wow, Gladius wasn't very good, was it?"

Well, that's just stupid.

-TV's Adam

Josh

I completely understand. I start playing Morrowind, and then I never give a crap about doing the main quest. I still have yet to accomplish the second quest in that chain...I get to Balmora, and then start doing whatever I feel like doing. However, I haven't given Oblivion a try yet, and I dunno if I will...but who knows what the future will hold?

I still need to finish ACF. The fact that I bought that third PS2 Prince of Persia game a few days ago doesn't help that either. ^^;;



Ourosaga?


As you may've read in the Slime's column, I finished Xenosaga III recently, and found myself at least satisfied by the ending. What about it satisfied you so much (as I gather you were, from the column in which you first metnioned you finished it)? Don't have to get into spoilers, but what qualities of it made you feel like it was all worth your time and effort? Do you think we'll ever get the conclusion to the saga anytime soon? And what do YOU think on whether Xenogears and Xenosaga are "supposed to be" connected?

Josh

Well, I always go for the underdog...and

*MAJOR SPOILERS* When Allen finally gets Shion...I went nuts. It was fantastic. There's an Allen in every guy, so...you know. Squee! Also, I think they cleaned it all up nicely. I was so sad when Jin died, but I was still happy that he did it protecting his friends. There was just so much going on in the ending, that I don't think that it could have ended any better. *END SPOILERS*

Eh...as for being connected...I doubt it, now. Sure, they put a lot of cameos and such in the game, but only a few of them even seemed like they could have formed a connection. I'd still love to see it happen, but I just don't know. I'll be the first in line, should it happen, though.





T H O N G
Combat Log

Luca Blight begins to charge up.
Leaper moves to Tile 11.
Slimey moves to Tile 14.
Bainick moves to Tile 7.
Draconn moves to Tile 14.
Donovan moves to Tile 7.
Arros Raikou moves to Tile 4.
Slashlen moves to Tile 18.
PureLunatic moves to Tile 16.
William.T moves to Tile 15.
Arpijy moves to Tile 12.
Carabbit moves to Tile 5.
Vicissitude moves to Tile 8.
Kupomogli moves to Tile 9.
Aurelius moves to Tile 15.
Omm moves to Tile 7.
Aylee moves to Tile 9.
Tabor moves to Tile 17.
Tvsadam moves to Tile 1.


Previous THONG Rounds!

Selections for characters can be found at the following sites:

Suikoden Characters

Suikoden 2 Characters

Click here for the rules and lists of items and prizes!

Luca Blight

Mweeheehee...I can feel you all trembling with fear!

Answer to #L7: C. IVs and EVs
Individual Values and Effort Values are essentially hidden statistics in the later Pokemon games that affect the other statistics depending on each Pokemon.

Answer to #L8: C. 15.
You fight Yakra I in 600AD. You fight Yakra XIII in 1000AD. So there are 11 Yakras in between those two...35 x 11 = 385. So therefore Yakra XIII was born 385 years after 600AD, or 985AD. In 1000AD, he is 15 years old.

#L9. 4 men need to cross a bridge. Person 1 can make it across in 1 minute, Person 2 in 2 minutes, Person 3 in 5 minutes, and Person 4 in 10 minutes. They only have ONE flashlight, which they need to cross the bridge. The bridge is only wide enough that only up to two men can go at a time. They cannot throw the flashlight across the bridge, they must bring it across somehow. If two men are walking across the bridge, it takes them as long as it takes the slower man. What's the shortest time it takes them to cross?

A. 10 min.
B. 12 min.
C. 15 min.
D. 16 min.
E. 17 min.
F. 20 min.

THONG Question

Answer to #7: B. Claude
This refers to one of Claude's annoying after-battle quotes from Star Ocean 2: Second Story, where he says "That looks like it's about 80 points," or something like it. He says it entirely too often, so this question should have been a cake-walk.

Answer to #8: A. Spinning Wheel
You know, that thingy that Rumplestiltskin spins the gold thread on. It's sitting right there, in the bottom right of the room! :P

#9.Difficulty: Hard
Fei Fong Wong enters battle against three enemies. He dispatches the first one with Senretsu. He then destroys the next one with Fukei. Last, he utterly ravages the final enemy with Yamikei. How many buttons needed to be pressed for this sequence of events?

A. 10
B. 11
C. 12
D. 13
E. 14

C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

Have a good week, guys! I gotta head to Delaware for a day or two on Thursday, but I -should- be back Friday...barring any strange traffic accidents. See ya later!


ourobolus@rpgamer.com
***Josh hates this homework.


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Anyone else?

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