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ASK OURO
Well Well Well Well September 25, 2006

Josh - 6:06 EST

Man, I really need to remember to go to bed at a decent hour before PT. Otherwise, no amount of working out is going to get me going so much as to keep me awake the entire day. As it stands, my legs are sore, I don't really feel like moving, and I want to go sleep for a week.

However, I do think I look quite good in these two new shirts I bought. Maybe I can scrounge up some sense of style after all!

Gotta add a restriction, guys. After the large increase in potch gained, it's come to my attention that there's going to be an onslaught at some point, and honestly, I just think it needs to be toned down a bit (not the carnage, but the rate at which the carnage happens. ^^;)

So...

  • You may only hold 3 items at a time.
  • Much like Matt's column, there is now a limited amount of each item per week. It's not a huge amount, but there's a decent amount.
  • Some prices have also changed.
  • More items will be added this coming week. Promise. ^^
  • Rushing Blast's spell description has been clarified.




L E T T E R S
Noob! I...uh...mean...Hi.


Dear [whosoever receives this mail],

Hello there. I'm a pretty new visitor to RPGamer, and am just getting to know the magnitude of the site, as well as keeping up with daily updates. However, I must admit that I'm completely lost as to what most of the "community" features are (roundtable? saving throw?). I'm not even entirely sure of the structure of these Q&As. Would you mind giving a short break down/introduction to each of the features on the left-navigation bar under "Community"?

Josh

No problem. Welcome to the site!

Q&A - Readers such as yourself send in mail either asking us RPG-related (or just games in general) questions, or they just rant and rave about their opinions. Either one is good. Just be prepared for some commentary from either me or Matt. ^^ Updated daily.

Currents - While it hasn't been updated in awhile, it's basically a more general overview of recent happenings in the Videogame industry, complete with stock quotes and business transactions. They also display the top sales in recent history. Updated...bi-weekly, I think?

Editorials - I work over here too. Readers and staff members submit editorials (which are essentially essays based on opinion) about some aspect of the gaming industry, or games in general. Things such as "Why Kefka was such a great villain," or even "Why Jack Thompson can eat a fat one," are the sorts of things you might find there. Updated weekly.

Fan Art - Pretty self-explanatory. Readers submit fan art they draw of RPG characters and what not. They have a contest every year called OmniArt, too. Updated weekly.

Fanfiction - Readers and staff submit stories that are based off of some aspect of an RPG's world, but with different plots or extensions of existing plots. Like, "What Yuffie did after the party defeated Sephiroth," and such.

Japandemonium - Sorta like Currents, except it deals with the state of affairs over in Japan. Updated bi-weekly (not sure)?

MMORPGamer - Covers happenings in MMORPGs, such as World of Warcraft and Guild Wars. Updated bi-weekly (not sure)?

Sound Test - Readers submit their own offerings of remixed songs from RPGs. These range from MIDI files to MP3 files, and cover practically any RPG we've got. Updated weekly.

Saving Throw - Covers Pen-and-Paper RPGs, or Tabletop RPGs, if you prefer. Think Dungeons & Dragons. Updated weekly.

Reviews - Also called "Points of View." This is the weekly column devoted to the slew of reviews from both readers and staff members. They maintain an archive of all of the reviews done in the past, as well. Updated weekly.

Themes - Kinda like FanArt, but it's devoted to things like Desktop Wallpapers, Winamp Skins, and Box art. Think "Practical" Fan Art.

Roundtables - I used to help run this section. Essentially, once a month, they gather a bunch of staff members and readers, shove them in a chat room, and discuss the topic of the month, which could range from RPG voice-acting to the upcoming console wars. The transcript of the chat is then posted. Updated monthly.

Also, what's with the games at the end of the columns? I see two different games being played at the end of both "Ask Matt" and "Ask Ouro" columns; how does one play/join these games? And is there an archive of the little quiz question at the bottom of each?

Thanks.
--
-Phang Zhansheng
(HCI4O18)

Josh

My contest is THONG (The Heroic Ordeal of the New Generation), which works as such: Answer trivia, move along the board, cast spells on other players to hinder their progress or help yours, use items to help your progress or hinder others', and potentially win a game or some cool swag.

Matt's contest is SOCK (The Spectacular Ongoing Contest of Knowledge) which works as so: Answer trivia, gain points, cast spells/use items on other players to drop their ranking or raise yours, and potentially win a game or some cool swag.

Both contests also offer Q&A hosting opportunities along with the aforementioned prizes. The two contests are independent of each other, so in order to play both, you have to join both. If you want to join the contests, there are links to the rules on each of our columns, so just follow what it says there! ^^

An archive would be a good idea. I'll have to get to that at some point. Matt already has about 300+ questions, so making an archive might be a bit annoying for him...I might go ahead and start mine, though.

Anyway, welcome again, and thanks for writing!



Any reason to pimp this video is a good one.


Ouro,

Running short on time, so here's a quickie. Which next gen systems do you own or will you own by the end of this year? Which coming games seem to have impressed you the most in this next gen offering?

- Macstorm

Josh

I tell you, this question is getting harder and harder to answer. I really have no desire to get an XBox360. There just aren't enough games out for the system that I'm interested in.

I will definitely own a Wii, supposing I can get my hands on one. First off, I'm impressed with the initial offerings into Nintendo's already sterling franchises (Metroid, Mario, Zelda, etc.), and the potential for me to abuse the Virtual Console to its fullest will undoubtedly rear its ugly head in my home.

I'm not really on the fence about the PS3, so much as just wondering when the right time to get it will be. Once MGS4 hits, I'll probably buckle down and buy it, if not already. White Knight Story also looks absolutely AMAZING, and I will probably wet myself with joy should the gameplay live up to its graphical counterpart. The battle in that video looks pretty sweet, as it looks like -actual- swordfighting, with shield blocking and everything, rather than some number that produces a probability that you block. Oh, and did I mention that the graphics border on tear-inducing? Sheesh. I'm going to definitely keep my eye on this one. I mean, when the MENUS look awesome, then you have to wonder.

Also, I have no idea what kind of game this is, but holy crap does it look pretty.



Did I forget to mention I have no artistic ability whatsoever?


What's your favorite art style in an RPG? I'm a big fan of the way Baten Kaitos looks. Not so much how it plays, but oh well. It's easily the most beautiful game on the Gamecube of any genre. The seemingly hand-painted backgrounds remind me of the Chrono games' art style.

Vicissitude

Josh

Anime-style is...ok. Chrono Trigger was pretty good about it. However, one of my favorites in any game I've played so far was SaGa Frontier II. I loved the whole watercolor theme with the backgrounds. While it didn't translate too well into battles, running around the countryside was always a treat for me. So ultimately, I too prefer the "painted" look, but I think that if they are going to do it the way I like it, it should be in a less realistic manner, stylized highly in favor of vibrant colors and originality, over realism.



Ah...grumblings...let me taste them...


Oh, sure, the virtual console. I'm not sure how I feel about that, now that I've heard each title you download will cost between $5 and $10. I guess it would be nice to see some of those old-school RPGs, like maybe the Dragon Warrior series. Though I find myself wondering what it is they're going to PUT on the virtual console. I'm almost certainly getting a Wii, and I'm interested as to what I'll be able to find - though probably not purchase - from older systems.

At the same time, would the experience be changed by playing it with the Wii's weird-ass controller? I mean, there's a bunch of old games my girlfriend likes, but would she be able to accustom herself to the new controller?

Josh

Well, they have another controller you can purchase (yeah, yeah, it's lame, I know), that basically looks like an SNES controller, though it looks a bit smaller, and has an analog stick. I doubt it will take too much getting used to.

I like the idea of the virtual console, but I'd like it a lot more if Nintendo weren't once again lining their pockets by re-selling us products from fifteen years ago. Like how they repackaged those classic NES games for the GBA, and sold them for what, $20 apiece?

Josh

Yeah, but people bought them. I bought the orignal Zelda remake. Why? I never owned a Nintendo, and having that game on the go was a lot of fun. It's the same reason why S-E keeps pounding out FF remakes. People know what they like, and will go back to familiar territory if they wish.

There's just something frustrating about being tricked into buying the same game twice. Not that I'm condoning the use of emulators and ROMs....OK, yes, I'm pretty much condoning the use of emulators and ROMs, if only for games on long-dead systems. Especially ones you already own.

Josh

Heh. Yeah, if a game is entirely out of purchasing range (and -reasonable-, at that...no $3,000 for a Colecovision just so I can play Smurfs), then I vote yes on emulation.

Oh yeah, and I want some clarification: will the Wii play GameCube titles? Or do we have to re-buy those as well?

Josh

Yes, it will. You're good.

Come to think of it, I think there should be more than a few free titles on the virtual console. (In reality, I think there should be ONLY free titles on the virtual console.) I mean, how many NES games could you play simply by owning a copy of Animal Crossing? There's at least a dozen stuck into that game alone.

Hmph. Every day I find some new thing in this whole next-gen marketing frenzy to be pissed off about.

-TV's Adam

Josh

Eh, don't worry. There will always be things to be pissed off about. It's the same reason why South Park will never ever go off the air. There's too much stupid crap going on in the world!

I don't think the games should be free, but I think you should be able to do something such as display a copy of your original cart, and then get the game for free on the Wii. Don't know how that would work, but ideally, that's what I'd like.



Almost...there...ah crap.


Who's to tell me to blow if I don't want to?

In case you haven't noticed, all my introductions and conclusions lately have been MST3K stingers. This will continue for a long time. If you spot one you don't recognize, better go find out all you can by watching it! After all, I have had the distinct pleasure of seeing every episode!

Josh

I got it, I got it. The 'Rowsdower' was a dead giveaway!

And now, I'm going to dish out still more titles on Saturn that I want more information on! 'Ouro slinks away, trying not to get sucked into this again.' Oh no you don't, at least make a token effort on my behalf! Black/Matrix. What I've unearthed so far intrigues me; I've seen it classified as something like Final Fantasy Tactics minus the job system. Also including a very dark and gory storyline that would probably have earned it a Mature rating. The absence of a Saturn version is no surprise given that it came out in 1998, but it was then redone on Dreamcast and PlayStation. So presumably the nasty content is what scared developers away.

Josh

Son of a...sigh.

Mind if I scroll down? I honestly have not heard of any of these games. Well, I've -heard- of Black/Matrix, but I don't really know much about it.

If anyone else knows about these, please, indulge us with your experience!

Heir of Zendor. Poking around gives me two GameFAQs reviewers who think this should have been granted more attention, and one Gamespot reviewer who thinks it's bottom-of-the-barrel even by 1996b standards. The game itself? A Koei title set on some far-off planet where apparently aerial navies fight it out Koei-style.

The Horde. I actually remember this from when Gamepro gave it press in ... 94? Anyway the thing is a Tactical-type dealy that was on PC, then 3DO, then Saturn. Developed by Crystal Dynamics, which went out of business awhile ago.

Terra Phantastica. I may have mentioned this one a bit earlier, but it's a Tactical-RPG from many of the same people who made the Phantasy Star titles. I can't unearth too much more. Got something?

FEDA. Now here we have a Shining Force-style title that came out on the SNES in 94. Cementing the Shining Force resemblance is the artwork done by whoever did the art for Shining Force 1 on Genesis. Intriguingly many characters appear to join based upon the actions of the player, as there are Law, Neutral and Chaos characters listed. The Saturn was granted the FEDA - Remake! and I'm curious as to the differences. Apart from the expected FMV scenes I can't tell what has changed.

Wachenroder. Another Shining Force-style title, with the new wrinkle of using steam power in a pseudo-Germany of the 19th century. The manual comes with plenty of German text, making me wish I'd taken more of the language. Only on Saturn. Whaddaya got for me?

Yu-No (could be something a bit different depending upon how it's transliterated). This originated on the PC and had a rather deep story, but also had quite a bit of that wonderful stuff never making its way to the English-speaking world (women with enormous busts and their nudity, that sort of thing). The more gratuitous material has been excised from the Saturn version, more than likely for the betterment of all concerned (unless we have someone who likes Hentai stuff - but I'd rather not be responsible for bringing that genre out into Q&A discussions).

Josh

Yeah...let's uh...keep hentai out of Q&A. Please, for the love of god. ^^;

Directional shift! What was Sega thinking with its making the Genesis game boxes out of cheap cardboard in the system's last few years? I hate these things for trying to fall apart under any sort of handling!

Josh

Heh, yeah. It was much nicer when they had those cases. I guess they just wanted to follow in the SNES's footsteps, as all of their games had those little cardboard boxes. And don't keep any drinks near 'em! Don't want them to fall apart on ya...^^;

Query: did you pump up your people to level **, aka level 99, in Chrono Trigger just to enable the fight with the Nu-resembling Spekkio? I did. It didn't take THAT long either thanks to the required experience being around 1.5 million - but the battle wasn't as difficult as I'd expected/hoped. In your experience, Earl Ouro, what game (RPG or not, doesn't matter) had the most offensive loading times?

Josh

Nah, I never got that far. I never even got Ayla's Gold Fist. I'm a pretty good completionist, but when it comes to something that requires me to sit around and level, I probably will pass. Cause anything I get for completing the thing ultimately would have been more useful BEFORE I started levelling.

As for load times...Xenosaga II. Period. Battles took at least 10-15 seconds to start. Unforgiveable. The PSX versions of FFVI and FFV were pretty bad too.

For me it would be the Saturn port of Sonic 3D Blast; the Genesis version I like a lot for whatever reason, but on Saturn it takes 30 seconds to load a stage, reload after dying, load the special stage, reload the stage... ugh. Plus it looks about the same as the Genesis, which is partly a tribute to how good the Genesis could look in its last years but mostly a knock against lazy programmers. The Saturn has some really cool music though. Such as this: http://gh.ffshrine.org/soundtracks/947/11

Josh

Not a bad song. I had no qualms with any of the music in any of the games I played for the Saturn. Sure, they were few and far between, but I never cringed or anything.

What music in an RPG just screams out to air guitarists everywhere? Not that I play air guitar ineffectually and spasmodically, not at all. I think of the credits music in Dragon Force 1, which sadly I have not found anywhere! It comes with that beautiful faux 80's hair band effect, and I love hearing it.

Josh

Air guitarists, eh? Hm...well, there aren't too many games I can think of where some sort of rock music is employed as the central theme of the music in the game...I'm sure there were probably a couple tracks in FFX-2, but...man, I'm drawing a blank. Anyone?

I need sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep...

Why has nary a one of the Sakura Wars titles ever been brought to English speakers? Having at last started 1, I know I would like it more if I could figure out exactly what everyone is talking about - very little Katakana is used here, sadly. I suppose I'll have to punch up GameFAQs.... Speaking of Sakura Wars, what titles aside from entries in that series might be worth importing for the Dreamcast? And how involved is modding a Dreamcast?

Anti-Josh

I know everything about Sakura Wars! Just let me get my giant reference manual that I wrote for my thesis some years ag...

Josh

*THWACK*

Die.

Has any RPG's character design and/or art style irritated you more than seems feasible? There are quite a few instances of my despising the official artwork for a game (Grandia 2 and FFTA come to mind) yet liking the result anyway.

Now YOU gon' be da worm face!
JuMeSyn

Josh

Alundra 2, Chrono Cross's character designs didn't really impress me...Front Mission 3's artwork was bland. Oh, Vandal Hearts 2's character art was horrible.

All right! I shall undoubtedly see you next weekend, JuMeSyn. Take care 'til then!





T H O N G
Combat Log

Luca Blight charges up!
Bainick moves to Tile 8.
Macstorm moves to Tile 4.
BLG moves to Tile 4.
Arros Raikou moves to Tile 5.
Donovan moves to Tile 8.
Slimey moves to Tile 16.
Bucket moves to Tile 12.
Draconn moves to Tile 16.
Alan Tse moves to Tile 3.
Slashlen falls to Tile 17.
JuMeSyn moves to Tile 5.
PureLunatic moves to Tile 19.
William.T moves to Tile 17.
Arpijy moves to Tile 16.
Carabbit moves to Tile 8.
Vicissitude moves to Tile 10.
JDX moves to Tile 8.
Kupomogli moves to Tile 12.
Aurelius moves to Tile 18.
Aylee moves to Tile 14.
TvsAdam moves to Tile 7.
Sundoulos moves to Tile 3.


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

Don't question my greatness!

Answer to #L10: B. Meribia.

#L11. One of these anagrammed games never made it stateside...which is it?

A. NAIL RAN COG GO
B. SCORCH NOR SO
C. HEARD NINE
D. A ARCADES DIG RUN US
E. A APE RISE VET
F. SARGE GRAM ANT AS

#L12. How many combinations of characters and classes can you have in Seiken Densetsu 3?

A. 6
B. 343
C. 4320
D. 6860
E. 25920
F. 41160

THONG Question

Answer to #10: D. Super Mario RPG
The Axem Rangers!

#11.Difficulty: Medium
The Dispel Illusion Stone most likely does what?

A. Allows you to cross a room that has invisible walls.
B. Allows you to fight a real boss rather than his doppelganger.
C. Allows you to cross a gorge (that isn't really there) that normally causes your character to freeze in terror.
D. Allows you to choose the correct door during an evil magician's show.
E. Allows you to see the tower covered in a shroud of invisibility.

#12.Difficulty: Hard
In this game, three of the skills are actually named after things that you might find in a home.

A. Chrono Cross
B. Dragon Quest VIII
C. Saga Frontier II
D. Wild ARMs
E. Lost Kingdoms

C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

Looks like you guys are closing in on each other. Let the carnage begin!!

Oh yeah, have fun with Slimey tomorrow!


ourobolus@rpgamer.com
***Josh needs better time management.


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And an endless supply of NyQuil.

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Josh's Top Distractions:

Back to the backlog!

RPGs I'm currently playing:

1. Romancing SaGa

2. Radiata Stories

3. Wild Arms: ACF

THONG Players:

1. Roku
Flik  TP: 1
400p

2. Bainick
Hero 2  TP: 2
1025p

3. Leaper
Antonio  TP: 7
1600p

4. Macstorm
Mazus  TP: 1
600p

6. BLG
Sid  TP: 1
475p

7. Arros Raikou
Kage  TP: 1
1200p

8. Xlash
Gijimu  TP: 0
200p

9. Donovan
Clive  TP: 2
900p

10. Slimey
Gadget  TP: 1
700p

11. Bucket
Millie  TP: 7
950p

12. Draconn
Mondo  TP: 8
1500p

13. Genjuu
Pesmerga  TP: 2
750p

14. Alan Tse
Hoi  TP: 1
300p

15. TheBluick
Fu Su Lu  TP: 0
0p

16. Gouden Draak
Rubi  TP: 1
725p

17. Slashlen
Lorelai  TP: 8
1300p

18. JuMeSyn
Odessa  TP: 1
750p

19. PureLunatic
Viktor  TP: 9
1425p

21. William.T
Killey  TP: 8
1125p

22. Arpijy
Hix2  TP: 8
1525p

23. Spiffyness
Badeaux  TP: 2
525p

24. Reivax
Kasim  TP: 1
200p

25. Carabbit
Viki  TP: 2
975p

26. Vicissitude
Clive2  TP: 6
1050p

27. JDX
Kuromimi  TP: 2
1150p

28. Kupomogli
Kinnison  TP: 7
875p

29. Aurelius
Kahn  TP: 9
1400p

30. Omm
Yoshino  TP: 2
950p

31. Aylee
Luc  TP: 7
1200p

32. Tabor
Ted  TP: 8
1350p

33. TvsAdam
McDohl  TP: 2
875p

34. Sundoulos
Hai Yo  TP: 1
375p

Anyone else?

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