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ASK SEAN
Column 32: Sick of Candy
November 2nd, 2007

Sean - 7:13pm EDT

I learned something last night: booing at Daniel Briere is really fun! On Tuesday, I was offered a pair of tickets to see the Habs play the Flyers. Not being a big hockey fan, I was hesitant to take them, but my greed forced my hand and I took them. Last night my girlfriend and I undertook the long trip to the arena (my class was nowhere in my mind, by the way) and we spend a fun-filled three periods jeering with the crowd. The aforementioned player was asked to sign on with our beloeved Canadians, but turned it down for LESS money from the Flyers, who as we all know suck. Being a player from the area, the fans really wanted him now that he is a free agent. They got their revenge on him last night, that's for sure. For those that care, we took the game 5-2, which results in 16 free chicken wings from the Cage au Sports, or however they call themselves.

Enough about hockey, lets move to gaming. I finished D&DT, so expect a review soon. That is all.

So, what is in the letter bag today?




LETTERS
It is time that Ontario caught up to the rest of us!


How goes Sean?

I do have some info about the Ontario health card stuff. The Ontario government is cracking down on the fraud that's been going on by forcing our entire Ontarian population to ditch the old cards and get the new ones. The reason being that our old cards only have a printed name and the OHIP number, it's been very easy for people here to share their health cards with visitors from other provinces or even countries, and also some Ontarians who move to new countries have been deciding to pop back for a visit whenever they need to receive expensive medical procedures since the card will allow them to receive them for free. The new cards have your photo, address and an expiry date...which should make the fraud thing at least a little harder. The replacement process starts with a letter from the ministry of health in Ontario. It advises that you need to schedule an appointment to hand in hte old card and get your photo taken for the new one. This letter I ignored, I have the same mentality as your coworker. Then you receive a second letter a couple months later, advising that you have already received a letter, and threatening that you will possibly lose access to health services if you don't comply. I ignored this letter again, being completely uninterested in a new health card that comes with an expiry date. A month later I received a third letter, basically the same as the first but with a slightly different tone which kind of mentions that at some random date in the future I wont be able to receive any health covered by OHIP. This is where I caved....I don't feel good about it but at least I wont have to deal with any headaches down the road if I ever need to see a doctor or go to a hospital or whatever. The letters are being sent out to everyone who has the old cards, from talking to the guy at the counter when I went in there kinda picking people randomly from some master list of people who still have the old cards. So until your coworker receives the first letter they'll be cool..but soon enough they will have to replace it..

Sean

He was NOT happy to hear about this! But kudos on getting it done!

Sorry about being long winded, procrastination + work, you know.. I'm doubting you want to post this whole thing in the Q&A, at the same time I did have a couple things to ask..

Sean

I already did! ^_^

To answer your question, nope never dressed up as a video game character (unless you count a ninja turtle?), actually I've never dressed up for Halloween after I stopped going out for candy. I used to do the same as you, plan out the map and all that.. I kept notes from previous years too which indicated houses that gave out king sized chocolate bars, pop cans or other goodies that weren't very common. I miss those days.. this Halloween was actually the first where I didn't get any candy or hand any out..'yay' for apartment life :/

Sean

I haven't dressed up in years either. Ninja Turtles don't count as they were in cartoons first...

I just finished Xenosaga 3, is it just me or was that the longest ending to an RPG ever? I was sad to see the series end..I'm hoping to be proved wrong. Now I'm going to be spending my time playing lotro (you quit that eh? I forget if you ever mentioned why...I'm still having fun, mostly with the book/instance content), finishing Metroid prime 3 and starting up the wii zelda. Any comments for the wii Zelda? I'm not sure what to expect.. I've enjoyed them all except Majora's Mask..

Sean

I think the comment about Xenosaga is on the mark. That sure was a long ending! I enjoyed the Wii Zelda, but only after the fourth dungeon. It took a while to get to it, but the game ended up making me happy in the end. I enjoyed it more than a few other Zeldas, but it wasn't my favorite.

I stopped playing LOTRO, as my friend and I were having problems synching up for play sessions. He is a new dad and has close to no time to play. The game just wasn't fun for me to play alone. Right now we are trying to play Guild Wars.

You planning to get the fire emblem on Wii? I never played anything in that series, it has my attention since it will be an RPG on the wii (the second after zelda?).

Sean

You forgot Super Paper Mario. And no, I have no intention to buy that game. After D&DT, I cannot play a tRPG for a good dozen games.

In regards to digital downloads I'm failing to see what could be bad about them.. Free downloads? yes please. Pay to download classic games? sure why not.. Updates and bug fixes for games which have been released? Yes! (gets me thinking of the second Prince of Persia on PS2, it was possible to get yourself completely stuck and have to restart the game...it would have been easily fixable with a downloadable patch, and was impossible to fix in the PS2 world..) Media downloads for my consoles, not that special if you have a PC but still why not? Or am I missing something...

Ciao,

Rolly

Sean

Yes, those things are all nice, but you did miss the point. Digital distribution is about selling games over the wire, completely removing the retailers from the equation. Me, I couldn't live without the physical disks and a nice box. I have purchased games online before, but I just don't appreciate it as much. Thanks for writing in, Rolly!



Is Sony shooting itself in the foot?


Hi Sean!

Removing the backward compatibility for the PS3 bothers me quite a bit actually. Seeing as how a majority of my backlog is PS2 games, it just means it will be even longer before I ever get a PS3 should it ever become appealing to me. More importantly, why would they remove a feature that their competition has?

Sean

Well, they don't really need backwards compatibility, if their intention is to stand on their own exploits. Sure, it is a negative step to exclude it at this point, but there must be a reason for it. I like to have blind faith in Sony sometimes. Hell, I had blind faith in Nintendo all these years!

It's funny you should mention a Heroes RPG, I was just thinking about it the other day myself. Your idea of playing the game as either Peter or Sylar would give the game a neat good/evil angle to the gameplay with the deciding factor being whoever meets up with Claire first. I was actually thinking of a game with an original character with his or her own storyline outside of the shows, with the shows characters showing up in cameos. Licensed games have a bad reputation, but I would still have to give it a try if they ever did make one.

-Whitney

Sean

Thats for sure. I just love some of the characters. I love to hate Sylar. He is too cool. Playing outside the main storyline would be key, or at least make it so that you learn something new, and not just a rehash of what we have already seen on tv. Thanks for writing in Whitney!



Phoenix Wright cosplaying


Hey Sean,

Just this year I have cosplayed as a video game character. Not an RPG character, but a character from a popular series nonetheless. I dressed as Maggey Byrde, the worlds most unluckiest police officer, from Phoenix Wright: Justice for All (aka the 2nd game in the series) and went in costume to two anime conventions. (Not sure if I want to attach a picture -- none of them came out too good and a lot of them have multiple people in.)

Sean

Fair enough. I did ask about games, not RPGs in particular. At those conventions it is really important that people be able to tell who you are dressed as. Did anyone recognize you?

Next year I MIGHT cosplay as an RPG character... Id like to try Shalua Rui from Dirge of Cerberus. It depends on how convincingly I can portray someone with one eye and one arm, but if I can pull it off Ill know Ive joined the ranks of the elite.

Bucket

Sean

Now, she was cool. I remember her well. If you pull it off... I WANT pictures! Thanks for chiming in, Bucket!



Shadow is not Shadow without his dog!


Hello Sean!

First letter I send, but unlike most people who mention it, I haven't been reading for such a long time. Two months, maybe.

Anyway, I dressed as a video game character twice (both times for halloween). The first was Mario. It looked good. I still have it, but now it's too small. I can still wear the cap, though. I also dressed as Shadow from FFVI. Of course, a ninja is a ninja, but it was pretty accurate for an halloween costume. This one I don't have it anymore. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures either. But everything was there: the scarf, the headband, the belt. I was proud of it!

Sean

You need Interceptor to pull off Shadow. Sorry, dood.

For the RPG definition topic, well, I guess since there are so many sub-genres in the RPG family, it can be hard to find a description that fits all RPGs in and leave non-RPGs out. Many RPGs have a slower pace when it comes to gameplay than other kinds of games like racing, platform, fighting, but some RPGs have faster gameplay, too, like action-RPGs. The majority of games (of any kind) have stories, many have stats, character customization, etc so when do you draw the line between genres? For me, what defines an RPG is a game that is story-driven, includes several characters (playable or not) and allows for customization in some way, be it equipment, stats, strategies, etc. But, I guess any game that includes a majority of RPG elements will be tagged as one, anyway. Still, what are those elements that are exclusive to the RPG? Maybe is it really only the amalgam of some elements (customization, stats, interaction, story, pace, etc) that define an RPG, since one or two won't suffice?

Unpetitmax

Sean

It is a hard enough question to answer. It is hard to get the same definition out of multiple people, and with different games adding to the mess, it is getting harder and harder to see the lines. As a purchaser of mainly RPGs, games like Bioshock are seen as gateways to the forbidden genres, but even though there are RPG elements within them, I would never be able to muster the skill to play them. For some games, all it takes is for the publisher to tell us it is an RPG, and we need to believe it, or at least try and discover why they say it. Thanks for the letter!





Hello Sean!

Finally I found the time to sit down and write you a letter! It seems everytime time I say "I'm gonna sit down and send a letter to Sean", something else comes up or I get sidetracked or something. Oh well, better late than never (late for what, I'm not sure).

Sean

Yep, better late than never. Although, never is a long time from now...

Now then, to touch upon this discussion as to what makes an RPG and RPG. I have to admit that especially with RPGs these days, any solid definitions are becoming less clear. So many games are mixing in RPG elements and plenty of RPGs are mixing in elements from other genres as well. There are games that, to me, are most definietly are or are not RPGs that other people will argue the opposite for. For example the Legend of Zelda series, if you ask me, is most certainly not an RPG series, but RPGamer covers them and other people considers it to be an RPG series. I also know someone who doesn't consider the first two Paper Mario games to be RPGs, which to me is just mind-boggling. Perhaps it should be left up to the gamer as to what makes an RPG an RPG. My own definitions as to what makes an RPG an RPG are not really much different from other people's: Complex stories and characterization, numerical stats that increase in some way, custimization of some sort (character abilities, classes, equipment, etc.), battling, and the like.

Sean

We're on the same page then. Blurry lines, too many things to chose from, etc.

I have an interesting question to ask you Sean. Was the first RPG you ever played the game that made you an RPG fan, or at least made you want to try other RPGs? Or did it take another game to make you say "hey, these RPGs are pretty cool! I think I'll start to really check them out!"

Sean

Dragon Warrior back when I was a wee lad. Final Fantasy sealed the deal. Pool of Radiance won my heart.

I ask becuase for me, it did not take the very first RPG I ever played to make me a fan. My first RPG was Pokemon Red, and while I did enjoy it, it didn't really get me intrested in RPGs (at the time though, I didn't know that it was an RPG or even what an RPG was). I didn't find out about the term until Paper Mario for the N64 and even learned that the Pokemon games were RPGs. I loved Paper Mario to pieces, but I still didn't get the urge try out other RPGs (of course, a lack of a Playstation and not having owned a NES or SNES helped).

Sean

Pokemon is... Pokemon... to most people. To tie them up with the RPG label is tough as a kid. The links to the genre only come clear when other games are tried. My cousins don't care what genre the game is--it is just Pokemon.

What game did finally make me what to really start playing RPGs and I credit to making me a RPGamer? Why it was Phantasy Star Online Episodes I & II for the GameCube! I remeber being so excited to get it becuase of a beautiful trailer I saw on a special promotion DVD for the GCN I got. I read up a little on it in Nintendo Power learning that it was an RPG. When I finally did get the game, I was both surprised and in awe. It was my first action RPG, and I was amazed that I could hit the monsters in real-time with weapons and Techniques. I found it so much more exciting than the back-an-forth fighing found in Pokemon and Paper Mario (though the latter made it more interesting with Action Commands). I loved the music, and even liked how the story had to be ferreted out by reading Rico's message packs and through Hunter's Guild quests. It was so engrossing, even though by now I see it's not as good as several other games.

Sean

Did you play PSO online though? I never tried it in that way, but I did play it offline on my DC for a couple of weeks until I got bored. I couldn't afford dial-up anyways. Who wants dial-up when they already have broadband?

Regardless though, it was thanks to PSO that I started to keep my eye out for RPGs (especially, as you can imagine, action RPGs). These days, I play them almost exculsively and have played dozens of them over the years.

Well know, I think I'll end this here. Thanks for reading Sean. Until next time!

-Strawberry Eggs

Sean

I like action RPGs too, but a really good turn-based game just turns my crank, you know? I know where you got your name, you know that, right? I liked that anime show. It rocked! Thanks for writing in, I-My-Me Strawberry Eggs! ^_^



Why would this message have been spammed?


Hey Sean,

I'm at school, yet running late for class, so I'll make this quick. This first link sounds like Megaman ate a rock band...what do you think? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WlxRPyPHUHQ

This second link offers teh coolest shots of earth I have ever seen in my life. Seriously, calling them breathtaking wouldn't be an understatement. http://deputy-dog.com/2007/11/01/11-phenomenal-images-of-earth/

SO, my question is which PC game offers the most realistic world map or outdoors virtually you've ever seen?

Sean

Most realistic world map? I am not too sure about that. Baldur's Gate has a nice world map thing going on. Hell knows they put enough money into designing the thing. They had the advantage of build a world based on a popular campaign setting, so that was already done then. Also, it would be a crime to forget the Elder Scrolls games. They did do a good job with that. Nice pictures though.

Finally, besides RPGamer, do other web sites exist that are tried and true in reviewing RPGs like your site? Or are you the only one?

Have a good weekend,

BLG



Sean

Yes, but I don't read them. I've never really had any interest in visiting any of them, though. I do visit some sites that focus on single games or series (such as Celestial Heaven), but that is the extent that I go to. Thanks for writing in, BLG!



QUICKIES

"What is a RPG?"
A Rocket Propelled Grenade of course. Like, duh, you noob-knobs.
- Master Chief

Sean
I should have expected this. I saw it coming from a mile away!

I once dressed up as Magus from CT! Though that's really the extent of my dressing up as video game characters.
Carabbit

Sean
Did you walk around as if you owned the world? If not, you should have! He was just too cool. Do you have pictures?



IN CLOSING

The upcoming weekend is one that I set aside for some project work, so gaming will be minimal. I do hope to get my review of D&DT written, but school work must come first! Less than a month to go and I am pretty much free! So until next time...

Enjoy your weekend!



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Sean really likes to jeer at people--and proud of it!


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