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New Pants March 12, 2006

Janelle Berscheid - 14:47 EST

This is a beginning.

Dear readers, I hope you accept my sincere apologies for the lateness of this column. I know my projected debut was scheduled for several weeks back, but certain things decided to come between me and you, such as life, school, muffins, fifteen inches of snow, my devious doppleganger, imminent threats to the world as we know it, and all those therapy sessions. However! This shall not dampen the spirits of this column, oh ho ho no!

As for a real introduction, my name is Janelle, and I've been with RPGamer's news department for over a year. You might know me better as Tiptail, but you can call me either or--Ask Tiptail just sounded better. Actually, those two names are so easily butchered into catchy nicknames and phrases. So you can call me Janelle, Nell, Nellers, J-Nell, Noodles, Tiptail, Tip, Tippy, Tail, Tipper-taily, Tip 'o the Tail, or even (as I once received) Tippy-Tappy-She's-So-Snappy. Well, I guess you can call me anything, except "sexy", because then I'll be forced to remove your genitals. Just fair warning, is all.

I hope to add that nice feminine touch to this column, provide you all with a neat spin on things, and generally just have a whole bunch of fun. After all, that's generally what I'm supposed to be here for. So don't be shy with your letters.


Today's title perhaps reflects the fact that I am new to the Q&A scene, but actually just refers to the fact that I am indeed wearing new pants right now. Black soft cloth with white threaded trim. Incredibly comfy. Perfect size, too. The only downside to these pants is that they go together with lint like nachos go with salsa. Ah, well. I guess this means I'll have to break out one of those cool lint-remover brushes.

Anyhow, on to the letters! These are only the letters addressed specifically to me, so I hope I'll get a couple more for tomorrow. Otherwise I'll have to steal some of Matt's, and you know how he is.




L E T T E R S
Roku Rings In


Hullo there Tiptail,

First of all, welcome to the team! ^_^ As is tradition, I shall now distribute the legendary Q&A host item *hands out a bucket full of tildes* There, now you're all set.

As for my question...there sure are a lot of games coming out over the next month or so. Deciding between them is rather difficult, especially with my barren wallet, though the fact that I don't have a PSP helps matters some. I was wondering if you could help me narrow it down some. Which one(s) are you most interested in and why? Thanks ^^.

-Roku

Janelle

Hullo there Roku! First, I humbly accept the tilde bucket--hopefully I'll be able to make good use of it. Actually, you can have the first tilde, since you're the first letter of mine! ~ (Not to mention my new department head...)

As for the RPGs pending release this month, there are reams of them, including a lot of high-profile titles. Tales of Phantasia was released today, Shadow Hearts: From the New World tomorrow, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion on the 21st for two platforms, and Kingdom Hearts II and Suikoden V are released on the same day: the 28th. Of course, all of the first four have been getting a lot of attention, and thus I think everybody knows what to expect out of them. Which is exactly why Suikoden V has really piqued my interest, and not just in the "Is this going to be a bomb like the last one?" sense. In fact, the perceived failure of Suikoden IV makes it interesting to see what adjustments may have been made between installments. The story tidbits have been appropriately vague, and the graphics we've seen have been gorgeous, but why would we expect any less? The system has me curious, though, and if there's any of those soon-to-be-released games I'd pick up on impulse, it'd be that one.



On Binging


Hello there Tiptail?

Since I'm planning a series binge soon I'm just curious if you the newest QnA host have ever played games in a series one right after the other? And if so which game series have you binged on?

I've done this before with La Pucelle, Disgaea and Phantom Brave myself.

Janelle

Series binges, eh? Game binging has been a favourite summer pastime of mine, and I have fond memories of shutting myself in the basement with a friend or my brother, with only large bottles of carbonated beverages, comfy pillows and an awesome SNES RPG to occupy our time. And that moment of finally emerging out into the light with sore stomachs, aching stagnant joints and triumph in our eyes...those were the days.

But I can't really recall a time where I've binged on an RPG series before. I suspect this is due to the fact that I don't own enough games in sequential order, if any at all. That's not to say that I'm not a big fan of the idea, though. Maybe this coming summer I'll be able to coax some Breath of Fire games off friends or out of garage sales. That would be a fun series to tackle in order, especially considered that I've never personally handled III, IV or V. Shame on me.

I do actually own Shadow Hearts and Shadow Hearts Covenant, but I'm not playing those in succession. No way, no how. That Judgement Ring makes my nerves jangle after a while.

For the curious I'm planning to go through the Koudelka/Shadow Hearts series since I finally made it past the push ring in london in SH1, and since SH3 comes out next month it seems like a great time to binge.

And to Matt yes I've got everyone up to level 99 needless to say my vacation was less than exciting but I've discovered that Dragon Soul puts the damn in damage and that Golden Oldies is pretty funny to watch, my only question was wtf was Trode eating?

Anyway just wanted to send a letter to the newest QnA host.

Arros Raikou

Janelle

I'll pass this last bit on to Matt for deciphering tomorrow, since I have no idea what you're talking about. <3 I'll take a wild guess at Dragon Quest VIII.

And since it's my first day and I'm feeling generous, everybody who wrote a letter gets a tilde! Use it well. ~



*puff*


Hellooo Tiptail! Well, happy first hosting. I read again about the MMORPG Stargate Worlds. It sound interesting (I loved the series) but a game based on a TV series/movie? Although I hear there are some decent games out there, normally in my opinion they're crap. Have you ever played some of those games and what do you think about them?

Janelle

Games based on movies really aren't my thing, particularly the ones that come out around the same time as the movie, ensuring maximum hype to possibly cover up poor design plans or other such aspects that are, you know...important. Not to say that some of these games aren't actually good, but if the game is good enough to stand on its own, it shouldn't need to take immediate advantage of the hype. I can't recall having played any movie-games recently, good or bad, because I have other things to play.

Since I'm just listening to Xenosaga 1 soundtrack, who's your favorite RPG music composer at the moment and of all time? I'd say Yasunori Mitsuda is a god!

Janelle

I hate to go the trodden path, but I've always been an Uematsu fan. One can't go wrong with Yoko Shimomura either, though. I adored her work in Legend of Mana soundtrack, and if I ever see a copy of it I can purchase offline, rampaging emus will not be able to stop me from buying it. Even if they mortally wound me in the process, I shall tightly clutch the album to my breast in a final gesture of adoration.

Or something.

Sorry, but I just have to share this with you: Last week I finally got my DQ VIII (waited 2 months for it) and on the very same day my TV thinks it's time to stop working, something like *puff* -> dead. So I have to wait for it to be repaired, and the end of my holidays is drawing near, I mean COME ON, what are the odds?

Was there ever a time when you wanted to play a specific game really badly and had enough and money fpr it but somehow, life, the universe or something else just kept you away from it?

It was a bit of a simple letter but hey is's weekend, the brain is only working at 65% efficency.

Well, see you around (hopefully) Belthasar2

Janelle

Thanks for writing, Belthasar. Well, as a matter of fact, there has been a time when I have wanted to play a game and have been unable to do so. In fact, one is happening right now: the Christian season of Lent. As a practicing Catholic, I figured the least I could do for my respective deity is to fast from something I enjoy during this time of meditation. But still...look how many cool-looking games are coming out this month. And then look at when Easter is. Graaagh.

Here is your tilde: ~. If you want to get ahold of me, I'll be in the corner reading Canterbury Tales for some semblance of "recreation". ;_;



Really Big Hammers


Hey Tiptail,

Welcome to your new column. Hope you enjoy your stay. Remember the golden rule: You break it you buy it!

Janelle

*knocks over a lamp*

Not my fault. It was my evil twin. Honest. She's always doing stuff like this.

I thought I would throw a few easy questions at ya first and maybe later I'll send in something a little more intelligent...yeah right.

What game(s) are you currently playing through?

Janelle

Well, as my answer to the previous question would suggest, none at the moment. But I'm set to start Shadow Hearts Covenant after Easter, and maybe Earthbound too. Also, I still have a whole whack of bonus dungeons to conquer in Star Ocean III, so those things alone will keep me busy soon enough.

Which game (if any) dissappointed you from last year and why?

Why couldn't I come up with a third question?

Not a lot to work with I know but it is late and I didn't want to forget to at least send in something.

Xlash the dwarf berserker

Janelle

Your third question went missing too, eh? My twin must have taken it after she broke the lamp. You think I'm making this whole thing up, but I do have an evil twin, and perhaps someday I'll put a muzzle on her and bring her in to show you all. Then you'll see.

As for a letdown for last year, well, I am the letdown of last year. When it came time to vote on RPGamer's Game of the Year awards, I clicked the link enthusiastically, scrolled down the list...and then realized that I had not actually played ANY of last year's RPGs. And so it remains to this day. Pathetic, huh? I should be beaten upside the head with a bag of hammers.

If you ever think of a third question, feel free to write again. ~



Waffles!


Janelle,

Since you're new to the Q&A hosting scene, how's about talking about the last couple of RPGs you've played or beaten? What were your expectations going in, and did they meet them? Have they inspired you to play any other similar games? Heck, have they inspired you to do stuff OUTSIDE of games?

Also, do you like waffles?

-Heath

Janelle

Oh, no. Now you've done it. You've prompted the Obligatory Waffle Story™. But first things first.

Mmm, the last time an RPG inspired me to do something in real life was probably playing through the Church of the Key in Alundra 2 and subsequently feeling this horrible urge to smash my head against the wall. But that game wasn't bad, exactly. It in some ways exceeded my expectations: it was a frightful challenge, the first of its kind in quite some time. It also exceeded my expectations for being corny, but I guess I can't fault it too badly, since it did make me laugh a few times. And that's an accomplishment. To be more serious, RPGs often do get my creative juices flowing one way or another. I've been known to grab a pen and a piece of paper and start doodling myself into my own little world after playing them. Or sometimes I'll arrange the music in my head. Other times I might scribble down some phrases for future use. But there is one large inspiration I picked up from the SNES era. After playing Illusion of Gaia, I've really been excited to travel. Unsurprising, considering the real-world landmarks that feature as dungeons in the game. Particularly Angkor Wat. That game was the first I'd heard of the place when I was younger, and after finishing the game, I did some research on it, resulting in my jaw hitting the floor. Forget Europe. I'm going to Cambodia someday.

OK, now it's time for that Obligatory Waffle Story™:

My last waffle was a giant, plate-sized Belgian, ordered at a local restaurant famous for its Sunday Brunch. I'm not entirely sure how I wound up there being treated for breakfast, but who am I to complain? So I ordered this awesome waffle, topped with caramel sauce, banana and piled high with a clump of whipped cream taller and thicker than an oldschool GameBoy. But knowing that my stomach doesn't really like a meal consisting of just sweet things, I also ordered a bowl of French Onion soup to balance out my palate. For those of you unfamiliar with French Onion soup, it's a classic hearty sort of dish with cooked onions, beef broth and seasonings in soup form, with bread and cheese baked on top. So I dip my spoon into it, and get a good taste of this soup...

UWAGHWIAJFDEMNIOF.

This soup was so salty it was quite literally inedible. I tried a few more spoonfuls, with the same effect. So I offered a small spoonful to the person across the table from me just to make sure. Her reaction? "####!" I even diluted it with water and it was still nasty. So we told the waitress about it, and she was very apologetic and removed it from the bill. After that, though, my stomach ached horribly and the taste of the soup lingered. And thus was my beautiful waffle ruined. *tear*

And of course, here you are for the awesome question. ~





C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

So, that's a wrap for my first column. Happy Birthday to my column...Aaaaand maaany mooooooooore...!

Before you all take off, I don't have any topic planned for tomorrow, since I just want to meet all of you for now, but in the future I'll be supplying some topics for our weekend break, and maybe even some homework for you. Right now, the only thing I ask is that you send send send some letters! Oh, and maybe offer some input on the sidebar. What do you want over there? I don't want to put up anything you don't care about or hate, so maybe I'll take some of your ideas and put something quirky up there.

One last thing before, too, is the matter with SOCK. SOCK is Matt's child, and so as it stands right now I won't be dealing with that. But pending some discussion, you may also see some weekend-exclusive SOCK activites popping up in this space! So stay tuned for that, perhaps.

I'll see you and your lovely letters tomorrow! Next weekend will be more on-schedule, I assure you.



***Janelle will also scrounge up some nice sig pic.

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