Double Agent
Life smells, but it doesn't stink - September 24, 2000 - Andrew Kaufmann

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this column are those of the participants and the moderator, and do not necessarily reflect those of the GIA. There is coarse language and potentially offensive material afoot. Nitrate walls of foaming love. Don't say we didn't warn you.

Wow. Tough football weekend. SMU (the college I go to) got beat on Saturday, and the Cowboys got whipped today. Not looking like it's going to be a good year for the Cowboys... when does basketball season start?

Several of you raised a stink (haha! get it?!) about the Lunar map. It really got your dander up (boy I'm on a roll)! Anyway, tomorrow is the day to talk Chrono Chross spoilers with Chris. So get those letters ready.

Mystery man Uematsu

was played during the commerical for Final Fantasy VII? I don't think it was one of Uematsu's, because it played also during the commercials for that movie, Mystery Men. Please, offendi, put my mind at ease!

-The Grand Finale

If we're thinking of the same FFVII commercial, Uematsu wrote that song exclusively for the commercial. It doesn't appear in the game anywhere, nor am I aware of it having a name. As for it appearing in the Myster Men commercial, er, I don't know. I don't remember it being in it, and it seems like a weird fit. Maybe they're strangely similar, or one aped the other?


The smell on the cloth map in lunar::SSSC is part of its "intoxication".. go pull it out right now and keep breathing deeply, so that you may get the full Working Designs experience.

lunatic soul

Well, to be honest, I don't think I want that full of an experience. It reminds me of something I heard about some people getting close to being able to mix chemicals or something to make smello-vision. I mean, what a total waste of time; who wants to be able to have weird smells coming from their TV? The weird smells coming out of our refridgerator is bad enough. Those people need to spend their time on something useful, like being able to turn salt water into drinking water en-masse or like, improving on the paper clip. Anything. And Working Designs mapmakers need to go into... anything else.

Dating RPG thing

Tell me if this isn't cool: In Sakura Taisen 3, it looks like you might get to date a Fuujin clone!


Just too bad she looks felonously underage...

~Game Cat

At first I was skeptical of dating RPGs, but I'm growing rather fond of the idea as my success with actual breathing women declines from awful to nearly inhuman. I mean, being able to date a Fuujin lookalike! How cool is that? I'm getting all sweaty thinking about it.

Really, to me, RPGs are an escape from reality into a world where you are the hero. And the best of being a hero is you always get the girl (or guy)! So, transfer the getting-the-girl thing to being the focus, and you've got a winner! Get me a copy of this thing!

Back to the map

Hey AK,

Speaking of the foul, rancid, stinky-stinky-poo-poo Lunar cloth map, I have a friend who didn't notice the putrid odor emanating from the seemingly harmless map. As far as I know, his senses are pretty good, so how could anyone have not noticed the curiously strong, foul-smelling fabric? Of course, when I asked him he said "I don't know, I was more interested in playing the game than sniffing the map." Maybe his was manufactured from a different substance, one not acquired from the bowels of Working Designs (@_@).

Oh well, the map sucked anyway. It had what, two towns on it? Thanks for the help Vic.

-Lord of the Pants

Different people have different acuteness of sense of smell. Perfectly normal people can be more inclined to be able to ignore smells than others. Here's my theory: your friend must live in a smelly environment. Maybe he doesn't do laundry much, or maybe he has a lot of dogs that aren't house trained, or something. So, he's trained his nose to supress bad smells. Couple that with a naturally bad sense of smell, and voila! Someone blissfully ignorant of the putrid thing that is the map.

The map had towns? It was so stinkin' blurry I couldn't tell.

A chance to rant a bit

You know, it's just occured to me that often times writers offer letters stating their opinions to all who can read. Now, obviously you have an immense library of gaming knowledge, otherwise you wouldn't be in charge of this section. Let's try the converse right now. Being objective as possible, give a small pro and con for each next-generation console, coming out with an eventual "winner". As long as I'm typing this, how about a list of the top ten video games in history, also with a little blurb included? Heh. I must sound like your supervisor right about now. The main reason for my writing this is 1)I'm interested to see what a veteran of the gaming world like myself would think, and 2) I've gotten sick of the console flaming I've seen on the IGN boards latel, especially when you consider that none are out on US shores yet, save the Dreamcast. I'd prefer to hear from someone who I know knows what they're talking about. So how about it? Want to MC the console wars for us?

Waiting to compare notes,
Aleksandrs Bomis

What fun! I get to rant and ramble like a madman! Heeeeeere we go!

Console wars: eventual winner of this round: PlayStation 2.

I think the PS2's power, game lineup, and release timing will make it the victor of the next round of console wars. They have big-name developers developing big-name franchises, and it has the gaming power to push the graphics. Also, it plays DVD movies; with DVD players becoming a household item, a single set is an asset in the many homes that are starting to feel lacking. Also, it's being released far in front of the GameCube. People want the next generation now, not next year. There's no big competition for the PS2 right now. The Dreamcast is starting to fade, and it looks like Christmas sales are going to be heavily slanted Sony's way. But, the GameCube's release is far enough away from the Playstation that they might both sell extremely well and lead to a "tie" in this round. If there's any round that might end in a tie, this is the one. The GameCube has impressive looking stuff going for it. And while Nintendo is going to lose this Christmas, next Christmas is another story. Sony will be selling games, but Nintendo will have that new console. Maybe. Timing becomes an issue again. If the two are spaced far enough apart, their console sales won't compete with each other. Game sales are another story, however. In the end, I still see the PS2 winning. The 3rd party support is too strong. The darkhorse is the X-Box. No one quite knows what to expect from this thing, but it's starting to garner some 3rd party support. It's too early still to know what to think. Get back to me when we start seeing actual demos and stuff.

Top ten console games of all time! Interesting. For the sake of getting some sleep tonight, I'm going to shorten that to my top five... I apologize for short changing you out of five, but I'll make it up by, um, doing something. I'll pick the ones I feel were best and most important, though not necessarily my favorites. And I think I'll stick to RPGs and adventure titles, since that's what I'm most familiar with. It also avoids comparing apples and oranges. Like, Super Mario Brothers would be on the list if action titles were included. But let's stick to RPGs for now.

1. The Legend of Zelda
This thing was just so magical. It was a new genre for zillions of gamers, and had such an epic and awesome feel to it. Games were more than platforms and sports, you could explore new worlds and take on new personas.

2. Final Fantasy
Revolutionized console RPGs. Dozens of quests interlocked to form a coherent (though sparse) story that was interesting enough to keep you interested in it as a portion of the game aside from gameplay. Different vehicles took you across the vast world in search of items, people, and magical beasts.

3. Final Fantasy IV
For the first time, graphics, adventure, and music are used hand in hand to make an intense story. Sure, it had cheesy moments, but never before had a plot been developed in such a way as Final Fantasy IV. The universe was vast: overworld, underworld, moon, Land of Summoned Monsters. Just when you thought you had nowhere left to explore, you found a new place with a new plot twist to go with it. Characters also came to the forefront. No longer were you faceless stills, you were true characters with feelings that you could associate with. You could become the hero Cecil in his quest, not just follow him.

4. Metal Gear
The game that helped open the door for various genres. A cross of action and adventure, it lured in the thinking gamer that wanted to have to think to advance, rather than be able to hop across a pit by bouncing on Goomba's heads. Again, plot comes into play. Characters weren't fully defined yet, however.

5. Final Fantasy VII
The beginning of the cinema era of gaming. Cutscenes evolve from in-game characters moving around to exquisitely detailed full motion video. Characters come to life graphically, roping in many new gamers that had never been too intrigued by the false worlds of RPGs before. Games leap closer to being an interactive movie.

Thanks for letting me get some of my thoughts out there!

It took him a year, but he got it figured out



"q" stands for question, "ak" is your name, "@thegia" is pretty self-explanatory.

Question Andy Kaufman At The GIA. Or "qak@thegia"!

-Agent X "i'm a damn genius!"

Yes! You are correct! You win a prize... a slightly used canister of table salt! Congratulations!

The full story behind that is many moons ago, and about 918 RPGamer letters hosts ago, I hosted the first RPGamer letters column when it launched. I decided my section needed a clever name, so I chose "Q&AK." It was a Q&A session, with AK, so, Q&AK! When I started doing letters at the GIA, I decided that I liked the lame pun enough to keep it as my letters mailbox alias. I use for most of my mail, but for the column, so I don't accidentally print something that was meant to be private.


Repeat after me:



Micro$oft. Oh Micro$oft.
Thy crashtastic operating system.
Eternal love springs forth.
System crashes, more than five a day.

Oops, I said autoexec.exe, didn't I? Shows how well I had repressed my bad memories...

Don't worry, be happy

I'm reading this book on depression and so far you're showing more signs of being in danger of suicidal activity than Tipper Gore at a Gwar concert. I mean, think about it. You don't seem to take pleasure in things the way you used to. It's as if you've lost your sparkle of life! You snap at me all the time. And now you've begun to sign off your much-depleted columns with a single, tired sentence. We can all feel your pain here can we help you if you don't let us in? Perhaps it's some kind of post-Chrono Cross depression? You never even come home for dinner anymore and when I touch you you just stiffen up. It's like you don't love me anymore. And who bought you that mint copy of Golgo 13 with the limited-edition gold Nintendo Seal Of Quality tie-tack? My friend Itlan says he thinks you're having an affair with some slut at RPGFan, but I just laughed it off...but I didn't feel any humor in it. A quick warning,Andrew: suicidal or not, I'll help you die if you ever so much as look at another woman.

Time for a good cleansing cry.
Princess Fireball the Neglected, Beaten Wife

Whoa. Heavy letter. And possibly one of the weirdest I've gotten this month. I don't think I'm depressed, but depressed people never do, do they? Or maybe they do. I don't know. Depression denail? Hmm. And really, how upset would Tipper Gore be at a Gwar concert? I can see her getting down and funky in the mosh pits. I bet she's a major crowd surfer. I'm the first to hear of the RPGfan rumor. I'm so single that I ogled a mannequin at the mall today.

All in all, I'm happy as a clam! A really happy clam at that. I don't know that clams are always happy, but I'm as happy as a happy clam. Which is mighty darned happy. And, um, you're not my wife, are you? Why don't I know about it?

For the record, by the way, I have no wife. I'm single single single. So send those phone numbers, babes! Or something.

Closing Comments:

Tomorrow coems Chris' Chrono Cross Question Section. Say that ten times fast!

-Andrew Kaufmann

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Chris' Chrono Cross Question Section. Email him anything about it, even spoilers.
DA FAQ is here. It really is Chris' thing, and doesn't really apply to days that AK hosts, but is great reading nonetheless. And this link really looks cool, so I don't want to delete it just because I don't use the same rules.