Double Agent
A transformation occured - November 19th, 2000 - Drew Cosner

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this column are those of the participants and the moderator, and do not neccessarily reflect those of the GIA. There is coarse language and potentially offensive material afoot. I'm just glad nobody ever caught me eating Chad. Don't say we didn't warn you.

I had an excellent intro for you readers today. It was easily the funniest thing I'd ever written, even overshadowing the collection of poems I wrote to my dog and had published during one of my "experimentally artistic" phases a while back. Indeed, the intro of which I speak would have undoubtedly left a smile on the face of any who read it, brightening their day and even their very outlook on life.

But then I had a thought: what have you people done that would entitle you to read such an excellent introduction? What the hell have you ever done for me? Nothing, that's what. You never thank me for any of my work around this joint. You never flush and you always leave the toilet seat up. Just last week I had to clean an entire pizza up that you stuck under the damned couch cushions. I suppose I could be a man about it and confront you with my feelings, but instead I'm just going to handle the situation by denying you of a quality intro. Maybe next time you'll think twice when you go to steal the batteries out of the remote to use in your Walkman.

Quite a card

Let me start out by saying I absolutely *LOVED* Triple Triad in FF8, I even went as far as to purchase a complete set of the real-life triple triad cards, unfortunately so far Tetra Masters has been dissapointing, it's overly complicated (I had to explain to 4 people already what hexadecimal was) and not as fun as Triple Triad.

...But just in case I do get into it, know if there'll be a real set of cards for sale to collect?


Nothing's really been announced, but I wouldn't hold your breath if I were you. Whereas Triple Triad was a relatively intricate and enjoyable card game, Tetra Masters dispenses with frivolties like "rules" or "purpose" leaving behind a minigame that's about as much fun as getting hit in the shins with a golf club.

Paragraphs: have you heard of them?

Hey! Long time no see, Drew! I'm glad to see that you are still the same witty person you were the last time you hosted the GIA letters forum. ANYWAY, I'd like to say that I've been playing FFIX for a couple of days and I've got to say it's probably the best game in the series since FFVI It's done an excellent job of combining the best of the new style of play (compliments of FFVII and FFVIII) with the long time traditions of the old. And for anyone who thinks that because the characters are super-deformed, they won't look realistic - THINK AGAIN!!!! Because the characters are super-deformed, Squaresoft has been able to impart more feelings into their characters in a way that can only been done in anime and cartoons. The only flaw I can see in the game so far is the length. I'm on Disc 2 and it only took me three days to get there (playing for 2 - 3 hours a day). I can only hope that the rest of the game isn't as short. But overall, the game is impressive! I especially enjoy seeing all of the little nods to the previous FF games that have been put into IX. Everything from the signature battle theme from the very first game to the Shinra Parade music from VII to a new twist of the Triple Triad card game from VIII is here. Maybe I'm a Squaresoft fanatic (I only have Squaresoft games in my PSX library), but IX will always stand out as a gem in my collection (I'm ignoring the fact that the game was released a day LATE in Las Vegas compliments of a shipping delay....). Anyway, thats my two sense on the topic. If I had to give it a score, I'd give it a 5. I'm sure some people will disagree with me here, but Squaresoft has created a tradition of always one-upping themselves. Every game they have ever made has always been better than the last and IX is no exception to the rule. Sure, I'm a little hesitant to see how XI works out, but I'm sure that Squaresoft knows what they are doing and through it all, they will always remember the #1 thing that has made them so successful and has made their name a household gaming icon - story. And thats what it's all about, isn't it? ;-)

-R E E S E

Er, what? Saying that human caricatures afford more realistic expression thanks to exaggeration makes pretty much no sense at all. The main reason FFVIII was so enjoyable, at least in my eyes, was thanks to the very human nuances and mannerisms expressed both in movement and character. All of the characters, most notably Squall, worked out their personality quirks through the course of the game's events and the human interaction within. Don't get me wrong, I like FFIX well enough so far, but super-deformed characters can never be as natural and expressive as realistic game models. Of course, the caveat being animation: an outstandingly realistic character can be ruined by shoddy animation. So don't send me any letters pointing that out.

As for what you're saying about FFIX's length, from what I hear disc 3 is quite long. Don't worry, you'll still get your 40 hours worth.

And finally, I'll admit that I'm pessimistic regarding FFXI. If Square can find a way to embue an online RPG with a strong storyline I will be mightily, mightily impressed, I'll say that much.

Do I have to spell everything out for you people?

Why DO they call you the pigeon-licker?


Because I enjoy licking pigeons.

Then there'd be columns forever!

Awww, I miss AK. Oh well, you're cool too, and you have wacky props to go with your coolness. Sort of the Carrot Top of letters columns, except in a terrifying mirror universe where Carrot Top is funny and not universally hated. But I digress. My actual point was to lead into my question of the day, which, in honour of AK's departure, is Andrew-themed. It is as follows: is there still a copy of "Why The Andrews Aren't Updating" available anywhere online? That was so cool.

Also, instead of changing DA staffers frequently, I think you should have an eternal letters guy from beyond the stars, and every so often he dies and has to undergo a regeneration into a new form. That would be so cool.


I think we should just create a highly intelligent and witty form of Artificial Intelligence to write these columns. Ever reply would be piss-your-pants funny, every game question, no matter how obscure, would be given an exhaustive (yet witty!) answer, and its personality would be enjoyed by all.

Of course, computers with that kind of AI always end up becoming sentient, then spawning a bunch of evil robots and taking over the world. So we'd have to do something to limit its powers. Maybe put it in a lousy apartment with no heating and plumbing and nothing more than a really slow modem to connect it to the Internet so it could post its columns.

Anyway, to answer your question, the old skit is still lurking on RPGamer's server at, although you might want to get on checking that out. I imagine when they realize that thing's still floating around on their site it will be gone right-quick.

DIY, you ass


Since this topic was exhausted long ago, since nobody asked me and nobody cares, I'm going to give my two cents on reviews and watch my letter not get posted. In any case, here's my advice for those who seek to avail themselves of the modern convenience of readily-distilled opinions of products. Play a few games and write your own reviews. Include what's bad, what's good, and which aspects are more important to you. Give it a rating.

Then go to a bunch of review sites and compare your opinions to those of others. Chances are, you'll find at least one person/site who shares your opinions on games in general. Now that you've found them, ignore everyone else. They don't matter. Of course, no one will actually follow my advice, since only 5% of people on the internet read reviews for their consumer convenience aspect and the other 95% read them to either receive confirmation that their opinions are right and conform with those of the masses, or to find someone to vent their latent rage at.

-Stephen Dedalus, who's become deeply cynical since his personal video game review soul mate, J. Parish, took down Toastyfrog. Well, cynicaler.

I like this idea. That's right, if you don't like the GIA's reviews, write one of your own! Except make it way cooler than ours, with tons of animations and clever captions and this movie in this one frame of you doing really cool stuff, like, I dunno, something really cool like riding one of those big old wooden TVs with the wheels down a hill into a bush and some sweet anime chicks and stuff. It will be so awesome! (@*#$&(@#*$@#$!!!

I think what amuses me most about people ranting about reviews is that they already have the freaking game. Look, it's nice that you enjoy a shitty game, but if you already own it, it's not like this site's or any other site's horrible, no good review kept you from enjoying a fine piece of entertainment. Not only that, but when you've already wasted 50 bucks on said shitty game, you're more psychologically apt to find enjoyment in it as a way of subconsciously justifying the purchase. So, in a way, the review with which you disagree is actually making the game better. You should be thanking us.

Here's a heads-up for you

Yo Drew,

I have to rant a moment...

I usually buy the guides to RPG's when I buy them. I usually don't have an inordinate amount to play each game, so I use them when I get stuck (the Chrono Cross one is worth it's weight in gold-plated earrings). So, I got the FFIX guide when I bought the game the other day. Now, halfway through the game I haven't needed it yet, but I look at it after I've gotten past a part, so I can see what I missed and get it next time.

The official guide from Brady Games is the one I bought, and it's a tool of the Devil. So that Square could get people to go to PlayOnline, they included all these parts in the guide where they say, "You can find the most powerful item in the game here. But it's not in this guide that you paid 14 bucks for. No, you have to turn off the game, sign online, register at our site that is down over 14 hours a day, then find the information on the site."

Well, I'm paraphrasing, but that's the general idea. They do that for every boss, by giving you only little ideas how to beat them, but telling you to go online to find out the real way. They'll tell you about a location, and that there are certain items there that can give you great abilities. But they won't tell you which ones they are, or how to use them. It's not too bad since I'm not a newbie, but if I want to find everything on the second time through, I don't want to be using by computer simultaneously. Save that for FFX, when we can do it straight from the PS2.

In short, boycott Brady Games until they stop selling out and bowing to the power of Square.

Now excuse me while I go buy my Vivi and Zidane lunchbox...

--The Steve

I figured I may as well post this, because if it's true (which I imagine it must be, because The Steve wouldn't lie), that's pretty sheisty.

Ian P.


~Ian P.

See, now you're just trying to find out how stupid one of your letters has to be before I won't print it. Well it looks like I won this round, buddy. Better luck next time. I rule, you drool! Have a nice trip, see you next fall! Er, wait.

Closing Comments:

To fill this space, I actually have a question. It's a good question, I think, since it deals with FFIX (which I know you're all dying to talk about) without a large potential for spoilers. It's also good because it will help me compensate for my own ineptitude and stupidity. Actually, if it can do that, it's not just a good question, it's a great question -- like if somebody at one of those self-help seminars stood up and belched into the microphone when they were taking questions from the audience. I guess that wouldn't really be a question, but that would just be awesome.

Anyway, here it is: how the hell are you supposed to play Tetra Masters in FFIX? As far as I can tell, you place your cards on the board at random and your opponent randomly puts his cards down causing random cards to flip over at random, leading to the random card battle which is apparently won completely at random. In the end, one of you wins. At random. At least, that's what it seems like to me. And from what I've seen, I'm not alone in my thoughts. So, if you think you some big smarty-pants who knows the answer [no fair looking in our own guide -- ed.], why don't you help everyone out, you selfish ass? I'm sorry, I shouldn't have called you an ass. I just love you so much that, you know, sometimes I get a little crazy.

-Drew Cosner, everyone's favorite one-armed real-estate broker

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