The Ragtime Mouse, also known as Ragtimer, is a special creature in Final Fantasy IX whom the party can repeatedly encounter in various forests throughout Gaia. It is a quiz master who poses a yes or no question every time it is encountered. It flees if attacked (even if the player inflicts more damage than its maximum health), and the only way to defeat it is to answer all sixteen questions.
The Ragtime Mouse is encountered alongside True and False, which resemble and respectively on the PlayStation controller. The player attacks one or the other to answer the Ragtime Mouse's question. If the player attacks all targets with a group-cast ability, the Ragtime Mouse will act the same as if the player only attacked it and runs away. Ragtime Mouse also flees if the player takes too long to answer. Ragtime Mouse fleeing counts as a wrong answer, and he won't ask the same question again.
Finding Ragtime Mouse
Ragtime Mouse appears randomly in the forests on the world map. The number of times it can be encountered is limited per how far in the game the player is, but cumulative:
- After leaving the Evil Forest to before arriving at the Outer Continent = 4 times
- Arriving at the Outer Continent to before getting the Hilda Garde III = 10+ times
- After gaining the Hilda Garde III = All encounters available
Thus it is possible to meet Ragtime Mouse 16 times in the endgame if it has not yet been encountered previously.
The Ragtime Mouse appears only after 20 seconds have passed on the world map since the player entered or since the last battle. This condition makes its chances of appearing twice in a row in the same forest seemingly very low. It is, however, perfectly possible to find it in the same forest repeatedly provided the player doesn't move for 20 seconds between each encounter. Every frame during which the player is running after this limit has a 1/231 or 1/365 chance to trigger an encounter with the Ragtime Mouse (1/365 is used only before getting the Blue Narciss and only before the first battle since the world map was entered).
There is an exploit to find the Ragtime Mouse many times in succession: if the player taps the movement buttons in only small increments while walking on the world map, one is unlikely to get into random encounters. Because the Ragtime Mouse encounters are unrelated to this trick, the player can force Ragtime Mouse encounters by tapping the button repeatedly while walking through forests filtering out regular encounters. Alternatively, the player can farm the encounters in the forest near the Ice Cave by entering the Ice Cave, exiting and then tapping the movement buttons in the forest. Once the Ragtime Mouse has been encountered, the player can then enter and exit the Ice Cave again and repeat the process.
Using the Safe Travel booster in the latest versions to disable random encounters also disables Ragtime Mouse encounters.
Ragtime's pop quiz
The questions are asked randomly except for Question 16, which is always the last.
- Chocobo Forest is located between Lindblum and South Gate. - True
- Lindblum Castle is larger than Alexandria Castle. - True
- Some Mus are friendly and don't attack. - True
- Theater Ship Prima Vista uses Mist as its source of energy. - True
- Berkmea cable cars have been running for eight years. - True
- Lindblum's air cabs operate around the clock. - True
- Treno's cafe, Card Carta, is members only. - True
- Bobo bird is a bird that brings you fortune. - False
- The 15th Lindblum War started in 1600. - False
- The Theater Ship Prima Vista was built in Artania Shipyards. - False
- "I Want To Be Your Canary" was written by Lord Afon. - False
- Fossil Roo is a tunnel that connects Treno and Alexandria. - False
- Only one desert exists in the entire world. - False
- Conde Petie is a village of Goblins. - False
- Prima Vista means love at first sight. - False
After answering the questions above:
- You can defeat Ragtime Mouse. - True
For answering every question correctly, the player can win up to 70,000 gil. If the player answers the last question correctly, the Ragtime Mouse explodes and the party wins a Protect Ring. To get the Protect Ring the player needs to find it one last time and Ragtime Mouse will tell the percentage of correct answers. If the player answered all its questions correctly they will also get EXP and gil, as well as an achievement/trophy in the latest releases of Final Fantasy IX.
Location: Wimpy Guy (Shopping Area - Lindblum), Mountain Chocobo (disc 4, Chocobo's Paradise), Carpenter's Apprentice 2 (Business District - Lindblum), Ovenmeister (disc 4, Alexandria Main Street, 2nd screen)
Ragtime Mouse appeared as a boss during the Final Fantasy series 30th Anniversary event. During the event, he would challenge players with multiple trivia questions revolving around the current fifteen main series titles, Final Fantasy Tactics, and Final Fantasy Type-0. The rank and rewards were dependent on the amount of questions answered correctly.
Behind the scenes
The card Ragtime Mouse is holding has a message present on the face of the card. The text is in Japanese and it reads: "Pop Quiz! FF10's theme is GUTS! True or false?".
The money and the EXP received from the Ragtime Mouse is a Japanese language pun. Gokurōsan (ご苦労さん?) is "good job"; the number five in Japanese is Go; the number nine is Ku; the number six is Ro; and three is San. Writing 5963 can thus approximately phonetically be pronounced "good job". The Ragtime Mouse gives 23852 EXP, which divided among four party members is 5963 EXP each. It also gives 59630 gil.
The name "Ragtime Mouse" is probably a mistranslation of "Ragtime Mouth" as the transliteration of the English words "mouse" and "mouth" is the same in Japanese.
The alternative name "Ragtimer" only appears in the NTSC version. The enemy is named "Ragtime Mouse", however, the final true or false statement it proposes is "You can defeat Ragtimer". The enemy's Tetra Master card is also named "Ragtimer". These were changed to "Ragtime Mouse" for the PAL release.