Category Archives: Retro

FFV and the Joy of Feeling Competent

I have mentioned it from time to time, but over the last few years, I’ve been trying to catch up on a whole bunch of retro games I had missed.  And at this point, I’m largely done.  Sure, there are definitely more retro games out there that I should play one day, but as for the games I really wanted to check off my list, this goal has been met.  Final Fantasy 4-9, Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross, EarthBound, Super Metroid, Super Mario RPG, all present and accounted for.  The last one on my list to play was Final Fantasy V, which, like Final Fantasy IV, is probably pretty obscure for anyone who hasn’t been playing Final Fantasy since the beginning.  (Thank you, Kingdom Hearts.  You introduced even non-Final Fantasy fans to characters like Cloud and Squall, but not once do you mention FF6 and prior.  With the exception of Setzer, of all people.  Setzer.)

Final Fantasy 4 and 5 were the only games not explicitly on my list, but they came with Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy 6, respectively, and who am I to pass up on an essentially free pair of games?  While FF4 was merely to pass the time and to say with confidence that, yes, I’ve played Final Fantasy 4, I must say that I enjoyed Final Fantasy 5 far more than I expected to.  Let me summarize the game a bit for anyone who might not be familiar with it. Continue reading FFV and the Joy of Feeling Competent

Day 13: A Game I’ve Played More Than Five Times

Ah, back to the 30-day video game topics.  Despite the obvious implication that this is only supposed to span the course of roughly a month, these posts have been taking me years to get through.  Well, better get back to it.  Right now, we’re only on day 13.  The topic: a game I’ve played more than five times.  There are a lot of games I could name right now that I’ve played far more times than is sane, but the one I’ve chosen to discuss is Donkey Kong Country 2.  By now, many of you are probably more than familiar with the fact that I love this game.  Even more of you are probably just familiar with this game due to your own experiences with it and don’t need any explanation for why it’s such a great game.  So I’m not getting into that.  The game was released in 1995, for crying out loud!  That was 21 years ago!  Wow, has it really been that long…?

All right, so, instead of telling you guys what this game is all about, why don’t I tell you about five of my most memorable experiences with this amazing game?  The first time I really got into playing Super Nintendo games was when my parents had the SNES connected to a TV in the basement.  Being out of the way, it made it so much easier to play these games to my heart’s content, unlike the poor Nintendo 64, which was in the living room.  (You see, the coaxial cable part of the basement TV was okay, so the SNES worked just fine on it.  But the composite…thingies on that TV stopped working, so our N64 only got sound and no picture.  That’s why we got a new TV to connect the N64 to, along with all our other newer devices at the time, while the other TV, along with the SNES, got moved into the basement.)  We already had about 20 SNES games, and some of my best memories from my ducklinghood involved me spending hours in the basement trying out a whole bunch of games I had never played before. Continue reading Day 13: A Game I’ve Played More Than Five Times

How Retro Can You Go: A Discussion of Spooniness

There are some gamers who openly admit that they have no desire to play older games because they prefer the more advanced, better looking games of today.  There are others who say that gameplay is the only thing that matters, so if a game is good, no matter how old it is, they will play it.  I am usually in the latter category, but over the past year, I have realized that I, too, have a limit for how far back into the past I can go and still enjoy gaming.  I think every gamer has this limit.  Mine is the SNES, with a few exceptions.

You see, I once believed that I could play any game, despite its age, and enjoy it as long as it was a good game.  I had plenty of SNES games I loved, and one day, I thought I’d travel just a little farther back in time and download a few Virtual Console games for the NES.  These games were the original Legend of Zelda and Metroid games.  Being classic games that marked the beginning of two amazing franchises, surely I couldn’t go wrong.  Right?

Wrong. Continue reading How Retro Can You Go: A Discussion of Spooniness

The Apparent Science of RPGs

A good number of years ago, I bought Final Fantasy Anthology and Final Fantasy Chronicles for the PS1 in order to play Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger.  The other games that came in these mini-collections were Final Fantasy IV and V.  While I had always been interested in FFVI and onward, I never heard much about IV and V and, thus, I had no desire to play them.  I guess I don’t stray too much from the games I specifically want to play, as the same was the case when I bought The Orange Box and refused to try Half-Life 2 until a year after its purchase because I had nothing better to do at the moment.  And seeing as that ended well, I decided it was finally time to try out FFIV and V.  Let’s start with Final Fantasy IV, shall we?

As of writing this, I am now nearing the final boss, and I plan to write about my experiences with this game in another post once the game is finished.  As I battled countless enemies in the game’s final location in order to level up and better prepare myself for the final battle, I also worked on defeating the optional bosses that guarded the most powerful weapons in the game.  One of these was the dreaded Wyvern, a dragon who has thus far repeatedly destroyed me.  When I looked up tips online, I found one person who said they had defeated the Wyvern with all of their characters around the early 50’s, which, for me, signified a problem. Continue reading The Apparent Science of RPGs

Putting a Name to Nostalgia: MindMaze

I’m sure all of us have some game or movie or book that we remember, even when the name itself has been forgotten to us.  Strangely enough, at least in my case, I often have fond memories of these forgotten stories, despite the contradiction of forgetting the name of something I claimed to have enjoyed.  Recently, I happened quite by chance upon a few movies I saw as a duckling whose names I had previously forgotten (in case you’re curious, The Pagemaster was one of them), and it made me all the more determined to hunt down the name of an old PC game I remember playing long ago.

This is what I remembered.  The game was probably released in the mid to late 90’s.  I believe it came with the computer.  And it involved exploring a medieval castle.  The game was in first-person, but there was no battling, and it was set up like a maze.  In order to progress through the maze, I thought you probably answered questions or something.  I could see in my head the stone wall of the interior of the castle, and I was vaguely aware of some certain background music. Continue reading Putting a Name to Nostalgia: MindMaze

Resonance: Mining Melancholy

I had to check several times to make sure no one had already written about this one, as Mining Melancholy might possibly be one of the most brilliant songs in a game that already has plenty of amazing tracks.  As expected, Mining Melancholy is found in every mine level of Donkey Kong Country 2.  As you play through these often frustrating levels (thanks to the fact that every single one is vertical, which means that one mistake could send you tumbling back to the start of the level, or worse), if you pay attention to the background, you’ll notice the tools left behind by the miners.  Pickaxes, explosives, buckets, what have you.  And let’s not forget those huge sparkling gems we catch glimpses of in the distance.  Those things are massive! Continue reading Resonance: Mining Melancholy

Suffering from a Nostalgia Deficiency

Today, dear readers, we will be taking a look at the effect nostalgia plays in our gaming, but from a different angle….  As you may or may not be aware, I have been trying to catch up with the old classics from the SNES, namely Final Fantasy VI, Chrono Trigger, Super Metroid, EarthBound, and Super Mario RPG.  Phew.  The former two came into my possession in the form of PS1 games, while the other three were downloaded on the Virtual Console.  While I believe I have discussed the first four already, one game remains, Super Mario RPG.

First off, if you’re interested in Super Mario RPG, it’s not yet available on the Wii U Virtual Console, but don’t despair.  I realized that by going to the Wii menu on my Wii U, you could access the Wii Virtual Console and download it just the same.  Feeling quite clever with myself, I began playing the last classic game of the era I had sorely wanted to try.  I had always heard good things about this game, particularly the character Geno, and with the added knowledge that the Paper Mario series was the “spiritual successor” to Super Mario RPG, a series I already adored, I was really excited to try this game out.  Plus, how can a mix of Nintendo and Squaresoft ever not be a good thing? Continue reading Suffering from a Nostalgia Deficiency