I know what you’re going to say: “Greg, you write about Final Fantasy a whole lot.” You would be right. I do write about it a whole lot. I think about it a whole lot, probably moreso than most other series. The fact is that I credit Final Fantasy as the reason I’ve always been into games. Sure, Legend of Zelda may have been my very first game, but it was Final Fantasy that hooked me, and Final Fantasy II (which, I would later find out, was the fourth game in the series) that solidified the hold that games have had on my life. It was just pretty amazing to me that a game could have a story to it, and I mean a real story with characters and interpersonal conflict.
Category: Retro Reviews
We all have our favorites when it comes to video games. Be it for the artwork, the soundtrack, the mechanics, plot, character development, or style–we have our reasons. To be sure, there is the occasional nerdgasm over a franchise as well. These are the games that stick with us, and usually with good reason. They have components that are done so well that it is something we then go looking for in other games.
When talking to my gamer friends, I am learning that quite a few of my favorites are lost gems; games that don’t have nearly the popularity or following, but are beautifully executed in their own rights.
Kartia: The World of Fate came out in 1998 for the PlayStation in North America, published by Atlas. It was originally released as “Rebus” in Japan. One could go so far as to consider it a “retro” game, by modern standards. Kartia is an isometric tactical roleplaying game, with a very high level of customization within battle. It is a beautiful game, with stunning character art by Yoshitaka Amano and haunting soundtrack by Kenichi Tsuchia and Masaki Kurokawa.
Nostalgia is a tricky thing. Sometimes, it makes a person want to dive into the games that evoke their strongest memories of the past over and over again. It’s this type of nostalgia that makes me play through pretty much every version of old Final Fantasy games that gets released. There’s another kind of nostalgia, though: the kind that makes a person want to keep the memory of a thing as the best possible version of that thing that could exist. It’s this kind of nostalgia that ensures that I won’t ever read Dune more than once, or listen to very much music from the 1980’s again, or, I thought, play through Quest for Glory again.
As you may or may not know, I’ve been on a writing hiatus for a few months in order to focus on some other things and to catch up on some games that I’ve wanted to play but haven’t gotten around to. Since one of those games was Suikoden II, which falls into the category of ‘one of the most under-appreciated games of all time’, naturally I figured I’d give the game its due. I figured this wouldn’t be an easy one to write about, since I went into this with even more hype and expectation than I did the original, and, while the original was definitely not a bad game, I think that the expectations I had surrounding it definitely did the game a disservice in my eyes.
Ah, the venerable point-and-click adventure genre, the genre that includes such greats as Maniac Mansion, Shadowgate, and King’s Quest, among others. Some of my favorite games on the face of the planet come from this genre, and it is absolutely filled to the brim with nostalgia for me. Like others, I greatly lamented the decline of the genre, both in the number and the quality of games that were released in it, and again, like others, I have become quite excited at the genre’s revival. I eagerly devoured the new Sam & Max games, I have placed The Walking Dead into my queue of games to tackle, and I am quite enthusiastic to see what Double Fine decides to do with their Kickstarter success money.
I have a confession to make. Before about two weeks ago, I had never played Suikoden. Mostly, this is due to when it was released: that awkward time right after the Playstation was released when I didn’t actually own one. By the time I did, Final Fantasy 7 (and Final Fantasy 8 and 9, Final Fantasy Tactics, and Xenogears, for that matter) had come out, and that was where my RPG attentions were firmly focused. And yet, people kept telling me that Suikoden was a Thing I Needed To Play. And I kept firmly putting it off, firstly because I kept having other games to play, and then because Suikoden became fucking expensive.