Monday, February 14, 2011

It's not what is used to be...

I'm finally fessing up, sometimes I am clouded with nostalgia that I flat out forget a game's shortcomings. Thank you, PSN, for finally making me see the error of my ways. Ever since PSN has put up more and more PSone Classics, I've been like a giddy little school girl. OMGZ Final Fantasy VII, VIII, IX, I must buy. Alundra? Squeals in delight as I automatically press "purchase." Silent Hill? You bet. Wild Arms 2? Couldn't resist. Suikoden - Love at first sight, buying was a must. All of these purchases and more, I didn't need to second guess. To relive the experience of playing some of my favorite games on my PSP or PlayStation 3 was like one big nostalgic dream. So where did it all go wrong?

I've started actually playing these games and they're not as fun as they used to be. It's exciting to look back and reminisce, but it almost ruins your memories of your sacred RPG gems. Years later, the game is never as special or important as you remember it being. There's something always so archaic about these oldies. Even so, I still do miss the old school feel of these games.

Recently, I played Earthbound again, and I just forgot how menu based heavy the game was...now Earthbound was and still is one of my favorite games for the SNES along with Secret of Mana (we'll get to that later), but I've been so spoiled by the games of this decade that the menus started to bother me. Earthbound still has that sassy humor that nobody has ever managed to recreate in a game (and characters I'll never forget). But, the point is - playing these games now you have obstacles you never felt you had before. I wanted to show my boyfriend the awesomeness of Secret of Mana, so as soon as it hit the Virtual Console, it was an instant purchase. Naturally, I played it with him. What I found was not an experience where I could convince him of putting it down as his favorite game, because the whole battle system felt extremely archaic. This doesn't mean Secret of Mana still isn't a great game, it was for its time, but it hasn't aged well at all. That pains me so, because some of my fondest memories are attached to that game. A similar reaction happened when I played FFVII again, to this day, I claim that as one of my favorite Final Fantasy games, the problem? The game just hasn't aged well.

So, is it worth going back to these titles, will it ruin the memories/nostalgia you have about them? I think all these games and more are worth another run through, just don't expect the same experience you had playing it at a younger age. Now, it's a new adventure we should embrace, but not be scared of - maybe you'll realize something about the game wasn't as amazing as you remember...but you know what? You still have that strong memory of playing it for the first time and not being able to put it down for hours. I'll never forget standing under that godforsaken waterfall in Earthbound. But, I digress. Playing through these games again can't take your memories away from you. And who knows, maybe, giving these games a try at an older age you'll be able to see magic where you didn't. Maybe, now that you're older you're able to comprehend and experience it in a new way. I think it's like watching the Care Bears again, you'll remember certain parts and smile, but you'll also know you've outgrown them. You can't take away my childhood - these games are more than that - fond memories I will never part with, but I'll also remember things have changed now.