When you've been gaming as long as I have you start to accrue a ton of great memories from your experiences. It's easy to build up fond memories of games from your past that keep it in a certain limelight for you, which is something I think we're all guilty of. Memories like these can make retreading your gaming footsteps a scary notion. What if you go back to play a game you loved only to realize how poorly it has aged? The past isn't just full of games you previously played though, there will always be experiences you missed out on. You can sit around wishing for the PS4 or Wii U to get some new games (and I'm right there with you) but there have been so many games that have been out for years that I've never gotten to experience.
These two facts have sent me on a bit of a journey through games passed recently. Seeing as how I'm currently on the hunt for a job I have plenty of extra free time at home and not a lot of money to tread into newer territory, so I've decided to combine my retread of history with my goal of keeping content flowing. It most recently started with my Top Ten list that I wrote up about a week ago. Of the games I listed I had only gone through 3 or 4 within the last year, so I was curious as to how accurate my memory was. The only game I pretty regularly revisit is Mega Man X, because it's one that I love and it doesn't take very much time to go back through. I made up my mind and went on a journey back to Chrono Trigger, one of my favorite games of all time.
As a kid this was one of the first jrpg's that I actually managed to finish because I had an extreme lack of patience for grinding growing up; which often left me at the end of a jrpg with under-leveled characters. Luckily Chrono Trigger is a game that requires next to no additional grinding. It manages to capture perfectly my philosophy on games that if you fight every monster that gets in your way from point A to point B then you should be able to take on the boss sitting at point B without having to take an hour to run in circles farming experience. Chrono Trigger was also the first jrpg that I completely replayed thanks to its New Game + integration, something that was pretty new at the time. In fact if I remember correctly it was Chrono Trigger that coined the term.
Obviously I have a lot of fond memories of Chrono Trigger. I decided to revisit it via the PS1 version on my Vita (unfortunately I don't own the DS port, which I have heard is the definitive version) and I had even more fun than I could have hoped. I went through a few days of sickness around the time I wrote the Top Ten so my sleeping habits got all out of whack and I was up most nights and sleeping during the day. I picked up my Vita one night, turned on Chrono Trigger, and honestly didn't stop for about 7 hours or so. I went from the beginning of the game to the Dark Ages section of the game in one sitting. I forced myself to step away and ended up finishing the game up after two more slightly shorter sittings. The game was shorter than I remembered, clocking in around 16 hours for my playthrough, during which I did everything you can possibly do in one playthrough, and I was as satisfied with that journey as I could have possibly been.
My replaying and fanboy levels of gushing over Chrono Trigger may not be terribly exciting to hear about but this is what set me out to go through a lot of other old games. I aim to try and visit both titles I have played as well as those that I missed out on. I don't expect to come away happy with every game I sit down to play, in fact after playing Chrono Trigger I revisited Chrono Cross and was actually a bit disappointed at how it didn't live up to my memory of it. Still a solid game with a great story, but plenty of issues that I either didn't notice previously or had forgotten about. I currently have a lot of PS1 era games lined up to revisit. I've already gone back through Mega Man Legends and am currently visiting Vagrant Story for the first time and my list to go through includes everything from Spyro to Grandia, to Valkyrie Profile.
Seeing a lot of people's top ten favorite games recently has really shown me just how many games that others have loved that I still haven't even tried out yet, as well as how many different things people look for or really appreciate in games. For me video games aren't just about the gameplay, they're not just about the story. Every game has a different goal and different priorities. I don't think that gameplay is always the most important aspect of a game just because “it's a video game and gameplay is what makes it a video game.” To me it's the experience as a whole that stays with me; the combination of all the things that come together make a video game. I've had so many great experiences and I have no doubt that many of them may not hold up when I go back and revisit them, but it's a risk I'm willing to take. As someone who never had a lot of friends growing up I probably have more great video game memories than I do “life” memories, and I'm always excited by the prospect of adding more.
I'm really curious about how other people feel about revisiting their past when it comes to gaming. Do you enjoy going back and replaying games you loved as a kid to see if they still hold up? Or are you more of the type that wants to keep your memories as they are and not risk ruining them with your now more experienced and mature perspective? Is there a game that you enjoy so much that you feel inclined to constantly revisit it, the way I feel about Mega Man X? Feel free to let me know, and thanks for reading.
My aforementioned financial situation means that I likely won't be doing many timely reviews until I am able to remedy that, but I am dedicated to keeping weekly content flowing here so I'm going to have to start getting more creative. I've got a few ideas up on the old drawing board at the moment. I plan to do more “You Should Play” pieces so I can talk about games that I feel were overlooked such as God Hand and Shadow Tower: Abyss and I've also toyed with the idea of using my trip through the past to make a sort of nostalgia segment where I talk about older games and how well I think they've held up.
My current idea is to maybe take two that I've played and two I've never tried and do a write up once a month about my findings with a different theme each time (maybe four PS1 games one month, four sidescrollers the next month, etc.). If four ends up being too many I may tone it down to one game I've played before and one I haven't, we'll see. If that's something that sounds interesting or if you think maybe a different format would work better then hey I'm all ears. Thanks again!