Have you ever had to wait for the better part of a decade to play a game? I have. Back in my early days, I was the proud player of both a SNES and a Genesis. However, there was a problem. Whenever I played the Sega, I would get a twitch. Never happened with the SNES, but happened no matter what game when I held the 3-buttoned controller.
Therefore, I was banned from Segaland. My grandparents gave my Genesis away, and then proceeded to block me off from the Saturn. I had a SNES (and then added a N64), so normally it would be just fine. However, perusing the magazine rack for video game mags, I decided to get the newest issue of Tips & Tricks for it's strategy guide of Mario 64 so I could look it over while waiting the long wait until christmas.
I read that over and over and over again. but soon that just started to make the anticipation even more unbearable. So I decided to look at the other cover feature, which was a guide for a game I couldn't play due to it's Saturn-exclusivity. That strategy guide was for NiGHTs into Dreams, a great game that some may consider the crown jewel of Sonic Team's achievements. It wasn't an extensive guide, but what info was there sparked off an immense interest in the game that I never got rid of.
I proceeded to, over the proceeding years, beg and plead for a Saturn to no effect. They weren't sure I had outgrown my Sega-based illness, and therefore weren't going to spend the money on a system they weren't sure my body could handle.
The years go by, and the Dreamcast comes out. I have some games to trade into Babbages, but I was too young to have my own ID card. Therefore, whoever was with me had to trade them in for me. In this, I saw my oppertunity to put the new plan into motion. While they were figuring everything out at the counter, I slinked off to the demo Kiosk and played a good half-hour of Sonic Adventure and NFL2k.
When they finally got everything straightened away, they came over and got me, I got some games, and we went home. On the way home, I mentioned how I had played a somewhat nice amount of time on a Sega and had no side effects. They had already got me my big present for that year, a PSX, so I knew not to try for one then. This gave me time to build it up. over the next few months, I started dropping more and more aggressive hints until I reached an agreement in August where we would rent a Dreamcast and test it out. If it went well, I could get one at Christmas.
Needless to say, in that year's December, I was casting my dreams. I had broken through that wall, so I figured I'd set the next part into motion. I played that system for hours on end for days on end with no problems, and made sure to make that fact known amongst my grandparents. After a while, I started to campaign for a Saturn. This is where the second problem came in. They didn't trust the internet for shopping purposes, and Saturns weren't exactly plentiful in Wal-Mart in 2001.
So the gears once again grinded to a halt, and my plan had failed. I put that on the backburner and focused on enjoying the Dreamcast, which wasn't exactly a hard feat. Then, browsing the world wide web, I came upon information of an old anime Sonic movie. Being the huge Sonic fanby I was/am, I decided I needed that, and I needed it hard. I went to every movie place i could find, and none of them had a tape (or a DVD, though we didn't have a DVD player yet so that didn't matter) of it. Upon relaying this to my grandmother, after some negotiation/arguing, I was allowed to buy one off Amazon.com.
Soon after, the tape arrived, and I had convinced my grandmother that internet commerce wasn't such a bad deal. A few months later, I came across that old magazine. Remembering the problems that had prevented me from owning the Saturn, I realized they were all gone. I saved up my money, and, in November 2003, I had finally achieved a Sega Saturn, and a day later, I finally had the game that haunted my dreams for the better part of a year, NiGHTs into Dreams. I tore open the box when it came, and was all set to plop it into my newest Sega when my grandmother so kindly reminded me of my homeworkian duties.
After the worst math and english assignments ever, I finally pushed the power button and picked up the controller. I had been waiting for this for around 7 years, and I had the most astronomical of expectations for it. It never corssed my mind that it might not be that good of a game. THat it might not reach the bar I had set for it.
And you know what?
It easily surpassed that bar and I was hooked. I played it every day for a solid half-year, trying my best to find new ways to improve my score. I easily achieved all A-ranks, but still I wanted more. I soon after bought the Christmas NiGHTs "demo" (read: bonus) disc and have since 2004 played it every year at christmas time. Of course, that's not the only time I run through the game during the year. Every time I hook up the old girl I run through it a few times. It never gets old or boring no matter how much I play it. It was my favorite game ever for a long time after, and to this day is only topped by the seminal Cave Story.
I have not tried the new one for the Wii yet, if just because I don't trust the Sega of today to make a game of this calibur. When I do finally get over that fear, no matter how bad they screwed it up, I can always come back to this and reminice or at least get a taste of the days I missed. The days when, even if they couldn't properly make or promote a system, they could at least make a damn great game.
So, if I was to only make one A Cast of Thousands blog post, it would definately be NiGHTs. The character itself, to most people, may not exactly be worthy of it, but to me it is. Not only because the game is phenominal, but because of how much I fawned over that game for that length of time without even knowing if I liked it and having it deliver in the greatest way. Therefore, the character means more to me than it would to most other people, and means more to me than any other character who has been in a game.