Go to sleep already, they would tell me. Don't forget to turn everything off! Yeah, right! If I power off my PlayStation, I'll lose all my progress. They didn't understand this, and I don't blame them. Parents are known to be iffy when it comes to video games and technology in general, so there was no convincing them, but this posed a problem. How do I continue my adventure in game? Well it's obvious, isn't it? Always leave it ON. Easier said than done, I'm afraid, so the only logical solution is to buy a memory card. If only... Not only where my parents iffy about the prospect of gaming, they were also ignorant. Great. So there I was, trying to convince them that I needed a memory card. "Sure, we'll get you one next week," they said. Next week?! Are you kidding me? It's Tuesday. Next week is so far away, and besides that, I had bigger problems. The cool new game I found at a garage sale was actually pretty darn fun! The game was called Vagrant Story, and to this day it is still my all time favorite and the game that got me into gaming.
This wasn't Mario or Crash Bandicoot—great games by the way—so you couldn't exactly waltz through after some trial and error. This was Vagrant Story. A difficult game that required game smarts or a strategy guide. It was an Action RPG with turn based elements (think Fallout 3 + Final Fantasy XII), so you had to use some gray matter here and there, but was it just the coolest thing ever. I remember being stuck on the first "level" and constantly giving up and shutting the console down only to realize that I desperately needed that memory card in order to get anywhere. But here's the kicker; years later I would realize that this game could actually be beaten in 8-9 hours on a normal playthrough. This game was short! This didn't matter however because I was oblivious with game mechanics so I couldn't progress at a good pace. So here I am, trying to beat this game and not being able to save. It's a hot summer day and instead of swimming in the pool with my friends I'm playing Vagrant Story. This time I actually beat the first stage with sheer luck. I was intrigued. This is when I went begging for a memory card because I felt so proud and accomplished with myself—I have to save my progress! Next week they tell me... How aggravating! But that didn't stop me. For the first time, I walked over to the dark side, the walk through! The horror, I know. But I couldn't help myself, I had to beat this darn game. It was too much fun at this point. So like any other kid stuck in a game world, I thought about it all day, couldn't wait to play it, and in my situation, was extra careful not to turn off my PlayStation. I don't know how, but in the following week, I beat the game (with help). That amazing moment when I landed the final blow on the hardest boss in the game was magical. I did it. I beat the game without a memory card (good thing it was a short one too). I had it running 24/7 for a good 5-6 days. Later on I got a memory card and beat the game again, but that first time would forever be ingrained in my mind as my first real virtual adventure.
Vagrant Story got me into RPG's which got me into gaming. I'm not sure what the power bill looked like for that month with me leaving the PS on for days, but I can definitely say that it was worth it, although my parents may think otherwise.
So here I am, years later, still looking for that RPG thrill and always excited for new releases, and hoping that someday, Yasumi Matsuno makes a sequel to my all time favorite—Vagrant Story.