I'd like to consider myself as a hardcore gamer, but who really cares. I love playing games and have been hooked ever since my first Nintendo console playing Solar Jetman and Zelda as a young boy. Some of my old school favorites are Chrono trigger, Super Metroid, and Gunstar Heroes. I have a few current gen favorites such as Mass Effect, Fallout 3, and Super Meat Boy, but feel as if the current videogames are lacking style and originality from the past gens. I love to voice my opinion on my blogs and hopefully you'd love you hear and respond back
New Game Plus is such a simple idea in essence; after completing the game the player is given all the same abilities, stats, and items from the previously saved game. This feature gives you soo much replay value; all while giving you many more tools at your disposable to explore new heights in the game. My first instance of this feature was in Chrono Trigger; what many other gamers and I consider a hallmark in the gaming community.
Chrono Trigger gave you the ability to replay the game with everything from the previous quests and finding each alternate ending was one of my favorite joys in gaming. Current Gen videogames such as Bioshock, Mass Effect, and DMC have given me similar feelings from my childhood. New Game Plus adds a replay value unlike any other and was such an amazing innovation early on in videogames.
But this article isn't about how New Game Plus gave you the ability to easily revisit games and conquer bosses with ease. New Game Plus was how I learned to play games and I'm sure many others revisit games the same way I do.
My initial experience with what I consider a real New Game Plus was with the first MegaMan X on Super Nintendo, another timeless classic. I booted the game up and began to pour my time into it and was blown away at what was developing on the screen.
From the first stage's encounter with Vile until the final battle with Sigma; my first playthrough of this game was the same way I have played ever other game. Although fun and fulfilling, every game was the same routine of playing the level until the end and triumphing over the final boss. Beating a game like this was always exciting, but left me wanting more as a young gamer. Of course after beating the game I went right back to it and started again. But unlike previous games such as Mario Bros., MegaMan X began to teach me how to play itself the perfect way and get through each level with a skill I've yet to discover.
I began to learn as time passed on. My young brain began to work as a machine uncovering what
MegaMan X had laid out right in front of me from the beginning. I was so amazed at what replaying the game was giving back to me. I learned how to play each level with ease and a knowledge I've never experienced before.
Learning each boss had it's own individual weakness; each level had it's hidden treasure whether being a suit upgrade, health upgrade, or a reserve tank; each level had an effect on another level after completion. This was blowing me away and had me playing each level again and again thrilled to find something even further hidden. For example, destroying Storm Eagle's level had a reaction on Spark Mandrill's level where the plane Storm Eagle flew crashed into Spark Mandrill's stage destroying all the lights. Each level completion caused the game to almost create a new alternate level right before your eyes! The powerups you received had a purpose when I believed they were nothing more than flashy weapons at your disposal. On that exact day gaming had become something much more serious. Something to work for before there were achievements. Until this point gaming was nothing more than a fun hobby.
My version of New Game Plus had become an addiction and the most rewarding way to play games. The feeling of beating a videogame wasn't enough for me and in a gaming environment where dlc and new game plus weren't available; this was the most amazing way to play for me.
Even to this day I still find myself revisiting old classics such as Super Metroid, where finding new shortcuts and ways to cram the completion time lower and lower was soo much more fun than I had remembered. The most recent example of a New Game Plus discovery was not too long ago and literally blew me away at how I didn't discover this trick until I poked around in the game's world. This instance was in Fallout 3 where you have to save your father in Vault 112.
You enter the tranquility lounger and are tasked with some missions that disturb the happy suburban people inside the world. The NPC Betty tells you to make a young boy cry, divorce a family, kill an old lady, and finally murder everyone as the pint sized slasher and is one of my favorite parts of Fallout 3. Killing the people is immensely rewarding and hilarious, but grants you negative karma which was something I was trying to avoid in the game. Unfortunately I thought this was the only option and proceeded on.
Just like MegaMan X, I failed to see what had been right in front of my eyes the entire time. On my next playthrough of Fallout 3 I entered the tranquility lounger the same way as before. I remembered the abandoned house where the terminal was hidden, but didn't think anything of it until this playthough's. Poking around enough and trying figure out an alternative for good karma instead of the bad karma path; I came across an NPC I somehow overlooked. She told of the secret terminal in the house and the special password input.
Enough prodding around with the weird password input and voila! The fabled terminal appears and I access the Chinese Invasion Failsafe, which causes Chinese soldiers to appear and slaughter all the villagers, somehow granting you good karma and an amazing scene to watch and laugh at. This little moment brought new life to the game and kept me pressing onward searching for more rewarding alternatives.
For myself and hopefully many other gamer's; New Game Plus isn't just a setting where you can beat the game with a far more powerful character, it's a way I've learned how to play games and a way to extend the game way beyond the final credits. Ever since Megaman X showed me what secrets had always been in front of my eyes from the get go; playing videogames would never be the same for me. I believe that at the end of Super Metroid, where the screen reads, "See you next mission," the developers weren't talking about the following game and get ready for the future. They just wanted you to play it again. Find a whole new mission that was always in front of the player's eyes.