There are some gamers who openly admit that they have no desire to play older games because they prefer the more advanced, better looking games of today. There are others who say that gameplay is the only thing that matters, so if a game is good, no matter how old it is, they will play it. I am usually in the latter category, but over the past year, I have realized that I, too, have a limit for how far back into the past I can go and still enjoy gaming. I think every gamer has this limit. Mine is the SNES, with a few exceptions.
You see, I once believed that I could play any game, despite its age, and enjoy it as long as it was a good game. I had plenty of SNES games I loved, and one day, I thought I’d travel just a little farther back in time and download a few Virtual Console games for the NES. These games were the original Legend of Zelda and Metroid games. Being classic games that marked the beginning of two amazing franchises, surely I couldn’t go wrong. Right?
I love both of these respective franchises, but as I began the original Zelda, I recall losing interest very quickly. I know the game is old, but I didn’t enjoy the bland scenery, and some of my dismay also came from having to trek for so long through this scenery searching for any hint of what I was supposed to do. The game just gives you no directions whatsoever. You just start playing and…you’re probably supposed to look for dungeons, and I finally found one, and I defeated a dragon, and…then I gave up because I didn’t want to hunt for dungeons anymore. My time with Metroid was even more short-lived. The graphics were too simple for me, and even though I don’t recall having a lot of trouble with the game, I just…started randomly exploring, I never found a save point (are there any…?), I died a few times, had to start over, then gave up. I can play The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Super Metroid for the SNES, but when it comes to venturing further back in time, I just can’t do it.
As I mentioned before, I can pretty much play as far back as the SNES, though there are certainly exceptions to this rule. I found that I also have a limit as far as Final Fantasy games are concerned. I’ve been slowly working my way back through the Final Fantasy series, and the last two games I owned that needed playing were FF4 and 5. (I don’t own anything before that, and frankly, I’m a bit confused about the numbering of the older Final Fantasy games.) I recently beat FF4, and as of writing this, I have been playing FF5 for about a week now. Both are SNES games, but for some reason, I couldn’t get into FF4, even though I’m having a lot of fun with FF5. And it’s not the game itself because a little bit of research online told me that FF4 was a very popular game. People loved it. So why didn’t I?
While I didn’t hate playing FF4 or anything, I didn’t have tons of fun with it, either. I think the problem is that, like the original Zelda and Metroid games, it’s just a bit too old and too simple for me to get into, and as a result, I just never really connected with any of them. But, in case you’re not familiar with this game, why don’t I provide a quick overview, and you can decide for yourself if you want to give it a try. Final Fantasy 4 is about Cecil, a dark knight who served a kingdom that was forcibly stealing the crystals (they’re very important, but I forgot why) from other kingdoms to use for their own evil purposes. Cecil leaves his kingdom and goes on a quest not only to put a stop to this, but to redeem himself from his own wrongdoings.
Another aspect worth mentioning is that this game doesn’t let you choose your party members like later games in the series, but I thought it was rather interesting having an ever-changing party to work with as new people joined Cecil on his quest and old comrades left. Some characters leave and return to your group later on, while your time with others is very short-lived. For example, Edward. (Remember the infamous line, “you spoony bard”? Well, that’s him. Can’t say he was spoonier than anyone else, though….) This, well, rather spoony guy was in your party for a pretty short time, and once he’s gone, he never rejoins you. Yes, he wasn’t a very good character and everyone pretty much says he is useless, but his temporary inclusion in your group just felt kind of pointless to me. I, for one, have never met someone spoony before, and I would have liked to get to know him better. The spoony aspect of his personality, anyway. …Okay, I’ll stop now.
The game has some interesting plot twists, and there are some unexpected locations…or, to be more precise, some unexpected worlds that you visit which makes things more entertaining. The battle system is pretty simple, and every character has their own role. Sometimes you have multiple characters with similar abilities, but on the most part, everyone has their own move set and their own uses. By the end of the game, you have a ninja, a summoner, and a white mage, for example, among others. Of course, as I discussed in another post I wrote for UWG, I still failed to make proper use of my characters because I am generally not very good at venturing beyond the basics of RPGs. Nevertheless, I still did pretty well, and in addition to obtaining optional summons like Leviathan, Asura, Odin, and Bahamut, I also defeated every optional boss in the final location of the game, including the dreaded Wyvern. So maybe I’m not as cruddy as I thought.
Final Fantasy 4 is a good game. I just didn’t get very attached to the main characters. Honestly, I didn’t care that much about Cecil, even if his desire to redeem himself is an honorable one. I also didn’t find myself particularly enthralled by the game’s story and our heroes’ efforts to prevent the crystals from being stolen by the game’s villains. It was probably a great story at the time, but I guess nowadays, I’ve played RPGs with more complex, exciting stories that this one didn’t really interest me. I think, for me, this game is just a bit too old. That doesn’t make it bad. The original Zelda game is certainly not bad. They’ve just aged a bit too much, and they don’t appeal to me. Ah, well.
What is your limit? How far back can you venture into the gaming past before you lose interest? Also, who here is spoony or knows someone who is spoony? Please let me know in the comments!
A Spoony Duck
This article was originally published on United We Game on October 11, 2016.