As you can see, I’m still working my way through the 30 days’ worth of video game topics, and I’ve just managed to get a couple days past the halfway point. Yay for me! Day 17’s topic is my favorite antagonist. For me, talking about my favorite of anything can be difficult because my favorites change all the time. Which is something that kind of bugs me about myself. Duck, you are a fickle, unpredictable creature. Stop it! Ahem, well, the arbitrary list of topics says I must discuss my favorite antagonist, so I’m going to pick the villain I’ve probably liked for the longest span of time, Dr. Nefarious. Continue reading Day 17: Favorite Antagonist
I have mentioned it from time to time, but over the last few years, I’ve been trying to catch up on a whole bunch of retro games I had missed. And at this point, I’m largely done. Sure, there are definitely more retro games out there that I should play one day, but as for the games I really wanted to check off my list, this goal has been met. Final Fantasy 4-9, Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross, EarthBound, Super Metroid, Super Mario RPG, all present and accounted for. The last one on my list to play was Final Fantasy V, which, like Final Fantasy IV, is probably pretty obscure for anyone who hasn’t been playing Final Fantasy since the beginning. (Thank you, Kingdom Hearts. You introduced even non-Final Fantasy fans to characters like Cloud and Squall, but not once do you mention FF6 and prior. With the exception of Setzer, of all people. Setzer.)
Final Fantasy 4 and 5 were the only games not explicitly on my list, but they came with Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy 6, respectively, and who am I to pass up on an essentially free pair of games? While FF4 was merely to pass the time and to say with confidence that, yes, I’ve played Final Fantasy 4, I must say that I enjoyed Final Fantasy 5 far more than I expected to. Let me summarize the game a bit for anyone who might not be familiar with it. Continue reading FFV and the Joy of Feeling Competent
Sometimes, it feels as if certain games come to exist in my house thanks to pure fate. Most of my games I seek out myself, but Uncharted is one series I never once put my mind to acquiring, and yet, here I stand the owner of not one, but two, entries from the series. The main reason why Uncharted never really appealed to me was because I’ve never been a fan of games that are too…realistic, I guess? There’s just something about games that feature realistic-looking humans or even just good, ol’ planet Earth that don’t appeal to me. (I mean, the Sly Cooper series seems to take place on Earth, but it’s populated by anthropomorphic animals, which is okay in my book.)
When I bought my PS3, it was accompanied by Uncharted 3. I decided to play the game, since I had it in my possession, after all, and while it was pretty cool, I quickly forgot about it shortly after completion. For a short while, I considered checking out the first two games, and then that just never happened. And yet, that was certainly not the last I would see of the series, even if I didn’t know it at the time. It was with the recent purchase of my PS4 that another Uncharted game snuck its way into my gaming shelf once more, the fourth (and final?) entry in the series.
Fancy seeing you here, Nathan Drake. Long time no see. Continue reading Uncharted, We Meet Again
After a long wait, the Ratchet and Clank movie has finally come out. Video game movies have a long history of being pretty terrible, but after watching the trailer (um…several dozen times), this one looked like it would be the first video game movie to be of quality. Nevertheless, after its release in theatres, I watched as the ratings went down and down, from a high of 21% on Rotten Tomatoes down to a dismal 17%. I expect it to drop lower in the coming weeks. While I found this aggravating, it did not surprise me. People will never accept such a movie until they accept the medium that inspired it. Why mobile games like Angry Birds gain such widespread acceptance, while console and PC games continue to thrive only outside the mainstream population, I know not, but alas, that is not the topic of this post. Suffice it to say, us gamers are a very special group indeed, and it appears we will remain that way.
I knew the reviews would only annoy me, but I skimmed over a few anyway. Critics complained of an unoriginal storyline and flat characters, among other things. They even claimed many elements were stolen from more recent movies. I was baffled because these statements were unfounded. How can a movie based on a game from 2002 steal elements from movies that came out far after the game’s original release date? This is not just my opinion; it is logically impossible. Likewise, the Ratchet and Clank series has a history of fun, but well-developed characters and interesting stories. I find the characters from this series to be among the best in video games, and how characters I have formed a deep bond with, from the naïve, but intelligent Clank to the arrogant, but well-meaning (after his redemption, anyway) Qwark…how they could be described as flat, well, I’m astounded. They might as well state Mario is not an icon of gaming or Sonic is not Sega’s most famous character. Continue reading The First Good Video Game Movie is Here
Hello again, you blog-readers, you. Time to list my favorite songs from “Chrono Trigger”. I’m not even going to bother with much of an intro because I’m bad at them anyway. Just enjoy the musical joy. Continue reading Top Songs from Chrono Trigger
As I’ve written in a past post, I have been trying to catch up on many of the old “Final Fantasy” games lately, and my next choice after “Final Fantasy VIII” (still left unfinished as of writing this, but I hope to beat it someday) was “Final Fantasy VI”, which I’ve heard is actually supposed to be as good as or even better than “Final Fantasy VII”, which is quite impressive, considering how amazing “FFVII” was. Well, after playing it, I can’t say it’s quite as good as “FFVII”, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, because very few games are. Nevertheless, it is still a fantastic game, and I had a most wonderful time playing it.
As you may remember, I wasn’t a huge fan of “FFVIII”. I’m sorry, I just wasn’t. Fortunately, I found “FFVI” to be most refreshing because I really got the opportunity to see exactly what people were talking about when they said the old “FF” games were great. This game was indeed quite wonderful, with a good story and a lot of great characters, including the infamous Kefka, who I’ve heard is considered by some to be one of the best video game villains of all time, and I suppose I can see what they’re talking about, as he’s definitely…different, to say the least. Continue reading Final Fantasy VI: Why Sprites are Sometimes Better
Behold, another post on my top songs from a “Final Fantasy” game, one series whose music never disappoints. Just another example of the great songs found in this series comes from “Final Fantasy VIII”, including one of my favorite songs played on an organ ever (and I do love me some organ music) and a rather nice collection of epic boss battle music. Enjoy!
10. “Find Your Way” plays in various places, like ruins and such. It is a slower, calm song that I find to be quite pretty. It also manages to make every location it plays in feel mysterious and a bit sad.
9. “Ride On” plays when you, well, ride on…the Ragnarok. It is a very fun, cheerful song, probably because it’s finally actually convenient to get places for the first time since the game began! Continue reading Top Songs from FF8
Not that long ago, while I was perusing Amazon to see what new games there were for me to buy…I found nothing. Well, next to nothing. Sure, I had heard of a few good games here and there that I might like to try sometime, but nothing was thrilling me that much, either. And so it occurred to me that there are a great deal of old games I have yet to play that interest me far more than those that have been released in recent years. Most notably, the old “Final Fantasy” games.
You see, I am a fan of this series, and yet whenever I read articles about it, I am reminded of two facts. One, I have not played a lot of the games. And two, most of the games that I have not played are considered to be the best of the series. And for some reason, this made me feel strangely ashamed, like I had no right to call myself a “Final Fantasy” fan, as I had not played a lot of the games and could not really contribute in most of the conversations concerning the series. Sure, I had played newer games like “Final Fantasy X”, “XII”, and “XIII”, and I did finally get around to the most popular of all, “Final Fantasy VII”, so that’s a decent start. But, I had yet to play the others, such as “Final Fantasy VI”, “VIII”, and “IX”. I know, I’m scum. And so I decided that it was time that I catch up on these games once and for all. Continue reading Why Draw Ruined FF8 for Me
Okay, today’s 100 theme challenge topic is Break Away. What in the world is that supposed to even mean? When I think of those two words, I think of, well, breaking something. Or possibly being in the grips of a kidnapper and breaking out of their hands with your swift, ninja skills! Which luckily has not happened to me, but that is strangely on my mind when I think of this topic. But, neither of those are good topics. I don’t break things, and as I said, I haven’t had to “break away” from a kidnapper. Or a duck-napper, either.
So what else can I write about then? Break away also makes me think about change. You know, I broke away from my old ways, kind of. Okay, I’ve got one. I was always a Nintendo fan growing up. I played the Super Nintendo, the Nintendo 64, the GameCube. And as it is in our nature to feel superior to others, I believed Nintendo made the best consoles and the best games. I looked in scorn at Sega and PlayStation and XBox. Pshaw, such consoles can never compete with the might of Nintendo! (Just like how Pepsi is far superior to Coke.)
And then one day, things all changed for me. Gaming-wise. Despite my previous contempt for other consoles, which I’m not sure why it was ever even there, I saw several commercials for PlayStation 2 games that caught my eye (“Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy” and “Kingdom Hearts”). I finally decided to buy the console, and I was introduced to a whole new library of games that were more wonderful than I ever expected. The PS2 had some really, very, really great stuff (such as, you know, “Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy” and “Kingdom Hearts”, my goodness, they were amazing), and many of the games on this console remain to be some of my most treasured games of all time. I had started to see the truth.
Nevertheless, I still had ill will towards the XBox (Look at me, I’m Microsoft, and I make console now! Oh, and the name is simply the word “box” with an X in front of it! Color me impressed! Not!), until one day I decided to try it, too, and I found out how fun the “Halo” series was. Finally, my long-held bias had melted away like the fat on your belly when you try a hardcore diet. Actually, not like that in the slightest, but I realized something important that I think all gamers need to know. No one console is superior to any other. I mean, yeah, we have our favorites. I absolutely love the PS2 and care for it above all my other consoles. But, I see it now. They’re all good. They all have qualities superior to that of other consoles and flaws, as well, but in the end, they are all good. XBox players are not better than those who love Nintendo, and fans of PlayStation are not superior to the Sega fans. (I recently had been playing this Sega Genesis collection on the 360, and I am discovering that Sega had some fun games, too.)
So it’s funny how things changed. I was originally loyal to Nintendo and Nintendo only. I still love their consoles, as I grew up with them, but I am also a big PlayStation person, too. And XBox has some good games, as well. I just love “Halo”. I still like some consoles and developers more than others, but I no longer have that silly arrogance I had years ago. I see what makes every series of consoles great, and I am no longer in that little Nintendo-only box that I spent so many years in. And I love being free now, to enjoy a much larger variety of games than ever. And that, dear readers, is my break away.
I enjoy a variety of different video games. I like plaformers and first-person shooters. Adventure games and action games. And the occasional fighting or racing game. But, few can compare to the RPG, a genre that lets you immerse yourself in a game beyond what regular video games can offer. They let you level up your characters and customize them, while also providing us gamers with some of the best characters and stories you’ll ever find. RPG’s are complex, amazing games and are an experience unlike any other, and the best ones usually are those from Japan.
So I, along with my fellow bloggers from My Two Caps, Recollections of Play, and Planet Zombo, have all decided to write about our favorite JRPG. Why don’t you check out their posts? My Two Caps is writing about “Chrono Trigger” for the Super Nintendo (a game I’ve heard is great, but I still haven’t gotten around to myself). Recollections of Play discusses a relatively new game for the Wii called “The Last Story”. Another game I really must check out.
So what JRPG did the duck choose? Well, I’ll tell you. The game I chose as my favorite JRPG of all time is an old one from 1997, the famous “Final Fantasy VII” for the original PlayStation (spoilers ahead). I have written a post on this one before, but now I am focusing specifically on why it is my favorite JRPG (and one of my favorite games ever). This game is considered to be one of the greatest games ever made, and it took me years to get, as it was rather elusive by the time I decided to start looking for it. I had first heard of the game because the “Kingdom Hearts” series included characters from “FFVII”, which caused me to look into it, and it seemed amazing. I had trouble finding an affordable copy of the game, but I did at least watch the movie “FFVII: Advent Children”, which was confusing as heck, but that’s not the point.
After meeting the characters in “KH”, and seeing them in action in “Advent Children”, and reading about them on the Internet, something strange happened. I ended up becoming quite attached to “FFVII”. And this was still before I had ever played it, mind you. The game just seemed so interesting when I looked into it. I’ve rarely been so drawn to a group of characters or a story from a game I’ve never even played before, but that’s what ended up happening. There are plenty of games I’d like to try someday, but I don’t have nearly the same desire to get them as I did with “FFVII”. It drove me rather nuts sometimes that this amazing game was either impossible to find in stores or was expensive on the Internet.
Finally, I decided I would wait no more. Life’s too short to deny yourself something as simple as an absolutely awesome video game. I found the most affordable copy I could, and I finally played the game, and it was so worth it. (And I actually had to buy two copies, as the used copy I got was NOT “like new”. So I just got a brand new copy to avoid any more trouble. Still worth it.) The game was amazing and did not disappoint me, and I now present you all with several very compelling reasons why this game is my favorite JRPG ever.
1. It’s iconic. At least, in my opinion. As I said before, I was already familiar with the characters before I ever played. For me, that was because of “Kingdom Hearts”, but I think that, even for those that didn’t play the “KH” games, characters from “FFVII” are probably some of the more widely known JRPG characters. Cloud and Sephiroth (the main good and main bad characters, respectively), for example, are likely much more well-known than, let’s say, Vaan and whoever the main villain of “FFXII” was (because I don’t even remember). Of course, JRPG’s are not confined to just the “Final Fantasy” series, but that is one of the more well-known series, and “FFVII” is the most famous of those. (I personally would consider it to be like how “Ocarina of Time” was the iconic “Legend of Zelda” game.) According to Wikipedia, VideoGamer.com called Cloud the “poster boy for the entire JRPG genre”, and Sephiroth ranked very high in many lists of top video game villains. Also, GameSpot also thought that the scene with Sephiroth in front of the flames of the burning Nibelheim “might be one of the most recognizable cutscenes ever to grace video games”.
2. The characters. Okay, lots of RPG’s have great characters; that’s why I love them. But, I think “FFVII” had one of the greatest groups of characters ever. I really cared about these characters. In some RPG’s, it feels like they are too complex, and I just can’t relate to the characters at all. But, that wasn’t true of this game. Just Cloud, the main character, was a very relatable character. He was a hero, but he was actually a bit of a loser. He wasn’t really a member of SOLDIER. Tifa wasn’t even originally his friend at first when they were kids. His mom wanted him to get an older girlfriend so he had someone to take care of him. Does he sound like someone you think can save the world? (And he once said the words, “Let’s mosey”. Nothing more needs to be said there.) But, that’s why I liked Cloud. He was an ordinary guy, but he was able to do something amazing.
Then, there are plenty of other great characters. There was Tifa, who was nice, but didn’t put up with any crap. (I even have a figurine of her. She looks sad stuck in that box, though.) And everyone loved Aerith (whose named was incorrectly translated as Aeris) the flower-selling girl, whose death was considered by many to be one of the most painful moments in video games. And I very much liked Vincent because I thought he was pretty darn cool (though a bit of a grump). I liked pretty much all the good characters (with the occasional exception of Cid, who could be funny, but who could also be a total jerk face). And Sephiroth was a great villain. He was one evil dude. I was actually personally motivated myself to stop that scumbag. I really hated him. I usually don’t hate villains as much as I hated Sephiroth. But, it was good because it made me even more motivated to play the game and stop him for more than just the sake of finishing another game. And at the same time, I also felt somewhat sorry for him, as well, because of what was done to him. A great, terrible villain.
3. The story. Once again, RPG’s usually have great stories, but this one stood out to me. Not only did the characters likely play a big role in my love of the story, but I was just simply very interested in what would happen. The story involved stopping an evil company called Shinra from draining the planet’s life to use as power, unbeknownst to most of the world (oblivious people). Human experimentation. And stopping a crazed man obsessed with his “mother” from grievously damaging the planet with Meteor. It was just awesome. When I got this game, I played way more video games everyday than I normally do. I just needed to know what would happen next. I needed to learn more about the characters’ pasts. I wanted to see more of Cloud’s and Aerith’s relationship. I wondered what the heck Jenova was. And I looked forward to helping the characters stop the evil Shinra corporation and, of course, Sephiroth himself.
4. In short, this game is fantastic. Even the music was great. Almost every bit of this game was just awesome. I had so much fun playing it, from helping Cloud to disguise himself as a girl (wasn’t he cute?) to defeating Lost Number in order to save Vincent (who could’ve shown more gratitude) to a completely epic (a bit too epic…) showdown with Sephiroth (who possesses the most ridiculously long attack in the world, one of the only parts of the game I actually really hated).
I can’t even fully express how great a game it was, but I can say that I really felt a personal connection to it and its characters. It had such an interesting story, and I felt like a part of it because I cared so much about what the characters were working towards. I even almost gave up on part 2 of the final boss battle (stop healing, you stupid boss, stop healing!!!!), but after giving another look at my little, blocky characters fighting their little hearts out, I just couldn’t leave them. We had been through so much together, and I had to see this thing through. I had to save the planet. I had to avenge Aerith. I had to kill that crazy mama’s boy! I couldn’t let them down! I just couldn’t!
So if you ever get the chance, consider playing “FFVII”. It is an amazing game. Even after all these years, this game is hard to beat (in the way that it is hard to find a better game, but I suppose it is hard to complete, as well), and I don’t see myself finding a JRPG that I like more anytime soon. Now that this post is out of the way, “let’s mosey”.
The Duck That is Going to Mosey