I’ll just leave this right here…
The absolute WORST place to run out of tents. I barely made it. WHY DID I NOT BUY MORE TENTS??
Final Fantasy IX, Playstation
So, I’m pretty good at button mashing.
Yesterday, I reached level 85 in the Hippaul Racing minigame in Final Fantasy IX. I could’ve kept going, so I should probably take a video of it. I didn’t know that you only get a reward up to level 80 until I checked online today. :p
Secret of Mana’s “Steel and Snare”, composed by Hiroki Kikuta
Another great example of cool drum beats and irregular time signatures in classic game music! The soundtrack was so good… (“How good WAS it??”) …so good that the composer’s name was listed right there in the title screen:
Being true-to-form as a liberal arts major (he studied Religion, Philosophy, and Cultural Anthropology), Hiroki Kikuta was a big fan of Western progressive rock bands such as Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, Devo, and ELO. After a brief stint as a manga illustrator and a composer for animated television series, Kikuta found work with Squaresoft in 1991. He caught the ear of fellow progressive rock fan and Square heavyweight, Nobuo Uematsu, and was allowed to work on the Romancing SaGa soundtrack under Kenji Ito. Ito had become too busy for his next project, Secret of Mana, so the task of composing its score fell on Kikuta’s desk. True to the spirit of the Japanese overachiever, legend has it that he only went home twice a month during its composition.
If the soundtrack sounds different than what was floating around on the SNES at the time, that’s because Kikuta used the console’s sound chip quite unconventionally, bending and compressing things in ways that previous composers hadn’t quite thought of doing. He seemed to have a kind of order-through-chaos style, doing things like doubling up a track, putting vibrato on one and leaving the other unfiltered, painstakingly attempting to push the hardware’s limits and produce a rich, immersive listening experience. Kikuta admits that his was a process of trial and error, but he worked hard and produced something that retains its beauty, nearly 20 years later.
This was a really tough question. I thought about the quirky riddle, wrapped in a mystery, encased within 50 tons of stone that is EarthBound’s Dungeon Man, and how much I liked Dekar, the bumbling strongman with a heart of gold from Lufia 2. Or, maybe I would pick one of my favorite anti-heroes. I mean, there are more than enough to choose from: Magus from Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy VI’s Shadow (“he’d slit his mama’s throat for a nickel”), Alucard from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night…
There are the obvious choices of Link or Mario, but when I think of what makes a memorable character, it’s the depth of character, backstory, and reasons behind their actions that stick with me. Based on that criteria, Link and Mario - the mute protagonists present in the bulk of my list of favorite games - seem a little (pardon the expression) two-dimensional. Who are they, really? What are they thinking?
I was thisclose to choosing Metroid’s dame in a shining power suit, Samus Aran. She is definitely high on the list of video game characters I admire, and I respect the fact that she was the first non-sexualized female game character. Sure, she sported a bikini in the classic “HOLY SHIT IT’S A GIRL” ending scene in the original Metroid, but her skimpy attire was chosen to emphasize her gender, given the limited sprite size and graphics detail of the NES. But, to be honest, I haven’t spent much time with her since Super Metroid, since I wasn’t really a fan of the Gamecube or the Wii.
So, yeah. Really tough question. I’m going back to the first name that came to mind. The one that I quickly dismissed because it seemed like such a cliché to include any part of this game on a list of favorites. But, sometimes, you have to go with your first instinct…
Favorite Character: Locke Cole, the broken-hearted “treasure hunter” from Final Fantasy VI
I’ve always been drawn to rogues. Their mystery, ambiguous morals, and speed during battle are just irresistible. Rogues believe two wrongs DO make a right, and god help you if you ever cross one or mess with someone they care about. They are usually bred out of necessity, the product of a hard knock life. Necessity, being the mother of invention, makes them strong-willed and unusually resourceful.
Locke’s life seemed to be a steady stream of hard knocks. He learned the treasure hunting trade from his father, and they spent his youth traveling together, eventually settling in Kohlingen. After his father died, the townspeople branded Locke as a no-good thief and deemed him an unfit match for his fianceé Rachel (way to get in other people’s business, right??). During a trek to prove his love to Rachel and the rest of the town, a bridge collapsed, nearly killing them both. Locke was spared due to Rachel’s heroics, but the fall left Rachel bedridden and stricken with amnesia. The town blamed Locke for her injuries, and he was cast out of the town, unable to save Rachel during an Imperial attack. From that moment on, he vows to protect any female in need, by any means necessary. He’s scrappy, sarcastic, unapologetic, and will probably steal your girlfriend.
(Not that Celes is the damsel-in-distress sort, except for that one time…)
Yes, the game is melodramatic, and character development in games has come a long way since 1994. But, almost 20 years later, everything about this game continues to stick with me.
Cool, I found the Final Fantasy III/VI map that I had pinned up to my bedroom wall when I was a kid. I was thinking of visiting the World of Balance this summer…
Game Hunting, 5/22/12!
Alright, so here’s what I found on a game hunt yesterday:
Final Fantasy VII, Playstation - $4
Original black label (not the Greatest Hits re-release), great condition, with manual and bonus smug satisfaction of being able to say “I found Final Fantasy VII for four bucks at a thrift store” included.
Parasite Eve, Playstation - $4
Great condition, manual included. I remember being too scared to play this when it came out, not because I was a kid, but because I’m a horrible pansy wiener baby, and I will not play anything with the remote chance of a jump scare in it. Like, remember the robot rooster thing that comes out of nowhere in the Spring Yard Zone stage in Sonic 1? For a long time, that thing always made me shriek and lose all my rings.
Twisted Metal 2 and Ridge Racer Revolution, Playstation - $2 each
Great condition, manuals included.
Fade to Black, PC - $2
Great condition, manuals included. Yes, I’m aware of how shit this game is. I just got it because I’m compelled to collect anything related to Flashback (my favorite cinematic platformer).
Judge Dredd, Sega Genesis - $1.92
Pretty good shape, no manual. Had to, because I am the law.
Wrestlemania, NES - $4 (yes, it was the same price as FFVII and Parasite Eve)
Great condition, cart only. I wish I had taken a better picture because just look at that face he’s making. LOOK AT IT
Eternal Sonata, Xbox 360 - $3
Disc in great condition. Box, not so much.
Pro Game Hunter Tip:
When hunting in a thrift store that looks like it was stocked during a category five hurricane, don’t forget to check in the books section. Employees who can’t be bothered to shelve things where they belong will sometimes stuff games in there. I once found Final Fantasy I, complete in box, for 99 cents in the paperback books section of a thrift store. There was no price on it, and the cashier didn’t know what it was, so she asked me where I found it. When I told her, she charged me 99 cents because that’s what they charged for paperbacks. God, I love thrift stores.