Lexd's Blog

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Nostalgia and Video Games April 19, 2010

Filed under: gaming — lexd @ 6:52 pm
Tags: , , ,

There’s a lot of conversation in the video game industry about the value and quality of more vintage (read: older) games.  Many of today’s gamers — particularly the RPG type, including myself — tend to put older games on a pedestal of sorts … and many of us are pretty disappointed with what’s coming out lately. Personally, I started to get disillusioned with Final Fantasy around the time that FFX came out. They just didn’t have that magic that I was accustomed to.

Gamasutra‘s Leigh Alexander, is another example of this trend. At the beginning of this month, she wrote an article about how she — a hardcore RPG player who cried when Aeris died in FFVII — was completely unattached to the characters in the early stages of playing the much-lauded FFXIII. The article explores Leigh’s musings on this — have we as gamers changed as we aged, or are the games themselves just not as engaging as those we played when we were younger? Are young people (read: kids) more inclined to be attached to games than we are as adults? Do we love these older games because they were the hook into a hobby that has doubtless cost us thousands of dollars and hours of our lives?

I read this article shortly after I’d ordered Final Fantasy VI Advance, so I figured I’d use my reaction to it as a very unscientific example to answer these questions. Even though Final Fantasy VI is my favorite video game of all time, I think it’s a fair example because I never actually played all the way through the remastered release for Playstation. (Not even my love for that game could make me play through it … IT RAN SO SLOW.)

So, here I am, an aged gamer, experienced in a variety of games I’ve bought in the 15 or so years since I first experienced Final Fantasy VI (which was one of my first RPGs, BTW). I haven’t played it on a console since high school, and haven’t played it at all for at least four years. The game arrived Friday, and I plugged it into my DS on Saturday.

Would it compel me the way it did the first time I played it in fourth grade?

I’d say so. I PLAYED IT FOR MORE THAN FIVE HOURS STRAIGHT.

While this doesn’t necessarily prove anything (there’s so many variables here), I think it’s pretty telling that I can enjoy a game released in 1994 more than a lot of games released today. I can’t honestly remember the last time I spent that long playing a video game. This is a game I’ve played at least 10 times before, and I couldn’t put it down. (Parts of the game have been re-translated, so I admit that’s part of the appeal. No more awkwardly-translated dialogues.)

To be honest, I was kind of worried that I’d ruin FFVI by trying to play it today (I’ve heard this a lot about FFVII, actually). It’s the same way that movies we 80s kids watched were incredible to us then … but when we watch them now, it’s kind of a letdown. That’s what I was expecting.

Instead? Why yes, I did bring my DS to work with me today to play at lunch. Thank you for asking 🙂

Currently loving: Final Fantasy VI Advance, how today is flying by, getting back to the gym (free trial sessions FTW!)

images from Wikipedia

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