I’m sure we have all harped back to those days when we were younger; when the grass was greener; when the air was fresher; when you could buy two pints of beer for less than a fiver (damn I miss that); and when video games seemed so much more important; more impressive. It was as if the games had one cheeky hand on your bottom whilst dancing with your imagination; your very being… but these are lies, my friends. Do not let your rose-tinted glasses fool you…
Remember all those fun times and memories you had playing your favourite video games? For me, one of my favourites: Final Fantasy VIII (not VII, but VIII). I faked illness to get time off school so I could lie in bed and play it. I have great memories of the many exotic locations; the exciting boss-battles, and the many, many, many, many hours spent levelling up characters… all the characters… to the maximum level available (well, if you are going to play Final Fantasy, you have to play it right).
However, having taken the opportunity to play Final Fantasy VIII in 2015, I am sorry to write that this all-time favourite game crumbled in-front of my eyes.
So, the storyline… this is where the cheese-on-this-pineapple-and-cheese-stick will be. I have come to the conclusion that it was the long, long storyline which made games special, not the scrawling scope and roaming landscape. The story of good overcoming evil, boy meets girl, all the shocking twists that play out over every Final Fantasy game drew me back home.
Many, many, many hours were spent levelling characters with multiple side quests, finding all the hidden little details, and every secret Guardian Force that was out there to get. And the weapons, the gun-blade being my favoured weapon in any Final Fantasy. This expiration and discovery was staple to any RPG, but the time I had to devour huge story-lines is no longer available to me. Now there’s work, the girlfriend, and this crazy idea that there are more important things to life… more important than playing games (the madness!). All these things have since crept in to my routine. I would never have the time to obtain all the Guardian Forces, unlike before.
“The graphics! The graphics! They never looked this blocky; this jagged before… Squall, you beautiful bastard – what happened to you and your chipper team?! You were more than computer graphics; more than ones and zeroes! You were my fellow traveller on an epic quest! You guys were so curvy, and life-like before…” but let’s be fair, the graphics were never going to be on par with today’s expectations, and no game of that generation will.
The music also seemed to take a hit. Have my ears been pimped out for the last 20 years, and now I’m paying the price for wanting to return to games of the past? My younger ears were struck with fantastical and adventurous themes, but now it seems so simple and plain. Like many, I have been greedy and experienced all the mod cons of the newer generation. Once-upon-a-time I read the entire dialogue, hanging on every word, but the re-experience made me ask “Where’s the bloody voice acting? I have too little time for all this ‘reading’ nonsense!”.
So, yes… you loved them, and yes, they were memories of time now past, but please, do not play that game. Leave it as a special memory of a better, and less hectic life. Give games of this generation a chance, and just watch that YouTube recap video; enjoy the story, and hey, I’m sure there will be an HD re-make of your old favourites in the pipeline…
Greatmuertegaming is an old friend and new contributor to The Stubbled Gamer. After years of talking to each other about our love of gaming we have now decided to inflict our views upon the general public. We hope you don’t mind.