I once lived only on wishful thinking, and one of those gleaming nuggets was this: to play every videogame that came out. That hope quickly dashed itself into non-existence when I learned about time and money and headspace and all that jazz that keeps us from spending hour after hour in a digital world. And so, as it often happens, a good number of videogames get released and pass on by. Sometimes, if I’m lucky, I can test a demo out and get a feel for whether I really need to play more or not. Most of the time–eh, no. And back in the day, back before online Let’s Play forums and countless YouTube videos, not playing a game yourself really meant not experiencing it all, save for some magazine articles, tiny screenshots, lunchroom gossip, and whatever magic your imagination could work.
And that’s sad. I’ve missed out on a lot of videogames over the years; there’s just not enough time to play ’em all, as much as we’d all wish there was. RPGs especially, considering the majority of these are 3o+ hour games versus the more standard 8+ hour adventures of non-RPGs. They take so long of a time to play that when you do finally hit the end credits, a good four or five new RPGs were already released and taken off the shelves for other new releases. Oi.
Anyways, here’s some RPGs that I, unfortunately, missed the boat on:
Final Fantasy X
Something happened here, and I still don’t understand it. See, I played pre-ordered Final Fantasy VII and started playing it the very day I got it. Same goes with Final Fantasy VIII. I did not buy Final Fantasy IX immediately, but I really didn’t wait too long to get that one. Then I went to college–the very same time Final Fantasy X dropped for the PlayStation 2. Oh man, was there hype! This one was sporting voices. People were going crazy over it, and I just didn’t have the time or money to invest in it. Alas, I did not know many other gamers in my dorm, and so this passed on by without a beep. By the time Final Fantasy X-2 came out, I was over the idea of going back to see what made it so special. Was it 95% soccer under water and 5% fun? Can’t say. But I feel like I should try to play it eventually considering just how many of these Final Fantasy games I’ve already played at this point. Funny enough, a used copy still comes in at like $20.00.
Modeled very much after The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Alundra was about a boy with the power to go into people’s dreams and fight back their nightmares. It was released for the original PlayStation in 1997 and went with the exact opposite of what that system was trying to push. 2D sprites and anime-inspired FMV were its most obvious strong points in terms of visuals. Heard the puzzles got hard, and the music very repetitive. However, I distinctly recall never seeing this game on store shelves when I’d be browsing.
This is the series that truly started it all for me. Loved the first game, loved the second game even more. That seems to be the status quo for just about everyone that set off to collect 108 Stars of Destiny. And then I completely missed out on III and IV (the latter is supposedly a good thing)…again, I blame college. I had very little time to play back then despite my continuous subscription to PSM for all four years of learning. Anyways, heard that this one kept up the grand tradition of an epic story of war and waging politics, but this time did it through several different POVs. Not sure if the 3D models have aged well–I mean, they were only just okay in Suikoden V–but I still feel like I missed something solid here.
Secret of Evermore
There’s traditional fantasy RPGs, like Final Fantasy, and then there’s this. Like Earthbound, Secret of Evermore strives to be quirky. That’s kind of all I really know of the game. Oh, and that you follow a boy and his shape-shifting dog (yes!!!) through a fantasy world reflecting different periods of time and the magic system throughout is focused on alchemy. Sounds good to me. Really good, actually. A shame I knew nothing about it back when I owned an SNES and spent all my car-washing money on Shaq-Fu. No, really. I bought Shaq-Fu. I’m saving that juicy story for another time on Grinding Down; y’all will just have to wait. Insert evil laughter.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Wait, what? You’re shouting at me? Grand Theft Auto isn’t a role-playing game series! There’s no turn-based action gameplay or any stats to worry about! Hmm…maybe not the first four games or so, but from what I’ve gathered, that all changed with GTA: San Andreas. Character development is totally a thing, with clothes and accessories affecting how the streets see the main protagonist. One also has to eat and work out to stay slim and fit, and there’s skills to work towards (driving skills, firing skills, lung capacity skills, bowstaff skills). Sounds like quite an RPG! I’ve always had trouble staying interested in these sorts of games, but if the above is true and solid, well…this might be the GTA for me.
Well, that’s all for this post. Certainly there’s about a hundred more RPGs I’ve yet to play, and you’ll find out about them down the road. Have you played any of the above? Tell me in the comments below. I’d love to know if any of these are worth tracking down–if possible–and playing this day and age.
I very much enjoyed Final Fantasy X, Secret of Evermore, and GTA: San Andreas! Though even with your argument I wouldn’t call San Andreas an RPG. It’s all very much transparent and mostly just cosmetic changes.
Go and play Secret of Evermore. Do it right now. It’s one of the better SNES action RPGs in my opinion. Right up there with Terranigma, a game everyone should have played, and barely anyone really has.
Final Fantasy X was the first good Final Fantasy since VII, in my opinion. It’s also the last one.
Alundra was… good. Not great, but quite good.