Been a minute since the last gaming entry and I’m going to finish this up!
In my middle school years, 8th grade to be precise, my mom got me a Playstation and when that happened I’ve been a Sony fanboy ever since!
Due to Playstation which eventually moved to PS2/PS3/PS4, I discovered an entertaining amount of games, some fighting but mostly JRPGS (Japanese role playing games).
I’d say that is what also cemented myself in being an anime to this day; the animation, music, plot and characters.
So to conclude this entry of “Gaming through the years”, I will be giving brief details on some of my favorite ones!
Legend of Mana
Legend of Mana , made by Squaresoft (now Squreenix) is an Action Role Playing where you play as one of these original characters (male or female), which don’t affect the plot in many ways except for some dialogue with various story lines occurring that you choose.
I rented this from Hollywood video and I was immersed in “creating” your own world through objects you find in this world that has been devastated by war and greed.
This game is the fourth game in the “Mana” series and the first one to appear in the next generation game counsel (Playstation) and it got lots of praise.
You begin the game with choosing your character and naming them and when I played I named the male “Jeffrey” to make it seem it was me in the role, which technically you are in a way and than choose which weapon to wield.
Sword, Spear, Staff, Nunchaku, Spear, Gloves, Bow & Arrow, Double Blade Sword, Axe, Double Blade Axe and I usually went for Spear or Bow at first (but through finding various drops you can get all the weapons and change it up).
After that you get blasted into the main theme song which I always blasted loudly cause I enjoyed it very much then to placing the first object on the world (Your home) and beginning your journey from there.
This game represented a “do your own tale” as you go to a place, talk to one or two characters to activate a story like an episode more or less. Even has the title of the story you are playing in bold letters.
In the game you can fight alone or during a majority of the time you can befriend characters that will become a “party” of you two which helps cause some boss battles are hard without them.
You also “adopt” two kids by the 2nd episode that decide to live with you after you beat them due to them causing some mischief at a pumpkin patch. Bud and Lisa are there names and they also have some stories in this game that you can do.
There’s also the pet function that you can raise that becomes another member of your family and party or constant companion to keep on during the course of the story.
Some stories are stand alone however you’ll start noticing how some form a bigger one when played. There are 3 big ones that shape the foundation of Legend of Mana that also go into the “last stage” of the game which I won’t reveal too much.
However for the 3 story lines, they are awesome and I was never left disappointed in either of them. I’d go into them but it’s been a while I know them from memory but can’t jot them down but if you play, look out for them!
Sadly this game is rather hard to find a hard copy too and I was lucky to get this one a decade ago by finding it on accident, cost a hefty price though. But due to the power of tech, you can find Legend of Mana on the Playstation Network at a cheap price.
*One of the 3 big story lines involving dragons*
*One of the main two heroes you play*
*The opening theme of Legend of Mana; I tear up as the memories come flooding back!*
Final Fantasy VII/VIII/IX
*FF VII; well known image of Cloud with Buster Sword*
*FF VIII; Squall Leonheart*
*FF IX; home of the little people (LOL)*
What’s this, a trio of Squresoft games? Yup, given it’s the same title I decided to get these out of the way but don’t misunderstand, I do not dislike these games.
Far from it, my mom got me all 3 of these games around my Sophomore year of high school on Christmas and hold these in high regard.
Say what you will about Final Fantasy games franchise but for me these 3 captured my imagination and interest.
The thing about Final Fantasy is it is a franchise and with each game comes a different story, characters and themes and you can find one game that sticks with you for a long time or not.
FF7 is about Cloud Strife, a mercenary for hire and his adventure with a group called Avalanche, where they go up against the evil Shinra Corporation for taking the life energy of the planet to power up cities but what one thought would be a simple story turns into a mass adventure of devotion, deception, death, acceptance, truth and even love over the fate of the world that is doomed for destruction by once known hero, Sephiroth.
FF7 is known for the most infamous and tragic death of a character that hasn’t been seen since 4 (I believe) and being the first FF game on the Playstation home entertainment system and got high accolades from critics and gamers.
The fighting system (for it’s time) is considered blocky but flows well. The true beatuty of this game is the story itself which leaves no one upset (depending on who you are talking too).
FF8 is the tale of a loner teenager named Squall Leonheart as he is a military student at Garden where his exploits take him to being an anti-social 17 year old to becoming a lead force against a powerful sorceress and even to the end of time. Along this journey of angst he befriends some characters and one in particular who is the main girl in the game (to some’s displeasure).
The battle system is a tad bit better and the mechanization of the battle system is a tad bit complicated at first (words like Junction confused the eff out of me before getting it) but with some practice and battles you learn the gist of the system.
It’s another expansive world with some interesting characters but what really makes it shine, from my perspective, is the introduction of the “Gunblade” used by Squall and his rival, Seifer.
It’s pretty bad ass when you see it in action.
FF9 is my guility pleasure and my favorite to be honest. Yes, the characters are “miniture” but what it makes up in smallness is the characters and story!
Zidane is the main character and a sort of pirate and his destiny takes a turn when he and his troupe are on a mission to kidnap the beatiful Princess Garnet but when he bumps into her, litterally, she tells him that she wants to be kidnaped by him to escape the kingdom.
He is also met by the small mage, Vivi and Garnet’s overprotective bodyguard, Steiner and soon the story goes from there.
For me, the characters really got me hooked on this game with the themes that represented them. I enjoyed the fighting system and liked it more that you could have a 4 member party than 3.
If I had to pick a favorite in FF9 it would have to be Vivi! His character has tons of growth and given he is a kid and a powerful black mage, it left me wanting more.
Final Fantasy 9 goes back to more “traditional” class system, thief as a main character, white mage/summoner who is the princess, black mage, Vivi, knight, Steiner, Lancer would be Freya, grappler would go to Amarant and blue mage Quina with Eiko being another white mage/summoner.
The story line is rather quick and the battles left me wondering if I could beat said boss for stages. With sometimes added mini-games (one in particular in the 3rd disc trying to make sure a monster does not see you) it is an awesome treasure for me.
Final Fantasy 7, 8 and 9 also got my attention was also because of the disc that continues the story! I got chills every time where I finished the first disc and it soon says “Switch to disc __” to continue the story!
I guess I must be alone on that but it was always fun changing out the disc.
Here’s a funny thing, I never “officially” beat the game entirely. I always made it to the last disc but by that time I got burnt out and went to something else to forget about it.
Yeah that is bad and I am aware of the endings by the internet. It sucks I never took the time to complete them and here’s a sad thing, I still have the data so I could potentially do it.
I’m just lazy sadly enough and with trying to get back into writing blogs, fan fics (which needs to be consistent) I don’t have much time and when I do, I take it for granted. If you got any tips on sticking with something, I’m all ears.
I will always love these games though as they gave me some fun times mixed with anger when I lost my party and inspiriation with writing!
*Most epic opening in FF franchise IMO*
Another big game series for the PS2 system which captured me with the characters and more importantly, the themes behind it, Xenosaga is a trilogy telling the story of Shinon Uzuki, a scientist and the mysterious synthesized battle android, KOS-MOS and a bunch of characters involved in this convoluted tale of fate and determinism.
Do you see anything of interest with the title underneath “Xenosaga”? You guessed right, the title for the games are in German and it’s not just a misprint as it is supposed to be like that.
The game starts in “Der Wille Zur Macht” translated as “The Will To Power” as we are introduced to Shinon, KOS-MOS, MOMO, Jr Kukai, chaos, and Ziggy, the main party members with an expansive amount of supporting characters for the story like Allen Rigedly for one.
The first one’s character design was rather kiddie in my opinion but the graphics and battle system got my attention and the voice acting on there was also on point. You can here some of the VA’s who voice in anime as these characters.
Second game, Jenseits von Gut und Bose translated as “Beyond Good and Evil” takes place immedietly from where the last game left off as the story gets deeper and new characters are introduced with a new member of the group, Jin Uzuki, Shinon’ older brother whom she is estranged from.
This one goes more into detail about MOMO’s connection to Jr and his past.
Third game, Also Sprach Zarathustra, translated “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” is the conclusion to this series which takes place a year or so later with many things changing and KOS-MOS real identity, Shinon’s own past connection with her, The Testaments (the big bad’s of the game), the mysterious Wilhelm and chaos own connection, and the one true “fate” of the world that was placed among their feet by a certain path of providence.
A majority of mysterious that might have left you confused are answered along with after beating the game giving you some details of what happens to the characters that you bond with along with giving some hope.
So the titles in German, they actually are from the Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, a man who is well known for his stories of said titles for the games which reflect heavily in the plot of the story in itself and because of that I was left stunned by how it was crafted.
Due to those games I ended up studying up on Nietcsche theory with his books and becoming fascinated with “Eternal Recurrence” (that time repeats itself over and over for all eternity) along with the phrase “God is Dead”.
The characters have real deapth to them and you are reeling with what goes down in the story as a whole. The themes are also very well crafted; like if a robot or android really have emotions and should they really be treated as human (represented by MOMO and her own identity and growing feelings for Jr), to one of facing one’s past sins (Jr and Ziggy) and some others about family and forgiveness (Shinon and Jin) to fatalism and philosophic questions (chaos and Wilhelm) to even ones of holding onto unrequited love (Allen) and even religious themes.
I can’t really go into the deep symbolism of it but if you are curious you can either play the games yourself or read up on the expansive history!
*Main characters in the 3rd game (from left to right) chaos, Jin Uzuki, KOS-MOS, Shinon Uzuki, Ziggy, MOMO & Jr*
*T-elos; how is she linked to KOS-MOS?*
*Another image of characters*
*One of the best fighting scenes in the 3rd game*
.Hack/Sign (game series)
Another game by Bandai, the .Hack game series continues off where the anime of said name comes from as we follow what happens to Aura, the AI created in the MMORPGs world known as “The World”.
Our main character is named Kite (who is really an 8th grade student) and it mostly takes place in this game world where you and your best friend, named Orca, who is one of the legendary swordsman in The World, are on a simple play of this game until disaster strikes when an unbeatable enemy appears in a beginner’s stage and leaves Orca in a coma in the real world while Kite is protected by the mysterious Aura who bequeaths him a mysterious bracelet before he is forcefully logged out.
Thus the tale begins as things that are happening in the game are spreading to the real world thanks to the world being technologically advanced with the threat of Pluto’s Kiss happening again.
Kite is joined by Blackrose, who will become one of your main partners in the story and others to find out the truth of the goings on, diving into the mystery of the girl Aura and how this is all linked to a rouge program called “Morganna mode gone” who wants to destroy Aura for reasons unknown.
The story is rather vast which gets into the OVA of the .hack series as with each volume of the game these anime take place a little before, after or during the game which I always liked.
The theme songs for the game and OVA’s were awesome and sung by See-Saw, a Japanese group.
What was cool is that game captures MMORPG’s without really going online and having saved data to continue with your characters current level to go into the next game with all items and some benefits to continue going on.
One of my top teenage youth goes into these games and the struggle was waiting until the next one came out a year or so later and these were 4 games so it was hard at times to see what else happens in the main story!
I recognized that Mona Marshall played Kite, Wendee Lee as Blackrose, Crispen Freman as Balmung, Mary Elizabeth McGlynn as Helba, Steven Blum as Wiseman, to name a few cue anime voice actors in games!
*Wallpaper in the games*
*Kite’s Party dubbed “The .Hackers”
One of the most famous games, Kingdom Hearts is an action RPG where you control Sora, who is chosen by the mysterious “Keyblade” to fight off heartless and nobodies.
What makes this series so awesome is that it is a combination of Squresoft (Squreenix) characters from some well known Final Fantasy games and Disney characters to form this versatile game which has left many life long fans of this epic series!
Swinging around defeating enemies, traveling from one world to the next and helping out Disney characters from their actual movies and finding pleasure in themes of good and evil, light and dark, friendships, etc, can’t go wrong with this series if you like this amalgamation of fun!
*Tale woven through the main game series and spin-offs*
Wild Arms 4
Growing up is hard, especially when you go on a journey that leads to self-discovery of what it means to be a kid to soon be an adult of the world.
Wild Arms 4 comes next on this blog!
We join Jude, an ordinary boy who grew up in a village but being the only kid there. It is soon discovered that the village he grew up in is above a majority of the populace in secret and this goes into that he mysteriously can use the strange power of “ARMS” that was manufactured by his mother (mostly paraphrasing that, been a minute since I last played).
Soon some bad force invades his hometown and soon is met by a teen a little older than him by the name of Arnaud and during this crisis see a girl, by the name of Yulie, under tight security. Jude get’s involved in saving her with Arnaud but in the ensuing chaos, his hometown is destroyed and have to evacuate to the bottom world where he’s never been too while protecting Yulie.
The trio soon meet another soon to be friend and her name is Raquel, a strong sword wielder. The quartet soon journey across the land to discover the secrets of why this world is so devastated along with unlock their own destinies with their own hands.
With Jude’s gun wielding/short sword skills, Yulie’s white magic and summoning, Arnaud nimble fighting style with magic and Raquel’s sturdy sword skills, the future of the world looks bright.
However what is it that they fight for? Is the enemy really as bad as it seems to our heroes? What makes something “good” or “bad”? That is another possible scenario they will learn about.
That’s more or less the plot of the story. Gameplay is very easy and it has voice acting which is also a bonus for me.
Visually it is pleasing and when you get to the point you can use special attacks, it is really awesome!
Growing up is the main theme for the most part which the characters deeply apply to which is wonderful to see!
Voice acting is good as well, Julie Ann Taylor, Yuri Lowenthal, Kate Higgins, Wendee Lee, Johnny Yong Bosch make up some of the cast for this game.
What also caught me was the opening theme which has 2 versions which changes as you get to the middle of the game which feels like an anime since when you turn on this game, the main theme plays each time which is fun!
I do enjoy the English voice singing.
*Opening of Wild Arms 4 (version 1)
*Main cast with of the antagonist of the story*
*Main cast going wild west on us*
*Jude and Yulie*
Tales of the Abyss
When your destiny is mapped up for you, it will bring you happiness however is that the correct way to live without thinking and following something mapped out to you? From what to wear, eating, to befriend even who you marry?
The theme of determinism vs Fatalism is heavy ringer in this RPG called Tales of the Abyss by Bandai Namco games.
Luke is the main character as we follow his journey of discovery as he is a sheltered boy due to getting kidnapped at a young age which left him with amnesia. Due to that he is irritible, emotional and a lemming for most purposes.
His own fate is changed when an intruder tries to kill his sword master and due to a mysterious power the attacker and he are transported to a different place. Discovering the attacker is a female named Tear Grants, their adventure begins which leads to various circumstances that will ultimately lead to the destruction of a city by Luke’s hands.
Could this destiny be avoided? What does it mean to follow one’s own will? Can you escape providence or will determinism make the path?
I found it very deep with it’s themes and music which is always a bonus to keep you going.
The game play is an action RPG where you can change characters in a 4 way battle system and use their attacks to beat enemies. Luke Fabre, Tear Grants, Jade Curtis, Anise, Guy, and Natalia are the characters in this game mixed with strong supporting characters and antagonist.
Another game that makes you question some things which has led me to think hardly on some stuff when I played it. The game is long with lots of side quests for the characters to gain new techniques and titles and everything about it is epic.
*Luke/Tear with the rest of the party*
*Complete theme of Tear Grants Fonic Arte attacks*
Thousand Arms comes next and the last part of this blog entry? Why you ask?
That’s simple, because this game got me into RPG’s in the first place! When I was reading a game magazine when I was a 9th grader, I came across this image of the game and it looked beatiful.
Of course the one thing that stood out for me was that it was an anime and I was a weeb back then. So I informed my mom on what I wanted for Chritmas and she found it for me!
I was very excited it getting it and played it; I was nervous at first but once I started reading the dialouge with voice acting, I was hooked. I played Thousand Arms till I beat it in like a couple of months.
Plot goes as follows; The Trimaph family is an aged family of spirit blacksmiths who forge swords and is a noble one at that but unfortunately it is also known for being womanizer’s and that trait has passed on to our main protagonist, 16 year old Meis Triamph.
When an evil being in control of a massive army called the Machine Empire starts invading Meis hometown, he is separated from what he knows and is on the road until he hits the town called “Boyzby” which begins his adventures to continue his blacksmith training and learning about “The Holy Flames of Light” that the emperor covets above all else.
The game is a traditional RPG however it is also one of the few games (for it’s time on the Playstation) to have the date-element. Given Meis ability to forge weapons and strengthen them through out the game is a crucial part and in order to make his and the parties weapon stronger on the journey ahead, he needs to go out on dates with any of the females in his party and some others he meets during the course of the game.
You answer questions which either raises the female’s intimacy level but at times you are given 2 wrong answers which can ruin a date. You get a successful date when the female blushes, says she had a good time and lays on the smack-a-roo! (the kiss!)
After that, the possibility of raising her emotional level occurs which can offer out various spells or special attacks for Meis and the other’s weapons. Another way of raising intimacy is to offer out a gift but it has to be something that matches the female’s personality so just because Sodina likes a glass bell doesn’t mean Wyna will as she likes more physical stuff.
The game is hours of fun where you can stop what you are doing in the main story and double back to some places you’ve been too to date other females who are support, which becomes easier by the end where you get a teleportation spell to travel.
For me I just back tracked at times to get some extra magic/special attacks before some heavy boss battles.
Music is on point along with everything flowed well, from pacing to character development. Forging weapons is cool as well but you need to do a lot of grinding to get the accumulated “spirit points” to do any kind of forging, if your low, than you have to build it up and be patient. Also he needs to use a girl to “connect with the spirits” as she prays by the alter and he breathes life into the weapons, so the name “spirit blacksmith” is made clear and with each female they have different attributes of the element spectrum so you will get spells and at times, special attacks based on their element affinity.
The singer for the two opening and ending theme is Ayumi Hamasaki, a Japanese singer and I fell in love with these songs.
Depend on You is the theme and the last ending theme is The Two of Us. Both sound incredible. When I also got the game I put in to get the OST/CDrom and it came and I had a blast with changing the computer’s wallpaper of the characters or sometimes just listening to the music.
To this day I still find Thousand Arms my best game and still hold on to it dearly.
What I was most amazed at is how one of the main characters, Sodina, wound up captured by Dark Master (Meis main rival in the game) and had to go rescue her. I mean he always found a way to just swoop up in there, take her and Meis was determined to save her (as she is important and big plot device in the end).
Meis is a womanizer and so he hits on women, the first girl he meets at the beginning of the game is Sodina and they do get close but do his flirting ways their “romance” is put on hold. Along with meeting some other females who join the party later but due to the dating simulation being separate from the story, it’s fine to date and keep the Meis/Sodina coupling as it’s implied Meis does hold Sodina as the girl he loves and she feels the same way.
Meis is the traditional protag and uses a sword for fighting and summons he acquires through the Holy Flame he gets as he travels to the sacred alter to get them. His offense is decent and magic skill is efficient.
Sodina is considered the main healer (by me) and her magic is one of the strongest in the game. 15 years of age she uses a dagger and her special attacks are holy based. She tires of Meis’s womanizing behavior and is not afraid to smack him upside the head (which does occur on occasion). When spirit forging with Sodina her element is light.
Muza is the big brother type in the party and strongest member with his broadsword but has a phobia with women. He falls for Wyna and is unable to tell her his feelings but by the end he is able to reveal his stronger personality in front of her. His special attacks are wind based and magic skills are low so I don’t use him to cast many healing or fighting spells. I usually have him in the forefront of battle until I feel safe later to use the other members of the party when their level is more sufficient.
Wyna, the girl of the sea and warrior at heart is the next member to join; she uses a giant hammer to fight and sadly has no “special attacks” until you reach to a certain part of the game to start dating some other girls to get them. She enjoys Meis and the others and finds Muza somewhat lacking but in the latter part of the game that changes. When Meis uses her for the spirit forging her element is fire.
Soushi is the Japanese male and cut throat katana wielder of the group. He has a femenine appearance but don’t let that fool you as his skills with the blade is deadly. He and Meis get along well and are “rivals” in getting females to fall for them. His special attacks are quick slashes that can defeat his enemies quickly. Soushi has a younger sister who is always worried about his womanizing ways but loves me.
Kyleen is the next member and is rather sneaky. She is matter of fact and has swindled Meis out of money (she loves money) but she is a decent girl at heart. When dating her though, her questions can be hard as she doesn’t fall for Meis sweet talk but depending how you answer, you can raise them intimacy levels! Her weapon is a rapier and special attacks use illusions and even ghost (Damashi). When Meis uses her has a catalyst her element is wind.
Nelsha is the last member and is the “Dress Master”, she’s called that due to when she puts on a different dress her personality and body changes to fit said attire. Nelsha resembles a 12 year old but no one knows how old she really is. She wants to be the best clothing designer in the world. Nelsha has a timid personality and clumsy but has shown to be brave and cares for Meis and the others. Her special attack is “dressing” and can cause damage to enemies or using negative effects on them to heal the party. The only way to get her special attacks is by finding some clothes in the course of the game and have her make them or use the alter (i forget how, been a long time). When Meis uses her, Nelsha’s element is earth.
Their are other females to find and date in the game that you meet up with at times but it is up to you to choose when that will be (where the whole “double back play” comes into effect).
I’d say more about the bad guys and stuff but I’ll refrain.
*Opening of the game*
*Beautiful artwork in the cut scenes*
*Forging a weapon*
*Complete (official image)*
*Our main hero taking a nap*
*Muza showing off*
*Kyleen not putting up with your BS in smooth talk*
*Nelsha being Nelsha*
So that does it for this blog post, I hope this wasn’t too boring. There are other games I could have mentioned but it would have turned into a lot of wording and info dumps than I am unable to give at this moment.
Who knows what my next blog post will be but I hope it holds your interest next time as well.
*These ladies will give you a kiss for reading!*