Since my article last week where I talked about how I’m feeling distant and detached from video games at the moment, I’ve made a conscious effort to only play things that may lack in the moment to moment gameplay in the way that, say, Call of Duty may offer, but instead go for something that I can enjoy on a more long term basis, with a few examples being the superb recent re-release of Pokemon Yellow on the 3DS virtual console, Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster (which is currently on sale on the Playstation Store, which I highly recommend picking up) and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD. Now, what that list shows is actually quite interesting, and not something I noticed until I was typing it out; They are all older games redone for a new generation in some form or another, and also games that I have grown up with that represent significant moments in my childhood.
Pokemon Yellow was the first ever game that I owned. I had played various games before, such as Alex the Kidd, Sonic the Hedgehog and Tetris to name a few, but Pokemon Yellow was mine. On a family holiday to Portugal, my parents had purchased two Gameboy Colors, a green and yellow one to be specific, and a copy of the recently released Pokemon Yellow just for me. Whilst I was a fan of Pokemon before this, I had never played Red or Blue, and therefore jumped in on what I consider to be one of the best Pokemon titles around, second only to Gold (the reasons of which I will discuss in my next article). Unlike my previous gaming experiences, this was an open world RPG where the path forward was not always clear, and just by playing the game we could learn everything there was to know. Whilst that statement may seem obvious, it’s something that I miss in the vast majority of the games that are released nowadays. When I lost a battle in Pokemon, I learnt that my beloved Pikachu was simply not up to the task, and therefore had to get stronger. No one told me that I had to do that, and in learning that lesson myself I felt like, even in my loss, I was better for it.
The second is Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster, a title that I have previously reviewed for NoobGrind here. Final Fantasy IX, a game that still ranks amongst my top three games, introduced me to complex story telling, interesting and relate-able characters and an in-depth battle system that kept me hooked for hours upon hours. Final Fantasy X, therefore, was expected to be so much more. Whilst I believe it doesn’t live up to it’s predecessor, however, it was the first title that I fell in love with on the Playstation 2 system, and that has always stuck with me. It opened my eyes to the level of difference a new generation of console can make, be it the size of the game, graphical updates, audio, and so forth. Playing it in HD alongside an updated orchestral sound track is a pleasure, and the story and messages are still as important as the day I first played it.
Twilight Princess, like the example above, is a great example of what a new console generation can make, although with this game being from Nintendo, the improvements weren’t of the conventional kind. This introduced motion controls to a ‘serious’ game, one for the core gaming audience to enjoy, and it was well received by all. The swordplay didn’t feature the one-to-one motion controls that Skyward Sword included, with thanks to the Wii Motion Plus, but the feeling that you were battling the enemies yourself was exhilarating. Introducing the slingshot early into the game allowed players to experience a new mechanic that would excite, and having sound effects come through the controller only helped immerse you more. Whilst the game itself may have it’s naysayers now, I have always felt that it holds up to modern games with the excellent pacing and great design, if not exceed them.
Whilst I have always been perplexed with the gaming audience that stubbornly believe that “retro is better”, I have found myself in the last week or two agree with them, but maybe only because of the mental state I have found myself in. These three examples of games that have endured the test of time and, seemingly for that reason, were deemed loved enough to warrant the releases for the younger generations that couldn’t experience them the first time around. I wonder, in this modern day and age of gaming, how many of today’s games will have a second wind come 10 years time?