13th May 2020: Final Fantasy Flashback
Playing an old style Final Fantasy game is something I was trying to motivate myself to do all last year. Not only did I feel like I should play the original VII again, but I also never finished my last play through of number VIII, nor have I played number IX again since I bought it a few years ago. However, my issue was that I felt like I should play them. Not that I necessarily wanted to play them. And that held me back.
But after playing Final Fantasy VII Remake, I just couldn't stop myself from firing up the original game, just to play through the opening Midgar section as a comparison. I guess I should have played it before playing the remake, but I never found the time or determination back then.
The other thing I decided to do was to try out a few mods, to spruce up the graphics a bit. Besides, that made sense, as to get my old cd version of the game working on more modern Windows, I was going to have to install some extra stuff anyway. So, after a bit of tinkering to get the game running, I re-entered the original Midgar for the first time in 19 years. Thinking about it, that's roughly half my life ago.
Gotta admit, it felt pretty bizarre playing this again after all this time. I had these weird conflicting feelings, as if I'd played it very recently, but also not played it for a lifetime. It all felt so familiar, but at the same time there were really simple things that I could not remember, like "which way was it to Aerith's house again?".
Some of the more interesting moments I had while playing this part of the old game again were the ones that had direct comparisons with the new game. I liked seeing just how they'd taken those old moments and updated them.
I also caught some things that I must have seen years ago but had forgotten all about, such as a single line from Jessie in the Avalanche basement, where she worries about whether she made the bomb correctly. That one line, and the subsequent idea that perhaps Shinra is toying with our main characters, was something I never picked up on all those years ago. I guess that's because neither that truth, nor Jessie's fear of whether she made a mistake, are mentioned again in the old game. In contrast, in the remake, they really fleshed out that part.
I wonder how many other little lines and hints I missed or have forgotten about in all these years since?
Very probably, I will never know the answer to that question, as while I didn't mind jumping into this again, I still feel no great pull to continue it. Unless something changes as I continue to grow ever older, it's likely I'll not play it ever again, to be honest. So much time has passed, and my taste in games has changed so much, that I can't commit to a full playthrough.
But if it never happens, I'll always have my very fond memories.
Here's just a few images that compare old and new:
This 'ere next game is one I first saw a very, very long time ago when I was still in school. My mate Scoob used to babysit for one of his neighbours, and on one occasion he asked me to join him. This was because he wanted to show me this game, which was on his neighbour's PC. I could be wrong, but that may have been the first time I ever saw a PC, as back then I only had a Commodore Amiga. I remembered not being impressed at first, as the computer was running MS-DOS, and I had no real interest in a black screen with white writing.
But then he fired the game up. And I was intrigued. Because this game was Sam & Max Hit The Road.
See, back then I quite liked silly point and click adventures like Monkey Island. In fact, my mate Dave and I even tried making one on some Amiga software called Grac. But that software was garbage and the experiment didn't go very well.
It was, however, a very long time until I would catch sight of this game again. More than twenty years in fact, when I bought it from GOG in 2015. Yes, I've owned it nearly 5 years, and it's a fairly short-ish game, so it would have been good to play before, but I've never really had the motivation to play it as an adult. I just don't like silly point and clicks anymore, mostly due to the stupid moon logic, which of course, this game is chock-full of.
In the game, you control Sam and Max, members of the Freelance Police, as they are sent to rescue a bigfoot from a power-hungry country music star. It sounds bonkers, and it is bonkers. Some of the locations and things you have to do are ridiculous, but that's just the kind of game it is.
The characters and writing are enjoyable and funny, based on an earlier comic I believe, and these helped me get through the game. Because, not gonna lie, I really needed the help. I very quickly got tired of looking at everything, talking to everyone, trying to pick everything up, trying to use everything with everything else, just to see if I could advance any one of the very silly moon logic puzzles. I even got a sore hand from all the mouse clicking.
Nor am I ashamed to admit that I had to use a walkthrough at a few points, because I just couldn't be bothered.
It really is a shame I didn't get to fully play this when I was a lot younger when I may have appreciated it a lot more. But this kind of game is just not for me any more.