I found myself reading the blog of a friend who shall remain nameless. In a recent entry he wrote, among other things, that when he recently tried to play Final Fantasy VI the experience was somewhat lacking in the “awesome” department. At first I was shocked and mildly ill. Final Fantasy VI, one of the defining games of my life, not as good as he remembered? The game that brought us Kefka “son of a submariner” Crazyclown? The epic story in which the villain wins, and screws up the world? Then I calmed down, drank a few pints of the good stuff, and recalled … yeah. That game. The game that makes you jump through so many hoops to re-recruit your party. The game with the horrible Amano character art, and equally awful character development. While I will still consider Final Fantasy VI to be a good game, one of the best of its time, I will admit that it is not actually as wonderful as my memory might want me to believe.
I have never been shy when it comes to admitting that I tend to prefer older games to newer games. There is something warm and fuzzy about seeing blue battle menus, having a locked camera angle, and all of the other outdated quirks from games gone by. However I must admit that when I find myself craving a certain game, when I actually do begin a playthrough, my enjoyment typically wanes after a few hours, and I soon find myself bored. A quick hit of nostalgia and I am good again. Now there are some games that are just legendary, and exceptionally made. But for every Earthbound, Chrono Trigger or Final Fantasy IX I love to play over and over again, there are games like Final Fantasy VI, Star Ocean and Grandia which are good, and have their shining superstar qualities, but overall just do not do it for me time and again. It takes a special game to merit 20+ hours of my life to replay, just as not every book is worth re-reading, or movie worth re-screening.
So, lovelies, how do you feel? Are there any games that you can replay year after year? Are there any classics that you just cannot handle in anything other than small doses? For me the aforementioned Earthbound, Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy IX can always be played through in full without boredom. Xenogears and Final Fantasy VII can also be safely added to the list. Recent experience has also taught me that alas, Final Fantasy V and VI do not belong on the list, nor do any of the Dragon Quest games.