Editorial Miscellany: Old Friends

And only Paul Giamatti.
True friends are Paul Giamatti.

This week’s Editorial Miscellany is entitled “Old Friends” because this column has been around for hundreds of years.

Video games and I found each other again this week in both expected and unexpected ways. Indeed, like how old friends can be both an expected comfort and an unexpected thrill, video games both surprised and soothed me in our time together these past seven days. In fact, I am sure that if I could find another way to phrase how long it takes for a week to pass, I could also find more ways to tie in the concept of that harmonious balance found in the very strongest of friends.

There is no way that I am stretching for content to fill the introductory section this week.

No.

Way.

Yes way

What the junk was Introductory Ethan talking about up there? I am glad that everybody is safe with me now, down here in the subtitled sections. How about I for real talk about actual video game stuff now, alright?

Etrian Odyssey Continues To Deliver

The swift release of a remake so soon after an official sequel confuses me, but happily, the magic of Etrian Odyssey remains unharmed. I could not bear to choose the new “story mode”, and I hope it is not a mode enforced on future entries, because the simplicity and grandness of the classic style is what gives the series such incredible weight for me. One of the reasons Ocarina of Time left a powerful mark on me was because of its ability to make exploring a video game fantasy world a complete thrill. The world not only begged to be explored, but had unexpected secrets at every turn, and when I played it as a pre-teen, it had its challenges for me as well. It was the first time a video game became the true adventure I knew it could be.

Etrian Odyssey reconnects me with that feeling. The simple act of drawing a map in a magic forest containing enemies that I know are too powerful for me to face puts me in the boots of a brave adventurer, just naive enough to not know what he is in for. I hope this series continues to thrive.

I also like that there were fewer new Pokémon. Let the whole line-up shine!
All sorts of awesome Fire types.

Pro-ké-con X & Y

Believe it or not, the above header believes it is doing a good job explaining that this section is going to talk about what I feel are the pros and cons of Pokémon X & Y. I really am loving the new games. I especially recall the first ten hours in which I felt that familiar exhilaration that new entries consistently bring – one of the remaining few series that is able to do so (the aforementioned Etrian Odyssey being another). I loved the super training, the plethora of Pokémon in every location, and pretty much everything else from the roller skates to the battle scenes.

Now that the euphoria was worn off a bit, I am beginning to reexamine how I feel about the title. I definitely think it is too early to have anything resembling a final opinion, but I am allowing myself to currently feel mixed about some elements. The super training – along with the exp. share – seems to be something of an easy button, which I do not mind in and of itself, but they both assert their presence in a way that encourages their use. Pokémon games were never that difficult, but to take any sense of challenge away from the experience takes away the feeling of adventure. When I reach the Pokémon League and finally crush it, it is because I trained my Pokémon hard to get there, not because I pressed buttons when I was supposed to. That is precisely the reason why I hate Heavy Rain.

I still think I love the abundance of Pokémon, but the series is starting to feel foreign to me in a way that it has not for a long time. This was initially exciting, but I am in the hesitation phase. I strongly feel it will take a replay in a few months time for my thoughts to settle around the new entries.

LEGO Magic

The LEGO games are well known for being charming and fun, albeit simple games that tend to make far better use of popular licenses than their time-of-release counterparts. I had played a Star Wars one a number of years ago on my DS and remembered liking it well enough, so I gladly watched my girlfriend play the first Harry Potter entry a few days ago. It turns out that the second one is pretty cheap on the PlayStation Store, so I started up the download while I hopped on the co-op for her playthrough of the first.

Maybe it was all the Assassin’s Creed III I had played that day, but to play a simple run-around-and-smash-stuff game was near therapeutic. I love complicated menus and heavy themes, but sometimes my heart craves nothing more than to just sit back and play a video game. Just a game. Just fun. Simple. It was the beautiful cabin by a lake of my video game world. A place to just relax and forget about everything else for just a few moments. It seems strange to say, but I sometimes forget that games can be fun.

Closing Thoughts

That is it, folks! I know I skipped the gossip and letters section this week, but video games were too busy trying to rekindle their friendship with me – and I was too busy accepting – for me to ignore their impact. So this edition is dedicated to old friends. The ones who comfort you, the ones who surprise you, and the ones you have forgotten you love so much.

5 comments

  1. Alright, is Etrian Odyssey II the hardest game in the series or something? ‘Cause it’s the only one I’ve played and I can’t get very far in it at all. I’ve tried different party combinations, and I don’t make enough EXP to level up more where I’m at. I really dig the game though, so it’s too bad. What about I or III? I don’t see how it can get any harder than this.

    That’s what she said.

  2. EOII is the game that introduced me to the series. I have found it to be the most difficult, but I loved the difficulty. It really adds to the feel that I love about the series. But EOIV would be my recommendation if you find EOII too difficult. Not only adjustable difficulties, but a more expansive world that allows for a more forgiving training regimen. I haven’t played III yet.

  3. No 3DS, or I would. I really want to play Millenium Girl story mode, if anything.

    Are there Lego licensed games based off video games, rather than movies? Like LEGO Assasin’s Creed, LEGO Call Of Duty, LEGO Final Fantasy, LEGO Mass Effect, LEGO Grand Theft Auto, LEGO Resident Evil, or LEGO Street Fighter? Or based on literature, like LEGO Ulysses, LEGO Catcher In The Rye, LEGO Fairy Queene, LEGO The Magus, or LEGO Morte d’Arthur? I don’t mean that were made into movies, like LOTR. Or maybe literature that was made into video games that was made into… LEGO Romance Of The 3 Kingdoms.

    I like games that you jump right into and are simple fun. So many of my favorite games have long intro sequences or are generally drawn out.

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