Old Man Musings – Mapping the Lost Woods

Once upon a time, I was a young lad instead of an old man. I know, it’s hard to imagine, but bear with me. There are quite a few memories of video games from that time that shape the way I think about games to this day. I think the biggest one was probably my first time playing The Legend of Zelda.

This isn’t some tale of an amazing triumph over a puzzle. Or a story about some difficult boss fight that I managed to scrape by. This is the time that I got completely and utterly lost in the Lost Woods.

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FFIX Versus Cards – Part 4.5

It occurs to me that I forgot something very important in Part 4. It’s really easy to walk right past, but it’s the first opportunity to sink your teeth into the game spanning (and eventually required) collectible card game. The game – Tetra Master – isn’t nearly as transparent as Triple Triad from FF8. Or as helpful mechanically. But hey, at least it’s mandatory at some point!

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Sounds good to me.
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Musings – Story in Games and Story from Games

There’s a lot of ways that story can be conveyed within a game. Some games use mechanics to tell us about the characters and the world (the abilities available to characters based on class in an RPG, or the way some objects are placed in a Metroid title). Some games use an impressive amount of text to convey highly detailed stories (the second half of Xenogears is a perfect example of tell instead of show).

Other games contain such highly complex and detailed systems that they don’t inherently tell a story: they allow one to emerge naturally from the events that occur as a result of available interactions. You know, they don’t even need incredibly detailed systems to accomplish this: they need systems that are just detailed enough to allow unique playthrough experiences.

How about we take a little look at both types (as they are and in relation to each other)?

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FFIX Versus Counterfeits – Part 4

Last time on FF9 Versus, we followed the tiny black mage Vivi through Alexandria and up to the square with the ticket booth. Also, our first minigame!

The story so far: The Tantalus thieves are going to kidnap a princess, and Vivi has a ticket to watch it happen.

ff9-018Timed button presses? Sign me up!

Alright, this is Part 2 of character two of the introduction of the game. And we’re already on post four. Seems like I might be doing this wrong. Oh well, lets just keep on keeping on. If we’re lucky, one day we’ll make it to the introductory dungeons and start talking about the game proper.

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Old Man Musings – Backwards Compatibility

Of all the aspects of video game consoles, I feel as though backwards compatibility is the most arbitrary and neglected. From the beginnings of home consoles (well, at least post-1983 crash), there’s always been a push for things to be better – more bits, more colors, faster processing, more dimensions, more polygons, etc., etc.. Well, at least that goes for every other feature.

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FFIX Versus Itself – Part 3

Last time on FF9 Versus, we took a look at the first fight of Final Fantasy 9. There was some information revealed, and some opportunities missed.

The story so far: It turns out that Zidane is friends with some other thieves, and their boss is into masks and probably mentally unstable.

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I would not want to work for this guy.

Okay, I’ve gotten pretty waylaid the last two times, but this time we’re actually going to make some progress. If my focus holds out, we’ll get up through Vivi’s first segment. Obviously, no guarantees.

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Old Man Musings – I Miss Strategy Guides

I know that a lot of people are of the mindset that games should be completed without any help – that the experience is intended to be between the self and the game. Personally, I’ve never really bought into that, and I actually miss strategy guides as they once were (yes, I realize that some strategy guides are still coming out, but with the nature of the internet being what it is, things have certainly changed). In a recent post I talked about coming back to gaming after a long hiatus. In line with that, I’m going to walk down memory lane and just kind of ramble about the good old days.

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FFIX Versus Itself – Part 2

Last time on Dragon Ball Z FF9 Versus, I talked about the opening minutes of the game, and mostly made a fool of myself.

The story so far: There’s a girl in a castle in a town on a lake on a cliff, and a monkey-tailed boy in an airship. The boy is named Zidane, and he likes hanging out in unlit rooms.

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Now that’s a kingdom to live in.

Okay, this time, we’re going to see significantly more unfold. I hope, anyways. I might just get on a roll about a single screen that’s probably insignificant in the grand scheme of the game (as much as the first playable moments can be insignificant in any game, I guess).

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RPG Musings – FFIX Versus Itself

I’ve started playing through Final Fantasy 9 with the intention of doing an in depth analysis and review at some point in the not too distant future. Even in the first hour of the game, I can’t help but marvel at some of the incredible design decisions that were made. I’m not sure if incredible is the right word… maybe unbelievable? No, that’s not it. I think I just mean bad.

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