It’s holiday break time, people! Woo! Anyway, it’s also time for the PSN Community Spotlight. For the unfamiliar, this is where PlayStation gamers tell their unique stories/experiences/thoughts, as submitted to this section in the PlayStation Community Forums. Those that make it all the way to the PlayStation Blog will receive a $50 PlayStation Store voucher via private message on the forums.
Last week we asked for your PlayStation stories, and gamer oliemoon wrote in to tell us about his love affair with JRPGs.
For the Love of JRPGS
When I was five years old, my brother and I received another gaming console for Christmas, and when I was eleven, our grandparents bought us its successor. I was content with these systems. My brother, on the other hand, began to grumble about wanting a PlayStation. I didn’t really understand him at the time – I was totally satisfied, why wasn’t he? What did the PlayStation have to offer that the other didn’t? “RPGs, Liv,” he’d say, “I want to play RPGs like Final Fantasy. You need a PlayStation for that.” Oh, those boring-looking medieval fantasy games? Pass. I thought my brother was just being silly.
Then, one summer night, I heard some strange music coming from the living room and went to investigate. Where was that somber flute coming from? The rising and crashing violins? I was enthralled with the mysterious, heartbreaking song that was coming from our TV, and I eagerly queried my brother, begging to know what I had just listened to. It was a demo disc from the Official PlayStation Magazine, he explained, and that was a promo for Chrono Cross – I had just heard the opening cinematic. “Do you have the game!? Are you getting it!? When can I play this game!?” I bugged my brother all summer long, anxious to play the game with the music that had captured me so. When it came out, I accompanied my brother to the store to pick up his pre-order and I practically hummed with anticipation all the way home, clutching the bonus clock and soundtrack sampler in my hands (a sampler that, I might add, was eventually worn to bits in my Discman from endlessly listening to “Scars of Time”). I dove into the game right away and to this day, I don’t think my brother has ever actually beaten Chrono Cross but I have — several times over.
I can’t pinpoint the exact moment when I transitioned from someone who played games occasionally in their spare time to someone who considered themselves a gamer, but it happened somewhere in the middle of Chrono Cross and after that game I became a ravenous JRPG beast. I tore through my brother’s PS1 JRPG collection: Threads of Fate. Xenogears. Lunar Silver Star Story Complete and Lunar Eternal Blue Complete. Final Fantasy VII. Final Fantasy VIII. Final Fantasy IX. The Legend of Dragoon. Grandia. Breath of Fire IV. Vandal Hearts. Parasite Eve and more. It was a feast that kept me full for most of high school.
Skip ahead a few years and I’m in my final year of high school, anxious to play Final Fantasy X and Kingdom Hearts. My brother had long since left for college though, and taken his PlayStation 2 with him, so I could no longer depend on him for my gaming fix. My parents were going through an ugly divorce and couldn’t afford to buy us game consoles but, with eagerly anticipated JRPGs like Xenosaga on the horizon, I just had to have access to a PS2 and decided to get a job – something our parents had always discouraged because they wanted us to focus on school. My grades were good though, so I picked up my first part time job by tutoring freshmen and sophomores at my school. My brother came home for Thanksgiving that year and drove me into the city on Black Friday, where I used my first paycheck to buy a PS2, a copy of FFX, DDR and some memory cards – a deal that I had scoured the newspaper ads for while counting up my pennies. I borrowed my brother’s copy of Kingdom Hearts and I was set. I’ve got a lot of fond memories of staying up into the early hours of the morning playing FFX and learning the Al Bhed language over the holidays that year, and many more from the subsequent years of gaming when I took my PS2 with me to college as well. The Greatest Hits collection helped me expand my horizons beyond JRPGs, and I began to give titles like Onimusha: Warlords, Devil May Cry and Virtua Fighter 4 a try. Over time, my PS2 provided me with its own JRPG feast as well.
These days I play games from a variety of genres, but I still consider JRPGs my bread and butter — they’ve always been the system seller for me: the PSP for Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, the PS3 for Final Fantasy XIII, the PS Vita for Final Fantasy X HD. It’s safe to say that I now live in a PlayStation household. Between our three PS3s (the Metal Gear Solid 4 80 GB, the Final Fantasy XIII-2 320 GB and Assassin’s Creed III 500 GB), four PSPs (one 2000, two 3000s and one PSPgo) and two Vitas (launch black and Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation white), there is no brand that gets more love and more playtime from me and my fiancé than PlayStation. The Vita has become my dedicated JRPG console, where I’m currently replaying the old PS1 favorites that nurtured me through my teens and experiencing new PSP and Vita JRPGs like Growlanser: Wayfarer of Time and Ragnarok Odyssey as they come out (though of course, like most JRPG fanatics, these days I only have eyes for Persona 4 Golden).
A few weeks ago, I was scrounging through our gaming bins and came across my old original PS2. I debated putting it in the pile of stuff to sell that I was taking to our local used gaming store — it hadn’t been touched in the four and half years since I’d moved in with my fiancé and switched over to using her PS2 Slim, after all. I looked up at our gaming shelf though, where an old Chrono Cross clock ticks idly by, keeping watch over our PS1 and PS2 collection and decided against it. Just too much personal history tied up with my PlayStation systems.