The Wikipedia of Retro Games: Hardcore Gaming 101

Hardcore Gaming 101

Welcome to Did You See This Wednesday! As part of the GamerSushi Schedule, it is my duty to bring you cool stuff that you might have missed while you were looking at pictures of Grumpy Cat. And if you have any new ones, send them to me.

Today, we aren’t bringing you an article, we are showcasing an entire website, one that I have spent way too many hours on: Hardcore Gaming 101. HG101, as we like to call it, is a site devoted to educating people about retro games and also maybe getting them interested in something they might not even know about. The site is exhaustively well-researched, with tons of screenshots, artwork and information. I have described it as “The Wikipedia of Retro Games” and I think that is an accurate description. On top of that, it’s pretty hilarious to read as well. Just take a look at this description of why Edward from Final Fantasy IV would never work in a modern FF game: Continue reading The Wikipedia of Retro Games: Hardcore Gaming 101

My Metal Gear Solid 4 Experience: The Saga Ends

Cover mgs4

Well, that was certainly an experience.

In the last year, I have played all the numbered Metal Gear Solid games (MGS, MGS2, MGS3), ostensibly to see what the big deal was. After finishing Metal Gear Solid 4, my feelings on the game itself are largely ambivalent, but my feelings on the entire franchise are generally positive. (spoilers follow) Continue reading My Metal Gear Solid 4 Experience: The Saga Ends

Happy 15th Birthday, Final Fantasy VII

Final Fantasy VII

Today marks 15 years since the release of Final Fantasy VII, AKA, The First RPG You Ever Played. The legacy of Final Fantasy VII looms large over the entire franchises and indeed, over the entire video game industry. It brought RPGs to the forefront of the mainstream, something that hadn’t happened at that point. It compelled thousands of games to have an amnesiac for a hero and it made teenagers the world over cry tears of sadness after the death of Aeris. Sure, Tifa was hotter, but Aeris was the kind of girl you could see yourself settling down with. Maybe bring her home to Nibelheim and start a family, away from the hustle, bustle and terrorist threats of Midgar.

I personally received FF VII for Christmas in 1997 and with it, a Playstation. It was the first non-Nintendo system I had owned since the Genesis and it felt so new and exotic to my 16 year old self. I remember that Christmas break like it was yesterday: my hands practically shook as I held the controller in my hand and the opening cut-scene played. My favorite game series in glorious 3-D graphics! My mom and I fought for control of the TV for the next 2 weeks. She was intent on watching as many year-end specials about Princess Diana as possible and I was trying to save the world from Sephiroth. Clearly, one of us had our priorities out of whack.

FF VII’s legacy is still strong today, although there was something of a backlash after a few years from some of the old-school Final Fantasy fans, myself included, who were upset that our particular favorite game from the pre-FF VII days was being overshadowed by the sudden surge of new fans. For me, that has largely passed. I remembed how much I loved playing FF VII and even today, hearing the music makes me want to boot it up for one more go. Final Fantasy VII was a landmark game for millions of people and the clamor for a remake has only grown stronger. Maybe Square Enix will grant our wish, but until then, we have the memories to hold us over.

What are your thoughts about Final Fantasy VII? Join us in the Lifestream by commenting below!

I Was There (And Still Am)

SMB

I am 31. I am an old school gamer. Atari. Intellivision. Nintendo. Sega. Sony. Microsoft. Apple. I’ve been here since Day 1 and I’m still gaming.

It’s pretty amazing and quite fortunate if you think about it. I got to witness the birth of all that we now love and take for granted. I’m not special in this: anyone my age who was playing games around 1985 or so is in the same boat as myself. But they aren’t writing this, so screw them.

I’m not on the cutting edge anymore. I’m a late adopter. I don’t understand some of the things headed our way. But I had an NES. I had Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda and I played them right when they first came out. Allow me to take you on a trip down memory lane of the some of the console games that I was there to see born.

Think about this for a moment: the astonishment when Mario walked to the left and the screen kept scrolling with him, showing new areas and not just a pasted version of the previous screen with only a few subtle changes. Think about the joy and sense of discovery that came with finding the warp zones and bragging to your friends about it. Or the awe when someone showed you the infinite lives glitch. This was a special time. And I was there for it. Continue reading I Was There (And Still Am)

Final Fantasy: 25 Years of RPG Greatness

Black Mage

A couple of days ago, one of gaming’s greatest franchises hit a very special milestone — Final Fantasy turned 25 years old. It’s hard to believe that a quarter of a century ago, series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi released what he believed to be his swan song, the game that would end his career as a game developer. Much to the delight of millions of RPG fans, that turned out not to be the case.

Even though the series sometimes gets a bad rap because of its current direction and its sometimes head-scratching missteps, it’s hard to argue that Final Fantasy as a whole hasn’t changed gaming for the better. Because of this series, developers dared to bring sweeping, epic stories of magic and empires, rogues and princesses to gamers everywhere. I know that in my own life, Final Fantasy is responsible for some of the more profound moments of my adolescence, from seeing the crumbling urban setting of Midgar to the rolling plains of Ivalice.

Say what you will about where RPGs stand today, its longstanding themes of camerederie, friendship and redemption were uplifting then and still are today, in a way that most modern games fail to tap into. Those kinds of experiences rank among what I miss the most about the games I played a decade ago, and I’m still waiting for the Final Fantasy experience in today’s generation.

So here’s a salute to Final Fantasy — happy birthday, you old devil. Feel free to share some of your favorite memories and moments in the series. Go!

Update: In addition, OC Remix has released a metal tribute to Final Fantasy I, with dozens of tracks dedicated to the first game’s soundtrack. Check it out.

The History of Video Games Is Surprisingly Catchy

Video games have come a long way since the days of Pong and sometimes it’s tough to appreciate just how far our beloved hobby has come since that first, simple game came into our lives. This rather brilliant video sums up the history of games from Pong all the way to current-gen classics such as Uncharted 3. The best part? It uses only the clips and sound effects from the games themselves in order to create a rather catchy song.

Take a look for yourself. The games shown are not all-inclusive and several games are shown more than once, but you can garner a decent idea of the long trek that games have made in such a short period of time:

Pretty snazzy, huh? The creativity (And time involved!) that videos such as this exhibit are staggering. Kudos to the people behind this. What do you think? Impressed by the journey games have taken? Anything you would have liked to see make an appearance? Comment below!

GamerSushi Asks: Ultimate Box Sets?

Beatles

Box sets. Staples in the music industry for years and more recently in the movie industry, yet they are foreign to video games. This needs to change. One of the traditions of the holiday season is the release of a legendary band’s box set, usually including all their music that has already been released with the addition of goodies like live recordings and songs released solely in other countries. Now that the Harry Potter movies are done, the first thing Warner Bros did was release a giant box set of all the movies. People eat this stuff up.

Aside from the recent trend of HD collections, video games don’t receive the same treatment. This honestly is a crime. Video game companies should be more respectful of their own past, in addition to being aware of the desires of their most ardent supporters. There are a great many franchises out there that are getting long in the tooth. For some of them, their best days are likely behind them. What better way to still make money off an IP and keep it fresh in people’s minds than to do an ultimate box set, just like they do in the aforementioned mediums.

My personal choice for an ultimate box set would be the (surprise) Final Fantasy series. Imagine a collection of every single Final Fantasy game, containing every version of each game, from all the different platforms it was ever released on, complete with art books, soundtracks, developer’s commentary that played when you enter a new area, perhaps. You can leave out all the spin-offs, but if they were to do this for the core games, I would pay upwards of a few hundred dollars for that.

What say you? What franchises out there would you like to receive such a treatment? And what would you like to have included in the box set? Speak now or forever hold your peace.