I started writing this post at the start of the year, and set it aside and promptly forgot to go back to it! I finally got round to finishing it, so here it is.
I love games. I love to play them and I love to collect them. My husband and I have a collection of over 2000 titles across a decades of platforms, and as you can imagine, it’s a huge undertaking to play them all! One of the great dilemmas is wanting to replay something I finished (or in many cases, didn’t quite finish!) many years ago. I’ve played hundreds of games over the years, a lot of them epic RPGs, and I have many nostalgic feelings when I think about them.
This year I planned to replay at least one or two of those old titles – particularly ones that I never quite got round to finishing, for various reasons. This post details my most beloved “want to play again” games.
I do have some reservations, however. Will these games live up to the nostalgia in my heart and mind? Will they stand the test of time? I guess I’ll have to try them and find out! Now, without further ado, I give you my top nostalgic replay games wishlist (in no particular order)!
I first saw Suikoden at a department store which used to boast a pretty good range of Playstation titles, but which over the years has now been relegated to a store I rarely shop at for anything, let alone video games. I remember being intrigued by the cover and wanting to buy it, but not being able to afford it at the time.
A bit later I saw it at the local video rental store – back in the day, video rental stores had all sorts of awesome stuff you could borrow – so I hired it. If I recall correctly, it was a 3-day rental. I got it home, and played and played and played, usually until 2am (who needs sleep, right?) and then, after the three days were up, went back to the store and rehired it again. I repeated this process until I completed the game!
That was probably some 15 years ago I guess! I don’t remember much about it now except that there were 100 characters to recruit, you had a castle to upgrade, you had huge battles with your army, and the music was awesome. Later on down the track, when I was getting more obsessed with game collecting, I wanted to get my own copy but it was going for very high prices on eBay at the time ($200AU+). I ended up nabbing a German copy for $80 (plus postage) which was fantastic, despite the manual being in German obviously. However, before I even got round to playing it, my husband and I found a copy, and its sequel, at a second hand store for just $14.95AU each! I went on to buy all the other sequels (3, 4 and 5, and Tactics), but I haven’t played them yet either!
Skip forward to now and Suikoden has been released in the Playstation Store as a digital download, and I find myself really wanting to play it again – but of course, I would play it on the original Playstation console, because I’m all for the authentic experience 😉
The Adventures of Alundra (PS1)
Another great RPG of the original Playstation era, Alundra gave me plenty of sleepless nights also. I have the sequel, but haven’t actually played it; in fact, it’s my recollection that Alundra doesn’t even feature in the second game! But I’d play it anyway, for game franchise continuity reasons.
The game boasts excellent music, like a lot of adventure RPGs of its era. I was very taken with the environmental graphics and the emphasis on puzzle-solving. I remember the Adventures of Alundra with nostalgic feelings and recall moving statues around, fighting these little electric jelly monsters, burning down vines and lots of platform jumping! I had a look at a gameplay video while I was writing this article and with the benefit of hindsight, I realise it was similar in some ways to the Zelda titles, but as I played Alundra well before I ever played any Zelda game, I think it’s fair to suggest that Alundra influenced my love of that franchise.
It seems odd to include a relatively recent title in this list, but it has actually been some seven years since I played it, so I think that qualifies for some nostalgia. Folklore is also one of the most underrated games on my list, and if you haven’t had a chance to play it, I strongly recommend checking it out. Folklore was one of the earlier PS3 titles and I was immediately drawn to it as soon as it was announced, given its faery and folk lore themes. Folklore is a beautifully rendered adventure game that really showcased the PS3’s Sixaxis controller features. You had to move the controller much like a fishing rod, in order to catch and reel in the various Folk in the game.
The inclusion of some excellent DLC and costumes added to the appeal and longevity of the game for me. And yes, I did have a bit of a gaming crush on Keats, especially when he unleashes his fae ability!
I have been ever hopeful of a sequel to this great game, and there was some talk a while back of one being released to PSP but sadly it didn’t pass muster at Sony.
Final Fantasy VII (PS1)
FFVII was probably the first serious RPG I ever played, and the first game that unleashed in me what I like to refer to as the “completionist gene”. I recently found my printed copy of every related GameFAQs guide for FFVII, complete with notes and crossed out sections that I had finished. Despite sinking well over 100 hours into the game (which back then was pretty new for me, but now has become a standard for epic RPGs), I never actually completed the story mode. I got to the final fight with Sephiroth, but knowing a 40 min FMV sequence followed, I saved and went off hunting for Big Materia, Weapons to fight, and various other completionist goals.
A couple of years later, I figured I should at least finish the final battle for completion’s sake and I loaded up my old memory card – only to find that somewhere in the previous decade, I had “cleaned up” the saves and all my hard work was gone. Curse me and my organisation obsession!
Since then I’ve been determined to replay the game from start to finish – perhaps not dedicating myself to the 100% completion task, but at least to beat Sephiroth and watch that final FMV. Final Fantasy VII is on my replay/complete gaming resolutions list for 2015, so this is my year.
EDIT: I’m playing it right now, so stay tuned for my upcoming report! Also, remake coming – OMG!
Final Fantasy IX (PS1)
FFIX was the second Final Fantasy game I played. For some reason I skipped FFXIII, but I have it and am determined to play it soon, as I’ve been working my way through the franchise and have completed the first six games (as well as some of the later ones, and plenty of the spin-offs). I even have Pocketstation, which I can hopefully use with my version, to have some fun with chocobo mini games!
FFIX fills me with nostalgia when I think about it, and oddly the main thing that gets me excited is remembering the card game that was one of the sorts of side missions. Tetra Master was a card collecting game that was designed to be a bit of fun during the story of FFIX, but for me it became an obsession. There were some 100 cards and you could play with characters in game to get new cards for your collection. I was very proud of myself for managing to get all the cards, and I’m looking forward to going through all that agony again hahaha.
The music was also fantastic (as is FFVII’s), and I got a nice nostalgia hit when I played Final Fantasy Theatrhythm for the first time, and heard those songs again after many years!
Baldur’s Gate was originally given to me by a work colleague as RAR files on a series of discs, many many moons ago. He gave me a bunch of other stuff too, like Warlords 3 (oh for a remake of that game!), Heroes of Might and Magic, etc. He thought I might like it, and he was right. Therein began an obsession. In fact, I recently waxed lyrical about this very thing when I found out about the upcoming bridging game, Siege of Dragonspear, made by the folks who did the enhanced editions of Baldur’s Gate 1 and 2. I picked those up in a Steam sale a while back, and with the new game (that sits between the story of the original ones), I’m primed and ready to replay.
I did complete Baldur’s Gate back in the day, and it very much influenced my love of the genre. I never finished the second one, which has also been a sore point for me, but it’s on my list now, so it must happen!
Inspired by my romp throughout Faerun in Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale was an absolute must buy at the time, and I had many attempted playthroughs, getting right up to the final chapter before reasons. I loved the wintery setting, and the mysticism of Kuldahar and it was just a perfect setting for my high fantasy daydreams. I had the expansion (Heart of Winter) too, but didn’t get round to playing its main adventure, and I never even touched the second one, though I still have it in its box with its lovely cloth map.
Edit: I ended up buying it again on GOG.com for convenience, and I’m happy to say I played through Icewind Dale and Heart of Winter earlier this year. It absolutely held up to the nostalgia test, and just hearing that haunting music set my heart strings twanging. It turns out I was almost literally at the end of the game each time I quit previously, which seems to be a bit of a theme for me! I loved getting to see the story through to the end, and I’m very keen to move on to the second game soon.
One of many PC RPGs that I became addicted to in the golden age of PC RPGs, aka the early 2000s. I was really taken with the different, darker world of the Planes, rather than the Forgotten Realms setting I had been used to with Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale. I loved the mystery of the Nameless One, and the characters you met alone the way were amazing (not to mention the voice acting: Mitch Pileggi as Dak’kon is bliss). Again, I stopped around chapter six for no good reason and never got back to it, so this one is high on the replay wishlist!
Edit: Hurray, I played this one too! I finished it early in the year, and played through the various possible endings as well. Yet again, I’d been so close to finishing – was literally at the final chapter. It definitely held up also; the graphics still look pretty good, and the gameplay and story are just timeless. It’s a classic, you should definitely check it out if you haven’t already.
Now there are many other GBA-era RPGs I loved, but Golden Sun is really the one closest to my heart. I remember the excitement in finding the Djinn and using their magic throughout the adventure. I think it might be why I love Pokemon so much now (I’m a late starter to the Pokemon phenomenon, so I played Golden Sun before I was inducted into Pokemon, and even though the games bear little resemblance, the collecting monsters to unlock powers trope has always been strong in me!)
I played Golden Sun well before I met my husband, and ended up selling my GBA and my games due to financial destitution (well, it wasn’t quite that bad, but let’s just say, I didn’t have money to burn!) I tried getting a copy off eBay later on, but, much to my chagrin, was scammed by a pirated copy which I payed full price for. This incident pretty much ruined buying games off eBay for me. Thankfully, my husband is awesome and he found me a legitimate copy and it’s been in pride of place in my GBA collection ever since, just waiting patiently for me to play it again. I also have the sequel and the one on DS so I have lots of playing to do!
Well there you have it; quite the list right? How many of them have you played, and what did you think of them? What games would you most like to play again?