I will forever remember the first role playing game I ever played. It was on the original Sony Playstation, and I borrowed a copy from a friend at school, who also gave me a massive bradygames strategy guide to go alongside it. The four disc title was called Final Fantasy VII.
For a lot of role playing gamers, saying that FFVII was my first foray into the rpg landscape will irritate. After all, the raging debates about “which is the best Final Fantasy” always ends in FFIII (or VI depending on which version you have in mind) reigning king. But for some of us, we didn’t get into rpg’s on the Nintendo, and Cloud’s spiky hair and giant sword were our first adventure in the world of not just Final Fantasy, but role playing in general.
Not surprising, FFVII was also one of the first games I ever played all the way to completion. What a difference this was from playing Mario and Captain Skyhawk on the SNES, which had only a very brief story and then basically platforming, shooting, and using secret codes for special unlocks. While beating Mario 3 might give you some bragging rights (you have me whipped if its on your “conquered list”) its just not the same as organizing a strategy to crush the Emerald Weapon, right? An rpg done well is like reading a non-crappy version of those “choose your own adventure” books I had to read in elementary school all the time, except I actually died LESS in Final Fantasy VII. It was a whole new entertainment experience for me, and I will never forget it.
So about a couple of months ago, I decided to load up FFVII on the Playstation Network to see how the game looks and feels now, over a decade later. To say that the 3D characters look a little dated is an understatement, but the ATB system and materia, not to mention the limit breaks were all there, and I was yet again interested in this old title that I will always love. It’s like looking back through old yearbooks and remembering who I was as teenager. I remember naming Aeris, one of the female leads in FFVII after my girlfriend, only to discover Sephiroth would kill her later in the game (which was prophetic because that relationship eventually died off anyway). I’m still a little weirded out by that…
But the question has stayed with me over the years. Is it worth revisiting these old games? Is it worth remembering them in all of their terrible wonder? Should I go back and delve into these various worlds, and discover them again? And what about older games that I never had the chance to play? Should I pull them out of my backlog and give them a test run?
Yes. Yes I should. And out of this idea was born retrodragon. A place where I can air out my thoughts and feelings about all the old games that I always wanted to play, or want to play again. My goal is to share my joy of retrogaming with other fans of the oldies (its so weird saying that after my parents used the reference for music from the 70’s…) and give a heads up about any titles that have stood the test of time, and which ones haven’t.
So I hope you can help in this process by recommending games, and giving me feedback on each title that I write about. There is a huge library of games out there! I can’t wait to discover the good ones, and you will be the first to know.