Shared topic: RPG Nostalgia

Oh goodie, a nice, not so controversial shared topic. And I think I’ll sort of stay focused with this one. RPG nostalgia. The RPGs we loved before World of Warcraft and, in my case, have been sadly sitting on my shelf since World of Warcraft came around. This topic was suggested by Triv from Raid Naked: Game in the Buffs and you can find links to the others who took part in the thread at Blog Azeroth.


There are two RPGs that have been significant in my life. One is the overly popular Final Fantasy VII, the other is the lesser known Might and Magic series. No, not Heroes of Might and Magic. Just Might and Magic. I could tell some stories about both games, but for now I want to talk about Might and Magic.

This wouldn’t be a Bossy Pally post if I didn’t start talking about the gamers before I talk about the game. So. Flashback 10 years ago. I’m almost 16 years old, starting my last year of high school. (Note that the structure of the French Canadian school system is unique, but I’m not going to bore you with a description of it.) My excitement of starting a new year of school was crushed by the fact that the rest of my clique was in the other class so I wouldn’t be seeing them much. I took my spot in the front row, to the far left where I could melt into the wall and not draw attention to myself. Yep, this was going to be a looooong year. Interestingly, the girl behind me was doing the exact same thing. I knew her by sight, after 5 years of the same 60 people, you kind of know everyone, but we’d never been in the same class before. I’m not a very social person, not now, not then, but there’s something about other shy people that I really like. So I turned around.

Me: Hi.
Her: Hi.
Me: So, secondary 5, huh.
Her: Yep.
Her: So, what do you do for fun?
Me: Um. Well. I dunno. I like music. And *whisper* I play video games a lot.
Her: I love video games. What are you playing?
Me: Well, I’m playing this game you’ve probably never heard of called Might and Magic VI.
Her: OMG!!!! I’ve beaten it twice. I’m working on Might and Magic VII.
Me: Twice? I feel like I’ve been playing forever and I can’t get anywhere.
Her: Where are you stuck?

The scary thing is that is almost exactly how the conversation went. And thus we went for a year playing the Might and Magic series in the evening and talking about it during the day. Seriously, what are the odds? Two girls playing and loving a relatively unpopular game at the same time trying to blend into the same classroom wall. We became great friends but unfortunately lost touch when she moved to the city to be a big shot artist while I moved to the middle of the Atlantic ocean to make a career out of being a student. Yet, to this day, there’s no game that’s been more etched in my mind than Might and Might VI and VII.

I stole this from Wikipedia because I don't have a copy of the game nearby

The game play is similar to WoW. My addiction to the M&M series was largely what made it so easy for me to learn WoW. Obvious differences, you’re alone in your world, you play four characters instead of one and there’s no auto-attack. When you attack enemies, you hit A repeatedly, when they get close to you, switch to S. However, the questing format, the immersion into another world, the experience-based leveling, the ability learning pattern, the “walking around and clicking on things”, all similar to WoW. I love medieval style games, I love worlds that I can explore and I love a little bit of grinding mixed it with less grindiness. I could play these games indefinitely.

The story is a little hard to follow since you have to read every single thing to completely immerse yourself, but overall, you know the world’s been invaded by demon-like aliens and you need to explore dungeons to find crystals to infiltrate the mother ship and destroy the final boss. Like WoW, the game takes place in a medieval world, but the different zones have features that make them unique. Like WoW, I got way too involved in the story. I’d have nightmares about the game, would jump to the ceiling whenever someone crept up behind me while I was playing and was terrified of going into dungeons until my friend laughed at me for taking the game too seriously. Oh, right. I forgot it was my characters going into the dungeon and not me. My imagination will be the death of me.

Out of the series, I’ve only played VI, VII and VIII. I would like to try the others but 1)I don’t have time for more than one game and 2)MM games are old and *really* hard to find in a small town. VI is my favorite. It’s the longest, the grindiest, the most annoying, but still my first. I’m a sentimental person when it comes to my games so the first RPG I was serious about will have a special place in my heart forever. (I’m not that way when it comes to boyfriends, in case you were wondering. I’m told my priorities are screwed up but I don’t buy it. Games > boys, no?)

MMVII is better designed, you get an OMFG CASTLE!!!! and you can choose between the paths of light and dark which adds a bit of flavor to the game. While VI is closer to my heart than VII, there is one part of the VII that still flashes in my mind. When I was playing the game, I would listen to a storytelling show on the radio where they’d tell a cute story, then play a song that was somewhat connected to the story. Somehow, I’d often listen to that show while wandering around a gorgeous area called Tularean Forest. Ok, maybe it wasn’t called that. But it was the elven homeland, there were moving trees and boardwalks. To this day, when I hear one of those songs, the image of the Forest shows up clear as crystal in my head. I don’t know why it was so striking to me, but who cares. There are worse memories to have! Oh and one my characters always said “I broke a nail” whenever things didn’t go her way. I loved that and I totally empathize, if I were an adventurer having stuff blown up in my face, I would hate having to stop and fix broken nails.

Stolen from Moby Games

As for VIII, I don’t remember it much. I couldn’t even tell you if I had beaten it before an ex-boyfriend stole the game from me (see! Games > Boys because games don’t steal your stuff when you break up with them!) There was something about being able to have more characters and swap your party around, but in the end you just played with the same 5 characters anyway, and I think there was a mini game…

You know, one of these days I’ll find some copy of the games, install them on my computer, realize that my computer can’t run old games, install them on my old dusty 10 year old computer at my parents’ house and play again. Then, spoiled by WoW, I’ll wonder how I ever liked those games in the first place, my illusions will be shattered and that will be the end of that.

Geez that didn’t end the way I wanted it to. Let me redo this.

One day I’ll get in touch with that old friend, we’ll joke and laugh about old times. We’ll play the games again and relive those crazy days of high school. Maybe she plays WoW too and we’ll be able to finally run our dungeons together instead of just talking about them.


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19 Comments on “Shared topic: RPG Nostalgia”

  1. Triv Says:

    Thanks for the link! I enjoyed the read and will be coming back to check in. I never played Might and Magic but I might be tempted now. Feel free to say hi anytime.

    • Ophelie Says:

      Thanks! MM is still a good series, although I’m not sure what they’re like after you’ve had a taste of modern games. One of these days I’ll have to dig through my stuff to see if I have copies left that weren’t stolen by exes or little brothers. It would be pretty cool to play the games again and see how my view of them has changed. I’ve also been dying to get my hands on the earlier games in the series, but they’re pretty much non existent.

  2. elimeny Says:

    I totally felt the same way about Quest for Glory. And I refuse to accept a new computer if it can’t run my old QFG games. Granted, some of them are from the 80s, and so my computer is so fast for them that i run around at hyper speed, but i dont care.

    And I never beat any of them because I was too scared all the time. Talk about getting too emotionally involved in a game… I never even got past level 2 in Nintendo Zelda, because i flipped out when my health got low, and I got scared. I r wimp.


    • Ophelie Says:

      YAY someone who understands that games > boys!!! πŸ˜€

      I haven’t tried to run any old games on my newest computer, but I remember trying to get my dear DOS games to work on Windows 98 and failing miserably. I would imagine that the newer versions of Windows are even less tolerant of old games.

      I never beat Nintendo Zelda either! I can’t remember which level I made it to, but I kept dying, it seemed impossible, so I quit. And then one of my brothers ran off my game and it was the end of that. I don’t know if it was just because I was a kid, but it seems like games were so much harder back in the day.

  3. Dumpling Says:

    This was fantastic. My ❀ is all warmed by the adequately whelming nerdiness. Gaming with IRL friends can be totally fun and interesting!

    • Ophelie Says:

      I’m all about warming <3s with adequately whelming nerdiness.

      Video games totally bring people together. Anyone who says otherwise is obviously not doing it right. Nothing says "you're such a good friend" than pwning them at Wii Boxing. OMG now I want to play Wii Boxing.

  4. Skip Cocoa Says:

    Maybe I’ll have to scribble on this topic too, though I’m deathly afraid it would be a full-length book.

    I think I love this that extra bit because my room mate and I have taken to saying “playing WoW doesn’t make you a gamer”. As elitist as that sounds, it comes out of the frustration of meeting so many people who’s gaming resumes start and end with WoW.

    It’s a tease to meet a woman who claims gamer status, only to shortly after realize your conversation can never breach the borders of Azeroth. Now, a girl who can pine over the nostalgia of an old pixelated classic from over a decade ago, that gets the skin prickling. I… er… I’ll be in my room… looking for my copy of Might and Magic.

    • Ophelie Says:

      OMG, if you started writing about all your games, you’d never finish! That’s why I just picked one – one game, one story. It was really fun to write though, way more than I expected, and I might follow up with some other stories in the future.

      Do you really have a copy of Might and Magic? Do you really? Really? As if I didn’t already have reason enough to plan a trip to the west coast!

      WoW does cater to a larger population than just hardcore gamers, but playing only WoW is better than nothing! And if they enjoy WoW, they might be tempted to open their minds and see what other games are out there. Although, I find WoW so time consuming that as much as I try to fit in other games, I just can’t right now.

  5. Duht Says:

    I was introduced to the Might and Magic series with Might and Magic IV Clouds of Xeen something like 15 years ago. It was really awesome because M&M5 was the Dark side of Xeen and you could go through portals in clouds of Xeen and cross over to the dark side.

    My friend and I took turns playing it, staying up late at night, eating fists full of mike and ikes, and mimicking the voice acting.

    I think to this day if on of us yelled “LOOKING TO TRAIN?”

    The other would respond appropriately with “GOOD JOB!”

    Because that’s just the kid of nerds we are.

    • Ophelie Says:

      I really need to track down the early MM games! Want to find a good used games shop in this town! Or, I wonder if they’re downloadable…. hmmmm

  6. Triv Says:

    Compatibility mode will save your older games. I’m unsure as to how well vista and xp worked with a few of the games but I do know that 7 should be able to run just about any program in compat mode. It’ allowed me to bring back a lot of programs that I have loved in the past.

    Oh, and don’t worry too much about the older games losing their spark. I’ve gone back to the old games and still enjoyed them. Only rarely have I found them to be disappointing. My father, brother, and I still play Super Techmo Bowl to this day! We still talk trash using the same 8 plays over and over, but it’s still fun.

    • Ophelie Says:

      Oooo thanks for the tip! I don’t think I’ll be upgrading to Windows 7 in the near future, but I’ll try compatibility mode on this machine when I retrieve my old games from my parents’ house. It would definitely be nice to play some old games again.

  7. phoenix Says:

    Wow! You totally threw me back there – I used to play Might and Magic all the time and completely forgot about how passionate I was about it for such a short period of time there until I saw the screenshots!

    I remember running through corridors and having tons of fun with the game’s combat and inventory systems. When I played it, there was nothing else like it! πŸ˜€

  8. […] that WoW together may not always stay together, but they at least have some fun when they play! Her RPG first loves are games like Final Fantasy VII and the venerable, amazing, glorious Might and Magic – a […]

  9. Madaileine Says:

    Ah, memories! I ADORED the Might and Magic series, but since I’m a lot older than you I started with Might and Magic II (and then when I finished it went back and hunted down M&MI). I had been hooked on a little ascii mmorpg on Compuserve called Isle of Kesmai (yes, I’m completely dating myself) and in those days they charged by the minute so I found myself one day staring in horror at a CI$ bill that was over $1000 for a single month (I can’t remember exactly how much because I’ve blocked it from my memory). So I went in search of a game I could just buy outright and play unlimited amounts without racking up huge bills, looking for one that had a similar sort of fantasy rpg feel to it. I ended up with Bard’s Tale and M&MII, and M&M was the one that stuck with me. Yes, by now it seems dated and a bit simplistic, but of all the games I’ve played since, that series is probably still my favorite.

    • Ophelie Says:

      An mmorpg that charges by the minute? Ouch! I bet they didn’t keep their players around long!

      I’m really surprised at how many people are familiar with the MM series. Usually whenever I mention it, no one knows what I’m talking about. MMII seems to be easily downloadable, I’ll have to check it out.

      • Madaileine Says:

        They kept lots of players around for quite a long time because in those days they ALL charged by the minute. Anything you did online charged by the minute, and this was the days of dialing up on a 1200 baud modem (because they charged more for 2400 baud).

        And I think that maybe not many people know about MM in the wider world, but I suspect that quite a few of the same people who love WoW are exactly the kind of people who would have loved the MM games.

  10. Naithin Says:

    DosBox. It’s free, and works very well. It basically emulates a whole Dos machine, soundcard, vid card, everything. I’ve been able to run the ol’ QFG series on it. Monkey Island 1 and 2, and various other Lucas Arts adventure games.

    Ha-hah! Even found a linky fer it (was remarkably easy πŸ˜› )

    I played MMVII way back in the day, but must confess to nae much enjoying it, so never took it that far. Granted though, I tried it well and truly after it’s hey-day, so that may have coloured things against it a little.

    In any event, fantastic read. πŸ™‚

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