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: So, secondary 5, huh.
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.
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.
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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