Backlogging Deeper with Landmark Games
If you listen to our podcast, you know that I am known to play the “new and shiny” games that are being released on current gen consoles and even some early access games on PC. There are several reasons for that. I really admire the game development process, having dabbled in it myself ( and still do from time to time) thus I am in awe of what developers can do with loads of talent and processing power. New mechanics, new ways to play games, and more innovative ways to tell stories are reasons that I often jump at the chance to play a new title. More often than not (at least until recently) I would get a shiny new title that promised innovation and give it a shot, usually quickly tiring of it within a few hours and then moving on to the next when I could afford it, or back to the game that had my attention before I began.
With that in mind, playing a game from a previous generation usually has to have a different motivation. For me, playing an older title is going to be driven by nostalgia, the need for credibility when it comes to discussing gaming history, or just plain curiosity. There will more than likely be no surprises when I jump back to a PS1 era game or blow the dust out of the NES cartridge.
Development has iterated and built on the past like many other entertainment mediums. Much like a budding cinephile that watches High Noon, Apocalypse Now, or Lady Snowblood, the point isn’t to see the cutting edge of filmmaking, but to experience the landmarks and appreciate what these movies did for the medium and in most cases be genuinely entertained by them. This is the case for me when playing classic games. I want to be entertained and experience first-hand how these games feel, look and affect me.
To begin with I have a few sources at my home to play what I will consider “landmark” games. One is through Rare Replay, which has 30 games from Rare, the vaunted developer that released a ton of games that I loved as a kid, but I didn’t get to complete. The other source is PS1/PS2 Classics in the Playstation ecosystem. On the PS4, Sony has started releasing some classic PS2 games, and a few have already gotten my attention, including the Dark Cloud series, and Arc the Lad. My Playstation Vita TV allows me access to a ton of PS1 era games like classic Final Fantasy titles, Resident Evil, and so on. Given this convenience, I will more often than not tackle from these outlets, and sneak into Travis’ basement to play the best of the Nintendo.
Given these somewhat loose limitations I have given myself, I plan to start in the 5th generation of gaming consoles, specifically on the PS1. Of course they will be emulated on the PS Vita, but still a legal and legitimate way to play these games. Here are the titles that I consider landmark and will make a point to play, if at all possible:
Final Fantasy VII-IX
Final Fantasy Tactics
Metal Gear Solid
Castlevania Symphony of the Night.
I have a fair amount of the of the games on this list, and just purchased a few in the Playstation Essentials Sale that is wrapping up on PSN. It should be noted that there are some games that many would consider to be important that aren’t on this list, and that’s probably true. I didn’t include any Tomb Raider, Gran Turismo, Crash Bandicoot, etc. Many of these games I played already, and many of them I don’t consider to be game changers, if you’ll pardon the pun, so for those reasons they don’t have my attention.
As discussed in Episode 11 of the podcast, a game that showed up on my radar while going through my download list on PSN was Parasite Eve. This is a game that I had heard of, knew was fairly well loved, and had my interest years ago so I will more than likely start with this game, and see where my journey takes me. I’ll remember to save often and hopefully Travis won’t have to help me complete the game 15 years from now.