Archive for the ‘Phantasy Star’ Category

E3 Day One: Stranger in a Strange Land

June 25, 2010

DISCLAIMER: Does not actually change anything.

For someone who grew up seeing E3 through the pages of EGM and later through the web pages of IGN you’d think it’d be a dream come true to actually be there at the Candyland of video games. Well, let me tell ya. It was an exhausting, mind numbing experience. Sensory overload the likes of which I’ve rarely seen, felt, smelled, touched or heard. Remember that episode of Batman Beyond where the bad guy goes deaf from the all the sounds of the city piercing his brain all at once and he screams in agony from it all?

Sorry, I got Batman Beyond on the mind since that Splice review. Great show.

But anyway, that was me. For three days! Surrounded by sweating nerds, servile booth babes and sycophantic industry types in a bombed out section of L.A. no one wants to be in, except for this one giant convention. Seriously, otherwise the place is a ghost town, which is a very weird (and scary) place to be in coming from New York friggin’ City.

Not that any of that matters really. E3 is about one thing: games. Lots and lots of games. And I got my grubby hands on all of them. Well, a lot of them. Not all of them. Off the bat I’ll say I missed Zelda: Skyward Sword, Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and Microsoft’s and Sony’s Wii-too nonsense. So if you’re looking for the umpteenth amount of armchair punditry for those — whoops. This is just one simple chump’s first visit to E3, trying to find something that wasn’t a derivative arm-waving simulator or a FPS about shooting foreigners.

But boy, does that Move controller look like a luminescent dildo or what?

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Phantasy Star III – Generations of Doom: Utter Disappointment

September 17, 2009

After completion of the monumental undertaking Phantasy Star II must have been, the development team was at the top of their game. They’d created a work of staggering importance to the medium of video game RPGs, so where to go from there? Apparently, to other things. One of the most important core members, Yuji Naka, left to create what would later become Sonic the Hedgehog, Sega’s 16-bit savior, leaving a large hole in the team. Ever the type to shoot themselves in the foot, Sega decided that they NEEDED another Phantasy Star, whether the original creators were available or not. So instead of patiently waiting for the band to get back together, they put together a team of questionably-qualified individuals and churned out Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom.  I think you might already know where this is headed…

you look cool bro

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Phantasy Star: To Boldly Play What No One Has Played Before

May 9, 2009

Before I talk about the actual game, I feel I have to give some sort of explanation for my history of playing RPGs. You see, I’m a bit of a Johnny-Come-Lately when it comes to role playing games, at least in terms of my age. This is partly because of my early inclinations as a gamer and partly due to my systems of choice. You see, I didn’t own an 8-bit system. My next door neighbors actually owned an Atari 2600 and a NES, and my sister was friends with the girl that lived there, so sometimes I would tag along and get my fix that way. My aunt and uncle also owned a NES and I would marvel at seeing The Legend of Zelda box art. I thought it was so classy!

The first system I actually OWNED was a SEGA Genesis that my dad one day brought home with him, apropos of nothing, as far as I can tell. Wasn’t anyone’s birthday or anything! He got it when it was packaged with Altered Beast and also got us Revenge of Shinobi, Golden Axe and Forgotten Worlds to go along with it. At first the games made me really anxious because I was afraid I’d die in them and I’d only watch my sister play. But sometime around the advent of Sonic the Hedgehog, I started to really get into games, and you know the rest of the story~

As you might be aware, there was somewhat of a dearth of RPGs for the SEGA Genesis. There was the Shining series, and the Phantasy Star series, but I never really heard about them until I was much older. I guess the kids my age didn’t really talk about them. I didn’t even know what a RPG WAS. The next system I got after the Genesis was a N64, and that was even WORSE in regards to RPGs. Finally, in I think 1997 or 1998, I got a Playstation and my tastes in games were irrevocably altered.

Final Fantasy VII wasn’t the first RPG I’d ever played, but it was the first one I actually enjoyed. From there on I was Square’s bitch for most of the PS1 era. But what about those other RPGs I’d played? My awareness of role playing games was driven almost solely by the now-defunct Electronic Gaming Monthly. Not only did they have big shiny ads for the BIGGEST. GAME. EVER. Final Fantasy VII, but their seminal Top 100 Games of All Time list in their 100th issue mentioned several Genesis titles, like Shining in the Darkness and… yes, Phantasy Star II. I rented them both and was immediately turned off by their inaccessibility and lack of visual pizzazz. By that time they were already dated and I hadn’t the foggiest idea how a RPG played. So I guess it’s no surprise FFVII was able to hook me instead of those two.

But the Phantasy Star series still intrigued me, although I’d relegated it to the background; a curiosity I would never be able to appreciate. And the online aspect of the later Phantasy Star Online installments only made it even more out of reach for me. But the recent release of Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection (lovingly referred to by a friend as Spinhog’s Software Pile), with its inclusion of just about every notable first-party Genesis title, including the Shining and Phantasy Star series, was my second chance to try to see what drew people to the franchises in the first place, with the eyes (and patience) of an adult.

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