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Nerd Talk – No Cool People Allowed

December 15, 2013

This post is only for nerds.  If you’re half-way cool, you won’t have any idea what I’m talking about in this post, so don’t bother reading.  That being said, as some of you might know, I have a nerdy love of Japanese role playing games.  I tend to blog about serious things, but I have mentioned my secret addiction a few times on here.

Ever since I played Final Fantasy 6 on SNES as a teenager, I’ve been hooked on them.  Well, I was in the past anyway.  Most of their newer games aren’t anything special, unfortunately, and I had begun to think I’d lost interest in video games altogether.

You guys care to go down a nerd’s memory lane?  I was in junior-high school, it was summer vacation, and it was way too hot to do anything outside.  So what did I do with myself?  Like every teenager, I played video games.

My brothers and friends were all into first person shooters, so I played them too back then.  We were totally addicted to Goldeneye 64.  But toward my later teen years, I started to break off into playing RPGs.  A friend of ours down the street had this game called Lagoon on Super Nintendo and my brothers played it just to make fun of it.  Then I got to playing it and while I could never admit it to anyone in my family, I actually liked it.

Soon my brothers caught me spending hours and hours playing it and they started calling me “La-geek”.  I’d roll my eyes, tell them to shut up, and in my younger brother’s case, wrestle him to the ground, tie him up in his bed blankets, and then roll him out in the hallway as he was crying out for Mom.

Later I learned there were much better RPGs, and found the Final Fantasy games.  First it was FF 6 on SNES, but later I came across 7, 8, and 9 on Playstation.  Cloud’s buster sword, Squall’s gun-blade, and Vivi the black magician.

cloud motorcycle

Cloud Strife – Final Fantasy 7

When I think of Final Fantasy, I think of those guys.  I’d never seen anything like it.

vivi-final_00324499

Vivi – Final Fantasy 9

Great stories, incredible music, and an all around immersive experience.  If you’ve never played them before and like console RPGs, you’ll love them.  Final Fantasy X on PS2 is great too.

Squall and Rinoa - Final Fantasy 8

Squall and Rinoa – Final Fantasy 8

As sad as I am to say it, I can’t help but feel nostalgic.  Every couple years they come out with a new Final Fantasy game, but I’m always disappointed.  About a year ago, for the first time since my teenage years, I actually put down a Final Fantasy game and didn’t finish it.  I was playing their latest PS3 release FF XIII-2, and I was Serah and Noel fixing some sort of time-distortion where these little tomato creatures were crawling out into the forest, or something.  I don’t know.  It was just stupid.

There was a time when there were knights and dragoons in FF.  Do you remember playing as Cyan and Sabin, protecting the castle from invading armies?  Or how about riding through Narshe in Magitek Armor?

terra magitek

Terra In Magitek Armor – Final Fantasy 6

How about Squall and Rinoa hijacking that train in Final Fantasy 8?  Can you remember the feeling when you were first rode a chocobo?  And who could ever forget Setzer and his flying airship casino?

Setzer Gabbiani - Final Fantasy 6

Setzer Gabbiani – Final Fantasy 6

I remember raiding Mako reactors with Barret and Cloud.  Auron was awesome.  Even the side characters like Cait-Sith were cool.  Remember Cloud’s motorcycle?  Or when Balamb Garden took off into the sky?  I can talk about those old games all day.

If you have no idea what they are, they’re sort of like really imaginative, interactive novels with Hollywood blockbuster quality soundtracks.  They go on for forty to sixty hours, and you get totally drawn into them.  Every time I’d play those games, there was nothing like them.  They were so imaginative.  So different.  I just miss that.

I was thinking that I’d never play a game that good ever again.  Square was bought out by Enix and things just went downhill.  FF XII wasn’t bad, but X-2 and all the XIII games?  As I said before, they’re nothing special.  I had a lot of hope for FF XIV online, but it was a disaster.  Well, they’ve recently came out with a big update and they say it’s pretty good now.  Maybe I’ll go out and buy it to check it out?  I don’t know though.  Online games are way too time consuming.  I don’t have that much free time anymore.

Anyways, I don’t like to focus on the negative, so I’ve secretly kept alive an inner hope that somehow, someday, someone would bring that magic back into a console RPG and I’d find it.   Well, sometimes dreams do come true!

So I just got off for Christmas break, and I’m buried in several feet of snow.  I was studying particle physics, loading up the wood stove to say warm, and just needed a change of pace.  I’m always studying physics.  I needed something else to do.

I figured I’d try a console RPG, so I did a little research on the internet.  It turns out some of the original guys from the Final Fantasy team left Square, formed their own company, and made a game called The Last Story on Nintendo Wii.  Intrigued, I got it and oh my gosh.

Last_Story_Box_Art

Oh my gosh.  OH MY GOSH!

Just today, I played this game for eight hours.  Eight hours!  No joke.  I woke up early in the morning and played until it was dark outside.  I didn’t even want to quit then, but my eyes needed rest.  With these games, there’s never a good time to break.  I’d hit pause, run in the kitchen to quickly eat something, and then jump right back into it.  That’s how awesome this game is.

I love it.  I was thinking I’d never love a game like the old Final Fantasies, but I’ve spent today in total amazement.  This game has all the magic of the old series.  The characters and story have depth.  The music is incredible.  The game is fun to play.  It’s everything I’ve wanted in a video game for so long.  But now, they have newer hardware to work with and everything is even better!

The Last Story

The Last Story

I couldn’t believe it.  I’ve only had the game for two days and I’ve already put 15 hours into it.  I went to save my game and saw that and thought, “Seriously?”  It did not feel that long.  It’s probably the second best RPG I’ve ever played.  First would go to Final Fantasy 8.  Let’s be honest here.  It’s impossible to top that game.  But The Last Story comes in a fairly close second.  That’s how good it is.

The cutscenes really bring depth to the characters.  The voice acting is superb.  The graphics are beautiful, filled with castles, and a very magical fantasy world.  It’s just well done and polished.  Well, the battle system has a few glitches, but once you get used to it, you can work around it.

The story centers around two young men who are left as orphans due to a war, and they dream of one day becoming knights.  They form a band of mercenaries, wandering from town to town, until eventually they have a chance to become knights for an ambitious Count, but they quickly become disillusioned when they see all the corruption within the nobility first hand.

I hope Square-Enix takes notice.  I have high hopes for Final Fantasy XV.  I keep telling myself that they’ve just been in a weird slump.  And yeah, FF XIII-3 Lightning Returns will be coming out soon, but  I haven’t even pre-ordered it.  I see trailers and gameplay videos, and it doesn’t grab me at all.   I mean, I didn’t even finish FF XIII-2.  I basically forced myself to play through FF XIII.  I have a strong feeling that if I do end up buying it, I won’t even remove the plastic wrapping.

Considering my time is more limited nowadays, if the game isn’t really good, I’m not going to waste time with it.  Not too long ago I bought Nino Kuni, Wrath of the Witch King for PS3.  I’d much rather play through that.

It’s kind of funny.  I went into Gamestop searching for it and an asian dude from their staff came up to me and asked if I needed help.  I told him I was looking for Ni No Kuni, and his face lit up.  He went into the back and got their last copy, and as he handed it to me, he kept going on, “Now this is great game.  You’ve made a good choice with this one.”  I replied, “I’ve heard it’s really good.” He gave me this look of assurance and strongly stated, “Oh, it’s good.  Believe me.  You’re going to like this one.”  It was like he was trying to keep it away from the other customers who weren’t worthy of their last copy.  These other people?  Psh, they wouldn’t appreciate a quality JRPG like this!  But you, I can see you have a fine taste for these things.  Lol!  It looks fun anyways.

So yeah.  That’s how I’ll probably spend the holidays.  While everyone else attends big new years parties, boozing it up to loud music and dancing, I’ll just drink apple juice and stay at home studying particle physics and quantum field theory, locked away in my study.  When I get tired of that, I’ll play The Last Story and Nino Kuni.  And maybe FF A Realm Reborn.  That, and I’ll be going to the gym and playing basketball once the snow melts.  Oh, and when the first wave settles down, I’m going to go see the new Hobbit movie.   My Dad actually wanted to go see that with me.  He loves the Lord of the Rings movies.

I’m also wanting to finish reading some of Noam Chomsky’s books I ordered a while back.   That’s about all I’ll do over the break.

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