_hojo:30 Days of Gaming – One Day of Xenogears + Stuff I Was Forced to Not Answer with “Xenogears”December 7, 2010
_I was talking to someone the other day about how I’m just not cut out for watching TV shows when they air. Waiting around in anticipation for new episodes is just…tedious and unbearable. When I reflected on this statement later, I came to the conclusion that my entire life is like that. I don’t like watching an episode of a show and then waiting a week for a new one; I like waiting for the entire season to finish, then buying it all on DVD and watching it in a day or two. I still like buying CD’s not just for the physical copy, but also because it semi-forces me to listen to at least 10 songs when I throw it in my car stereo. I prefer eating big meals every day as opposed to lots of small little ones. I’m better when I play a video game nonstop as opposed to digesting it slowly [See: Record of Agarest War for proof. I tried taking it slowly, and I’ve been playing it since August. Plus that game is long as fuck]. I read books in the same way, too, lest I forget the details from the beginning chapters. What can I say? I’m a marathon man. So…when it came to this whole “30 Days of Gaming” thing going around, I thought to myself “Really? ONE post per day? Sounds neat…but not happening. I’ll do it all at once, thanks.” [BTW, that thought came before my epiphany on how I prefer everything all at once and not spread out, so…that’s another example]. But, as opposed to just shooting everything out right at the start while nobody else had finished, I figured I’d at least wait a while before doing this…and it’s been a while now, so here goes!
[crossposted from We Fear Change]
_Day 1 – Very first video game_Sad to say that like so many others, my first game played was that little bundle of joy Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt [Get it? I know, clever, right?] It’s also sad to say that I honestly have no idea which one I played first. Honestly, it was probably Duck Hunt. Logically, I see it like this: put a plastic rectangle or a plastic gun in front of a 4/5-year-old boy and then take a guess as to which one he’ll be more inclined to play with.
_I have many memories of both these games. SMB was a game that, shockingly enough, my dad played the shit out of. And he was way better at it than either me or my brother. He just kept finishing off loops…I wonder if he’d have kept at SMB if someone told him that there would one day be people competitively speed running the game? Probably not unless there was a decent amount of money involved…
_When a lot of people think back on Duck Hunt, they always mention the dog. I really don’t remember the dog that much. Because real gamers did the skeet shooting. That’s about all I have to say on Duck Hunt =P
_Day 1 – Your favorite character_Happy days, questions I can answer with Xenogears related things. While I could just post “TIE: The entire cast,”
not really, some characters are fucking lame, I’ll nominate Mr. Hyuga Ricdeau a.k.a. Citan Uzuki for the role of favorite character. Actually, I’m not nominating him, I’m electing him.
_Why is he my favorite character? Because he’s a dick. Not like, a total dick, but he’s totally a dick. He goes through the entire game knowing more than he ever lets
on his companions know, and goes through with elaborate plans involving them that he never tells them about. “Oh, yeah, sorry for getting you thrown in prison. But it’s OK, that was the plan from the start. You’ll thank me later.” You know, Citan, if the end result is beneficiary to everybody, the odds are they’ll still do it. I mean, nobody really like going to work, either, they just do it for the monetary gain. It’s the same idea.
_That’s not the only reason, though, seriously. He’s portrayed as a strong, intelligent and caring man, and over the course of the game, he proves to be all of the above. He’s arguably the best party member in battle…then gets an upgrade near the end of the 1st disc. He’s not afraid to strike his friends when they need to be slapped
well, that’s not surprising, I already said he’s willing to have them risk their lives unknowingly and have them thrown in a holding cell. He also does more spoiler things that make him awesome…Citan is just a bad ass, end of story.
_Also, just an FYI, while I’m going to try to avoid too much Xenogears spoilers…sometimes, I’m just not going to be able to help it. You’re just gonna have to deal with it.
_Day 1 – A game that is underrated_I’ve seen more lists without it in the #1 spot than I have with, so the obvious answer is Xenogears. Seriously, list makers, get with the fucking program.
_Day 1 – Your guilty pleasure game_I’m wracking my brain on how to semantics my way into answering this Xenogears, but I’m having a hard time with that…on my own. Thankfully, Dictionary.com has me covered.
_Guilty – synonyms: felonious.
_Felonious – wicked; base; villainous
_Wicked – 3rd definition: Distressingly severe, as a storm, wound, or cold. 10th definition: (Slang) Wonderful; great; masterful; deeply satisfying
_Well, I can easily define the pleasure derived from Xenogears as both “Distressingly severe” OR “Deeply satisfying,” not to mention that the game itself is wonderful, great, and masterful. So my guilty pleasure game is the wicked, wicked, and wicked Xenogears.
_Day 1 – Game character you feel you are most like (or wish you were)_Easy. Fei Fong Wong of Xenogears. Despite hating fighting in Gears, Fei finds himself doing just that constantly. He wants nothing more but to live in peace amongst the people he loves. He is unable to keep his emotions in check. He is a master of martial arts. His character is based around Chinese folk hero Wong Fei-hung. It’d be faster to list our dissimilarities: NOTHING.
_He’d even fall under character I wish I was, too. The idea of being reborn, fated to meet and love your soul mate in every life…it’s a beautiful idea. So romantic…I’m jealous. Sure, some stuff I could live without (like blowing up my hometown), but just like with love, you gotta take the good with the bad. Besides, in his world, such a thing as fate exists, so there was probably no way for him to not blow it up and kill everybody. Not his fault!
_Day 1 – Most annoying character_This would fall to Chu-Chu from Xenogears. I mean, where to begin? First off, Chu-Chu is fucking annoying to begin with. Look at that dialog. Fuck off, Chu-Chu. Second, Chu-Chu is a playable character, and she’s horrible to boot. It’d be like Marlene joining the party in FF7. You’d just shake your head in disgust the moment it happened. That’s the exact thing that happens when Chu-Chu joins. Third, Marguerite was at one point in development going to be a playable character. She didn’t make it in and Chu-Chu did. Chu-Chu cock-blocked Margie into being a main character that just stands around the ship all game. Fourth, Chu-Chu’s design is “token cute furry animal made to sell merchandise”. And yet no Xenogears merchandise exists! Her archetype is a to push non-existent merchandising! It suggests that some should exist! There is no Xenogears merch! Fuck you, Chu-Chu!
_Day 1 – Favorite game couple_While there were plenty of candidates (Bart and Margie; Citan and Yui; Tolone and Seraphita), there really isn’t any other answer besides Fei and Elly of Xenogears. I mean, they had a kiss that was important enough to be almost shown in anime form, and important enough to give them each unique kiss sprites. They hooked up in four different lifetimes. They each flat-out express their love for one another in words, instead of just dancing around the issue and blushing when they hold hands. Their actually talk to each other a lot to build their relationship, instead of having a love build up because they’re opposite genders and traveling together for a long period of time (although I’m sure that helped). They totally sex’d up in-game before the ending. They take other couples and crush them under Elly’s heels, because Fei doesn’t wear heels due to Elly letting him retain his manliness by wearing enough heel for the both of them. Yeah, that’s right, they actually work in tandem and they complete each other. What has your couple done lately?
_Day 1 – Best soundtrack_Not that Yasunori Mitsuna isn’t always excellent, but his Xenogears score is just…it’s like ear sex. All of his stuff is all great on its own, but Mitsuda is so good at ambiance and matching music to the mood of scenes that everything is always better in-game, and Xenogears is no exception.
_I have a hard time picking out my favorite tracks, due to having mental attachments with some of them with great scenes, not to mention that it’s almost like picking your favorite child: You love them all so much, how can you pick one over the other? So, easier to just go with the basic staples, like the boss battle music and the ending theme of the game.
_Day 1 – Saddest game scene_While there are parts in Xenogears that would qualify, the game fills me with such joy that I don’t even associate it with the term “sad” anymore. For this, I’m going with the ending of Final Fantasy X. God…that was depressing. Like…really depressing. Even when someone said “I assumed that at the end of FF7, Holy eliminated all of the evil from the planet, meaning both Meteor and people. That’s why Midgar is all shitted up – people stopped maintaining it because they were wiped off the face of the planet forever.” My response was “But at least people are all together in the Lifestream. Plus, Red XIII was the only one of his kind remaining, and yet he miraculously was able to asexually spawn children. Tell me how this isn’t a happy miracle of some kind.” I won that argument. But FFX’s ending? You can’t happy that away any way you slice it. Even Cloud had
the right angle in the love triangle Tifa to fall back on. Aeris was willing to sacrifice herself not only for the greater good, but to go be with her BFF Zack. S’all good. But what about FFX? Tidus just disappears and leaves Yuna alone. Yuna wasn’t in a love triangle! She didn’t have anybody to fall back on! And what about Tidus? Where did he even go? He faded away into non-existence! And Kimahri didn’t even get his horn back! Lose-Lose-Lose. FFX ending, you’re the saddest scene ever.
_Day 1 – Best gameplay_…I see what’s going on here. You want to see just how far I’ll take it, don’t you? Especially with the category following this…you want me to have Xenogears not be my answer for two straight questions, that’s all. Well, OK, fine. You win…but not without me bitching first.
_I’m giving this to Tetris Attack/Panel de Pon. While I’ve never liked it when people called rhythm games “puzzle/rhythm” because…I dunno, it’s a completely different genre, they do share one aspect which is what has always drawn me to them. With both genres, it’s almost always pure gameplay. A lot of the time, there isn’t even an AI to get in the way. Sure, maybe in Tetris, the game gave you too many S pieces and Squares to give you a good set-up…but if you get better, you could work around it. Yeah, some of the note patterns thrown at you in Rock Band are hard…but if you get better, you can play it. It’s never a matter of “find the right strategy to cheese the computer.” The solution is always “Get better.” This should put it into some perspective how much I hate Puzzle Quest.
_Don’t worry, I know that this is “Best gameplay” and not “Wax poetic on some of your favorite genres.” But Tetris Attack really is great. It epitomizes what I love about the genre. There are always moves you can make. The end only comes when you either can’t handle the increasing game speed or you’re simply ready to call it a session. It’s simple, it’s addictive, and I can’t really think of a downside to the gameplay. God bless you, whoever made Panel de Pon.
_Day 1 – Gaming system of choice_This really is a tough decision…do you go with a classic console, which has already had enough time out of the spotlight for us to properly look back on and decide upon the quality of the console and its library, or a current console, which has the power to do things the older systems simply couldn’t do? As much as my nostalgia bug wants me to pick something else, I’m going with the X-Box 360.
_The more I thought about it, the easier this choice became. It has the best online service of the 3 modern consoles sans having to pay for it. Specs-wise, it’s strong enough to properly support any genre. It’s got the best controller on the market, and with Kinect, maybe we can even get a real RTS on a console? …lol, moving on, to top it all off…you can mod your console and put a shitton of classic console games on the hard drive. That was the kicker, even though I haven’t modded my 360 [and don’t have a Kinect, either]. But the option is there. I’m thinking about the future, here. In 5 years, when the X-Box4 is out [despite it only being the 3rd X-Box] and they shut down the 360 LIVE servers, there won’t be a good reason not to mod your console and put all those awesome games on an upgraded hard drive. And when that 360 red rings, they’ll be cheap enough to easily replace. In all seriousness, the 360 is a fucking fun console, and as ludicrous as this entire explanation is…the most ludicrous part is that it’s not really a lie.
_Day 1 – A game everyone should play_Xenogears is a masterwork of the classic RPG. The traditional ATB turn-based combat, the way the hand-to-hand and Gear battles intertwined, and not just in the fact that they used the same battle engine. Granted, the battle system isn’t groundbreaking. But there are plenty of tricks you can do with your equipment that most players don’t notice at first glance. The plot is on a grander scale than anything else Square has ever attempted with the possible exception of Ivalice [although whether any of the Ivalice stories would have ever all been connected is now a mystery]. And that’s really amazing, considering a lot of story elements are missing due to budget cuts and time restraints [Thanks FF8!]. It’s huge, complex, and deep enough that you’ll actually spot things you might have missed or forgot about on a second playthrough. The pacing of the leveling is fantastic, as there really is no point where you ever “have” to grind.
_Xenogears is simply an RPG anybody that claims to enjoy RPG’s should play. And if you’re not an RPG fan…fucking play Shadow of the Colossus. It’s not for everybody, but there’s nothing else like it on any console. The closest thing would be Chaos Field, a vertical shmup which is nonstop boss fights. The fact that it’s that unique makes it a “must play.”
_Day 1 – A game you’ve played more than five times_Believe it or not, but I’ve played Xenogears more than five times. I’ve actually played it once a year since I got it…but I haven’t played it this year yet…and it’s December…hmmmmmmm…
_Day 1 – Current (or most recent) gaming wallpaper_Sadly, most Xenogears wallpapers are pretty shitty. Ms. Asuka Langley Soryu graces my desktop most of the time, really, but I do let the game pop on there every once in a while. While not really a game, per se, the last gaming related wallpaper I used was a piece from IIDX artist Maya…
_Day 1 – Post a screenshot from the game you’re playing right now_All I have to say…
_Day 1 – Game with the best cut scenes_Man, there are so many choices here…first, you have legitimately great cut scenes with jaw dropping graphics that tell great stories…then there are games like Lost Planet 2 and the Dead Rising games where the cut scene fantasticalism comes from the ability to change the character skins. So then…what do I choose? Bayonetta of course!
_Why Bayonetta? Because it takes one viewing of a cut-scene of Bayonetta to understand the tone of the game: Over-the-top dialog, over-the-top plot, over-the-top action, over-the-top gore, and over-the-top sex. The cut scenes perfectly represent the game itself. Damn Xenogears for being so sparse with the anime cut scenes…
_Day 1 – Favorite antagonist_My choice here is Kahran Ramsus of Xenogears. At the start of the game, Ramsus is just a bad ass with a sword and a hot girlfriend. Then he upgrades to bad ass with a bad ass giant mech with a hot girlfriend. Then as the game progresses, you find out a bit more about his past, and his connections with members of your party. Then he starts to go insane for seemingly no reason. Then you find out that his life sucks. Like…REALLY fucking sucks. As in “He literally got thrown in the trash as a baby” sucks. He’s an antagonist who’s manipulated by forces greater than himself throughout the whole game. By the end, you know almost everything there is to know about who he is as a character. You pity him by the end. The only issue I have with him is that Citan doesn’t slap his bitch ass into the party at the end.
_Day 1 – Favorite protagonist_As much as I would love to answer this with a Xenogears character, I have been answering these questions honestly. And to say that Renegade class Shepard from Mass Effect isn’t my favorite protagonist would simply be lying. He’s such an arrogant, smug asshole that you can’t help but love him. Some people might be a little squeamish at the fact that he kills people without remorse…but, really…did those people ever not deserve it? Well, OK, Samara in ME2 didn’t deserve it, but she only died due to Shepard’s actions and not by his hand, which isn’t too bad, right?
_Day 1 – Picture of a game setting you wish you lived in_I was really tempted to say “Xenogears” for this one, but I’d have a hard time talking my way out of the civil wars between Aveh and Kislev, the entire planet being ruled by Solaris from the shadows, and half the planet getting mutated in some way, shape or form by the end. Plus, if I was to live here and then get dropped off at the beginning of time, there’s a 1 in 15 chance I could get potshotted in the back, so I’m tempted to say “No Xenogears” for this one.
So…I’ll go with Parnasse from Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean. Why Parnasse, you ask?
_Plus it’s on a magical continent. It’s pretty boss, to be honest with you. I’m trying to think of shitty things that happen there, and other than “The bad guys chase your party into town,” I can’t think of anything.
_Day 1 – Favorite genre_You’d think with the way this has gone, that I’d say RPG. Or Puzzle or Rhythm from earlier. But no…it’s the Strategy RPG. They hold a special place in my heart. I love the way that every game in the genre has just accepted the simple point-and-click world map. I love the overtly drawn out battles. I love the fact that every plot of every SRPG always involve warring factions. I love moving on grids. Honestly, I could have said “the Strategy-RPG genre” as my guilty pleasure, if you wanted me to answer it for the original intended meaning, because even though a lot of them are legitimately good, I really do enjoy the entire genre far more than I know I should.
_Day 1 – Game with the best story_Man, this one is just a gimme. I can’t say Xenogears fast enough, although I could have said it faster, like before I said “Man, this one is a gimme.” That’s just semantics, though.
_But man, the story is so good…I don’t even know where to start. It works as a love story between Fei and Elly. It works as an epic narrative. It works as a typical “Mild mannered youngster from a small village embarks on adventure and saves the world” story. It works as a giant mech story. It…doesn’t work as an intriguing sewer mystery, but that’s about it. Plus, they also did nanomachines way before MGS4. Yeah, you got fucking served, Kojima. Wait, they actually talking about nanomachines in MGS1 too…oh yeah, people on the internet are just stupid, that’s all.
_Day 1 – A game sequel which disappointed you_Fuck you Wild ARMs 4! Your gameplay might have been passable, but your plot was the worst fucking thing I’d ever experienced in my life! The story in the franchise mode of yearly Madden installments are more gripping. Fuck. You.
_Day 1 – Game you think had the best graphics or art style_
_Oh, art style. Well then…I suppose my answer is a little different then…ah ha! A perfect opportunity to praise a normally unheralded game, GrimGrimoire. A 2D RTS on the PS2 (Let that sink in for a second), it is rather fun game, with an incredibly fun plot which starts off giggly and ends awesome. But artistically, it is a rather beautiful game. It’s brought to us by Vanillaware, the same people who made Odin Sphere, and is done in the same style, with the “living” sprites. So why this over Odin Sphere? Everybody already knows Odin Sphere, jeez!
_Day 1 – Favorite classic game_Hmmmmm…that’s a pretty vague adjective, “classic.” I’m…going to assume you mean “really old game” and just stretch that definition to “Game more than 20 years old,” to which the winner is Super Mario Brothers 2. The REAL Super Mario Brothers 2. The one with Mouser in it.
_SMB2 is a terribly underrated game, a victim of Black Sheep-itis if there ever was one. I remember even as a child, other kids in elementary school always complained about SMB2 because “It’s not like SMB1.” Boo fucking hoo. Mega Man isn’t like SMB1 either. Guess that sucked too [Well, MM1 did. MM2 was where it started getting awesome ;-D]. You see how that entire argument is retarded? Exactly. SMB2 is great in its own right. Sadly, due to stupid kids from the late 80’s, we haven’t seen more games in this style since. Thanks a lot, guys.
_Oh yeah…consoles that aren’t current gen fall under “Classic consoles.” Xenogears is the best classic game. Disregard all previous statements.
_Day 1 – A game you plan on playing_I already told you, I’m planning on playing Xenogears again, and I plan on playing it continuously throughout my life. Well, actually, I only hinted at that…but it should have been apparent.
_Wait…you probably want something that I haven’t played that I’m planning on playing…you sly sons of bitches. OK then…I’ll be your huckleberry again. So…I recently got a DS and a PSP, so I’m roaming around in handheld country right now, dipping my toes in a bunch of games I got from Gamestop’s Buy 2 Get 1 Free sale…but I’m basically treading water right now, waiting for the Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together remake and The 3rd Birthday, both due out next year for the PSP. Tactics Ogre was originally an SNES game made by much of the same development team that went on to make Final Fantasy Tactics. In a twist of fate, TO was made when they were with Enix, then they left to join Square, and years later Square and Enix merged to form one mega-company, allowing the same team to now head up the current remake. Yeah, that’s pretty bad ass. Anyways, the best way to describe TO is “Hardcore FFT.” Yeah, exactly, “Fuck yeah.”
_The 3rd Birthday is basically Parasite Eve 3, only it’s not named “Parasite Eve 3.” Why is this awesome news? There are any number of reasons why this is awesome, but first and foremost is that PE1 and 2 are fucking sweet, and it’s about time Square started releasing new entries in their long overlooked series.
I bet after 3rd Birthday, Chrono Break will be soon after.
_Day 1 – Best voice acting_You’re killing me, list. Oh well, another opportunity to give some credit where credit is due. The VA in Dead Rising is incredibly underrated. The game isn’t incredibly serious in tone, but the cast delivers their lines the authority. And while they aren’t really nobodies, the VA’s aren’t done by the usual suspects you come to expect from video games or big name talent. There isn’t a bad performance in the bunch, and it helps make the game what it is.
_Day 1 – Most epic scene ever_
_Bart is so fucked.
_Day 1 – Favorite game developer_Before leaving Square to form Monolith Soft, the majority of the team work on Xenogears and then Chrono Cross. They then went onto make Xenosaga Ep.1, and I said “Monolith, you guys rock my God damn socks.” XS Ep.2 was…decent. While I freely admit that it’s easily the weakest entry in the series, I do hold that the game still holds some merit. But Ep.3…after playing that, I actually said “I will buy anything Monolith Soft does from here on out.” I’ve actually been looking for a copy of Baten Kaitos Origins for quite a while now, and I’m actively searching for Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier now that I have a DS. Fuck, I’ll get the damn DBZ game too, I don’t give a shit. With XS.ep3, they relayed to me “Everything we do is worth playing. Even the mediocre stepping-stones have a purpose. Trust in us.” And I do.
_Day 1 – A game you thought you wouldn’t like, but ended up loving_I didn’t go into Eternal Darkness with the highest of hopes. Yeah, yeah “OMG best new Nintendo IPz in 4evur!” hype and all that, but I’m just not that into survival/horror. But at the time, my Gamecube library was pretty lacking in any titles at all, not just quality ones, so I decided to hang onto the copy I had stumbled upon and gave it a go. Funny enough, I found a decently playable game, and I’m not exactly sure why. Thinking back, it had a lot of similar trappings that other S/H games that I didn’t like had…the shiny “Nintendo” logo on the box must have just made it transcend all of the flaws and delude me into liking it. Oh wait, that didn’t work for Earthbound, so it must be a decently done game ;-D
_Day 1 – Your favorite game of all time_It’s been a long road here…has it really been 4600+ words? Boy…time flies when yo…wait a second, “time flies” my foot, this has taken me forever to write-up. No fucking joke, I answered half of it with stuff pertaining to one game and this still took me more than a day to write. Sheeeeez.
_So…the moment you’ve all been waiting for…you ready? My favorite game of all time is…
_Some might accuse me of being a Xenogears lunatic. Some might call me a Xeno
sagagears Freak s. Some would even go so far as to say Xenogears fanboy (Ooooooooooh, ahhhhhhhhhhh). To all of those, my response is “Yes, yes, yes.” I make no denial about it. Despite its faults, the game can do no wrong. Regardless of the missing pieces of plot, the story is flawless. While the battle engine might only be a slightly modified variation of an already existing one, it’s completely unique, ground breaking, and its impact on the industry as a whole can not be overstated, and the reverberations are still being felt today and other developers are still scrambling to catch up. One might call the sprites “muddy and embarrassingly low-res, even for the PS1” and the polygons “plain with stiff animations;” I’d call them “deliberate and highly stylized.” I could make the argument that the Japan-only supplementary book “Xenogears: Perfect Works” is the only piece of media with “Perfect” in the title to ever live up to the billing…except as it’s indisputable fact, I don’t actually need to argue the point.
_On a serious note, Xenogears holds a very special place in my heart. When I first finished the game as a young teen, I didn’t fully understand everything that had gone on before me. But while I didn’t fully grasp it, I did know that what I had experienced was something truly special and not quite like any other RPG I had played at the time. Some people might say that it was the latent life force of the game, pulling at the strings of my soul, as it knew we were to be connected. Others would say it was my young self subconsciously recognizing “fate.” I’d be more inclined to say that it was a young me recognizing something beautiful. In any case, I felt the urge after finishing it for the first time to start it up again within the week. I’ve been playing it ever since. As ridiculous as it might sound, Xenogears has been with me through a lot. It’s gotten me through some tough times, and it’s been there through the good.
_There are adults now who grew up with the Lord of the Rings novels, or with the Beatles, or Star Wars. Those things are a part of who they are. I’ll grow old and Xenogears will be a part of who I am. That’s the best way to describe my feelings towards it.