Flashback Gaming: Old is The New.

I was perusing the shelves at my favorite game store and had decided I was going to finally buy a game for my Nintendo DS Lite. After much deliberation and some help from the patient staff at MicroCenter I found Chrono Trigger on sale for 19.99. I bought that and a Nerf case for it because I have big clumsy hands, I have dropped my iPod at least 5 times and I don’t think the DS can take that kind of abuse.

chrono_triggerI played Chrono Trigger on the Super Nintendo many, many moons ago and I read good things about the handheld port of this console classic. It brought back fond memories and I feel that Chrono Trigger can stand alongside some of the most recent RPG releases. Chrono is a fun game that simplifies the Japanese RPG without giving up depth or breadth of the storyline. It might not have snazzy graphics but it has enough content to keep even the hardcore RPG player busy. After an hour or so of playing I was content with my purchase and thoutht to myself, “why I didn’t buy it sooner?” One reason is that I often get caught up in the Hype-O-Rama of the new game on the block syndrome that some of you can identify with. It is very easy to get caught up in the “new release” hysteria as you can see from some recent stories surrounding Aion and Champions Online.

There was a Time Machine hiding my storage facility. the_time_machine_large_01

Last week I had to stop in storage in search for some old paperwork. After thirty minutes of searching I opened some random box in desperation only two find not one but two Playstation 2’s inside. I was ecstatic because I thought I had sold them to Funcoland (life before gamestop) for new games. After further rummaging I discovered some games that were the most popular titles for that period; Socom 2 and 3, Final Fantasy 7, X, Final Fantasy XI and the original Grand Theft Auto III. They are not worth much selling on Ebay or back to G-stop and that is when it struck me, “If these are cheap then so are a lot of older PS2 titles!” This opened up a whole new avenue of gaming to me, for years I have been strictly MMORPG and PC game only; totally ignoring the console market has saved me from the red ring of death but I have also missed out on many good games. You can say I am trying to catch up with lost time.

Lease or own?

After spending a few hours on Final Fantasy X I found myself exhibiting the same habits as I would play an MMORPG. It was like soloing just without the chat box in the corner; I was micro managing equipment, looking up quest hints and even some grinding for exp. It was then that I was convinced it was time to stop looking forward to the next new, NEW thing that all the game studios are trying to cram down our throat. Instead I am looking for deals, classics and pure enjoyment all while keeping my gaming budget under control. I am still a poor college student that feels it makes better economics to own versus rent. For the same $15.00 that I pay for one month of “renting” time on a game, I can pay the same amount and OWN IT forever.

Doing some simple math, it would take 5 hours a day 7 days a week to finish Final Fantasy X in one month. In MMO terms that are usually deemed as “casual” playing, while “hardcore” players can rack up at least 40 hours or more in one week. I have read reports that FFX has over 100 hours of playtime built in without trying to get all the party members ultimate weapons. Now what dedicated MMO player would not try to get the best of the best equipment in the game? World of Warcraft was built on these standards. Yet I won’t be able to strut around the main city in my gear but there is still a challenge and the feeling of accomplishment that goes with it. That’s why we play MMORPG’s am I right? Don’t all agree at once.

I do miss the social aspect though. But I could always make a phone call.

Strut your stuff.
Strut your stuff.

Second hand games is what made Gamestop what is today, building an empire on the phrase, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Games like Gran Turismo are a joke at $3.00 but that is still a lot less than you will pay for a new title. I’ve got my eye on a copy of Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 FES, I have been meaning to test the Free to play MMO and Persona is one of a long line of JRPG games that was the predecessors of the online MMORPG.

I spoke to some of my scattered gaming group and the attitude was split, “why do I want to play old games when I can play something state of the art.” Some just want to play the new stuff like Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 and some don’t mind hopping on the time machine to revisit some old favorites. I’ve grown tired of all the bashing, gnashing and trashing of newly released games. I am tired of being someone’s guinea pig, it is time to look towards something tried and tested, time to try out something old yet new.

What might be old to one person is still new to someone that has yet to experience the content. Take into consideration the latest announcement of Ultima Online’s new campaign: “Return to Brittania” as free to play until October 16th for returning members. I was just thinking about playing an older online game; Dark Age of Camelot came to mind but Ultima Online is the grandfather of MMORPG’s. This is a great time to give UO a try, there is a chance many of the old players will return which will mean a spike in server population. Empty servers is what has been holding me back from going back to my roots in Final Fantasy Online.

No, this doesn’t mean I am going to leave EVE, which has also been labeled an “old” game by some. I decided to try EVE because it has a long history, ambitious developers  and a dedicated fan base. This is what most mmo players really look for but are afraid to admit it.


Would anyone else like to join me?

Play safe,



  1. If you find it, buy “Beyond Good & Evil” for the PS2. It’s one of my favorite titles of all time.

    While you’re at it, “Shadow of the Colossus” is an amazing experience.

    Of course, FFX is no slouch =) I loved that game to bits.

  2. I just picked up Shadow the other day. I read about “Beyond” and almost bought it from GoG for the PC. I’ll get on that. Thanks for the tip Andrew!

  3. I am a big fan of old games… being an old guy. I love Final Fantasy Tactics, Ogre Battle and the Disgaea series (as well as lots of other NIS titles). And if you haven’t played the original XCom, or Master of Magic on the PC… you have to get yourself to an abandonware site.

  4. cmagoun has some great suggestions.

    Ogre Battle and Chrono Trigger are played every year by me and co workers. Being in the Navy, emulators are about the only games I have access to most of the time while on the boat.

    FF Tactics is another great game, the beginning is hard to get past, but then it turns into solid gold.

    Xcom is still one of me favorite games ever. I could never get it to work very well from the original disks, or any of the abandonware sites (and their tutorials for slowing the game down – being a DOS game, it runs way to fast now). Steam sells it for pretty cheap though (at least when I got it) and it works great.

    Also when I read the title of this article in the RSS feed, I immediately thought of the game Flashback. Another awesome game. Movement and control is ~kind~ of like Prince of Persia (but better), and its set in sci-fi world, and not as hard.

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