With no new games being purchased, this year provides me a great opportunity to go back and play some classic JRPG’s I have been meaning to play. One of those is “Breath of Fire” for the Super Nintendo.
I’ve always known about Breath of Fire, but just never got around to playing any of the series. Like the OCD person I am, I always have to start with the first so I refused to buy any of the sequels. Luckily at MAGFest 2013, I was able to secure a copy from Jay (Game Chasers).
After browsing my collection for something to play, I finally decided to give Breath of Fire a shot. The first thing I noticed was that it was published by SquareSoft! I always thought it was a Capcom title (and it is), but I guess the first one was published by SquareSoft.
The story is somewhat generic. The world is at war between these “dragon” clans, light and dark. You live in a village that supports the light dragons, when suddenly the dark dragon clan devastates the village. It is up to you, the average village boy, to save the day. I found the whole “Breath of Fire” universe to be somewhat lacking. Villagers repeated lines, there was little exposition, and there wasn’t really anything interesting about my character.
Even the combat is lackluster. I call it a “Press A to Win” system. You can basically kill EVERYTHING by just attacking, with little to no strategy. But then, the game totally throws a wrench in your plan by making boss fights somewhat difficult (now I have to randomly heal while pressing A!). After about 12 hours of gameplay, I decided I had no motivation to continue and didn’t really care to play anymore. Interestingly enough, a lot of people online agree. Breath of Fire 1 & 2 apparently have not aged well at all. Maybe I’ll check out the 3rd or 4th installment.
On the other hand, my friend Steven has this series on his list of JRPG franchises that needs to die. Perhaps I’ll move on.
Welcome to Week 4 of No Game New Year.
So I am a little behind, but have no fear I will catch up on previous weeks. Life has been a little off lately. Recently a friend of mine, Justin Carmical, took his own life. It really shook me and just left me wondering…why?
If you aren’t familiar, Justin Carmical was known online as JewWario. He made a video series known as You Can Play This, which was all about Japanese import games. I first met Justin at MAGFest 2013. He had recently joined Retroware TV and was hanging out with the crew all weekend. He was also one of the first people I saw when arriving at the hotel. He greeted me like we had known each other for years! We hung out the whole weekend, talking video games, sports, beer, candy, and just about everything. The most memorable moment was when we all hopped in a car and drove to a local retro store to check out their stock.
I met up with Justin later that year at ConBravo. We met at the booth in the vendor hall and shared a cake someone had baked for him. I remember before I left for the airport to go home, I gave him one of my last Gaming Historian shirts as a gift, which he was super excited to receive. That would be the last time I saw Justin alive. I skipped MAGFest 2014 and he took his own life shortly after.
Justin was such a happy, nice, sweet person that it disturbed me when I found out. I kept thinking “why, Justin?”. But then again, none of us knew the personal demons Justin had inside. Taking your own life is a permanent solution to a temporary problem and I only wish I knew more so I could have helped him. His death also got me thinking about No Game New Year. This resolution was started as a way to clear my backlog and save money, but now it means so much more. It means that you should enjoy the time you have in this world and spend it with the people you care about the most.
RIP Justin. I’ll miss you.
By far, my biggest collection has to be my NES games. They are mostly cheap and very easy to find in the wild, so I would say this is probably the most common system to collect for.
One key point of No Game New Year was to downsize your collection and keep it to only games you like. Makes sense, right? So this week, I decided to go through a few NES games. My process was to first clean each cartridge with a q-tip and rubbing alcohol, test the game, then play it. So let’s get started!
Well, I couldn’t even get this game to work! I cleaned it to death and tried over and over, but nothing. Looks like a throwaway!
As a black box game, Pro Wrestling does have some historical significance. But the game itself is just not fun to play at all. I actually found out I own two copies of this game. Both of them go!
As you can see, I’m going through quite a few black box games. Soccer is slow, frustrating, and pretty darn easy. Goodbye!
Ah, now here we have a classic! This is obviously a keeper, but I actually own both variants: Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out & Punch-Out. The 2nd version appeared after all the legal trouble Mike Tyson got into during his career, and he was replaced in the game by Mr. Dream. Essentially I own the same game twice, so one needs to go. I think I’ll stick with the original. Fighting against Mr. Dream does not compare to Mike Tyson.
This is one of my favorite games on the NES and probably one of the best black box games released. A treasure of my collection. It stays!
My copy is pretty rough. The label is tearing and there is some sort of substance that I can’t get off on the front. Nevertheless, Excitebike is a classic and still fun to play. A keeper!
This game is….weird. The platforming doesn’t feel tight at all, and your best weapon is a bouncy ball. Nevertheless, I am intrigued. I don’t want to give up on XEXYZ yet. It is a Hudson Soft game, after all.
This is kind of a no-brainer. Although this could be considered one of the weaker Metroid games, it is still so much fun to explore this game with no clue on where to go. I was constantly going into rooms, dying, and making my way back to figure out what the hell was in there.
I always wished they made a second Kid Icarus on the NES. It was one of my favorite games as a kid, and I still enjoy it today. However, this time around I actually got a lot farther than I usually do. In fact, I got close to completing the game! This game should be on every NES collectors shelf.
That’s all for this week! It was fun going back and playing some oldies while also realizing I owned a few games that don’t even work. I was able to get rid of a few games and next time, I’ll be tackling a few more.
Welcome to week 2 of No Game New Year. 50 more weeks to go!
Last week, I announced my resolution to not buy a single video game this year. Seems a lot of people like the idea as well, and NGNY is gaining quite a following! If you are still interested, it is never too late to sign up. Join the Facebook group by clicking here.
These weekly posts will consist of games I have been playing, updates on decreasing my collection, tips on selling things, motivational posts, and who knows what.
So what was the first game I picked up to begin my year? Released way back in 2011, Skyrim is the latest video game in the Elder Scrolls series. I picked it up last year during a Steam sale for $7.99, and I was eager to get started. I was wanting to test the graphical capabilities of my new PC too. Turns out I can run this game at max settings!
I’m mostly a fan of J-RPGs, so I was unsure if I would like Skyrim or not. It’s more of a western RPG with character customization, open exploration, skill-based training, etc. But right away I was drawn into the world. This game is gorgeous, and the main storyline is pretty interesting. I won’t spoil it for anyone, but it involves dragons. Anything with dragons is OK in my book. I never thought I would get lost in such a world. What the developers accomplished is such an amazing achievement. This really is it’s own world, full of lore, characters, creatures. I’m always finding something new.
It’s also fun to just randomly explore a mountainside to find a cave full of treasures and monsters. I recently followed a random path around a mountain, only to find myself face to face with a troll that proceeded to almost kill me. Combat is fun, especially the archery. It’s satisfying to pick apart enemies before they get right up to you.
One complaint I do have is the interface. I wish it were a bit easier to switch between weapons / items. But it’s a small complaint, and I’m not really sure how else they could implement it with all the controls being used for other actions.
I’ve logged about 15 hours so far into the game, and I can definitely see myself playing over 100 hours. It’s a lot of fun, and I got it at a steal for $7.99.
What are you playing to start the year? Let me know in the comments below.
Last year was good for me. I made some great videos, I took working out seriously, I got married, and I played a lot of great video games.
A few weeks ago, I was looking for a new game to play, so I went down to the basement to browse. A ton of selections were before me. Would I begin Super Metroid? Or perhaps enter the land of Ivalice with Final Fantasy XII? Maybe just have a quick game of Tecmo Bowl?
It then occurred to me that I own a lot of video games, many of which I had not played or completed. I was buying games at a faster rate than I was completing them! In fact, earlier that day, I had bought Super Mario Galaxy 2. I haven’t even begun the first Mario Galaxy!
This is where I came up with my resolution for 2014: No Game New Year. It’s a simple resolution: No new game purchases for the year 2014.
|You will save money. All those game purchases add up. New releases, sales, flea markets, etc. By not buying new games all year, we keep all the coin and put it toward other things!||You will develop a greater appreciation for the games you currently own. Remember as a kid only owning a few games and being totally in love with them? That feeling will begin to return.||You will learn more about the types of games you want to play. By spending more time in the backlog, you will develop a better sense of future purchases. Focus on quality, not quantity.|
If you do, great! This resolution probably isn’t for you. If you think it is time for a change, I encourage you to give it a shot. Maybe even just for a month!
The following gamers are participating in NGNY and keeping track of their progress. Click on their picture for a link to their blog!
|Norman Caruso||Brian Castleberry||Matt Dooner||Erika Brown|
|Jon Holliday||Guillermo Lopez|
We currently have a Facebook group to discuss this resolution. Click here to join the Facebook group. Share your story, blog post, video, anything during your journey through No Game New Year.
If you don’t have Facebook, send me a link to your blog where you plan to keep track of your progress. I will gladly link it here.