I don't celebrate X-mas. I don't buy gifts for anybody and nobody gives me anything over the holidays. So every year I buy myself something for my birthday to offset that fact. I usually use it to acquire an older/rare game that I've been meaning to play for ages and just haven't been able to justify it's expense. I started doing this in 2010 when I got myself Lunar: Silver Star Story, in 2011 I finally invested in a copy of Xenogears and last year it was Digital Devil Saga part I and part II (which were actually quite the disappointment). This year, however, I have bought myself a game that has taken it's place as one of the crown jewels of my collection.
Yes, that is a near mint copy of Suikoden II which is one of the rarest Playstation games you can own. I have played it before; but that was almost fifteen years ago when I borrowed it from somebody. I remember it being a fantastic game and I'm absolutely psyched to play it. So while I was waiting for it to arrive this month I decided to prepare myself for it by re-replaying the original Suikoden. I had already played Suikoden twice but I had a great time with it on this second replay, which goes to show how great it is. There are only a few games in my collection that I've played three or more times; those games being FF VI/VII/VIII/Tactics, Half Life, Resident Evil 3, Parasite Eve, and Star Ocean: The second Story. It's something I wish I did more often as I really enjoy replaying a fantastic game. It's my opinion that most games are at their most enjoyable the second time around which is why I'm a big fan on new game + features. You remember how to play the game, the ins and outs of it's mechanics, and when to prepare for a spike in difficulty. You also don't have any periods of wandering aimlessly wondering where to go and/or what to do. Unfortunately my backlog always encourages me to move forward and play something new rather than fire up something old. That said, replaying Suikoden was a fantastic way to start my gaming year and I took the time this morning to write up a review for it. Since it is a birthday present and my birthday isn't till next month I'll hold off playing Suikoden II for a couple weeks but I'm very much looking forward to it.
In gaming news; Microsoft and Sony will be announcing new consoles very soon and people have noticed that their Wii U's are already collecting dust as they fall into the same pattern of use that plagued the Wii. Personally I really couldn't care less about the Xbox 720 or the PS4 as I'm pretty much done with modern consoles. If enough good games get released for it I may invest in a PS Vita a few years down the line but that's about it. I'm sick of firmware updates, consoles that give you a light of death after a few years, installing to HD, in game trophy/achievement pop ups, friend lists, patches for console titles, DLC in general but especially on disc DLC, and games that want to connect to Facebook and Twitter. I'm tired of the hardware getting in the way of what I bought it to do and what I want it to do most, play games. I want to buy and play single player games with no BS around my being able to access and enjoy that content. I want a machine that either just plays games well or does everything I expect a real PC to do. That said, I am interested in whatever Valve decide to unleash on the masses and the OUYA certainly has my attention. Consoles as we know them are dieing a slow painful death. No, that's not true, it's more accurate to say that consoles are slowly and painfully evolving into branded PCs. What we are seeing now is the grotesque process of an animal that has grown functional gills sputter and cough up it's old lungs. Things like the upcoming Steambox are the future and sony will have to do something more dramatic than putting a touch screen in the PS4 controller to keep the idea of a video game centric home console relevant in the coming years. If Valve releases a moderately priced box that I can hook up to my TV which lets me access and play the entire Steam library why would I want whatever bloated, firmware update happy, device Sony is working on?
Somewhere along the lines this reasonably cheerful blog devolved into a rant. I'm not sure how that happened. Also, I seem to be at least temporarily getting back into writing so I might try to comment and offer my thoughts on gaming news.
Thanks for reading.