I've described before how I grew up listening to movie scores. When I was in high school, I went on a tear of renting the movies whose themes I had loved, figuring that I should start getting some context. And so it came to pass that I learned although The Abyss did not live up to its musical promise in my eyes, The Terminator certainly did. (I was and remain undecided on Willow.)
The last decade has brought me more into the gaming sphere. Although I've been an avid computer gamer since 1986, the only console I ever had was a used NES I bought in 1993. Sony and I were like two ships in the night for a very, very long time.
But in 2008, my now-husband got a PS3 (the Metal Gear Solid 4 bundle) for his birthday. And although my entire games collection was stolen in 2006, he -- also an avid collector -- managed to avoid a similar misfortune. And so, for the last three years, I've been catching up on a number of classic games and series I missed in the 1990s. Thanks to a PSX emulator, M's PS1 discs, and a classic theme that's always drawn me in, I... am playing Chrono Cross.
|I'm this guy now.|
It's amazing how slow and clumsy I feel, attempting this feat. Everyone else played games like this when they were twelve, and part of me wishes I had, too. Like learning a second or third language, I seem to have reached the age where these skills are harder won than they should be -- even with my guide at hand.
The first JRPGs I ever successfully played to completion and enjoyed were The World Ends With You and Chrono Trigger, both on the Nintendo DS. The former is DS native; the latter, obviously, a remastered re-release. The fact of the matter is, I rarely enjoy Japanese or Japanese-style RPGs. I don't tend to like controlling a party and the slow-paced, half-mystical, often incoherent lyricism of the writing often grates on my fast-paced American sensibilities.
But then there's this.
And in fact, the first place I ever really heard the music was at Video Games Live, in 2009.
Frankly, that theme is too good to keep passing up, especially as my husband's original PS1 discs are running very smoothly in my gaming rig.
So that's where I am: wandering around outside of a village, using a skill / spell system that everyone on Earth understands intuitively but I have to struggle with, accompanied by a pink dog with a lisp.
I might hate that dog a little. But right now its my only friend in a hostile world, and that's how bonds are formed...
I wasn't expecting to like Chrono Trigger either, when I first started it. I had to be wheedled into giving it a try. And I didn't like the world or the characters or the navigation, and then suddenly I did, and I was traveling through TIME YOU GUYS OMG TIME TRAVEL LOOK AN APOCALYPSE and the next thing I knew the number of hours I'd put into playing it had passed my ability to track.
So I'm giving Chrono Cross its due. There are huge swaths of gaming history I missed along the way to where I am now, and I need to make good on my quest to understand how the history of our art led to its present day, and leads to its future.
|"Attack" I can handle.|
Sometimes I remember that watching silent film didn't come naturally to a child of the 1980s, either, but that I adored The General when I finally saw it. So this, too, is a language I can learn... one turn at a time.