Matt recommends: Final Fantasy X OST

In a new column that I just randomly created 7 seconds ago (and one that I’ll probably never return to), I am going to recommend a video game OST that you should listen to, either by purchasing said OST or… you know, “buying it on the Internet,” whatever that means.

So, for my first one evar, I’m going to suggest Squeenix’s Final Fantasy X. Most of you probably had your toes curl the moment you read that last sentence, but hear me out. I know it can’t come close to either Final Fantasy VI or VII’s soundtrack (which is debatable, I might add), but the musical selections that are found in the FFX OST are still some of the best songs you can find in the gaming industry.

The funny thing about FFX’s album is that it may be Nobuo Uematsu’s worst collection, depending on who you talk to. →  Read the rest

Farewell to the Game Boy

Since I, like many of my fellow videolamer staff, now have a DS Lite, I am enjoying many new and interesting games. It even has backwards compatibility, making my GBA titles more vibrant and colorful than ever. But I was left with a small pang of sadness when I noticed that the original Game Boy games – as had been reported – simply don’t fit into the GBA slot. This isn’t so much of a surprise, although I had been keeping up hope.

And so, I must bid farewell to my old portable games. They kept me engaged through even the longest road trips when I was younger, and I will now move on to newer, more colorful and touch-friendly games.

The original Game Boy somewhat resembles a grey brick. It’s large and quite heavy by today’s standards. →  Read the rest

Review – Final Fantasy XII

Chris says:

I took my time getting through Final Fantasy XII, and I’d like to think my view of it is relatively balanced. I couldn’t shake the feeling that there is both good and bad in several aspects of the game. The good, however, tends to outweigh the bad and this is my favorite Final Fantasy game in several years.

One of the bad parts is the main character, Vaan. He looks like a girl, wears a vest that is cursory at best and, despite being the main character, plays only a minor role in much of the game. His most memorable moment is probably when he is claiming to be somebody else. Thankfully, he is not as whiny as previous Final Fantasy leads have been. Also, many of the other characters are more memorable, and the game does not force you to have Vaan in your party except very early on. →  Read the rest

Laying this generation to rest: PS2

The PS2 was the clear “winner” of its generation, and with good cause. Despite murdering my precious Dreamcast with mostly unfounded hype, it was home to a very wide range of games from huge and tiny developers alike. The PS2 embodied both the best of Western gaming and Japanese gaming and this balance is what, in my opinion, allowed it to so thoroughly whoop the competition.

Hey there, pretty lady.

Matt —
Ace Combat 4 (Namco/2001) – Flying through the skies never felt so fun. The dog fights were intense, but the presentation was even better. The way the story was played out (with a nice anime look) was genius. I was generally surprised at how much effort Namco put into the story, especially for an arcade flight game.

Shadow of the Colossus (SCE/2005) – Awesome music, amazing story, and epic gameplay. →  Read the rest

Weekend Spotlight

After reading about the 10 anniversary of the Nintendo 64 over there at Infendo, I decided to play… my SNES. My urge for nostalgia went a little farther, I guess.

Anyway, after dusting the ol’ SNES off and finally figuring out which controller worked completely, I popped in one the greats: Final Fantasy VI. One of the best, if not THE best, RPG of all time.

Incidentally, I’ve never actually beaten the game before, and this is after I bought the thing for like $50 on eBay last year. The game is great, but it’s hard to find time to play all these 40+ hour fantasies, now that real life has reared its ugly head. The last time I left off, I just completed the famous Opera scene. I will say that that scene was truly amazing. →  Read the rest

The Power of Music

Music is the one power that the majority of developers never seem to grasp and implement correctly. Music in a game can enhance every aspect, be it story, setting, mood, or even gameplay, but for some reason, it always takes a back seat to everything else in a game, especially the graphics.

Kondo: the Japanese French Stewart?

Let me give you an example of how music, implemented to its fullest, can be beneficial to a game’s overall feeling. Shadow of the Colossus. How epic and strong did you feel when that music kicked in, when you finally started climbing the back of one of those monstrous Colossi? You felt something, didn’t you? It wasn’t visual feedback that created that feeling, or the fact that you overcame a puzzle. It was the pounding musical score that drove adrenaline through you. →  Read the rest

Best Game Ever – Dragon Quest

Developed by Enix

Published by Nintendo for the NES

Released 1989

What more can be said about the original Dragon Quest? As the story goes, it was Enix’s attempt to bring American style Role Playing Games like Wizardry and Ultima to Japanese consoles (a game called The Black Onyx introduced the genre to Japanese PC’s a year earlier). This attempt gave birth to a cultural phenomenon, as well as the most popular franchise in Japanese gaming.

A sight so beautiful it almost hurts.

Yet while most know about the Dragon Quest series in general, not many people ever discuss the original game. It may get a few paragraphs in “history of RPGs” or “NES classics” articles, but it is often overlooked by its biggest competitor of the time: Final Fantasy 1. →  Read the rest

Idol Worship: Bo and Ippo

An extension of the Best Game Ever column, this new space allows me to not just love and gush over my favorite games, but caress and manhandle some of the people who made my favorite games. An obvious first choice would be someone like Shigeru Miyamoto, Yuji Naka, Sid Meier, or Will Wright, but that wouldn’t be very exciting and where’s the elitism and snobbery in picking someone everyone already knows? Their days may still yet come in the pages of Idol Worship, but for now we will examine two little known composers who worked for Sega in their golden age, Tokuhiko Uwabo and Izuho Takeuchi, better known as Bo and Ippo (well, to me at least).

Sega, like Atari, refused to give credit to their staff well into the 90’s. →  Read the rest