A Chain of Memories

What does it mean to share a game?

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When I play Final Fantasy VIII on my own, I’m not going back to play Final Fantasy VIII. I’m using it as a conduit to tap into the memories of that time of my life. It’s a way to feel the feelings I associate with listening in rapt silence to a friend’s reading of the game’s dialogue. It’s a way to remember coming home from school, homework done before the final bell rang at 2:45PM and begging my mom to buy more Cheetos for another late evening of RPGs with the first older person to treat me like my opinions truly mattered. Continue Reading

Spiritual Heritage

The Shared Spiritual Themes of Persona 5 and The Wind Up Bird Chronicle

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Content Notification: References to sexual violence

After Persona 4 received widespread critical acclaim and built a large, passionate fanbase, Persona 5 (P5) became one of the most anticipated games during the many years it was in development. While the game was exceptional by conventional standards for game releases, the general consensus tended to be slightly underwhelming as a follow-up to one of the most critically acclaimed and beloved games of all time. Continue Reading

We’ll Fight For Our Future

How Phantasy Star II's Dungeons Structure its Narrative

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Before Sega retooled the series for MMORPG audiences, Phantasy Star was one of the most prominent JRPG franchises of its time. It had always remained ahead of the pack by experimenting with themes and narrative models years before its rivals could catch up. The first Phantasy Star game featured a slight political dimension to JRPGs seven years before Final Fantasy would do the same. And its sequel only continued that trend. One of the first RPGs for the Genesis, Phantasy Star II strengthened the political themes with a grim narrative and Daedalian dungeon design. Continue Reading