Many people at CAG and various internet forums have associated me with JRPGs for a long time. I was always a big defender of the genre and one who bought many JRPGs. I probably used more JRPG character sig/avatars than most all CAG members. JRPGs have been my favorite game genre for a while, but Iím noticing my motivation to play them slipping. Iíll explain throughout the blog entry how I got into them, my high points, and my low points.
Back when I was in 3rd or 4th grade, canít remember exactly, two of my best friends bought/rented FFIV (FFII on SNES). I mostly watched them play, but I eventually played it myself. I enjoyed it, but didnít really beat it. A few years later, I borrowed it and finished. I really enjoyed it and got me into thinking about RPGs. I played Secret of Mana, Chrono Trigger, Super Mario RPG, etc. and loved them all. I started buying/renting RPGs on PS1 in 1997 like Beyond the Beyond, Vandal Hearts, and Suikoden. I enjoyed them, but RPGs were not my favorite genre. Once FFVII came around, the first RPG I bought close to release, and I ended up really liking it and completely changed my view on RPGs. It went from being my 2nd-3rd favorite genre to my very favorite. I bought Wild Arms later that year and really liked it. After FFVII, I started taking bigger notice of JRPGs buying a brand new Super Nintendo (I sold my original SNES) with a bunch of RPGs (like Lufia I & II, Chrono Trigger, FFIV, FFVI, etc.), re-bought Saturn (for Shining Force III, Albert Odyssey, Shining Wisdom, Shining The Holy Ark, etc.), and even bought a Sega Nomad (to play Phantasy Star games and Shining Force games). I despised the N64 at the time because it had no JRPGs (well, except for Ogre Battle 64) and sold it (I use to have a problem selling consoles constantly).
So anyway, around my freshman and sophomore years of high school, I was buying many (not all) of the RPGs that came out on PS1 and playing them. Unfortunately, I did not finish many of them. I did invest a lot of time in many, but didnít start beating them. Once Final Fantast Anthology came out, I played it quite a bit and beat FFV. Once I did, I finally wanted to finish up FFVI, so I did. I played through FFVII a 2nd time (without cheating a little and tried to do everything, having over 63 hours). I finally started playing FFVIII. Advanced further along or beat other games until FFIX came out, which I played a lot and beat a month after release. I got Grandia II and Skies of Arcadia for Christmas that year also and put 10 hours in each.
The 2nd half of my junior year in high school, I had a phase where I stopped caring about many RPGs I had. My play time for them completely stopped, and I missed out on many RPGs that came out in 2001/early 2002. I was kind of in a phase where I wanted to play arcade oriented games (stuff you saw a lot of on Dreamcast) or Mega Man games. So I spent a lot of that time buying more arcade oriented games (like vertical/side scrolling shooters, some more fighters, etc.) for Dreamcast, Saturn, PS1, Genesis, etc. Due to losing interests, I actually sold off a bunch of RPGs like Vagrant Story and so on, which I barely touched.
The 2nd half of my senior year in high school (2002), I got in the mood to finally finish Grandia II and Skies of Arcadia, so I spent one week playing Grandia II and beat it, then the next week playing Skies of Arcadia and beating it. I decided to go through many PS1 RPGs I left unfinished, such as Grandia, and Xenogears. Iíll admit I skipped out on senior prom, and was sitting there playing Xenogears instead and beat it. I bought a PS2 since the price dropped, and bought FFX. Letís just say I got really hooked on the game and played for around 18 hours straight, but stopped (most because of college). I re-bought Lunar and bought Lunar 2, ended up beating both of them during my summer. I picked up a bunch of other PS1 RPGs that I missed out on.
I shortened my RPG play time a little due to college (this was when I went to a local college), but since I was part time the next semester, I finally beat FFX, and bought a few new PS2 RPGs (in 2003, which came out in 2002). Although I played various games, I just really got into RPGs again and was playing them a lot. Just when summer started, I joined a new RPG website my friend created (known as RPG Elite). I ended up enjoying RPGs even more and become a staff on the site. I wrote RPG reviews, previews, and news. During that summer, I picked up numerous classic RPGs. I spent my summer playing several RPGs, beating them, and writing reviews on them (I played a few I didnít review like Xenosaga). I went away to college, but still played RPGs mostly. Iíll admit I spent more time in my dorm room playing RPGs than trying to meet people. I got back into playing RPGs more when summer started beating FFX-2, KH2, etc. Bought ToS, La Pucelle, etc. which I invested good time in. Despite my Sophomore year being busy, I spent whatever time I had open playing Star Ocean: Till The End of Time (put over 50 hours into it during my semester) and SMT: Nocturne. The next semester I continued buying RPGs (not as many since I was kind of broke, but still bought Xenosaga Episode II, DDS, and others) and playing them (beat Xenosaga Episode II and put good time in the rest). Once summer started, I beat ToS, made it to the end of DDS, and played a lot of Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana, Shadow Hearts: Covenant, and so on. Thereís no denying some RPGs got ignored (due to buying a little more than I could play), but still 80% of my gaming that wasnít DDR was playing RPGs on PS2 or GBA.
My Junior year away from college, I finally get a job that gives me money to buy pretty much every RPG that came out in late 2005 and 2006, and early 2007. College was also getting beyond busy where I had tons of projects; work was WAY harder than before, along with a part time job doing work for a Professor. My RPG play time was very limited, so I mostly played when I had breaks in the semester (like I played DQVIII and beat Radiata Stories during my Winter Break). I even skipped out on social gatherings JUST so I could spend more time playing RPGs since I didnít have enough time to play them. 2006 was just beyond terrible, with pretty much all the RPGs series I love getting new installments and me having the money to buy them (not enough time). I preordered TONS of RPGs at my local EB near my college. I barely played them during my 2nd part of my junior semester due to stuff (I did play Grandia III a lot during Spring Break). I was also busy with summer classes, but the break I had, I played some Suikoden V, beat Kingdom Hearts II, and made it to a boss I canít beat in 22 hours of Grandia III. I was back to college, bought more RPGs; however, I really only beat Xenosaga Episode III during the first part of my senior semester (well, I dropped Senior Design so I had extra time for a bit). Outside of that, every other RPG I bought just got ignored. I got to a point where Iíd play an RPG once or twice, or Iíd play for 10 hours and stop. I usually enjoy the game, but end up moving to the next RPG I buy. I still kept buying hoping having the entire summer off would re-bound my RPG playing.
Well, my RPG playing last summer was the lowest in years. I did play Tales of the Abyss a bit (18 hours in) and played a little of the newer PSP RPGs as I got them, but never really got far. I bought Persona 3 before school started last year (for $50), played twice for 2 hours total and never played again. Before, Iíd at least put over 10 hours into every RPG I bought, now I put around 2-3 on average. I still kept buying RPGs like Blue Dragon (played for 4 hours, donít care about playing it anymore), FFT on PSP, etc., but barely played them. This year, I do feel Lost Odyssey is really great, but only played it for 6 hours and havenít had any motivation to sink in a long gameplay session. Bought Mana Khemia on PS2 and barely touched it. Many RPGs I bought on PS2, GBA, DS, PSP, etc. I barely touch these days.
If I thought last summer was bad, my RPG playing this summer is beyond pathetic, where the only RPG I really played was Eternal Sonata for 12 hours (and some Folklore and TotW PSP), and I donít really care about playing it now, or ANY of the PS2, PSP, GBA, PS1, 360, etc. RPGs I have in my backlog right now. I have sold off a bunch of RPGs last year and this year. I donít miss any except Baten Kaitos a little (mostly because I made it pretty far, but ran into battle issues and said forget it).
As of right now, Iíve held off buying certain RPGs on DS (like FFTA2), PS2, etc. because I havenít been playing many RPGs (although I still buy some RPGs). Many know how badly I wanted Crisis Core: FFVII (great from what I played), Wild Arms XF, etc., but I barely played any of them and paid FULL price for them. Iím very tempted to buy Disgaea 3, Tales of Vespiria, Infinite Indiscovery, Star Ocean: First Departure, Valkyria Chronicles (Iíll buy it regardless due to being REALLY different), Ar Tonelico II, etc., but at the same time I wonder if I should have I havenít been playing most of the RPGs Iíve bought this year and other years. I could just see myself playing them for around 2-10 hours, stop playing them, and never beating them. When the next RPGs come out, Iíd buy them and do the same thing.
Right now Iím not sure what I should do. As much as I love JRPGs, I just havenít felt like playing what I have. I wonder if I should just take a break not buying anymore, work on older RPGs when I feel like it? Should just sell most all RPGs I havenít beaten and just play other genres Iím enjoying right now? Mostly, I wonder if I should just buy RPGs hoping I want to play them, or wait until I absolutely really want to play one.
Look in comments for more to the story (needed more space).