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 Post subject: Nostalgia: Your story
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, '12, 1:01 am 
I'm back and ready to kick things off with a bit of nostalgia!

So folks, let's hear it. Anyone who was a gamer during the 8-bit and 16-bit era has a classic game that is near and dear to their heart. I personally place Phantasy Star 1 - 4 up among the 16-bit giants like Secrets of Mana, Chrono Trigger, and Mother 2 (Earthbound) on the SNES. While the SNES was an excellent console with a myriad of amazing titles, I would argue that without Phantasy Star to break out of the traditional fantasy dungeon crawl and blank-slate-character genre pioneered by Dungeons and Dragons, we would find RPGs to be a stale, repetitive genre with a little too much room for the imagination. So my question for you is this: What was your first experience with Phantasy Star? Which game did you start with? What was the most emotional moment for you? What do you think about Phantasy Star 3? Where were you when Nei died? Where were you when Alys died? Were you stricken with grief or were you filled with a thirst for vengence?


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 Post subject: Re: Nostalgia: Your story
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, '12, 3:15 am 
I definitely think Phantasy Star broke the mold for traditional RPGs. My first experience was very recent, when I downloaded PS I from the Wii Virtual Console. Loved the retro feel of the game, and found it very impressive, especially for the period.

The most emotional moment for me was probably Nei's death. I found it shocking, even with the foreknowledge that it was in the game.

I think PS III is really fascinating, in that it was easily my least favorite game of the series, from a gameplay experience, because it felt rushed, and incomplete, but the music is fantastic and the story is probably the most complex and subtle in the whole series. It gave me a very Gene Wolfe, Book of the New Sun vibe, with the apparently primitive surface life and unbelievable technology lying under the surface. I also really like the art style, at least in the overworld and the character sprites.


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 Post subject: Re: Nostalgia: Your story
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, '12, 3:31 am 
It was pretty well recognized that Phantasy Star I was doing something new right when it was first released- it was probably the first video game RPG to have the sci-fi elements as a truly integrated part of the story, rather than as an add-on, as in Ultima I and II, or as a last-minute surprise, as in Might & Magic.

As for my own experience, I started into the series with 3, but I would easily rank 4 as the best RPG of the 16-bit console era, equaled perhaps only by Earthbound. Unlike death scenes in certain other games, the characters actually did try to do everything that could be done within their abilities that are established in the game itself. I think the thing that is ultimately most effective about Alys's death is that it wasn't a "narrow" event- it wasn't a singular relationship directed entirely at the main character that was cut off, but rather something that actually affected most of the rest of the party. Chaz couldn't sleep- Rune didn't even try. And it also rather elevated Chaz above the level of a number of other youthful protagonists in that he wasn't dense as a gold brick when it came to the needs of others, nor was he so self-absorbed that he wasn't willing to listen to others' words. It's an important development scene not just for Chaz, but also Rika and even Rune.

But that's just what I think. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Nostalgia: Your story
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, '12, 4:12 am 
@Bragatyr
It's great to hear that the virtual console is breathing new life into the fanbase! Not owning a Wii, I've missed out on playing some of the classics available on the virtual console. I agree with your assessment of Phantasy Star 3. The music was very well developed and the story is easily the most subtle in the trilogy. I first played PS3 when I was 9 or 10 on the Sega Channel and after I was nearly brought to tears by the town music (and learned how to spell "congratulations", as said by an NPC) I tried my hardest to understand the story but I just couldn't grasp the complexity... or understand why Rhys' father threw him in the dungeon.

@R-90-2
I've found similarities between PS4 and Earthbound, primarily in the way that both games suck the player in with an epic exposition event. In fact, Phantasy Star was the first game to implement sci-fi elements into an RPG, paving the way for variety to enter the RPG scene! I never noticed that Rune didn't try to sleep. I guess I was too overcome with shock and grief over Alys' death to think about why Rune was still awake. I think you make an excellent point when you say
R-90-2 wrote:Alys's death is that it wasn't a "narrow" event- it wasn't a singular relationship directed entirely at the main character that was cut off, but rather something that actually affected most of the rest of the party.
The party develops as a whole and grows closer through adversity. The shift in Chaz's sense of responsibility is dramatic after this point, proving that he took Alys' words to heart. Now that you mention character development, I can't help but feel sorry for Rika, seeing as how two of her first memories outside of Death Valley involve profound tragedy, what with Seed self destructing and the first strong female influence in her life dying.


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 Post subject: Re: Nostalgia: Your story
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, '12, 10:09 am 
Welcome back, Heikabuchi! It's been a while, but it's great to see you return.

I started off by renting Phantasy Star 3. I was in the local Movie Gallery (I miss that place) looking for a new experience for my Genesis. Something about the cover attracted me. I think it was the concept of a fantasy style warrior fighting a robot. Little did I know that mix would be a running theme in the whole series. I liked the game well enough to continue on with the series. At the time, I didn't think of it as unfinished or lacking polish. I just enjoyed the game as it presented itself.

I'd give most emotional moment to Alys' death. That character was easily my favorite member of the cast in Phantasy Star 4 up to that point. It certainly made the villain who caused that event my least favorite for the next little while.


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 Post subject: Re: Nostalgia: Your story
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, '12, 6:58 pm 
@Thoul
Thanks Thoul! It's great to be back!!!

Ah, the old Movie Galleries! I rented Phantasy Star 4 from a Movie Gallery shortly before it went under and I'll never forget all those aisles of genesis games or the vibrant PS2 and PS3 box art sitting on the shelf.
I share your sentiments over Alys's death. I cried for quite a while when it finally happened. What made it so difficult was how prolonged the event was... and my dad snatched up my cartridge after finding my printout of combo attacks. He didn't think that Diem and Holocaust ( Diem + Savol = Holocaust ) should be together and that the game was evil, so I spent the next 4 years devistated over the previously mentioned event, wondering what would come next and if I'd ever get to knock down Zios fort.. Good times.


Last edited by Heikabuchi on Wed Oct 24, '12, 6:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Nostalgia: Your story
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, '12, 7:15 pm 
Which does actually remind me of how we came across Phantasy Star 4 on this end- we actually first rented it from Blockbuster, and ended up being so taken that we actually went out and got the game well before the rental period was over.


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 Post subject: Re: Nostalgia: Your story
PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, '13, 6:01 pm 
Wow, haha nostalgia. I am probably one of the most nostalgic people you'll ever meet, yet I haven't contributed at all to this discussion. Let me remedy that.

My first experience with Phanta was when I was 12. My dad walked into my sisters and my room with Sega Genesis games (to this day, I still have no idea where they came from) and one of those games was Phantasy Star III. This was our first RPG, so we didn't really quite understand that we had to equip the knife that Rhys found! Needless to say, we couldn't get very far in the game... we met our doom at the hands (or wings) of a Chirper. Frustrated, we quit playing.
One morning, I woke up and my older sister was playing it again, and I guess she figured out the equip function because she was actually getting somewhere. After that, we went through the game, completing it with Aron's story. Hooked, we played all four endings. Because of that, Phantasy Star III has a special place in my heart... thinking about it now, my drawing style was inspired by the art in that game. Man, it really did influence my life!

The most emotional part to me so far would have to be the ending of The End of the Millennium. There's just something about goodbyes that always make me cry. I'm a sucker for friendships and as I played the game, I began to cherish the growing relationship between Chaz and Rune and I lost it when Rune left. Boy was I a slobbering mess, haha!

Because I still haven't finished the first and second games (busy kid), I'm going to have to say that Alys' death was the most tragic for me. After playing the 3rd game where the deaths of Ayn, Thea, and Lyle are mentioned in passing, it was a shock to see her death play out and see the people being emotionally affected by it. And as Heikabuchi said, it was touching to see Chaz mature a bit as a result of it, and for Rune to instinctively take over Alys' role as Chaz's mentor.

Here's one that I don't hear often: I was actually a little shaken up when I killed Zio. All of the villains in Phantasy Star III make a heel face turn when they were defeated, but that didn't happen at all in the 4th game, haha... I grow attatched to characters too quickly I guess.


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 Post subject: Re: Nostalgia: Your story
PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, '13, 10:19 am 
Look, we've all played the games by now and if we haven't we're probably aware of their stories if we're hanging out at a Phantasy Star fan site. So I'm not going to bother with the spoiler tags. They really disrupt the readability of these threads for me. So... if you're just some random lurker who stumbled on this site and has remained spoiler-free for the past 2.5 decades: THERE ARE SPOILERS IN THIS POST.

I'll spare everyone my whole story, since I know I've posted it a few times here. Instead, I'll answer the main questions.

"What was your first experience with Phantasy Star?"
Phantasy Star II, at some point in the spring of 1990.

"Which game did you start with?"
See previous answer. I honestly hadn't heard of Phantasy Star at all until the day I came home from school and my mom was playing PS2 on the Genesis (a rare sight; she didn't like video games).

"What was the most emotional moment for you?"
That would be the moment I beat PS2. That was an amazing ending. I was pretty mad at the time (hey, I was 11), but looking back, it was the perfect ending to all the hours I put into the game.

"What do you think about Phantasy Star 3?"
Great concept, terrible production. I had fun with it, but it was quite the letdown from PS2.

"Where were you when Nei died?"
Still living in Oklahoma, I think. :p

"Where were you when Alys died?"
Virginia, late 1990s.

"Were you stricken with grief or were you filled with a thirst for vengence?"
When Alys died or when Nei died? Or both? I'd say I was a bit confused by Nei's death. I mean, up until that time there weren't a lot of console games that just up and killed off one of the main characters halfway through the game, so I was taken aback, kind of panicky ("but I NEED her abilities!!") and in all seriousness, I was absolutely sure Lutz was going to revive her when the party arrived at Esper Mansion. "Denial" would be a good word to describe my reaction over Nei's death. ;)

As for Alys, well, fool me once, yadda yadda. Unfortunately, I saw her death coming from several leagues away, so it didn't affect me much. Sad, definitely. I can't say I was filled with grief or anger, except I was very annoyed at losing my only slicer-user. I will say this: I think PS4's story was a lot more interesting and nuanced up until Alys kicked the bucket. After her death, the story just slipped into a long string of hero tropes. As short as the game is, there's a certain point, I think it's around the time Rune is revealed to be the new Lutz, that I really have to push myself to finish the game. It's just really not that interesting for me after that. It is much more interesting while Alys remains in the party.


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