Obstacles to Playing Old Games

So I’m a bit of an old fashioned gamer. My PC isn’t massively up to date graphics-wise etc. because there’s no need for it to be (and it causes more problems than it solves) – I don’t tend to play very taxing, or very new, games. I like sticking around with games from the early-mid 2000s or the 90s, and it seems like I’m always running into errors.

I know technology advances – of course it will, and that will create some issues, bizarre as some seem to me. (I am still truly baffled that my computer can run the first three Monkey Island games no problem, but Escape From Monkey Island won’t launch – despite it being newer. I have an older gaming PC for some games, and it works there at least, so that's something.)
 

But I constantly seem to be running into errors these days – some small, some large. I’ve just been playing the Syberia games and they had issues but were mostly playable. The first game crashed repeatedly after picking up an item, but a quick google popped up a solution to do with graphic settings that got me past that bit. Other than that, there were just some minor speech issues (the first game had overlapping speech with long dialogue, the second game cut short spoken dialogue if it was too long – but the whole sentence was there in the subtitles at least). So they weren’t too bad.
 

Then there are just bizarre issues with some games, like Rollercoaster Tycoon – which I can get to run absolutely fine – until I try to save or load, wherein the game crashes. If I play a game in one sitting it has no issue and it remembers that new areas have been unlocked.
 

Today’s issue, and what finally inspired this blog, is an old adventure game called The Black Mirror. It installed no problem, try and launch it and… bang, my anti virus popped up with a Trojan alert. From googling, this seems to be a common issue, though I can’t figure out from varied responses if this is a false positive or an actual Trojan. (My anti-spyware software found nothing, and my anti-virus didn't find anything further either) The fact that all the game publisher’s sites seem to no longer exist doesn’t really help matters. So I’ve no idea if I should ever even consider putting this game disc in my PC again, or if it’s a risk. Naturally this classes as a pretty big barrier to playing the game. I'm wondering if this issue is just something to do with how it tries to launch the game (it does seem familiar, so I suspect this might have happened with one of my games before). Next step, I think, will be seeing if I can get it to run on the old gaming PC without it freaking out.

 

Are any of the rest of you people who enjoy old games? Do you often come across issues, whether big or small? Do you get annoyed at even small issues, or do you just get on with it?
 
(Sorry for the repost if you've seen this before, had a slight technical issue and decided to repost.)

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Dark Aeons

So lately I've gone completely crazy and put another 50 hours into FF10, knocking my totaltime to 150 hours. The main reason I call this being crazy is because it involves me fighting the dark aeons! 
 
I still don't think I'll be able to finish them all, but I've had a damn good try.
 
So here's my update. 

Team

For this first set of dark Aeons, I had Tidus and Auron with their ultimate weapons and auto-phoenix/auto-haste and Yuna with her ultimate weapon. Auron and Tidus had roughly half their sphere grid (no customisation, no luck nodes activated) and Yuna had roughly a third (again, no customisation, no luck nodes activated). Nobody has break HP limit, either (in fact, at this stage, Yuna had about 5000 HP while Tidus and Auron had 9999).  This can actually be a distinct advantage: if you had the HP to survive a hit that gives a bad status effect that you can't block, you have to waste another turn healing it. Since my team could never survive the hit, the status effects weren't an issue in the first place.
 
Why this character combination? They're the only three with ultimate weapons, so although Wakka had a better sphere grid setup than Yuna, he couldn't be used. 
 
For the record, Yuna could do about 3000 damage a hit at this point even with the Nirvana. Later on, while grinding for some of the harder dark aeons, I also got Rikku's ultimate weapon, but she has such a tiny area of sphere grid done that it's not worth drafting her in.

Dark Valefor - Dark Ixion - Dark Ifrit

I used a strategy that would probably annoy every other video game player ever, which basically involved hasting Yuna, having her permanently casting auto-life on Tidus and Tidus and Auron making very reckless attacks, getting killed and revived, then attacking again etc. etc. Overdrives are unsurvivable, so I summoned an aeon to take the hit each time. Silly strategy or not, it worked, and is an option for people who don't have great stats or overdrives (nobody was hitting 99999 damage at this point) if you're not impatient. Maybe need a bit of luck, but not much. 

Dark Shiva

The strategy stopped working here, mostly as Dark Shiva got in about 3 or 4 attacks between my own, which led to lots of dying. At this point I took my party to the Omega Ruins to finish off Yuna's sphere grid (since her weapon has double AP on it, she finished hers first). This still was nowhere near enough to take on Dark Shiva, so I popped off to the Monster Arena to customise my sphere grid, and only emerged when I had 255 in all stats with Yuna (except luck, which was about 25 at the time). At this point Yuna became a main attacker in my party, since she was always hitting 99999. I also had to work on Tidus and Auron's accuracy skills which were awful, so they did some teleporting around the sphere grid to use the new custom grid as needed.
 
Main strategy for this fight was all my team members attacking, and blocking Dark Shiva's attacks with the aeons. The trickiest bit was dealing with her speed, which was a particular problem when she killed someone and knocked the turn order back. This was probably the hardest fight to block with aeons, since if you're unlucky and the turn order gets completely screwed, she can get one or two hits in to fill up her overdrive bar then immediately use Diamond Dust and slaughter you. Happened to me a few times!
 

Dark Bahamut

My test fight against Dark Bahamut went pretty terribly, but at least I learned his penchant for using impulse on the fifth hit, and the fact he could petrify my characters. I got Tidus and Auron to finish up the custom sphere grid I made with Yuna (though they still didn't quite have 255 stats in some places) and got Yuna to 120 luck. (At this stage Tidus and Auron probably had about 50 and 60 when I fought him.) The idea behind this was to make me hit him more since even at 255 accuracy it wasn't quite working; I don't know if it actually did anything, but it seemed to.
 
Changed Yuna and Auron's accessories to ones with stoneproof on it, and customised ribbon onto Tidus' accessory. This meant I had to cast hastega at the beginning, though, as Auron had lost auto-haste and auto-phoenix. I kept auto-life on everyone since I ran into some issues with Bahamut's overdrive on several fights (largely because of the turn order), attacked four times, then summoned an aeon. When the overdrive bar was half full, I summoned my aeons that could break damage limit. The ones who couldn't got summoned when he had a full overdrive bar. I could also use the magus sisters twice, because I could dismiss them before they died invariably. This strategy means that when you start running out of aeons, you've got to start taking the hit from impulse as you need the aeons to block the overdrive more than anything. I still think I was pretty lucky beating this one when I did, since I was almost out of aeons! 
 
If you use the "four hits then summon an aeon!" strategy you need to be watching the turn order closely. You always need Yuna to be the fifth person (even if that means making Tidus or Auron defend for a turn) and if you're unlucky and his overdrive bar fills before you get the four hits in AND on the turn indicator you can see he has a turn before you can manage to do that, you need to summon on Yuna's next turn anyway, even if it screws the strategy for a bit and you have to try and get back to the previous pattern).
 

Dark Yojimbo

Customised auto-haste and auto-protect onto a ring for Yuna this time - I'd hoped auto-protect would help me stay alive on the odd hit, but it didn't quite work out (hit was doing 10000 damage instead of 20000 but still above my health, as I still don't have break HP limit). Also got Tidus and Auron to activate all the new luck nodes I put on the sphere grid for Yuna. These fights are actually really easy as dark Yojimbo doesn't seem to learn any new skills, and I keep killing him before his overdrive bar fills. I auto-life everybody (necessary!) and use my remaining turns to attack. If someone gets hit by kozuka (except Tidus who is immune due to ribbon), which they can survive, I also have to esuna them from being petrified. I probably could have beat this guy by now - I beat him three times in a row the other day but had to turn my PS2 off, and even though I'll have to start over again I'm not bothered as I got some really nice weapon/armour drops from him so I might try and get more of those for a bit, I don't know. I've probably been having some pretty awesome luck with his attacks, though - my first try was a bit more frustrating, but then on the last few he used Kozuka a lot, which is very easy to recover from.  
 

What's next?

So when I beat this guy, it'll be dark Anima and the dark magus sisters. The dark magus sisters will be a pain, I did a test run against them to test my stat boost after I accidentally ran into them, and it wasn't very pretty. xD I guess I'll have to practise running away from them - my issue is with the graphics I can't see the path I need to walk on from the "this bit's part of the graphics and a dead end". I know, I'm dreadful.
 
Anyway, the dark aeons are fun. Anybody else been fighting them - or would if they had the international/PAL release? It'd be fun to compare notes. 
 
I'm pretty proud of myself since when I started off looking things up about the dark aeons, people were always saying "break HP limit is a NECESSITY" and "must have Wakka's attack reels" - but I'm proof that you don't need them, at least with these aeons. (Although, to be fair, I have Wakka's attack reels, just not break damage limit. :P) May not be a strategy that shines and makes you look awesome, it's slow and meticulous, but it works. Also, I still think break HP limit will seriously hinder you, unless you pair it with ribbon maybe.
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Old Raincoat Killer Theory (Spoilers)

 (Re: spoilers, if you're up to date in the endurance run (specifically, today's VJ Endurance Run, there should be no problem.)

 
Deadly Premonition is one of those sorts of games I love to think about, as a lot is implied and people are generally unreliable so you have to look at things objectively rather than trusting everything you're told.
 
It's not particularly important, but I've been quite interested about the identity of the old Raincoat Killer. 
 

So anyway! That's my theory. :D It might not stand up to scrutiny and/or sidequest information, I don't know, but for now I'm sticking to it.

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Digital Devil Saga (And Other Atlus Games)

Since I got Persona 3 FES, I've been slowly going through some of Atlus' games. It's actually quite interesting to look and see how ignorant I was coming into the system (and still am, in some respects):
 
Persona 3 FES - I've really messed up on this. I'm somewhere in November if I recall (so far 2 or 3 people have upgraded their personas) and I'm still around level 41. XD I am notorious for being badly levelled up in games, but this is ridiculous, even for me. I think it's just that the layout of Tartarus confuses me - can't go back down floors, only up, access point, or teleport. So I run between teleporters fighting battles along the way but not exploring the full floor and only sometimes go back when not bored to fight things. The net result is the world's most ridiculously low levelled characters! Okay, so I'm exaggerating, but it's pretty bad.
 
(On the bright side, I'm doing pretty good with the social links if I do say so myself, and have my charm and courage maxed out, and my academics one from maxed out.)
 
Oh, and to make things worse, I came into this not understanding the Persona system and so haven't been fusing as well as I should have. Heck, I don't think I've even done a triangle fusion. I think it was Igor's lecturing me about fusion accidents put me off a bit. :P And I totally still have Orpheus and Asparas because I rely far too much on cadenza. I have a ton of money though, so when I get back to it I can raid my compendium and fuse crazily. Perhaps I'll also figure out how to go for a bad version of an ending (though I'd need to look it up to be sure) as I really can't see myself managing to get myself into a reasonable level to take on a final bonus boss. I really, really can't. Then I can correct my blunders in a new game+. Sounds good to me! 
 
I think my current deaths count is 12. Hehe, I'm still learning.
 
Persona 4 - (WILL CONTAIN SOME SPOILERS) I learned from Persona 3 FES here and started dungeons early to give myself time to do things in case I failed horribly and needed to train up. This time I only died 6 times in the whole game - and like I said, I'm prone to be underlevelled so that's pretty good going. At my worst I was eight or nine levels below the boss I was fighting (maybe 10 on the true ending boss) so the deaths were kind of understandable. I think it worked out like this: one random battle death (how embarrassing), one death right at the end of Yukiko's shadow (she died next hit -evil eye-), 2 deaths on Kanji's shadow, 2 deaths on Mitsuo's shadow. (Shockingly I managed to get through Rise and Teddie's shadows without ever dying. I was shocked too. And I never died again after shadow Mitsuo.) 
 
Also my fusing initially was almost exclusively triangle fusion... see, I'm learning slowly. :P I did get up and make a Yoshitsune though. Trumpeter too. Also, I used Melchizedek quite a lot, though he isn't anything more than a normal or triangle fusion I think.
 
On the other hand I'd generally spend 3 or 4 days on a dungeon so I lost S Link time, I finished around 8 of them (3 being the story S Links, then Kanji, Naoto, Yukiko, Young Mother, Nurse) and I'm pretty sure that in November in P3FES I've got more done than that! On a new game plus I plan to do a lot better (I am in Kanji's dungeon on my new game+!). 
 
I did get a bit lazy in Persona 4 with attacks I'm weak to though. Part of the reason I like Shin Megami Tensei battle system is it forces me to do what no other game ever has done - actually use magic properly. I am a total MP conserver and reserve MP only for curative spells normally. That's a death warrant in some of these games. The lack of knock doswns lasting a turn made it less of a worry in Persona 4 so sometimes I'd find myself happily physically attacking (regularly) to save MP for mediarama/mediarahan. But ah well, can't have everything. 
 
Now onto the actual reason I made this blog post (lol, I don't half go on) was to write about my current and first playthrough of Digital Devil Saga. So!
 
Digital Devil Saga - (Please don't spoil me for this! I am currently at Coordinate 136, just done the first floor.)
 
The weirdest thing for me about this game is this time your character actually has a name and is a leader... but still never speaks! Serph leads silently, apparently! I'm back to actually attempting to properly utilise the weaknesses system too, even if I find it a bit weird at times (weak to force spells? what are force spells? ...) though I'm now used to it. 
 
I'm pretty sure I'm still underlevelled. On the bright side I've only died once! And it was on a huge hoard of the... uh, green horse things that cast mazionga on you, in the Maribel's base when you open one of the gates (forced battle... if I recall, three sets of three and then a final one). I did fine for the first two waves, then they went crazy with mazionga and Gale kept giving them extra turns.
 
(After I died I ran around learning void elec and extra fire spells and that strategy worked much better.)
 
Speaking of learning things I've pretty much screwed this up too, I'm sure. I'm still learning what stats correspond best to what people/skills. Also I kept up my regular thing of making everybody have to have the capability to heal at least a little. I think I'm a bit better with it now though... got Margilla focusing on magic and Gale is becoming heal guy. I have no idea what the hell Serph is, he's learning random bits and bobs. I... could really do with putting together a plan with what to do for him. Ah well, worst comes to the worst I hang out in front of the large karma terminal and train up. 
 
In any case! The plot seems quite fun, I've been enjoying watching things unfold. Even if in doing so I have grown very, very sick of traps and may never want to see huge statue heads or portraits again. :P
 
How do other people cope when they first walk into a Shin Megami Tensei game anyway? I always find the systems a little hard to adapt to, but it's also an interesting learning curve... and obviously, it's interested me enough to try other games in the franchise. :)
 
(Eventually went for putting this in the Persona 4 forum given that that's the only one I've completed. Less spoiler chances!)

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Game Nostalgia

It's probably a little sad that many of my games of (mostly nostalgic!) interest won't play on my computer anymore. I knew I had some reason to keeping some rather terrible PC hardware!
 
Here are some games that won't play that really should:
 
Knights and Merchants
- I'm probably never going to be able to play this game again as the issue lies in the fact it requires DOS on the machine and so isn't really XP compatible. This was an absolutely amazing game, I loved it when I was younger... even if I did always get horribly distracted and forget that, hey, supposed to be fighting a war there! (Note to self: write review for this, and possibly write something for wiki entry: something is better than nothing, even a decade or so old recollection.)
 
Stay Tooned! - I could complete this easily enough by myself when I was a kid (except Kartoon Kombat... I was terrible at that, and the addition of 3D glasses just added to the confusion), so god knows how simple I'd find it now, but it was an amazing game. Quirky fun with something a bit different in every playthrough. (I seem to recall making several playthroughs after my first purely for the chance I could run into Schleopardy again. Schleopardy was amazing.) The TV was hilarious too - how can you not like a game with a Friends parody called Frauds where people's limbs randomly fall off?! (I like how that didn't even mildly alarm me as a kid.) 
 
The depressing thing is nobody has ever heard of these games, so the conversation possibilities are... pretty much none. I'm pretty much the gamer girl who played the obscure games that only a tiny minority of people have ever played... pity, really!
 
At least several of my other "games of nostalgia" can still be played... even those that terrified me when I was a kid. (LeChuck's Revenge. ...It was the swamp, okay, the music and look of it creeped me out. :P I suppose this speaks well of the music composition, though - I was probably a bit young to be playing Monkey Island! Actually, the extra odd thing about this is the fact that while the swamp terrified me to the point of giving me nightmares, the whole voodoo doll "of the bone" thing also didn't phase me at all. What was wrong with my sense of creepyness?!) 
 
On the bright side I can still play Final Fantasy VIII, which isn't exactly my earliest gaming experience (the PS games came after the PC games in my chronicle of gaming), but I still remember playing it the first time... and constantly tripping over the fact I was lame at levelling up. On my first playthrough of Final Fantasy VIII I got near the end of disc 2 (this was the Cerberus boss fight) and got totally, totally owned. I was too weak to really do anything, I didn't really stock enough magic and didn't understand the magic junctioning system (I played it not shortly after it came out, and I reckon I'd have been about seven or eight at the time), and I ran away from battles if I couldn't be bothered fighting (this was normally when I'd got lost and ran around in circles for a bit. Embarrassing story of running around in circles: it took me 2 hours after getting off the train (I think this was to Galbadia Garden?) to actually get there. The destination was about two feet from where I was standing (triggered forest event) but even though I had instructions to find a forest, I was totally lost with the directions as I was apparently a bit rubbish at following compass points. FUN TIMES. At least I gained some levels there!). My second playthrough I died about five times right at the beginning of disc 2 in an explosion: turns out that the cutscene confused me to the degree I was moving TOWARDS the exploding building rather than away. Yeah, that was awkward. I did figure it out... eventually... though! 
 
I still love revisiting Final Fantasy VIII - though I understand the system and can complete it with ease now. I actually find it the most accessible battle system of the Final Fantasy games, probably as it's the first I played, even though I'm well aware a large part of my first playthrough problems were due to my inability to understand the magic equipping system... even with a tutorial. Funny how those things work out!
 
Heh, it's fun to reminisce. :D  

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