I played Persona 4 for 38 weeks straight.

You think you're slow at finishing games? This one took me almost a year!

In April 2011, I found out that an anime adaptation of Persona 4 was being made. The game runs on a calendar that happens to cover the year of 2011, and the anime was starting around the same time.

I thought, "Well, that's pretty cool. Maybe the show will sync up with the anime and get super meta and stuff."

Shortly after that, Strain42, whose hilarious comics can be found on drunkduck.com, said that he would be making a comic series chronicling the events of Persona 4 daily, basically in "real time" along with the game's dates. I had already read his comic "Persona 3 FTW" which did the same for the previous game in the series, so of course I'd be reading that daily along with the game's timeline!

Then I found out that some crazy man was making a Twitter account AS the Persona 4 main character, and would be tweeting the events of the game alongside its timeline!

So why not go through the game once more? It was the Year of Persona 4 and there was no better time to play it. And I did it in the best way I could, in "real time".



In 2011 and 2012 I played Persona 4 for a little bit every day, aligning my play with the in-game calendar. Usually no more than 20 minutes. I'd turn it on, watch the anime opening (yes, EVERY TIME), and just do whatever I wanted for the day.

It was a little weird to play a game that I've already beaten a few times in such small chunks, but I'd say it made me appreciate it a lot more. I talked to people I'd usually just run past, made better choices about what to fuse and what items to buy so I could complete dungeons in one day, and explored places I'd never been to so I could get more out of the experience. After all, this is an experience that could only ever happen once. So I took the time to see more of the game.

What was REALLY weird was when weather forecasts synced up in real life and the game. Not gonna lie, when it rained in the game and in real life, I was actually watching my TV at midnight to see who would appear...



At the end of the day I'd read the day's comics from Persona 4TW, read @NarukamiYu's Twitter (and all the spinoff accounts it started...you guys are crazy!), and catch up on Persona 4 The Animation.

When I look back on it, Persona 4 is a game that really shook up my tastes in games in general. I've played JRPGs a little before, but this was the first one where I was totally engrossed in the world and characters from the first time I played it. I'm at the point in my gaming career where I can see that I'm becoming "stuck in my ways", and will generally just buy games based on brand familiarity or liking the genre. Now I'm more into roleplaying games than I've ever been, and this game opened my eyes to a genre I would've gone my whole gaming career without exploring. All because I took a chance on a game I saw on sale at a a Gamestop.

So, ending my 38 week journey with Persona 4 is a little bittersweet. Playing it in "real time" and taking in all the alternate media doing the same thing was such a unique experience that I've never had with another game and might never have again. I can just play it again (and I probably will!) to see the few Social Links I've never finished or finally fill out the Compendium. But it won't really be as special as this time was.

I'm still looking for the next RPG out there to really capture my heart like Persona 4 did. Maybe it'll never come, but I'm glad I took a chance on this game in the first place and I'm glad I played it in such a crazy way that made me appreciate it so much more.

Who knows? Maybe I'll do it again when Persona 5 comes out. I'll definitely record it that time!

15 Comments
16 Comments
Posted by PerfidiousSinn
You think you're slow at finishing games? This one took me almost a year!

In April 2011, I found out that an anime adaptation of Persona 4 was being made. The game runs on a calendar that happens to cover the year of 2011, and the anime was starting around the same time.

I thought, "Well, that's pretty cool. Maybe the show will sync up with the anime and get super meta and stuff."

Shortly after that, Strain42, whose hilarious comics can be found on drunkduck.com, said that he would be making a comic series chronicling the events of Persona 4 daily, basically in "real time" along with the game's dates. I had already read his comic "Persona 3 FTW" which did the same for the previous game in the series, so of course I'd be reading that daily along with the game's timeline!

Then I found out that some crazy man was making a Twitter account AS the Persona 4 main character, and would be tweeting the events of the game alongside its timeline!

So why not go through the game once more? It was the Year of Persona 4 and there was no better time to play it. And I did it in the best way I could, in "real time".



In 2011 and 2012 I played Persona 4 for a little bit every day, aligning my play with the in-game calendar. Usually no more than 20 minutes. I'd turn it on, watch the anime opening (yes, EVERY TIME), and just do whatever I wanted for the day.

It was a little weird to play a game that I've already beaten a few times in such small chunks, but I'd say it made me appreciate it a lot more. I talked to people I'd usually just run past, made better choices about what to fuse and what items to buy so I could complete dungeons in one day, and explored places I'd never been to so I could get more out of the experience. After all, this is an experience that could only ever happen once. So I took the time to see more of the game.

What was REALLY weird was when weather forecasts synced up in real life and the game. Not gonna lie, when it rained in the game and in real life, I was actually watching my TV at midnight to see who would appear...



At the end of the day I'd read the day's comics from Persona 4TW, read @NarukamiYu's Twitter (and all the spinoff accounts it started...you guys are crazy!), and catch up on Persona 4 The Animation.

When I look back on it, Persona 4 is a game that really shook up my tastes in games in general. I've played JRPGs a little before, but this was the first one where I was totally engrossed in the world and characters from the first time I played it. I'm at the point in my gaming career where I can see that I'm becoming "stuck in my ways", and will generally just buy games based on brand familiarity or liking the genre. Now I'm more into roleplaying games than I've ever been, and this game opened my eyes to a genre I would've gone my whole gaming career without exploring. All because I took a chance on a game I saw on sale at a a Gamestop.

So, ending my 38 week journey with Persona 4 is a little bittersweet. Playing it in "real time" and taking in all the alternate media doing the same thing was such a unique experience that I've never had with another game and might never have again. I can just play it again (and I probably will!) to see the few Social Links I've never finished or finally fill out the Compendium. But it won't really be as special as this time was.

I'm still looking for the next RPG out there to really capture my heart like Persona 4 did. Maybe it'll never come, but I'm glad I took a chance on this game in the first place and I'm glad I played it in such a crazy way that made me appreciate it so much more.

Who knows? Maybe I'll do it again when Persona 5 comes out. I'll definitely record it that time!

Posted by Kscorps

I was considering doing this on my first run of the game, but I got too into it to pace myself like this. I also got the game halfway through 2011, so it wouldn't be as momentous for me as it was for you. Kudos for doing this though, I've wanted to see what this would have been like for someone to actually try.

Posted by PerfidiousSinn

Yeah, on my first playthrough I was burning through days or weeks every time I sat down. I was way too addicted to the game to just play it for like 10 or 20 minutes a day like I did here.

Posted by Video_Game_King

@PerfidiousSinn said:

You think you're slow at finishing games? This one took me almost a year!

I don't know how to take that. On the one hand, I've gotten up to Naoto's dungeon in a few weeks, but on the other hand, I've taken more than a year not to beat Tear Ring Saga. (Persona 4's not helping, since I'll have to review that before I can even consider wrapping up Tear Ring Saga.)

Posted by JJGIANT

Cool Idea man

Posted by MikeGosot
@Video_Game_King said:

@PerfidiousSinn said:

You think you're slow at finishing games? This one took me almost a year!

I don't know how to take that. On the one hand, I've gotten up to Naoto's dungeon in a few weeks, but on the other hand, I've taken more than a year not to beat Tear Ring Saga. (Persona 4's not helping, since I'll have to review that before I can even consider wrapping up Tear Ring Saga.)

My cousin took TWO AND A HALF YEARS (I'm guessing here. It could be more.) to beat GTA: San Andreas. Not having a memory card for a good time did not help.
Posted by Damodar

Cool idea! What did your playtime end up being?

Posted by PerfidiousSinn

@MikeGosot: I would NOT recommend playing Persona 4 without a memory card. Wouldn't recommend it for GTA games either, but that's not my area of expertise.

@Damodar said:

Cool idea! What did your playtime end up being?

111 hours, 56 minutes.

I just got weirdly nostalgic booting up the game to check this stat and hearing Corner of Memories again.

Posted by AngelN7

Oh man how awesome would it be to have 38 weeks of free time! I couldn't have done that ever just knowing at one point I wouldn't have the time to play for a day because of work or school and missing just one day would be disastrous (how did you handle when the game skips time? did you just didn't play for those days?)

Posted by LordAndrew

Uh, I can't read this for some reason. I guess I'll go watch Crank 2 on Netflix instead.

Posted by MikeGosot
@PerfidiousSinn said:

@MikeGosot: I would NOT recommend playing Persona 4 without a memory card. Wouldn't recommend it for GTA games either, but that's not my area of expertise.

Now that would be a real Endurance Run.
Posted by mutha3
@PerfidiousSinn said:

@MikeGosot: I would NOT recommend playing Persona 4 without a memory card. Wouldn't recommend it for GTA games either, but that's not my area of expertise.

@Damodar said:

Cool idea! What did your playtime end up being?

111 hours, 56 minutes.

I just got weirdly nostalgic booting up the game to check this stat and hearing Corner of Memories again.

Damn! It always really weirds me out how people manage to squeeze that much time out of these games. First time I played through P4, I did pretty much everything(including chatting up every single goddamn NPC whenever they had new dialogue from Errand Boy to Weather-loving student) and I only managed 65 hours. I even left the system running for a couple of hours to get that high!
Posted by MikeGosot
@mutha3 said:
@PerfidiousSinn said:

@MikeGosot: I would NOT recommend playing Persona 4 without a memory card. Wouldn't recommend it for GTA games either, but that's not my area of expertise.

@Damodar said:

Cool idea! What did your playtime end up being?

111 hours, 56 minutes.

I just got weirdly nostalgic booting up the game to check this stat and hearing Corner of Memories again.

Damn! It always really weirds me out how people manage to squeeze that much time out of these games. First time I played through P4, I did pretty much everything(including chatting up every single goddamn NPC whenever they had new dialogue from Errand Boy to Weather-loving student) and I only managed 65 hours. I even left the system running for a couple of hours to get that high!
What the fuck!? I talked to every single NPC but i haven't done every quest and i managed 82 hours. I thought it wasn't even possible to beat P4 in under 70 hours.
Posted by StarvingGamer

Why is Yukiko the only disembodied head?

WHERE IS HER BODY!?

Edited by PerfidiousSinn

@AngelN7 said:

Oh man how awesome would it be to have 38 weeks of free time! I couldn't have done that ever just knowing at one point I wouldn't have the time to play for a day because of work or school and missing just one day would be disastrous (how did you handle when the game skips time? did you just didn't play for those days?)

Well, it wasn't too bad because SO MANY of the days are literally 10 minutes or less of actually playing. A good chunk of it was just go to school, do a Social Link, go to bed. Dungeon days were tougher because I did them in two settings max, mostly just one. So that's like several hours of going through a dungeon.

When the game skipped forward, I would just save immediately and not play until it was the proper day in real life. Which was pretty interesting after December because the game takes a HUGE leap forward (so I accordingly took a huge break in the game) and when I came back, I felt like I forgot how to play the game for a little bit. Also, I guess leap years don't exist in Japan because the calendar did not account for that.

@LordAndrew: Well, I have no idea what the hell happened there. And Crank 2 isn't even paying me. Bullcrap.

Posted by Grimluck343

@LordAndrew said:

Uh, I can't read this for some reason. I guess I'll go watch Crank 2 on Netflix instead.

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