This Nostalgia Is Even Better Than I Remembered!

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thatpinguino

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Edited By thatpinguino  Staff

Intellectually I dislike art that panders to nostalgia. My intellect thinks creating a work who’s whole purpose is to reference and celebrate some other, greater work seems masturbatory and frivolous. Rehashes and references seem like a waste of effort that could have gone to something new and original, so says my intellect. Why would someone create something like Final Fantasy VII for PS4 when they could have created a new game instead? Why would someone create Space Balls the Show instead of a new cartoon? And yet…

I passionately love the same old stuff I loved ten years ago and I love art that references that stuff! There is a pang in my chest every time I experience something that causes my old memories to resonate and that pang drives my actions as much, if not more, than my love of new things. My passions can’t get enough Psychonauts posters and t-shirts. My passions want an HD re-release of Final Fantasy VIII even though I already own four copies of FFVIII and one of them is already technically in HD (the PC version)!

My cold intellect and my dumb passions are almost always at odds and nostalgia driven content causes these two central parts of my psyche to fight like nothing else. There is but one type of nostalgia driven art that causes these two warring factions to reach a peaceful détente: new work that is nostalgia inspired. I love when nostalgia itself is used as the central theme of a new work and I love explorations and celebrations of the past that bring modern design to bear on old concepts. My favorite game, Final Fantasy IX, and my favorite Magic the Gathering block, Time Spiral, both build around the concept of franchise-centric nostalgia and in doing so create wholly new experiences that invoke the joys of yore without slavishly recreating them.

Imagine trying to create characters with these portraits as your starting point
Imagine trying to create characters with these portraits as your starting point

Final Fantasy IX is in many ways a celebration of Final Fantasy’s history and as Hironobu Sakaguchi’s final entry in the series it is in many ways a love letter to fans of the series’ roots. FFIX returned to the series’ original high fantasy plus steam-punk roots after FFVII and VIII strayed into sci-fi. FFIX’s character design also recalled the NES and SNES FF games by employing a super-deformed art style; yet, it expanded on that style by bringing it into 3D for the first time (FFVII used a super-deformed style for some of its overworld art, but it reverted to more realistic proportions in battle).

On the gameplay front, FFIX saw the return of the jobs that defined games like FFI, FFIII, and FFV. But, unlike those games, FFIX used those established jobs as the jumping off point for character development. FFIX did not just have a black mage character, the developers of FFIX asked why a black mage would look the way FF black mages do and built a story around the black mage’s iconic appearance and powers. Vivi wasn’t just a character who made black magic his job; he was a character who could only make sense as a black mage. The developers of FFIX performed the same personality and profession pairings with a thief, a dragoon, a knight, a blue mage, two summoner/white mage hybrids, and a monk/ninja/samurai. These deep managed to appeal to my intellectual love of mechanical storytelling and my passionate love of the archetypes hinged upon which those mechanics.

The developers of FFIX also saw fit to redeploy artifacts and mementos from past FF games in the form of key items that could be purchased from the auction house in Treno. While the items themselves were clear callbacks to earlier FF games they also served a purpose in the world of FFIX. Key items like Doga’s Artifact, Une’s Mirror, and Rat Tail could be resold to relic collectors in Treno for a hefty profit. Weapons from FF history like the Ultima Weapon, Excalibur, and Kain’s Lance made triumphant returns. Each weapon received FFIX appropriate abilities and visual treatments to keep their symbolic significance without purely pandering to the past. Even whole locations like Mount Gulug returned from the FF history books complete with an FFIX appropriate history and a remixed theme. FFIX takes the aesthetic, the mechanics, and the optimism of FF’s past and uses that symbolic language to create an entire work that examines how personal history interacts with one’s future.

This card is absurdly complex for how simple it is
This card is absurdly complex for how simple it is

Time Spiral takes a similar nostalgia-laden approach to Magic card design and set planning. The Time Spiral block was made up of three sets that each made liberal use of both Magic’s past, Magic’s core rules, and where Magic could go in the future. Time Spiral was the first set in the Time Spiral block and almost every card in the set references Magic’s history in some way. The set saw the return of dozens of old mechanics like Flanking, Fading, Rebels, Echo, and even weirder ones like Shadow. However, by taking dozens of old mechanics and placing them into one unified context the developers of Time Spiral were able to create one of the deepest and most varied environments ever. In Time Spiral drafts you could pick just about any color combination and find multiple strategies to exploit since so many of Time Spiral’s cards interacted on multiple levels. Even simple common cards had multiple applications, take Amrou Seekers for example. Amrou Seekers is almost a complete color shift, from black to white, of the card Severed Legion from Onslaught. Rather than having Fear (“This creature can’t be blocked except by artifact and/or black creatures”) Amrou Seekers has a heretofore unseen white equivalent of Fear. Amrou Seekers is also a rebel which ties it in to the rebel mechanic (rebels are capable of summoning other rebels into play from your deck) that ran through Time Spiral block. Thus, Amrou Seekers fits into just about any white deck that wants an evasive creature and it also fits into any deck that is built around the rebel mechanic. All the while Amrou Seekers references multiple old Magic cards and mechanics. That is a whole lot of complex game design wrapped in one of the simplest cards in the whole Time Spiral block. I haven’t even touched on the over 100 reprinted cards contained in Time Spiral or the more obscure references to Magic’s history (I see you Evil Eye of Urborg).

Here is the red version of Severed Legion
Here is the red version of Severed Legion

Planar Chaos only served to further build upon Time Spiral’s nostalgia influenced masters course in Magic card design. Planar Chaos took many of the established rules of Magic’s five colors (white, blue, black, red, and green) and messed with them in countless subtle and unsubtle ways. Green things could fly! Blue had discard spells! White had counterspells! Black had First-Strike! Red had a red equivalent to fear! A bunch of iconic spells were even reprinted in Planar Chaos in the wrong colors. Planar Chaos took a complex draft environment full of dense mechanical interactions and then added a bunch of uncharacteristic shifts to what every color did at a fundamental level. All of this was thanks to the leverage that nostalgia offers as a central theme. Planar Chaos only makes sense as a set when it is viewed through the lens of a parallel reality to the ordinary color balance that has been established through years of Magic history.

MTG still hasn't used Gravestorm again
MTG still hasn't used Gravestorm again

Future Sight further meddled with nostalgia by combining magic’s past with a bunch of completely new mechanics and worlds. Future Sight contained future-shifted cards that were ostensibly from future Magic sets and those cards have continued to echo forward almost a decade later. Mainline Magic sets still haven’t utilized all of the mechanics that were debuted in Future Sight, yet people who played during Future Sight’s time were able to draft and build around these insane mechanics. Once again the future-shifted cards only made sense within the context of a nostalgia-based set. Without the context of Magic’s past and the rest of the block, the cards in Future Sight do not stand out nearly as much.

Final Fantasy IX and the Time Spiral block are two prime examples of how to use nostalgia as a starting point to create something wholly new and original. While it would have been simple to just create two games full of references and nothing more, FFIX and Time Spiral used their franchises’ histories to inform innovative design decisions that haven’t been matched since. While both FFIX and Time Spiral may have been too referential to appeal to truly new players (this is especially true of Time Spiral block) that emphasis on history allowed me and longtime fans like me to have profoundly deep experiences. These two works were able to get my intellect and my passions to stop fighting, at least for a little while.

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Slag

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Intellectually I dislike art that panders to nostalgia

I used to feel this way too, until I read the Le Morte D'Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory and other old literature like Beowulf and the Volsung Saga. Then I realized that even the greatest works in human history are often heavily derivative and reimagined versions of pre-existing ones.

Going to the Nostalgia well can definitely be lazy, but there is I think something cool about being able to tell a story reliant on assuming the reader/viewer has some share pre-existing knowledge. It allows you to explore some ideas you otherwise couldn't, because you aren't spending a lot of time world building etc. As you pointed out much more eloquently than I.

Your example abut FFiX is a perfect example of this. Would ViVi's story have had the same impact on players if they didn't have this preconceived of idea of what a Final Fantasy Black mage was/is? I sincerely doubt it would have. I'd imagine FF Ix would have had to spend valuable hours just establishing the tropes and nature of its world as FF I did.

And given what we know about how gamers play games, especially today (in that very few finish games and many don't even go further than halfway), is it smart to have that kind of payoff at the end of a game that establishes the world rather than have it be a narrative thread at the beginning of a sequel?

This was one thing I thought Bioware did well with the Dragon Age series with Dragon Age: Origins, It was a game that just tried to lay the framework for Ferelden, nothing more, and that is what it did extremely well. Although I don't think Inquisition has really maximized the narrative potential that groundwork allows and II definitely did not.

I think perhaps it's something perhaps that works well too for Majora's Mask in establishing how Termina is this bizarro version of Hyrule.

Maybe that's a reason why so many popular creative works tend to stick to similar settings over and over ( e.g. D&D fantasy lands, Warhammer Space Marine type scifi, Historical wars like WWII or modern ones) because it does free you up from spending valuable time world building.

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GERALTITUDE

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The older I get the harder I find it to accept that nostlagia is a thing that can be measured or communicated or proven at all. It may as well be the Human Soul. No one can tell you shit about it, one way or the other.

Ocarina of Time:

- someone with no nostalgia plays it, hates it
- someone with no nostalgia plays it, loves it
- someone with nostalgia goes back to it, hates it
- someone with nostalgia goes back to it, loves it

These scenarios happen for every game, every book, every tv show, every movie under the sun. What possible value can we really derive from this? Maybe at best we can make a super general statement like "If you have nostalgia for this game or others like it, you have a higher chance of enjoying it?" but that seems a dubious truth at best.

One huge difference between me and you penguino may be that I have a terrible memory. My childhood effectively starts at 14. I can tell you what games I played before then, and I get excited when I play them again, but by and large very few things are memory triggers for me. Music is the strongest trigger, for sure.

Anyways, slightly off topic I guess.

Your Magic example makes me wonder a little bit though if we all aren't conflating Nostalgia with something else, whatever that is, something I might just call History.

I have tremendous History with the Metal Gear Solid franchise. I would describe the feeling I get from listening to its themes as tingling. Is my excitement for The Phantom Pain rooted in Nostalgia? Or is it because I know the series in the same you know your friends. Do we like our friends because of nostalgia then? I know all the characters, their histories, how they became who they are, etc and so on. I know all the mechanics by heart and how they changed and morphed over time. But is any of that related to nostalgia at all? Is getting a reference a nostalgic trigger? Are inside jokes then nostalgia? Would you separate History and Nostlagia? or Knowledge and Nostalgia?

Even for Vivi now I start to wonder about this. I have a lot of history with Black Mages in many video game franchises and with related concepts in D&D. So I'm bringing a lot to table in terms of background knowledge. Is there really any necessary link between this knowledge and nostalgia? Isn't it my knowledge which helped me appreciate Vivi? For me I was always blown away by Vivi's story because it had this idea of effectively humanizing an NPC, which was a mind blowing concept for me at the time. I do think that part of the story is well communicated, regardless of whatever previous mage knowledge one brings to the table.

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Zeik

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#3  Edited By Zeik

The funny thing is that I have far more nostalgia fo FFIX itself than the games it's being nostalgic toward. I didn't really start playing FF until the PS1 era and I didn't really delve into those earlier games until much later.

And yet FFIX is still far and away my favorite Final Fantasy. Now that I know more about the series I can notice more of those references and it's neat, but my love for that game is almost purely based on its own merits as a game.

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MezZa

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@zeik said:

The funny thing is that I have far more nostalgia fo FFIX itself than the games it's being nostalgic toward. I didn't really start playing FF until the PS1 era and I didn't really delve into those earlier games until much later.

And yet FFIX is still far and away my favorite Final Fantasy. Now that I know more about the series I can notice more of those references and it's neat, but my love for that game is almost purely based on its own merits as a game.

I'm the same way. FFIX was the first FF game that I had played through fully. I dabbled in IV and VI a bit, but was too young to do much with them at the time.

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thatpinguino

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#5 thatpinguino  Staff

@geraltitude: I think that the tingle you describe when talking about MGS is the physical expression of nostalgia. Having history with something leads to feelings of nostalgia. I would say that inside jokes are 100% nostalgia because they aren't funny without the memory of the moment that made the joke. That joke enduring is a product of the joy that was occurring around its creation and the joke stirs memories of those circumstances. I would say the difference between history and nostalgia is that history is ostensibly unemotional, while nostalgia speaks wholly to how you felt at a certain time and how remembering that event makes you feel. The difference between intelligence and nostalgia is that intelligence affects you by allowing your greater understanding of a known system to see additional nuances in that system which can then make you feel something. Nostalgia is a matter of remembering something you liked in the past and having that original emotion surge back.

I think your description of your relationship with Vivi says that you felt a whole lot of things. You seem to have felt nostalgia and intellectual understanding and legitimate, new-formed wonder all at the same time.

@slag: I think the using a known symbolic language to shortcut understanding is one of the signs of a great developer and I completely understand what you mean. The lead designer of MTG likes to call that concept "piggybacking." Like MTG uses the keyword flying because a person with no familiarity with MTG can immediately understand the mechanical implications of flying as soon as they hear the word.

The unique thing about nostalgia-based design is that you are tapping into a visual and mechanical language that you created in previous works. So the symbolic language is a bit more insular and specific in its meaning. Rather than piggybacking on a piece of common knowledge you are piggybacking on terms that only fans of your earlier work will understand. I think this leads to potential lines of understanding that can be deeper or more nuanced than what normal piggybacking gives you, but at the cost of alienating new players.

I think FFIX does an excellent job of keeping its terms understandable for a new player while using its ties to older games in a way that older players can enjoy. Time Spiral, on the other hand, almost wrecked MTG with how incestuous its mechanics and nostalgia was. Time Spiral was a block that you could hardly even grasp if you were an experienced player, let alone if Time Spiral was your first set. Time Spiral and the block after it, Lorywn, lead to a complete shift in how common Magic cards are designed.

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Karkarov

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Well here is the thing, I despise FF9 and am absolutely confused how anyone can think it is good. Nostalgia? It doesn't evoke any feelings for the original final fantasies from me (a guy who actually played them when they were new) other than remembering that I would have rather played them again than FF9. It's main character is the worst main character to ever grace a FF game. Vivi's story was emo and dopey and absolutely was not any kind of throw back to any black mage in any previous games cause in the old games Black Mages were in fact people that just happened to use black magic. Most of the cast is either unlikeable, a walking trope, or totally forgettable. The only character I even liked was Steiner cause he was sort of this supposed to be macho but actually dorky romantic guy. The fact that the villain is also Vegeta without his pink shirt doesn't help.

FF9 has nothing nostalgic about the original games in it, it paid lip service and surface only credit to them at best. Which is probably why every fan of the original games I know is just like me and considers 9 to be one of the worst games in the series.

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thatpinguino

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#7  Edited By thatpinguino  Staff

@karkarov: Well I'm sorry that you didn't enjoy FFIX as much as I did, but saying that FFIX only payed lip service or surface references is just not correct. There are a number of refrences to the older games that are woven into the mechanics of FFIX and a whole bunch of re-introduced items and themes that were skipped in FFVII and FFVIII. The whole ending of the game was a trek back through history to the origin of all things which just so happens to be a crystal, just like earlier FF games. Many of the enemies in FFIX also re-purpose old FF villains and characters like Gilgamesh, the four fiends, and Garland.

Saying you don't like FFIX is one thing, but the tribute to FF history was far from surface level. I honestly don't even see how you can say the game has nothing nostalgic about the original games in it.

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Aetheldod

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And you know me as a staunch defender of FFXIIIII and related games , but this game , FFIX is the one I hate hate hate the most , blahg , I hated every second I played this game , in fact rushed through it the most I could (if I remember correctly the average level was 40 for the characters when I wne t to the final battle , and yeah I tend to finish games I hate in order to be right of why I dislike it). The leveling system was boring (after the what I think is a brilliant one in FFVIIII) and disliked all of the characters. Note Im not saying it is a bad game (because that would be a huge lie) but that I just dont like it one bit.

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TwoLines

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Yeah, FF IX is okay I guess.

Neat visuals and some other... stuff.

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Wiseman4545

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@karkarov: Looool. Literally everything you just said could not be more wrong.

Although the whole "everyone I know agrees with me, so I'm obviously right" line is especially bullshit, and you know it. That's basically the equivalent of your mom thinking you're handsome. It means jack shit to the world at large.

I've been playing the series since the NES era. FFIV/II is my favorite game in the series. I'd say I generally prefer the pre-PS1 era of the series, but FFIX is the only one I would even rank along side them. It's easily the best game of the PS1 era and beyond. Zidane is also a significantly more interesting and likeable protagonist than anyone else from that era. Cloud, Squall, Tidus, Vaan (especially Vann...), and Lightning don't even come close.

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SimplyFalco

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Just FYI, Amrou Seekers is ALSO reference to a card from Legends called Seeker. It was a 2WW Enchant Creature (Aura) that read, "Enchanted creature can't be blocked except by artifact creatures and/or white creatures".

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thatpinguino

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#12  Edited By thatpinguino  Staff

@simplyfalco: Holy crap I didn't even get that reference! This card is even deeper than I though and I already thought it was ridiculously complex.

Looking at it again it is also a Kithkin so it ties into one of the central tribes of Lorywin. Man every card in time spiral pulled like quadruple duty in terms of form and function. No wonder people needed New World Order to help with complexity after this. I've been playing MTG for over a decade and I can't even process all of the references on a common.

@twolines: Yeah it is pretty good and junk.

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Slag

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@slag: ...

The unique thing about nostalgia-based design is that you are tapping into a visual and mechanical language that you created in previous works. So the symbolic language is a bit more insular and specific in its meaning. Rather than piggybacking on a piece of common knowledge you are piggybacking on terms that only fans of your earlier work will understand. I think this leads to potential lines of understanding that can be deeper or more nuanced than what normal piggybacking gives you, but at the cost of alienating new players.

Absolutely. There's definitely an art to it too, to using it correctly to make something new and interesting without just feeling like a retread and to use something that an appropriate number of people will know.

Innovation and Nostalgia are just two sides of the same coin features of a creation, by themselves they are inherently neither good nor bad. All comes down to how the creator uses them.

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Zirilius

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#14  Edited By Zirilius

@twolines: Final Fantasy IX is a lot like Xenogears. It has a great Disc 1 and then becomes complete shit once you reach disc 2.

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thatpinguino

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#15 thatpinguino  Staff

@zirilius: Oh I don't know about that. There are a bunch of pretty highly regarded moments in the later parts of FFIX like the "Not Alone" sequence, the battle at the Iifa tree, the battle with the four fiends, and the actual ending cutscene. I think FFVIII goes way more off the rails after disc 1 than FFIX does.

@slag: Agreed.

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The_Ruiner

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This is a great damn game.

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Zeik

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@thatpinguino: Yeah, the later discs had some of the game's best moments. Both VII and VIII go "off the rails" after the first disc much more than IX.

If you really want to go there you might say that about the third disc, that's where some of the more over-the-top story elements really come into play, but I can't really think of anything that happens in the second that's so inconsistent with the first.

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FrostyRyan

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@karkarov said:

Well here is the thing, I despise FF9 and am absolutely confused how anyone can think it is good.

Then you're better off not talking about anything with anyone, ever. Especially not on the internet.

HOW CAN PEOPLE LIKE THIS WELL REGARDED THING THAT I DON'T LIKE? WHAT ARE OPINIONS? SO CONFUSED.

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thatpinguino

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#19 thatpinguino  Staff

@zeik: True, but compared to where some of the earlier games go I don't think IX's turn is that radical. V goes to another planet and the main enemy turns out to be a tree monster. FFI turns out to be a paradox. FFIV goes to the moon on a whale. VIII just is insanity at all times. And VII involves a Majora's Mask meteor and clones. Also VI has a clown god.

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Zirilius

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#20  Edited By Zirilius

@thatpinguino: Definitely not saying that they all don't go of the rails. Especially Xenogears! I just found the last half of IX incredibly boring.

I still think it's hands better than VII but worse than VIII. If only Square could get back to the awesome they had in the SNES and PS1 era.

@zeik nothing wrong with a clown god. That's probably my favorite in the series

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Wemibelle

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On the topic of nostalgia, I feel I have a pretty good grasp on it. I'm often hesitant to say great things about games I played when I was a child, as I don't necessarily trust my tastes and excitement from a younger me. If I want to be sure, I dabble back into a game and see if it still holds up. A great example of this is RE2, which I just played through again after the REmake came out. I was worried it wouldn't be as great as I remembered, but I almost respect it more now for being such a tight RE experience without adding too much annoyance (as in RE3). It's entirely possible the reverse could have happened as well. As someone who likes to speak intelligently about video games, I always try to keep nostalgia in check.

On the topic of FFIX, I will never understand the fervor around it. I played through it last year, enjoying many of the character moments and setpiece moments. What I couldn't get over, however, was how unbearably slow the combat system is. Since I didn't play it when it was new, my modern lack of patience just CANNOT handle the load times and delay on nearly everything. Even on a "non-PS1" version of the game, it still felt like getting into and out of fights took much too long, effectively killing my enjoyment with it. I'm glad I finished, but there's no way in hell I would ever play it again. It makes me wonder if I would be more tolerant of it if I had played it around its original release.

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Zeik

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@wemibelec90: I've played the game many times over the years, including within the last year or so, and I never found the pace of the combat or the load times remotely bothersome. Perhaps it's a result of having played games with exponentially worse load times in the past, so I know what truly torturous load times are like, but it's never even registered as slow to me.

The pace of the combat itself is as brisk as just about any other game from that era. Most encounters are over pretty quickly and the animations are generally fast for a turn-based RPG. By comparison 7 and 8 often had much more drawn out animations that made combat longer than it needed to be.

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Justin258

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I think I should maybe play this game I have on my PS3 at some point.

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thatpinguino

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#24 thatpinguino  Staff

@zirilius: I actually found the later half of disc 3 and all of disc 4 to be fascinating the more I've replayed IX. I wrote a whole blog post on how Kuja becomes a really excellent character at the end of disc 3 and another on how the end of Disc 3 and 4 reframe FFIX's story.

I think the modern FF games just show that Square never understood what people liked about the early FF games and its really sad to see. At least the Persona series is still putting on for its city.

@wemibelec90: You really should try turning up the combat speed of FFIX in the main menu. That helps bring it in the vecinity of the other PS1 games when it comes to combat speed. FFIX is still the slowest by far, but it isn't as painful.

@zeik: The ATB meter in FFIX actually fills a lot slower than the other PS1 FF games and there are less chances to speed up your characters in FFIX. Also since characters don't deal ungodly amounts of damage in FFIX battles can last a whole lot longer than in FFVII and VIII (baring the optional bosses like the Weapons). I'm readying myself for an upcoming FFIX speed run (more on that in a few weeks) and the combat speed is a really noticeable difference between VIII and IX.Increasing the game speed in the menu helps, but there is nothing that turbo charges FFIX like junctioning haste to speed does in VIII or Knights of the Round does in VII.

@believer258: Come on duder! You've been dragging your feet about playing FFIX for years now! Give it a shot! It has a 2-player mode so its great to play with a friend.

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Zeik

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@thatpinguino: KotR also took like a day and a half to finish its summon animation.

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thatpinguino

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#26 thatpinguino  Staff

@zeik: Sure, but when it was done the fight was done. The duration of most fights in FFVII are 1 KotR long + random ATB meter fill time once you get KotR. There is no single broken tactic that an ordinary FFIX player would necessarily be privy to that ends battles very quickly. On top of that there is a naturally slow ATB meter.

Those two factors result in FFIX having the slowest combat of the PS1 FF games despite having some of the shortest animations. You could avoid the long animations in VII and VIII and still plow through the game, while IX lacks those shortcuts.

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#27  Edited By Zeik

@thatpinguino: Maybe, but I don't think that makes for well paced combat. It's more than just the literal seconds it takes to complete a fight, it's the flow of the combat and how it feels. Using KotR may technically finish a fight faster, but having to sit through that long unskippable animation where you have no actual interaction with the game makes it feel exponentially longer.

Besides, KotR is a very very late game summon. I think I've only bothered to get it once or twice, given how long it takes to get and how unnecessary it is to beat the game. But even then I think I only used it against one or two of the weapons and the final boss. Using it to finish random encounters would be mind-numbing.

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#28  Edited By thatpinguino  Staff

@zeik: That's certainly is true, but since I started my speed run I've really started to notice how slow FFIX's combat is compared to the other PS1 games. It is mostly due to the low damage ceiling of attacks in FFIX and the slower ATB. FFVII and VIII give you attacks that hit harder and multiple times and FFIX does not. VII and VIII also let you turn your characters into invincible monstrosities and FFIX does not (barring a whole lot of grinding).

FFIX is a much more tactical game than VII and VIII, but that comes at the expense of speed in most cases. In IX your characters need to be appropriately dressed and have the appropriate passive abilities to maximize their damage. In VII and VIII you usually just have to set up your characters a few times to break the game and then reap your rewards till the game ends.

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#29  Edited By Zeik

@thatpinguino: I don't like speed running or making my characters excessively OP, so maybe that's why. Part of the reason I may never bother getting KotR again is that it ultimately just makes the game more boring. When I play games like this I often try to maintain a degree of balance, and I will often ignore anything especially OP if it's game breaking. Maybe that is exactly why I enjoy the combat so much more in 9, as you can push the mechanics to the fullest and the game will still push back. (More or less.)

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#30 thatpinguino  Staff

@zeik: I like to make up rules for each of my runs through a game I've already beaten so that I can have a new experience every time. I've played FFVIII trying to speed run, max my chosen 3 characters, and trying to make every character useful. I've played FFIX with a few different party configurations, in 2 player mode, and I'm speed running now. I love finding new things in games that I've played tons of times.

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