Of all the gifts Chrono Trigger gave the Japanese RPG genre, New Game+ is probably its most endearing and enduring. This mode — which unlocks when you’ve beaten the game once — allows you to replay the game using your previously-powered up characters, and most of their equipment (minus items related to plot beats). It’s a brilliant way to re-experience the game, and encourages multiple play throughs in search of new endings.
Chrono Trigger’s divisive sequel, Chrono Cross, carried over this feature, but, due to many of its design choices, New Game+ is not nearly as compelling as it was…
Nobody likes to throw up at school.
But even if I could travel back in time to that fateful morning in early 1996, I wouldn’t change a thing.
I arrived at school groggy-eyed from staying up all night slugging coffee and working on Chrono Trigger fanfic. (Don’t ask me why a 12 year old was allowed to drink coffee all night, ask my parents.) My grade seven teacher had told us to create a sequel to Madeleine L’Engle’s classic fantasy novel, A Swiftly Tilting Planet. …
Sea of Stars is an upcoming turn-based RPG from Sabotage Studio, the makers of 2018’s The Messenger. It caught my attention early on thanks to the studio’s pedigree, and the obvious inspiration it takes from golden age Japanese RPGs like Chrono Trigger.
Sea of Stars launched with a huge Kickstarter campaign, and one of the tiers included access to a recently-released demo covering about two hours of the game. Thanks to Sabotage Studio and Sea of Star’s creative director, Thierry Boulanger, I was able to play through the demo on stream last week, and had an absolute blast.
“Suikoden” and “Eiyuden Chronicle” don’t exactly roll off the tongue the same way “Final Fantasy” and “Dragon Quest” do, but these Japanese RPGs from Yoshitaka Murayama represent an important place in both the history and future of the genre.
In the days before Final Fantasy VII, the Sony PlayStation was full of Japanese RPGs modelled off the 16-bit formula popularized by games like Final Fantasy VI, Phantasy Star IV, and Chrono Trigger. Before Cloud and Sephiroth revolutionized the genre and brought cinematic storytelling to gaming’s forefront, Japanese RPGs like the original Suikoden — and its contemporaries like Wild Arms and…
In my debut on the Hugo Award-nominated Nerds of a Feather, I’ve got some deep dive impressions into the first several hours of Breath of Fire IV. Released during the PlayStation’s final months, Breath of Fire IV is a throwback to the way Japanese RPGs were on the Super Nintendo, with gorgeous sprite work, a stellar cast, and fun battles. It ain’t perfect, though. It’s held back from classic status by a combination of clunky, four-directional controls and an obtuse camera that makes navigating its tight environments nearly impossible.
I’ve made no secret about how Magic: The Gathering — a hugely popular trading card game with origins in the early ‘90s — has impacted me as a writer, gamer, and creator. More than Tolkien, more than Final Fantasy, Magic is responsible for setting me on a lifelong obsession with Fantasy. Over on VentureBeat, I had the opportunity to dig into Magic’s 20+ year history as a digital card game — from early attempts to replicate the tabletop experience, to zany arcade offshoots, to its recent move into the eSports scene with Arena.
It’s not often I get to combine…
Spoiler warning: This piece contains open spoilers for Final Fantasy VII Remake’s first five chapters and the entirety of the original Final Fantasy VII.
Few games have changed their respective genre as much as the surprise 1997 PlayStation hit Final Fantasy VII. It released to a market broadly unfamiliar with Japanese RPGs — with most of the genre’s popularity relegated to a small but passionate fan base that had enjoyed the likes of Chrono Trigger on the Super Nintendo and Phantasy Star IV on the Sega Genesis. Final Fantasy VII features a large meteor in its logo, and, like a…
Remakes are super hot right now. From the huge success of Final Fantasy VII Remake to Switch re-releases of the Bioshock trilogy, game publishers are leveraging nostalgia to sell old games to both new and longtime fans. One of the most surprising is Square Enix’s Trials of Mana for the Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. Based on the 1995 game of the same name, Trials of Mana is a from-the-ground-up remake that attempts to capture the magic of one of the Super Nintendo’s most impressive — and elusive — games.
Who doesn’t love a good fan theory?
(Besides George R.R. Martin because it makes finishing his series so much more difficult.)
Fans have been speculating about their favourite books, films, and TV shows for decades, and gaming is no different. From theories about Majora’s Mask and the five stages of grief, to the indoctrination of Mass Effect’s Commander Shepard, to companion cubes being full of people, there’s no shortage of crazy theories concocted by fans to fill plot holes.
Japanese RPGs like the Final Fantasy series and Masato Kato’s work on Chrono Cross and Xenogears offer some of the most…
I still remember the first time that I saw a Japanese Roleplaying Game (JRPG). Like many people of my generation, it was a Final Fantasy game, though not one so obvious as the original Final Fantasy on NES ,the Super Nintendo’s Final Fantasy VI, or the megalithic Final Fantasy VII on PlayStation. It was Final Fantasy Legend II in all of its monochromatic glory on the Nintendo Game Boy.