With all the new releases, it’s easy to get caught up in the appeal of shiny graphics and fast online multiplayer. However, re-releases and eshops are also great for giving newer players access to beloved older games. For those who are looking to take a dive into history, here are a couple of games to check out.
An RPG classic from the SNES. Players take on the role of Ness, a young boy woken up by a strange event from space. From there, he must set out on a journey across a parody of America, collecting friends and defeating strange enemies in ultimate pursuit of ridding the world of the frightening Pigmasks.
Ultimately, the most lovely part of the game is its balance between humor and heart. The game has a childish sense of humor, with everything from piles of barf to cultists obsessed with the color blue. Through it all, though, it has a childish heart, in the most lovely sense of the word. At the beginning of the game, you leave behind Ness’ mother. Through the game, he gets homesick, and must touch in with her every once in a while. The notes you form on your journey string together to make a mother’s lullaby, which ultimately pacifies an upset child. When all is said and done, you get a post game that is quiet and sweet.
Earthbound is available for the SNES and Wii U virtual console.
A cult hit for the PS1, Suikoden lets the player take on the role of a hero who rises to have an entire army under his command. After surviving a near-death experience in which the hero’s entire brigade is wiped out, players must collect party members and eventually oppose the evil prince responsible for the deed. That is a mighty task, considering there are over one hundred potential party members scattered about the realm. The whole thing is connected with a wonderfully well-written story about the pursuit of peace, with a surprising amount of the cast very well fleshed out.
Also, you get to be an Iron Chef.
Suikoden II was recently released on the PlayStation Network. The first one (which isn’t needed to enjoy the sequel) is available for download for PS3/Vita.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
A timeless classic for the Nintendo 64, one of the most beloved of the long-running Legend of Zelda series. Players take on the role of the future Hero of Time, more commonly known as “Link” (the Zelda of legend is in fact the princess of the land). Tasked with a great destiny, he is pushed out of his childhood forest home and finds he must defeat the king of evil, Ganondorf. In his journey, he comes across the Master Sword, which enables him to explore the land of Hyrule in two different time periods.
Through it all, players explore many a dungeon to gain the tools to save the realm. Most important is the ocarina of the title, whose songs spark magic changes in the environment.
Ocarina of Time is available for the Nintendo 64, GameCube, and 3DS. The GameCube version is a direct port of the N64 original, but the 3DS is a full remake, which includes some tweaking, including an alteration of what was once a famously annoying water temple.
The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
Another famous Zelda title, this is a sequel to Ocarina of Time. Missing his fairy guide from the first game, Link, still a child, ventures into the land of Termia. The land is in its last days, as a giant moon hangs ominously in the sky. In three days, the moon will crash into the land, killing everyone. As you explore the doomed land, you meet the Happy Mask Salesman. His wares can help Link by allowing him to transform into other creatures. You travel through the five lands, encountering many troubled characters.
The sequel is less heroic than its predecessor. It’s very focused on grief. Each land you encounter has characters dealing with grief, in different ways. There is no kingdom to save, but fulfillment comes through helping the characters you come to care about.
Majora’s Mask is available for the Nintendo 64 and Wii. Like Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask is going to be released on 3DS soon.