Retro Gaming 90’s- Suikoden II: (1998)

As far as older RPG titles from the late 90’s are concerned there are various titles that instantly comes to mind to many people who were gamers during that time period. Final Fantasy VII & Final Fantasy VIII which were released between ’97-’99 by Square Enix were classics that arguably overshadowed just every other RPG that appeared on the original PlayStation console back then. While the two Final Fantasy titles that we got to see in the late 90’s were best-sellers for the PS1 game system there were also some memorable gems that were overshadowed on that console as well. There were titles such as Chrono Cross, Xenogears, Star Ocean: The Second Story, Grandia and others that were all concerned to be memorable classics that were critically acclaimed. In addition, to those games Suikoden II was also considered to be top tier RPG from the late 90’s despite its sales. As far as quality was concerned Suikoden II had optimal quality in relation to 2D graphics which ironically may have affected the game’s overall sales following its initial Japanese release in December 1998. When it came down to PS1 games in relation to the mid to late 90’s more people were interested in 3D graphics while 2D gaming was seen as obsolete between ’97-’99.

However, Suikoden II was still a worth successor to its ’95 predecessor which was also developed and published by Konami and released during during that later part of that year. Not only does the plot for Suikoden II follow the events from the first game but also places emphasis on the continuous war between two nations known as Jowston and the Kingdom Of Highland despite the mutual peace agreement between both sides. The main antagonist Prince Luca who obsessed with destroying Jowston orchestrates a massacre on the city-state before him and his force return home with the main protagonist known as Riou and his ally Jowy escaping in the process. After being condemned by Highland for their treachery they both find themselves with two halves of the Rune Of The Beginning which bounds by Riou and Jowy together.

As players progress throughout the game as Riou they eventually are betrayed by Jowey who becomes a top official within the Kingdom Of Highland. While many players may have been upset with Jowy’s betray it made the story somewhat more interesting than the one from the original Suikoden game. In fact, many people agree that Suikoden II is quite possibly the best installment within the series despite the fact that it was released during a time where the popularity 2D RPG’s had briefly declined. If the Suikoden series had started sometime between ’90-’91 opposed to 1995 and it appeared on the Super NES it could have easily been way more popular than it was by the time released in America. Suikoden II was without a doubt one of the best JRPG games that Konami had produced during the 90’s. Sometimes its hard to believe that Suikoden II is over 20 years old; while are expecting a new installment within the series retro gamers would probably prefer seeing this RPG classic ported to current generation game console.

Retro Gaming 90’s- Suikoden: (1995)

When we talk about old school RPG’s which appeared on the PS1 that are considered to be classics from the 90’s there are many titles that comes to mind including the original Suikoden title. For those who do not know Suikoden was initially released in Japan in December ’95 before appearing in America a year in late ’96. The original Suikoden title eventually appeared on Sega Saturn in ’98 but remained as a Japanese exclusive since that console was not as popular as the PS1. Suikoden was arguably one of the best JRPG’s Konami has ever made in relation to the 90’s and this was a time period where the world saw many high profile 2D titles within the RPG genre. Square Enix had Final Fantasy IV-VI Sega had the Phantasy Star and the Shining series while Capcom had Breath Of Fire. Suikoden has well detailed 2D graphics and a compelling storyline that would easily capture the interest of players. The plot for the game revolves around the main character who is the son of a top general from the Scarlett Moon Empire name Teo McDohl. Throughout, the game players see the unnamed protagonist learn the truth about the Scarlett Moon Empire in relation to corruption among the top officials while starting their career within Imperial Army.

One of the main themes that Suikoden emphasizes is rebellion since the hero joins forces with other characters such as Viktor who was apart of an organization that are also against the corrupt Scarlett Moon Empire. After being enlisted within the Liberation Army by its leader Odessa Silverberg players can recruit over 100 different characters/warriors to support the hero’s cause in relation to combating the Scarlett Moon Empire. The gameplay follows a traditional RPG format in relation to battles where players can have up to six characters in a party during battles. The Runes magic system was unique especially since certain circumstances and conditions would determine what type attacks & spells players could utilize. The battle system in Suikoden was robust especially considering the fact that players could either engage in one on one duels versus war battles were the commands for each are different.

Some might argue that Suikoden was game that was ahead of its time and arguably better some 2D Final Fantasy games from the early 90’s despite not being quite as popular as FF VI-IV. If Suikoden was released for the Super NES back in ’95 some could argue that the game would stood out more than it did for the PS1. However, the Super NES was starting to get old in ’95 and more gamers from Japan and America started to become more interested in the 32-bit PS1 console since it was more superior in quality. Either way, Suikoden is still considered to be a legendary JRPG which has been around for approximately 24 years now and has spawned a series of direct sequels up until 2006.

Retro Gaming 90’s- WCW Nitro: (1998)

As far as pro wrestling is concerned in relation to the 90’s WCW Nitro was one of the most popular television shows of that time period along the likes of Monday Night Raw. As far as ratings were concerned WCW Nitro was many people who were fans of pro wrestling between 1997-1999 were on the edge of their seats during the Monday Night Wars. Between ’97-’99 Monday Nitro was considered to be very popular especially after the formation of the nWo in July 1996 consisting of Hollywood Hogan, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. As the nWo stable became more popular ratings started to skyrocket on WCW Monday Nitro which was broadcasted on TNT during late 90’s. As far as viewership is concerned many people would argue that 1997-1998 was the best years that WCW had. For a majority of ’98 WCW Monday Nitro had higher ratings than WWF Raw Is War up until around November of that year.

The WCW Nitro video game was pretty cool despite not being quite as popular as WCW/nWo Revenge for the Nintendo 64. WCW Nitro had a stacked all-star roster with big names such Hollywood Hogan, Ric Flair, Sting, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Bret Hart, Scott Hall, Diamond Dallas Page, Lex Luger, The Giant, Eddy Guerrero and many others. The inclusion of game modes such as single player tournament and a versus mode were features that people liked along with the fact that each character had their own move set. The ability to unlock secret characters by utilizing cheat codes or playing through tournament mode was also added to its replay value despite the not having entrances for any of the wrestlers. The characters rants from the top wrestlers in the game were also quite entertaining possibly even more than the WCW/nWo Thunder game which came out for the PS1 and the N64 in 1999. When it came down to pro-wrestling games in general THQ had produced many memorable titles and some would definitely argue that WCW Nitro was one of them.

The 20th Anniversary of Final Fantasy VIII!!!

As far as gaming is concerned today is a very special day especially for those who have been long time fans of the Final Fantasy series since the late 90’s. It was on February 11th back in 1999 where Final Fantasy VIII was released on the PS1. Final Fantasy VIII was the highly anticipated sequel of the critically acclaimed Final Fantasy VII game Square Enix released for the PS1 console that was released back in 1997. While Final Fantasy VII ended up becoming the second best selling PS1 title reaching over 9.7 million units worldwide Final Fantasy VIII was not quite as popular as its predecessor. However, Final Fantasy VIII was still very successful and managed to reach over 7.8 million units in sales on the PS1 while becoming the seventh best selling game on the 32-bit console during the late 90’s.

The multi-disk FFVIII game is one that many people have wanted to see receive an HD remake for two decades now and its uncertain on whether or not Square Enix plans on making it a reality. While a series of Final Fantasy games are expected to on the Nintendo Switch including FFVII, FFX, FF Crystal Chronicles and FFXII there has been no talk of FFVIII being ported to the Nintendo Switch. Hopefully, Square Enix will do something special with Final Fantasy VIII within the next year or so especially since the demand of a remastered version of the game is high among those who are huge fans of the series in general.

Did the NES have a bigger cult following than the the PS1?

When we think about some of the most iconic video games consoles to have emerged within the past 30 years there are many names that comes to mind especially the Nintendo Entertainment System which came out in 1983 and the PS1 which came out in ’94. Both game consoles were very popular within their respective decades considering the fact that the NES went on to sell over 61 million units worldwide since its release in the 80’s. While the NES was considered to be the best selling game console of the 80’s the PS1 was considered to be most popular game system of the 90’s since it reached over 102 million units worldwide in sales. Despite, the fact that the PS1 ended up selling more than the NES overall it seems like the NES is considered a more memorable console due the catchy chiptune soundtracks that we have heard in titles such as Mega Man I-III, Castlevania I-III and more.

While the PS1 obviously had more superior visuals and sound fonts in relation to soundtrack development the chiptune sound of the NES required a ton of creativity to make masterpieces in relation to BGM. Also, Mario who is arguably the biggest name in gaming history is just as popular now as he was back in the 80’s despite the fact that the platform genre of gaming has declined in popularity over the past two decades. Even though, some of the greatest video games ever made such as Final Fantasy VII came from the PS1 the console itself dies not seem as iconic as the NES.

Would Sony have been better off making HD versions of PS1 Classic games instead?

As many people know the PS1 Classic was released back on December 12th with at least 20 exciting classics such as Tekken 3, Twisted Metal, Metal Gear Solid and others. While it was cool to get a re-release of the 32-bit game system with at least 20 pre-loaded games it received mixed to negative reviews since it came out which does not come off as too much of a surprise. In this day and age many place emphasis on visuals in relation to gaming which especially been true during this generation with consoles such as the PlsyStation 4 and the Xbox One. While high quality 3D visuals that utilizes powerful game engines such as Unreal are attractive today the basic beta-like 3D gameplay for the PS1 Classic looks highly outdated because it is.

In fact, a set of disks that included HD versions of each game that was included on the PS1 Classic may have been a better alternative than re-releasing a retro based console with 20 pre-loaded games from the mid to late 90’s that were inferior in quality compared to what we have now. Overall, the PS1 Classic may not have lived up to everyone’s expectations but its nice that Sony gave us something in relation to 90’s nostalgia.

Would Chrono Cross have been a huge attraction on the PS1 Classic?

When we think about huge games that could have been big on PS1 Classic titles such as Chrono Trigger and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night are games that instantly comes to mind. Its very puzzling why such games were never included on the PS1 Classic especially considering how popular they were during the mid 90’s. In fact, games such as Chrono Cross which is considered to be a highly underrated RPG from 1999 would have been a better choice for the PS1 Classic that some of the titles that we got such as Cool Boarders 2. For those who do not know Chrono Cross is was the direct sequel of the Chrono Cross game which was initially released for the SNES back in ’95.

Despite, receiving positive from critics following its release the Chrono series had declined in popularity by the ’98-’99 time period. Chrono Cross did not sell too well at all and many people in countries like America never got a chance to play it. While Chrono Cross may not have been a huge attraction on PS1 Classic such as the likes of Tekken 3 and Final Fantasy VII it would have definitely of been nice to see an underrated RPG gem like Chrono Cross on the retro based 32-bit console.