Monday, January 27, 2014

News From The Text Play Front

It's good news for anyone out there who might be a fan of the Text Play feature I've been doing here the last couple years.

I got to messing around with my SNES tonight, and I think I've narrowed down where the problem might be. Whatever the issue is, I think it's in the switch that controls which channel it displays on. I don't know if it's a short, or what the deal is, but it keeps switching itself between channel 3 and channel 4. I can think of several reasons why, but it all comes down to the age of the unit.

I just need to keep in mind that I may need to keep switching between channels as I play. I just wish I'd figured that out before I lost my main file on Lufia and the Fortress of Doom, since I was so looking forward to finishing that game finally.

But now that I've got that figured out, it gives me a few options I'd thought I was out of for at least a while. First and foremost, I may be able to do Final Fantasy 6 now without having to find the PlayStation re-release. This makes me extremely happy for several reasons. FF6 is my second-favorite all time game, after FF4, for starters. I'll save my reasons for that when I finally get started with the playthrough.

Also high on the list is that I might also be able to do Crono Trigger on the SNES instead of the Final Fantasy Chronicles version I acquired not so long ago. I'm glad I bought it, and always will be, if for no other reason than because it's been a learning experience for me. The main thing it's taught me so far is that the remakes and re-releases that Square did for all those games, at least for the current PlayStation consoles of the last decade or so.

On the one hand, the Final Fantasy Origins collection was great. I love what they did with the sound and graphics from the first Final Fantasy, and that there was an easy mode that was a big help in my finally beating it. I've also been playing Final Fantasy II off and on over the course of the couple years since I got Origins. I'm almost done with it. In fact, all I've got left now is the Jade Passage and Pandemonium. It's one of the more difficult games I've ever played, which is kind of why I like it.

On the other hand, Final Fantasy Chronicles is the miss that makes me think these re-releases were very much hit and miss. Final Fantasy IV certainly plays the way I remember from the SNES version, which is a good thing. Of course, they also changed the translation of the dialog so that it reads like more natural English. While it's certainly less awkward in a lot of places, it seems like they made it a little too natural, if that's possible, and I think I prefer the more direct translation from the SNES.

The other disk in that two disk set is Crono Trigger. I honestly don't know how they went about porting this game to the PlayStation format. It seems to me like they just took the coding for this game off a SNES cart and put it as directly as they could onto a PSX disk. The good news is that all the things I liked about the game seem to be intact. The bad news is that there seems to be a lot of latency when transitioning between scenes, especially to and from battles. I liked the anime-style cutscenes they added for this version when I watched HCBailly's Let's Play of it last year, but I don't know if seeing them on my own screen would be worth the other issues I've got with the game.

This also brings back a few more of the titles I've been considering giving a shot for Text Plays, for both the SNES and the PlayStation, since both are apparently still viable options. For the Super Nintendo, I have Secret of Mana, Secret of Evermore, and of course, Breath of Fire, which I'd like to maybe have a second shot at eventually. I also have Final Fantasy Mystic Quest that I could do, but I don't know how good that one would be in text form, since it's a fairly fixed storyline, where there's not a lot of variation that could happen along the way.

For the PlayStaion, I've got Final Fantasy 7, Final Fantasy 8, and Final Fantasy 9 that I might wind up doing at least partial Text Plays of, as well as Breath of Fire III, Vagrant Story, and SaGa Frontier that I'd also like to see how far I could get into.

On the technical side, probably the most important thing I'm going to take away from this is that it's important to have multiple saves of things, just in case fuck-ups like this happen. I may have lost the main file I was playing from when things went nutty, but the half-played game in the second slot seemed just fine.

So anyway, more on the way soon, I hope. I'll have to flip a few coins, make a few decision, and get going on this. And maybe put a little money into getting another PS1 memory card. But that'll come in due time, folks. In due time.

See you then.

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