Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII

Crisis Core - Final Fantasy VII - PSP

I am an unabashed fan of Final Fantasy. I haven’t played all of them – but I’ve played and beaten quite a few of them over the years – starting with Final Fantasy on the old NES. I was one of the many who had a first day of release copy of Final Fantasy VII and like many thought it was the best game I had ever played at the time. Years later, it’s story and game mechanics are among my most fond gaming memories. So when I heard that a prequel was coming out, I was really excited. That excitement was a bit tempered however when I saw my traditional RPG turn-based systems turned into a more live action game during trailers. I’m happy to say those particular fears proved to be unfounded.

Graphics: 9

Crisis Core - Final Fantasy VII - PSP

The in-game engine is good, you don’t suffer any breakup and the full motion video scenes that the Final Fantasy series have become well-known for hold up beautifully on the small screen. Don’t let the fact that this is a PSP game fool you – it holds up very nicely in both artistic direction and execution.

Sound and Music: 8.5

Crisis Core - Final Fantasy VII - PSP

The voice acting was good, though many of the sounds were a bit repetitive after awhile. Final Fantasy games are known for their quality music and this one while not among the best from the series, is still pretty good. I found the combat theme to be surprisingly catchy.

Gameplay: 7

Crisis Core - Final Fantasy VII - PSP

Sometimes deaths feel cheap. The actual action-oriented combat works well; certainly better than I expected. My biggest complaint from this department though was the camera. Sometimes I just could not get it into a good position, especially in narrow spaces. Also, the combat was a bit predictable in terms of how it was triggered. In earlier games, most combat occurred at random while walking. In later Final Fantasy games you are on an active field with enemies you can engage or try to avoid. Here? It’s things like intersecting hallways that trigger the usually-random group of monsters you fight. You find yourself hugging the walls awkwardly, battling the camera angles if you’re in an area where you don’t want to fight. It’s not all bad though. The action comes in perfectly sized smaller chunks that fit with the handheld platform. I had played this game for nearly a year on and off. I’d just pick it up some days when I had fifteen minutes to kill and do a few missions. The PSP is not one of my primary systems, so its games tend to get neglected, but this one’s content felt just right for on-the-go gaming.

Intangibles: 9.5

Crisis Core - Final Fantasy VII - PSP

There is a ton to do. The main storyline itself is not terribly long, but there are a bunch of side options to chew up your time. There’s missions that unlock over time or when certain criteria are met. There’s a fusion system in place that lets you upgrade items and materia (think of them as magic, skills and stat boosts). You get emails throughout the game from characters as well. There’s a handful of mini-games tucked in there as well throughout the storyline. To top it all off? There’s a New Game+ mode as well – always a favorite discovery of mine.

Overall: 8.5

To date this was probably my favorite PSP game. The characters and world were sentimental favorites of mine. The overall production values were high. All of this was expected. The unexpected? That the action-based combat would work so well. That using one character throughout the game instead of a party would feel so involving. That you don’t collect experience and level up in traditional fashion, but that levels, boosts and special attacks are all managed through a perpetually running slot-machine like system that augments the action itself. Last but not least? The ending is fantastic. After I beat the game, I was just really taken with the ending and did some searching on the topic online. I was not alone in my sentiments there. A lot of people out there list it as their favorite ending ever. Mine? Maybe not, but probably top 10 to date, and getting there was a blast.

Chrono Trigger comes to Android

Chrono Trigger - Android

Chrono Trigger comes to Android

The classic RPG Chrono Trigger is available now for the Android on the Google Play store for $9.99. Originally created by Yuji Horii and Akira Toriyama creators of Dragon Quest and Dragon Ball, this version will contain two additional areas found in the Nintendo DS version of the game.

Chrono Trigger - Android - Gameplay screenshot

Developed and published by Sqaure the story features a chance encounter amid the festivities of Guardia’s Millennial Fair in Leene Square and introduces our young hero, Crono, to a girl by the name of Marle.

Deciding to explore the fair together, the two soon find themselves at an exhibition of the Telepod, the latest invention by Crono’s longtime friend Lucca.

Chrono Trigger - Android - Gameplay screenshot

Marle, fearless and brimming with curiosity, volunteers to assist in a demonstration. An unanticipated malfunction, however, sends her hurtling through a rift in the dimensions.

Taking hold of the girl’s pendant, Crono bravely follows in pursuit. But the world into which he emerges is the one of four centuries before…

Journey to the forgotten past, the distant future, and even to the very End of Time. The epic quest to save a planet’s future makes history once again.

Chrono Trigger - Android - Gameplay screenshot

Game features include:

The Dimensional Vortex: A mysterious, ever-changing dungeon existing outside of space and time.

The Lost Sanctum: Enigmatic gates in prehistoric and medieval times will lead you to these forgotten chambers.

Intuitive touch screen controls make it easier than ever to navigate this vast world of adventure.

Chrono Trigger - Android - Gameplay screenshot

Graphics optimized especially for Android.

Combine the powers of your party members to unleash two- and three-person combos.

Over fifty combinations in all offer players numerous options and in-depth combat!

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMy3M_vgDt4[/youtube]

Final Fantasy III Coming to PSN

Final Fantasy 3

Final Fantasy III Coming to PSN

Fans of the classic Final Fantasy series will soon be able to play FF3 on their PSP. Final Fantasy 3 was originally released in 1990 by Square and was the first of the series to offer the job system. You start out as freelancers and over time will be able to learn one of 23 different jobs.

Final Fantasy 3 - gameplay screenshot

Now there will be some enchantments for the PSP version including optimized graphics for the 16:9 screen, an image gallery, and an option to switch to the original background music. Also included will be an auto-battle system that doubles the speed of in game combat.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bh9FKDHeGAw[/youtube]

Final Fantasy III will be available Tuesday September 25th on the PlayStation Network.

Parasite Eve

Parasite Eve - PSOne - Box

Parasite Eve showed that Squaresoft were more than capable of making action RPGs with brand new elements and intriguing story lines. The games cut scenes are outrageous, for instance the part where the rat turns into a freak monster just blew me away! It still did when I finally got to see it again. The gameplay and storyline does evolve as you get through the game like others which will keep you coming back for more.

Parasite Eve - Gameplay Screenshot

The sound track for this game is also very nicely done. As this is a game that takes place in more of our time than in the past(Final Fantasy 3) or the future(Final Fantasy 7) the game is just very enjoyable. The battle scenes are well made and gives you a chance to come up with your own strategy. Enemies will have hit patterns where they will hit you while you are moving but you will need to tap the pad in order to avoid these attacks. In other words, it makes you battle for your life! You also get a chance to upgrade your gun, since you being a cop and all, must have a good kick ass gun! The battle also uses a meter system where the meter has to be full in order to needs to fill up in order for you to attack.

Parasite Eve - Gameplay Screenshot

 

This game is highly suggested for those of you players looking for something different but with a familiar taste at the same time. I also recommend the sequel and well I think I also heard that part 3 is finally being worked on so that’s something good to hear, although I don’t have any next gen console, I’ll probably miss out on this one. Like usual, I won’t give much details in order to keep the spoilers to a minimum because that just spoils that fun huh? Pick it up as it’s a very affordable game on ebay and well try to visit your local pawn shops or flea markets because you might just find it there.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-tb9lpYIS-U[/youtube]

Final Fantasy II

Final Fantasy 2 - snes - Gameplay Screenshot
Final Fantasy II for the SNES is the reason why I started playing RPGs altogether. The storyline shocked me at times and gave me joy at others but I can say this is one of the best games for the 16-bit console. The game is your average turn based role playing game which were really huge back then and are still quite popular nowadays. Final Fantasy II is unique in a couple of things such as the ability to have up to five members in your party and the active battle system it withholds. When I say five characters is unique is because it really was unique since very few games would let you have five members in your party at any point. Most role playing games would let you have up to three or four. It was quite something to have five and I think it all helped demonstrate the power of the SNES in its early run.

Final Fantasy 2 - snes - Gameplay Screenshot

The active battle system is what it stands for. The monsters won’t wait for your turn to attack, they’ll just keep attacking whether you attacked or not so be sure to make your decision on an attack as soon as you can. It’s very vital for your survival to be able to attack quickly and successfully as fast as you can. So moving on, this game’s story line is also something to enjoy. There is betrayal, change, and love all put into one cartridge. What’s not to love? It’s one of the best RPGs for the SNES period! The game is packed with a lot of peculiar characters and the usual Final Fantasy touch although I have to admit the Final Fantasy touch died years ago especially if you have played the latest Final Fantasy. What a sad reality we are having nowadays, that’s one of the reasons I stick with retro gaming and there are more to talk in that matter but I’ll leave it for another time.

Final Fantasy 2 - snes - Gameplay Screenshot

 

The game starts you off on a mission with Cecil, the dark knight and Kain, the dragoon. These two friends will soon find out they were tricked by the king on destroying a peaceful town and then separated against their own will. Don’t worry though, they’ll eventually meet up again but I don’t want to give away any more spoilers, that would be just awful. Nevertheless, the game is packed with a long enchanting adventure and a wonderful music score. You know it’s a good score especially when you keep playing the tunes on your head hours after putting down the control pad. The difficulty of the game is moderate as there are parts of the game that you’ll need to level up in mega-old school style. It’s quite fun to this day as you learn new spells and increase your attack against monsters that used to beat you easily. The tables will eventually turn.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CH1oWbo7GZw[/youtube]

To conclude, this game is something to be a part of and it would be a sin not to play it. Give it a try, it’s quite good. If you aren’t into all the retro look then I suggest you pick up the remake for the Nintendo DS as it’s in full 3D but if you ask me, I prefer the original look. eBay is a good place to pick up the game although it’ll be quite pricey. You can also go for the cheaper alternative and get the GBA port of Final Fantasy 2 which they renamed it to the original number Final Fantasy 4. You have many different alternatives to this game so I suggest you pick them up and enjoy the awesomeness Square used to offer.

Obsolete Intros: Final Fantasy Tactics

Final Fantasy Tactics logo
Final Fantasy Tactics logo

A true fan favorite, FFT incorporates a battle system that is not found within the RPG. While the turn base battle system is still in place the world is a series of tiles where the player moves toward the enemy.  Your actions are based on your class and you can choose various roles from the Final Fantasy world including black and white mages, summoner’s and thieves.

Your story takes place in Ivalice after a long standing war with its two neighboring nations. Not only are you dealing with rebuilding, but economic and political issues as well. After the death of the king a regent is put into place splitting the kingdoms allegiance in two which leads to the Lion War. Your main character is Ramza Beoulve a highborn cadet who finds himself in the middle of the war.

The Interview: Steve Gray

Steve Gray
Steve Gray

Steve Gray

When you have a gaming resume with names like Electronic Arts, Squaresoft and THQ there is little doubt that you know gaming. Obsolete Gamer was given the opportunity to talk with Steve Gray about his gaming career that started with EA Canada his time at Squaresoft and his work on Parasite eve. From there he created his own studio (Heavy Iron) which he sold to THQ in 1999. From there he returned to EA where he worked on many games including The Two Towers, The Return of the King, The Third Age and Tactics. Currently Steve Gray is the executive in charge of production at Tencent who is China’s largest developer and publisher and operator of online games.

We wanted to get a behind the scenes look at his time in the gaming industry and his many accomplishments from his work in Video FX to building the first Motion Capture Lab at EA Canada.

EA Canada logo
EA Canada logo

Obsolete Gamer: When did you know you would want to work in the video game industry?

Steve Gray: I originally wanted to be a Rock Star (just like Tremmel) and I played the clubs a lot in LA and up and down the California coast.  At that time I also worked in the feature film special effects business.  Which I continued to do until the early 90’s when I was VP Technology at Digital Domain (that’s when we made True Lies, Interview with the Vampire, Apollo 13, …).  When the PS1 came out I decided I really wanted to get into video games instead.

Obsolete Gamer: What was your first exposure to games?

Steve Gray: Asteroids in the arcades.

Obsolete Gamer: What was the first video game that hooked you?

Steve Gray: Asteroids in the arcades!!

Obsolete Gamer: Now before beginning work in the gaming industry you had quite the career in Visual Effects and working in television and movies can you tell us about that time?

Steve Gray: I worked at Robert Abel & Associates when I first moved to LA (to be a Rock Star).  Entry Level Rock Star doesn’t pay very well, actually… not at all.  RA&A worked on Tron, Star Trek 1, and a ton of really cool CG TV commercials.  Also with Omnibus and Digital Pictures we were really the first big CG effects house.  It was a great place to work, everyone was really young and crazy… we worked super hard, partied super hard.  It was a good time… late 80’s in LA was a fun time and place.  Guns and Roses was playing the clubs, the Sunset Strip was rockin’.  Then I went on to work at Rhythm & Hues as head of the Software department.  We wrote all our own CG tools then, because there really weren’t any commercially available packages yet.  I mostly wrote partical systems and rendering code, along with managing the team.  After R&H I moved over to Digital Domain, which was a lot of crazy house.  But we worked on really great movies… and working with Stan Winston and Jim Cameron was pretty amazing.

Obsolete Gamer: So you began the video game part of your career at Electronic Arts Canada, how did that job come to be?

Steve Gray: Digital Domain wanted to get into the video games business… so me and Chris McKibbin (then CFO of DD – different Chris than Chris Tremmel) went around to all the big game companies in the US and Japan trying to get someone to do a project with us… no one really wanted to do that because they (rightly) said we had no idea what we were doing.  Don Mattrick offered me and McKibbin both jobs at EAC.  So we thought about that and both took his offer.

Obsolete Gamer: What was it like working at EA Canada?

Steve Gray: It was really interesting. I learned a lot there.  A lot of really talented guys.  But unfortunately I discovered that making sports games wasn’t really my thing.

Obsolete Gamer: What did you think of the changing in video game technology at the time with the PlayStation One and the use of full motion video in games?

Steve Gray: We all though FMVs in games were super cool.  And actually I eventually built a game at my own company Heavy Iron that used FMV backgrounds in a “Resident Evil” type of game… except our backgrounds were pre-rendered videos instead of pre-rendered stills.  But that was on PS2.  It was the first Evil Dead game that THQ released.  But fundamentally I now think that FMVs kind of suck.  Or at least over use of FMVs kind of suck.  I like what we did in “Lord of the Rings The Third Age” with the transitions from FMV to In-Game Cinematic to Game Play.  And I’m definitely more of a fan of in-game cinematics now, especially if the player can customize his or her avatar, and that customized avatar shows up in the In-Game Cinematic.  But in general, I’m not a huge fan of linear content in games anymore.  Of course, working at Square we made tons of FMVs… but Square’s console RPGs are almost more of a big movie with some game play bits squeezed in there.   Which I still like.

Obsolete Gamer: What were the day to day activities of running the software tools group at EA Canada?

Steve Gray: Not really that interesting.  Just managed the tools group, tried to make sure that we really built things that were useful for the projects right now… no “ivory tower research” allowed.

Obsolete Gamer: Can you tell us about building the first Motion Capture Lab at EAC?

Steve Gray: In the beginning the EAC guys didn’t believe in it so we had basically no budget and had to rent out the auto-repair stall to use as our capture studio.  The guys in the auto repair shops around us all through we must be shooting porno movies because we brought in all this high-end camera gear… they kept wanting to know when the girls were going to be there.  Unfortunately it was just a bunch of geeky game developers.  Later we got a bigger a much nicer warehouse to work in…

Squaresoft logo
Squaresoft logo

Obsolete Gamer: How did the transition from EAC to Squaresoft take place?

Steve Gray: I knew some Square guys from various places in the past, plus I’ve always been a fan of their games.  When Sakaguchi-san asked me to join the company I couldn’t say yes fast enough.   Some of the other guys at Square invited me to Tokyo to meet Sakaguchi and we were in a private booth overlooking the massive dance club called “Welfare”, he asked me to join square and put out his hand… I shook it and the other Japanese guys asked me “do you know you just signed the deal”, to which I answered “yes”!!

Obsolete Gamer: Do you have a story or memory you’d like to share about your time at EAC?

Steve Gray: I think the day we installed the flying-faders audio mixing board in the sound lab was the best day.  Back then those things were super crazy expensive, and as a musician I’d always wanted to have one to play with.

Obsolete Gamer: What was it like working at Squaresoft?

Steve Gray: Working at Square was the best of times and in some ways the worst of times.  Working with Sakaguchi-san was extremely challenging because his standards are insanely high.  Which is a good thing, but it can be tough.  Also the cultural and language differences between the Japanese and Western teams we not really understood or managed very well.  I’m sure we were one of the first projects to be developed by a “mixed” team.  Of course now this is happening more and more, and people have gotten much better at managing those situations, but we were really on the bleeding edge, so to speak.

Obsolete Gamer: What were some of the challenges in directing Parasite Eve?

Steve Gray: The biggest issues were really finding consensus and understanding between the Japanese crew, many of whom had been at Square for many years and were used to their style of working… which was actually very “agile” though they didn’t call it that.  The Western team was much more into what’s now referred to as Waterfall project management… which we didn’t call it that either.  We didn’t really think about this sort of thing, and didn’t understand the differences, and basically made a big mess.  But the game did quite well when it came out, so that’s great!

Obsolete Gamer: Now the game was a sequel to the book correct?

Steve Gray: The game wasn’t a sequel really, it was based on a Japanese novel.  There is also a Japanese movie based on the same book… with some cool VFX from Toyo Links (Japanese VFX company).

Obsolete Gamer: There are many fans who loved that game, but some felt it did not get the attention it deserved, do you feel that way as well?

Steve Gray: It sold over 2.5 million units world wide I think, and sold something like 1.6 million units in like a week in Japan or something crazy like that.  Not quite Final Fantasy numbers, but pretty good.  I’m happy with it.

Obsolete Gamer: What did you think of Parasite Eve 2?

Steve Gray: I think the graphics and FMVs are probably better… I haven’t really played it all the way through, so I don’t have a lot to say about the game.  I was a little bitter with the way things ended up at Square, so I cop’ed an attitude and only played it a bit.

Obsolete Gamer: There were rumors of making a Parasite Eve 3 but it did not happen would you want to see a part 3 made?

Steve Gray: Only if I make it!!!  I don’t know.  Don’t really care.  I don’t think the franchise really took off enough to warrent a whole long series of games.

Parasite Eve box
Parasite Eve box

Obsolete Gamer: You also contributed to Final Fantasy 7 while at Square, can you tell us about that?

Steve Gray: Mostly I just helped another team at Square LA work on some maps.   Square LA did a bunch of maps for FF VII.  I don’t remember how many or what percentage of the total maps were done there.

Obsolete Gamer: Do you have a story or memory you’d like to share about your time at Square?

Steve Gray: Ha.  The stories I have to share involve other Square employees, cute Japanese girls at various locations in Tokyo at night.  They are not fit for public consumption… so I’ll let you guys imagine some of the trouble we got into.

Obsolete Gamer: What made you want to open your own game development company?

Steve Gray: After we finished PE1 at Square, a core group of us thought we were super badass game developers and that publishing companies would fall over themselves to give us projects and money.  That was not entirely true.  We worked on a bunch of games that never saw the light of day, and then finally landed the gig with THQ building Evil Dead 1.

Obsolete Gamer: Can you tell us about Heavy Iron Studios?

Steve Gray: It was originally called Chemistry Entertainment.  For a while we partnered with the Canadian VFX Company called Rainmaker.  Heavy Iron didn’t really 100% work out as we hoped.  But a bunch of really great people worked there, many of whom have gone on to successful careers in the game industry… for example my partner Marcel Samek went on to be CTO at EALA for many years.  Shiraz Akmal ran the central outsourcing group at THQ… Matt Coohill continued to work at Heavy Iron for a long time, and is now up in Seattle at Microsoft working cool stuff there.  And many others…

Obsolete Gamer: How did it differ from running your own company than working at EAC and SS?

Steve Gray: We had no money.  I didn’t really like running my own company that much… I thought it would give me the freedom to work on the kinds of projects I really like.  But instead I got to be an administrator and was always managing cash flow and trying to make payroll.  Not cool.

Obsolete Gamer: When did you make the decision to sell to THQ?

Steve Gray: When we were starting on Evil Dead 1, it was going to be one of the biggest projects THQ had ever done… and they really wanted to have us be part of THQ so that they would be building equity in the team.  And honestly, Marcel and I were a bit tired of managing the company instead of making games, so we decided to join THQ.  Of course, we also got paid some money (stock).  When I left THQ, their stock was at an all-time high… this was a good thing.

Obsolete Gamer: Do you have a story or memory you’d like to share about your time with Heavy Iron Studios?

Steve Gray: When we were finalizing Evil Dead, I was basically living at the office.  We had a group of THQ QA guys in the first floor, and they would find bugs, we’d fix them… I’d burn new test disks… they bang away at them.  It was a crazy project.  But then many things I’ve worked on have been crazy and hard… but that’s what makes it fun.

Obsolete Gamer: Then it was a return to EA what was that like?

Steve Gray: I came back to EA to join my original Digital Domain friend, Chris McKibbin, to help run what was called the “Worlds Channel” in EA.com.  We were all the entertainment products, meaning all the MMOs.  I guess younger readers may not know about EA.com – EA.com was EA’s first big jump into online games, and think we were a bit ahead of the times… EA.com didn’t work out, and got closed down, and many of the people merged back into the other EA Studios.  That was pretty rough because many people were also laid off, and as one of the senior guys there it fell to me to do a lot of layoffs.  But it’s lame to feel bad for yourself in that situation because it’s 100x worse for the people getting laid off.

Obsolete Gamer: Can you tell us about the development process with creating the Lord of the Rings games?

Steve Gray: We kicked some serious ass on Lord of the Rings.  First out at Stormfront, then internally at EA Redwood Shores.  Those were great games, beautiful games, built on very tight schedules under difficult circumstances and they were really good.  I credit my time and Square and my experiences working with Sakaguchi for my ability to really focus on quality… and of course, Neil Young was a great EP on the first two, I learned a lot working with him as well.  I have very happy memories of that time… though I did get diss’ed pretty hard in the infamous “EA Wife” blog.  I think our FMV->game play transition stuff which I mentioned earlier was a first for the industry, and we really set the standard for quality in movie games… a standard that has rarely been met since, in my opinion.

Heavy Iron logo
Heavy Iron logo

Obsolete Gamer: How did your experience with EAC, Square and owning Heavy Iron Studios factor into your return to EA and working on those games?

Steve Gray: I really credit Sakaguchi-san for helping me understand how to build great games.  I have to say that at the time, when I was at Square, I didn’t really agree 100% with how he wanted to do things… but in the following years I came to really appreciate how his approach to game development is able to consistently create such high quality product.  Now I’ve rarely (never) had the freedom he has as a developer, but his ideas fit into development even if you have to pay more attention to the schedule.  Heavy Iron gave me a lot of respect for how hard it is to run a business… and at EA I learned a lot about why publishers work the way they do, and why publishers make what seem to the developers like evil and unwarranted decisions.  That changed my understanding of the game business a lot.

Obsolete Gamer: Can you tell us about your work on Neverwinter Nights 2?

Steve Gray: This is a mistake in some profiles on me… I never worked on Neverwinter Nights 2.

Obsolete Gamer: With all your time in the gaming industry which prior of your career did you enjoy the most?

Steve Gray: I really really enjoyed working on the Lord of the Rings games.  The team was so fantastic.  Everyone was great to work with and super talented.  We may have had our struggles and moments of anger with each other, but I wouldn’t trade that time with those people for anything.  I am also really enjoying working at Tencent…

Tencent logo
Tencent logo

Obsolete Gamer: Can you tell us about what you are working on currently?

Steve Gray: I am currently Executive in Charge of Prodution at Tencent in China.  Tencent is China’s largest developer, publisher and operator of on-line games, we have a huge IM client (over 1 billion accounts), we run China’s largest portals, etc…  I work with all of our Studios, of which we have 9… with about 3500 employees across all of them.  But there are some projects I’m particularly focused on.

Unfortunately I can’t really tell you about them, because most are unannounced.  However one I can mention is NBA 2K Online, which is a co-development project with 2K Sports in the US.  It’s a bit weird because I didn’t really like working on Sports games at EAC… but this is really more of a Sports RPG or something like that.  It’s really cool… it’s going to be a monster hit here in China.  Working with Visual Concepts (the 2K Games Studio that builds NBA2K) is really great, working with 2K China is great… our team in Shanghai is great.

It’s really fun.  It’s amazing how Tencent builds online games and how big we are (we have 4 games that have more than 1 million people playing simultaneously every day).  We get to work so closely with our customers… in a way you can never do on a console game.  Also the scale we operate at is just stunning… QQ IM (our IM client) routinely has over 100,000,000 people logged into it every day.  Yes – that’s the right number of zeros… 100,000,000.

Obsolete Gamer: With all that you do you must have little free time, but when you do if you play any games what are they?

Steve Gray: I rarely play any games other than the games I’m working on, or directly competing product… which I can’t say what they are, because that would be a dead giveaway of what we’re building.  I don’t really play games for “fun” in my free time… well, what free time, for one thing.  But I have a lot of fun playing the games I’m building or those few other games I play to understand what the competition is up to.

Final Fantasy I: OST

Final Fantasy I: OST

It all began here with composer Nobuo Uematsu who created so much of the great music found in the Final Fantasy series. Fans and critics alike agree that the music in Final Fantasy has been excellent and even starting with the first one the quality of the sound was ahead of its time. The music drew you in, it was powerful when it was supposed to be and made you feel the emotion of the game.  The music could make you laugh, make you cry and drive you to kick the bad guys ass.

Final Fantasy I and II cover

How it all began

The story goes that while working in a music rental shop Uematsu was approached by a woman working in the art department at Square. At the time Uematsu didn’t consider it a career move in fact he thought of it as a part time job, a place to make a little extra cash and in the end would not last long. When he took the job Uematsu met Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi who asked him to compose some much for his games. In the end there were only a few requirements which included adding “battle” and “town” music, but besides that Uematsu had free reign to create the music as he saw fit and we all experienced and enjoyed the results.

Nicolai Dutka: Archon Games

Archon Games logo

Name: Nicolai Dutka

Company: Archon Games

Profession: Producer/Project Manager

Favorite Classic Game: Final Fantasy  (The original for NES)

Quote: The original Final Fantasy was the very first role-playing game I had ever played.  I was instantly hooked into the genre and have been a die-hard RPG fan ever since.


Obsolete Intros: Chrono Trigger

[youtube id=”w7Sbd0yZnj” width=”633″ height=”356″]

Obsolete Intros: Chrono Trigger

Chrono Trigger SNES box

Time travel is one of those plot devices that can be really cool or turn really bad in a heartbeat. Chrono Trigger from Square Soft brought us a great story and awesome gameplay all in one. Released for the SNES in 1995 it became a mega hit in the U.S. and Japan, even today people still play it and one person even proposed to his girlfriend within the game!The role-playing aspect drew fans in and the detailed story which included side quests, character development and multiple endings kept players not only interested from start to finish, but coming back for more. The active time battle system was pretty much like Square’s other hit, Final Fantasy with a few tweeks to improve game-play.

You can still find Chrono Trigger today on the PlayStation and Nintendo DS

Game Music: A Love Affair

Mario with Rock Star Guitar
Mario with Rock Star Guitar

While working on the new music player for the website I began thinking about some of the game music that really, dare I say, moved me. These were more than background songs they were an important part of the game or the specific level or zone. The music I am talking about is the kind that stays in your head long after you stopped playing. It is the type of tune you would play in your car or music device. So allow me a moment to talk about some of my favorite video game music from the world of consoles.

Wood Carving Partita -The Library: Castlevania Symphony of The Night

Castlevania Symphony of the Night screenshot
Castlevania Symphony of the Night screenshot

Wood Carving Partita – The Library: Castlevania Symphony of The Night

All the music from SOTN was excellent and to this day I still listen to it from time to time. However, there was just something about the music when you entered the library. The classic overtones just mixed in so well with the Dracula theme. It was truly a signature theme that, to me, stood out from all the other excellent music from this first rate game.

Julia – Final Fantasy VIII

Julia – Final Fantasy VIII
Julia – Final Fantasy VIII

Julia – Final Fantasy VIII

While many fans did not believe FF8 was a worthy successor to FF7 it was well done in its own right and had quite a few memorable songs. One of my favorites was Julia. Julia Heartilly was a pianist and a love interest for the character Laguna. The song is actually a piano arrangement of the games main theme song, Eyes on Me. Maybe it is because my sister played classical piano, but I really liked this one, it set a perfect tone for the flashback and helped me to enjoy the main version even more.

Parasite Eve 2-Forbidden Power (Aya’s theme)

Parasite Eve 2 – Forbidden Power (Aya’s theme)
Parasite Eve 2 – Forbidden Power (Aya’s theme)

Parasite Eve 2 -Forbidden Power (Aya’s theme)

Not to sound like a Square fanboi but Parasite Eve was one of those great games that did not get the credit it deserved. Now I will admit that part two was not as good as the original, but I did really like the main theme remixed from the original with a harder, rock guitar beat to it. This theme mixed with the intro cinematic’s got me hyped to play.

Starfox 64 – Corneria

Starfox 64 – Corneria
Starfox 64 – Corneria

Starfox 64 – Corneria

I played this game so much that I could beat it on hard without anyone losing health or myself dying, with my eyes closed. Okay, so my eyes were open, but I owned this game and the theme music for the first stage started me off on the right track. It made you feel you were going into battle and you were going to kick some ass. Sometimes I load this one up just to play the first level, hear the music and lay some smackdown.

Sonic CD – Wacky Workbench (Past)

Sonic CD – Wacky Workbench (Past)
Sonic CD – Wacky Workbench (Past)

Sonic CD – Wacky Workbench (Past)

You know I can’t even explain why I like this theme so much but I do. There was just something about it that felt classic. Sonic CD was the best thing to come out of the Sega CD and it had some great music to boot, but this one stood out for me.

Now there are a ton of other themes I love and these don’t necessarily rank in any particular order, but they are definitely up there. Now it’s your turn. What are some of your favorite video game music themes?

Final Fantasy VII Trailer

Final Fantasy 7 cover Playstation
Final Fantasy 7 cover Playstation

A blast from the past, arguably one of the best Final Fantasy games out there. Created by Square in 1997 this role-playing game brought new visuals and music to the series that American games had not seen before. With an engaging story and memorable characters it sold millions not only in Japan, but across the world.

It was much more than just the gameplay or the graphics even the music captivated fan leading to impressive sales of the soundtrack. From there the movie Advent Children was made and still today fans beg for a sequel. Like it or not FF7 redefined not only the Final Fantasy series but role-playing games itself.

Final Fantasy 7 Remix for 360 and PS3

Final Fantasy 7 intro
Final Fantasy 7 intro

After years of fans asking for a revamp of FF7 and the anger fans felt over getting only a small changed to the game in the PSP version Square Enix announced today the Final Fantasy 7 Remix.

Everyone remembers Cloud, Tifa, Aeris and of course Sepiroth well take a picture because it will last longer. None of these guys are going to be in the remix, in fact the remix we are talking about has nothing to do with the game and instead have to do with one of my favorite subjects, cos-playing.

So without further ado I am proud to present Obsolete Gamers first annual April Fool’s Day cos-play photo shoot staring character from the beloved FF7 RPG.

Cloud cosplay
Cloud cosplay
Vincent cosplay
Vincent cosplay
Sephiroth cosplay
Sephiroth cosplay
guy Tifa cosplay
guy Tifa cosplay

I would just like to thank all the fans of Obsolete Gamer for this chance to pull this April Fool’s prank on you. You guys rock! Thank you for the support!

Thanks to FANTAPANTS for the video!