What PSX games would you actually play?

So my PSX problems from the other day were mostly solved by stumbling across an emulator website that specifically had a PSX-2-PSP section that already did the heavy lifting for you in terms of format conversion. From there, I simply had to choose any of their 1301 offerings on sale to download.

And therein lies the rub: what would I actually play?

This September, I will be 31-years old. Holy shit, right? I grew up on the crest of the videogame revolution and rode it rather thoroughly until the end of the PS2. I was there to play games like A Link to the Past and Chrono Trigger and FF6 and Super Metroid while they were current. I still remember, with perfect clarity, unwrapping the Playstation for Christmas and popping in FF7 for the first time. When Tifa and Barret appeared onscreen together in the 7th Heaven Bar, my father walked by and quipped “Wow, that’s pretty progressive of them to include interracial dating.” This was in 1997, mind you. After that, I made sure to never play RPGs when other people were around.

Point being, the original Playstation era was one of unparallelled nostalgia for me. These were prime gaming years in my prime (14-17 years old). I still remember the shivers I felt when watching the promo video for Xenogears that was included in the packaging for Parasite Eve. In fact, I just spent 30 minutes trying to find that video, and I felt those same shivers sixteen years later.

Nevertheless, I sat looking at the PSX game list for a good ten minutes without selecting anything. Believe me, I understand the intoxicating effects of nostalgia and the risk one takes in replaying old games generally; not only is the game unlikely to hold up, you risk souring your memories by subjecting yourself to downright primitive graphics and design. But all of that was not actually my concern. My concern was: I still remember all these games.

For example, I was looking pretty intensely at SaGa Frontier 2 for a bit, as I remember it being a fun game with a beautiful art direction. But… I still remember the strategies I used to defeat the game, the places where I got stuck, and the end result of the progression. I’m pretty sure I remember crafting a pistol that shot rockets in Parasite Eve – and that awful final boss encounter. I have talked about Novelty being the essence of fun before, and my particular problem is that the intervening decades have not diminished my memory of the experience of these games. “Something something riding bikes,” in other words.

There were some exceptions in the list. I let out an audible squeal when I saw Tactics Ogre. That and Final Fantasy Tactics seemed perfect for this little PSP experiment of mine, as they remain games I still somehow consider fun despite knowing everything about their systems. Maybe it is because a tactical game has many more possible permutations than your average RPG battle system?  I felt no hesitation with Xenogears either, nor Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, although I’m going to hold off on FF7 until I play it via Steam.

For the rest of the list, I think what I’ll end up doing is actually picking titles I haven’t played. Enough people have talked about Legend of Dragoon to overcome my memories of renting the game and setting it down 15 minutes later. Suikoden 2 has been hyped beyond all reason, so that’s another easy one to test. Beyond that though? I dunno. I would solicit answers from you, dear readers, but I fear it would just be a bunch of “already played that” replies.

So allow me to turn the tables a bit: what PSX games would you actually play? Is there a title you would like to play again, or perhaps one you’d like to check off your bucket list? Would you even play any at all?

[Fake Edit]: The PSX-2-PSP website didn’t actually solve anything; all the PSX come up as “corrupted files” even though they are fine on my computer. It’s almost enough to drive a man to legitimacy.

Posted on July 9, 2014, in Commentary and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. I recently picked up a Vita and one of my driving forces was being able to pick up PS1 era RPGs. I’m currently on a mission to play through all the Final Fantasy (mainline) games in order, so once I finished FF6 I picked up a Vita and immediately bought Final Fantasy 7-10 on it. I’m really enjoying playing these old Final Fantasy games. I still remember playing them the first time, but there has been enough time in between for me to have a great experience with them again.

    I also plan on picking up some other JRPGs. The PS1-PS2 era seems to have tons of JRPGs to choose from.


    • Oh yes, the PS1 had a crazy number of JRPGs. I ended up migrating from the SNES to the PS1 because that was where Squaresoft went, but the sheer amount of them kept me a Sony man up until the end of the PS2.

      Once I return from this vacation (getting 30kbps wifi out here, yeesh), I definitely plan on making a list of the ones I remember from nearly 20 (!) years ago.


  2. My Vita is entirely a Nostalgia Machine. Right now I have Parasite Eve, Chrono Trigger, WipEout (the original), and Parappa the Rappa.


    • While I am annoyed at the pricing scheme – and wondering if any of these Classics go on sale – one of the guys I’m vacationing with has a Vita he has been playing nonstop. While I think the whole SNES emulator situation pushed things to the PSP (and, again, the outrageous Vita memory card prices), if I had to do it over again, I’d probably do the Vita.

      The real test though will be what happens when all these trips are done and I’m back at my apartment doing normal things. Will I still be wanting to play games from yesteryear? Hard to say.


  3. FFT is my favorite games of all time. One of the few I played through multiple times to get every secret character, easter egg, etc. I even managed to procure two copies of the original disc to play on an emulator (one for backup of course) …. haven’t gotten past the first battle. It’s like they say, you can’t go home again. Though I’d probably still buy it if they ever release it on Steam because I’m an idiot.


  4. It’s a shame that the psps controls would probably prevent you from playing Ape Escape. Likewise I’m not sure how it would be possible to play Monster Rancher 2 without a cd drive. I was quite fond of both of them as a kid. MR2 in particular ate up an inordinate amount of my time in middle school.

    All that aside, I’d put my votes in for Breath of Fire 3, all 3 of the Spyro and Crash Bandicoot games, both Oddworlds, Rayman 2, MediEvil, and, depending on how much you like farming, Harvest Moon: Back to Nature.


  5. pixelrevision

    I’ve found that a lot of the PS1 games don’t age as well as snes games. The 3D graphics were really primitive and the developers were just trying to figure out how to make controls and cameras work well. Games like a link to the past and super metroid are still a ton of fun to play while resident evil and legacy of cain: soul reaver are better left to fond memories.

    An interesting one to grab is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seiken_Densetsu_3. This was a fantastic game that none of us owned on the actual snes. Someone went through the trouble of translating it though so if you like snes era rpgs it’s one of the best examples.


    • Aha, I knew I was missing something. I believe I tried Seiken Densetsu 3 way back when PC emulation was starting to become A Thing, but I never got around to sitting down and committing.


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