E3 is one of the few events that can make me feel like a kid again, bursting with excitement over what’s next in video games. Some may say it’s most exciting for hardcore gamers. I’d hardly call myself a “hardcore” gamer anymore, as life has become exceedingly more busy in adulthood. I’m not even sure if I ever was one, by today’s standards. Online gaming has taken the place of side-by-side game play. Free tee-shirt and action figure pre-order bonus items have been replaced by DLC. Physical libraries of games in their boxes with half peeled price stickers have been replaced by a system or two, filled with virtual content… oh and some Amiibos sitting around on the shelf. This is gaming today.
I’m the 90+ hour game, rare-drop enthusiast that will still park my butt in front of my Nintendo Switch until I have completed all 120 shrines in Breath of the Wild (Well, OK… I’m still working on the hidden ones…) I still love the smell of a freshly opened plastic jewel case with disc and glossy print instruction booklet, it reminds me of childhood. But even though I long for the kind of gaming that kept me tethered to the screen with a controller cord, I’ve also embraced the instantly gratifying direction that the digital age has brought upon gaming.
Looks like this year’s E3 is a marriage of the two so far, with exciting new announcements for fans of classic game franchises. There are new gaming franchises that catch my eye from time to time, but it’s always the classic ones that keep me tuned in to this event every year. Check out some of the announcement highlights from these classic franchises!
A Full Sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
The much-anticipated sequel to Breath of the Wild is in development. Link and Zelda in a dungeon together, why? Who knows?! But what an exciting first look, click the video below:
Remake of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening releases on September 20
Back in February they announced it would be coming… but now it has an official date. It has a new feature where you earn “chambers” that let you create a customized dungeon, where you can win rewards. I have fond memories of this game, as it was the first one I ever owned on my Gameboy Color. I took it on many car trips and am very happy to see it get a remake. In case you missed the trailer that came out a few months ago, here it is:
Exciting Announcements From Square Enix
While all the exciting Zelda announcements are almost more than enough to satiate my hunger for classic Nintendo goodness… there was more good news at E3 coming from a much lesser known franchise. One that I’ve been obsessed with since I was in middle school, a franchise called Seiken Densetsu. More commonly known for it’s second game in the series, Secret of Mana on the Super Nintendo. This hidden gemstone in the SNES library was what initially started my love of Japanese RPGs. I loved it so much I sought out every grain of information on the series when I was a kid. I discovered it had a sequel on the Japanese SNES (aka the Super Famicom) and a predecessor on the Gameboy, awkwardly titled Final Fantasy Adventure, in order to piggyback off the success of another series, though they were not part of the same.
For the sequel Seiken Densetsu 3, I downloaded a ROM and played it translated in English on an emulator (back when that was a thing), and absolutely fell in love with the multi-layered story arch, and how you could choose different characters to affect the events in the game based on other choices you made. There was even a “day/night” mechanic that also affected the game’s events. I know all of this sounds standard nowadays… but you have to understand… this was in the 90s. These things were new. It predated The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Fable, Knights of the Old Republic, and other modern games that were considered revolutionary for using these ideas. This was the first one I ever saw or played like this, and it left a lasting impression. Even the music is unforgettable. Oh and yeah… I totally bought the Japanese cartridge of the game just to play it in it’s original form, of course.
Today, Square Enix announced that they’re remaking it. It will be called Trials of Mana, due out next year. I swear, my eyes welled up with tears of joy, and I’m not even the slightest bit embarrassed to tell you. Up until now, I’ve only dreamed that this announcement would come. Watch the video below for a look at it 😉 They’re also digitally releasing a Mana collection today, which includes all 3 – the gameboy, SNES, and SFC ones).
Return to Midgar
We now know that the first episode of Final Fantasy VII Remake will be released in March 2020. And wait what?? Episode?? I guess this will be the equivalent of having to “insert next disc”. There’s also a shiny new trailer that shows more of the game available, and news that a fancy limited edition of the game will be coming out. The original Final Fantasy VII is another game very dear to my heart. It was the first game with cinematic cut scenes on the gen 1 Playstation that really left a lasting impression on me. Watching the spiky-haired protagonist, Cloud, train jump his way to the stark, cyber-punk setting of Midgar is what initially hooked me… and it’s remake is yet another reason to pull out my Aerith/Aeris cosplay and lose myself in this epic story once again. Watch the new trailer below!
Final Fantasy VIII is Getting a Remaster
No date yet, but gauging how long the Final Fantasy VII remake took… we may be here a while! Watch the video below… tell me that theme song doesn’t give you goosebumps…
Yes, I know there are tons of other games I could have talked about… but these are the ones that matter most to me as a classic gamer. Sometimes it’s hard to find the time to discover new favorites in busy adult life. However, for some reason I never find it hard to jump back into the worlds that captivated me as an adolescent… sometimes I think it’s because they’re remakes that I love them so much. It’s like revisiting an old friend that you haven’t seen in a few decades. Sure the two of you may have aged some, but it feels so good to reconnect with them.