Wondering what we do here? Short answer: two best friends – one an ex-programmer and short-lived game developer, the other a tabletop roleplayer and veteran LARPer – take apart games they’ve loved and games they’ve never played before to see how and if they even work. It used to be a race, but now it’s a chance to take in the greatest games we’ve never had the chance to play. If you ever wondered what it would be like for a fan of turn-based RPGs to play genre darlings like Final Fantasy VI and VII for the first time, this is the place to be, because writer, at least, grew up without them, and my friend’s got his share of gaps, too. And if you want to see a programmer and writer deconstruct his favourite games to the last line of code, this is also that place.
Long answer? …We were just trying to play Mega Man 9.
It was 2008, Mega Man 9 was coming out in just a few months, and my buddy Kyle and I got together with a plan. We would play all nine previous mainline games (1-8 and Mega Man & Bass) aiming for speed, so long as we made sure to catch every single Robot Master. Enthusiasm turned to pretend zealotry, to free the world from the evil Robot Masters and their evil, evil crimes, as rapidly as possible. The Mega Man Marathon.
Once we ran out of “jerkbots,” we needed fresh blood: more series that could provide us with a sense of thorough, and sometimes rapid progression through the series, top-to-bottom. Especially if they were games we had never played before. We hurried on to Mega Man X, Trauma Center, Kingdom Hearts, until finally we faced our destiny: turn-based RPGs. No More Heroes got in there at some point, too. The Marathon is our favourite way to hang out and a great way to play the big classics we never got a chance to play. As we played, I wrote. And I wrote and I wrote. And now it is time to share our findings with the world.
There are two kinds of retrospectives here at this blog. There are the games we (or in some cases, just I) first played as outsider to the game, which include first impressions, more off-the-cuff remarks, and the kind of oversights fans of the game can chuckle at behind their hands. These Marathon Journals are closer in spirit to, but not quite, a Let’s Play. Alongside these outsider impressions, there are also in-depth Retrospectives, breaking down beloved favourite games from edge to edge, using my experience as a former game developer and programmer, and all-around fan of the series in question.
We hope you enjoy your stay, death to Dynamo Man, and god help us all, these games will be the death of us yet.