Real Saturn Chronicles Episode 10: The PS2 at the wrong time

That's right, I finally had my PS2 console. Just the console, zero games as usual. That seemed to be a tradition. But this time I didn't even care about not having a single PS2 game to play in it. Having the console alone made me more than happy. Plus it could run PS1 games with enhancements and DVDs. This was just beautiful. I had to see how some of the games looked like with the enhancements turned on and that was enough to keep me busy!

The first PS2 game I've bought was Zone of the Enders. The second game arriving at my collection was one game I was waiting for a while since I first heard about it. It was Onimusha. I bought that game while I was sick and spending most of the time in bed. My parents decided to go on another trip to the shopping mall. I was pretty weak and feeling terrible but I always enjoyed going there so I decided to get off bed and go with them. My head was a mess. I visited the same electronics store where I bought the PS2 and checked the games. I had no clue that the game was already out. Once I saw it shitting on a shelve, the hype was so big that I instantly felt better. I totally forgot I was sick. I finished the game in only three days.

I bought a few other games but I no longer remember exactly which ones in which order. I know Resident Evil Code Veronica X was one of them. It came with a Devil May Cry demo that I tried and loved it but I though I would be unable to have enough money to buy it, so I decided not to get it. The truth is... the game came out and I bought it. At some point I also played demo versions of Final Fantasy X and Metal Gear Solid 2, both of which were mandatory purchases,and I ended up buying both some time later, when I was already studying at the university.

One year later, my life completely changed. Too many things changed to be honest. I've always wanted to be an architect since I was in primary school. It may sound cliche but I loved to draw and that's why I chose architecture at a very young age. I was obviously not too sure if that desire would last until the time I'd finish the 12th grade because I started to become more interested in computers and stuff like that.

There were only two moments in my life when I nearly stopped buying and playing videogames. The first moment was when I was between 11 and 13. That's when I stopped playing Master System and before I got the Sega Saturn. The other moment was when I entered the university. Instead of selecting Architecture as the main option, I've selected Architecture of Urban and Territorial Planning instead. One of the main reasons why I eventually decided to keep with my younger desire of becoming an architect over something else related to computers was the fact that, since I was a child, I've watched constructors ruining my town with horrible buildings and new hoods. The second reason was because I was no good at math to be honest. My father knew a guy that was almost graduating at that course and he greatly recommended it. I even visited my future uni one particular weekend before finishing the 12th grade and I saw the classrooms with models lying around. I was fascinated with most of the things I saw. I made up my mind that same day. I wanted to become an urban planner. I did whatever I had to do for the admission and enrollment and some time later I received positive news. I made it in. That was a great moment. Too bad it was short lived, because the smile on my face was about to fade way the following years... 

I always worked hard in order to achieve good grades at school and I wanted to continue to work hard on my way through the university. However, I believe I took the university too seriously and as a result I've put my social life and a few other things in second place. At that time I thought I was doing the right thing but now I realize the big mistake it was. Many people assume that students go to the university and have a great time with parties, find their partners, meet new people and all that. It's true that I've met many people, some of which probably became my friends for the rest of my lifetime. I also had a couple of crushes but I was too coward to talk to them. However, I didn't really hang out that much. I don't smoke and I don't really enjoy drinking. That doesn't help much if you want to hang out with most people. Anyway, the first year was quite tough. It wasn't necessarily hard, but there was too much work to do at once. I was used to work hard but that was a complete exaggeration.  Before uni, I was used to go to bed early, sleep enough hours and have some time for myself. Most of those things ended. I started to sacrifice my spare time to work for the university. Then I started to sacrifice sleeping hours. Eventually my life basically became class-work-sleep. I could sleep longer during weekends but I would spend most of the time working on projects and essays and crap. Stress and fear of failing at a single class were taking over me and things were not going okay because my grades started pretty low - positive, but low. Little by little I started to become depressed. I've had some bad luck during the first year as well and that didn't help.

As a result, I nearly stopped playing videogames (and everything else...) but I was still targeting some of the most important releases. One of them was GTA III. I knew GTA for a while but I've always ignored that game because it was too violent. I wasn't the violent type and I also wasn't affected by violence in videogames or movies in general, but even to me there were limits and the first two GTA titles were a little off those limits. It may sound stupid, but it's true. I was reluctant to buy GTA III thanks to that, but the game seemed pretty impressive. On another random visit to the store, I saw the game already available for sale and I simply couldn't resist it and I bought it. I obviously didn't have the immediate time to play, so I had to wait for the first two week Xmas break. I've spent those two weeks doing not much more than sleeping and playing GTA III. I wanted to completely finish the game before going back to the uni, but something unfortunate happened just a couple of missions before I beat the game, with dozens of gameplay hours. My cousin Liliana came to visit us some day just before Xmas. As she came in the room to say goodbye, she accidentally stepped on the power cord and the console went off while the game was saving. The save file became corrupt. I guess I was still recovering from all the pressure I was facing at the uni, so I nearly flipped. I was so pissed off that I made a big scene and she left the home in a hurry. That was pretty bad... I'm sorry for my behaviour that day, cousin :(. I had to restart all over but in a matter of days I finally managed to completely beat the game.

A few months later, Final Fantasy X came out. I knew I didn't have the time to play that game, not even remotely close. But I still wanted to get it on release date. At this time, the videogame market over here was so grown that the games finally started being released on their official European dates! I asked my father if he could go out and get the game for me because I had work to do. He didn't want to do it for some reason and I became a little upset, but my mother convinced me to go. Some time later that evening, he came to the room with a copy of the game on his hand, complaining a lot about the trouble I gave him to find a copy of the game and how expensive it was. My head was so messed up with all the work from uni that I basically did not give a sh!t about his complaints. I was just happy to have the game to play. And I stopped working right at that moment just to play the game for a little bit. I still played the game for the next few days, but I eventually stopped because I didn't have the time. I was only able to play the game a few months later during the summer break, after clearing all classes from the first year with mostly low to average marks. But at least I cleared them all. I've spent the entire August playing that game. In one month, I played well over 200 hours and completed the game. The only things left undone were beating Penance and maximizing most stats on all characters.

The 1st year in uni was quite a tough experience. I suffered from depression, sleep privation, had a few break downs, was tired, at some point I thought of giving up almost on a daily basis. When the 1st year ended, me and my classmates went out to play football in grass for one afternoon. The truth is that we were completely out of shape and the game ended prematurely because almost everyone became tired too soon. I guess most of us didn't have the time to exercise... As we were taking the bus to return home, all I could think of was the next year in uni. If the first year was that tough, I was pretty afraid of starting next year. Thanks to Final Fantasy X, I was able to forget that for a while. But as the summer vacation was coming to an end and me and my parents were spending some days in Algarve, I started to feel a little worried again... I didn't want to go back, I thought I wouldn't be able to handle another year of so much hard work.

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