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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Real Saturn Chronicles Episode 9: PlayStation 2 is coming!

Over 5 years, I've had great fun with my PS1 and at that time I was able to amass a collection of almost 30 different titles. However, sooner or later the first news and images about new consoles started to pop up. First, it was the Nintendo 64. It was an interesting console, but unfortunately it was way, way expensive. Games were really expensive over here. I enjoyed Super Mario 64 quite a bit, as well as one of the Zelda games (I don't remember which one) but I always considered the N64 as a console I just couldn't buy.

Eventually, Dreamcast was also announced and that console slightly caught my attention, mostly thanks to Shenmue because, to be honest, the rest of the games such as Crazy Taxi, Sonic Adventure and Metropolis Street Racer were not interesting enough for me. However, I was so disappointed with Sega that I really didn't trust the Dreamcast. I was originally a big Sega fan. I never considered buying any other home console but the Sega Saturn. At first, I didn't care about the PS1 at all and I choose Saturn over it. The Master System and Mega Drive consoles lasted quite a lot of time in our market as they were both very successful over here. The main reason why I trusted Sega was because I've always seen it as a company that doesn't abandon its consoles, even when they are surpassed by newer technologies. At that time I obviously couldn't talk about Mega CD or the 32X because my knowledge about those things was very, very limited. As a kid, buying a new console was something big. I couldn't consider getting a console that would suddenly stop receiving games. I wanted to own something that would last a long time.

Unfortunately, I felt betrayed by Sega when they abandoned Sega Saturn to focus on the Dreamcast. Suddenly, Saturn stopped getting games, whereas PlayStation was receiving lots of new and amazing titles. I wanted to buy something for the Sega Saturn, but there wasn't anything interesting coming out. Even though I was only 14, I really noticed they were ignoring Saturn to focus on newer technologies. Sega wanted to be ahead in the competition by releasing the most advanced hardware but by doing that they started to ignore their current console. To me, that was a huge mistake that totally broke my trust on them and that made me stay away from the Dreamcast until a much, much later time.

After a while, information about the PS2 started to show up. First the rumours, then the pictures and finally a few videos. That was a long time before the actual release date announcement. I definitely wanted to buy a PS2 and I knew that I had to start taking action if I was going to buy that console on release date. So I started saving my cash at a very early stage. I had nearly one year and half to get enough money for it. I sacrificed a few PS1 games in order to save money for the PS2. Its price was tagged at around 90.000$, something like 450 euros and I was unsure if I was able to save so much money in the meantime, but I still decided to give it a shot. Eventually, I sacrificed some of the money I've saved to buy a few PS1 games, otherwise I would not have anything to play for a while. Two of those titles were classics: Resident Evil 1, the last title I was missing from the original trilogy and, of course, Tomb Raider 1, one of my favourite games. My mother also told me she would help me to buy the console if I was missing some cash by the time of its release date, as much as it wasn't a big amount.

One year and half later, the console finally came out. I was 17 at that time. I had a little more than enough cash to buy the console but I wasn't really concerned about preordering or going to the stores early in the morning just to secure one for myself. I never really believed that videogames were a big thing over here like it happened in foreign countries. Looking at every other family I knew, parents didn't care much about games. They would eventually pick up the controller once in a while, but videogames in general were seen as expensive kids' stuff. When I was around 15 or 16, my father told me once that I would not care about the games when I turned 18, and I would consider all those games I had bought as a total waste of money. I replied back saying that would probably never happen and he didn't know what he was talking about. I now look at my collection and... I guess he was wrong...

I didn't preorder any PS2 and I didn't even bother going to the store earlier to get the console. To me, that was just one regular day. It was a brand new, expensive system that most people wouldn't be buying, so I had plenty of chances to get it.

However, some things did not go as I expected. This was the first time I actually saw some radical changes about the impact of videogames in this country. The truth is, most kids who actually enjoyed playing on the previous gen consoles were now adults. Some had jobs already. For the first time ever, I saw on the news a report about the PS2 craze. People actually lined up in front of the stores before the opening hour just to secure one model. It was no longer parents buying an expensive system for their kids. These kids became self-sufficient adults and they were buying the console for themselves. I believe that Sony also thought the same way I did and they released a very limited number of models on release day. The number of models available was very low compared to the demand and the first batch of the console easily became sold out. I was truly impressed.

Basically, I lost my chance to buy the console on release day, but I didn't regret. Having almost 500€ in my pocket and seeing them go just like that was something I definitely wasn't used to. Two weeks later, I had the chance to buy one of two consoles available at a local store, but I couldn't. I really didn't feel like spending the highest amount of cash I ever had on a single thing. I just thought of how many things I could buy instead.

I only bought the console another couple of weeks later (basically, one month after the release date). The second or third batch of the console was finally available. I was randomly visiting a large electronics store and they had a couple of PS2 available. I realized this as soon as I saw a woman pulling a baby pushchair inside the store, but instead of a baby she was carrying a PS2. I picked one of the consoles and took it to my parents. I was still very reluctant about spending all my money. I had been saving for over one year and half with the sole purpose of buying the console, but in the end I couldn't do it. I asked my parent's opinion while carrying the console and they weren't very helpful. They told me to do what I thought it was best. 

I picked up my phone and sent a text message to my friend Rui to hear his opinion. I told him I had a PS2 on my hands and asked him if I should spend so much money on it. His answer was exactly what I needed to hear, as it gave me all the motivation I was lacking. He replied saying: - "Of course you should buy it, are you still standing there?". At that point, I told myself: -"F*** this, I'm taking this home." and went to the checkout line. As soon as I finished the checkout, I received a phone call from my friend Rui asking if I was serious about buying the PS2. I said yes, and thanks to his reply I had already bought it. He seemed very impressed and said he was going to camp on my backyard.

I finally had a PS2.
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Real Saturn Chronicles Episode 8: A completionist, not just because I wanted to be one

Being a completionist was something I already was long before Final Fantasy VII. The main reason why I've become a completionist was the fact that I didn't have much money to spend on videogames, like most kids around me those days. I would play the same game countless times until there was nothing left undone. On top of that, I had a mother that was also against kids playing videogames at an early age and she didn't support that hobby. My mother was and still is very concerned about health, so she is always well informed by reading news and themed magazines. She considered videogames as an unhealthy addiction to kids because it had many bad side effects. Her biggest concern was the decline of the eyesight by spending too many hours playing. I have to admit that she was kind of right, but I just wish she wasn't so prohibitive when I was younger. With time, she eventually softenen and when I was around 14 years old she was no longer so prohibitive anymore. She wasn't at home all the time to control how long I would play anyway ;). After buying Final Fantasy VII, I've spent the next summer break waking up early in the morning as soon as she left home in order to play. I would wait to hear her footsteps outside, meaning she was walking away to work, meaning it was fine to come off my bed and play :D.

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned before, but I could only buy around 4 to 7 games per year, which basically meant that a single game had to last at least two months. I was privileged to own a PlayStation, a Saturn and still have so many games per year. As a kid, that didn't seem be enough but now I understand that not having a massive amount of games was a pretty good thing. It helped me to value all the games I had. It's what made me the type of player I was and (later) the type of collector that I've become. Even at that young age, I've kept all my games in a very good condition. I wouldn't accept to lose a leaflet or an instructions booklet from the case, unlike the majority of the other kids I knew. I wouldn't accept a badly handled disc with scratches or marks, so I've kept all my games in a condition that even by my current standards they are still worthy of being part of my collection, not just by their sentimental value. I was always a careful kid with the things that I really cared about, especially if they were tough to get. I was also totally against piracy. I wasn't really bothered to pay so much for an original copy of the game simply because I thought it was worth it.

As a result, finishing a game just once was not an option - I had to finish it many times. After beating the game once, I would take the time to find secrets, unlock bonuses, try cheat codes, find all the items and collectibles, do things faster, whatever came to my mind as much as I was having fun. As a result, almost nothing was left undone in any of the games I owned.

Final Fantasy VII took the completionism to a whole different level. I liked the game so much that I played it 6 or 7 times and tried to achieve a near perfect save file. That took not months, but years. The second time I went through the game, I already had some magazines that revealed the majority of secrets, sidequests and collectibles. I did everything I possibly could but I still missed a few items. I spent a few hundreds of hours getting everything, but there was always something missing for some reason. Access to the internet was limited (not to mention non existent for me), so getting information about the hardest things to find in the game was not an easy task. On my 3rd near perfect file, I realized I missed one tricky item called Vagirysk Claw. That was basically the last thing I was missing. I restarted all over again just to get that item. That was troublesome. I'm pretty sure I did everything from scratch another time after that, and a few years later I replayed the game just for fun. 

Final Fantasy VII was a great experience, but thankfully many others followed. Over the 5 years I owned a Playstation, my collection of games for that system alone grew up to almost 30 original titles. It's hard to tell one by one all the amazing experiences I had with all the games I bought. 

I obviously suffered while waiting for the release of Final Fantasy VIII one year after its announcement, but I had many games to keep me busy. It's pretty hard to tell the order of purchase, but I bought Tekken 3, Dino Crisis, Ace Combat 3, Ridge Racer Type 4, Resident Evil 2, Gran Turismo 1 and 2, all the Tomb Raider games, Metal Gear Solid, Street Fighter Alpha 3, Hard Edge, Cool Boarders 4...  I played all those games to exhaustion and did everything I possibly could. I even wrote some small walkthroughs/FAQs that still should be available in several websites.

There's a funny story behind Dino Crisis and Ace Combat 3. Those games were bought shortly after their release dates. In fact, at that time I was mostly buying brand new releases because I was well informed about the PS1 games thanks to a UK magazine called Playstation Power. I think I bought that magazine for nearly two years, even when it changed its name to just Power. Anyway, I asked my parents for Dino Crisis as a birthday gift. The game of course was not released on date so I had to check the same store over and over until it was finally available, on a particular Saturday. Next Monday, I had enough money to buy another game. Since I played Air Combat and Ace Combat 2 quite a lot in those PS Kiosks at the shopping mall, I've decided to pick Ace Combat 3. As my parents and I were driving home, I asked them to stop at one of my usual stores. I went in and came back with Ace Combat 3. This was a complete record for me, two games in just three days. My mother realized I was bringing home another game in such a short time and she nearly flipped. She was seriously upset, using arguments in an angry tone like: - "Go ahead, spend all your money on videogames, don't you dare to ask for anything else if you need!". I stood quiet and still on the backseat of the car, lowering my head between my shoulders...

I was also very lucky to buy two other JRPGs that I loved to play a lot. Unfortunately, the majority of the best Squaresoft RPGs never came out in Europe, so I missed theose. After the great experience I had with Final Fantasy VII, I wanted to try out other RPGs. Playstation Power made an article about this game called Vagrant Story, which was made by Square and was coming to Europe. I immediately wanted to get that game. When the release date finally arrived, history repeated itself and I had to go to the store several times and come back empty handed until they finally had the game available. 

Some time later, I went to my friend Rui's home. He hated Final Fantasy and RPGs in general. Visiting his home was great. He had a Game Boy, a Game Gear and a Mega Drive. Later he also owned a PS1 console, chipped of course. Even though he hated RPGs, there was this game called The Legend of Dragoon that caught his attention. He was playing it and he was quite far already. He kept an older save file at a certain ghost ship and he loaded that file just to show me some FMV sequence about a Dragoon Campaign. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the quality of the animation. This was another game I had to hunt down. On a random visit to a store named Fnac, I saw the game and I instantly bought it. Another awesome decision was made!

As for Final Fantasy VIII and IX, well, those were easy purchases, to my surprise. The same story repeats with both. I could hardly wait for any of those two games, but at that point I was not paying much attention to the release dates anymore, since they were very inaccurate over here. I went to the usual shopping mall with my parents and they were visiting a large clothes store. I was bored, so I told them I was going to visit that music store named Strauss where I previously bought my Tomb Raider II copy. As I approached the store, I immediately noticed the big pyramid made of Final Fantasy VIII copies at the front display, including limited editions. At that time I didn't even care about the limited edition. I was lucky enough if I could afford the regular game but I had no money at that time. I rushed back to my parents, I almost begged my mother to get me that game, saying stupid things like "my life depends on this"... and she did buy the game! This was the first time something like this actually happened! Me asking my mother to buy a game and she saying "yes" at first attempt. Wow! Things were slowly changing. I'm guessing having good grades at school kinda helped as well. Getting Final Fantasy IX  many months later was not much different from this story.
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Another press kit arrived!

Dropship Press Kit for the PS2. It's not one of those impressive press kits for the most recent games such as The Order or Bloodborne, but it's something I've lost twice many years ago and never really had the chance to get it. Until now. It's one of those tough finds that took me many years to get but I finally managed to find one for sale and it ended for a reasonable price. I'm glad I was finally able to scratch this one off my wishlist :D.

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Let me hate on Nintendo a little more.

No, I'm not collecting faceplates and I hate Nintendo for doing this. I've been hating Nintendo a lot lately. They are more concerned about making money in microtransactions with Pokemon Shuffle and Pokémon Rumble, selling 3DS wallpapers for 2 euros, making useless but addicting cool figurines called Amiibo and releasing a ton of faceplates. Now they announced a ton of new Amiibos and they will keep doing the same sh!t again of releasing them in very low quantities. The nightmare for Amiibo collectors will resume shortly. Thanks for being an ass, Nintendo. 

But I'm definitely not collecting these faceplates. Overall, they're annoyingly expensive, tagged at 14.99 euros each, not counting that wooden-like cover that goes for... 24.99 for no particular reason. Not to mention scubag stores that sell these for a higher price, such as Fnac. And I truly hate that store for charging more cash than things are worth and for being the only place where you can actually preorder these over here. The rest of the stores seem to be absolutely clueless about these things until they finally arrive, if they ever arrive.

I only buy a couple that I like the most, such as the Pokemon ORAS, Xenoblade, the two Zelda ones and that's all for the moment. Most of them are ugly as well and almost none goes well with the white New 3DS console, which is exactly the one I have because it's the only colour available for the Ambassador Edition. I wanted a black one and life sucks because I don't have a black one. It's already stupid enough to own a New 3DS because that thing is basically the same sh!t as before with a few extras nobody cares about. And the only game available is Xenoblade, which happens to be one of my favourite games ever created... And I still didn't buy it because the only store where I found it for sale is Fnac, which is asking 5 euros more than in most other places, as usual...

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Real Saturn Chronicles Episode 7: Final Fantasy VII

Last time, I've mentioned how I randomly decided to buy Final Fantasy VII, even after being unimpressed with the gameplay videos I had seen on TV a few months before. I also told the reasons why I took the game home with me. This next post might be filled with spoilers about Final Fantasy VII. I assume most people who wanted to play the game have already done that, so read at your own risk.

Shortly after arriving home with the game, I've decided to try it for a little bit. I was fairly impressed with the intro sequence and its powerful soundtrack, which kinda revealed that the game was something big. The battles were a little boring because I wasn't used to the turned based system with an active time bar. I was completely inexperienced in the RPG field because it was the first I was playing one by myself. I knew Phantasy Star for the SMS and Shining Force 3 for the Saturn but I never had the chancre to own those games, so my experience with them was very limited. As expected, I did a lot of mistakes while playing this game and got stuck on several bosses. Even regular enemies would give me tough times. At the beginning I also didn't know how to save the game, so I missed the first checkpoint several times.

The first obstacle I faced was the scorpion guard boss at the first reactor's core. I obviously took a beat, mostly because there was a message saying something like "it's going to counter" followed by "attack while the tail is up". These were two different lines displayed individually and I honestly didn't understand what they truly meant. I assumed that the scorpion was going to counter my moves, so I had to attack while its tail was up. I was supposed to do the exact opposite. What a big mistake that was, but it was also Square's fault. I died and had to restart the game. Then I had to stop playing because my parents sent me to bed. The next day I came back early from school and started playing again. I was killed by the scorpion boss a few more times, doing the same stupid mistake. I eventually managed to beat it just a little before dinner, by attacking all the way and surviving its counter attacks. I paused the game and resumed playing after dinner. This is when the game became boring as sh!t. Just talk, talk, talk and no action. I started to complain about how bad the game was and my mistake on spending all my money on a stupid game with silly combat. I still didn't know how to save and I was already on my way to the next reactor when my mother walked in and asked me to shut down the console and go to bed. - "But mom, I've been playing this for so long, I finally beat that boss, everything I did in the last hour was just listen to these stupid characters talking forever and I still don't know how to save the game... If I have to do this all over again I will never play this game again!". Since my mother was a very comprehensive person about videogames, all she said is: - "I don't care. Shut that thing down and go to bed. You have a long time to play the game."

Next day, I didn't have school during the afternoon but I was kinda reluctant to play the game again. Well, I didn't have anything else to do that afternoon anyway... Thankfully this time, things went better. I've finally learned how to save the game. I never realized that the shiny thing that sparkles when you get close was a save spot. I didn't know you actually had to stand right next to that and the save option was already selectable. I managed to save the game before the scorpion boss fight, I literally wiped his ass and I just bashed the X button in order to skip all the conversation that follows shortly after. I managed to get past the spot where I turned the console off the day before and arrived at the second reactor. I beat the boss on first try and as soon as Cloud is separated from the party and meets Aeris I finally started to like the game a little bit. 

I kept playing the game for the next few days without too many difficulties. I still didn't fully understand the limit break system nor how the characters leveled up... I knew how to equip items and materia, but some of the most basic stuff was still unknown ground for me. I eventually arrived at that point of the game where I've become very interested in paying more attention to the story. That moment was when Biggs, Wedge and Jessie finally die and Aeris gets kidnapped by the Turks. From this point onward, my interest in the game kept rising and rising. I climbed to the ShinRa tower, I've had problems with some of the bosses along the way, I eventually met more characters and things became rough when I finally left Midgar. I was so confused with the World Map. I didn't understand where I was or why the graphics were so different. I was a complete noob at RPGs...

Everything about the game and its plot started to become more and more interesting. Cloud's past, Barret's story, the visit to North Corel, the Gold Sauccer, the Desert Prision, Cosmo Canyon... everything was pretty interesting.

The first boss that gave me a lot of trouble was the Materia Keeper in Nibelheim mountains. I was completely underleveled and with a terrible setup with most of my characters. It took me one entire week to beat that thing. I did not even consider grinding before fighting it again. Whenever it used Trine, only Cloud was left alive. The only reason why I was finally able to kill it was because Cloud reached its limit break and Cross Slash left the enemy paralyzed. It was the first time it ever happened and I had absolutely no idea why. This gave me enough time to heal all characters and keep attacking. It finally died after a long time. The next boss that gave me nightmares was the Demon Gate at the Temple of the Ancient's exit. This was hell on earth. I was absolutely underleveled and there was no way I could beat it. At this point I finally started to learn the importance of grinding. I spent a few days fighting regular enemies in the room before, where you fight the red dragon boss. Materia started to grow a lot, my characters started to gain levels and I finally started to get a hang of the battle system. 

I eventually managed to beat the Demon's Gate and shortly after I finally witnessed Aeris' death. I just couldn't believe it. I seriously thought it was a joke and she hadn't died. She remained in my party for a long time due to her powerful healing spells and she was gone. At that point I was completely hooked on the game. 

I kept playing the game with lots of problems beating some bosses. Hojo gave me a terrible time to beat. It took me many tries. The only reason why I was able to defeat his last form was because I only had one character alive and I randomly used Phoenix summon on him. I just couldn't believe this summon had a side effect that would bring the other two characters to life! I took that random chance I was given to finally wipe out his ass. I also had a terrible time breeding chocobos and even beating the final bosses. I arrived at the final bosses so underleveled that I had to come back to the world map and do some serious grinding. Meanwhile, I also found some of the 3rd dis sidequests and spent some time doing random things. One month later, I went back to that final boss and ended up defeating it in just a few tries.

After I finished that game, I didn't know what to do anymore. I left the console playing those stars at the end for more than 10 minutes, expecting something to happen. It seemed there was nothing else interesting enough that could match the amazing experience it was to play that game.
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