The issue of real vs. fake appears to be more contentious than I expected, given that I didn’t bother to dredge up anything about the morality of emulation and ROM-gathering. I wish I could sit down and do a demographic study on everyone who responded to see how if age, upbringing or personal history have any bearing on people’s outlook, or it’s just one of those random things.
Of course, after posting that bit of musing on how I’d rather play games in their original formats than emulated, what did I do? I downloaded Secret of Mana and started playing it on Virtual Console. Playing it with gusto, even.
This is admittedly an odd comparison to make, but I realized today that Mana is the inverse of Half-Life 2 for me. No, wait, it makes sense. See, when I play Half-Life 2, I hate every moment of it. It’s a chore, an infuriating exercise in being railroaded and beaten down with endless gimmicks and gotcha level designs. But when I’m not playing it, I love it — the flow of combat, the setpieces, the atmosphere. I guess maybe I like the concept of HL2 more than the game itself, as the game is bogged down by countless minor flaws that specifically grate against my tastes and desires vis-a-vis gaming.
Mana, on the other hand, I love while I’m playing. Despite all its glitches and sloppiness, the game is made of pure joy. But when I’m not playing it, all I can think about is the lousy programming and the weird animation and color choices and that stupid Dwarf Village theme and the grinding and…yeah. And so forth. Once I actually pick it up, though, I can play for hours on end.
These are the only two games for which I feel such powerful, polar sentiments. I wonder why that is.