2022: My Year of the JRPG

When I was a kid, I would loudly proclaim that JRPG's were my favorite genre. I still love them, and my label of "favorite" lasted for a good long while into adolescence. However, the more time went on, the more I realized...I don't really play that many. I had 5 or 6 that I adored (and still do), and I'd play those repeatedly, but never really branched out into the rest of the JRPG world. Even some key entries in the genre continue to be total blind spots for me.

Eventually I realized that, as much as I love JRPG's, I was probably going with the flow of early-00's internet culture to be calling them my "favorite genre," and I'm really more of a platformer guy at heart. Growing up only increased the barriers to my beloved JRPG genre, the hours of gameplay only increasing as my time for games only decreased.

My New Year's resolution is not to lose weight (though it probably should be) or to eat more healthily (which it definitely should be), but rather to fill in some of the gaps of my JRPG experiences. My goal is to play 9 JRPG's in the year 2022, roughly one every month with breaks built in. I think that making this schedule for myself will help me stay honest and give me a goal to work toward, while not completely swamping me with my own hubristic expectations. Here's what I'm looking at:

January: FFVII February: Radiant Historia March: FFVI Pixel Remaster April: Free/Catch-up

May: Triangle Strategy

June: Bug Fables

July: FFIX

August: Free/Catch-up

September: Tales of the Abyss

October: Chrono Cross (remake??)

November: Bahamut Lagoon (retranslation)

December: Free/Catch-up

January: I want to start with FFVII for a few reasons. First of all, my good friend on Discord, Fussy, has been encouraging me to play it for a while, as it's his favorite game of all time. Second, I already have a save file going where I've just gotten out of Midgar, and I think I can well enough remember where I'm at to pick it back up and finish it out.

February: Radiant Historia is next, a game that I've heard so much about and sounds right up my alley. Over the past few weeks and months I've only seen more and more nostalgic love for this game online, and I know I've gotta play it. I just bought it on the 3DS Eshop and I'm excited to get to it.

March: The FFVI Pixel Remaster is slated to come out in February, so I slotted it into March as comfort food. I wanted some 2022 releases to be included in this list, and FFVI here meets halfway between nostalgic comfort food and experiencing something new.

May: Triangle Strategy is set for release in March, which means I can maybe start chipping away at it during the super-busy month of April and maybe, just maybe, finish by the end of May. It's worth noting that I am absolute trash at TRPG's, but I want to cut my teeth a bit and support the team that made Octopath, a game I adore.

June: Bug Fables is a game that has been on my list for a while. People have been informing me that it's about as true to Paper Mario 64 and The Thousand-Year Door as any game has ever been since their respective releases, and those games are very dear to me.

July: FFIX is another game that I have a current save file going for. I'm actually quite a bit into it already, and I'm debating starting from the beginning or not. My current plan is to read a plot synposis to catch myself back up, but we'll see how I'm feeling in July.

September: The Tales series is a bit of a blind spot for me, which I've been intending to remedy. Tales of Symphonia is one of my favorite games ever, and I just played Tales of Phantasia for the first time in 2021. Tales of Vesperia is sitting on my Switch after purchasing it for $5 or something crazy, but first I'd like to target Tales of the Abyss, a game I found on the cheap at a used game store last month and have been excited to get into. Resident VGF Tales expert Leo has informed me that it'll be right in my wheelhouse.

October: There are rumors of a Chrono Cross remaster dropping in 2022. I'm hoping that's true, and I'm hoping it's accessible to me, and I'm hoping it's out by October. If not, I still need to play this game. Chrono Trigger is my favorite game of all time, and I really owe it to that team to play the sequel, even if I'm wary of it. My love of CT has prevented me from playing CC for too long. I need to play it and form my own opinion!

November: Bahamut Lagoon is a game that I discovered in the early emulation days of the Aughts. I loved finding Japan-only releases with fan translations--part of the reason that FFV and Seiken Densetsu 3 are so dear to me. Bahamut Lagoon was another one of those games I discovered back then, but never got terribly far into. Recently, last year, beloved JRPG community member Near released their magnum opus fan translation for Bahamut Lagoon, representing two decades' worth of translation, retooling, reprogramming, and a general labor of love the likes of which you rarely see. Near then tragically took their own life shortly after release. In their honor and memory, and to complete my own experience with the game, I want to play it.

That's the plan, and I'm sticking to it. Hopefully.

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