I've been watching the archives of Extra Credits
on PATV (which are completely awesome and I need to link people to them at some point, because there are people I know in fandom who would eat these guys up
because they get it
). And, for the outro music, they often take tracks made from people on OCRemix, a group of various fan artist who remix video game music and share them. There was an epic rendition of the Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past theme, and, curious, I traced it back to the source.
Imagine my surprise when, upon visiting OCRemix's homepage, I saw the announcement that they'd just released their newest album: Wild Arms: ARMed and DANGerous
Look, I can understand why some people are like "so what?" The first Wild ARMs game was released 15 years ago for the PS1, with little fanfare. The 3/4 overhead was reminiscent of FF6, and the 3D battles looked like bobbleheads fighting. It got completely overshadowed by the release of Final Fantasy VII
in terms of very early PlayStation JRPGs.
Wild ARMs was the very first RPG I played through start to finish. I'd played around with my cousin's copy of one of the Legend of Zelda games, when I visited and he'd let me, but Wild ARMs? Wild ARMs was mine
. I'd rented it on a whim in the summer of 1997 and was absolutely hooked. I'd played through Rudy's intro twice because I didn't understand at the time that I had to save, because there was no way I'd finish in one sitting. 10 hours of gameplay later, we had to return the disc, and the next day, I'd begged my mom for a trip to the game store and minutes later, I had my very own copy in my hands.
I never looked back.
Fourteen and a half years ago, I was introduced to a genre that changed my life. If not for Wild ARMs, I would never have been introduced to Square-Enix, Nippon Ichi, Bioware, or Atlus. I would never have dove headfirst into DnD, WoD, Shadowrun, FATE, or homebrew tabletops. I would never have jumped at the chance to join my university's live-action role-playing group, simply because they had the phrase "role-playing game" in the title.
I would not have the friends I have today, nor had the experiences that made me who I am. I would not be me.
Whenever an icon meme rolls around, people generally ask me "who's that in your default icon?" That would be Cecilia Adelhyde, the one female character in the party of three main characters of the first Wild ARMs, from the animated intro to the game. She's awesome. And she reminds me every day of who I was and who I came to be.
I'm listening to the OCRemix album as I write this, and I can't really put into words what I feel to hear Michiko Naruke's work remixed by fans who love her work as much as I do. It takes me back to a time when I was 12 years old, playing the game on the floor of my brother's bedroom, and not yet realizing at the time that'd I'd fallen absolutely, irrevocably in love with a medium and a genre like none other before.