It was a very good Nintendo Direct for me personally, who never finished Tales Of Symphonia and Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life

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Today’s Nintendo Direct saw the publisher show off plenty of games that are sure to bring nostalgic engines to life. For die-hard Final Fantasy 7 fans, there was Crisis Core: Final Fantasy 7 Reunion, a remake of the PSP spin-off, which had a December 13 release date. For Nintendo 64 kids, there was more Mario Party and Pokemon Stadium than I could ever imagine wanting to play, and the return of Rare’s GoldenEye with online and local multiplayer. Additionally, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is getting more classic courses, Pikmin is making a comeback, and Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse is launching outside of Japan for the first time.

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But the ads that made me put on my rose-tinted glasses were a pair of Nintendo GameCube games, which I both liked (maybe even liked one of them) but didn’t never finished: Tales of Symphonia Remastered and Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life.

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For the uninitiated, Story of Seasons is the Harvest Moon series (under a different name as North American publisher Natsume kept the original) and Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life was the series’ first GameCube entry. In it, you play as a young man taking over his father’s farm after the older man dies. You can marry one of three suitors, have a child, farm your land, go fishing, work in a mine, hang out at the bar, etc. I’ve played this game a lot over the years, but according to Wikipedia I only made it to the third or fourth of six chapters. In my memory, I put in at least 100 hours on it, so I must not have played very effectively.

Harvest Moon 64 was my intro to the series and Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town was my favorite, but I only ever rented 64 and lost my Friends of Mineral Town cartridge. So A Wonderful Life was the farming sim I spent the most time with. The fact that it featured a fully 3D world meant that it couldn’t be as complex as other games in the series, but the world sometimes felt weirder and a bit weird because of this shift to a new dimension. I remember there was a cabin on the main character’s property that was always locked, and I never went far enough to see it open. It was a big mystery to me, although I read the plot summary on Wikipedia this morning and it doesn’t seem like anything actually happens to it. When you’re a kid, it can be hard to tell what’s important in a game and what’s just scenery. Forget-Me-Not Valley was sparse enough that everything seemed to have a purpose.

Tales of Symphonia was a much more intimidating game, mainly because I hadn’t played many JRPGs outside of the Pokemon series. Perhaps more importantly, it came with two discs that suggested an unfathomably long game. But the anime aesthetic really appealed to me. Well, anime aesthetics opening cutscene really attracted me. There’s a kick in this first game where protagonist Lloyd sprints through cracked desert ground towards a hulking skeletal giant, then leaps into the air with his sword drawn. It reminded me endlessly.

The game itself disappointed me a bit. Although in recent years developers have been able to achieve parity between how a game looks in cutscenes and how it looks in action, back then gameplay was almost always a pretty significant downgrade of cutscenes. Tales of Symphonia and another Namco RPG that had a great intro, Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean, were the main offenders for me at the time. Although Lloyd and the rest of his team looked like grown adults in the cutscene, in gameplay they were small and chibi. The game was still fun to play, but my disappointment was real.

As much as these announcements got me excited, I find it hard to believe that I’m actually going to revisit these games on Switch. As an adult, I have more pocket money and more skills than when I was a child, but I have less of the most important resource: time. These games were too long for me to complete when I was a kid, with months of summer vacation. So while I’m thrilled to have these games remastered, I may have to leave them unfinished.

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