16 of the Proest Game Distractions (2013)
Adj. pro: Of the highest or finest quality; exceptionally good of its kind. (pro-er, pro-est)
To be honest, I don’t tend to complete many games. I did back in the day – when I could, because I was surrounded by either shitty games or impossible games, and even my 4-year-old self got tired of that shit. But these days, when have tended to be easier than ever, I’m far more likely to play either 20 minutes of a game and then put something else on while dismissing the first one, or else play the first half of the game, download the soundtrack, look at Wikipedia or a dedicated Wikia for the plot and character details and then YouTube the ending. Isn’t that terrible?
But just because you don’t wind up beating the game, it doesn’t mean your money has been wasted. Far from it! Here, we look at what most normal people would call “mini-games” or “alternate game modes” but what I, being a bit differently-abled, like to call “distractions”. It’s a fine thing for games to have lots of different playing modes and side-games, so long as they don’t get in the way of the overall, you know, game. Indeed, I sort of look upon games that don’t have any such mini-games (sorry, “distractions”) as being like deprived children with no cool Christmas presents to show off to me. What the fuck do I care that you have nice hair or a wonderful voice, dull child, when you didn’t even get a go-kart this year for me to mess around in? Below are 16 of the finest distractions that gaming has to offer, 16 different timesinks that boast enough depth or playability to make up the value of the game’s price alone. As usual, I try to pick only one game from any particular series. But, as is also usual, I tend to end up breaking that one rule. Please do enjoy, and these are in no real order ‘cept the very last one.
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Secret of Evermore (Review) (1996)
Secret of Evermore and myself have historically had a bit of a difficult relationship. It first stems from my love of its forefather, Secret of Mana, a SNES Action RPG that’s one of the best pieces of software the mighty console possesses, and for me one of the finest games of all time. It is reasonably well known, and very highly regarded.
Then we have Secret of Evermore, a Squaresoft game that’s rather more obscure – obscure enough that I hadn’t heard anything of it until I chanced across it one day on a SNES ROMs website, filthy prepubescent pirate that I was. In fact, I hadn’t even realised it’d ever been released in Europe until about a year ago. I’d simply assumed that we PAL gamers had been sorely deprived of it, like nearly all other Squaresoft SNES RPGs and many other SNES RPGs in general. Mais non, we did indeed catch a fleeting glimpse of it, not long before the Nintendo 64 arrived. We actually seemed to do well enough in Europe with SNES Action RPGs, with many of them seeing localisation into the various European languages.
Was Secret of Evermore a sequel to Secret of Mana? The answer is no, and that’ll become quite clear during the course of this Intro (and those who know the story of the game can safely skip the rest of this section). The game certainly borrows a lot from Secret of Mana, but the first thing that’s unique about the game is that it’s the one and only game created by ‘Square USA’. These were a team of new hires for the US branch of Squaresoft, which included many members who had little to no game programming experience. As such, there was no localisation job required for English speaking players, and the game’s script is notably better for it. Good news for long-time Squaresoft translator Ted Woolsey!
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