Now, first I must stress where these stories are coming from. Obviously I haven’t been jotting down notes my entire life. This first post will in fact be my first memory of my favorite NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) game, Crystalis. I was roughly three years old at the time. So this story is coming purely from my memories. I am well aware that they may be skewed or possibly altered from reality, but the best I can do is recite them the best I can remember them. Besides, it is in the manner that I have perceived them, whether true or false, that has shaped my perspective today.
So, as I already revealed, my first virtual world experience that I treasured was in the NES game, Crystalis. I remember I was at my grandmothers house, meant to spend the night there when my father called and told me over the phone he had come home with a new game (he came home from college on the weekends I believe it was), and I was excited to play it so he came and got me.
Crystalis was a game released in 1990. The story revolved around a world that had arisen from the ashes of a great nuclear war. Technology had led to mans downfall, and in the post-war era, technology and science were shunned. This led to a revival of magicians and magic. However all is not well as a powerful magician begins to use technology and combine it with his magic. Establishing his fortress from within a floating tower, he begins to forcefully bring the world under his rule, creating the Draygon Empire. To combat him, several magicians unite and forge four swords based on the elements- Wind, Fire, Ice, and Thunder. By combining the four swords they could then forge the ultimate weapon, Crystalis. Draygon learns of this plot, obtains the swords, and unable to destroy them, scatters them across the world.
Broken and defeated, the magicians look to records of the Great War and learn of a great magician that was imprisoned in a cryogenic freezing. Using the last of their power, they revive him. You play the role of this hero, your first action is to input a name, for your character has lost all of his memories. You must find the swords, forge Crystalis, and defeat Draygon.
The world of Crystalis was quite pleasing at the time, and in today’s settings I find it wonderfully simplistic. There are several towns you can come across, some poor, some simple, some in ruins. Each town generally has various item shops and inn’s, as well as many homes of residences of which you can enter and talk with the local inhabitants. Different environments are also featured as you go from your standard forest/field layouts, dark caves, snowy mountains, and even swampy jungle areas filled with poisonous clouds and killer insects. As you progress, you obtain coins which you can use to purchase better armor and items. You also find items, as well as the swords, which used with your magic make up your arsenal. Each sword is attached to a certain element, and can launch a ranged attack based on that element. There are also added bonuses such as Wind breaking stone walls, and Water forming ice bridges.
Outside of towns the lands are dangerous as mutated creatures lurk in every direction. This ranges from slime creatures to bats, to boar like humanoid creatures throwing axes at you. The list can go on and on (snow zombies that rise from the snowy earth). While the world mostly consists of only humans and these beasts, you also come across a race of small folk from the village of Oak, cut off from the rest of the world due to the poison swamp/jungle. There is also the village of Amazones which consists of only women and seems to reflect Amazons, though they still appear to be human. You also befriend a dolphin who you can ride across water.
The joy came from exploring all of these towns and interacting with all of the characters. Gaining experience points and levels, eventually becoming strong enough to defeat certain foes easily, while becoming immune to others. The excitement of walking into a new environment and facing its obstacles was so much different from the other games I had played at the time (mainly Mario and excite bike). While at the time I couldn’t understand much of what was going on, it all became clear when I purchased the game myself about 5 years later and beat the game myself without the aid of my father. Even then it still amazed me. And when the gameboy color release for it was announced, I instantly bought it up and beat that too (There were distinct differences between the two story wise, as Nintendo edited the game, but as an experience, this matters not). And still it thrills me to play it, as I more recently bought the game, now for a 3rd time, and placed it in a protective sleeve (complete in box) and have it sitting in my game collection.
While certainly not the most advanced game I have ever played, it is the one closest to my heart, as it introduced me to the Role-Playing Game (RPG) Genre.
A lot of information about this game can be found on this website http://tpb68.tripod.com/tom.html. Despite the site being one hosted by a free service, it’s actually well put together and the information is valuable and accurate. I have accessed it many times over the years and would like to extend my thanks to its creator.