Sunday, August 09, 2009

Aaron being Aaron

One of the things that I have noticed about myself over the years, that I haven't ever noticed with anyone else, is the fact that I will occasionally get myself all set up to do something, and then not actually do it for a while, sometimes even for years. As a small example, let me point out that during my university years I discovered the band Sixpence None the Richer, and I wanted to get their album This Beautiful Mess. This led to me doing nothing to actually accomplish that goal for about three years, when I was wandering through the One Way bookstore on Manchester Blvd., saw it on the shelf, and I thought "Aaron, it is time to get that album." So I bought it then. Why did I not buy it before? I don't know, I just never really felt like doing it, even though I wanted to.

So this brings me to today. This afternoon, I finished playing through the video game Sakura Taisen 3. I have owned this game since either late 2002 or early 2003, I'm not sure of the exact acquisition date. I got it as part of the Sakura Wars Complete Box, which had games 1 through 4 in the series all in one complete package. Right after getting that package, I played through the first game in the series twice (it's one of those "story games," where you make dialogue choices kind of like in a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book, plus you have occasional combats where your steam-punk mecha fight bad-guy steam-punk mecha. If you makes no sense at all to you, you can read about it all here.

Anyway, after that I moved to St. Louis, the Dreamcast got packed away, and I didn't play any more of the games. Fast forward to 2006, when I felt like breaking out the second game in the series, which I played for a couple weeks over Christmas break. The rest of the series sat unused until recently, when I started feeling the bug to play the next game. As is usual for me, that feeling built for a few weeks until I decided to setup the Dreamcast again and play it. Thus, over the last three weeks or so, I've spent about 35 hours playing Sakura Taisen 3. Now that it is finished, I can finally enjoy the rest of the experience.

See, in Japan, video games like this don't exist on their own. No, there are art books, and soundtrack CDs, and animated videos, and action figures, and trading cards, and pretty much every possible way of making money off of a property. Knowing about all this, when I got the Complete Box back 6+ years ago, I started looking for the rest of the associated swag. I picked up some manga, a bunch of CDs, the complete trading card set for the first game, and even a pencil board. This included stuff for all of the video games, but I have refrained from really dipping into the stuff I have until the time is right.

Case in point, I own both of the soundtrack albums for Sakura Taisen 3, but I have never listened to them before. I got the CD with the vocal songs off eBay used, so it was opened, but the full video game background music album is still in shrinkwrap, which it has been in for a good 6 years. Most people find this kind of thing odd, but I figure why ruin the experience by listening to the music before playing the game? This does mean that unopened albums sit on my CD rack for years, but if you want to do things right, you do them in the proper order. The animated video for Sakura Taisen 3 released domestically 5 years ago, and I picked up the DVD at a local Best Buy around 3 years ago for a good price. Again, it is still in shrinkwrap. However, now that I have played through the game, I get to enjoy the experience of listening to the soundtrack and watching the DVD with a full understanding of what the underlying story is supposed to be, and being able to pin specific songs to specific scenes or moods in the game.

No, I'm not finished, either. I still haven't played Sakura Taisen 4, and I have that soundtrack CD in shrinkwrap, as well. Since I played the first game in 2003, the second game in 2006, and the third game in 2009, I figure I will finally get my money's worth out of that boxed set, and finally crack open that remaining soundtrack album, sometime around 2012. Why rush it? I'm obviously not in any hurry.

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