Over the years, there have been a lot of video games that I’ve really wanted to play, but for one reason or another, wasn’t able to. Fortunately, in many cases, my chance came along eventually, even if it took years or decades. However, there are still those few games that manage to elude me. So, in the spirit of airing my grievances, here is a short, painful list of some of the more notable games that have gotten away from me.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Being that I’m a big fan of the Castlevania series, both the classic and metroidvania eras, missing Symphony of the Night is one of my great gaming shames. Not only is it considered one of the best Castlevania games, but also one of the best video games ever made, period.
Really, it all boils down to me primarily owning Nintendo consoles, and oddly enough, Symphony never appeared on any Nintendo system. That’s kind of strange when you think about it, considering how prominent the series usually is with Nintendo. But so be it, and that leaves me out in the bitter, dark cold.
But if Rondo of Blood could make it to the Wii Virtual Console, then perhaps one day, Konami will see fit to bring Symphony to a Nintendo platform as well.
This is an even more painful inclusion on this list. I’m a self-proclaimed Shenmue fanboy, and it’s still one of my all-time favorite games.
Now, imagine this: Shenmue II was promised to Dreamcast owners for nearly a year after the first one came out. And then just one month before its scheduled release, it’s canceled so that it can be an Xbox exclusive (and delayed for another year on top of that). Oh, but only in North America. Japan and Europe still got the Dreamcast version on schedule.
At the time, I was pretty bitter about the whole thing, and I wasn’t about to buy a whole new console from something that was supposed to be on one I already owned. And I wasn’t aware that certain retailers were actually importing the European Dreamcast version to sell in America, so I missed my opportunity.
Today, however, I think Shenmue would actually sell me a console. If a Shenmue collection were ever released (or dare I say, Shenmue III), I would try to find a way to play it.
I’ve refrained from including Japan-only releases, because games I want to see localized would be a different list. The SaGa series, though, is a little of both. The games that have been localized have rarely appeared on systems I own, and the ones that did usually stayed in Japan. As of now, the only game in the SaGa series that I’ve played is Final Fantasy Legend II on the original Game Boy. I held my breath with eager anticipation that at least the Nintendo DS remake would make it over, but unfortunately, that’s about the time that Square Enix decided to get picky with their localizations.
So, why am I interested in the series if I’ve had so little experience with it? I guess I kinda like RPGs that are just a little off-beat. Plus, I am a big fan of the Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles series, which was made by the same development team and is similarly quirky.
As a series, SaGa seems to be dormant right now, but there are occasional stirrings. Still, I won’t hold my breath.
I’m just going to make this a catch-all category for all the 2D shmups that have decided to stay out of my arm’s reach for the past couple of decades. As an R-Type fan, I would’ve loved to get my hands on Delta and Final, and Thunder Force V always looked really cool to me. The Gradius Collection was only released on the PSP, so I couldn’t play the only localized version of Gradius Gaiden. There are others as well.
Shmups in general are a bit rare these days, and it’s kinda sad that even the big franchises of the ’80s and ’90s are all but dead. The classics do show up from time to time on digital download services, but as far as Nintendo platforms go, it’s unlikely I’ll see anything that ever appeared on the Saturn or PlayStation.