Kingdom Hearts and I have a long, complex history – one I’m sure many fans can relate to. Today, it’s gone and complicated itself even further with announcements of the HD 1.5 and 2.5 ReMIX titles for PS4, and shiny new video from the upcoming 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue.
Quick flashback to 2001-ish, when the game was first announced.
The original Kingdom Hearts was THE reason why little eleven year-old me spent months begging my parents for a PS2. I clearly remember the first time I saw the trailer – I sat killing time in the AOL South Park chatroom, as I waited over an hour for the two-minute video to load, buffer and load some more (see, kids, when we were young we had something called “dial-up,” and we had to EARN our streaming).
At my first taste, I was wowed. Dazzled. Razzle-dazzled, even! Though I hadn’t played much of it at the time, I was infatuated with the stories and aesthetics of the Final Fantasy universe. And, being a little girl, Disney was, ya know, my life. Combine these with a rapidly blossoming interest in Japanese pop culture, and you can understand how easily the game became an obsession.
Seriously. I was fanatical. You would’ve hated me. Just the worst kind of pre-teen weeb. Learned all the songs in Japanese. The whole shebang. But, anyway.
My excitement was sparked anew when Chain of Memories was announced, followed of course by Kingdom Hearts 2, an agonizing handful of years later. At the time, I fully expected the franchise to be wrapped up neatly with Kingdom Hearts 3 before I reached my twenties, and I would be satisfied.
Oh, how wrong I was.
While I’ve played through all of the big Playstation releases, I’ll admit that I’ve experienced a couple of the titles mostly through wikis and YouTube. While they are all beautiful and (mostly) fun and interesting, I’m positive I’m not alone in saying that a certain fatigue set in long ago, as I’ve tried to keep track of it all.
At some point in the past six or seven years, my commitment to Kingdom Hearts started to make me feel like I was in one of those unhealthy romantic relationships. You know, the ones that drag on and on, not because both halves enrich each other, but because the “me” half is weak and lonely and stuck in the past, and the other half is so familiar and charismatic and warm, and knows me so well and smells so nice and always throws little green life orbs at me just in the nick of time.
I’d play through one of the games for the millionth time, start researching the stories to better understand what I was dealing with and had to look forward to, get more confused than before I started and, in a little huff, not look back for months.
Then, without fail, Square Enix would release another stunning trailer or enticing bit of gameplay (“Come on, baby, you know you like what you see”), and I’d get sucked in all over again.
Today was no different. I opened Facebook to see the newly released 2.8 video, and thought cynically, “Watching this will only lead to pain, longing and frustration. I’m over it. OVER IT, I say!”
Then, naturally, I clicked “play” as quickly as possible.
Within fifteen seconds, I was tearing up like a jackass. The characters, the island, the Utada, the bubbles. Just as it intended, it took me right back to my seat in front of the Dell desktop in our basement, marveling at all the lustrous colors and spellbinding storylines I’d buffered my way through. I could almost hear Linkin Park playing from my iMesh folder, and feel the ghosts of Hot Topic stud bracelets sticking to my wrists.
Sweet, dorky nostalgia consumed me.
I settled right back into the arms of that warm, lovely, wicked, nerdy, manipulative, magnificent romance. And, I knew without having even been asked, I would once again throw my money at it at my earliest opportunity, and again and again, until our long lusted-upon Kingdom Hearts 3 is finally nestled within our ancient, arthritic hands.
“Please, oh baby, don’t go.”
Damn you, Kingdom Hearts, I will never go.
Unless you cheat on me with somebody prettier and skinnier. Or even just skinnier. Then I’m out.
But really, probably, I won’t be.
Article by guest writer Lori Molander. If you like what she has to say let us know, we’ll try to keep her around. Check out her site HERE