#7. Kingdom Hearts – Simple & Clean (PLANITb Remix)
Despite my new love for Halo, I never really “graduated” to mature gaming. A Disney buff all my life, I picked up Kingdom Hearts primarily because it had Mickey Mouse attached to it, and because I vaguely recognized the Square name from my Musashi days. I had still never played a Final Fantasy game (and in hindsight, how could I have, with daily hour allotments and an inability to limit-break?). But not knowing who Squall or Cloud were hardly put a damper on my experience. Simple and Clean still thrills me and gets me dreaming of far off dreams and scattered memories all over again.
#8. Kingdom Hearts – Hikari Orchestral Version
I will probably always want a Keyblade, moreso even than a Portal gun (of course, a functioning Keyblade is way more useful anyway), and Kairi will always be my favorite Disney princess. Kingdom Hearts completely stole my life away, and it’s never quite given it back. Every so often I get sucked back in (most recently with Birth By Sleep this past spring), and as much as I’m dying for Nomura to hurry up and finish Versus XIII to get working on KH3, I’m a little afraid that once that happens, you’ll never see me again.
#9. Final Fantasy X – To Zanarkand
Kingdom Hearts was the gateway drug to JRPGs, but Final Fantasy X was what took me hook, line, and sinker. I picked it up from a bargain bin at a Best Buy, not because I thought I’d play it but because I needed another game to qualify for the discount I wanted on Unreal Championship. The irony of that has never escaped me: I tired quickly of Unreal, but I’ve never let go of Spira. Like Kingdom Hearts, this game pulls me back every few years, reminding me that I never finished it and that the soul-crushing conclusion is waiting for me to finally see it.
#10. Final Fantasy X-2 – Eternity
Of course, the only thing I can say to insult a diehard FFX fan more than “I never finished it” is “I liked X-2.” As you may have noticed, I’m not really worried about insulting people. I liked X-2. To be fair, I was a teenage boy when I played it, and this game could have just as easily been titled “Final Fantasy Fanservice.” I still have the poster I got with the game mounted on my wall, which never ceases to draw judgmental looks from visitors. I stopped noticing it years ago. Really, I did.
Hey, if it’s any consolation, I never finished X-2 either.
And now for something completely different…