Welcome to another edition of the Gaming Bus Live Chat. Last week, we tried a little political experiment via Hidden Agenda: What would happen if a group of geeks on a video game web site tried to bring a fictitious Central American country from the Reagan era back from a brutal dictatorship? Though the actual answer couldn’t be provided in the chat — another six-hour wonder — we didn’t have to go far to realize they would do poorly. Presidente Motherfucking America1 (me), Prime Minister Fucking Phoneix (Diehard GameFAN’s Mohamed Al-Saadoon), and Secretary of State Fuck Yeah Hey Wait Josh Lives in That State Full of Silly People (our own Joshua Moore) did our best to bring peace and stability to Chimerica, but we could not overcome a cabinet that prioritized coffee over everything else.
This week’s game will take me full circle professionally. First, a little bit of personal history: right around October or November of 2003, I was about to head out to sea for a time, and I was looking for a Game Boy Advance game to take with me. I stumbled upon the newly released Fire Emblem. I took a look at the box and saw it was basically Advance Wars with a medieval feel and a level up system. That was easily worth $30 for me. The game wound up being even more addictive than I could’ve imagined, to the point where it remains the only GBA game I owned in that time that isn’t completely mangled from being in my pocket. The reason for this was that it was always in my system, where the other games were elsewhere in my pocket, subject to sweat, heat, and other things that mechanics go through every day in adverse climates. When I got out, I was browsing around the Internet, looking for some help with the game; I loved it, but the whole your-characters-actually-die thing was messing me up. In my search, I managed to find a small forum on Proboards called Fire Emblem: Sanctuary of Strategy.
Without going into all the details, what we know now as FESS changed every aspect of my life. I went from being a member to one of their administrators in three months, and effectively ran the largest English-based Fire Emblem community on the Internet from late 2004 to 2006, when I initially retired. I took it over again in 2007, until I closed it down for good in 2008. During that time, I met a lot of my best friends, gained the experience and credibility I would use to launch my own professional writing career, and met Aileen, the woman I’ll end up marrying. Even when I consider how I spent four years in the military, fought in a war, was in New York Harbor for 9/11, have officiated very high level hockey, and have a professional resume that’s as diverse as they come, I consider January 16, 2004, the day I joined an Internet message board, the most important day of my life. The Fire Emblem influence is extremely strong here on Gaming Bus, with six of our seven staff all coming from FESS. This includes Josh, who runs the site I sent my members to after we closed, Serenes Forest.
Tonight’s chat will be for the Super Famicom game, Fire Emblem: Thracia 776. This one takes place during a significant time skip between the two halves of its predecessor, Fire Emblem: Seisen no Keifu, and is thus a side story. Thracia 776 stars Prince Leaf of Lenster, who has been on the run since his parents were tragically killed during the end of Seisen no Keifu‘s first half. When two old friends are kidnapped, it’s time for Leaf to break out, rescue them, and begin the fight to take back Lenster. There are two things to note about Thracia: First, it’s one of the last ever Super Famicom games to be released, coming out a week before the Sega Dreamcast made its debut. Secondly, this game is brutally fucking hard. Even in the game’s early stages, I will have problems. Despite that, this will be a no savestate, no reset playthrough.
I will be thoroughly enjoying this chat as I get to enjoy the series that’s most dear to my heart on the site that largely grew from what I did at FESS. Please join me for a night I’ve been looking forward to all month.
1 – Yeah, I borrowed it from Seanbaby.