Okay, technically Kingdom Hearts 1.5, since I’m playing it on my PS4.
Back in high school I became friends with a group of girls who were obsessed with the Kingdom Hearts game, so much so that our group had nicknames based on the series’ original characters. I was Zexion. There was a slight problem though: I had never played Kingdom Hearts, I had never even owned a gaming console. My gaming experiences were limited to the neighbor’s Nintendo 64, my best friend’s Xbox and the PS1 at my sister’s house in Melbourne. I played games mostly in half an hour to an hour chunks. I had absolutely no idea who Zexion was, what Kingdom Hearts was or why we were all meant to be so excited.
Lucky for me one of my friends offered to lend me her Playstation and a copy of the first game for a few weeks in the holidays. I remember being pretty confused by KH1, but able to bungle my way through. I think it was also the first time I ever looked up a walkthrough (Agrabah is confusing, yo). I played it for about four days straight, got to Atlantica, couldn’t handle the swimming and gave up. I returned the playstation and games with a memory of a fun game but still no idea who Zexion could be.
Cut forward many years and the Kingdom Hearts series is being re-realeased on the Playstation 4, finally another chance! And what can I say? It’s an okay game. It’s fun and quirky and I mostly enjoy it (still not a fan of the swimming). It’s a game that’s designed around the wonder of exploring Disney’s worlds, and that’s something I have certainly enjoyed. The feeling of wandering through classic scenes from Alice and Wonderland, Peter Pan and The Nightmare Before Christmas is unbeatable.
I think I might have missed the key (no pun intended) time to play this game. If I was younger, I had played less games, or I had more time on my hands I think I would have enjoyed it more. As it is, I enjoyed quickly exploring each world but the grinding to get up to the next level, particularly with such simple game play, is almost unbareable. I got through the bulk of the game and now I’m at near the end with nothing to do but grind up the next 20 or so levels so I can cut a path to the final boss
Ultimately this comes down to something that many game commentators and journalists have been talking about recently. We, the adults in the gaming community, are relatively time poor. If we play something we want it to be totally enaging, total worth the time investing in. Grinding in games is becoming less of something which makes you feel you deserve to win your fight against the final boss, and more of a chore.No one wants to do the dishes for fun (I don’t think…). Thinking back to fifteen year old me, fighting Heartless made me feel invincible. Many years later, and after twenty or so hours of it, I just feel bored.
It makes me sad that I’ve missed the magic of Kingdom Hearts. It’s something that’s held so dear to so many people and I’m sad I can’t share in that with them. Maybe I’ll find the second game better on some level, since I’ve never played any of it before, and if not, at least I’ll finally find out who the hell Zexion is.