I finished the first Kingdom Hearts on PS2 at its US release, played about half of Chain of Memories, and played 2 hours of Kingdom Hearts II before then checking out of the series for 13 years.
But it’s always lived in the back of my mind.
Kingdom Hearts inspires me to consistently yell “THIS IS A THING” inside my brain.
2002’s internet didn’t have much going for it in the way of streaming video, but I watched this trailer over and over again in garbage video quality thanks to a download from my short-lived DSL connection.
I hope you enjoyed hearing the orchestral version of Hikari in that trailer I linked above. I found as many ways as I could to shove that song unnecessarily into video projects while I was in college from 2002–2006, and only a couple of people figured out what I was doing.
That was my favorite form of secret personal expression. Oh, I have to do this video project to pass this class? Well fine then! I’m going to put in music I like and you can’t stop me!
When gaming magazines used to be a thing, and articles arrived touting a mash-up of Disney franchises and Final Fantasy characters…I had no idea what that was even supposed to be. And I knew I needed to play it immediately.
Kingdom Hearts has gone from strangely ambitious platformer action game to one of the most popular franchises.
I fell out of the series over the years not because I lost an interest in video games, but because Kingdom Hearts isn’t always easy to love. It richly rewards those who want to get lost in its world building, statistics-driven combat, and hidden secrets…and presents an apparent barrier to anyone else, even though it’s never been the most difficult thing in the world.
It’s no Dark Souls. Though thinking about it, that would be interesting.
As trailers piled up for Kingdom Hearts 3, with its luscious visuals and a scale that seemed to finally capture what many had always wanted from the series, I knew it was time to get back in.
Then my weird completionist brain arrived at the party.
“Why Alex, you could just watch a recap video like everyone else and then play the new game. Or. You could break your new rules, buy that complete collection on PS4, and play through all 17 years of that series in one crazy awesome binge.”
So I’m doing that second one.
I’m 7 hours into Kingdom Hearts Final Mix, neck deep in the never-ending cubes of Agrabah. I had forgotten in the last 17 years just how many of the game’s levels are really interconnecting sequences of decorated cubes.
I plan to write a little bit about each game as I finish them, and hopefully, sometime before 2020, I’ll actually get to play Kingdom Hearts III.
I never thought that Square would get the opportunity to make more than one of these, let alone over ten of them depending on how we’re counting. And although I’ve always intended to do this one day, I’m not the greatest at actually finishing things.
So hopefully this post keeps me a bit accountable.