Secret of Mana

I received a copy of Secret of Mana for Christmas in 1993. By December 31st was calling Nintendo’s Game Counselors because, though I had managed to complete everything else, I couldn’t figure out how to win the final encounter. I explained this to the person who answered the phone and all he could muster was a, “You got that for Christmas, and you’re already there?”, before he told me what I needed to know. In retrospect, the solution was rather obvious (I won’t post it here for spoiler reasons, although after 13+ years, it should be old news).

I would end up playing through the game at least half a dozen more times that year. Each time I was impressed not only by the depth and breadth of the story, but also by how the game as a whole came together. Okay, I’ll admit the story isn’t anything particularly groundbreaking: unlikely kid turns out to be predestined to save the world from an evil empire (complete with its own resistance movement!). But it is lengthy. It introduced me to a wide variety of characters, and taught me the word ‘aegagropilon’. The word is so obscure that I could only find out a definition by using the school-owned, six-inch-thick, unabridged dictionary of Crazy Words You Never Thought Existed(tm).

Fun Fact: With a multitap, you can have up to three people play this game at the same time. However, it’s my experience that having more than one person in control of a character drastically slows down your progression.

The graphics at the time were quite impressive, each character was distinct, colorful, and well animated. They still hold up well today. The soundtrack is nothing short of amazing. Nearly every track is memorable, and they all ‘fit’ exceptionally well. This is one of the best examples of the kinds of sounds that the Super NES was capable of producing.

These days finding the game in any condition is nothing short of amazing. Even assuming you can find a copy, the cost is going to be borderline ridiculous. This means that the game is either rare, sought after, or both. It’s certainly worth seeking out to play, so long as you can find a copy within your price range.

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