Vomit. That big stain you’re wondering about is vomit. Ten-year-old vomit from when I was a kid. I leaned over the edge of my bunk bed and aimed for the trash can below me, only to splatter puke all over my video game collection. My precious, precious video games. And my brother on the bottom bunk, I guess.
Kingdom Hearts, released March 2002 on the PlayStation 2. The first of a long, popular game series. This particular copy has been with me for as long as I can remember. Some of my earliest memories are of running around in this little world, fighting monsters and helping cartoon characters in their little worlds. The music, the dialogue, the artwork on the cover, everything about this game reminds me of simpler times sitting at home in front of a TV.
The story of the game follows the main character, Sora, as he ventures through many different worlds, trying to fight back the darkness and save his friends. The game beats the player over the head with its message that hearts have connections to others, and how even worlds have hearts. Sora must save these worlds’ hearts from the darkness that threatens to overtake them.
Its all very corny, but either way, this game is very important to me. Not the vomit stained case, I mean the game itself. The world I traveled in as a kid. All those characters I met and interacted with. In some way, it feels like my heart made a connection with the game. (Corny, I know)
But, alas, this game is almost two decades old, and the copy of the game, as well as the PlayStation 2 it was played on, are both very worn down. The game’s disc no longer works and is now nothing but a pretty decoration. I have no access to these worlds I spent so much of my life in, and the connection I made to the game is almost severed.
Fortunately, its not all that dramatic in reality. Kingdom Hearts is the first installment of a very popular series, so it makes sense that the game was re-released on many different occasions. I do in fact own a re-release of the game-
Kingdom Hearts 1.5 ReMix released in 2014 on the PlayStation 3 as a remastered version of the original game with extra content. The ReMix version introduces additional scenes and extra secret battles to the game, as well as slightly improving the graphics.
It was seemingly perfect. When I purchased the ReMix, it had already been years since the original copy of the game stopped working, so upon playing it again, I had finally been reintroduced to the world I had left so long ago. But something was off…
The music was still beautiful, the dialogue was still awkward and fun, so what had changed? Why didn’t it feel right? I experienced the game in a different way, and it was on account of the additional content added to the ReMix version. It was still fun, and I found my love for just the same, but it wasn’t the exact world i had found myself in as a kid. This isn’t the game that I accidentally puked on one sickly night. That game is somewhere else… Somewhere I don’t have access to…
This is a PlayStation 2 memory card. The one from my childhood. This memory card holds the save data from all of my childhood games, including Kingdom Hearts, the original, vomit stained version. Inside this memory card is the exact place I left off the last time I put the game down. The last time I paused and saved the game, and turned off the console. The very last time. I wonder if I knew at the time that it would be the last time I would wander around that world. I’m sure I didn’t, I was pretty young at the time. But I like to think I took a walk around one last time, just soak it all in.