This Lunar: Eternal Blue Magazine Ad Is a Nostalgic Gut-Punch

Lunar: Eternal Blue

If you’re a fan of 90s-era JRPGs who’s never played the Lunar games, you really need to do something about that. These are among the best games the genre offered in that decade, and some folks might even say they were the very best ever made.

Even if I could find the words to express how wonderful the Lunar series is, you’d probably just think I was exaggerating. I’ll just put it this way: Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete (the PSOne re-release of the Sega CD classic) is in my top ten video games of all time, maybe even top three. No joke, these games are astonishingly brilliant.

One of my favorite things about Silver Star Story in particular is that it uses tried-and-true tropes of the genre as building blocks to create a story that’s somehow still full of surprises. Part of the game’s charm is that its characters are so darn loveable. You begin the story when the characters are still children (or young adults, perhaps), wide-eyed and enamoured by the heroes of legend, only to watch them age and become disillusioned by the very figures they once worshipped. Simple mythologies are turned on their head, revealed to be far more complex than initially imagined.

I could ramble about how much I love these games all day long, but I’ll just cut it short and reiterate that JRPG fans who missed these games should try to dig them up.

The problem is that they’re incredibly difficult to find. Silver Star Story and Eternal Blue were originally released on the Sega CD, an add-on to the Genesis with a disappointingly low user base. “Complete” versions were later released on the original PlayStation (and it’s the PSOne versions I would recommend), packed with goodies like hardcover game manuals, soundtrack CDs, and cloth maps. These are also very hard to find, and even if you do spot a copy out in the wild, you’re going to end up coughing up a huge chunk of change for it. They’re not easy to get your hands on.

So I was floored when I spotted this ad:

Lunar: Eternal Blue

I found this in issue #75 of Game Players magazine, with a September, 1995, date on the spine, though I can’t imagine this is the only magazine to run this particular ad.

What gets me about this ad is that I’m sure hundreds — or even thousands — of readers skipped over this page, ignoring the absolute treasure it was pointing to. Those people had no idea what they were missing. The ad is trying to draw attention to something that I can only assume was relatively easy to acquire back then, not realizing the torment these games would eventually cause to the less fortunate who missed their chance to snag them when they were new — perhaps at the lowest price point these games would ever see. If you want to get the full PSOne versions now, be prepared to part with hundreds of dollars unless you can find copies that are missing components.

The tragedy is that viewing this ad only reminded me how badly I want to re-play these games, and also that I might not ever get the chance. I’m sure that whoever put the ad together in the mid-90s didn’t have malicious intent, but decades later, this does feel like a gut-punch. If only it were 1995 again and we could find Lunar: Eternal Blue just sitting there on a store shelf like it was merely just another piece of merchandise. If only.

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