Persona 4 is now one of my all time favorite games after I finished Golden on my Vita. But it was not always that high up on my list, in fact when I first played it I plain didn't like it. When I first got it and popped it in my PS2 I enjoyed the look of it but the way the days had to be so regimented and you had to pay so much attention bothered me. I used to play games to get away from thoughts of the homework I had to do, or what I had to do at work the next day, or even who to hang out with! And here was this game that was trying to force me to do all of those things at once. My head spun and after a while of playing it I grew dispirited and put it back up on the shelf. Move forward a few years and I bought Persona 3 on the psp hoping that it would speak to me as it's sequel had not. I was out of Highschool at this point and absolutely loved the game. The structure felt comforting while at the same time the constant task management made the game a challenge while also giving you plenty of challenging combat. It was amazing but it got me to thinking if I truly disliked Persona 4.
I began thinking more about this and about why I had not liked it in the past. I believe some of it had to do with where I was in my life, having girl problems and working almost 40 hours a week on top of school and preparing for college. I had so much on my plate that the idea of having a game make me do similar things was almost nauseating. I would rather fight dragons and save princesses and struggle against villains than deal with things similar to what was happening to me in real life. It as interesting that I had not liked it because I truly did, and do, enjoy classrooms and learning. As I thought about myself then comparitive to how I was at that point I promised to give Persona 4 another try. But college got in the way and I forgot about it until I saw on Kotaku that they were remaking Persona 4 for the Vita. When I saw this I got very excited and the moment the Solid Gold Edition was announced I pre-ordered it. I pre-ordered the game before I had even bought the console. The interim dragged on by and I was so excited for the game. When it finally came out I called into work so I could play it immediately.
I was amazed. The game that had bored me to tears and drove me away seemed like it had never existed. How could I have called this vibrant cast of characters and riveting storyline boring? I played the game constantly from thereon out, even extending it by not letting myself advance the storyline too far until I had reached level 99 with all of my characters even the ones I had no intentions of using, namely Teddie and Yosuke. I was so in love with the story that at the end when I had to say goodbye to it it was almost as if I was saying goodbye to real friends I had made. I believe that it took me being out of Highschool to really appreciate this particular gem. It brought back memories of my own awkwardness at that age and the trials contained therein. At the risk of sounding corny Persona 4 Golden was indeed a golden opportunity for me to think back and confront some very interesting things about myself, which I found especially telling due to the nature of learning about oneself in the game. Not to mention the fact it gave me an excuse to buy a Vita.