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Gaming History You Should Know [dot]HACK// Retrospective December 9, 2018

Posted by Maniac in Gaming History You Should Know, Uncategorized.
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Last year I became obsessed with the .HACK franchise. Created in an incredible partnership between Bandai and Cyberconnect 2, .HACK was one of the first franchises I had ever seen that was designed from the start to be transmedia. At the same time the .HACK games were being released on the PlayStation 2, there was also an animated TV series that tied into different events happening at the same time of the game. The entire franchise revolves around the lives of the players of a VR MMORPG named (literally) The World.

I remembered fondly watching the initial crucial reviews for the first games in this franchise back when G4TV was in its heyday, but as a PC-only gamer at the time who didn’t own a PS2, I could never afford to purchase the original games for myself. By the time I could, their prices had exploded in the second hand market, once again bringing them out of reach.

Last year, NamcoBandai did a great thing and re-released the second (and arguably most beloved) series in the .HACK franchise, .HACK//G.U., on the PS4 and PC. The original animated series like .HACK//Sign have been re-released as DVD boxed sets. I bought up as much of it as I could. However, the original four PS2 games from the franchise were not re-released, and I was disheartened to know I would be going into a game franchise with a big gap of information.

Enter YouTuber Model, who began work on an in-depth series of .HACK// retrospectives at around the same time I was getting to learn more about the franchise’s history. His videos were incredibly paced and exceptionally well edited, with great production values all around. They have been perfect at filling in the essential gaps left out by BandiNamco’s refusal to re-release many of these classic games. Today, Model released his fourth video retrospective on .HACK// Vol 4, completing his retrospective of the original PS2 .HACK// quadrilogy. You can watch each of them below, with each video covering one of the four games in their entirety. Be aware, there will be spoilers, but my guess is if you’re watching this it’s because you want this information.

I have to admit I am grateful for one thing, the fact that much of the .HACK// franchise has been re-released over the past few years. I’ve even seen soundtrack albums available for purchase at import stores. However, there are still several original games (and one film) that never was released outside of Japan, and these four older games from the first series fetch astronomical prices on the secondhand market. I would prefer to see NamcoBandai (or BandaiNamco) re-release these four fondly remembered games (as well as everything that was previously Japan-Only) on modern systems. They still own the franchise and Cyberconnect2 clearly still has a soft spot for the franchise they created, so there is literally no reason not to.

At some point I would like to take a closer look at the franchise but this is more than enough for now! Special thanks to Model for letting us feature his videos here on the site. You can also read his Twitter here. Great work buddy! Model promises to continue his retrospective series with a look at the .HACK//G.U. games, but he expects those to take a while.

.HACK// Episodes 1-4 are out now exclusively on the PlayStation 2.

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