Just as the clock struck midnight here in the central time zone on January 1st, my Persona 3 LP began to kickoff the 2016 Persona 5 Hype Train. Just over two months later, it is completed. The decision to have it conclude on March 5th was very intentional. March 5th is the final day of Persona 3 – Graduation Day at Gekkoukan High School. It is then, on the rooftop of Gekkou High, that one of the most beautifully written moments in video game history occurs.
It wasn’t easy, mind you. Playing games on the Internet is just this sort of trivial thing, right? Well, perhaps to some. Doing it for a game that takes over 60 hours to complete and having to cut out the grinding, cropping the aspect ratio on animated cutscenes, and, worst of all, replaying hours long chunks because your capture software crashed, <deep breath> makes playing a game for the Internet incredibly taxing.
Nevertheless, I’m glad I did it and am only slightly proud of it. It wasn’t perfect, mind you. In fact I believe there’s an episode where the mixing got wonky in the final couple of minutes. Still, when I look at what else is out there on YouTube regarding Persona 3, I feel pretty comfortable with myself.
The YouTube algorithm is a mysterious thing. For a young, small channel like mine, it’s the nemesis. You can do all the right things, such as having great video length, appropriate names and descriptions, and a healthy number of tags, but still get completely lost in the endless sea of uploads. The chances of my playthrough overtaking more established ones that have been up for a couple of years are slim at best. That’s a shame.
I don’t say that as a means to sling mud or proclaim myself to be better than anyone else. As an entertainer and a host, I still have long ways to go. Already I feel like I’ve improved since beginning to record P3 in late 2015, but it’s an ongoing process.
What I think is a shame is that in terms of presentation, I went to great lengths to present P3 as visually pleasing as possible and I wish those who have more popularity on YouTube had done the same. Persona 3 turns ten years old this year. Simply recording composite video of your PlayStation 2 or an incorrect aspect ratio presentation of the PlayStation 3’s emulation of it does P3 a great disservice.
If you’re unfamiliar with the channel then you should know this. I value video quality a lot. I haven’t always been able to provide the best due budget reasons, but since last fall, I feel as though I can provide the absolute best picture quality of any game, on any platform. A big reason for that is the XRGB Mini Framemeister. The Framemeister is a video upscaler meant to work with older consoles. It takes video sources such as 240p, 480i, and 480p and upscales them to 1080p for optimal viewing on modern televisions and monitors.
Needless to say, P3 looks as good on my channel as it does due to the Framemeister. It was captured off of my copy of Persona 3 FES on PS2, outputting via YPbPr component, and upscaled from 480i to 1080p with a slight cropping effect to achieve a fullscreen 4:3 look. Also, as I alluded to earlier, I manually cropped every animated cutscene in the game (which are given a letter boxing effect) to achieve a more widescreen, 16:9ish look.
All of this combined with some decent YouTube thumbnails, episode names, knowledge of the story, and my general mastery of the game’s Social Link system are why I say I’m somewhat proud of the P3 LP. It’s not perfect, but I feel like I did the game – a fantastic game it is – justice. I hope to say the same once Persona 4 is completed in the summer.
I know it’s not for everyone; watching someone play a game on the Internet. And I know that doing it without a dick joke or someone screaming into a facecam every 15 seconds can feel awkward. That’s not how I roll. But if you feel like reliving Katsura Hashino’s first Persona games in the excitement leading up to Persona 5 later this year and don’t want to do all the heavy lifting, then that’s what I’m here for.