HOLLYWOOD—I’ve talked about my gaming past some time ago. Like I told so many people who ask me why I no longer play video games? Well, the first would be the fact that I’m an adult, and the second would be life is so busy where is the time. However, I have started to carve out a small time frame during my one day off during the week to return to my childhood. Now, before any of you go off on splurging out the notion of someone playing video games on hours end, I’m not that guy. If I’m lucky, I might get 2-3 hours tops. As a kid, that was a completely different topic and I could play for hours, literally from sun up to way past sun down.

However, a game that I truly want to discuss is “Secret of Mana.” It was recently remade for the PS4, but this doesn’t compare to the classic: which made waves on the Super Nintendo or as us gamers call it: the SNES. Yes, this nifty system came out a few months ago and for any avid gamer or anyone who grew up in the 80s or early 90s this is a video game system that crafted so many childhood memories.

For starters, it’s a role playing game. Now, I was never a fan of such games, but this one takes the cake for so many reasons. 1) It involves not just story-telling 2) A bevy of characters 3) Interchangeable characters 4) Action fights 5) Killer bosses and 6) It no easy game to complete. Yes, there are a lot of reasons “Secret of Mana” is a classic, but the greatest element is that it’s a game of exploration; it allows the player to really navigate a massive playground of beasts, nifty items and captivating visuals that are so fun to watch unfold.

I prefer not to go too in deep on the story, but what I would say is that the Mana Sword has been unleashed and as a result Mana seeds that have protected the planet have been unleashed and massive, dangerous monsters have invaded with the threat to end all civilization. You get the opportunity to name your character, but on your journey you’re joined by two females, both with exceptional fighting skills (the more that you fight creatures, the higher your level goes). In addition, they both possess the ability to perform magic, which is vital if you want to defeat some of the bosses who are capable of casting treacherous spells that can end your game if you’re not careful.

“Secret of Mana” is a 16-bit game and I love the fact that it’s not in 3D. That element continues to dominate gaming nowadays and because of it I think the idea of crafting a game with a fun story, unique characters and riveting gameplay goes down the drain. Let me be crystal clear this is NOT an easy game. When I first played this game nearly 20 something years ago, I had no strategy guide, so it was me navigating the game the best way I knew how.

That is a skill that I have always possessed when it comes to gaming: I don’t need a strategy guide to succeed. Unfortunately, for those of you without that skill, you might want to get a strategy guide as it will help you find those hard to locate items and easily navigate through several worlds where mazes and trickery are made to trip up the player. I think the best asset of this game is that it takes such a while to complete, and that is the fun part. This isn’t a game that you can beat within a 24-hour time frame. Well, let me take that back, it’s possible, but you really have to know the game to accomplish that. I would say on average 3-4 weeks might be the best time frame for most people to complete the game, especially if your time is limited.

If you happen to still have a SNES system, this game is not only a classic, but a game changer if you ask me. If you are lucky, and I mean lucky (there are very few of them still out there), the SNES Classic is your best way to get your hands on this classic game that is more fun than you can imagine. Trust me it will be something you play over and over again.