I’m usually not particularly interested in playing old games – the experience rarely, if ever, matches the memories I had of playing them in the first place – but this week’s revelation that longtime Castlevania creator Koji Igarashi was leaving Konami to make games on his own got me feeling very nostalgic for Symphony of the Night, and so I picked it up to play on my Vita. This is also the first time I play it in English, as my original playthrough was of the Japanese edition (that I played while I was a student in China), and it was also responsible for the first bits of Japanese I learned – I still regularly quote the “arigatou gozaimasu” from the shopkeeper. I’ve played a couple of hours now, and am really enjoying the gameplay again, but my biggest annoyance is when I die – it takes at least a minute to be playing again, since you first have to go back to the start screen. Dying in games is not the frustrating part, it’s how long it takes before you can be playing again (and of course, how much progress you’ve lost). I am very happy that I’m having a good time with it, still digging the graphics and music, and the pure satisfaction of killing creatures with my sword thrusts and flinging axes. But man, fuck those jumping monkeys – they annoyed me way back then, and they still annoy me now.