Ok, time to play some Final Fantasy IX! The question I've been mulling over the last couple days is how do I want to play it. There are all kinds of different options for how to play this game in particular. There's the standard stuff like trying to play with one character, or trying to play at low level. Given my recent obsession with watching speed runs I could try to win as fast as possible. (Not even a stretch for my Final Fantasy marathon since that's how I approached FFII. My time of 15 hours and 44 minutes pales a 'little' in comparison to the record on SDA of 2 hours and 32 minutes, though...)
Final Fantasy IX follows well in the footsteps of VII and VIII in that it has a ton of mini games like FFVII and a super extensive card game like FFVIII. A true speed run would skip these things and I don't know that I want to do that. On the other hand I know that every time I've played the game thus far I've done all of that stuff. Do I need to do it again? Do I want to do it again?
There's also the concept of a 'perfect' save file which I've been reading about on gamefaqs. FFIX has one item that is only available if you make it to disk 4 in under 12 hours. It has another item that is only available if you open practically every treasure chest in the game, many of which you have to open as you pass them on previous disks. On top of that people obsess about getting everything anyway, and getting max stats, and all sorts of other things. One group of people worked out a way to actually get everything you could miss while still getting to the end in under 12 hours, and then pick up all the other stuff you can still get. It sounds interesting and tedious and fun and boring which seems to be right up my alley... Except they then estimate it took them probably 800 hours to do. Not that I wouldn't spend 800 hours on a game, but I have the HD versions of FFX and FFX-2 showing up at my door in a month and a half and I don't want to still be on FFIX when that happens!
My biggest problem with watching speedruns of the Final Fantasy games has been that one of the things I really like about the games are the stories and the side quests. And while I am intrigued by eeking out small gains of time and pushing to be the best at something I don't think I want to do that on a game when it's the first time I'm playing it in 8 years. I also really don't think FFIX would be my game of choice for a FF speedrun... In fact it might be near the bottom of the list.
I think the answer is to just play the game straight up. I remember it has lots of little throwbacks to previous games and I'd like to have the chance to find those and enjoy them without worrying that I need to skip the dialogue or the cutscenes or whatever. I could do low level but it sounds like low level is actually pretty easy in this game so it wouldn't be adding too much challenge. If I want added challenge I want lots of added challenge, not just piddly bits. So it's going to just be a nice, casual playthrough.
Maybe I'll put a special focus on the card game this time around, make sure I don't miss anything in it and see if I can't max it out...