In my childhood there were a few events that really, profoundly, influenced me. We are all the summation of a cacophony of messy events. To say that any one moment had no impact is a fool’s folly and I won’t be going there. But when I think back to things that still dig deep into my chest the list is fairly small. Today I’d like to talk about one of those events:
Playing through Final Fantasy 7 the first time was like waking up from a deep slumber.
Those first little tingles of sound. Chirpy notes peppered with industrial grumbles and chattering bamboo. The logo splashed into the screen and a joyous fluid flowed through my veins. I’m sure everyone feels this feeling from time to time. As if your body is pumping not blood but some kind of pure, unadulterated, bliss. The figures have not aged well but at the time my imagination devoured up every little pixel. Every note that Nobuo Uematsu composed for this game is perfect. Every little sound dragged me along and invested me deeply. This is not a story on the level of a Tale of Two Cities or some other stereotypically classic novel. But it didn’t need to be. This was a story that mattered to me.
I became deeply attached to the entire cast. Every time they were sad, I was sad, every time they were happy, I was happy. We ground out every zone until loot and experience poured from our little avatars. I remember fleeing from a giant snake across a sprawling desert. I also remember that feeling of not having saved in ten hours and finding a tall green monster under the water. “What is this?” I thought, approaching it. Half a day lost.
The confusion of just who was who? By the end of the game I had no sense of the timeline or what had really transpired. I had won but my desire to know “how” had been piqued. I played Final Fantasy 7 again and again. Each time discovering a new little secret that I had missed the first time. Eventually I had played it to death but discovered a new means of joy, the Gameshark. I could mod the game to fit my needs and the replayability of the game became near infinite. This was the power of old games. Modding and cheating allowed you to make the game exactly as you desired it. Every game, to a degree, was perfectly tailored for you.
With the rise of achievements this was lost. Because now developers had incentive to lock you out from their fun. But I digress.
There is not a single moment of this game that I dislike. Every fight, every item, every character, they all make me happy. Is this the perfect game? No, there are even other RPGs that I like a great deal more, like Breath of Fire 3 or 4. But to play this game again with updated graphics and a remastered score would be delightful for me. I would take it with joy. There is no such thing as an over hyped game. Either you like a game or you do not. The degree with which you like or dislike the game will certainly be a gradient, admittedly.
I like cloud. I don’t think he was a tabula rasa for me to paint myself inside. He was a broken man for a series of reasonable reasons (as opposed to unreasonable reasons, which is remarkably fun to say and type). During my more emotional teen years I signed off everything as “A One Winged Angel”. Would love to be given the chance to review this game anew and send that tagline off to Valinor.
I will, however, be extremely skeptical that this game will be happening until I can order it. Square has fumbled a few times in the last decade with actually finishing games. I’m cautiously optimistic.