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Games You Probably Like, But Shouldn’t: Final Fantasy VII

June 16, 2009

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The year is 2009 people; we live in an age of choices, an age in which every year does away with concepts that have become diluted with age and are replaced with the latest forms of reality ranging from existentialism to realism. Go to your local Barnes & Noble and see if you can count the books released in the past 365 days alone. Try to recite everything that was released between last years E3 and this year’s. We are in a world in which every night we die and every day we are born again.

All this considered I am continually taken aback by the idealistic ranting of those who believe “nothing is new” or the “golden age” of creativity is over. These are the people who won’t read books of absolute brilliance such as House of Leaves or Lost in the Funhouse because Twain and Fitzgerald were the last great novelists. As a community of gamers, perhaps we should be proud that we have this same issue overrunning our people. It does prove that there is a culture to look back on; however, it does not make this backward thinking mindset correct.

I doubt few people are going to truly dissertate over the overarching power of video games during the years of Atari or even Nintendo. Those were good times and most can have a remembering chuckle at the Konami code in hindsight; the problem though resides within the Super Nintendo and Playstation generations. Now, what game has become our virtual Great Gatsby? Where is the white whale that so many preach about?

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My friends, the white whale is in fact the long, white mane of none other than Sephiroth. Huckleberry Finn has been cast by Cloud Strife. The Roman gods stand vigilant in the form of summons. Yes, you guessed it: Final Fantasy VII. Far from being a bad game, this exposé into, what were at the time, miraculous graphics and storytelling has become the chief offender of the “Nostalgic Disorder.”

Unlike my last column, I enjoyed FFVII in its entirety from start to finish with over eighty hours of game play. As a social pariah in middle school, I had the time. So much time in fact, that I can’t recall how many times I played through the game, each time over eighty hours. I became lost in its nuances in plot. Who can forget completely understanding Zak’s place in the storyline? I mastered the battle mechanics and power-leveled for hours on end. I felt something stir in my pre-teen soul when Aeris died back before antisocial groups like goths, emos, etc even existed. So, what’s the problem?

Time. Time is the ever changing factor of our lives that the majority of us fight against tooth and nail until we lose our lives to that fight.

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Rather than being seen as a classic and a bar raised in video game production, FFVII has been heralded as the pinnacle of the virtual digital experience. There are some of you thinking that I’m speaking in extreme hyperbole; you obviously don’t understand the extent of fanboy-dom that has been created through the use of a brooding main character, a huge sword, and summons. FFVII has become a form of denial in gamers across the world. Many of them remember it as the first/last great game of their now spent youth; therefore, they hold onto its memory as a symbol of “a better time in games.”

This “Nostalgic Disorder” occurs in all brackets of society and is in reference to everything from walking to and from school to lemonade stands on the neighborhood corner. There is always something undeserving in people’s past that they will hold to a divine height in hopes of keeping whatever aspects of themselves they or the world had at that time. FFVII just happens to be the first true and extreme example of this. Now, were it to be an isolated problem, as in only in the minds of those people, I wouldn’t be writing this right now.

Unfortunately for the gamers able to move on or new gamers, the nostalgic are rarely mute with their desires. How often is Kotaku, 4chan, N4G, or any other internet gaming forum brought to a grinding halt of intellect due to fanboys advocating or ridiculing a game or system? How often do you hear that a game will never be as good as *insert game made more than five years ago*? Yes, fanboy-dom is spread across all sorts of games; however, FFVII has by far created the largest population of them. It has also created a symptom of “Nostalgic Disorder” greater than any fanboy’s annoyance: Whoring out.

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Many people would think of whoring out as either a reference to a woman of the night, a vague allusion to a popularized Sublime song, or the business plan of Nintendo Wii’s casual gamer sales. A good example normally would be movie video games: Poor quality based on the idea that if you liked the movie, then you’ll play the game regardless. Squarenix has done something much worse. They have whored FFVII out because of the nostalgia, the fanboys, and the easy buck behind releasing anything with FFVII near it.

I watched Advent Children and thought to myself, “That was amazing! This is exactly what I needed to continue the joy of FFVII.” I then continued my day and, while sipping on some pure gold (coffee that I’m calling such due to the price), it hit me. Advent Children was only good. It had great action, but the plot was almost as thin as the abomination of FFX-2. I absolutely loved the movie for nearly twelve hours based on the fact that it was related to FFVII.

Even after that, I played Dirge of Cerberus and I thought to myself, “How new! How creative! Oh, how I wanted more to Vincent’s story!” I finished the game and once again danced about, singing the games praises, convinced of its grandeur. All a friend had to do was look at me questioningly as if to ask what about the game was any good. It hit me again; it was only good, decent, and ordinary. It wasn’t anything to relish. Nostalgia had once again struck out, warping my judgment.

Since Dirge, I’ve not played Crisis Core and I don’t intend on seeing the “extended” Advent Children. FFVII was a great game, especially when it came out. I will always look on it favorably; however, when fanboys are yelling about how nothing else can compare, when Squarenix is making literal nostalgic masturbatory aids, and when you can’t stand to see another screen name or avatar based on Sephiroth, it’s time to set the game on the top of the shelf and remember it fondly.

Final Fantasy VII and all of its abortions of “sequels” are all games you probably like (if not excessively dry hump and cosplay yearly), but shouldn’t.

Kefka v Sephiroth

Anyway, everyone knows VI not only came before, but had such a better plot and game structure. I mean, Kefka? Epic win! Sephiroth FTL. ur a noob if u dont agree.

-Brandon

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24 Comments leave one →
  1. Andrew Wilkinson permalink
    June 16, 2009 5:51 pm

    Now THIS was a truly appreciated article. I too remember seeing the gameplay timer ticking away, though I went all the way through only one time. Ffvii defined rpgs for me. No other has ever affected me as profoundly. Whether it was its unprecedented length, depth, or it uncanny ability to suck you in start to finish. I mean FOUR discs? For one game? Sure, it was almost unheard of, but once you got into the first few hours, you never wanted to stop. Good times man, good times.

    • thebigmanandgarrett permalink*
      June 16, 2009 6:53 pm

      Andrew! Good to see you checking out the blog. Yes, FF7 is full of nostalgia, but that doesn’t mean Squeenix can milk us for all it’s worth. We shouldn’t have bought in!!! Actually, I really liked Crisis Core and Advent Children >____<

      -Garrett

    • Masonvrocks permalink
      June 17, 2009 2:26 am

      FF7 was only three discs 😛

  2. Andrew Wilkinson permalink
    June 16, 2009 7:18 pm

    No, no! That was my whole point! The GAME is what did that to all of us. I’ve never really had a cg adaptation of a game that I’ve appreciated… Dead space, resident evil, advent children… And dirge of cerberus was a way to bide your time for the next game. At best. Really, I mean among all the games, their spinoffs, the movies, the porting to DS (wtF?), and then taking what, three years to come out with our next fix? When all we have are pitiful games like last remnant? I weep for square enix. They are the worst kind of drug dealer.

  3. xopher permalink
    June 16, 2009 7:49 pm

    Should I really listen when a random blogger on the internet says I shouldn’t like something? That’s even more ridiculous than enjoying something simply for nostalgia.

    • thebigmanandgarrett permalink*
      June 16, 2009 7:53 pm

      Opinions my friend, opinions. I hope you would never base your like or dislike of something based on what someone else says. 🙂

      -Garrett

  4. Andrew Wilkinson permalink
    June 16, 2009 8:00 pm

    Yeah I’m not trying to affect anyone’s opinion, I’m just stating my own, rather scathing, thoughts haha! Sorry for seeming pretentious or what have you, just babbling to myself. I’m on a 5 hour drive and I’m entertaining myself.

  5. June 16, 2009 8:22 pm

    So, your argument is that, since the game is so good, we shouldn’t play it, correct? Argo, FF7 is stupid because it has so many fans and so many people love it because it is so great, correct? Then why do you say that FFVII is a game we shouldn’t like but FFVI is a game that everyone should love? They both: (1 Have many fans (2 Are great games. I don’t agree that Kefka is better than Sephiroth, does that mean I’m a noob? A ‘new guy’? When you learn the meaning of noob, and stop contradicting yourself, then you can tell people what and what not to enjoy.

    http://neoseeker.com/forums/1169/t1379296-games-you-probably-like-but-shouldn-ffvii/#12

    • thebigmanandgarrett permalink*
      June 16, 2009 8:27 pm

      Welllllll, we most certainly have our opinion of the spin offs, or rather, the whoring out of Final Fantasy VII, but we did state early in the review that we loved the game.

      For example, my favorite game of all time is Chrono Trigger. If there were a bunch of Chrono Trigger spin off type games that were sub-par in quality compared to the original, then yes, of course I would be pissed. The author here is stating the same about FF7.

      You clearly didn’t read the whole article. In fact, even a moderator on NeoSeeker said how excellent the article was. Go back, re-read, and try to understand what it is we’re actually writing about. Don’t just look at the title.

      Also, the last line clearly reflects the humorous nature of the article. It’s not at all meant to be taken seriously. 😛

      -Garrett

      Also a quick note, a newb is a new guy, a noob is someone who continues to behave as a newb despite experience, and has come to mean an ignoramus in general, and as Garrett said the line is clearly joking in tone.
      -The Big Man

    • Celes Leonhart permalink
      June 17, 2009 2:22 am

      Incorrect.

      Maybe the title has been the main issue for the article seeing as it’s not actually the real point of the content, but most people quick to defend Final Fantasy VII will take it to heart. Also seems sudden grammar being noobed up doesn’t highlight the humour factor.

      • Kudistos Megistos permalink
        June 18, 2009 9:21 am

        I think the reason why some people might not see the end as a joke (and I wasn’t completely sure myself until Garrett made it clear) is that there are so many people who say things like the author jokingly said in the last sentence but are serious that it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference 😉

        And *prepares to get called a fanboy* EVERY RPG has fanboys. There’s nothing special about FFVII fanboys at all, except that there are more of them because it’s such a popular game. The more fans there are, the more fanboys there are going to be; that’s the only reason FFVII has such a large fanboy population. And there are lots of games whose fanboys make up for with intensity what they lack in numbers…

        I do agree with the author about the awfulness of the compilation, but that’s a problem with whoring out in general, and that happens to most successful franchises (FF had been whored out long before Squeenix focused on VII; The Spirits Within, anyone?).

      • thebigmanandgarrett permalink*
        June 18, 2009 1:18 pm

        I’m not Brandon, so I can’t be sure, but I interpreted the last sentence as two things. First he honestly likes VI better, which is fine, and second it was a joke on fanboys and how stupid they look. The style and tone are so different from the rest of the article that I imagine he figured people would get the joke. I’ll talk ti him about a possible edit, or editor’s note, for clarification.
        -The Big Man

  6. thebigmanandgarrett permalink*
    June 17, 2009 2:27 am

    I’m talking to G and B about a name change for the column. It definitely comes across too hostile.
    -The Big Man

  7. Masonvrocks permalink
    June 17, 2009 2:29 am

    Brandon, you really MUST play Crisis Core, I played CC BEFORE I played FF7 and still loved it. Same with Advent Children, watched before FF7 and still loved it (Although it was confusing as fuck). Although I definitely agree that they’re whoring it out, I still felt they were both very well done, but maybe I’m just a Square fanboy 😛

    • thebigmanandgarrett permalink*
      June 17, 2009 2:32 am

      He doesn’t own a PSP, lol.
      -The Big Man

    • Celes Leonhart permalink
      June 17, 2009 3:03 am

      I played about half-way through Crisis Core and I just gave up. It was a poor man’s Kingdom Hearts with half the features and a level curve that meant once you had grasped that you could press X to attack, and maybe rarely have to heal with the R and THEN the X button, you would never struggle again.

  8. namekj permalink
    June 18, 2009 1:30 am

    Insert nerd rage here——-
    *
    *
    *

    kk now thats out of my system you do bring up valid points. I loved FF7 to death even now i kinda get exicted about a possible remake (oneday maybe if I’m good) but what you say is true. It’s pretty much the same thing that happen to me and lufia 2 I love it! It is one of my all time favorite rpgs but about a week ago i started playing it again and was all like wow, this game is realy easy and theres too much unneeded text. I found more fualts that I never noticed about it before. sad thing is even with all the faults I still love it, the music the story it brings fond memories from the past. Thats not to say that new games today totaly suck by anymeans. There are alot of games out today I 20 years from now I’ll call classic and have many fond memories of.

  9. Rick S. permalink
    July 21, 2009 11:37 pm

    I saw the title and smiled. I am a huge fan of pissing people off, and I felt after claiming FFVII was a game we should not like I said “This guy’s already got my attention.” Nicely played.

    Meanwhile, I agree with much of this article. I liked Advent Children but thought the movie had so much more potential than they used. I have not played the Spin Off games. I felt a FFVII sequel should not be a shooter, and I skipped out on Crisis Core (honestly) because I just don’t have time to invest in another game right now.

    Garrett… Chrono Trigger is also my favorite game of all time. This brings a tear to my eye….

    RLS

    • Garrett permalink*
      July 22, 2009 3:28 am

      Rick! Is this Applebee’s Rick?

  10. Tommy permalink
    August 10, 2009 5:05 am

    Ok first off, yes, i am a FFVI fanboy, even if that makes me look stupid as you were kind enough to point out in your last point.

    second of all this whole segment has a misleading and wrong name, wich is what i think biohazard was referring to, because the author praises the game to no limit saying he played through it a bunch of times, mentioning that he spent hours upon hours playing it, loving it from start to finish, and yet the title is “games you may like, but shouldnt” so basically hes saying how much he loves it but the title reads that he advices you NOT to like it.

    As for the last sentence; Its not funny, nor is it correct in any way, i love ffvi to death but i dont think sephiroth is the best villain, but in no way do i think kefka is either, of all time.
    Basic rule of thumbs : if you have to explain the joke, you failed, if someone else (big guy or whatever) has to explain it for you, well i think you can understand my point.

    The title should read either : “games you may like, but shouldnt : Some of the spin offs to FFVI” (because no matter who you are CC is by no means a BAD GAME, its a damn near perfect prequal, yes when you have the basics of the dodge\heal\magic\attack mechanism down it’ll make things easier, but add on the random level ups (that i found extremely inventive and at points where i really needed it, nothing felt better watching the lvlup bars fill the slot) missions you could take on the side to increase your lvl or summon library, its not about the linearity of pressing x to strike but the depth of content you can add to it if you want, i know ive fallen down to the comment section but im not completely done with the article yet so bear with me, sure you can plough through the game and never use any of the additional stuff that you can seek out yourself, but did you really do the game justice by doing that? did you even ever give it a chance to show you what it had to offer? as for me thats EXACTLY how i played my first time, because everytime i saw the amazing cg movies utilizing the psp’s graphics to the fullest, and learning so much more about the background of a game i hold in high regards, i couldnt help myself but to run as fast as i could to the next story segment.
    anyway, i digress.

    Yes, i think its a universally accepted fact that dirge of cerberus sucked monkey balls, but in its defence if you DO like ffvi even a little, you HAVE to admit that when you first hear a vague explanation of vincents background, leaving more than not to imagination, that you wanted to learn more about him and his story? so yeah, gameplay was worse than near every 3rdps there is, but what you did get was that incredibly exciting story about vincent that almost everyone wanted. wich, granted, was’nt as exciting and mysterious as when you played the original. but a point for effort though right?

    advent children is a result of millions of fans pressuring square enix to make a ffvi remake on the ps2, yes i said TWO, when ffx came out with visuals and voice acting, and the willingness to release a ffvi spinoff from squeenix, fans mailing, emailing, calling, coming to their offices and demanding a ffvi remake or a true ffvi sequal, and thats what we got, easy as that, then they did their whole ps3 tech demo wich shook the entire web with the chance of a hd\graphical remake.
    And i for one loved the movie, because theres really so much you can do with a movie like that, when the story has already been told and finished you kinda have to accept that it would never be as great as the game, also note that to tell the original story they needed at least 20 hours on story alone, for the movie they only had 2 wich limits everything.
    anyway it was a movie to cater to true fans to wet their appetites for the upcoming tech demo wich again would wet it for a possible remake, wich is almost guaranteed to come, i think they trying to see how long the hype from the tech demo alone can hold a firm grip on the fans before deciding if it was a financial sound decicion, because at the end of the day they are a company, and like many others they want to make money, like a milk company would never JUST SELL MILK, they sell all kinds of milk products, only to make more money.

    As for the whole nostalgia thing…think about it…its bullshit…and i’ll tell you why, when you played resident evil 5, most people went “its good….but resident evil 4 was better”, when you played mgs 2-4 most people went “its good…but mgs1 was better” and, at least in my opinion, when i played Gears of war 2 i went “its good…but (you guessed it) GOW1 was better” and why do people say that? is it because the greatness of the first one cant be replicated? NO! and your stupid if you thought “yeah hes got a point”, no its because its like beeing punched in the face, the first one gives the hardest shock and starts the hurt, and if you keep punching the pain and shock wont be the same, what do you do? start kicking! the resident evil series is a great way to show you what i mean; resident evil 1 was at the time amazing and was scary in ways never seen before, and every game after it was the repeating punches that was just dulling pain getting less and less shocking, then what happened? the sat down and said “we need to shake this s*** up” and completely changed the way they were going about it, still remaining in the RE world, still recognisably RE, weapons, herbs, everything was the RE gimmick but completely flipped about, and was it good? did it resonate with the fans, and\or newer fans? YES! of course it did because they started kicking.
    Anyway i think ive proven my points, and of course everyones allowed their own opinion, but to have a narrow view on a game or developer is not really good if your planning to have your own web page writing about these things, and if this is just the authors opining you REALLY need to change the name of it “games you may like, but shouldnt IN OUR OPINION)
    its like writing a game review for a major site ending it with, but thats just my opinion, wich completely ruins the validity of the review, if your gonna do a segment this and be taken seriously, stand by your words, dont write opinions, write facts!
    and dont write stuff like this to rattle cages among fanboys, because that just makes you look like idiots.

    Hope i opened your eyes to a few things, if not, consider this me ranting as a stupid fanboy as it were.

    gah im writing my own blog here lol, if you read everything this far, your a trooper 😉 sory if i misspelled some things or wrote stuff wrong, im Norwegian, thats my excuse and im sticking with it!

    Tommy

    • Brandon permalink
      September 4, 2009 1:15 am

      Uh-ohs, someone’s not reading the damage control section. Haha, this is even more amusing since I’m not writing on here any more to focus on other projects and a pay check. But really, already commented on almost all of this and you can’t type the difference between Final Fantasy VI and VII. Thanks for the views and amusing me for a few minutes.

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