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