In case you missed it, here’s the first part: The Sephiroth and the Fury I
First update: I have completed the first two reactors and am slowly learning about the planet. I will admit that progressing through the game has been made difficult for three reasons: 1. law school and work consume most of my free time; 2. I am trying to finish a good book; 3. I absolutely hate JRPGs. Granted, I should have noted this from the outset, but I mean, everyone tells me how awesome Final Fantasy VII is, but I do not understand the hoopla surrounding turn-based combat or why a giant corporation would hire a glorified houseplant to guard one of its main power units (I realize the irony of this statement fully).
Now, to the good stuff. I’ve done an excellent job of not spoiling the end of this game for myself (except for one gigantic plot point some jerk ruined for me – I’m looking at you Adam Sessler). So I will make a few cursory observations (forgive me if the storyline of the game makes these observations laughable later on):
1. Is Barret intended to be a poorly put together amalgamation of BA Baracus from the A-Team and any character from any horribly offensive caricature of a black man from the South during the 70s or did that just occur by coincidence? Now granted, adding a Gatling gun to Mr. T’s hand would not be the worst thing that ever happened to humanity, but the “jive-talking” throws me off. I get it, you’re tough, you distrust Cloud, got it. But did we really have to throw out “foo” every third word?
2. Any storyline that begins with a super-lefty, earth-first, egalitarian message of save the poverty-stricken people below Midgar, is alright with me. Yes, Al Gore apparently combined with Bernie Sanders and Paul Krugman to form the vigilante group AVALANCHE in order to combat the evil Shira!!!
3. In all seriousness, I am beginning to become enthralled with the storyline, it’s good stuff.
Finally, I have read Pride and Prejudice, I have watched The Godfather, and I have listened to IV until I could decipher every single Lord of the Rings reference, and yet I find that playing a classic video game for the first time is the most difficult. I understand what Austen was portraying in her magnum opus: that the English caste society discriminated against women, poor people, but that love and zombies conquer all… or something like that. It is infinitely more difficult however, to appreciate the complexities of Final Fantasy VII at this late stage. The visuals are in some ways jarring, but that is understandable. The game was made in 1997.
However, maybe this is due to the interactive nature of gaming, as an art form it is by nature different from reading a classic novel or listening to Beethoven (you deaf bastard!)? Obviously, if you played the game upon release, you have fond memories of it at the time, but being that I am now only playing it for the first time, it seems more difficult to grasp the way the game was seen then. I guess that is the point of this exercise, you cannot really go back in time, and maybe video games, in many ways, are not meant to act in the same as other forms of art.
When Orwell wrote 1984, it had a very specific purpose and meaning, and that ideal has stood around the book since it was written. The same goes for Citizen Kane. It was made as a diatribe against William Randolph Hearst and about Welles’ life, and while masterfully crafted, was still made for this reason. Dark Side of the Moon was made to describe the ills of fame, the loss of a friend, and the synchronicity of The Wizard of Oz (maybe), and people read all sorts of other inferences into it, but the album is still a lot about mental insanity and creepy roadies talking about death.
But are games different? Maybe I can’t see the forest for the trees because I lack the hindsight of completion, and we will see in the coming weeks. Post your thoughts please.
You can follow me on Twitter: @lukeisamazing or on Xbox Live or PSN under the same guise.