In today’s continuation of the A-Z Challenge, I give you:
F is for Final Fantasy
Final Fantasy is a video game series that broke boundaries in regards to storytelling and character development in video games. It wasn’t alone, as this is a common idea in most RPGs and JRPGs, but Final Fantasy did it in such a way that it sucked me in. Before Final Fantasy, I’d not had any interest in RPGs/JRPGs.
I fell in love with Final Fantasy VI. Terra’s story felt familiar–a character who doesn’t fit in, finding out who she is and finding friendship with a band of outcasts and misfits. The subplots of Celes, Edgar, and Locke–not to mention Shadow, Relm, and Gau–added a depth I’d not seen before.
Then entered Final Fantasy VII, my favorite. Despite the polygonal characters of the time (limited tech back then, folks), it was the first video game to move me like a movie or book, and the first one to make me cry. How developers and screenwriters could fit such development into a small space was awe-inspiring.
Final Fantasy X is the last in this series that I enjoyed as Square Enix (previously Squaresoft) changed the direction of the series, but Final Fantasy X coupled the rich worldbuilding, plot, and characters, with much better graphics.
I was lucky enough to see Nobuo Uematsu and The Chicago Pops orchestra perform the music of Final Fantasy many years back. The show was successful enough that the year after, the began several tours of orchestras playing video game music. Back when I saw it, it wasn’t a thing. No one was doing it.
Chicago newspapers thought it weird for such a highly regarded orchestra to play “video game music.” Geeks and gamers dressed up in fancy duds and listened as the music swept us away. Memories of characters and plot made us cry and smile all over again.
It wasn’t only the music, but the entire package that allowed the music to have that effect on so many.
I’m trying to keep this short due to my long to-do list, but needless to say, this series taught me that you can be succinct in story without losing good character and plot development.
When I’m writing, I often fall back to the soundtracks of this series to remind me that characters come first and good characters are worth their weight in circuit boards.
(Images from Final Fantasy games are Copyright Square Enix and used under Fair Use for the purpose of education and/or criticism.)
This post is part of the A-Z Challenge. Every day (except Sundays) in the month of May, I’ll be posting about people, places, books, games, and other things that influence me as a writer or add a certain magic to my life. Join me in April as we explore a Hodge-Podge of Influences & Wayward Treks through the Fantastical.