Hi. It’s been a long time since I wrote anything, probably because by the time I’ve instagrammed the shit out of my life and jotted down 5+ handwritten pages into my personal diary, I’ve run out of things to say that I feel have any importance (or interest to others, anyway). Who reads this anymore, anyway!? I just keep it around so I can indulge in some self-reflection publicly and stare at my own webpresence. Lulz.
In and amongst being a junior doctor and attempting to manage my own life, I’ve managed to scrape together some of that precious commodity called ‘time’ and spend it on gaming. Yes, apart from chucking blood, sweat, and tears at my beloved Dota 2 (I’ve clocked 1000+ hours!?), I also remain faithful to my first love and foray into the gaming world: RPGs. No thanks to the Steam summer sale, I found myself squealing “FINAL FANTASY SALE” and spending some of my hard-earned moolah on a number of nostalgic titles, and some recent ones. Wow, remember the days when Final Fantasy was produced by Squaresoft and not Square-Enix
Nostalgia abounds, ltr: Refia, Luneth, Ingus, Arc & chocobo
What I want to write briefly about today are my feelings whilst replaying Final Fantasy III, the 3D remake. What, no 8-bit sprites!? It has been 10+ years since I played this on 8-bit so my memory of the characters and story is so, so hazy. I previously played it on the SNES emulator for PC and probably have it stashed away somewhere… But I couldn’t resist the strains of Nobuo Uematsu’s compositions and pretty graphics as I watched the trailer for this version. This is not going to be a review!
I don’t recognise much from the original in this remake, but yet it feels strangely familiar. Am I happy? Yes (: Why? It reminds me of my adolescence and teenage years, where many an hour was spent scouring the interwebs over dialup for walkthroughs, strategies, FMV captures, and fanfiction about my favourite characters. My first console game ever was Final Fantasy 8 VIII. My first website was dedicated to FFVIII. My first play-by-ear piano piece was Eyes On Me. My addiction slowly developed into a general love for all things Final Fantasy. Fashion choices. Writing styles. Topic choices. Music taste. Jewellery (how many of you still have a Griever ring stashed away!?). Action figures.
From the moment I pressed “New game” to the melodies of the Nobuo Uematsu intro scale (that’s what I’m calling it), to the emergence of familiar themes (Mog, chocobo, Cid and his airship), the turn-based battle mechanics, spell names and classes… everything is flooding me with a sense of nostalgia and happiness, a time where I didn’t have to care about roles and responsibilities, and just immerse myself in this imaginary world. Blissful (ignorance).
Now that I’m verging on thirty (oh god), have a job, bills, a future to think about, losing myself in that world is much harder. Besides being reminded of the fun it was, I often poke fun at the tropes I see appearing–warriors chosen to save the world from darkness, sacrifices for destiny, princesses stepping up to duty, mysterious creature sidekicks, abandoned castles with evil masters. I look at the clothes they’re illustrated in and hair they have and think, “That would so not work in real life.” I have to stop myself every hour or two and say, “I need to get some real-life stuff done. I need to sleep. I have work tomorrow.”
Well. As one ages, we shift into a different awareness of the world around us and how we relate to it. It’s not all bad, though. Age gave me the benefit of hindsight, to remember and realise and recognise how blessed and blissful it was when I had a first love that utterly consumed me and dictated every choice of my paths. Reminding me why I’m the way I am, why I still feel geekily comfortable when I pick up a controller (Xbox, PS, whatever), why I get childishly excited when I see a DDR machine, why gaming, although it produced no real world results, still gives me such satisfaction and relaxation no matter how tired I am.
Gaming is my first love, and it’s all thanks to Final Fantasy <3
…is that my gateway drug!?