One of My Favorite Video Games: "Final Fantasy VIII"

Posted by Shivy (36 posts) -

 Videogames are like films to me.  I mean this in the sense that my opinion of a game is strongly influenced by what how I was feeling emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.  One of the games that stands out in my mind as being an influential and affecting adventure was Final Fantasy VIII.

A powerful story set in a huge world on the brink of war; what attracted me to this Final Fantasy above all others was its focus on the love story developing between Squall and Rinoa, rather than the conflict of the world.  Squall himself, was a character that I felt held a lot of qualities and conflict that were very personal to me.  As a character, Squall embodies traits that a large portion of gamers can relate to.

I did not own a Playstation at the time, but managed to borrow one in order to play this game.  Wanting to return the system to him as quickly as possible, I played the game almost non-stop for a week.  Eventually I hit what I consider to be one of the most powerfully sad scenes in any game.  Towards the end of the third disc, I found myself crying through the entire “Eyes on Me” scene, as well as what happens immediately afterward.  It was enough to depress me, and I decided to take a break at this point.

During my break, my friend returned, claiming that he needed his Playstation back for a week, and that I could borrow it again when he returned.  I reluctantly returned it to him, and spent the week miserable, pondering the fate of Rinoa and Squall, unable to know how it would be resolved.

I didn’t realize something like a video game could affect my mood so drastically.  I guess this was an early sign that I was destined to find passion and beauty in video games, and experience them as I would any film or book.  These were powerful stories with truth and emotion to be discovered, not only in the characters, but also in the hearts and minds of the players themselves.

#1 Posted by Shivy (36 posts) -

 Videogames are like films to me.  I mean this in the sense that my opinion of a game is strongly influenced by what how I was feeling emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.  One of the games that stands out in my mind as being an influential and affecting adventure was Final Fantasy VIII.

A powerful story set in a huge world on the brink of war; what attracted me to this Final Fantasy above all others was its focus on the love story developing between Squall and Rinoa, rather than the conflict of the world.  Squall himself, was a character that I felt held a lot of qualities and conflict that were very personal to me.  As a character, Squall embodies traits that a large portion of gamers can relate to.

I did not own a Playstation at the time, but managed to borrow one in order to play this game.  Wanting to return the system to him as quickly as possible, I played the game almost non-stop for a week.  Eventually I hit what I consider to be one of the most powerfully sad scenes in any game.  Towards the end of the third disc, I found myself crying through the entire “Eyes on Me” scene, as well as what happens immediately afterward.  It was enough to depress me, and I decided to take a break at this point.

During my break, my friend returned, claiming that he needed his Playstation back for a week, and that I could borrow it again when he returned.  I reluctantly returned it to him, and spent the week miserable, pondering the fate of Rinoa and Squall, unable to know how it would be resolved.

I didn’t realize something like a video game could affect my mood so drastically.  I guess this was an early sign that I was destined to find passion and beauty in video games, and experience them as I would any film or book.  These were powerful stories with truth and emotion to be discovered, not only in the characters, but also in the hearts and minds of the players themselves.

#2 Posted by LostRebel (111 posts) -

lol I feel the exact same way.

#3 Posted by OppressiveStink (347 posts) -

@Shivy:

You and I had completely different takes on this game. I believe this game is where Square started to get particularly ham-fisted in it's execution of a story, not to mention the battle system was rather atrocious.

The characters are unrelateable and ridiculous. First you have Squall, this moody, sullen boy who has no real change in heart until nearly the end of the game (which is portrayed in out-of-engine cut-scenes) when he realizes he has feelings for Rinoa. Then you have Rinoa, the klutziest leader of a band of resistance fighters ever then possessed by a sorceress. Oh, by the way, she's an accomplished pop-idol.

The story is disjointed and throw-away. SeeD, the military equivalent to a highschool ROTC club is thrown at an international terrorist magic lady and told to "Lol deal with it". By the way, did I mention they were almost all orphans? Oh yeah and they just happened to know each other at an orphanage. Also, the final boss pops outta nowhere without any real type of story progression.

The draw system pissed me off too. Why make all these animations and effects for awesome spells when you're not going to use them anyway, you're just going to junction them to your summons?

Christ, FF8 pisses me off.

#4 Posted by John_Lawlz (109 posts) -

FF VIII was my favorite as well.

#5 Posted by XtremePudim (84 posts) -

Final Fantasy 8 was my first Final Fantasy game, and the first story driven game, with a cinematic focus, i ever played, as a result, at the time i loved it, mostly because it was unlike any other game i had ever played.

But looking at it now, as a 20 year-old instead of a 10 (or 12, can't remember) year-old, i can clearly see the game's flaws, a story that is mired with crazy amounts of melodrama, absurd coincidences ( like every single important character in the game living together, as kids, in the same orphanage, which they forgot because surprise surprise, amnesia) and a cast of supporting characters that have a single defining personality trait (Zell is a hot head, Irvine a ladies man, etc) never really changing or evolving in any particular way.

It's gameplay systems are also flawed, watching a cutscene that lasts 20 to 30 seconds for every GF attack is completly insane, even at the time when those cutscenes looked great. The boost system is also horrible, causing me to break a ps1 controler, and only there for the obvious reason of giving the player something to do during those cutscenes. Also problematic the Draw/Junction system, a great idea that broke down the first time i had to put an enemy to sleep and spend the next 20 minutes drawing a 100 units of a specific magic that i needed to junction to the characters.

Alas, even with all these faults, Final Fantasy 8 is an important gaming experience in my life, thats why despite the fact that i completly understand why its objectively not good i cant help but love it.

#6 Posted by ShiftyMagician (2128 posts) -

When the hell did FFVIII suddenly become an active topic all of a sudden.  Seeing way too many threads somehow involve this game lately.  Anyways any story that allows the two main characters to end up in space, expect them to be dead, then write a contrived sequence in which amazing luck gifts them with a spaceship to return to the planet is pretty damn stupid in my book.  I enjoyed the technical gameplay system in the game but goddam it the story was just awful.

#7 Posted by Shivy (36 posts) -
@OppressiveStink:  

Of course the game hasn't aged well, but at the time I played it, back in high school, it really felt poignant and influential to me.  I'm sure now that the thematic stories within the game were so resonant with me was because of the things I was going through at the time.  Looking back at the game now, it's apparent that the narrative was really multiple ideas for a plot all conjoined by loose threads; the kind of storytelling that I feel Square has learned how to do better since.  All in all, the game really is a product of it's time.  There's new art direction, new systems to play around in, and a new interesting take on a 'stylistically modern' fantasy RPG.
#8 Posted by benjaebe (2783 posts) -

@XtremePudim said:

Alas, even with all these faults, Final Fantasy 8 is an important gaming experience in my life, thats why despite the fact that i completly understand why its objectively not good i cant help but love it.

Same here. I know it's bad in a lot of ways but I fucking love it and personally have no faults with it.

#9 Posted by DoctorDanger99 (686 posts) -

@Shivy:

i agree with everything you said. it might not be a perfect game but it holds a special place in my gaming heart. ive allways thought that final fantasy is alot like Doctor Who. everybody has "thier" doctor. just like everybody has 'thier" final fantasy and for me it was 8!

#10 Edited by X19 (2304 posts) -

I have played all the Final Fantasy games from 7 onwards. Final Fantasy 7 blew my mind and I have never played any RPG since that has given such an amazing experience. For me playing 7, something clicked and I can't put my finger on it. The rest of the series past 7 has been a disappointment to me.

Spoony did a funny review of FF8

http://spoonyexperiment.com/category/game-reviews/final-fantasy-viii/

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.