First and foremost, I’m old.
Now 20 years ago, I was introduced to a little game called Final Fantasy VII. Today is the 20th anniversary of the release of the game in Japan. It did not come out in the United States until the latter half of the year. But that being said, the game was still released on January 31, 1997. This is considered to be one of the most important games in the history of video games. Changing the landscape with its then breakthrough graphics and epic scale. This game was on three discs. Square Enix then called Squaresoft became a true behemoth in the video game world. It had the added effect of changing the world of a young seven year old boy.
I would spend my weeks off from school with my Auntie. I would love spending time with her because she had a Sony Playstation while at my home, I only had a Sega Saturn. So when I was over one week, she told me that she had this game called Final Fantasy VII. I knew the term Final Fantasy but never played the other games in the series before. So we started playing the game from the beginning and I was immediately blown away. The graphics blew me away and I had no idea about what I was playing.
The game starts off pretty humorous, despite playing as terrorists, but after a few hours the true story of the game kicks in and things get dark and really quick. As the days continued on, I was always there playing the game with the trusty official guide to help me through the tough spots. Eventually I finished the game and was flabbergasted about what I experienced. At this point in my life, this game took the longest time to beat. The final boss battle actually took me hours to complete. I literally left the house for a few hours and came back to finish it.
If you’ve never played Final Fantasy VII, I won’t go into the specifics in lieu of spoilers. But there are many twists and turns in the story. I’m a story person. If your story does not work then your product will never really work for me. The game is completely different at the end from where it started from. There are themes about identity, lack of identity, self confidence, environmental issues, magic vs. science. The game has many layers to it and leaves enough open for player interpretation. As stated earlier, the main characters are terrorists. Yes they are doing it to save the planet but they do cause civilian casualties.
There are many easter eggs that help flesh out the world and help explain characters’ backstories. I never even heard of optional characters before playing this game. Though the game is a role playing game there are little mini games peppered throughout to help break up the potential sameness. There is a Command & Conquer type of sequence, submarine simulator, motorcycle chase and even Chocobo (giant birds like horses) racing. There are even some horror elements. Let’s just say the introduction of JENOVA is something totally unexpected. Being a young kid at the time, this was like the best of all worlds as I got to experience many different elements which would influence my later video game choices.
Even though it has been 20 years, I still always have some sort of version of Final Fantasy VII. When I got my Playstation 2, I sold my copy of FF7 to help pay for it. Let’s just say I got remorse and bought another copy some time later. When I got my Playstation Portable, I bought a copy for that system. Again this happened with my Playstation 3. Finally the “HD upgrade” (which was actually just the PC version with all the bells and whistles) of 7 was released on Playstation 4 and of course I bought it. Final Fantasy 7 is arguably my favorite video game of all time. I do not think I would be into video games if it wasn’t for the game. I bought the sequel movie Advent Children and the prequel game Crisis Core. The world of Final Fantasy 7 is one I hope continues to be explored through the years. I’m patiently waiting for the complete HD remaster coming…whenever Square figures that out. I will be first in line…figuratively…I preorder my games on Amazon.