Final Fantasy VII (1997) was a huge hit in Brazil, even though the discs everyone was buying at the time were illegal copies. But it was in the good old time counterfeits would have their covers printed on the discs and would come in fake boxes, not in sacs, as it is done today, their names sometimes barely handwritten. Today, at least you can buy the original thing; back then, companies like Sony wouldn’t yet have entered the Brazilian market. As a freshman at USP, I took it easy on the Philosophy classes and could spend some time on the coolest RPG at the time.
Many players like not only to finish a game, but to finish it off, that means exploring the possibilities beyond the minimal story to the greatest. That wasn’t my case. A bit because it feels “natural”, while exploring the game world, to follow the story instead of going against it. Another bit because we have so many games and other things to enjoy (why exhaust a system? That is too much repetition). Well, that was before I decided to study that very game and needed access to every story bit.
Were I to do the dedicated gamer’s role then, I would try to find the secrets of that game, the “complete experience”. People would discuss its tricks, looking for help. And as the case was with Final Fantasy VII, some games draw such interest that guides are made for the ones lost in their subplots.
Independently-made game guides are available in the newsstands, their covers often portraying the adjective “detonado” (meaning a game was “blown”, “solved”, “cracked”) applied to the best-selling video games at the time.
This guide, belonging to my student Wesley Faria, was printed in 1998, after about one year of Final Fantasy VII craze, full of information, both in the usual walkthrough aspect and as a picture collection –if you excuse, of course, the hasty graphic and textual performance. Other students recognized the issue as an important source from their time; although the cover is frowned-upon as a “spoiler”, too revealing.
I was not a user of such guides. Later, when I saw the importance of that particular game, and chose its screenplay as an academic subject, it was too easy to find on-line whatever I needed.
Not that I chose that game only for convenience reasons. I like the Final Fantasy series as a whole; in fact, l preferred FF7’s contemporary, lesser-budget cousin: Final Fantasy Tactics. Playing FFT during my undergraduate years really made a difference; it helped me realize ways of portraying the world. This one became my favorite video game, so I recently bought the Playstation Portable updated version (The War of the Lions) as a gift to myself.
Maybe I’ll get all the secret characters; I doubt it. But this semester I’ve had the joy of playing my first Final Fantasy Tactics two-player encounter –thanks to my student Lucas Bononi. And, as the semester ended, I tried the game once more and got one more gift: Tactics‘ allusion to her, the flower girl from Final Fantasy VII.
Now, up for new challenges!