So once again we have survived.

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (10 years later)

tn_finalfantasy
chapter 9

2001posterLet me tell you man, I’m not trying to commemorate the tenth anniversary of this movie. There’s no celebration here at all. It’s just analysis, I swear.

I saw FINAL FANTASY in the theater when it came out, found it incredibly boring, and really didn’t want to ever watch it again. Here is my review from back then. But I thought it was important to revisit for this study because, despite being a huge financial and artistic failure this movie did break alot of new ground that has turned out to be relevant to the movies of the decade since.

mp_finalfantasyIf you don’t remember what this thing is, it was the first computer animated movie to attempt realistic humans. Back then I fixated on the creepiness of too-real-but-not-real-enough characters. Having seen more of that since then it didn’t bother me as much this time, but I couldn’t help still being distracted by the celebrity voices. The male lead looks like an idealized Ben Affleck, but his voice is clearly Alec Baldwin (what is this, a composite Jack Ryan?) and Steve Buscemi’s voice comes out of a good looking young man that I still think looks kind of like Jason Priestley. James Woods is the villain, who looks like a STARSHIP TROOPERS All Stars mix of Michael Ironside and Casper Van Dien. In one scene we learn that his family were killed and that’s why he does what he does, but that doesn’t explain why he had evil eyebrows the whole time. How are you supposed to feel bad for him when he’s always making a bad guy face?

When Robert Zemeckis did his trilogy of creepily-realistic computer animated human movies he increasingly found ways to make it work better. He still used celebrity voices, but visually modeled the characters after the actors. For example multiple characters in POLAR EXPRESS resemble Tom Hanks, so it’s not weird to recognize his voice coming out of them. Zemeckis also made the characters a little more stylized, especially by the time of movie #3, A CHRISTMAS CAROL, where they have exaggerated, cartoonish shapes but just happen to be ridiculously detailed in their textures and eyes.

Zemeckis’s movies are usually referred to as “mocap” for their use of “motion capture” technology, the thing where the actors’ movements are recorded and used to control the computery characters instead of frame-by-frame animation. People think they hate mocap, but I think FINAL FANTASY shows why it’s good if you’re using realistic characters like this. I believe this was mostly done with animation (although a small motion capture department is listed on the credits) and at times it’s noticeable that these people move more like animated characters than actual humans. So it makes them look even more like Real Dolls.

Zemeckis had the advantage of 3D, too. That was a good idea ’cause then it seems more like a ride or a diorama. So you feel like your riding Pirates of the Caribbean or something. FINAL FANTASY doesn’t feel like a ride or a movie.

Technologically speaking, FINAL FANTASY is still impressive. It looks real nice on the blu ray. But the story just isn’t involving at all. It’s all about these soldiers going around shooting ghostly alien monsters on a post-apocalyptic earth. Meanwhile the hero, Aki, is trying to prove that they need to go around and find 8 “spirits” that have something to do with “Gaea,” the soul of Mother Earth, and then they can heal the earth or whatever. It’s a very dull and repetitive set of goals, taking place in dull locations, with stakes that are difficult to care about. These creepy things don’t quite seem human enough to worry about their safety, the battles are mostly the same thing over and over, and since we never see any people besides these soldiers and a couple council members it’s not clear what they’re even trying to accomplish. If the ghosts go away then there will be, like, 10 soldiers on a wrecked planet and they won’t have anything to shoot at anymore. That doesn’t seem like a happy ending.

I complained about this in my original review, but it bears repeating: this movie is all about fighting transparent monsters that they call “phantoms” and “spirits,” then 52 minutes in everybody’s minds are blown when they figure out that these aren’t alien monsters, they’re actually ghosts. They’re surprised by the revelation that these things are ghosts and we’re surprised by the revelation that they didn’t realize before that these things were ghosts. For the most part though the storytelling isn’t that dumb. It’s just that it’s really lacking in excitement.

finalfantasymaximMaybe all it would need would be a great lead character. I can see some gung-ho appeal in the Alec Baldwin soldier guy, but the lead is Aki (voiced by Ming-Na, also Disney’s Mulan). From what I’ve read they went all out to try to make her look real, and planned to re-use her in other movies as different characters, as if she was an actress. They carefully tweaked her to not be overly sexualized, not giving her big boobs or exposed skin like Lara Croft, removing makeup from an earlier version so you’d believe her as a scientist. (But also they had her wearing a bikini in Maxim.)

So she’s pretty but not ridiculous, capable but not awesome, heroic but not cool. She doesn’t have humor or weaknesses or quirks. If she has a personality I sure couldn’t describe it. I bet there weren’t many people who wanted to see her in another adventure or find out where she came from or dress up like her at a nerd convention.

Sometimes with these movies you gotta question why it should even be made with the realistic animation as opposed to live action. I don’t think I’d want to see a live action POLAR EXPRESS, BEOWFULF I can see working in live action but maybe not as well, A CHRISTMAS CAROL definitely used the technology in ways that made it distinct from the many great live action versions of the same story. This one I don’t feel like it takes advantage of being animated at all. They’re trying so hard to make it look real so there’s not much exaggeration or stylization. The characters don’t move in cool ways that humans couldn’t. There’s not much action. There’s pretty much nothing that couldn’t be done in live action with the humans and all the other stuff would be CGI effects in a live action movie anyway.

Yet I can’t imagine preferring a live action version of this either, I wouldn’t want to watch that. So I’m left with the conclusion that this is a movie that only exists for the novelty of being the first movie using this technology.

So that’s why nobody gave a shit. You gotta come up with a reason to make a movie before somebody has a reason to watch it.

* * *
datedness: this type of animation has been improved in the 10 years since and used for much better stories
would they make a movie like this now? No.
legacy: a film production wing of a video game company was created just to make this movie. Afterwards they did one short for The Animatrix and then closed up shop. But the movie itself does have a legacy because it made mistakes that other filmatists such as Zemeckis were able to learn from and build off of.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Monday, July 11th, 2011 at 2:57 am and is filed under Cartoons and Shit, Reviews, Science Fiction and Space Shit. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

56 Responses to “Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (10 years later)”

  1. oh man, flashback time, I saw this on dvd (one of the first dvds I ever watched) and was blown away by the visuals and bored by everything else

    for better or worse though it did capture the spirit (no pun intended) of a JRPG (Japanese Role Playing Game) storyline, so I’m not surprised at all it was a flop, I don’t think that’s something most Americans would get, hell a lot of gamers don’t get it

    a bit of background info, the Final Fantasy games on the Playstation were known for having (at the time) incredible cutscenes that helped move the story along, so it seemed like a natural evolution to make an entire movie out of those

    this review has got me thinking, what genre of video game hasn’t been turned into a movie yet? let’s see there’s been movies of

    Platformer (Super Mario Brothers)
    Fighting Game (Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat)
    RPG (Final Fantasy The Spirits Within)
    Survival Horror (Resident Evil, Silent Hill)
    Stealth (Hitman)
    First Person Shooter (Doom)

    the only missing genres I can think of off the top of my head are racing, RTS and point and click Adventure (which ironically is the genre that holds the most potential to actually make a good movie, too bad Spielberg’s The Dig movie never got made)

  2. Wow, The Dig. That game was too difficult for me.

  3. and in case anyone is curious at all JRPG storylines usually involve something like Gaea (that is to say the Earth is alive) and killing God, in fact there’s an entire RPG series called Xenosaga that’s a science fiction story of people trying to kill the Christian God (or something like that)

    I guess the Japanese find monotheism creepy?

  4. The weirdest thing about this film is that the games have some awesome and unique visuals in them. And since the movie was all CGI, they could have easily done those great visual concepts with the same prize tag.

    But instead the movie is a completely derivative bore visually. It looks so generic and dull, that it doesn’t really have even 10% of the visual stimulation and wonder you could get from Final Fantasy 7, which came out around the same time.

  5. tuukka, are you sure you don’t mean Final Fantasy X?

    and I think the more generic sci fi setting was their attempt to make it more marketable, a lot good that did

  6. Yeah, I missed by a couple of years, I’m mostly familiar with FF7 and FF8. The point still stands, thought. The fully animated cut-in scenes in the games had a lot of very distinctive visual ideas, full of sense of wonder. Also some very cool action beats. The movie had pretty much nothing interesting going on visually, unless you were a tech geek who got a hard-on because of technical specs in the animation.

    IMHO, the funny thing is that the first major Hollywood film to be heavily inspired by Japanese anime/manga/videogame scifi-designs is Avatar. And that became the biggest movie of all time. So Final Fantasy would have probably done a lot better, if it had stayed true to its roots. It even bombed in Japan, which says a lot.

  7. Knox Harrington

    July 11th, 2011 at 4:15 am

    Is it wrong that that Maxim pic kinda does it for me?

    Anyhoo, didn’t they make another, more exciting Final Fantasy movie years later? I remember watching that one and thinking “This isn’t so boring. Aren’t these supposed to be boring?” It had all kinds of creative action and characters. But again, not much of a story.

    My favourite use of mo-cap, by the way, was in Monster House. That was great. Very smart not to try and make them look like real people.

    Also, I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again: I want to see a Gears of War movie directed by Ridley Scott. Don’t know who to cast as Marcus Fenix, though (For those of you who don’t know, Marcus Fenix is like Rambo for video games. He has a bandana and a big machine gun with a chainsaw attached as a bayonet).

  8. I used to play a lot of the Final Fantasy video games back in my youth. I still have fond memories of some of the characters and the stories (but damn, did those games take forever to play). I remember that after this movie came out a few friends of mine who also liked the video game were ripping on it because of the ghosts and gaia stuff, which I found strange because that was one of the few things in this movie that appear to be straight out of the games. They all have this weird mystical shit. This movie may be hit and miss, but it very well may be the best video game movie to date. Not that it has much competition.

  9. Mr. Sublety explained in his review of Transformers 3 that “technology has reached a point where any conceivable scenario can be realistically portrayed”, and the filmmakers (in this case Michael Bay) “are limited only by their imagination. But it turns out that’s a pretty severe limitation.”

    I think that’s a very interesting notion. In a movie that’s all CGI you don’t have the limitations of a movie set, even if this set is digitally enhanced. But often the direction of animated movies is very conservative. Many of them are devoid of enhanced visual storytelling. In my opinion they are to focused on “mainstream” direction, try to much to give the audience the feeling of a “classic” movie. The innovations are often limited to character design and set design.

    Where are the De Palmas or Scorseses of animated movies? Where are for example the long tracking shots that you could create much easier in this environment? Don’t you think their most of the time their scratching only the surface of possibilities to tell their story with this new technology?

    I agree with Vern that the action scenes of animated movies are now sometimes superior to the action scenes of “classic” action movies. But in my opinion only because of the decrease in quality of action filmmaking, not because the animated movie created a new generation of master visual storytellers.

  10. I’d argue that the reason today’s CG movies work better than they did ten years ago is more due to directors understanding the limitations of the technology rather than it’s improvement. I think whatever part of the human brain it is that tends to anthropomorphise animals or cartoon characters doesn’t switch on when looking at a photo-realistic CG human – your brain literately thinks it’s looking at another person. Because of this you look for all the subtle cues that humans constantly send out and that are mostly missing from CG characters, when this stuff isn’t there or isn’t correct you know that there’s something wrong and it creeps you the fuck out.

    Why is why Golum was the first successful CG character and why the Avatar cat people had that slightly cartoonish look – Jackson and Cameron knew they had to keep those characters un-human enough so that people would still anthropomorphise what they were seeing. I’m guessing it’s also the reason we got Avatar instead of Battle Angel – the tech simply isn’t there yet. And since Cameron’s decided to make Avatar a trilogy, it’s possible he’s decided that the tech isn’t gonna be there for a good few years yet.

  11. Having said all that, check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLiX5d3rC6o

    Why does it never look that good??

  12. Interesting review of a completely uninteresting movie.

  13. one guy from andromeda

    July 11th, 2011 at 8:25 am

    Man, 2001 was almost as bad as 2011 so far…

  14. My father seen the preview for this and was really intrigued. He is a very conservative man in life and in his film taste, but for some reason this got his interest. I had played some of the Final Fantasy games and so I was familiar with Square’s reputation for quality. I remember thinking, ”Great! What could go wrong?”

    That was a disappointing afternoon at the movies with my dad. I think we both wanted to like the movie, but there just wasn’t anything there to like, or even to hate really.

    The old Final Fantasy games were fun, at least in my limited experience. Even back in the days of Nintendo and Super Nintendo the games were known for lovable characters, epic music, engaging stories, and imaginative designs. How did they manage to leave ALL those elements out of this?

    Thanks for reviewing this, I really like this 10 year retrospective idea.

  15. I´ve played some of the Final Fantasy games and found them to be complete and utter shit. Repetetive is probably the word I should use to describe them. Oh yeah and boring as well….

  16. I never understood the point of any of these Final Fantasy type games. I’m in it for the running and jumping and shooting, so I like the process of doing those things to be more exciting than choosing them off of a menu and then watching the computer do it for me.

    This movie was alright to look at (I hesitate to use the word “watch”) exactly once.

  17. Mr Majestyk; You´re a gamer of my liking. Doing menu choices is just as exciting as working an Excel sheet. It should be more direct i.a point and shoot.

  18. …and they are not Final by any means……. how many sequels has there been to that Original Final Fantasy..?

  19. Vern, you forgot the ‘unintentional creepiness’ tag at the end.

    Sorry about that disappointing afternoon, gingersoll. I often feel responsible when I see a bad movie with others, like I should be ashamed by proxy.

    I’m not gonna lie, Final Fantasy 7 was ridiculously interesting & fun, and the cut scenes were great. They had an extra element of suspense & reward to them b/c you’d reach that point where you know it’s coming, but the system would pause to load the graphics, and you weren’t totally sure if maybe the game was freezing and you’d wonder if you saved to the memory card at the right time and then you’d be relieved that you reached a new part of the game but then you’d be nervous that maybe you should have done something slightly differently to improve your characters or change the outcome of the game but then after all that you’d simply be blown away by the beauty & drama of the cut scene, a drama that the movie utterly lacks.

    There was but one season where that kind of rpg nerd shit could somehow infiltrate my little sports- & violence-heavy Playstation collection in junior high/early high school, and FF7 hit at that moment. It was my neighbor’s game, but I’d borrow a disc as he finished & progressed onto the next disc, so it was kind of funny for us when we’d steal some beer & liquor & cigarettes and steal off to the mischievous boy hiding spot to to get our buzz on and then he’d have to avoid spoiling the story of the video game.

    I liked how I could rename the characters, but it hurt when of the girls I liked got killed by Sephiroth or whatever it was. No, I never told the girls at school that I named video game characters after them. I’m gonna go beat myself up and maybe wedgie myself now.

    I’m done thinking about this. This will be my final Final Fantasy fantasy.

  20. Please don´t post any more creepy fantasies there are plenty of those sites to post those. No more final fantasy fantasies. I hate those games,after finishing FF6 I can´t imagine playing another one

  21. What arguably sucks the most about this movie is that it completely bankrupted Square, forcing them into a partnership with Enix. This worked amazingly well for Enix, since it had no ambitions beyond doing what it was already doing, and could now do that with Square’s resources. But for Square, who had losses to recoup, it meant making games that appealed to as many people on Earth as possible– which boiled down to trying to give the Western market what they thought it wanted, and ignoring their native Japanese one. And man, did their output suffer as a result.

  22. Speaking of CGI/mocap animated motion pictures, full trailer for TINTIN came out today.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEj3UsAl0K8

  23. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    July 11th, 2011 at 10:39 am

    I sat and watched a friend play through one of these games for months. It was a mind blowing experience for him. For me it was just something to sit and watch while I smoked all his pot. Even he was amazed at how dull the film was.

  24. I never saw this movie and never will; just never interested me and I’m someone who spent his childhood and adolescence playing through the FINAL FANTASY games instead of doing something productive. The hook of the games to me anyway was pretty much that it felt like playing through a movie. That was actually the general appeal of RPG’s to me overall.

    At points these games would have more pathos and thrills than most movies too especially FFVI – FFIX. At this point in my life though I don’t see myself ever playing through another game in the series again but boy do I have some great memories with the franchise.

  25. ShootMcKay – JRPGS are not my favorite genre, but every so often they can be fun provided they have good enough story and characters that make you want to keep playing

    my favorite one is Persona 3 and not coincidentally it’s what my Gravatar is from

  26. Due to the fact I decided to boycott Sony for over a decade (yeah I was that guy), I never really got into the whole JRPG thing. I do kinda regret it though because people really do seem to love those games.

    I’d have to say my favourite RPG was Planescape: Torment, it seemed so dark and adult in tone compared to everything else on the market at the time. Definitely more Clive Barker than Tolkien.

  27. “Where are the De Palmas or Scorseses of animated movies? Where are for example the long tracking shots that you could create much easier in this environment? Don’t you think their most of the time their scratching only the surface of possibilities to tell their story with this new technology?”

    Andreas — A question I frequently as myself. I think perhaps the answer is in cost. While the tools now exist, they’re out of reach to most of the most daring visual stylists who can’t really hope to recoup the cost of a 200 million dollar film. With that much money on the line, the tendecy is probably to make the most marketable product possible.

    To be fair, you could ask the same question about why traditional animation in the US never really took off as a tool for inventive visualists of De Palma or Scorcese’s stature. Maybe the problem is that the people with enough know-how in the tools of animation (be it CG or traditional) to know what is possible tend to be specialists in that field instead of narrative filmmakers?

  28. God damn, 2001 sucked. The celeb lookalikes go beyond what Vern mentioned. A friend at the time pointed out that Aki really looks like Sandra Bullock, and he’s right.

    I never got into RPG video games either. I play games to DO stuff. I watch movies for stories. But that said, I hardly even play action games anymore. I had a phase where I quite liked the Rock Band/Guitar Heroes but even that’s been relegated to a corner in my living room. Maybe it’s because my hands area already tired from typing all day (I feel cool blaming that) but really I guess when I have free time, I feel like watching movies.

    Favorite game of all time: Crazy Taxi

  29. CONTRA, no question. I may have bragged about this before, but the best game of anything I ever played was a game of CONTRA in which I did not use the code and beat the game with seven guys left. You start with three.

    Sadly, this remains one of my most prestigious accomplishments.

  30. I once beat Mike Tyson’s punchout by regular Knockout instead of TKO. Apparently this was impossible as the game was programmed to only let you beat Tyson by knocking him down three times. There is no proof of this as I was a kid, digital cameras weren’t invented yet and nobody was around.

  31. Were you in Canada at your secret Canadian girlfriend’s house which is in a town that’s not on the map and that’s why we’ve never heard of it?

  32. Mouth:
    I’m happy to know i’m not the only one who named characters after school crushes. There’s nothing more depressing than pulling up an old save and being reminded of all the girls you missed out on/were dumped by.

  33. Majestyk:

    Mine was Ninja Gaiden. There’s no way in hell I could get past even the first level these days. Damn carpal tunnel.

  34. “BEOWFULF I can see working in live action but maybe not as well”
    I can’t decide if it would be better or worse if Ray Winstone still starred in a live action remake.

  35. I picked Vijay Singh and shot a -20 on 18 holes the first time I played Tiger Woods Golf on the old xBox, the first time I ever played video game golf. Took the guy who owned the system & the game to 2 playoff holes, where I won it. For once in my life, I was good at golf.

    I’d make an absolute mockery of any of you fellow commenters here if I came out of retirement and you ever challenged me on some Tiger Woods online.

    Tetris is the best game of all time, though. That’s not up for discussion.

  36. Knox Harrington

    That Maxim pic is no more artificial than any other bikini photo shoot.

  37. Man speaking of the CONTRA series I still fire up the old NES every now and then and play some SUPER C. That game is a challenge and a half and a great fucking time when played with a buddy over a few beers. PUNCH-OUT!! is the same except for the playing it with a buddy part.

    I had no idea that the Sony generation of consoles was considered the popularization of JRPG’s. Well mostly cause I’m old enough to remember the CHRONO TRIGGER’s and SECRET OF MANA’s and FINAL FANTASY III’s (VI) of the SNES days and how they were considered some of the most prestigious games of that generation. I’m glad that they’re still around to this day though. I learned a lot about strategic thinking cause of those games, also greatly expanded my vocabulary with them. Who says video games just rot the brain and don’t educate?

  38. Speaking of CRAZY TAXI. The fuck ever happened to that Richard Donner CRAZY TAXI motion picture adaptation? that shit sounded so nuts that it probably could’ve worked.

  39. I agree 100 percent with what you’re saying. the only reason that I liked it was because it set the bar for similar movies from then on. If it wasn’t for this movie then we wouldn’t have the movies or games that we do now. They would be on their way but not here yet. The tech for this movie was ahead of it’s time . But as for the plot it was severely lacking.

  40. Meh. I didn’t like it that much. Or at all for that matter. Too uncanny valley for me. And the story was boring as hell. If they had some exaggerated things in it then my attention might have been caught a bit better. I could probably do a cheesy live action fan vid that is better than this thing.

    I did feel that the technology was at the forefront though and did make way for other movies and games.

    Still two thumbs down.

  41. Donner said they couldn’t get a good script for a Crazy Taxi movie. Although the idea was to set it in New York, which is silly since the city in the game is so clearly San Francisco.

    More importantly, why haven’t there been more Crazy Taxi games? All they have to do is come up wtih new cities. We should have Crazy Taxi 10 3D for Xbox Kinect by now. And why did they make the car jump in 2 and 3? That’s stupid. Taxis don’t jump.

  42. A live-action Beowulf? Your friend John McTiernan already did it – and gave us some great lines that I try to work into conversations to see who remembers it.

    “Is there a cave!?”

    “Farewell, Northman.”

    Ok, two good lines anyway. It’s goofy sometimes but still badass and I do like that movie.

  43. There’s also a live-action Beowulf with Gerard Butler. It wasn’t good but I don’t remember much. When I first got blu-ray it was one of the only movies available. Kind of like a cheaper, slower Valhalla Rising.

  44. Broddie – there are a metric ton of aborted video game movie projects, including Pac Man (huh?), Castlevania and Halo

    it seems like just about every popular or semi popular game got their rights optioned for a movie back in the 00’s

  45. Final Fantasy: Advent Children (stupid subtitle), is not related to FF:SW, it is the sequel to Final Fantasy VII, a such I can’t really recommend it from a story perspective, but eye candy wise it is some of the most imaginative use of CG I seen in a while. The action scenes are awesome. Story still isn’t so great.

    I tried so hard to like FF:SW, but it’s just so damn unlikable and dull. I think the main issue was the decision to have the director of FFV direct the movie! Who decided that! There are thousands of directors in the world and you choose to give $150mil to a dude who’s never directed a movie before.

    Also, (because I know you all care) they are called Final Fantasy as the first one was supposed to be the last game by a dude before he retired, however it did pretty well and there are probably over 100 games, including spin offs in the series. Not bad.

  46. Griff, I completely agree that there are plenty of adventure games that would translate nicely into movies. Those LucasArts adventure games from back in the day were some of my favorites. I prefer the Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis over a few of the movies. I suppose solving puzzles and clicking on stuff just doesn’t get people too excited these days.

  47. “In a movie that’s all CGI you don’t have the limitations of a movie set, even if this set is digitally enhanced. But often the direction of animated movies is very conservative. Many of them are devoid of enhanced visual storytelling. In my opinion they are to focused on ‘mainstream’ direction, try to much to give the audience the feeling of a ‘classic’ movie. The innovations are often limited to character design and set design.”

    In the Shrek commentary, the director said he made it a rule that they couldn’t do anything with the camera that you couldn’t do with a real camera. And I’m like: why??

  48. If there was one thing I remembered about the Final Fantasy games cut scenes, and that was they were incredibly creative when it came to use of the camera, and they worked within the context of whatever particular scene they were showing emotionally and action-wise. They didn’t do anything simply because it looked cool, but it looked cool anyway because their choice of shots were amazing. They could even capture a seemless complicated action sequence in one single shot that made it completely clear what was happening around the camera.

    One thing CGI can do well is that it can place the camera wherever you want, damn the practicalities of camera use in reality. The Shrek director is an idiot.

  49. I played the hell out of the NES and SNES Final Fantasy games. It was something my father and I did when we weren’t fishing.

    I remember they had some good dramatic moments and were pretty cool.

    Then I played Final Fantasy 7 and just hated it. There’s no sense in talking about the game as a game since it’s just a story with wandering monsters. The storyline of FF7 was just so angsty and ridiculous. I then saw FF8 had these emo looking anime pretty boys with gun swords and never bothered.

    I got an SNES emulator on my phone and played through Chrono Trigger. I spend a fair amount of time on the Metro and it was something to do. Boy, that game was still really fun.

  50. Casey, while I get where you are coming from in your reaction to FF7, the game is absolutely beloved by millions. I think a lot of that love is circumstantial. Had the game come out two years earlier or two years later, it probably would have not gained nearly such a following, but the timing was perfect for an RPG that the average gamer could pick up and play casually. The story was angsty, but then again the target audience was young teenagers. It was ”fantasy” themed but didn’t have the trappings of then seemingly nerdy dungeons and dragons style setting (which of course has become very popular again today). The game was a precisely calculated effort to net the gamer who’s eyes previously would have glazed over at viewing the menus and sub menus in previous rpgs.

    Unfortunately I think we can also look at Spirits Within and see an enormous amount of calculation… but the results were very much less than precise.

  51. I totally agree, gingersoll.

    I have a lot of friends who really love the Final Fantasy series and only started playing them with 7.

    I was 14 or 15 when it came out and I was playing soccer and ran track, was dating girls, and having a pretty great time in highschool. I think it’s the type of game that needed to hit at the right time for people and when I played it I did not care about a lot of the themes and attitudes in that game. I think FF 2, FF 3, and Chrono Trigger a lot more timeless and have better stories that resonate more with me.

    I’m not their target audience anymore, though. Outside of the occasional game of Civilization, which can devour an evening, I’m not much for these vidya games anymore. My wife is, though, and there’s apparently a twin stick Smash TV type Warhammer 40k game coming out for the online XBox thing we have so we’ll probably pick that up so we can chop up Orks with chainswords and Heavy Bolters.

  52. Oh lordy lord, Smash TV…

    Yeah for me, when Playstation hit… I just could not go with it. I had been raised in the arcades and with atari and nintendo, a world of sprites and limited graphics, often hand drawn, graphics. Something about a world of very ugly polygons just left me bored. Those games screamed for wanting to make everything flashy and big and loud and easy– which I can understand was a good thing for the game industry, but man did it turn me off.

    Still, now things have come full circle. There are excellent emulations of the classics available for download on home systems and original ROMs and ISOs for computer, home brew and garage shop developers can sell their wares on those online services appealing to eccentric and hard core fans while the big companies enjoy record profits from the casual gaming audience.

    Myself, I never really got back into games. I wish I did, but there just isn’t the time. Strangely though, I do enjoy reading about games, so I keep up with the industry vicariously I guess.

  53. a while back in early 2004 I tried to play FF7 just to see what all the fuss was about

    the graphics were extremely dated even back then, but overall I liked, however I eventually got stuck and had to give up (I could not use Gamefaqs back in those days)

    sometimes I contemplate going back and trying again, but then I have to ask myself if it would really be worth it considering how much time it would take to beat it

    Persona 3, which is the only turn based RPG I’ve ever beaten, took me a little over two months to beat and that was with a ton of grinding to level up

  54. My wife got that Warhammer Kill Team game last night. It’s a fun co-op game and we get to play as Space Marines and get to chew through tons of Orks in Spaaaaaaaaace. It’s basically Smash TV in the Warhammer 40k universe and I mean that in the best possible way. It’s seriously worth the $10 it asks for.

  55. I wish the guy living in Japan (I can’t remember his name right now) could have chimed if the Japanese find monotheism creepy, it’s something I’ve always wondered

  56. ok can i say, i loved the film, i loved the film for what it was, (not because it was meant to be anything related to the ff games) the visuals yes bla bla there great, for the time yeah awesome. but the story its self was great too, the idea of rotting NY with ghost running round it, omg…now for ever I’ve been trying to find posts relating to the movie and turning it into a game, like a FFS walking round with ghostly things walking through walls and so on, other larger animas wondering the lands, i personally think if i had the money to fund a project that is what id do, i mean they made a great idea for a game what was a movie and destroyed the idea of a movie from a game…

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