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Final Fantasy VIII and the Squall Redemption

posted by B on 4/10/01

The "Final Fantasy" series of role-playing games for Super Nintendo and the Sony Playstation have proven vital alternatives to standard role-playing. With Final Fantasy, you're "just hanging out and playing video games," not doing one of the many things that role-players tend to do, like:

- Sitting around a table, silently rolling dice and writing on pieces paper.
- Dressing up like "Lestat the Vampire" or "The Hobbit" for Halloween, instead of normal things, like "Dracula" or "Ricki Lake."
- Wearing goofy clothes to the club and hopping around, growling and "role-playing" a live-action adventure "Vampire: The Masquerade" game.

If you find yourself doing one of the first two, that's okay, it takes different strokes to move the world. If you find yourself doing the third thing, stick a 7th-level magic-user shotgun in your mouth and "role-play" the middle part of your face against your bedroom wall.

I managed to be the biggest dork in history in high school and stay away from organized dice rolling, but I couldn't sway the brain-numbing warmth of a Squaresoft hug, and that hug came in the form of Final Fantasy. Now, as I put all respect you could've had for me on the edge, I've decided to dedicate an entire series of paragraphs to the most beautiful of all Final Fantasy characters, protagonist Squall Leonheart from "Final Fantasy VIII."

Why Squall? The most obvious reason is that he is the main character of Final Fantasy VIII, the only game in the series to feature characters that look like human beings (as opposed to the normal, super-deformed, Corky looking guys). Please don't take offense to that, I don't think Corky is super-deformed, I think he's the best damned worker I've ever seen at the McDonalds. I'm "down" with the "syndrome."


Squall is *not* one of these, all Final Fantasy standards:

- a goofy looking animal. FF4 featured giant purple cats, FF6 featured white cat things with wings, FF7 featured a black cat on top of a bigger white cat robot with wings. I'm shocked that Squall isn't a giant robot lesbian cat school girl in a sailor suit.

- named "Cid." Every FF game ever has featured a character named "Cid," and they've always been really retarded. Unless, of course, you think an old man in goggles and a blue and orange jumpsuit who hits giant monsters with a hammer isn't retarded.

- a cross-dresser, or an advocate of prostitution. "Cloud," the main character of FF7, was both of these things, plus he wore a purple bodysuit. Man, FF7's really creepy, what with all the gangbang attempts and such. Look for FF9 to feature "HORNY HOUSEWIVES"

- the one in the game that "temporarily dies."

What Squall is, however, is the perfect personification of a science-fiction teenager. He's got a trendy battle-scar on his face, a flippant Gen-X haircut, and at any moment he just flips out and starts slicing at things with his giant gun-sword. So he's not only a slacker kid, but an EFFICIENT slacker kid. He has a gun on his sword. Don't let Mexican kids play Final Fantasy, or we'll start seeing switchblade-9's, and I, for one, don't want the chickens to get treated like that.


Gay things about Squall

Squall is more attractive than the other characters for the aforementioned teen angst angle, and for the fact that he's the biggest fruitcake we've seen in the video game world since Super Mario World, when Luigi tried to stick his tongue down Toad's throat. I don't mean to say he's *gay*, because the whole point of the game is that he's in love with a chick. Just like Jeff Hardy, you can be on fire without necessarily wanting a clip in your poop shooter.

- The outfit.

Not only is Squall's outfit completely leather, but the jacket is borderline midriff and has a big furry collar. He could wear an Indigo Girls T-shirt and hang a big rainbow flag from the back of his pants and looked more masculine.

- The name.


Not that it matters, really, because this name is pretty hardcore compared to most Final Fantasy heroes. So far we've had "Fighter" in part 1, "Cecil" in part 4, somebody named "Butts" in part 5, "Locke" in part 6, and then we dipped ourselves in the queer juice for "Cloud" in part 7. We're lucky Squall's name wasn't "Bruce Sassypants." I hear the second disc of part 9 is just a Village People album.

- The girls

Squall falls in love with a "spunky" freedom-fighter with a "taste for life" who puts "streaks" in just the front of her hair and wears "shorts with a big blue sash" covering them named "Rinoa." She looks kinda like Shannon Doherty, so he's doing all right... but falling in love with Rinoa is *like totally gay or some junk* when you see his (presumed) ex-girlfriend, Quistis.

Right out of the box I'll tell you that video games chicks are not hot, and, unlike most "entertainment website" writers I didn't pause Metroid as a kid and touch myself improperly when Samus took off her helmet.

I didn't get hot when Princess Toadstool ran with her skirt up, I don't think Lara Croft is "hot" (she's the only "person" in pop culture with sharper edges on her face than Jennifer Aniston), and I didn't buy "Perfect Dark" cause the chick on the commercial was taking a shower.

But, if I was a little elf kid with a green stocking on my head who had to go into dungeons to fight spiders and "Infernal Dinosaurs," I'd transcend my console, bend Quistis over the menu screen and "hit" her "points."  She's a blonde with ghetto booty and a whip.

Other, not used Final Fantasy sexual euphemisms:

- I'd make her go "whark! whark! whark!"

*or*

- I'd junction my "hump" magic to her butt.

If you've ever played the game that's really, really funny. But you don't have to take my word for it!

And I didn't pick Luigi because he looked better in the blue overalls.  I picked him cause he kept his moustache groomed so well!   *tee hee*


Defending Final Fantasy VIII

Lots of people don't like this installment of the series, because it's:

a)  Too mushy, concentrating on the moody teenager who can't take a hint and his overzealous girlfriend

b)  not about medieval stuff, like dragons and fiends of the elements and long, boring movies where people like Sean Connery or Richard Gere bitch about "the future of the kingdom."

I can understand not liking to watch a bunch of teenagers in love, because, granted, the standard FF dork's not gonna have a lot of experience in that field.  If most of the people who hunched themselves over the Playstation for months at a time could make the games they'd all be about Britney Spears shaving her crotch.  However, there are a few loyalists who have wonderful lives and interesting personalities who play these games because of the attachment you get with the characters and the in-depth storyline, often involving dragons and fiends of the elements.

I began playing the games because I couldn't get a date, and now, I've become completely asexual and sit in a big bean bag chair playing the games all day long.  Final Fantasy won't tell you that it loves you and then not show up for your second date and leave you stranded at the movie theater, staring blankly at the "I Still Know What You Did Last Summer" poster and wondering how real Jennifer Love Hewitt's breasts are.  Final Fantasy didn't make you ride a bus to Georgia to see it, and then make out with other people in the same room as you while you're taking a nap on it's bed.  Final Fantasy didn't make you pay hundreds of dollars for diamond earrings for it's birthday and then dump you because some guy down the street drives a Dodge Ram.

I love you, Squall, be my boyfriend, PLEEEEASE?  We can write poetry together, I can let you meet my family and then we can hold hands on the porch and sing Air Supply songs and watch the sun go down and then watch a very special episode of Blossom where Six talks in really really really really long sentences without a pause and then gives Blossom the X-Factor but then Blossom moves because everybody can see the Bronco Buster coming and...

Normal people play these games, too.

Why do I feel the need to defend a video game? Is it because, as a young person, I feel that a compact disc featuring pixels and information about teenagers who save the world from old people better defines my life than any classic literature ever could? Perhaps my life has become doomed within the confining grey walls of my computer screen, and I must live my life vicariously through people who can carry around giant guns and swords without being sent to jail.

Why do cartoons always end up ruling over my life?

Who knows?

b
swan@whatever-dude.com

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