Finality, or how complete is complete enough?

Happy Sunday, folks. Or, as I’m looking at it: God damn it, it’s Sunday already? It is officially the first day of the week I return to work after a wonderful, fantastic, enjoyable week of vacation. I spent a good deal of said vacation in Carnegie, with a fair chunk of these past few days doing some of the most intense Spring cleaning I’ve ever forced myself through. I feel like I crammed more than one week’s worth of living into my vacation-week, which is probably the most refreshing thing ever. Seriously, I can’t even joke that I’m being insincere there, as I think I inadvertently conquered at least three parallel worlds over the past seven days. Related: I’m trying very hard to not take a nap presently, which is a battle I might lose. The only thing keeping me from snoozing for a bit is my reminder to myself that it’s almost 5p.m. already, and that there are so few precious hours between now and having to go to work tomorrow morning.

Today’s post is about video games, and I’m only a little sorry for that. During the cleaning process, unpacking some of the things that managed to stay in boxes this long, I found my copy of Theatrhythm Final Fantasy. Theatrhythm is a delightful rhythm game for the 3DS, featuring three game modes that allow players to gradually progress from a strong hatred to a rote memorization of some of their former favorite Final Fantasy music. Joking aside, it is great fun. It’s also a really effective way to lose track of several hours. Stages featuring battle music also feature enemies that you fight by doing well with the game’s mechanics. The enemies who show up seem somewhat randomized.

Seeing Kefka pop up, all tiny and goofy looking, got me back to thinking about Final Fantasy VI. It was the first Final Fantasy game I saw through to completion (don’t judge, damn it), and by completion I mean 100% completion. I had every possible character. Not only did I defeat Kefka, but I went back and fought Ultima Weapon, the eight elemental dragons, and beat Kaiser Dragon (one of the most unnecessarily difficult boss fights ever) as well as the other optional bosses. It was the Gameboy Advance version, so for all I know there are more sidequests and crap in a later iteration of this game. I thoroughly enjoyed it with a passion and enthusiasm similar to how I loathed the last few parts of Final Fantasy X (those last bosses sure were…something). Because I’ve so thoroughly defeated Final Fantasy VI, I don’t really have it in me to start again in a world where I don’t have everyone dual-wielding their most powerful possible weapons. It’s just not worth it to me.

Therein lies the real conundrum. I love the story in Final Fantasy VI, and I loved the sense of victory that came with surviving each subsequent boss battle, but the mindless level-grinding and the few moments when I lost progress thanks to a missed opportunity to Save make me not so sure about going back to a game. This isn’t exclusive to Final Fantasy titles, of course, and it’s a key reason why developers look to adding material for a New Game+ file in their creations; if there’s more to do even after a game is beaten, there’s at least a little replayability.

One nice result from this marathon of cleaning (which, admittedly, still isn’t complete) is that I found some games I still haven’t completed, so I still have plenty of distractions for the limited time I set aside for video games. This, of course, ends up being another factor; with what limited free time I do have that I’m not dedicating to writing, editing, proofreading, sleeping, work, or other things, why would I want to play a game I’ve already beaten when I can choose something new? I realize there is plenty of merit in replaying a game. The problem I seem to have is that I can’t motivate myself to go through something all over again when there are other options (which, really, says a lot about me as a person outside of video games, now that I think about it).


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