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).


Villain Week Finale – Liches and Other Undead

The struggle of saving Liches and the Undead for the final day was really painful, but worth it in the end. Why? Because there was, believe it or not, an actual order to this week. The posts began with tyrannical, evil leaders, a sub-type of villain characterized by a constant craving for more power, and it ends with Liches and the Undead. Like Old Gods and Invading Species, Liches and Undead don’t necessarily want power. Their motives aren’t always known. More often than not, however, these three types of villains (well, it’s more a guaranteed thing with the Old Gods and the Liches) are all about destruction. Invading Species may show up and eradicate any resistance before continuing with their plans. They may be doing so to pave the path for world domination, or they could be setting up for planetary destruction. The Old Gods could very well have deeper motivations that aren’t always made clear through their actions, but the ultimate goal usually seems destruction and the further-spreading of madness.

Liches, however, and their Undead legions are delightful in that their endgame typically revolves around one guiding principle: the eradication of all life. Unlike Invading Species and Old God counterparts with the same goal, the Undead have one added trick that helps make them such a formidable agent of chaos: the more death they cause, the greater their own numbers become. The Undead, however, are notorious for not being the easiest creatures to keep indisposed. There’s necromancy for raising new undead creatures (or bringing back the fallen ones), viruses and plagues that lead to undeath, and so on and so on. Whether created by magic or malady, once the Undead show up they are guaranteed to keep on keeping on until they are stopped at the source. Not all Undead are subservient to a higher power, such as Liches, as evidenced by The Walking Dead and George Romero’s (Whatever) of the DeadContinue reading