auronlu: (Default)
I was just reading Liv's Let's Play Final Fantasy VIII, which has some spot-on comments about (a) every character's failure to grow up and (b) the game's reticence to show them growing up and reacting to what's happening.

These are two different problems. Both of which are common in video games, particularly Final Fantasy.

I think the early games were aimed at a younger audience -- yes? -- then, around FVII or so, the games started to be aimed at late teenagers, and the characters were their age or just a bit older. In FVIII, I feel, the game was aimed at players who were the same age as the characters.

So here we have a fictional fantasy depiction of teenagers being child soldiers. It's less idealized than many "teen heroes save the world" stories, in that these characters often act like teenagers, self-centered and mixed up in their feelings and coming up with boneheaded, idealistic, and impractical plans (see: Rinoa, would-be freedom fighter and trust fund baby). In Squall's case he's got a serious case of "I don't care" nihilism which is a common stance at that age. (And we know some of the reasons for this, but Liv doesn't, because she hasn't played that far, and anyway, I'm not sure if it's sufficiently justified.)

We've also got the adults who put them in this situation, and that's a whole other fascinating issue.

The game doesn't fully deal with either of these issues: the immaturities of child soldiers and young people in a military organization, and the grown-ups who exploit them. But it raises those issues, which is fairly unusual for a "teenage heroes saves the world" story.

FFVIII tells that story not through social commentary but via the teenaged POV of the characters, for the gratification of teenaged players who may not be interested in much gray area. For them, Squall is COOL because he's nihilist, and Selphie is the fun party girl, Irvine is a hot bishie guy, and Rinoa is a self-insert for every pampered child like me who latched onto idealism to rebel against our parents...and so on. (Or am I oversimplifying and underestimating a teenager's POV?) I view these characters from the outside as common teenaged roles, but the game is showing them from the inside to people who are likely to be surrounded by and participating in one or more of those roles in their daily lives.

Contrast that with FFXII, which seems to be aimed at college student aged players, and which ditches teen romance for political intrigue, power struggles, and artsy riffs about history and agency and fate.

annnnnd I just got a phonecall which totally broke my concentration on where I was going with this, so I'll just leave this out here.
auronlu: (Default)
 D'oh! Why didn't I think of this before? Well, I did, but I hadn't quite connected all the dots.

Ahem. I was working on a page about influences/sources of Final Fantasy (disclosure: I earn a few pennies from the ads in the sidebar, plus commissions if anyone buys something through Amazon links on that page).

I was rehashing my observations about how Irvine and Laguna are actually cities in Orange County, California, where I live. (This mystery was solved when I discovered there used to be a localization branch of Squaresoft in Costa Mesa, which is on the other side of Irvine from Laguna Beach.)

I suddenly remembered: hey, wait a minute, Irvine is often called (since it used to be) Irvine Ranch!

Whence the cowboy. Or maybe that's why they used that name for a cowboy, since it was the closest ranch to a Squaresoft office. They may even have wined and dined visiting Squaresoft bigwigs by taking them on a trail ride.

Laguna is not actually plain old Laguna; it's Laguna Beach with annexes of Laguna Woods and Laguna Hills. Laguna Beach is a flaky artists' colony with a lot of good restaurants. Not really doofy in quite the way Laguna is goofy, but it works.
auronlu: (Shani)
Just finished work and meant to post this earlier. I'll forget by the time I wake up.

I heard FF8's "Eyes on Me" -- the vocals version, end-of-game sountrack -- piped over the loudspeakers of the grocery store where I was shopping.

Of course, I was shopping in a Mitsuwa supermarket for sushi ingredients. (I go there once every week or so, num num). It was still startling.

It's a lovely song. I don't usually like goop and mush, but somehow that one works. I had to stay and listen.

In other news, I totally FAIL at making tamago.
auronlu: (Haz A Sword)
My annotated list of  The Top Ten Final Fantasy Swords

In retrospect, I probably should've included Tidus' whatsit, but I can't spell it.
auronlu: (dreaming)
I heart Google. Now and then I discover treasures quite by accident. Such as this:
Author: [ profile] argle_fraster
Title: Time/Plane
Character(s): Ellone, Auron
Rating: T
Warning(s): Spoilers to Auron's secret
Word count: 1400
auronlu: (Yuri)
[ profile] ff_press doesn't index fics tucked away in comments, so I'm reposting a couple recent drabbles orignally written as replies to the [ profile] ff_yuri_drabble prompt-a-thon thread.

First one is unfortunately rather disturbing. Note that pairings were part of prompts.

Final Fantasy VIII
Title: "Lunar Cry"
Rating: R
Pairing:  Edea/Ultimecia

Prompt: "slavery"
Word Count: 480
Warning: Nonconsent!

It was time... )

Final Fantasy XII
Title:  Arrow's Dance
Pairing:  Fran/Penelo
Rating:  R

Prompt: "sweat"
Word Count:  500

Fran was a tree, rooted in earth and sky... )
auronlu: (finishthatsentence)
Fandom: FFX/FFVIII Crossover
Rating: G
Characters: Quistis, Xu, Lulu
Word Count: 700
A/N: Sloppy, unpolished idea fart.

Field Exam )
auronlu: (Ceilingcat FFX)
Last night, I went into the bathroom to deal with acid reflux, pulled out the Prilosec, and was attacked by an earworm of that creepy-ass music from FFVIII with the pseudo-Latin chant. Only it had gone terribly, gastroenterically* wrong:


Random access memory, I say to you:
No love.
*Yes, I realize Imitrex isn't GI-related.
auronlu: (emptiness)
Replaying FF8, or rather, trying to get to the END of it (I always seem to get stuck in Ultimecia's castle, or else my disk jams during the Lunar Cry).

I just noticed something.

Haven't we met somewhere before... er... later?


auronlu: (lightning)
The video's a bit long -- they were running out of scenes in places, I think -- but Quistis blowing things up to the tune of the Nutcracker Suite is so delightfully macabre.

FF VIII video using Trans Siberian Orchestra's "Mad Russian Christmas"

auronlu: (Default)
I noticed a young, new fanfiction author floating around the fringes of our LJ community. Sooooo....

Title: Caffeine Addiction
Author: [ profile] illuminatedlove/ Shizukii on
Final Fantasy: VIII
Characters: Rinoa, Squall, everybody
Rating, genre: K+
Length: Long story. Multiple chapters!

Summary: AU in which Rinoa is a waitress, Squall is a business exec, and so on. Personally, I rarely like AU stories in which fantasy characters are put in a real-world situation, because I use fanfic as escapism, so I confess I have only read the first chapter. However, for the genre, and especially as a new author's first offering, I think this is well-written with good characterization and creative ways to adapt character quirks and background to the new setting. Warning: Not for Rinoa-haters.
auronlu: (thatslife)
I was just pondering archetypes, psychology, mythology again. There's a common thread that runs through a ton of fantasy and science fiction.

1) Invent a fantasy world with a system that's been in place for a long time.
2) Create heroes who push through the chinks in the system, discovering its flaws, and (usually) showing it to be corrupt.

If you think about it, it's kind of funny. Old myths tended to be about heroes creating or building culture, establishing traditions, or doing things in the traditional way.

Nowadays, we've got the rebel against tradition, who finds a new way of getting things done and overturns the old. It's obvious, and yet it's not.

Why do creators keep setting up cultures where we get to be indignant about how they operate, where sooner or later, we're going to be outraged by some aspect of the world we're trying to save? (think of our righteous indignation on Yuna's behalf.)

I haven't played many of the Final Fantasy series, but just from the ones I've played:
spoilers to X-2, X, VIII, VII )

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