Confessions of an Asian Gamer: The Final Fantasy Journey Begins | GAME3A
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Confessions of an Asian Gamer: The Final Fantasy Journey Begins

It's always been a sore spot for me that I missed out on almost every classic game that my peers and friends played as kids. As a little Asian kid, I ...

Ali Jones Feb 10, 2024
Confessions of an Asian Gamer: The Final Fantasy Journey Begins

It's always been a sore spot for me that I missed out on almost every classic game that my peers and friends played as kids. As a little Asian kid, I was stereotypically told that my academic success was more important than my interest in gaming. So, my access to video games was severely limited. While my friends were immersed in the gaming world, I was left with a severely stunted understanding of the video game canon. But the time has come for me to make amends and embark on an epic quest into the realm of Final Fantasy.

I must admit, I didn't even know Final Fantasy existed until I was a teenager. It was like a secret society that everyone else was a part of, and I was left on the outside looking in. I had heard people rave about the series, and I always thought I would eventually get around to checking it out. Fast forward to 2024, and here I am, still having not played a single Final Fantasy game. It's a shame, really.

Last year, I convinced myself that Final Fantasy XVI would be the game that finally introduced me to the series. But alas, when it was released, I didn't have a PS5. And by the time I finally got my hands on one at the end of last year, there were just too many other games vying for my attention. Life can be cruel that way.

But the desire to understand what everybody loves about this series has been gnawing at me. It's not just about expanding my knowledge as a professional game writer; it's a personal quest to bridge the gap between me and my friends' experiences. They bonded over Final Fantasy 7 in its original form, and I've always felt a pang of envy for their shared nostalgia. It's petty, I know, but the fear of missing out can be a powerful motivator.

So, armed with my trusty PS5, I decided to take the plunge and downloaded the Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth demo. As the loading screen faded away, I realized I had no idea what was going on. I hadn't played the original FF7 or its 2020 Remake, and I have a strict policy against spoiling games for myself, no matter how old they are. I wanted to experience the story fresh, even if it meant being slightly bewildered.

The demo thrust me into a world with characters I knew nothing about. Their histories, their relationships, their origins were all a mystery to me. But that didn't deter me. In fact, it made me more curious. I watched the brief video included in the game that explained the events leading up to this point, and I was hooked. I might be missing a lot, but I was determined to piece it all together.

It's a bit painful to know that playing Final Fantasy 7 Remake would solve all these mysteries, but time is not on my side. A 30-hour game is not something I can undertake before the Rebirth release at the end of February. And since Rebirth is the second part of a trilogy reinterpreting a single game, starting with it feels like jumping into a book in the middle. But the temptation is strong, and I find myself wanting to play it anyway.

Controversial combat mode aside, I found myself enjoying the hybrid turn-based and action gameplay in the demo. And despite not knowing who Cloud and Sephiroth truly are or what they've done, the developer's choice to focus on the beginning of their relationship made me care about them. I don't understand why Cloud's memories flicker and freeze in such a strange manner, but I'm captivated. Confusion be damned!

The demo, despite revealing a few flaws that I know will annoy me (please tell me those mako vacuums aren't going to be a consistent thing), convinced me that the game is worth a shot. Yet, the feeling of having missed something won't go away until I play FF7 Remake, and perhaps even the original games. This new trilogy tells a different story from the 1997 game, after all. If it's about experiencing what I've missed, then Rebirth alone won't satisfy me. But maybe it doesn't have to be that serious. I can enjoy Rebirth for what it is and let it ignite my passion for the series as a whole. The best time to have played a game may have been when it first came out, but the second best time is right now.

So, as I prepare to embark on my Final Fantasy journey, I raise my controller in anticipation. It's time to delve into a world of magic, adventure, and epic storytelling. And who knows, maybe one day I'll be able to sit down with my friends and share in their Final Fantasy memories. Until then, I'll embrace the present and savor the joy of experiencing something new, even if it's a bit lateTitle: "Pixelated Envy: Unveiling Final Fantasy's Magic, One Game at a Time"

Ah, the nostalgic pang of missed opportunities in the world of gaming. As a little Asian kid, I was often reminded that academic success trumped my interest in video games. Consequently, my access to the gaming realm was severely restricted, leaving me with a tragically stunted understanding of the video game canon. While my peers reveled in the adventures of classic games, I remained an outsider, yearning to be part of the pixelated magic.

It wasn't until my teenage years that I stumbled upon the existence of Final Fantasy. Somebody must have whispered its name, and I naively believed that one day I would explore its enchanting universe. But alas, here we are in 2024, and I still haven't embarked on a single Final Fantasy quest. Last year, I even convinced myself that FF16 would be my entry point. Oh, how wrong I was. When it finally released, I was bereft of a shiny PS5. And by the time I acquired one at the end of last year, a torrent of other games swept away my attention.

Yet, the desire to comprehend the allure of this beloved series has persisted within me. It's not just about expanding my knowledge as a professional game writer; it's a personal quest to bridge the gap between my friends' experiences and mine. They basked in the glory of Final Fantasy 7 in its original form, sharing tales and memories that eluded me. It's a petty envy, I confess, fueled by the fear of missing out.

And so, armed with my trusty PS5, I took a leap of faith and downloaded the Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth demo. As the loading screen disappeared, I found myself plunged into a world I knew nothing about. Characters danced across the screen, their stories and connections shrouded in mystery. But that didn't deter me; it ignited a spark of curiosity. I relied on the brief video included in the game to grasp the events leading up to this point—a mere glimpse into the intricate tapestry of lore. I may be missing crucial pieces, but I was determined to weave them together.

It's a painful realization that playing Final Fantasy 7 Remake would unravel these mysteries, but time stands against me. A 30-hour game is a daunting commitment before Rebirth's release at the end of February. Besides, Rebirth is the second part of a trilogy, reimagining a single game. Starting with it feels akin to opening a book in the middle. Nevertheless, the allure is irresistible, and I find myself drawn to this new chapter.

Controversial combat mechanics aside, I found myself immersed in the hybrid turn-based and action gameplay of the demo. Despite not fully comprehending the depths of Cloud's and Sephiroth's characters or their deeds, the developer's decision to focus on the genesis of their relationship made me care. The enigmatic flickering and freezing of Cloud's memories intrigued me. I was captivated, even if confusion lingered like an unwelcome guest at a tea party.

The demo, while revealing a few flaws that I know will irk me (pray that those mako vacuums aren't a recurring nightmare), convinced me that the game is worth a shot. Yet, the lingering sensation of having missed something profound won't dissipate until I delve into FF7 Remake and perhaps even the original games. This new trilogy weaves a different tale from the 1997 gem. If my goal is to truly experience what I've missed, Rebirth alone won't suffice. But maybe it doesn't have to be a solemn affair. I can relish Rebirth for its own merits and allow it to ignite a fire within me, propelling me towards the other games in the series—games I should have played a decade ago. After all, the best time to play a game may have been when it was released, but the second best time is now.

As I prepare to embark on my Final Fantasy odyssey, I raise my controller to the heavens with a mix of anticipation and trepidation. The time has come to immerse myself in a world of magic, adventure, and epic storytelling. And who knows, perhaps one day I'll sit down with my friends, regaling them with my own Final Fantasy memories. But for now, I embrace the present, cherishing the joy of experiencing something new, even if it's fashionably late to the party.