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Raccoonus avatar 9:13 AM on 11.03.2008  (server time)
Active Time Events (ATE) Kill Me

This is the result of choosing wrongly.

So, as I slowly inch my way towards saving up enough couch coins for an Xbox 360 I'm working through a big backlog of PS1 and PS2 games. Most of them are RPGs, and the one currently holding my attention is Final Fantasy 9. I originally got the game shortly after it was released, played through until the end of disk numero two, and then stopped. Not because I grew bored or frustrated or whatever, but when the game's disk begins skipping during an FMV and eventually becoming so bad that it freezes each and every time on a forlorn-looking from of the stupid Iifa Tree, well...there's not much else one can do but stop.

Since then, I've ditched my Playstation 1 and figured to give the game a second try on my first generation PS2. Surely will a wipe and prayer, we can get through this. Surely. Lo and behold, the same FMV part skips...but doesn't freeze. Whew. I'm on disk three! Hooray! Confetti and raining oglops everywhere!

Anyways, the point I'd like to talk about that frustrates me to no end about FF9 are the Active Time Events (ATE):

Even the translation needs a translation: FAIL!

Basically, each and every time your group enters a new city (or returns to a previously visited locale), the party splits up like the Beatles and each member heads off to explore on their own. You are left alone. You are so cold and hungry and alone. You move to the next scene and...boolup! Active Time Event! These are completely optional scenes to watch, and sometimes they give you gil or a special item, but they mostly exist to flesh out the characters and reveal some mysteries about their pasts (I'm thinking about Amarant here, the big, sulking brute that he is). Sometimes you get a choice of two or more scenes; pick one, and the other might go away FOREVER.

As a completer, this bugs the shit out of me.

Thankfully, all the ATE scripts exist on this magical place we call the Interweb, but still. Most games integrate these sorts of scenes into the game seamlessly while FF9 makes the player feel like we're on death row. You can have broiled lobster tails or filet mignon, but certainly not both.

Regardless, I'm going to try and watch as many of them as I can, but it'd be stupid to, say, restart the game over and over just to check out the ones I missed. That's not replay value, Squaresoft, that's just plain annoying. Please never do this sort of thing again.


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