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10:21 AM on 07.04.2008

A cast of thousands...of Final Fantasies

For this monthly musing I wanted to write about three characters rather than one. I wanted to write about the characters I really liked and looked up to when I was younger.So that being said off to my story.

The Final Fantasy games have always had a colorful cast of characters. From Cloud to Zidane to Tidus, each one of these character have had one thing in common, they all impacted my life in a strong way. These characters had qualities that I lacked that I always wished I had. From being very heroic to just being a bad ass I looked up to these characters and tried to be just like them. By doing that they helped me better myself in times when I needed it.

When I was younger life wasn't all great. I lived in a horrible neighborhood after I was forced to move out of my nice one. See, when I was really young my parents went through a divorce. After that my mom had found a new boyfriend and I had to move away from my old home. When I thought things couldn't get worse, things did. My new "Dad" was a jerk and hated me. To top that off the kids in the town weren't fond of me either, I was overweight so people liked to make fun of me for it. It made me want to leave the place, but my mom would never listen to anything I would say to her. She would always say"well things will be fine you'll see".

Things sucked and I felt weak. The world hated me,or so I thought at the time, and there was no way out of it. Until one day, I saw it, that beautiful case for Final Fantasy 7 sitting behind that glass at the store downtown. The game that enchanted me, when my eyes first laid on it. At the time I didn't know what Final Fantasy was, but there was something about that case that made me want it. Something about that simple figure standing tall and looking heroic made me want it. I had to beg my mom to get it for me but when she did it was the coolest moment of my life.

The moment I had popped the disc in I knew that I would never put the controller down.But I never knew how much this moment would change me forever.

I loved the game for one reason, Cloud, he just seemed so cool. At the time I wanted to be just like him. As odd as it sounds he represented the one thing I admired and wanted for myself. Confidence. Cloud could of been thrown in any kind of danger and he would defeat it without even cringing. At the time I saw him as the coolest character ever and I idolized him. Every time I was faced with another kid picking on me or pushing me around I'd stand tall.I always kept thinking what would Cloud do and that kept me going every time.

Soon, I had picked up my next addition of the series, Final Fantasy 9. This time I was in control of Zidane. At first I never thought much of him but soon he grew on me. From jumping off a castle with no fear in sight to preforming a staged fight in front of a theater of viewers Zidane had proved to being the coolest adventurer I had ever seen. He made me want to take more risks in life and live in a much more lively way.

Finally one day I had got my hands on a ps2 and Final Fantasy 10. This is when I got introduced to Tidus the one character that influenced the most of all. At first he seemed extremely whiny and that didn't make me like him much at first, but he soon grew on me. A real optimist he was, always looking on the bright side of things and being cheerful albeit to an annoying degree. But that's what I loved about this character Tidus could always have a cheery mood after something tough happened. I again found this fascinating and took this into heart with myself. I would always try to be optimistic about things. I would always persevere to achieve my goals and I would never let anyone get in my way. Although I did not always follow this philosophy I would always keep it mind.

When things would go to shit like my mom fighting with her boyfriend I would be able to stay strong instead of getting sad or afraid. I would simply go and escape in my world. In this world I got to be around these characters that I admired. These characters who seemed to never have a problem they couldn't face and take down. It made me feel strong again when I needed it. When things got worse with my mom and her boyfriend. At times they would blame me for all of their problems. It was like I had no where to turn. I always tried talking to my father about the problems but he would never listen. Things felt entirely hopeless for me. I felt like giving up on life. But I had remembered Cloud and Zidane. "The wouldn't give up they'd still keep fighting" I thought, although today I came to realized maybe Cloud would but at the time I didn't really know.

Even to this day I take those qualities in mind. I always try to be strong and confident when times are hard. I've been through hard times and I always tried to keep my chin up and a smile on. To this day I am much more confident and I don't let people push me around anymore thanks to these characters. Now,thankfully, my parents are actually back together which is nice and I'm still enjoying the Final Fantasies to this day. All in all these games in general have impacted my life on higher levels than I can explain. It helped me in hard times and ultimately turned my life around. I have always felt a strong connection with these characters and am glad that I had found FF7 when I did. If I didn't I don't think I'd ever be the person I am today.

Thank you for reading my Monthly Musing.   read

7:19 PM on 06.18.2008

The start of the affair: Bioshock and Narrative (Spoilers!)

First off the main point of this article is to speak about how Bioshock has changed the way I looked at games
and how it got me to start questioning the actions I make in games. Bioshock opened my eyes to the fact that
a game can use its own mechanics to impact the story in many ways.

I should talk about the actual moment that made me start thinking about games in a different way. You the
player are staring Mr.Ryan in the eyes getting ready to give that bastard what he deserves. This is when he
reveals the secret about yourself. You in fact are just a tool that when the words "would you kindly" are
spoken to you, you become a tool that has to follow that command. That moment really shows that in fact it is
not the character but YOU the player actually became the tool.

This is where it started. Soon I started to think about it. The whole time you never ever question the actions
you make. Most of the time you only need little justifications for your actions as a player. For me what was
that inspiration? Simple, I was playing a game I do what it tells me to. But,in real life I would never do that I'd
usually need for of a reason. I would normally question my action,s but in a game I blissfully go ahead and do
what I'm told. The designers knew this and used it against me.

It never occurred to me that when I play a game I, in a way, drop all of my reasoning and go "Fuck it I'll do
whatever you want". Ever since I have played that part in Bioshock I now look at how I play games in a
different way. I'm more questioning of my actions, I try to think about why I'm doing these things and what
exactly are my motivations. I now think more like the character, almost like an actor examining his/her part to
be able to act out the character effectively. In a way Bioshock helped me try to become more immersed into
the game by making me want to understand motivations and think of how these actions can bite me in the

A recent example of this being applied to other games is when I finally played GTA 4. In GTA 4 your faced
with many decisions that can potentially affect the story or not affect it at all. Although,for sake of not
spoiling anything I'll beat around the bush here. When I was faced with one of these choices I would think
about Neko's motivations. I would think about who would be affected if I didn't kill whoever or I would think
about how it would affect Neko, what would happen if I killed this man that fucked with wrong guy? What is
it that I'm bringing upon myself by doing what I'm about to do? It helped me feel for Neko and made me feel like
I was Neko. All of this was thanks to Bioshock opening my eyes to the fact that the simple inspirations of "It's
just a game" can affect you in the actual game itself. Bioshock has affected me in many ways of how I look
at narrative in games and has made me think about how decisions in games can have much more justification
than we think.   read

11:34 PM on 05.29.2008

My Irrational Fears and Shadow of the Colossus

Along long time ago in a far off land a game came out called Shadow of the Colossus,it did pretty well and
amazed many minds, including mine, but as of late somethings weird has happened. Last week after finally
beating GTA 4 and Lost Odyssey, I was really bored so I decided to run through a couple of my old PS2
games and I decided to go back to Shadow of the Colossus. After popping it in what came to my surprise
was, when I approached the first colossus I was scared shitless.

For me this is really odd because originally I had completed this game with out a problem never feeling the
horrible chill when the colossus turns and stares you down as I do now. First time I popped in the disk I was
not filled with the sweet feeling of wonder that I originally had, I was filled with a odd fear stopping me from
even moving out of the temple you start in.

But what could this mean? Have I suddenly just grown a fear of a things incredibly bigger than me? Or am I
just afraid of being alone? Yes, it's odd I know. I told my friends about that and they found it weird that I was
getting chills from Shadow of the Colossus but when I start riding on my horse on that expansive land and
stare down to the sight of nothing, it frightens me.
In a way its more scarier than any horror game I've ever played. Resident Evil? Nah. Silent Hill? Not Really. But
running around alone in wide land to soon be stared down by a giant colossus is truly a horror game for me.   read

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