"Every story must have an ending." "I don't care about your stories." "I see. Sorry you feel that way. Fine then, come or don't come, it's your decision." "What am I suppose to say? You say it's my decision, but I don't have a choice, do I? You're the only one who can tell me what's going on here. I have to go with you, I have to, I HAVE TO!" "Irritating, I know......or are you afraid?"
Sadness. Joy. Despair. Hope. Disbelief. Faith. Death. Peace. Love. Loss. Mention any one of those words and I can relate them to Final Fantasy X, for no other game since has allowed me to completely get lost in it's world like I did back in 2001.
That summer had been generous to us as far as finances were concerned, so my one and only wish for a Christmas gift from my husband was a PlayStation 2. I remember him asking me which game I wanted to go along with it, and my response had been to ask the person working at the game shop which they'd recommend. We spent two hours on Christmas morning watching the kids open their gifts and playing with them before I opened my own present. I was surprised to receive two games along with the system, but if you ask me now what the second game was, I honestly couldn't tell you.
After the kids were tired out from the day's excitement and the husband had fallen asleep on the couch, I hooked up the PlayStation, made a pot of coffee, and took my first steps into a world I'd never forget. I remember the music, the Blitzball stadium, the first glimpse you get of Auron. It was beautiful compared to other games I'd previously played and I got sucked into it, wanting to explore, talk to everyone I could, and before I knew it - three hours had been lost. But in those three hours something had happened. All the everyday stress, problems at home, and concerns over family, had all vanished from my mind. Considering everything that was going on in my life at the time.....well, it was quite the accomplishment for a game to have such a deep effect.
I'd only be able to sneak in an hour of the game for the next two nights. It was pretty much the same routine of getting the kids to bed and waiting until my husband had called it a day, then settling in with a final cup of coffee to enjoy while learning my way around the areas and the Sphere Grid. And then something terrible happened.
Our family would take turns every year hosting the family Christmas party. That year it had been our turn to host. My grandmother had passed away 5 years before that, and it had been on the exact night that my son was born. This year we had talked my grandfather into coming down for the family party. It was wonderful having him there to celebrate with us and be able to spend time with my children since he lived a few hours away and didn't get to see them on a regular basis. I remember just finishing up dinner and getting ready to settle down to exchange gifts, when suddenly we were called into the front room. What followed was a mad rush to call 911 for an ambulance, several hours of painful waiting in the emergency room not knowing what was going on, and 5 days later I would be attending my grandfather's funeral.
Needless to say, it would be several months before I would once again venture into the world of Spira. A lot had changed by the time I did. Our financial problems had returned. I knew things weren't right concerning my marriage. I hadn't, yet, dealt with the loss of my grandfather, for I blamed myself for talking him into traveling the distance to come visit us. I remember on the night I decided to start Final Fantasy X back up it was the first night of another lengthy trip out-of-town for my husband, which usually left me dealing with the kids and problems on my own.
Once again I let all the troubling thoughts and confusion leave my mind as I found that I needed the Jecht Shot in order to be any good at Blitzball, learned about Kimahri's shameful departure from Mt. Gagazet, and finally, the sacrifice that Yuna would have to make in order to stop Sin. Playing the game every night was something that I looked forward to during the day because it was only then that I felt any kind of relaxation from everyday problems. Some nights I'd stay up until the sun rose, getting lost in parts of the story. Like Yuna's sending of the dead after Sin's attack. Her dance to provide guidance for the souls of the dead to the Farplane made me think of my grandfather. I realized it wasn't my fault, but what he wanted. He knew he was dying. When I look back at how he acted that night, how he looked......he knew. Being with his family, all of us there together, that was what he wanted before he left. He had become at peace with his life and was ready to move on.
I soon became a beast at Blitzball, winning every game I played and recruiting players around the world of Spira to partake in glorious victory. It only took me two tries to dodge 200 lightning bolts in the Thunder Plains with Lulu, something that a lot of people found irritating, but it was relaxing to me - well, the first time. See, the first time I had made it to 199 and then I missed the last dodge. I meticulously plotted each character's route on the Sphere Grid. And with Auron always in my party (because he was that much of a bad-ass) we traveled from the Thunder Plains, through the Calm Lands, all the way to Zanarkand Ruins.
Final Fantasy X was the game that my daughter would catch me playing one night when she was suppose to be sleeping. Shortly after, my son would wake up to catch me playing the game and my daughter watching. My mom (who started spending the night when my husband was out-of-town) demanded that I didn't start the game without her in the room, for she had forsaken her book in order to follow along with the story of Yuna and Tidus. She also cried at the ending, but I don't tease her much over it....much. Yet, despite having my nights revolve around trying to fit my gaming schedule so that 4 other people could watch, I never once felt stressed.
My journey around Spira would, of course, come to an end. And shortly after I would start my own journey that would parallel a lot of the emotions dealt with in the game. My children would become gaming addicts, like myself, and I'd never again relive the peaceful nights of settling down in front of the TV, fresh cup of coffee in hand, and the relaxation of letting myself get lost completely
into a game. Soon we'll be able to enjoy Final Fantasy X once more when it's released in HD for the Vita and PS3. I know I'll never be able to mirror the exact experience I had with it back when it was first released, but I plan on buying it for the Vita when it arrives, and then, for a second time, I shall walk the land of Spira on an epic journey to defeat Sin. "Outside the dream world, life can be harsh - even cruel, but it is life."
LOOK WHO CAME: