Games that interrupt the first three seconds of play with another movie

No truer words have been said about FF. Dont understand the appeal.

Even though most Final Fantasy players tries to legitimize their spikey hair fetish by squaling about the deep and emotionally engaging storylines, I think it’s the systems. All Final Fantasy games include a hefty ruleset and combat system designed to allow the player to break and exploit it, and that’s part of the fun. Ask anyone who did a master save in Final Fantasy X what their proudest moment was, and they’ll probably cite the moment they broke the damage limit and started really dealing ludicrous amount of damage, or when they finally got the last dark aeon, after tinkering with the sphere grid for hours trying to make a configuration that allowed them to actually put a dent in the goddamn thing.

The Final Fantasy games are just exercises in extreme munchkining wrapped up in Russian novel-size plots with wafer thin conflicts and stereotypical characters that everyone thinks is awesome because the only anime they ever watched is Shonen Jump fare like One Piece, Naruto, Full Metal Alchemist and Bleach.

I personally quite like Final Fantasy VII, VIII and XII. Not because of the stories, mind, but because they’re awesome ways to get over a really nasty hangover, as they require absolutely no thought whatsoever to participate in.

Cutscenes were my favorite part of Giants: Citizen Kabuto. I imagine they did break me from the immersion that I was some sort of topless water nymph.

Game mechanics are generally fun. But I remember about half-way through FF7 (which was about 30 hours of gametime) thinking to myself - “what the hell am I doing? I dont care what happens to these guys!” and coastered the DVD.

Then again I enjoyed X a lot as the story line was a lot more mature than other efforts. They even had characters who were over 21! Then X-2 was the same silly crap again.

And FF11 is EQ extreme. That is, not fun. Its the game Vanguard wants to be.

Well, I enjoy Final Fantasy games for the stories, gameplay, music, and atmosphere pretty equally, but I can tell that’s not going to change your opinion at all. Good job dismissing the entire series of fans as teenage anime fanboys, too. Well played.

That said, the cutscenes in Xenosaga seemed to take forever. I didn’t play much of that game, and I can’t quote specifics, but I think there was about a forty minute stretch somewhere in the first half of the game where I had about three minutes of gameplay between two incredibly long cutscenes, and that gameplay was wandering through a ship. It felt like watching a movie with a few button presses.

On FFX, I agree that the plot there was better than most of the previous games – I just wish it had felt a little less on-rails. I wanted to go back to Besaid and recruit a blitzball player after I hit Macalania Woods, and realized to get back to the starting area I’d have to run back through the entire game on foot. XII fixed that with the teleporting save crystals, thank heavens.

You’re completely right: Your taste in gameplay, music and storytelling is not going to convince me that the average Final Fantasy-fan is well-read and culturally savvy.

The FF series is as big today as it is because Square-Enix is really good at building cults around their games, just like the various Shonen Jump series are. All the games feature the same general formula, and the same people latch onto it for precisely the same reason every time. Look at the people watching for instance Naruto: Chances are, they’re not watching any other anime, or that they’re watching Full Metal Alchemist or One Piece. Both are, just like Naruto, reskins of Dragon Ball Z. Because they’re all probably part of communities in which all their friends watch either Naruto or any of the other series. Same thing with gamers: I know a lot of people who play nothing but JRPGs, and all their friends play the same games. Or fighting games. Or GTA-style games.

Most people aren’t as hardcore as we are. Most people don’t watch fifty TV-series at the same time. They find a genre they like, or they find a particular show they like and stick to it. Very, very simple. While I’m not really heavily into marketing (although I read about the subject every now and then), I believe mining this trend is referred to as “exploiting microniches”. Since videogames, through their marketing and since their modern business model is inspired by the Japanese, is a bit of a forerunner for this kind of marketing and franchise-building, I think it’s pretty natural to assume that most of the people who buy Final Fantasy XII are return customers and not fresh converts who really thought it was a neat idea to jump onto a series’ twelfth installment. And why would they return? Because they want more of the same, according to the “spreadsheet dressed up in anime” formula I suggested above.

I’m sorry you feel indignated.

Now that you’ve explained things, I really don’t. It’s the knee-jerk dismissals that bug me.

That said, I don’t think the average fan of any video game series is well-read and culturally savvy.

Fixed for you, that, I did.

Funnily, I love the Final Fantasy series but I can’t stand anime. Clearly, I contain multitudes.

So let me get this straight: Final Fantasy fans are a “microniche” which Square/Enix exploits by spending for example $100 million in marketing for Final Fantasy VII? How micro is this niche supposed to be?

Naw, I believe you’re perfectly right about that. The Final Fantasy series is a commercial monster, which is definitely a broadside to my argument about cults and niches. I don’t really know sales numbers for the Final Fantasy games in the west, though. I assume, however, that the series shifts even more units in Japan than in Europe and the US put together. I believe that the Final Fantasy fans represent niches in both of those markets. Looking at the rest of my reasoning, concerning the anime markets in both Japan and the west, I believe I do have a point. And the point is that the markets for games like JRPGs are very set, and that the user-base doesn’t really shift a lot. The average FFXII-owner probably owns at least one of the earlier games too. Most of the western FF audience was created with FFVII, and I think they still stick with the series. Why? Because the general formula of the games don’t change. Characters that most any insecure teenager can relate to, and rulesets that are made to be broken.

I don’t think Square-Enix spent a $100 million marketing FFVII. I don’t think they spent that much on FFXII, either. I get your point, though.