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I’ve been playing games for more than 20 years and during that time, I’ve experienced some that have stuck with me and kept me coming back. The one game that I commonly cite as “my favorite game of all time” is Final Fantasy VII.

There are several reasons why this game means so much to me, but the most significant is that it is the game that got me back into gaming after a brief hiatus. Before FF VII, the last game I remember getting absorbed by was The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. After that game, I was pretty caught up in things like high school and sports, hanging out with friends, learning to play musical instruments – I had a lot of new hobbies and things going on that demanded my time. It wasn’t until FF VII when I really got caught up in games again.

I had a friend who owned a PlayStation, and we played a bit off and on. I figured that I’d get one too, after all I hadn’t played games in so long that it seemed about time for a new console. When it came time to choose the first game I’d buy with it, I saw FF VII and remembered the love I had for the original Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy II on SNES (which was IV to everyone else). Nothing could prepare me for the experience that soon followed.

From the opening sequence, FF VII was so much more than I was expecting. No more 2D sprites, these characters were moving around a wonderfully crafted Midgar that was beautiful in its dreariness. No wandering through a town to ramp up, this game threw you and a partner right into the thick of a full-scale infiltration mission. The music, pacing of the action, sense of scale, was all so epic and more than I was used to.

In the weeks that followed, time seemed to melt away. I poured so many hours into that game; locating every monster, reveling in all of the side quests, and becoming connected to all the characters in this grand story.

FF VII was also able to convey this amazing amount of emotion. We all know the scene that got the most attention from fans – the death of Aeris. When that happened, even though she wasn’t a character I used much, I was floored. Conditioned by the usual video game rules, I kept expecting her to come back before the end of the game until I finally accepted that she was gone forever. I couldn’t remember a time where a character death affected me so much, so I came to the conclusion that this was the first FF game where one of your characters suffers a “true death” that Phoenix Downs won’t solve. A while later I went back and played FF IV and realized that characters there died at the drop of a hat, some never to come back! It was odd then, that those characters didn’t have the impact on me that FF VII characters did.

Brilliantly detailed lands, deeply written characters, amazing cutscenes, and epic summon spells. FF VII had it all, and was the transitional point from Final Fantasy games of the past and the epic adventures we enjoy now. I’ve played through this one several times, and it never gets old. And if the long-standing rumors are true and the game was remade for today’s systems, you bet I’d be more than happy to get sucked into this world once again!



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