Thirteen years ago, at the age of seventeen, I saw the opening for Final Fantasy VII for the first time.
I was so excited with the opening sequence (remember this game’s graphics were incredible for the time) that I cut class for a week* and barreled through the first disk. The game itself, if you haven’t played it is massive. The scope of the world, politics, weapons, and items is an OCD completionist’s dream (nightmare?)—and my friends were all OCD completionists. Between the lot of us, about seven, we have easily played a thousand hours, if only to get to the snowboarding mini-game in the Golden Saucer. So, you shouldn’t be surprised when a series of tacit rules developed.
- Cloud can be named whatever you like as long as it is a derivative of the names you use in other RPGs.
- Tifa is to be named after your current crush (there were no rules about girlfriends, but who are we kidding, the hours logged into FFVII pretty much precludes that possibility).
- You don’t fuck with Aeris/Aerith. She is not to be renamed.
- Barrat is to be renamed Mr. T. If you didn’t do this your first play through, I don’t know what’s wrong with you.
- Red XIII is to be named after your favorite pet, unless you have never had one, then “Red” or a favorite movie animal is acceptable.
- Cait Sith is to be renamed after the most despicable person you know. Personally, I hated this tradition and always named him “Fluffy” in protest. Cait Sith may be flawed, but he is still a deeply moral “person.”
- Vincent needn’t be renamed, but if he is, it must be after a popular vampire. Recent pop culture phenomena makes this both an exciting and amusing prospect.
- Cid, out of respect for the Final Fantasy lore, is not to be renamed because he is a badass.
- Yuffie is to be renamed after the most aggravating woman you know.
OCD completionist conventions.
- Your first mastered “All” materia is to be sold so you never have to worry about money again.
- Real men don’t breed a golden chocobo, they trade the desert rose for it.
- A game is not complete unless you get “Freak” on every time trial in the snowboarding mini-game.
- Every character in your party must have all the Master Materia equipped.
- Don Corneo must pick you over Tifa or Aeris.
THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE:
- Do not spoil the end of disk one!
I can’t promise I will fulfill all of these rules this time around (I don’t have the luxury of cutting work for a week**), but I would be remiss in not explaining how to play the game properly, if only for my conspirators, Daniel and Gavin, to see an opportunity to earn my respect.
*How does a seventeen year old cut class for a week without getting in caught? Well, it requires a health dose of fuck-all and an apartment owned by a college dropout who can buy beer. That time in my life is a worthy story, almost Bueller-esque, but only in the context of two packs of smokes and a bottle of Blanton’s.
**That’s a lie. I have plenty of time, I just don’t want FFVII to cut into my Cataclysm time. My level 85 Mage has a long way to go before raiding.