Final Manchtasy VIII: Renzokuken MY BALLS

As with the other PlayStation 1 Final Fantasy games, I’ve bought Final Fantasy VIII like three times. I had it on PC as a kid, I bought it digitally for the PSP as a student, and the remastered version is downloading on my PS4 as we speak.

I’ve changed a lot since the first time I played it. I’ve been a child who was simply in awe of the then-cutting-edge visuals and who fancied the choppily rendered PS1 character model of Selphie. I’ve been an absolute wanker of a teenager aping all the tedious Internet snark about “plot holes” and “contrived twists”, who fancied the choppily rendered PS1 character model of Selphie. And here I am now: a pathetic thirty-year-old man who is sure he can spot grey hairs now when he looks in the mirror, who now CORRECTLY interprets all those contrived twists as being metatextual masterstrokes of essential anti-capitalist theory, and who fancies the choppily rendered PS1 model of Quistis .

As I play the game now, I am no longer a solo player – I am actually myself a serviceable JRPG party. We three are fully equipped with weapons (a controller), armour (my cosy fleece because it’s quite nippy this Winter), and potions (and a hearty glass of water – they say you’re meant to drink eight a day!). We are ready to go on more than just a play-through of a video game. This thread promises to be a journey of the self (i.e. my self). Will you (i.e. your selves) join me on this quest?

So: what can we expect from this thread?

My hope is that I’ll have interesting insights about the game and about my own subjective take on it. Compared with FF7 and FF9, this is probably the one of these I’ve replayed the least over the years (certainly the one I last played longest ago) – and also compared to this, it’s probably the strangest in many ways. FF7 is considered hugely influential, FF9 is beloved for its charm and its reverent culmination of the whole series up to that point… whereas FF8 has a peculiar magic system, a dinosaur can kill you within the first hour of play, and the climax of its first act is a loving homage to the JFK assassination. So it’ll be interesting to view its idiosyncrasies from my current state of being. Maybe.

But in all honestly, I’ve called Squall “MY ARSE” and so I will probably mostly be posting screenshots like this repeatedly as I progress through the game.

Please note: there’s every chance I’ll lose track of this

uh

sorry

or you’re welcome

i guess

20 Likes

GF names so far

Shiva - Cold Lady
Ifrit - Jim Satan
Quetzalcoatl - Quetzalcoatl (I hit a wrong button)

4 Likes

Lovely to see this sentence in a thread subtitled ‘Journey Through The Centre of MY ARSE’

5 Likes

I very much look forward to reading this thread.

Very immediate impressions on the first hour or so. That opening cut-scene is very much a part of the '90s Japanese pop cultural tradition of blasting through about six-thousand fonts and throwing some basic video transitions in there. (see also: Neon Genesis Evangelion, Serial Experiments Lain).

That cut-scene was one of those “wow! Games can NEVER LOOK BETTER THAN THIS” moments when I was a kid. It feels weird to look at it now as something very much of a bygone time – all very porcelain-y character faces and attractively strange-looking backgrounds.

image

Another thing I like about this remaster is how much of the original PS1 look is retained in things like the FONT (not quite pleasing my weird fetish for lo-res fonts of the '90s [see also: Front Mission 3] but not opting for that weird soulless mobile phone-looking font you get in the FF9 port). I also really appreciate the fact that it still asks you what memory card slot you want when you save the game.

YESSSSSSSSSS

1 Like

I was proud of the multiple meanings: the fact that Squall is called My Arse, and that the whole vision for the thread is tediously self-indulgent

also bums are funny

3 Likes

Dunno what I’m going to call Rinoa when I get to that point.

Was always planning “You Twat!” which paid off brilliantly during my last FF9 playthrough. BUT “My Arse” filled up the character count so it might be either “YouTwat” or thinking of a three-letter insult I can use. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

image

5 Likes

Quistis:
“My Arse… it looks like something is on your mind.”

UUUUUHH WEEELLLL

2 Likes

Tempted to join you in a replay. I always make it to the castle at the end and give up.

And I have a track record of playing either this or other JRPGs at christmas. My pal wants us both to go through a trench tier 360 RPG called Infinite Undiscovery, but I’d rather spend time with Quistis.

Big respect for how this game predicted YouTube comments sections

2 Likes

don’t be fooled by headmaster cid, he’s a real bad dude!

1 Like

I played the Dollet mission today – I was going to start by typing about Balamb Garden as a setting… but you don’t actually spend that much time there before this point. You go to a cave with Quistis to enlist Jim Satan into your cadre of Guardian Forces, I lost cards several times and reloaded my save so as not to lose any cards (which I say I’m not bothered about, but YES I AM HOW DARE YOU TAKE MY CARDS). So I’ll talk about that later. I was kind of surprised how quick this bit goes – when I was little I think I remember this happening much later (probably because I didn’t know what I was doing because of my spongy small brain).

CHILD MANCHES: We’re off to fight in a war! I can’t wait to make loads of new friends when I go to secondary school and go on a paramilitary adventure with them. (older sibling comes in from secondary school) HEY HEEEEY, when you start year 7, you get a gun , right?

TEENAGE MANCHES: Like, uuhhh, what the fuck? So these are like child soldiers doing actual warfare as, like, an exam? That’s a ding on the ManchesSins score – like, huh huh, how much MARIJUANA were they SNORTING when they made this!?!

ADULT MANCHES: (typing below…)

As Bam sez, that Headmaster Cid is a sketchy fella. I do really like how they draw this weird dystopia you live in quite organically (and some of the finer details seem to be more kind of hidden away) – it’s a world shook by this otherworldly communication breakdown, and some weird shit on the moon that’s also causing the monsters you encounter on the world map, and it’s gotten to a point where you’ve got these properly grim child-soldier / mercenary schools. This is possibly the weirdest Final Fantasy setting, having the least to do with traditional fantasy… and also not really feeling that much like a recognisably sci-fi setting (a’la FF7’s nods to cyberpunk). It’s all just pretty normal looking on the surface, but you slowly learn that it’s tainted by all this weird stuff that happened in the past – and so you’re playing as these teenagers just totally dwarfed by history and all sorts of stuff they can never understand.

AS WE ALL ARE.

Anyway. Here are some less wanky takes on this part of the game. I once heard the whimpering sound effect that the dog in Dollet makes on a TV show and decided I would loudly insist to my housemate (also a Final Fantasy fan) that we should write to the producers for having unjustly plagiarised this sound which was DEFINITELY NOT a stock sound and that DEFINITELY WAS painstakingly composed by Nobuo Uematsu himself. Also I exploited the fact that in-game timers go down at normal speed when you put the Remastered version’s very welcome 3x speed toggle on. So I can just batter that giant spider and get loads of AP for it.

This is getting way too long, way too not interesting, way too rambly. (I broke up for Christmas already, can you tell?)

Thought it was quite sweet the little round of applause that Seifer gives you when, despite having been given a fail for being a loose cannon, his other teammates come back having passed. It’s a tiny little detail suggesting a level of maturity that just makes him feel way more nuanced – and, imo, puts some of the character traits that could be seen as a little bit “tropey” (his being an egotistical wannabe hero, and all that) into a slightly different light. I dunno.

4 Likes

I got the Siren GF as well.

Updated current GF names list
Siren - Hank Hill (I couldn’t think of anything else)
Shiva - Cold Lady
Ifrit - Jim Satan
Quetzalcoatl - Quetzalcoatl (I hit a wrong button)

2 Likes

Not a comparison I necessarily expected to make but I’m reading Infinite Jest atm as well, and it strikes me that this is a big similarity between IJ and FF8. Probably helps that both prominently feature academies with weird subterranean tunnels.

1 Like

Forgot to hit the Save Screenshot button when a character said

“Come on, My Arse”

So ashamed. This whole overwrought endeavour is just fucked now

8 Likes

Really looking forwards to this thread. Can we make suggestions for GF names?

I for one would like to see “Brothers” renamed “Little and Large” (or “Lil and Large” if that doesn’t fit). Also, I can’t remember, but do you get to rename Rinoa’s dog?

1 Like

I love spicy food but you do have to be careful sometimes

7 Likes

Convulsing with laughter at this tutorial

7 Likes