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Dear Josh: The Promise Has Been Made

by / 0 Comments / 106 View / October 15, 2015

What are your feelings on the Final Fantasy VII remake? What should stay the same, what should change, and why?
-Alian, Denver

You know, I had a complicated relationship with that game up until recently. I loved it when I played it as a kid back in 1997, I grew to loathe much of its fan base in the years to come, and then I decided they were irrelevant to what I felt about the game personally later on. Final Fantasy VII was this hallmark game in that it managed to encapsulate an entire era of 90s science fiction imagery and anime tropes. It was cyberpunk divorced from the leather jackets and neon colored mohawks that represented the aesthetic of the genre, replaced with manga heroes and heroines. The game was a product of its time, when pre-rendered backgrounds allowed Square to develop an evocative world while not having to push the now primitive Playstation architecture past its limits by rendering the game’s glorious architecture in real time. Final Fantasy VII’s backdrops also had unique camera angles for every town, building and room, and gave each location a distinctive cinematic feel.

So the game was much like a movie and to this day is very stylish, aging more gracefully than any near-twenty year old video game has any right to. The dingy, downtrodden urban jungle of Midgar should remain as is. However, Final Fantasy VII was by all rights a goofy experience with disjointed shifts in tone. For example, there’s the sub quest where you have to find Cloud the perfect dress and tiara, or when you meet one of the most vile, inhumane antagonists in the game, Professor Hojo, relaxing at the beach like an ordinary sunbather. The game used these non-sequitors as moments of levity in-between the dramatic reveals and tense action sequences. As difficult as it would be to take Final Fantasy VII seriously, these have to remain as well since they make up so much of what made the game memorable in the first place.

Square Enix will probably feel pressure to change the game from a turn based, menu selection RPG into an action game. As much as I liked optimizing my characters equipment load outs, I don’t value it as much as the game’s setting or plot. If they want to switch to an action based battle system like Final Fantasy XV’s, then I’m fine with that. I still expect the remake to take over a decade to complete though, so I’m not holding my breath.

I’ve recently started making new friends where I live, and it’s started to upset my best friend (who lives three hours away). I don’t want to lose him, but I don’t want to give up my new friends, either. Is there a balance?
-Courtney, Austin

Dear Courtney, your friend has been pining for you all this time and he is now frustrated you are gone and is desperately clinging to the idea of you and him. Except that will never happen, so cut him off the moment he gets vindictive, because it’s coming. I seriously spent hours trying to write a snarky, cynical reply to this but I’m afraid I’m just not feeling clever right now. The both of you will move on, que sera, sera.

On the other hand, now that you are in Austin, go enjoy your awesome new friends at Alamo Drafthouse’s themed Action Pack nights, where there are movie singalongs.

Do you have, or would you ever consider getting a conceal and carry license for a personal firearm?
-Andrew, Killeen

Wow. This is a tough one to field because I don’t really want to own a gun, but the fact that I’ve now written that technically makes me more of a target doesn’t it? There are examples of nations with gun ownership being common place but gun violence being relatively low, like Canada. I’m a constitutionalist and I feel that as an American I’m beholden to the US Constitution above all else, and a liberal interpretation of the Second Amendment says citizens can own guns without necessarily forming their own militia. So, I’m cool with the idea of people owning guns. Yet, I am not cool with the idea of me owning my own gun just yet. I don’t like admitting that I might live in a world where I might be drawn into a conflict where the threat of deadly force is necessary for me to survive. I like to think I can resolve most conflict with reason or quick wits, but that likely isn’t always going to be the case, isn’t it?

If I had to, I’d probably get a revolver of some sort. Those have a nice weight to them and they’re supposed to be significantly less prone to mechanical failure. That, and if I’m ever in a situation where I actually need more than six bullets, I’m already in far too deep.

Can’t we just solve our violent disputes with kung fu instead?