Why Square and I Broke Up

Often I will be asked about video games, what I am playing, what my favorite games are, how long I have been playing, and I really could (and have) spend hours talking about gaming.  I want to spend a little bit of time today talking about a very painful break up from one of my favorite companies, Square Enix.

Dear Square Enix,

Yes, Square, I remember you when you were Square, Squaresoft, and now Square Enix.  I played Rad Racer, but most importantly you introduced me with what have been the most influential game in my gaming career to date, Final Fantasy.  With this game, you opened up a world, which led to many worlds, to my young impressionable mind.  The destiny of the world was in my hands.  It lead to other games, other worlds, all of which needed saving.  I saved them all and felt a sense of accomplishment when it was over.

They were all grand, with solid stories, and characters I can care about.  I was the hero in Secret of Mana, finding out his mom was a tree and really wanting to reunite the girl with her boyfriend.  I stood with Crono, Marle, and Lucca and went through time in Chrono Trigger.  I played all the Final Fantasy games as I was able to, and though I wasn’t pleased with 8, I still beat it.  Then came the highlight of our entire relationship.

Final Fantasy 10.

Oh, how I loved that game.  I loved the game play, the graphics, and my goodness, the story.  Could it get any more perfect for a girl who loves love?  Quite a few of my favorite video game moments come from this game.  It made me cry, and quite possibly was the first video game to break my heart so completely.

I forgave you for breaking my heart then because the story was so beautiful, the ending so unexpected.  You gave me 80+ hours of enjoyment, and one that I replayed over and over. I could forgive you, because I loved with Tidus and Yuna.  I looked forward to the next instalment of the FF series (and no, not X-2, which I beat at 100%, and yes, I used a strategy guide after playing through it once).

You gave me 11.  An MMO.  What?  That isn’t Final Fantasy?  Where is my story line?  My ending?  My hours of playing to save the world?  I forgave you for this, but I am not gonna lie, it angered me.  Not enough to kick you out, but enough to start to want to check your pockets after you came in late.

Then you gave me 12.  I couldn’t even play past 10 hours.  It felt…wrong.  It felt like it had been influenced by an MMO, which you had.  The combat felt wrong, the story felt wrong, everything just felt wrong.  I tried, really I did.  I took time off work, sat down and excitedly put it in.  I wanted to like it, wanted to connect, but I just couldn’t.  Again, I forgave you.  I mean, we all have our weak moments, right?  We can’t be perfect all the time, and I knew you would fix it with FF13.  Right, Square?  Right?!?!?!

No.  I am sad to say, no.  I pre-ordered my copy, took two days off from work, settled in for some redemption.  Graphically, I couldn’t complain, I mean it was gorgeous.  When it started I thought, “Here it is!  Here is what I have been waiting for!”  Then the main character had the personality of a paper bag; I was disappointed again.  I put in over 20 hours and I still couldn’t care.  I will admit the chocobo coming out of the afro was good.

So this is where we parted ways.  I couldn’t take the putting an MMO as a numbered game in the series, the disappointment in 12, the waiting for 13 only to be disappointed there as well.  Fourteen was an MMO, and they just keep making sequels to it.  It hurt, to lose my faith in something that I had invested so much time and love into.

I want to try again.  I feel like I want to give 13 a try, like that feeling you get a few months after the break up when you forget why you broke up to begin with.  You just remember the good memories, the hours I spent that could be measured in days with the characters.  I don’t know if I will be able to trust you again, but I may pick up the controller and try to open my heart one more time.


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