Once upon a time in 1997, a single game and gaming console would basically change my life.
My best friend, Aneesa, had come over to spend the night and she brought her PlayStation with her. We played a few games here and there and then she said she had something cool to show me. She goes on to boot up Final Fantasy VII, loads up a save file, and shows me Aerith dying.
Even though the scene had no context to me it was still amazing to watch. Things like this didn’t really happen in games and never looked this good. I was so intrigued I asked her to show me some more of the game and explain to me the basics.
At the time, I had no idea what an RPG was, how they worked or exactly what they entailed, but I would soon come to find out. That Christmas I asked my mom for a PlayStation and I happily received one, another friend of mine lent me his copy of FF7 and the rest is history. I remember booting up and selecting -New Game- I said out loud, “What am I getting myself into?”, and continued on to the 99+ hour journey that awaited.
This was the first game I ever played from start to finish, it was also the first RPG I had ever played.
I fell in love with the characters and their dynamic with one another. The music took me away, the art captured my imagination and I just found myself deeply in love with this world.
Let’s be real, for a 13-year-old the story was pretty heavy handed, so I won’t pretend that I understood everything going on back then, but honestly it didn’t matter.
I remember back in the day of dial-up internet Aneesa and I would trade fanfictions back and forth that expanded on the lore of FF7. We’d also email each other fan-art that we would drain ink cartridges to print and plaster all over our walls.
My first online import orders were for figures of Tifa, soundtracks, wall scrolls, and one of my first cosplays ever was Tifa.
This game had launched me into the gaming world and helped me build many friendships with fellow fans along the year.
As the years rolled on and other Final Fantasy’s came a long, I would eagerly pick them up and play from start to finish. And although each one impacted me differently, there would never be another one like VII.
Over the years, we always talked about how much money Square would make if they ever remade the game. How it would bring so much joy to original fans, and introduce it to a whole new generation.
Between then and now there would get a movie, but no mention of a new game.
We got to see our beloved characters show up in other games, such as Kingdom Hearts and Smash Bros.
Then there were rumors, technical demos, and lots and lots of speculation over the long years.
Those rumors reached a fever pitch in 2004, and then in the following year Square would confirm everything we had been hoping and dreaming for: they were officially remaking Final Fantasy VII.
It had been 6 long years, guys. 6 years of ups and downs, development hell, more rumors and set back and then eventually delays.
Throughout all that time I always knew the game would come, and it would be worth that long wait.
Last year (in 2019), while attending my first E3, I had the amazing opportunity to play the demo. The entire experience was a dream that I will never forget!
The set up that the Square-Enix team put together was beautiful and captured the world so well. And then the demo itself; it played exactly as I had always remembered FF7 played.
So, in a way, it was as if the game had grown up with me.
I look back at my early gaming days and wonder how 13-year-old me would feel knowing that this game is coming back into my life. And thinking about that just makes me smile, because of how much this game means to me and how much it changed my life.
So I say this to all my fellow Final Fantasy VII fans, new and old, let’s enjoy this moment to the fullest and enjoy it together!