16 August 2012

Finally! The Seventh Fantasty (II)

Ordinarily, I appreciate both privacy and cookies; often at the same time. However, a glance at the fine print here indicates that this agreement has less to do with me eating sugary junk food alone in my bedroom, and more to do with me paying for the right to let some company spy on me in exchange for the chance to play an old computer game. Yes, I have purchased, downloaded, and installed Final Fantasy VII, but I will not be granted permission to play until I have created a Square Enix account and agreed to the terms above, or signed in with a Facebook account, which can't be any better.

Why? Why is this a requirement?

--- A few minutes later ---

I'm in the game now. I've played the intro before, many years ago, so there shouldn't be any real surprises for me at this point, and yet there are. I shouldn't be surprised by the over-indulgent, heavily compressed cinematic scenes, and yet I can't believe how much time I'm asked to spend looking at CG stars. Like, a minute of erratic camera swoops showing nothing. Pixelated white blobs on a black background. Then there's some girl, then some city, then, okay, fight!

I guess I like getting thrown straight into a battle more than I would like heavy-handed tutorials teaching me how to walk, but the jump in pacing these first moments provide is startling. I fight a few policemen (Is that right? Policemen?), then learn that my spiky-haired little name is a guerrilla/terrorist guy named Cloud. Or he would be named Cloud if the game didn't give me the option to rechristen him "I am dumb," because that's totally funny, and there's no way I'll think my little joke is stale when I'm still reading it 100 hours into my adventure.

It was at this point that I tried to take a screenshot to show off my enviable wit ("What's your name?" "I am dumb." "I am dumb, eh? Hmmm..."), and it was at this point I learned that you can't take screenshots of this game with the Print Screen button. It just saves a blank black image. I'm sure I can find a way around this limitation, but come on. What harm am I going to do by taking a picture of a game that came out fifteen years ago?

Oh, right, I'll probably take pictures of the ridiculous bugs. Within two or three minutes of starting, I'd already discovered a simple method for making I am dumb appear upside-down at 200 times his regular size. Whoops.

I kept going and met a character who was happy to provide a bit of exposition. "You were in SOLDIER," and I guess we don't like SOLDIER, because he followed it up by telling I am dumb, "I don't trust you." Well, gosh, what a way to hurt a guy's feelings. Sorry, "Barret," from now on, your name is "Meanie."

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