Monthly Archives: January 2012

FF7 Love Triangle Debate

Please think about the following post if you’re a fan of FF7 and either of the two ships in the TxCxA Love Triangle. I’ll even bake a cake for you if you do. Let’s get started.

It’s recently come to my attention that other people were duped, as I was, by Lifestream.net’s false claims that Square said that CloudxTifa (known as Cloti) was the canon pairing based on inconsequential events in the game. Such events are ambiguous at best and all scenes between Cloud and Tifa or Cloud and Aerith can be interpreted either romantically or just as friends. There is a trope for this sort of thing. It’s called Shrug of God. Square has neither confirmed nor denied Cloti or Clerith (CloudxAerith) as canon. Their stance has been, since the game’s release nearly fifteen years ago, that it’s up to player interpretation. Therefore both Clotis and Cleriths are neither wrong nor right in their ship.

I personally am a Clerith shipper. There was something about Cloud’s interaction with Aerith that nailed me hard. That said, I’m a Clerith fan who adores Tifa as well. I named my cat after her. The thing I hate most in the shipping war are fans on both sides who have it in their head canons that the two girls hated each other. It proves they weren’t paying attention. I should tell you that FF7 was a test in paying attention to detail. Anyone can play the game and see no evidence of animosity between them where Cloud was concerned. Anyone who plays through the game and is still convinced of that fails the test.

Another thing I hate is people claiming either girl is a horrible person. I had to correct someone’s image of Tifa on dA because she associated her with the wrong image, based on clothing and misinterpreting her personality. It was on a journal entry I wrote when I duped into thinking Square torpedoed my ship by declaring Cloti as canon so no one can accuse me of starting a fight on someone’s deviation. When I say correct, I mean my Berserk Button was pushed and I read her the riot act of how wrong she was. Fortunately, we were able to resolve the issue when I explained to her who Tifa really was. I have yet to come across anyone badmouthing Aerith.

Now, the Shrug of God business. As long as Square doesn’t meddle in the fans’ shipping choice in a game where it was always ambiguous, I think we can all agree that neither pairing is canon and that the war is rather pointless. Clotis and Cleriths are neither wrong nor right. But Jana, it’s so obvious Cloud loves Aerith. Is it? Cloud’s actions can be interpreted anyway you want. Shrug of God dictates it is what you personally make of it. But Aerith’s death practically makes Clerith impossible. True from a certain point of view. Aerith’s death torpedoes the ship pretty well but there’s also the fact that just because someone dies doesn’t mean you stop being in love with them. Therefore, I only call it partially sunk. Word of God would be the only the thing that would sink it completely. Aerith being Doomed By Canon means nothing in how a Clerith interprets the interaction between our beloved flower girl and Cloud.

Tifa was a good friend to Cloud and Aerith and I don’t deny she also had feelings for him. But I also know that when they were kids growing up in Nibelheim, Cloud was antisocial and Tifa didn’t really pay attention to him until he left home to join SOLIDER. As the two girls were always interacting with each other whenever the party split up, it’s canon that they were friends, best friends even. In the end, it was Tifa who helped Cloud put his mind back together. It’s easy to influence the outcome of the dating subplot but again, it’s all up to fan interpretation. Even the Dating Scenario is pretty ambiguous and doesn’t prove anything at all. Friends of the opposite gender can do the same thing.

Here’s my humble opinion: if it had ever come down to Cloud canonically choosing the girl he loves without a doubt, I know the girl who lost out would be take the loss gracefully and step back, happy for her best friend. I know both Tifa and Aerith well enough to know that they would be willing to sacrifice their own happiness for each other if it came down to Cloud choosing between them. They both come off as selfless to me and that is something more people in the shipping war need to realize. They both have their strengths and their weaknesses. We should embrace them as they are and embrace the triangle the way it was meant to be portrayed: completely ambiguous and encouraged by its Shrug of God status. Cloud opened up to both of them in different ways and it’s plain that deep down, he cares about them both.

BTW: about the precursor at the top. The cake is a lie. GLaDOS has invaded my head and I wrote this whole thing with her voice in mind. It probably helped with my neutral standpoint on the subject.

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The Loss of Pets

Recently, a lady at my church had to have her cat put down because health problems came up that weren’t going to go away. That got me thinking about the pets I’ve had over the course of my life. We’ve had a dog, two rabbits, fish, several gerbils, and birds. Sasha was the family dog. She was one of the most important members of the family, in my eyes at least. My brother and a friend found her as a puppy wandering around East Toledo were we used to live. The friend’s family took her in but after a couple of months, the dad lost his job and Sasha came to live with us. She stayed in our family for about fourteen years until declining health meant it was time to ease her suffering. She had arthritis in her hind leg and a split-level house like mine is no place for a dog with that issue. Nothing but stairs. I don’t remember this part clearly but apparently Sasha’s hips also went. On a medium to large older dog, when the hips go, that’s the first sign that the dog has to be put down to prevent prolonged suffering. I miss Sasha something terrible and it’s been 12 years now.

My sister had two rabbits. One was a mini-lop named Damon. We got him when he was a year old. He developed a neurological disorder when he was five. He wasn’t responding to medication and we had no choice but to put him down on March 22 a couple years ago. That’s a significant date for Sis and I because that’s when our adoption was finalized. I remember crying the day before and the day of. Several months later, Sis got Momo, a black baby rabbit. For reasons we don’t know, she suddenly died not long after. Writing about them is bringing back the pain I felt at both their deaths. It’s hard. I hope everyday that I’ll have many years with my cat, Tifa, before I have to say good-bye. We got a new rabbit, Honey Bunny, just before Christmas and it seems she’s going live a long life.

My boyfriend’s had four dogs in his life. First, there was Spike, a bear of a dog and friendly. He, like Sasha, was put down due to old age. I was just starting to date Eric, my boyfriend, at that time so I didn’t have a close bond with Spike. A week later, Eric’s parents brought home Ace, a black lab pup. He’s hail and healthy. They then got Oscar, a Dachshund puppy, from his grandma, followed shortly by Oscar’s father, Sammy. Last summer, Oscar had a freak accident. He jumped off the arm of a Lazy-Boy and broke his back. If you know Dachshunds, you know that when they turn six months old, they develop degenerative disk disease. Oscar was two years old. Sammy’s still around. I envy Eric because for Spike and Oscar, he arranged to have them cremated and now their ashes are sitting on their mantle. I envy him because, in a way, he got his dogs back. All we have of Sasha is her collar. The rabbits are buried in the backyard.

Just this month, my best friend lost all her animals in one blow. Her kitchen caught fire and all the animals died from smoke inhalation. She had a pit bull, a cat, a ferret, a guinea pig, a rabbit, and a rat or two.I know her pain but not to that scope.

While this whole blog is rather depressing (I started crying at writing about the rabbits), I hold onto one hope and that’s the hope I’ll see my animals again when I get to Heaven. It’s comforting to think that maybe all the pets you’ve had over your lifetime are up there chilling with Jesus and they’re waiting for their humans to join them. The Bible is concerned with man’s salvation and place in this universe. It doesn’t tell us about what awaits our animals when they die. I think that’s a good thing. It allows, at the very least, a sense of peace and closure when a beloved pet passes away to think that they’re chilling with Jesus. I think that while God made humans the pinnacle of His creation and that Heaven is our real home, I think He also meant for animals to enjoy Heaven with us. Everything on this earth was crafted by God for God.

It’s nice to imagine that perhaps Jesus is playing fetch with Sasha, Spike, Oscar, and Bailey, my friend’s pit bull. Or that he’s sitting on his throne, stroking my friend’s cat, Minnow. Maybe even sitting in a green field caring for Damon and Momo. It’s comforting to know that there’s a possibility of us seeing our animals again when this life is over. Even if it turns out that it’s a meaningless hope in the end, we won’t know until we get there.  A human soul has to be redeemed but an animal’s spirit, even in a fallen world of animals preying on others, is faultless in the scheme of things. All the bad things of this life are all Man’s doing. The animals were given the tools to survive in this fallen world but they aren’t responsible.

I don’t know how many Christians who know me well share my thoughts on what I think happens to animals when they die but if nothing else, it’s a great comfort. The Bible neither confirms nor denies the possibility that animals go to Heaven like saved people do so we’re free to hope that we’ll see our pets again when our time comes. It’s better then to spending the rest of your life worrying about  it. All we can do now, for those of us who lost a pet or will inevitably lose a pet in the future, is keeping moving forward and keep our eyes on the prize: Heaven, and the possibility of seeing our furry/scaly/feathered friends again.

Nice Discussion Part 2: Final Fantasies VII and X

Part two of my on-going discussion with my correspondent.

My correspondent brought up the theory that Final Fantasy VII and X were connected somehow, mainly based on the the fact there’s an Al-Bhed character named Shinra who talked about using Spira’s lifeforce for energy and going to other worlds. The similarities to the Shin-Ra Electric Power Company and mako energy act as Red Herrings. It’s misleading to think that there’s a connection based on that alone.  I don’t buy it. Square also says it was a wild idea they had and shouldn’t be considered canon to either game. I just think it’s all shout-outs to VII which, love or hate it, is one the greatest games of all time. With all the variables and contradictions, I don’t see a connection plotwise that would indicate that that VII is a direct but distant continuation of X’s story. It wouldn’t be the first time Square reused a name. The character-named-Cid tradition’s been going on since VII and pre-VII games, barring at least FF4, had a Cid retroactively added in later re-releases.

I came across this before on FanFiction.net and someone there had wondered at a connection between Jenova (VII) and Sin (X). The answer is obviously no. Any gamer worth his/her researching salt would know that there are more differences between the two monsters than there are similarities. Jenova is a cosmic threat. A veritable virus that consumes the lifeforce of planets she crash lands on and then uses the newly-dead planet as means to travel the cosmos in search of another planet to consume. Sin, on the other hand, was a monster created by Yu Yevon during the Machina War between Old Zanarkand and Bevelle with instructions to protect Dream Zanarkand and destroy any city that grew too large or too reliant on technology. However, Yu Yevon was unable to control the beast. The process of summoning it destroyed his mind. Sin was left to follow its instincts alone and it indiscriminately destroyed anything in its path. I find Sin to be a pitiable creature, not knowing anything else by destruction.  It’s something only Kefka would love. Jenova, I have no such sympathy for.

Nice Discussion Part 1: Ganondorf and Jenova

This post is born from a nice, fun discussion I’ve been having for the past four days with a deviant on DeviantART. We started it all off by talking about Samus Aran’s breakdown, due to PTSD, in Metroid: Other M when Ridley appeared and how we both agree it doesn’t make Samus any less of a badass then she always was. The talk just exploded from there into various topics. We’ve talked in depth about Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy VII as well as possible connections between FF7 and FF10. So, if you’ll excuse the overly long title, let’s begin.

Let’s start off with Ganondorf. My correspondent was under the impression that Ganon’s appearances in all the games he was in weren’t the same guy because he dies a lot. That, however, is not true. Word of God (that’s Nintendo, people) says that after Ganondorf received the Triforce of Power, it granted him near-immortality. Thus, he’s like a cockroach. No matter what you do to kill the guy, he keeps coming back. To fully understand how all this works, it’s best you look up the Hyrule Historia, Nintendo’s official answer the question concerning the time line the games are set in.

The Split Timeline Theory proposed by fans as far back as Ocarina of Time seems to be official. There are three arms in the split timeline. The games prior to the split are Skyward Sword, The Minish Cap, and Four Swords. They lead to Ocarina of Time. That’s where the split occurs. After Link is sent back to his own time after OoT, he came back with knowledge of what the future holds. He told Young Princess Zelda what would happen if he opens the Door of Time, thus creating the Child Era’s arm of the split timeline. Ganondorf was executed and when that failed, was sent straight to the Twilight Realm. The games in the Child Era are Majora’s Mask, Twilight Princess, and Four Swords Adventures.

The future Link experienced as an adult didn’t disappear after he was sent back. The actions he did led to Ganon being sealed in the Sacred Realm. He managed to escape in that timeline and since a hero wasn’t there to stop him, the Adult Era led into Wind Waker, Phantom Hourglass, and Spirit Tracks. The third arm of the timeline occurred in the event the Hero of Time failed in his mission, bringing about Hyrule’s decline. Those games are A Link To The Past,  the Oracle series, Link’s Awakening, the original LoZ game, and Zelda II. The Hero of Time’s battle with Ganon managed to split his existence in two.  Each of his existences differ slightly in personality but it’s still the same man regardless because he still retains the Triforce of Power and doesn’t stay dead in any of his defeats.

The only real hiccup in the Child Timeline is that the Scared Realm wasn’t opened after Link was sent back, so the Triforce of Power logically never came to Ganon. The only way I can reconcile that would be that one doesn’t have to touch the Triforce in order to receive it wholly or in part. Ganon’s desire for power may have been enough to reach the Triforce and split it in three parts, allowing him to obtain the Triforce of Power, avoid his execution, and get banished directly to the Twilight Realm. That sets up Twilight Princess’s story.

On the subject of Jenova, my correspondent came up with an explanation for Sephiroth’s madness that ruled out Jenova’s influence, mainly saying she was a corpse. Sephiroth’s insanity was his own doing, obviously, but the bit about Jenova being dead is wrong. Jenova was never dead in the truest sense of the word after the Cetra sealed her. I liken her to a super virus with no cure. It’s basic biology that a dead body’s cells aren’t viable and possibly toxic to living cells. Also, a dead virus breaks down and leaves nothing behind. If Jenova was actually dead, SOLDIER was a bunch of glorified regular men. The Compilation itself wouldn’t have happened because, if it were possible to kill Jenova off for real, the Cetra would’ve done so, not merely seal her away. I do agree with my correspondent that Jenova had no direct influence on Sephiroth merely on the grounds that Sephiroth’s will was far stronger than hers. It was he who forced her body to take on his form while he rebuilt his actual body in the Northern Crater.

Part two is about our discussion about the theory that the Spirans of Final Fantasy X became of Cetra of Final Fantasy VII, based on various similarities to FF7 seen in X-2.

Gaming Nostalgia

So I was listening to the soundtrack for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time when I was bitten by the nostalgia bug. Ocarina of Time is one of my favorite games of all time and not because I played it myself. I was nine years old when it came out on the Nintendo 64 back in 1998 and I remember the fun I had watching my brother, Paul, play it through several times. I loved watching my brothers play games. I remember watching them play the original LoZ, Donkey Kong 64, Star Fox 64, OoT, and Super Metroid on the SNES. It never got old. I think it’s because of them I’m a gamer girl.

I think Star Fox 64 was the first game I played by myself and the first one I beat. Thinking about it now makes me feel proud. I wish I knew what happened to the cartridge because we did own it. It seems to be missing now. I really want to play it again but aside from it missing, our N64 is barely alive now. It’s hard to get it started anymore. There were so many fun games I loved to play on it. Pokemon Snap, Paper Mario, Mario Party, Super Mario 64. Since they re-released Star Fox 64 and Ocarina of Time on the Nintendo 3DS, a big wish of mine would be for them to re-release the original 64 Paper Mario on some system. I want to be able to see if I can beat it. I never made it far in the original because we didn’t own it.

Super Metroid is another game I loved watching Paul play. After we sold our SNES, I had trouble recalling what the game was called through the years but I did have vague memories of the final boss, Mother Brain. When I was thinking about Mother Brain one day, I went on YouTube and searched for that fight. It’s funny how a boss that didn’t scare you as a kid ends up creeping you out later on. I think it’s because of the 14 year gap between I saw my brother play the game and when I found the fight on YT. The music probably didn’t help much. Same for Mother’s roar. I’m over now. Doesn’t creep me out as badly.

This brings me to Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts. I remember very little of Final Fantasy VII when it came out in 1997. I remember people asking me if I had ever played it and I remember looking up Cloud and Sephiroth through the years but Final Fantasy never piqued my interest until 2007 when I saw Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children for the first time. That got both me and my sister interested in the series. I’ve since played through the original FF7, FF7: Crisis Core, and the DS version of FF4. The only game out of those I’ve beaten was Crisis Core. I’m not strong enough to face Sephiroth on the original VII because it’s so easy to get to that point and not have trained enough to outlast him when he goes One-Winged Angel on you (Safer Sephiroth). There’s also the fact that best Summon Materia in the game, Knights of the Round, is a total pain to get because you have to do the Chocobo breeding sidequest. you have to have a Black Chocobo just to reach the cave where Knights of the Round is. That takes time and I’m rather impatient. Maybe someday, I’ll do what I must to win.

FF4, I was doing well in until I made the mistake of going to the Tower of Babel when I wasn’t leveled up enough. The DS version makes it easy to advance in the game at lower levels than recommended. The Tower of Babel, however, you can’t leave once you enter. The enemies are strong there so I was stuck. Any attempt to fight just makes the party get hit hard and sometimes faint. I have yet to replay and stick with the game past that point. I know I made it to the Moon but that was prior to Babel, I think.

Kingdom Hearts was a game I saw a family friend play way back when. I’ve played through the first game up to the final boss. The only reason I haven’t been able to beat it is because the camera controls for that game is a pain in the rear. You had to use the shoulder buttons, instead of the analog stick. Kingdom Hearts 2 was much easier, thanks the camera being controlled via analog stick and the new Reaction Commands you were encouraged to use on a variety of tasks and enemies. I’ve beaten that game several times. Birth By Sleep was another entry I loved to play. I’ve beaten Terra and Aqua’s scenarios but Ventus’s is another pain. The final boss, Vanitas, is hard to fight because it’s not a typical battle. You have to do things in a certain way in order to beat him and I haven’t gotten the knack for it yet.

Dissidia Final Fantasy is the Super Smash Bros. of the Final Fantasy series. It’s a fighting game with RPG elements in it. The fights are in real time (or there’s an RPG option for those who prefer it). Both that and Crisis Core were the sole reasons I bought a PSP. Dissidia is the coolest thing to me because the first game had the heroes and villains from the original Final Fantasy all the way up to X (10) with secret characters from 11 and 12. The sequel, Duodecim, had six more characters from Final Fantasies 4, 7, 8, 10, 12, and 13, plus more two secret characters from 5 and 11.  To add another level of coolness, they also gave us a playable version of the game’s Big Bad, Chaos, in the form of Feral Chaos. Grand total of playable characters is 31.

Duodecim had a lot more to offer than the first game. It has a lot of new mechanics, like a world map, and the Assist Feature. The biggest thing, though, is that it also includes the entire first game’s story updated for the new mechanics. It’s like you’re getting two games for the price of one. When Duodecim was first announced, I was on fire for  it. When the NA release was announced, I was dancing in the street. Since getting the game, I’ve only played it and never went back to the original Dissidia. No more need to. I was excited when it was announced that my favorite character from FF4, Kain Highwind, was going to be in it. When I learned Liam O’Brien was reprising the role from the DS version, good gravy, it was like Christmas came early.

Dissidia was a good game for me because it introduced to me to other stories and characters pre- and post-VII. I feel more connected to characters in the other games in the series, probably more than Kingdom Hearts did. I was introduced to Squall Leonhart from 8 via the first KH game and KH2 introduced me to Vivi (9), Setzer (6), and Seifer, Fuujin, and Raijin (also from 8). The characters from VII, Aerith, Yuffie, Cid, Cloud, and Sephiroth, I’ve known a lot longer. Dissidia gave me the gist of each game’s story.

Right now, I’m trying my hand at LoZ: Twilight Princess. It’ll be the first Zelda game I’ve seriously played. Ocarina of Time I’ve dabbled in but always chickened out of upon reaching the second dungeon, Dodongo’s Cavern. As of this post, I have reached the final boss of the first dungeon in Twilight Princess. I have yet to fight the beast but hopefully, I’ll get up the nerve to fight.