Remembering Final Fantasy VIII

PopMatters recently posted an extremely in-depth look back at Final Fantasy VIII, exploring the themes, emotions, and insight into human behaviour that make one of the most neglected entries in the franchise great.

Final Fantasy VIII was light-years ahead of VII both graphically and in terms of complexity, and perhaps that's the reason the game is one of the most underappreciated games in the Final Fantasy line. I must confess, that before reading Jack Patrick Rodgers' write-up, I considered it one of the weakest entries myself, citing IX as the sweet-spot for PlayStation-era roleplaying games. Now I've got an itch to play through the title once again with a keener eye on the underlying themes, thanks to insightful observations like these:

At one point, Squall's party reaches the site of a recent battle, and one of his travelling companions casually drops a bombshell on everyone else: they're all orphans of the previous world war and grew up at the same orphanage, but their memories of their time together have been erased by the Guardian Forces. The childhood friends that Squall can only dimly recall are in fact his new companions for this mission.

It's a terrific, resonant metaphor: the experience of warfare stole their childhood innocence and is slowly turning them into soldiers who have no purpose except the next battle. More than that, it's a commentary on how the responsibilities and pressures of adulthood can cause us to forget who we once were. Anyone who has ever rediscovered a childhood memento and found old memories flooding back can sympathize with characters who are amazed at how much they've forgotten.

It's a fascinating read, highlighting moments such as the Laguna visions, which while at first strange turn out to be the efforts of a son trying to come to terms with his absent father, or Squall's calling out of Seifer as a bully when the other students are trying to remember him fondly upon news of his apparent execution.

It may not do much to change Final Fantasy VIII's low level of regard amongst fans, but "Remembering the Orphan" will definitely have some looking at the game in a completely new light.

Remembering the Orphan: Final Fantasy VIII [PopMatters]


    I've always considered VIII to be the best entry in the series. I think peoples key gripe was with the drawing of magic from enemies instead of the user of a mana system, but you eventually reached a point where magic became redundant and was simply used to beef up your parties immunities.

    FF8, in my opinion, was easily the best of ANY final fantasy game that i have ever played, and i own or have played most of them. It was easily my favorite story and the GF's were awe inspiring. Both my sister and i used to fight over the PS1 for whom would get to play. We clocked up stupid amounts of hours in that game - my sister out doing me at just over 100 hours of play time, just leveling up and junctioning all of her characters to try and gain the best weapons, items and abilities.
    It is a fantastic game if you sit down and play it, with an awesome storyline.

    Not to mention the gun blade, which easily rocks the shit out of the buster sword - well at least in my opinion...

    I will never get the people who claims FF7 as the greatest FF. It's epic, yes. But I still vote for 10 and 8 for best story. I mean, do most people even read the dialog? The moment when Lulu finally cave into Tidus' not knowing anything about Spira and start narrating things to him before being asked was my pinnacle of game writing. The character suddenly becomes real. It's not about cluing you into who you have to fight anymore--it's characters recognizing the realness of each other.

    12 wins best fighting mechanics. Tactics and 9 takes the win in overall category, because of the nostalgia and returning to the root theme.

    Final Fantasy 8 has always been my No.1 FF game. I'm a sucker for a love story (there are multiple, Squall and Rinoa, Squall and Quistis, Selphie and Irvine, etc) and the character designs from Tetsuya Nomura make FF7 and 9 look underdone. All up I spent over 160+ hours levelling my characters and finishing the game 100% (side quests, card games, weapons, etc) and can't remember another game that has had such an emotionally compelling storyline. Plus the Soundtrack was amazing as well (Get the Final Fantasy 8 Piano Collection). All RPG's I buy now are compared against FF8 to see whether they are worth the time I spent playing them. I played through FF8 3 times. Well worth it, and definitely recommended.

    VIII has always been my favourite final fantasy game. I have never understood why it seemed so ignored compared to the others

    I didn't know that FFVIII was a neglected entry at all... it might not have the additions that have happened over the years to FFVII but it's always been looked favourably upon to me.

    FF8 was my introduction to Final Fantasy back in 2001, ergo my favourite.

    I gave it a quick read. Fair bit of wank going on.

    The first time I played FF8, I got so caught up in the card game that I ended up forgetting where I was meant to be on the main quest, and had to start the game again!
    Although FFX is my hands down favourite from the series, FF8 comes in a pretty close second.

    Six holds a special place for me. It had the best characters for my tastes.

    FFVIII is the best, it had Triple Triad! I think i spent more time playing that card game than the actual story, just because I had to get the complete card set.
    Of course, the game itself is great. I remember putting the game in the PS1 for the first time and starting it up. The beach scene rolls up, and music starts. Man, completely blown away. The characters had FACES! AND NOSE!

    thanks for the story link I'll give it a read :D It's still my second fav FF game, for me FFX comes first though :D

    i like FF8 the best, I've re-played it more than 4 times and usually each round last 240hours and above

    it's side-quests are fun and totally engaging
    the reaction of the characters are realistic and i like each of their personal stories.

    the only drawback ,i feel, is that the love story came abit too sudden... everyone sort of give pressure for squall to be in love with Rinoa, and then suddenly he is...

    but i still totally love FF8
    it's the best :)

    for a 1999-released game , this Final fantasy has the fantastic, in fact , the best graphic for his time

    the scene where Edea used her limit break and sent pillars of ice charging towards Squall is fantastically done.

    i feel that drawing spells from monster is not much of a bother after you reached disc 3. You should have the GF-refine ability by then and, most, in fact all basic spells can me obtain through it....

    the video flashed at the end ,during credits,reminds me of my graduation day. Just nicely done and heartwarming.

    FF8 sure deserves better recognition

    I am in love with this game. Second or third FF I ever played, and the only I've played through 4 times. The characters are so human feeling.

    In 99' when this game came out I remember going to Best Buy and paying 50$ for it, it was the first Final Fantasy I ever played. I do not regret spending 50$ on my favorite game of all time. I have played Final Fantasy 7 and I do like it but I think that Final Fantasy 8 was better. I am sick and tired of all the FF7 fanboys insulting FF8 because they "didn't like the battle or magic system" boohoo... I wish that the Final Fantasy Gaiden was not a joke, it looked pretty cool and I think that Final Fantasy 8 deserves more than it got.

    I would frequently get ridiculed for saying how much I liked FFVIII. I still stand by my view that FFVIII was one of the greatest stories in the FF line. Very touching.

    I love that game more than the rest of them :) I love the story, the junction system, the GF! Playing it atm

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