With the re-release of FFVIII on Steam, we're going to try out me liveblogging parts of it to see if people are entertained. Why? Because I have posting privileges, that's why.
Things to know about this game as we move forward (and I swear none of these are made up): it's set in a giant floating school for mercenaries. I swear that was not a Mad Libs sentence. The floating of an entire building is powered by...uh...magic? They're never really clear on this point. Or any point.
Anyway, you play one of the prized pupils at the school (because of course you do), and your character is 17 (because of course he is). I don't know how wise I consider it to train hormone-crazed monster lunatics as mercenaries. I predict this will end badly (it does, in fact, end badly). In retrospect, Let's Send Teenagers Out On Missions as Hired Killers was probably not the best business model for your magical floating city-school.
Anyway, let's do this.
3:22 PM — Should I be worried about this potential seizure warning the game is giving me before starting up? That doesn't seem normal. Nah.
3:23 PM — I had forgotten how weird these still photos were at the opening credits sequence. Why are you taking pictures of your characters' mid-sections and showing them to us, FFVIII? Why is this a thing? I mean, I appreciate the fact that at least you're doing this with both the male and female characters, but the way you're presenting them, you might as well be showing us pictures of someone's ankle.
3:24 PM — Every time I see Tetsuya Nomura's name, my soul dies another little death. For those who don't know, Nomura is responsible for this:
And also this:
He's the worst.
3:25 PM — Oh right, and I forgot the game makes you sit through this entire credits sequence. How did I not complain about this at the time?
3:26 PM — Wait, I figured out what button skips it! YES! Ok, Start New Game.
3:26-3:28 — This is like a two minute soundgasm. Nobuo Uematsu is the best composer in video game history, which is kind of like being named Miss Toledo, but whatever. It's also a little sad that I have this entire opening FMV sequence memorized basically frame-by-frame. The main character and his DoucheRival, which is apparently a JRPG trademark that all games released during the 90's were required to have, have a gunblade fight in which both get their faces all cut up.
You didn't read that wrong: gunblades. Gunblades are a thing in this game. In the history of stupid weapons, there has never been a more comically impractical idea than the Gunblade. For those unfamiliar with it, it's exactly what it sounds like. It's this:
Yup. Christ, Tetsuya Nomura. Even lightsaber nunchucks make more sense than a Gunblade.
3:29 — Ok, we're past the intro movie. Yeesh, I had forgotten about these graphics.
...oh. OH. Ohhhh boy. This was when they still gave you the "fill in a name" feature. There is NO way I'm not abusing the crap out of this. Unfortunately I only have 7 characters to work with, and I'm making it a rule that I have to use the same first letter for everyone (which will make things fun for the summons I'll get to name shortly). So, Squall...hmm...SgtTaco. Yes. There it is.
3:31 — "That Seifer won't listen to anyone. Why don't you just ignore him?" WOMAN, THE MAN HAS A GUN SWORD AND HE LIKES TO POINT IT AT MY FACE. That is not something you can just shrug off as typical "boys will be boys" behavior.
3:32 — "SgtTaco...so we meet again." The fact that I just got a video game character to say that crosses like three different things off of my bucket list.
3:33 — Quistis, who apparently is my instructor at Ludicrously Irresponsible High, walks in and admonishingly says "I knew it would be either you or Seifer!" Maybe you should've contacted the proper authorities before we killed each other then, lady. Jesus. Oh, wait, the proper authorities consisted of a hilariously overmatched fogey and a giant yellow money-grubbing space walrus (SPOILERS!). Point taken.
3:34 — Oh sweet Jesus, I had completely forgotten about this game's tendency to mix FMV and regular gameplay animation in sequences as visually jarring as they are comically mismatched. It's like watching Merida from Brave hang out with Bambi. Suddenly that seizure warning makes a lot more sense.
3:35 — Quistis tells Seifer in front of the whole class not to injure his training partner. Well, that's not emasculating at all for SgtTaco. Meanwhile, since this is from the Dark Age Before Voice Over, Seifer can only react by dramatically punching his computer, for some reason.
3:37 — Apparently I need to go to the [Fire Cavern] before I can become a killer for hire. I get the strong sense that the [Fire Cavern] is not OSHA-compliant. For some reason the game puts [Fire Cavern] in brackets. This does not bode well.
3:38 — Ooh, I get to name my first two Guardian Forces. For the unitiated: Guardian Forces, or GF's are essentially elementally-charged pocket Gods that I can summon and unleash on a wide array of the most terrifying enemies 1990's graphics could unleash on us. It's becoming apparently that a lot of aspects of this game sound really weird when I see them written down. Anyway, my first two are Quezacoatl and Shiva, so...Quackems and Steve. Sure. Why not.
3:39 — Good lord, this game has the most tedious and unnecessary tutorial sequence ever. I'm amazed there's no "Wipe Your Own Ass" tutorial section.
3:42 — Ok, done with that, finally. On my way out of the hall to head to the [Totally Not Unsafe-Sounding Fire Cavern], someone runs down the hallway into me and falls down. Could this be the game's token Manic Pixie Adorkable Girl PC? I believe it is! This is a JRPG, so there's a quota to fill.
3:43 — SgtTaco just referred to something as the "[directory]." How do you even pronounce those brackets in conversation? I'm genuinely curious.
3:44 — After a quick (not quick) tour of the building using the [directory], Manic Pixie Adorkable Girl PC scampers off, and I encounter my first save point. Seems as good a place as any to stop for the moment.