Final Fantasy VII - The Reason Good Friday is the Best Release Day for Me

When Final Fantasy VII Remake got delayed and pushed off to the Friday before Easter, a lot of people weren't really happy with that. Sure the main reason was because they wanted to get the game sooner, but also quite a few people thought Good Friday would be an odd day to release it. Yeah it's a special day for many, and it's followed up by Easter the next Sunday. It is kinda odd to release a game like this then, but for me it couldn't have come a better time. You see, how I got into Final Fantasy VII isn't like most people. In fact would you believe me if I told you I originally didn't even care about the game? Or that I actually thought it was stupid? Yep, well it's true. I was pretty much against FF7 and the entire Final Fantasy series as a whole, but over time things changed. This is my story of how I finally stopped being stubborn, and became the fan I am today.

The first time I saw Final Fantasy VII it was at my local movie rental place. One day after being limited to Nintendo only games for a few years, I finally had a PlayStation of my own, and I was excited to see what games they had to offer. I'd look at the different games on the shelf and almost completely base my choices off of the box art, and pretty much every time I'd end up choosing to rent Mega Man Legends over anything else. In fact I'm pretty sure it was the ONLY PlayStation game I ever rented, but I still looked at others too. That's when I'd see Final Fantasy VII and wondering what it was exactly. I mistook the white art as being set in some snowy mountain (never mind the giant Shinra building), and I thought that the giant sword looked cool. Still for some reason I never actually wanted that game, and passed it up time and time again.

It wouldn't be until a few years later that I'd learn about the Final Fantasy series from a friend at school, where he'd talk about FF Tactics all the time. It sounded interesting and did get me to try out Shining Force, but I also didn't think I'd ever actually play the series. I wasn't all for this whole "magic" thing, and I thought the Chocobo sounded kinda dumb. They were giant chickens that were a pain to fight, and that's pretty much all I needed to know about them. Still from this point on at least "hearing" about the FF series became avoidable, but I never took the time to look into it. Heck how could I even? The internet was a different world back then, and I was more concerned with running Sonic and Mega Man fan sites, while also posting on Sonic Team BBS. RPGs? Who needs them! (Although I did think "Adventure" games were my favorite genre simply because of "Sonic Adventure.") Anyway this is how things would continue for quite awhile, with me only hearing bits and pieces about later releases. I knew that Final Fantasy X had crazy long unskippable cutscenes that annoyed my friend Keith, and that he was one of the few people who liked Final Fantasy VIII. When we got to high school though it's because of him and another that I finally did give the series a chance, but even that took some working up to.

Kingdom Hearts was something I was interested in as a kid because at that time I was starting to get into anime. Toonami was my go to after school TV channel block, and what I saw of Kingdom Hearts looked like anime mixed with Disney. I also liked the music I heard from the commercials, but that's all I really knew about it. (Besides I didn't have a PS2 back then anyway.) When I was in high school though, Kingdom Hearts II finally came out and another friend of mine would talk about it constantly over MSN and even when we played Animal Crossing Wild World. He's the main reason I decided to give it a chance, but it was my other friend Keith who would actually let me barrow his copy of the original. This is how I got into the Kingdom Hearts series, and the first time I really took notice of Final Fantasy characters. Of course back then I also assumed Final Fantasy would be nearly the same as Kingdom Hearts, but when I found out I was wrong it didn't really discourage me. Sadly my options on what games I could play were limited, and I ended up checking out Final Fantasy "II" (really IV) on the SNES.

I was let down that none of the KH characters were in FF4, but I did sit down and play through most of it along side Keith. We would talk about it over MSN and then keep updating each other with our progress. He had never finished the game before (although he got quite far), and this was the first time I had ever played a "normal" RPG that wasn't Pokemon. It was a pretty fun time going through everything, but we eventually both gave up at the end of the game... That's when he told me to try out VI instead, and once again I found myself dropping it. I got to the point where Terra rejoins your party for the first time, and then I just sorta lost the will to continue. "Yay I got her back! Now what?" I quit playing, that's what. This was the last time I'd look into these games. That it was time to go to college that is.

When I was at college I actually met quite a few people who were Final Fantasy fans, as well as some who didn't like the series at all. I kinda heard mixed things about the series because of this, so I just stuck with Kingdom Hearts. I mentioned him before in a post awhile back, but once I spoke with this guy who asked me one simple question. "What's your favorite video game series" followed by "is your favorite series Final Fantasy?" I told him no, in which he replied "what would you think if I said it was my favorite?" I didn't know how to answer that, but I told him it's cool. I'm not a fan but it's not like I hated it. Well turns out he DID hate Final Fantasy, and he just wanted to make sure I wasn't a fan. Yeah... That was weird. Then I had my computer class (which was mostly focused on DOS) where two guys would always talk about the upcoming Final Fantasy XIII. I didn't really follow what they were saying, but I remember the one being excited about how the new class system would work like the Dress Sphere system in X-2 -- something that sounded like the stupidest idea ever to me. I couldn't see how people would like this sorta thing, but whatever. I would soon find out not too long after.

When FF13 finally came out on Xbox 360 on March 9th 2010 my XBL friends list exploded with it. I had people telling me non stop that I should try it out, and that it was the "best thing ever." I tried telling them I wasn't a Final Fantasy fan, but they didn't give up. Kept saying how good it was and that I should give it a chance. With me having some extra cash at the time, and wanting something different to play, I decided to start looking into some things about the game during my free time at school. This is when I saw that it did actually look pretty cool, so I started asking around about it. It's kinda embarrassing to admit but back then I typically avoided games with magic, and I wasn't sure how big of a part it would be in FF13. So I actually posted this very message over at GameFAQs:

"What the heck is with my messages not posting? anyway... if this goes through....

I'm thinking about buying it today but I'm not 100% sure. I mean I did like FF4 and FF6 but them are the only ones I've played (besides kingdom hearts... which isn't really the same.)

Anyway the only thing is I'm not a huge fan of turn based games, but I see that this one has it so the battles are always going and that you can chain attacks. Also if you lose you dont get a gameover and have to restart from like 20 mins back at the last save point. Also even with this set up, how fast past are the battles and are the attacks cool enough to be worth watching? (Most games have a boring animation that you have to watch over and over and over and over again until the boss/bad guy dies).

One of the main things I'm wondering about is the story though. I mean I didn't like a few FF games because they were so focused on magic. Such as some spell was cast, or what ever. Really I liked how FF6's magic was from the espers and... that was pretty much it.

So thats what I'm wondering about. Is this game heavy fantasy with lots of magic? Or is it just special people have "magic." (such as the main character.) I forget the term used for them people.... but yeah...

Well thanks for the help!"

 I only got one reply, but that reply is what helped seal the deal. So that night on my way home I stopped by GameStop to get a copy and spent the rest of the night playing it. Well until a bad storm came through and made me stop... But after that I got back to it! After that FF13 became my life for quite a few weeks. Sadly the game was over before I knew it, and I still wanted more -- so that's when I finally decided to give Final Fantasy VII a chance as well. Or at least what I could. Once again I continued doing research during my free time at school and I found that Crisis Core was a PSP game. A friend had mentioned playing it before, but I didn't know that much about it. When I found out it was a prequel though it seemed like the perfect place for me to finally jump into the series. So I did!

I actually really liked Crisis Core. Despite it's issues, I was drawn into it's story and I loved the character of Zack. The things he went through still stand as some of my favorite gaming moments even to this day, and that ending was something I will NEVER forget. It made me excited to play the real Final Fantasy VII, but there was one problem. The PS3 Tech Demo that made people think a remake was coming was just a tech demo, and there didn't seem to be much hope for it actually becoming a thing. However while searching for more information about the game I did discover one piece of good news. The game had been released as a PSN download on the PSP! The only problem was I didn't have a PSN account for my PSP, nor did I have wi-fi at home. So I came up with a plan to fix that.

First of all I had to save money for a memory card. I knew this would be expensive, but whatever. Next was finding a day I'd actually be able to get the game. A day where I would be somewhere that had a wi-fi connection. When was that day you might ask? Well, it was none other than Easter. I would be spending most of the day at my grandparent's house, and what better day to get FF7 than on Easter? But again, that's a me thing.

Growing up Easter was always special, and ever since I was a little kid I would always get some sorta gift. Sure I'd get an Easter Basket with candy and what not, but my parents usually included something extra too. A Rugrats movie, some toy I wanted, and some years even video games. (That's actually how I got Pokemon Sapphire.) Even when I got older they'd sometime surprise me with something, but once I became an adult that all stopped (obviously). So instead I'd treat myself to something just out of tradition, and in 2010 that treat would be Final Fantasy VII. So after we went to church and then ate, I convinced my dad to run me over to Walmart real quick to buy a memory card. Afterwords we returned to my grandparent's house, I converted my PlayStation Underground account into a PlayStation Network one, and then bought Final Fantasy VII. It took HOURS for that thing to download, but it was well worth the wait.

After that getting an RPG on Easter became my new tradition. I loved Final Fantasy VII, and regretted avoiding it for all those years. What I used to think was "over hyped" finally made sense to me, and quickly became one of my favorite games of all time. The Easters that would follow would see me buying games like Xenoblade Chronicles (2012), and eventually even Final Fantasy VIII (2013). The Easter after just happened to be when I got into Final Fantasy XIV, and the Easter after that is... When I got sick... Bought Toukiden the day before though! Atelier Escha & Logy was in 2016, Persona 5 in 2017, with Dragon Quest V being 2018. In 2019 I bought The Last Remnant (a game I'm just now remembering I need to get back to), and now finally in 2020 I'm coming back around full circle. That Final Fantasy VII remake I had so hopped for 10 years ago is finally coming out, and it's release day is almost spot on with the day I started up the original. It's funny how things worked out this way, but I'm glad it did. Sure it meant I had to wait longer in the long run, but that's perfectly fine with me.

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