20 Jan 2003 11:35 pm

Now, I’m not one to over-analyze my hobbies, but after having spent the vast majority of the weekend in Jenn’s apartment essentially nursing her back to health, there was very little to do but attempt to finish Final Fantasy IX. Or, rather, not finish it, but instead spend time mired in it’s interminable side-quests.

The way I see it, the only way that anyone can really enjoy the game would be to have some form of obsessive-compulsive disorder. How else could one explain away the hours spent tediously levelling up and performing the countless side-quests, all in the name of completism, though munchkin-ish behaviour would help as well. It’s really no surprise that the items that would seem most useful in kicking villain ass would be the most difficult to acquire, though one wonders how said villains figured this out. “Hah!” they probably exclaimed, “I’ll bury the Ultima Sword, the greatest and most damaging weapon in the Hero’s arsenal, at the bottom of the ocean. But should he acquire it, then I will no doubt be forced to tremble before his golden-locked visage as he sieges my domain! But pah, what is the likelyhood that the Hero will expend countless hours training a strange swimming bird to carry him upon it’s back and then, somehow, convince it to dive into the furthest recesses of the abyssal waters? Negligible!”

Item-completism therefore becomes an almost necessary means to complete the game. The single biggest blow to this behaviour — a fixed space inventory — was probably done away with sometime between FF II and IV (though my memory of this is a little hazy); with unlimited slots of item acquisition, the end-levels of the game become a massive time-suck spent acquiring said items to fill the gaping maw of your inventory. This would also be right about the time when one acquires a useful airship capable of actually landing somewhere that isn’t an artificially contrived grassy suface, or manages to — after hours of mind-numbing labour, through playing Chocobo Hot and Cold — evolve one of the game’s staple animals into it’s final, flying, form.

Personally, I find it quite interesting that the game’s economic story arc begins with your impoverished but otherwise-able hero scrambling for the basic necessities, which is his basic pursuit for most of his existance. By and large, he ekes out a living by travelling into dangerous territories and miraculously converting the native fauna (and sometimes flora) into cash, and sometimes has to depend on the kindness of strangers in order to get by. However, in time, and with judicious saving (or perhaps the exploitation of a loophole in supply-side economics), the hero’s wealth becomes sufficient that he no longer needs to upset the already perilously disturbed ecological balance (as an aside, where the hell are the freakin’ non-predatory creatures? You can’t simply expect that the entire ecosystem of a given island chain is comprised entirely of Grand Dragons and Gimme Cats? Or is nature so out of whack by that point that said beasties are feasting on each other?). In any case, though he need no longer rely on the wholesale slaughter of creatures to provide him with his living, the hero still clings to this behaviour in order to increase his own sense of personal power. Further, with the excess wealth he’s garnered, and the possession of the aforementioned airship / flying cute-bird-creature, our Hero travels to distant lands… to acquire more stuff. Nope, no parallels with the ruling plutocracies of any countries here…

Tea? Earl Grey? Hot?

Lumiere and Eclair, the girls of Kiddy Grade

On the subject of bedridden Jenn and a mild segue into anime, it may not have been a good idea to screen the last six episodes of Kiddy Grade for her. What started out as a fluffy story has turned, suprisingly, into a moody but well-handled character drama concerning themes of immortality, the excesses of the rich and powerful, and the rights of Man. Throw in a suprising plot twist where many favorite character’s motivations have been suddenly turned all a-murky, and keep emphasizing the cool cyborg / nano-tech powers of your lead characters as they flee through space on their sleek red spacecraft, and you’ve got yourself a surprisingly satisfying about-face that seems effortlessly incorporated into the story-arc of the series. Rewatching episodes six through ten definately showed that most of the elements of this reversal were established early in the series; so much so that it becomes difficult to tell whether this was planned from the beginning, or the directorial vision was changed sometime after episode three or so…

I still maintain that it’s probably not a good idea to have one’s preconceptions turned on their head quite so quickly, and especially not in a viewer already dosed with enough Tylenol 3 to the point where the operation of heavy machinery would likely result in some rather heavy-duty smashage.

In website news, it’s come to my dismayed attention that a number of webspiders have indexed a number of directories that I forgot to secure. If you click on a link, and it asks for a username / password combo, just use the access info you have for inconcessus; if you’ve forgotten your username or password, or want one, feel free to drop me a line.

I’ve also made some modifications to the index, and some links that I think need more attention than others will stay on the front page for longer (yeah, I realize there’s going to be overlap between these and the Fresh Linkage navbar on the left; suffice it to say that I’m working on updating that navbar to be more random and dynamic, though given the constraints on my time, that’ll be a while yet…). The intention is that the Sticky Links will be more timely, whereas the Fresh Linkage navbar will be changed to just “Linkage” and it’ll cycle through a database of link’s I’ve collected and randomly display ten of them.

Let me leave you then, with this parting image…

You get one o' these from the old Skull and Bones...

Frodo has failed

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