Remembering the Chronicles

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Way back in the early 2000s (way back? Is it really so long ago?), a neighbor and I would hang out after school and play multiplayer Gamecube games. We played a lot of Smash Bros. Melee, Mario Kart Double Dash!!, Tales of Symphonia, and Sonic Adventure 2: Battle, but one game in particular stood out among the others, that being Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles. We played through the entirety of the game together, and eventually I borrowed his copy and my mom and I played through the game together. Eventually I would move on, graduate high school, go on to University. Life would progress. I lost contact with that neighbor, and those adventures we went on in those games became happy memories tucked away in my mind.

A couple weeks ago I got my own Gamecube, and got my own copy of FFCC. As I opened the package and saw the game’s case, memories rushed back to me, and I suddenly started remembering just why I love this game so much, why just hearing the opening theme, “Kaze No Ne“, makes me tear up.

I remember all those times hanging up with my neighbor, strategizing over the game, about who has which spell, which items, who should attack and how. He played a Selkie, I played a Yuke. I still have that save file on a GCN memory card. I still have that character, that old friend. I remember bringing that character over to a new save file so my mom and I could play together, journey through the world of the Crystal Chronicles. I remember just how much I truly enjoyed playing through a beautifully-made RPG with my mom, who loves RPGs just as much as I do. I remember she played as a Lilty, and we fought our way through those dungeons, collected those treasures, defeated those bosses, made our way to the end of the caravan’s journey and restored peace to the world. I treasure those memories. It makes me start to tear up again remembering just how happy that was.

I’m sat here listening to “Kaze No Ne” and the sound of that music, the voice of the singer, brings it all back.

I could go through all the technical details that I’ve realized lately concerning FFCC, about how it is one of the truest realizations of what an RPG really is in video game form: a role-playing game, a traditional table-top game, in the vein of Dungeons & Dragons, a bunch of friends hanging out, playing out an adventure, the story drawing organically from the conversations and jokes among those friends as they design their characters, make decisions, travel, deal with monsters, obstacles, and puzzles along the way. That’s what RPG campaigns like D&D are really all about, what makes them so popular, what makes me such a fan of the whole idea. FFCC recreates this so perfectly: discussion among friends playing about who will collect what weapons/spells, who will get what items, how everyone will attack, what everyone discovers along the way, how everyone reacts to what the game presents, how everyone works together to overcome the game’s challenges. FFCC does this so amazingly well.

I could go on about the game’s music. The game had an amazing soundtrack, from the opening theme to the background music. It was all so peaceful and beautiful, among if not the best soundtrack for any game on the Gamecube. I could go on about the visuals; they look dated today, but they still hold up so well. I could go on about the gameplay: I love the real-time combat, the way you unleash focus attacks and cast spells. I love how you and others can combine spells to make more powerful attacks. I could go on about the game’s story, about how emotional it is experiencing your character’s struggle to overcome the miasma and restore peace to the world, and how great it is to experience that with friends. I could go on about the experienced story, the story outside the game, that which you yourself experience with friends as you play.

Could it be the sacred wind
It’s calling me to now begin
To walk into the dark carrying the light of tomorrow

I was talking with my mom today, mentioning that I’d just obtained my own copy of FFCC. She also started remembering the game, and went on about how much she loved everything about it, and wishes she could play it again.

“Cast a spell for me when you play tonight,” she said when I told her I’d be playing it tonight. I really miss those times. I wish we could play the game together again.

Beating are the wings up high
Beyond the earth, beyond the sky
Come now, don’t hesitate
Don’t look back, we’ve got to go now

Don’t fear
You’ll be safe from now on
Morning sky watching over the world

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