Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Day 311 - "You're the meaning in my life, you're the inspiration..."

In my twenty some-odd years of gaming, Final Fantasy has hooked me more than any other video game series. Mario? Zelda? Pff - kids stuff. Sure I've played all of them to death, but the Final Fantasies are programmed with my video game (and sometime real life) OCD in mind. I've invested hundreds of hours into battling monsters, leveling up my characters, acquiring rare weapons, raising chocobos (an adorable kind of chicken creature that is essentially the universe's horse) and exploring every inch of the vast game world.

These are the games that I've always had to purchase a strategy guide with, to make sure I don't miss anything. And these the games I have to play twice all the way through - once "just for fun," enjoying the story without worry about missing anything, and then once "for real" to make sure I obsessively commit myself to seeing every single piece of content stuffed into the game. The one saving grace to the hours/days that some might say I've "lost" to these many wonderful games is that they've reassured me that I should never, ever allow myself to go anywhere near an MMORPG like World of Warcraft, if I ever want see my family and friends again.

A funny side effect of spending so much of my child and young adulthood in a fictional fantasy world is sometimes I inadvertently learn about certain literary and religious creations
from a game that uses them as inspiration. The only problem with this is that Final Fantasy takes a lot of liberties with it's usage of said creations. What kind of liberties you ask? Well, see for yourself.

The following is a list of things I've encountered in a Final Fantasy game before I've encountered it (often to my own bewilderment/confusion) in real life:

What I knew it as: A badass piece of armor. For chicks. Usually a skimpy number that you would think actually protects very little of the wearer's body, but you know isn't the case because of, um, magic.

What it apparently* actually really refers to:
Apparently it was the Roman name for the Greek Goddess Athena. Go figure.

What I knew it as:
A badass sword. Lots of bonuses. Could probably do 9999 damage if thrown. Bonus damage towards dragons. Increases coolness 82%.

What it apparently* actually refers to:

In Norse Mythology, a series of major events that including a great battle foretold to ultimately result in the death of a number of major figures, like Odin (more on him later!), the occurrence of various natural disasters, and the subsequent submersion of the world in water. Whoa! That's way cooler than a sword! But if I were making a badass sword I think this would be the first word that comes to mind when it came time to name it (Excalibur is so cliche', although that too appeared in many a F.F.), so I can totally see what those guys were thinking.

What I knew it as:
A badass (seeing a pattern here?) shield. Usually could absorb air attacks, and repelled magic better than anything.

What it apparently* actually refers to:
The shield (or buckler) of Zeus or of Pallas Athena. Apparently the word has come to mean, in modern vernacular, "shield, protection, or sponsorship." So hey, pretty close in this case, eh?

Shiva, Ifrit, & Odin
What I knew it as: Powerful monsters that could be summoned (for enough magic points, and by the appropriator summoner or magic-user) into battle for massive damage. Shiva did ice-based damage, Ifrit fire, and Odin just came in on a horse with a giant sword and sliced shit up.

What it apparently* actually refers to:
Gods (or in the case of Ifrit, a kind of genie - which, if we've learned anything from the power-hungry Jafar, is totally not as awesome as being a god) from various religious backgrounds. Now that's all well and good, but at this point, it doesn't matter how much I read on the subject. The bottom line is the Final Fantasy Shiva is HOT (even though she's COLD as ice - Hi-yo!), and nothing I read on the "real" Shiva is ever going to make me think of anything but this when I hear her name:


Yeah, but I'd still rather be playing: On the Mirror's Edge!

*Thanks Wikipedia!

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