Question: Did Palpatine Truly Care About Darth Vader?

 

I’ve seen a lot of information and theories flying around about Senator/Chancellor/Emperor Palpatine (Darth Sidious). There are theories that Darth Vader was a means to an end, that Darth Vader was disposable and the Emperor would do away with him as soon as someone else came along that might be better, or even worse, that Palpatine was some kind of celestial being (possibly Darth Plagueis) who could jump from body to body and was planning to jump into Anakin once he was properly prepared.

First of all, people… stop with the Plagueis theories. They’re getting old very quickly… Palpatine’s mentor was Plagueis, Palpatine is Plagueis, Snoke is Plagueis, the Grand Inquisitor is Plagueis…

Here’s a thought, maybe nobody is Plagueis. Maybe Palpatine made the whole thing up. Anybody ever thought of that? All right, moving on.

So we know that Palpatine is not above using pretty much anyone to get what he wants. He’s also not above sacrificing those people if need be. However, that being said, is it possible that in some way Palpatine actually cared about Vader/Anakin and cherished his friendship?

Maybe this is my own personal bias because I believe that everyone has some good in them. Palpatine is painted pretty much as bad as anyone can get, we know this. However even some of the worst people throughout our own history had friends, family, and people they genuinely cared for.

So the question is posed, based on what we know of Palpatine, SOLELY FROM Level 1 Canon, in other words forget the books, video games, etc. Based solely on Lucasfilm’s work (movies and TV shows)… does Palpatine truly care about Darth Vader or is he simply a means to an end?

Honestly, it’s a tough question to answer…

I mean if we look at scenes like the Opera chamber in Episode 3…

It’s… pretty clearly Palpatine planting the seeds of manipulation in order to make the dark side more tempting.

We also have this scene where Palpatine laughs as Darth Vader is defeated and attempted to goad Luke into killing him and taking his place.

However I don’t know if this is evidence or not… for a couple of reasons. One, we don’t know what would have happened if Luke had tried to kill his father. Would Palpatine have stopped him? Two servants are better than one.

 

Even if he did let Vader die, Vader had conspired against him in the past (Episode 3 and 6), something no doubt the Emperor sensed and decided that, despite his feelings, Vader was now a threat.

So then what evidence do I have that he actually cared about Vader? Well… it all boils down to two specific clips;

“You will not stop me. Soon Darth Vader will become more powerful than either of us.”

He’s placing a lot of faith in Darth Vader here and it almost seems as though he’s counting on Vader surpassing him and perhaps one day succeeding him as Emperor, maybe?

However the biggest piece of evidence that favors this argument is a later clip from Episode 3:

If there was ever a good place to leave Darth Vader for dead, this was it. He was broken, dying, completely mad with rage, and wounded to the point of not being able to survive on his own.

Simply put; the Emperor didn’t need Darth Vader anymore. The galaxy had turned on the Jedi, they were already being hunted down by clones, and soon the inquisitors would be joining that hunt, and the Emperor had all but achieved his goal of galactic domination. Granted having Vader around as his enforcer made things easier, but the pieces would likely have fallen into place without a second ambitious Sith Lord being a liability.

Yet the moment that the Emperor sensed that Vader was in danger, he hopped a shuttle and made his way to the Mustafar system. Once he arrived, at seeing Vader’s broken form, he could have easily either finished him off or left him to die painfully. Instead he immediately directs the attention of his guard to where Vader is. Upon seeing him, the Emperor appears both shocked and relieved. He orders his men to get a medical capsule and then goes down to Vader and… by the looks of things attempts to comfort him.

But what about when he lies about killing Padme’? 

Did he lie though? Think about it, why did Padme’ die? The medical droids couldn’t figure it out, they simply said that she lost the will to live. Now silly as this is, since this is the plot point… what caused her to lose the will to live? The answer; Anakin.

A certain point of view? 🙂

I think this evidence is enough to make the case that he did in fact care about him on a friend level. However, I’m curious to what everyone else thinks. Let’s open this one up to a discussion.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

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Writing Time Travel: What Works and What Makes No Sense.

It’s said that if you bend but one shade of grass, you run the risk of altering history…

I see a lot of stories, shows, and movies dealing in time travel, how it ‘works’ and the consequences of using it. I usually try not to write about it in my stories for a few reasons… One, time travel is a headache to figure out. When you try to get into the ideas of time theory, temporal physics, and paradoxes… You could spend years just trying to get that right… and still fail miserably. Let’s go through some of the established theories we’ve seen in science fiction and try to dissect why they may or may not work.

Keeping in mind, these are my own theories based on my understanding of physics and logic… so please don’t think that I’m trying to state anything as scientific fact, I’m admittedly not an expert. If we any physicists here, please feel free to speak up! I’d love some insights.

Theory 1: Destructive Paradoxes and “force infinity time quakes”

I’ve seen this theory pop up a few times, but the first place I saw it was in the not-so-well-liked movie Millennium (1989).
The theory stands that if you travel through time and create an irreconcilable paradox, time itself will rip apart at the point in time most affected by it. However future and past areas are not affected.
Essentially “If you build a time machine to go back and kill Hitler and successfully pull it off, then you have no reason to build a time machine in the future and if you had no reason to build it, then Hitler would come to power… so what happens?”
Honestly, I shake my head at this one. I can’t honestly believe that the universe would be that poorly run that it could so easily destroy itself. Plus this goes against pretty much every other time travel theory out there. However the cyclical question is an interesting one to cover, so we’ll revisit it in another theory.

Theory 2: Non-Linear Time

The next theory is one that, again I do not subscribe to, but is interesting. Back to the Future covered this one in some detail. In essence, time isn’t a straight line at all and has to be looked at 4th dimensionally. Once time travel takes place, the flow of time follows the travelers, in essence, the stream of time looks a lot more like this:

test

Essentially any future events cease to exist the moment time travel takes place and are replaced with whatever changes the traveler makes. Now this of course calls into question how time works with multiple travelers… one can imagine that this diagram would look a lot more messy and would also call into question how multiple changes would be calculated out. Terminator also sort of touches on this one… but… let’s not get into the Terminator timeline, that’s another post in and of itself.

Theory 3: Fluidic Time

This is a theory that a close friend wrote in a middle school paper. In essence time is likened to a strong river. If you throw a stone in it, you can divert its course, but it will make its way back to its original path naturally. To back to the Hitler theory, if you go back in time and kill Hitler, one of his subordinates would take over and while certain events would be altered, time would proceed as it had before.

… As you can imagine, I found this theory to be a little more far-fetched than some of the others. To, it just doesn’t make sense. This theory is directly opposed to the idea that if you change a single event, you’ve altered history. I also can’t buy into it, that killing someone so significant would have so little effect on the timeline. If you murder a homeless man, who’s to say you didn’t just kill the father of the next nobel price winner who would create a new form of travel or new form of energy that would revolutionize the world.

Theory 4: Divergent Timelines 

This is actually the theory that I subscribe to and the recent Star Trek movies seem to also promote. Travelling back in time and making changes in the past doesn’t destroy or alter the future, but in essence creates an alternate timeline.

A time traveler cannot go back in time, kill Hitler, and alter the timeline in the present. In essence, after killing Hitler, he would never be able to return to his native time. Rather, he would be forever trapped in an alternate time where another version of him would likely exist. In essence, if you wanted to go back and save the life of someone you cared about, you would never be able to. You could go back and change events, but that person you saved wouldn’t be ‘your’ that person. Because the you in that alternate time would reap the rewards of your actions. The person you knew is still dead in your own timeline.

So these are the most prominent theories of time travel that I have seen. However if there are others that you believe are more likely, please let me know, and please leave a comment regarding your thoughts on my assessments of the theories above.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Play Arts Figure Review: Rinoa Heartilly (Final Fantasy VIII)

I think I might start this as a normal thing when I get new figures. It happens regularly, so at least I can tell people the good and the bad and maybe encourage or discourage some people from grabbing figures that may or may not be any good. So this is… I think the third figure I’m doing a review of? I did a Spider Gwen, a Corrin… there may have been one more, I don’t remember.

First off, a little introduction to the character for those who may not know who she is…

5594-final-fantasy-wallpaper

Rinoa Heartilly, per DeadFantasy Wiki:

The daughter of Fury Caraway, a high ranking general of Galbadia, and Julia Heartilly a concert pianist who died in a car accident when Rinoa was young. Her personality is everything that Squall is not: feisty, compassionate, warm, and friendly, and these traits initially annoy him at first. However, She slowly wins over the irritated Squall, and eventually he returns Rinoa’s feelings and in the later part of the game the two become a couple. She has been participating in various underground protest movements against her government’s dictorship and is a member of Forest Owls. Rinoa later discovered that she would inherit the magical powers of a Sorceress from Edea Kramer and Adel

Rinoa made her first appearance in the rushed, but arguably ample followup to the smash hit, Final Fantasy 7. (I would argue that it’s better.) She is the primary heroine next to Squall.

Figures were initially released by the Bandai Anime @ 5.5″-6″ tall, however they little to no articulation, limited to SOME leg movements and the ability to remove their weapons. These came out in ’99 and for a while were our only options. I remember picking up a few at Funco Land (yes, back when that was a thing), and being somewhat disappointed by them.

By 2006, I was graduating college and my action figure collecting had ground to a near halt. I had mostly focused on Star Wars figures, and found the ones coming out around that time to be somewhat lacking. As such, I missed the release of these figures. It wasn’t until years later when I was doing research for my post about Rinoa’s absence from Kingdom Hearts. Seeing it on Ebay, I had to grab it, especially given the fact that the listing was >$40 and I saw it going elsewhere for $100+, including Amazon.

So it came a day or two ago and I’ve been getting a feel for it ever since. So let’s start off… This figure would likely be classified as a 1/6 scale figure though she’s slightly below that. She comes in a fairly large white box with windows on each side:

20171204_172518

Nothing particularly special there, but still nothing really to criticize. It’s easy to get her out of the package without damaging it, so she can be displayed either/or, which is great. So let’s get into the various features of this figure:

1438

Articulation: 

Pose-able, but not anywhere near the same level as a Figma. Her head is on a ball joint, her legs rotate on their pivots and she has standard joints at the shoulders, elbows, knees, and ankles. However her mini skirt prevents much movement of the legs. This is a minor complaint because… well what else would you expect? The only other option would be to put a slit in the sides of the dress, which I don’t like the idea of doing. So I’m fine with the lack of movement. All in all, standard movement and articulation that is slightly limited by the outfit she wears.

Score: 3/5 


 

Appearance: 

There’s a lot to talk about on this one. First of all, this figure is super detailed, unlike the ’99 Bandai. The smooth surface of the original figure has been replaced by a patterned look, giving it the appearance of fabric. Also, the chain around her neck is an actual metal chain with rings on it. Everything seems carefully detailed and really well made.

My only complaint… is actually my main complaint about the figure in general… the face. I don’t know what it is with some of these higher quality action figures, but they seem to either have an abundance of detail on the bodies… but then fall short on the faces…

20171204_172501

I wouldn’t say it’s a bad sculpt, but any stretch, but Rinoa’s face is slightly rounder in the game… and her eyes here have a tired and sad look to them as opposed to the spunkie one that we’re used to. This is one area where the Bandai figure may have actually done better than the Play Arts one:

Untitled

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not terrible, but it’s not exactly fantastic either.

Score: 3/5


Accessories: 

This category really kind of hurt the figure. All she really comes with is interchangeable hands, including the finger point that she does at the beginning and end of the game. She does not come with her glider weapon or dog, which is really a negative, especially given that her weapon is so unique in the game. What’s worse, other characters in this line appear to have theirs. I hate to say it, but that was really disappointing…

Score: 2/5


Overall: 

It’s bigger than I thought it was going to be. My collection is usually no larger than the 1/6 scale. Even so, I do love this character and the figure is pretty well made. She seems pretty durable for standard play, though mine will be going on display with my other figures. It’s not the pride or a jewel of my collection by any stretch, but it is a nice figure and a vast improvement over the previous incarnation.

Score: I’m going to give this figure a solid 3/5. I do really like it, despite its lack of accessories. Is it worth the $100+ price tag I’m seeing it for on Ebay and Amazon? No. So my advice would be to wait and keep your eyes open. One for between $30-$50 should pop up every now and then.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Suspending Suspension of Disbelief!

Hi Jim,

I have a little problem that I was hoping you could assist me with. I’ve had quite a few people read my story and the overall criticism is that one of the characters isn’t believable. They keep saying that the way the character behaves and the things she does, don’t fit in with the story. This really bothers me as this is a story that takes place in a completely made up environment that has nothing to do with reality. Like okay, you can believe an entire planet could be a live and have a consciousness, but not believe one character because of their actions and choices they make?

If only one person had said it, that would be one thing, but a few have so now I’m starting to worry. Do you think I should change the character or leave it as is? Should I take this criticism seriously?

Thanks,
Elyssa H.


Hello Elyssa,

Awesome name, by the way. I may wind up using that for one of my characters. I actually try to take most criticism seriously. The obvious exceptions are trolls who simply say that ‘this sucks’ or ‘I think you’re stupid’. Things that have no substance are basically best left ignored.

However that doesn’t seem to be the case here. I would definitely take what they say into consideration, but not let that be the be all, end all of what you do with the character. Outside criticism is vital, especially if you plan to have your work published. You want someone who’s going to rip it apart. However the final say is yours, you need to take a step back and look at the character and see if everything fits.

Now that that’s out of the way…  I want to address your other comments. “Like okay, you can believe an entire planet could be a live and have a consciousness, but not believe one character because of their actions and choices they make? ”

Actually, yes. This is what’s called a suspension of disbelief. Like it or not, readers are always going to apply some level of real-world logic, even in the most fantastical of environments. We’ve all done it, and we’re all going to do it. Like it or not, this is something that all writers have to contend with.

So what’s the best way to combat this problem? Well… I’d say the first thing to do is create a set of rules early on in your writing. If there are any real world attributes, make them known through the story, cultural differences that could explain, and by default, make your character’s behaviors more believable, explore them. Most readers are really good at following a path with little guidance, but you still need to leave some bread crumbs for them to pick up on.

This is the folly of your comparison. A reader could actually take issue with a character’s choices and development in a story where an actual planet is a character because maybe you explained the planet better. Maybe the back story you put in place actually explains better how something like that can exist. I think this is an area that you may want to really go back and re-examine, but let’s open it up.

Readers, what do you think? Is this an area that Elyssa should look at a little more closely? Is the criticisms of her readers something she should worry about, or should she simply disregard them because its her story? Let me know in the comments.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Dimensional, One Dimensional Characters

I’ve heard, and said a lot of negative things about the writing of characters that are too one-dimensional. I don’t want it to seem like I’m against such a character, I’m not. There are a lot of great characters out there that are lacking in dimension.

Perhaps one of the most famous examples would be the character Javert from Les Miserables. In fact, it is his one dimensional personality that lands him the position of the villain, while a far more dynamic thief, fugitive, and fraudster becomes the hero.

He’s not so much the villain because he’s a bad person. It is more so because he comes off as indifferent. However I don’t necessarily think that this is necessarily his own fault. What little we know of his life and background has left him with a very rudimentary view of right and wrong. He has a very strict adherence to the law, giving no leeway for interpretation, leniency, or apathy…. He has an extremely unwavering faith in the morality and overall ‘correctness’ of the law.

And we’ve seen where such staunch adherence to it leads to…

(How mad must the officer have been after the judge turned the case into a comedy routine.)

Now this is an example of a one-dimensional character. He has a basic view of right and wrong which, like iron is solid, but when you apply enough pressure, it becomes brittle and breaks. That’s what happens with Javert his interpretation of right and wrong was challenge where he was put into the position of having to do wrong to do right. This is something that, in his world view, shouldn’t be possible. Unable to cope with his reality being shattered and either unable or unwilling to change with it, he kills himself.

This is an example of a one dimensional character done correctly. We not only see the dangers of having such a view of the world and/or personality, but we also what can happen when they are so rigid. It’s actually a fascinating character study to do.

So is there a place for one-dimensional characters? Absolutely there is and they can be written very well. The problem is when a character is put on screen for one purpose and isn’t really given any justification as to why they exist the way they do or how it came to be that way. There’s no issue with characters being one-dimensional, as long as there is something in them that we can understand and view as really happening.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Opinion: Rinoa Should Have Been A Kingdom Hearts Princess!

Most of my friends from when I was in college would probably roll their eyes at this one… because I’ve said a lot about it. For everyone who’s played Kingdom Hearts, you know the basic gist of the game.

To beat the game and stop the darkness, you need the power of the 7 princesses… I know, I know, but trust me, it’s a lot more bad assed than it sounds. This isn’t My Little Pony Fanfic.

When you bring these princesses together, they use their combined power to put a stop to the enemy known as the Heartless… again, I SWEAR this isn’t MLP or Care Bears fan fic!!! Trust me, go play the game! It really is good!

Anyway… Let’s take a look at the 7 Princesses.

crown-304838_640

As I said, there are seven of them. Six are Disney characters, one is an original character from the game’s own cast.

One thing I would to note, Kingdom Hearts is the marriage of Final Fantasy and Disney. There are several Final Fantasy characters (mostly from 7-10) in the game that play pretty major parts. They have their own worlds, though we only see one, as well as back stories as to how they got there. However none of them are among the princesses and that I do not agree with. If you wanted to go with seven princesses, I get why, and I think there was a space for one. One of the characters, in my opinion does not qualify as a princess. Let’s go through the seven one by one, shall we?

I’ll go through them in order of status, in other words the ones that most qualify as a princess vs. the ones that don’t.

Snow White: This one is a pretty obvious choice. She is a princess. Not only that, but she was the first of the Disney princesses. So I really don’t need to go into much here. She’s kind and innocent. So we’ll just leave it at that, an obvious choice.

Sleeping Beauty: Again, another obvious choice. She was an early princess in the Disney scope. She doesn’t really play that huge of a role I’d argue vs. the faeries and the prince, but that’s my opinion. She’s a princess, another beloved one in the realm of Disney, so no arguments here.

Jasmine: I was going to put her above Sleeping Beauty because honestly she’s a stronger character than Sleeping Beauty and honestly far more likable, but Sleeping Beauty is far more iconic and well-known, IMO. So take that as you will, maybe it’s a tie, maybe not, but that’s where we are, moving on.

Cinderella: Okay… I know she’s iconic, I know she’s beloved in Disney’s circles and her story is beyond legend, but she falls lower than White, Sleepy, and Jaz because well… she wasn’t a princess. I’m not kidding, at what point in the story was she a princess? We never see her get married in the movie, she’s nobility, but treated as a servant until the end of the movie. I guess she qualifies because the prince said he’d marry the owner of the slipper, so until the King dies, that makes her a princess by marriage, but that’s arguable.

Belle: Same as Cinderella, albeit arguably less so. She’s not a princess… heck she’s not even a daughter of nobility. She marries a prince by the end of the movie but… is he a prince? I mean we never see his parents, where are they? In another castle? (Insert Mario Joke) It’s never fully explored, so… I guess we’ll just take it on faith, maybe he’s not next in line to the throne. So again, princess by marriage.

Kairi: Honestly, we don’t know much about her in the first game. Is she a princess? It’s not really explored. However I guess it makes sense that she’s on there as it gives the main hero something to fight for.

Alice: I have no idea why they chose her. Why not Ariel from the Little Mermaid? That might have made more sense here. Though you could argue that she’s in Mermaid form in the game, but there are always ways around that. Alice is not a princess. She’s a girl who daydreams and goes to wonderland. So really… I don’t know why she’s counted as one of the princesses. She could have easily been switched out with literally any other Disney character… or perhaps a Final Fantasy princess?

Enter Rinoa… Now why do I say Rinoa over say… Garnet (Dagger), Tifa, Aeris, Yuna, etc.

Well… Garnet is a true princess, but to be honest… I never found her particularly likable. There really are no other FF9 characters in the first Kingdom Hearts, and honestly, she ends the game as the Queen.

Tifa and Aeris have no real connection to any form of nobility, it doesn’t even really exist in her world other than the nepotism within Shinra. Aeris is the last descendant of the Ancients, but… I mean she’s already a contributing character, so I think that really goes far enough.

So why Rinoa?

Well… Rinoa for one is a very well-liked character. She’s had her own following, multiple figures made, her friends call her a princess, and honestly, you could argue that she’s Gabaldian nobility, being the daughter of a well-respected, wealthy, general in the nation’s army. She’s not royalty, but honestly she fits in about as much as Belle or Cinderella when you think about it. Plus Squall is in the game. Cloud and Aeris are there, why not bring Rinoa in as well for Squall?

If it were me, I would have brought her in instead of Alice as I think she’s definitely a better choice than Alice. IMO it seems like Disney chose Alice because of a lack of princesses to choose from at that point that could fit into the game. However that is my opinion.

What does everyone think? Am I dead on? Not so much? Do you think Alice belongs there? Would you rather a different Final Fantasy character? Let me know.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Unpopular Opinion: Final Fantasy 7 isn’t as good as you remember

 

Oh I just know I’m going to piss off a lot of people with this one…

Keeping in mind, I’m just focusing on the main title, not the sequels or prequel here.

Final Fantasy 7 came out roughly a year after I got my first PlayStation. I was in either 6th or 7th grade at the time… I don’t really remember. The gamer magazines all gave it  outstanding reviews. Many said that the game was edgy in that it portrayed murder, rape, and prostitution among other themes in the story.

The public reception though… at the time and from my perspective, was mixed. A lot of people loved it, saying it had a great story, great graphics, and so on. Other balked at the turn-based system and how the game designers had seemingly focused on good graphics and offered little else. Keep in mind, I can’t gauge a universal fan response at the time. Public use of the internet was still in it’s infancy (You old 56K users know what I’m talking about), so the reception I speak of is strictly anecdotal. Take that as you will.

For years, I was in the first camp. I loved the game.

I saw a commercial for it and asked for the game for Christmas. Upon opening it and playing the first disc… I was hooked. I played the game straight through. I struggled through President Rufus’s inauguration scenes, I teared up when Aeris was stabbed through the back, my jaw dropped when Cloud was revealed to be a clone, and relieved when it turned out he wasn’t one, and chills ran down my spine as ‘One Winged Angel’ echoed through my ears during the final fight.

I cannot tell you how many hours I wasted on this game as I played through it several times. So when I heard that Final Fantasy 7 was being remade, like everyone else, I was excited. So much so that I downloaded the original on my handheld PlayStation to relive the glory days.

I kind of wish I hadn’t… The nostalgia goggles fooled me once again. It was like turning on Thunder Cats or the original Transformers and realizing that these shows were a lot cheesier then I remembered.

The graphics and, by today’s standard, laughable polygons didn’t bother me. I knew that was coming, so I give the game a pass on that. I am also aware of how endearing the turn based system is and how it’s come a long way. So again, not an issue.

So what’s the problem?

Well I think part of the problem is the gamer, yes the problem is us. You see, we’ve all grown and matured and as such, we can now see glaring issues with the game that we didn’t see, or didn’t care about when we were younger.

For starters, let’s look at Cloud. He’s moody, doesn’t talk much, doesn’t seem to care about anything or anyone, has a bit of a chip on his shoulder, and yet somehow people gravitate to him. Maybe it’s because of his supposed awesome power or something? I can’t really be certain. The thing is, there’s not much to him. He’s a moody character trope that seems to show up in most, if not all, modern Final Fantasies. Granted, not always the main character, but he’s in there somewhere.

Honestly, Final Fantasy 8’s main character was very similar, in fact I think Square was aware of this as they pared the two characters up and hand them basically taunting each other during the Battle of Hollow Bastion in Kingdom Hearts 2. However, Squall was slightly different. For him, there was a lot more reason given to his moodiness and quiet. He grew up in an orphanage, and the big sister he loved so much, eventually left him behind. Though his memory of all this was gone, the imprint remained, so it made sense.

With Cloud… he was a failure and didn’t want to deal with that or something? Granted the idea of a character concocting a lie about his past and having it consume him to the point where he believed it himself, only to have that backfire, is interesting enough… except there’s a bit of a problem there…

You have everyone’s favorite waifu, (Tifa) who was there for all of the previous events and can easily debunk everything! She doesn’t though because… she’s afraid of what it might do to Cloud? I don’t know, the reason isn’t very well given and honestly makes the whole plot line hard to believe. When Sephiroth reveals that Cloud’s past is a lie and due to his mental insecurities, is able to convince Cloud that he’s a clone because of it. The story started to fall apart, especially with Tifa knowing the truth.

But they explained that too! Sephiroth said that she also had her memory altered. 

Yeah I don’t know, that’s a bit of a stretch. She’s also a little too accepting of the idea. I mean maybe I could believe that Cloud’s true memories didn’t kick in because his mind was scrambled due to Mako exposure, but the rest is really pushing the suspension of disbelief.

Second issue with the story… Vincent. Vincent knows about Sephiroth. He knows about his past and where he comes from. So… why doesn’t he speak up? When Sephiroth is on screen spouting off about his destiny and his mother, why doesn’t Vincent tell him about Lucrecia? I mean yeah you could make the argument that Sephiroth probably wouldn’t believe him, but why wouldn’t you try? At the very least, it may give him pause.

Some people didn’t use Vincent. Others just didn’t have him in the party at the right time. 

True, but the official story has Vincent there so that doesn’t really hold water. Also, there are a few opportunities when the entire party is on screen where he could say something, despite not being in the party.

Third issue, the love interests. Tifa and Aeris (Aerith? Aeries? Aries??? WHATEVER!!)… what can I say about them?

Honestly, Tifa was the preferable character… and I’m not saying that because her cleavage was bigger than her head… no I’m not kidding…

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(I hope Cloud knows a good chiropractor!)

She honestly, despite her flaws was a very energetic and loyal character. Even when Aeris came into the picture, she still stuck by Cloud. Despite everything, she was still there to care for him and comfort him when he needed it. However she did let her emotions run wild and honestly… well let’s just say I didn’t have her in the party all that much.

Then why is she the better of the two?

Because the other option is Aeris.

I actually liked this character when I was younger and now for the life of me, I can’t remember why. Take almost any of her lines of dialogue in the game and try saying those things to people in real life. ‘Hey that’s Cloud’s thing to say, blah, blah, blah.’
‘Let’s ride the airship together, promise? PROMISE ME!’

They’re either going to think you’re a little kid or have serious mental issues. Granted, she’s not the only character with this problem… “Dr. Hojo has named me Red XIII, call me whatever you wish.”

… or you could just tell us your damn name! We’re likely to find out sooner or later anyway! Seriously, what’s your problem?

This actually was revealed a lot more in the game Crisis Core where people started to theorize that Aeris may have had some kind of mental deficiency. I remember message boards going so far as to ask if she was mentally retarded. Granted her character wasn’t done any favors in Final Fantasy Crisis Core, but we’re not really addressing that game here.

On top of that, Aeris is just annoying. She constantly laughing about something or acting like a little kid. On top of all of that, she was kind of the White Mage of this Final Fantasy despite this game not really needing one. Not only that, but her character is really in question. She barely even addresses the nature of Cloud’s relationship with Tifa during her time with the party and at some points seems to either try to sneak around behind it. Even if Cloud expressly says that Tifa is his girlfriend.

Thankfully you have the option of not being nice to her, at which point Tifa shows up for your date at the Golden Saucer and you don’t really have to deal with Aeris past the first act. So that’s a plus.

Let’s move on to the story… I’ve already stated what I take issue with in terms of the main character, but let’s look at the side quests. First of all, too many of them go nowhere. Who is the Kalm Traveler? What was his mission? Who was the man in the pipe in Sector 6? What’s his backstory? What is Aeris doing back in the church after she dies, only to disappear when you turn your back? A lot of these things go nowhere and it feels like there is an incomplete chapter in the game that was supposed to tie these things together.

Also when you leave Cait Sith in the temple and he’s destroyed, it’s written in a way that makes it a sad scene. Cait Sith was a likable character… despite having a bit of a forced introduction. So saying goodbye to him was actually a moving scene… too bad it was ruined two seconds later by a second model showing up. Also not helping things is when Cloud gives the black material to Sephiroth while your party… just kind of stands there. Yeah, they don’t make any effort to stop him… only a spectral figure of Cloud as a child… again not really explained, makes any effort.

When the inevitable happens, Aeris tries to comfort Cloud, only to have him jump on her and start beating the crap out of her… our hero everyone. When he’s not lying about his past to hide the shame of his personal failures, he’s beating up on women.

This is the major problem with Final Fantasy 7. It is edgy and it’s plot lines are interesting, but it never seems to follow through on them. Too little is explained and is up to the audience to figure out, and the whole thing just kind of becomes a muddled mess.

I will say that I was not a fan of the ending, but that may be more because of my personal bias against open endings.

So that’s pretty much my feelings on Final Fantasy 7. The characters are incredibly flawed to the point of unbelievably, the story is a mess and… really that’s all I can say about it. However I am someone who was a much bigger fan of Final Fantasy 8, so take that as you will. Of the Final Fantasies, 6(US) and 8 were the two best in my opinion. I never played any after X-2 due to 11 being an MMO and as I got older, I really didn’t have the time to put into them. So if you’re going to judge my taste, judge it on that.

Wait, wait, why did you like Final Fantasy 8 better?

Well honestly because despite being rushed into production thanks to FF7’s success, Final Fantasy 8 had a much more dynamic story, even more impressive graphics, and several twists and turns that made the game far more addictive. The characters were still pretty childish, but I had an easier time believing that these were teenagers… immature teenagers in some cases, but teens never the less.

The only major complaint I had was that its left up to the audience to figure out, despite being fairly obvious, who Squall’s parents were. (Hint: He shows up on the Ragnarok at the end of the game.) Also, up until X-2 came out, it had the best ending out of any Final Fantasy.

You actually liked X-2?

Haha… not really. The characters were annoying and the job system was flawed at best. I actually had to use a gameshark to get the 100% ending, but honestly… if you combine X and X-2 as one long story… the complete ending is actually very satisfying and wonderful.

So take that as you will. Final Fantasys 6(US) and 8 are the superior titles. Final Fantasy 7 isn’t a bad game by any stretch of the imagination, I just don’t think it’s as good as anyone remembers. It has very serious flaws that stick out more and more with each replay and sadly… its a major detractor in my opinion.

Will I play the remake? If I have time,  yeah I’d love to give it a try. Hopefully some of these things will be fixed and it’s not just a re-textured redress of the original.

Please don’t kill me!



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-Jim