Two Exciting Announcements

Howdy y’all, and happy Friday (if it’s Friday where you live at the moment)!

Let’s get right to it – first off, I finished recording the first episode of the Let’s Play with commentary yesterday.  I’ve got about 75 minutes of raw footage to clip, prune, and make pretty for all my followers out there.  This weekend is looking crazy, so expect that to come out sometime over the next weekend: the 5-7th of July.

Second, there have been a bunch of changes made to the “Buy FFIXBlog Stuff” page.  There’s a bunch more stuff to buy (including a link to every piece of gear I use in my Let’s Play), and if you buy products from there as opposed to going right to Amazon, you’ll be making money for FFIXBlog at no additional cost to you!  Exciting!

Speaking of going directly to Amazon and making money for FFIXBlog, you should bookmark this link and use that bookmark to go to Amazon.  Just by doing that, FFIXBlog will receive a cut of anything you buy on Amazon, be it clothes, Bacon Salt, or even a Roswell soil sampleat no additional cost to you.

Yay, free money!

Interview with Cidolfas, FFCompendium Mastermind

Hi All!

I got in touch with Cidolfas, who organized the Final Fantasy Compendium from its origin in 2000 until 2009.  I wanted to ask him a few questions about his website, his thoughts on the series, and FFIX in particular.  It was a lot of fun, and it was great to hear his insight!

–  How was FFCompendium inspired?

As far as I can remember, it was mainly just my obsession with cataloging things at the time. I particularly appreciated how the various Final Fantasies intertwined with each other – common enemies like the Bomb or Behemoth, for example, or even weapons with the same name – and had an urge to put it all in one place. All the other information just expanded from there while I was at it. I had a lot of spare time; I’d written a bunch of FAQs before that, as well as shrines for RPGClassics.

–  Which is your favorite Final Fantasy?  Why?

FF6 was the first one I ever finished and hence the game that got me started on the series, so it will always hold a special place in my heart; and FF7 was just so amazingly cool at the time. I also loved FF12’s localization. However, they all suffer from a variety of flaws. I have to say (and I swear it’s just a coincidence) that I feel FF9 is the most solid game in the series.

–  Who is your favorite character/What is your favorite part of/about FFIX?  Why?

I’m not going to say that any individual character is my favorite, but I do really enjoy the interactions between characters. FF9 is excellent (with the exception of Freya) at giving characters a fully rounded personality, and illustrating that by having plenty of dialogue between them; it’s not just “let’s get to the next goal”. Zidane is generally the catalyst, of course, and is a very fun character; Steiner’s feelings about him grow throughout the game in a way that arguably is more satisfying than Zidane’s love for Garnet. I also enjoyed Eiko’s self-imposed love triangle with herself, Zidane and Garnet. Even Amarant’s continual confusion about Zidane is entertaining. I thought Kuja was a dumb protagonist to start with, but the last ten hours of the game turn him into an extremely tragic figure.

In general I just liked the variety of the gameplay, the surprising maturity of the plot, the perfect challenge level (not too frustrating, not a cakewalk), and all the various nods and references to other Final Fantasy games.

–  I’ve found that there is still a thriving community of fans for even the older Final Fantasies.  Has this been your experience?  Why do you think that might be?

I’m sure they’re out there, but to tell the truth I haven’t really been part of a video game “community” in quite some time. I resolutely stick to single-player games, none of my “real life” friends play RPGs, and the one site whose forum I do read regularly (RPGamer) is more centered around news than discussing old treasures. I personally don’t enjoy, in the immortal words of Joss Whedon, “opening up to see the tick-tick-tick of a heart” of any work – who’s your favorite character, what if this guy went up against that guy in a fight, alternate interpretations of the story – so that kind of thing doesn’t appeal to me.

I feel that while some Final Fantasy games have stood the test of time (FF5, 6 and 9 in particular), some of the older ones (FF1-2) are almost unplayable in their original form, while for others, particularly FF7-9, the jagged graphics may turn others off. Still, there’s plenty of goodness and fun in many of them. I particularly enjoy the sprite graphics of FF5 and 6 – “retro” gaming is very in, now, on iPhones, Android, Flash games, indie games, etc. – and there’s a simplicity to it that new fancy games don’t have. The video game industry – particularly the RPG industry – seems to be stuck on learning all the wrong lessons, so it’s definitely nice to go back to a simpler time with more solid offerings than the flashy, ADD-causing products of today.

–  How was interviewing Richard Mark Honeywood?  How did you get in contact with him?  Do you have any other contacts from that era at Square?

The interview was a lot of fun. My memory’s a bit fuzzy, but I think I got in contact with him via a freak coincidence – someone who read the site actually happened to know him. We had to go through a Squeenix publicist, but she was really laid-back and didn’t bug me about any of my questions. Richard was very frank about things and gave me a ton of information – he even roped in some of his other localization co-workers to offer their insights. Doing interviews by e-mail is a very freeing format, since there’s no time pressure.

Unfortunately that was the only contact I ever had with Square Enix, and of course Richard no longer works there.

–  FFCompendium has stopped being updated as of June 2009, and your other blog, “The Role-Playing Jew”, is on indefinite hiatus at the moment.  Do you have any other projects in the works?

I’m afraid not. It’s one thing to start a website at 19, or a blog at 27 when you’re still single, but another thing entirely to do so when you’re 33 and have a wife and baby daughter. 😎 I was contemplating doing something similar to my blog but in much smaller format (say a paragraph or two) but I couldn’t find a good platform for it. There are always ideas percolating in my head (I’ve always wanted to try to write a book of some kind), but it’s the lack of time and energy that does it for me.

Thanks so much to Cidolfas to answering my questions!  Let me know if you have questions for him, and I’ll see what I can do!

I Did It!

Hellllllll yes. I figured it out. Here’s a test run of the beginning of FFIX (With a quick introduction by yours truly :D)

Enjoy! Let me know what you think!

“From the old Backup File” – A .txt file from the Hard Drive of Hironobu Sakaguchi Himself

My Let’s Play may not be working at the moment (which I will work on in about an hour, when I get outta work), but I have found something really, really cool on the internet today.

Hironobu Sakaguchi, in case you didn’t know, was the main writer for Final Fantasy IX (and a bunch of other FF‘s besides).  He has said before that IX is his favorite of the series, which, admittedly, makes me pretty happy, since, well, it is the best 😉

Anyway, I was snooping around, and I found this article on his Mistwalker blog.  This post was apparently a .txt file that was on a backup hard drive of his, and it details the very beginning of FFIX.  I had never seen it before, and I thought I’d share it, cuz it seemed super cool!

Little Update…

Hey guys,

Just to let y’all know, I tried to set up the Let’s Play gear over the weekend.

It was a resounding failure.  I couldn’t get any video at all.

Needless to say, I’m a bit frustrated…  But my project for when I get out of work today is to take another look and see what I can do to get it up and running.  I may write up another post, too.  Cuz I love doing that.

Thanks for your patience!



About My Let’s Play Commentary…

Hey Guys,

Quick update – my gear came in!  As soon as I get my laptop from my old place, I should be ready to begin the Let’s Play!  Super exciting.

I did want to ask y’all a question, though: as the people who will be most likely to watch my LP, I’d like to know your opinion on commentary.  Eventually, I would like to write a scholarly essay (or multiple) on the significance of certain aspects of FFIX as it relates to other video games and games in general.  Should it be that formal, or would y’all like me to do more on-the-fly, cool stuff that I notice that I think is awesome about the game?

Thanks!  Hopefully, I’ll have the first session up within the next two weeks 🙂

Got My FFXIV: A Realm Reborn Beta Invite!

Damn. That is beautiful, regardless of how the game is.

Howdy, Y’all!

Yep, I totally applied to be a beta tester for FFXIV.  I’ve never played a FF-MMO before, but I’m definitely interested to try after the apparent shitshow that was FFXIV.  You know your game is bad when the CEO apologizes for how terrible it is.

Anyway, I’ve heard much better things about “A Realm Reborn”, and I’m actually pretty excited to play.  Of course, this will be more of a side-note, with my soon-to-be Let’s Play (!) coming down the pipeline, but I definitely wanna get some playing time in and keep you guys updated.

Which class should I play?  I’ve always been a fan of big tankly guys and healers, but I’m thinking that mages could be really fun 🙂

You can preorder FFXIV:  A Realm Reborn for PC, PS3, or, if you’re feeling truly fancy, SUPER SPECIAL COLLECTOR’S EDITION.  Also, if you pre-order, you get a cool Moogle hat in-game, from what I hear.  While I would rather have it in real life, I’ll take what I can get.

Let’s Play FFIX Incoming!

Hey Y’all,

So ya know, I ordered my screen-recordy-stuff off of Amazon on Monday.  Since I have Prime (Awwww yeah), the gear will be here tomorrow.  After that, I’m going to say that an extremely conservative estimate for the first episode of the LP will be posted on the blog in two weeks;  this will give me enough time to figure out the gear, do some editing (so I don’t sound like a total tool), run through and take notes beforehand, and take care of any unforeseen issues that will inevitably arise.

I’m super excited.  You should be, too.  🙂