Vivi Campaign Poster Contest


Hey Y’all,

Since yesterday’s come-from-behind, crazy-upset victory over Mario and Ganondorf in GameFAQs’ “Character Battle IX”, I’ve had an idea brewing in my head.  He had a great victory, but I want more.  As crazy as it may sound, how great would it be for a character from Final Fantasy IX to win the ninth Character Battle?

Needless to say, chances are slim – Link is still in the running, and he’s won many of the character battles in the past, not to mention Sephiroth and the dreaded Tetris “L-Block”.  If Vivi’s gonna win, he’s gonna need some help.

That’s where you come in.

For the next five days (ending at 11:59 pm on Wednesday, September 4th), I’ll be accepting submissions artwork that encourages votes for Vivi.  At that time (possibly the following morning, as I have to get to work), I’ll post these pieces of art to this blog, and people will be able to vote on their favorite campaign posters for the next few days, either on this page, the Facebook profile (FFIXBlog) or on Twitter (@FFIXBlog).

When the Character Battle with Vivi in it begins (the next one is on Sunday, Sept. 8), I’ll tally the votes and declare the winner!

The winner will receive either a copy of FFIX, a FFIX poster, or anything FFIX-related that they can think of (given that it’s in the $10-$30 price range…  I can’t afford much more, but if people donate, the prizes can become much larger!).

Didn’t win?  Don’t worry!  Every time that Vivi moves into the next round, I will begin to accept submissions again, and the contest will recur until he loses.  That means if he gets to the finals, there will be three chances to win!

I think this could be a lot of fun.  I’d love to see some great FFIX artwork come out of this!

To enter, simply email your poster as an attachment to, with “Vote for Vivi”, along with the title of your work, in the subject line.

Artists…  Start your pencils!  Vote for Vivi!  And, most importantly, have fun!









EDIT:  I’m running a 5-day “Vote Vivi” campaign poster contest!  Check it out, draw Vivi, win free stuff!

Hey Y’all,

In case ya didn’t know, GameFAQs is running another one of their “Character Battles”, a place where video games’ greatest characters duke it out for your vote.  Unfortunately, Zidane was taken down by Squirtle (pffffffft), but Vivi pulled a HUGE upset over Mario and Ganondorf the other day.  Here’s the map of the vote breakdown, with blue being a Mario country, Green for Vivi, and Red for Ganondorf:

Fuck yeah, Russia. You know what’s good.

As you can see, Europe and southeast Asia were big supporters of the Vivi cause, which is great.  However, it’s not like Vivi won a landslide victory – out of about 40,000 votes cast in this character battle, Vivi beat out mario by 0.18%… or 74 votes.  Intense.

Vivi had a great victory, but he’s got a long way to go before he claims that crown, and there are still some other big names (Sephiroth, Link, Pokemon Trainer Red) in the running.

But you know what?  I’m feelin’ it.  It’s Character Battle IX, after all;  maybe it’s time that a character from the greatest game of all time stood up against the everyday, run-of-the-mill winners… and took them down.

He’s already beat Mario, one of the most iconic video game characters ever.

Let’s band together and show the world what Vivi can do.

Vivi’s next battle is on September 8th.  He’ll be facing the winners of the battles between Squall, Amaterasu, Missingno, and Wario, Pokémon Trainer Red, Urdnot Wrex.  If he wins that, he’ll be in the “Final Nine”,  with only one Battle keeping him from the Final.

All right, guys.  If y’all know any Vivi fans out there, let them know.

Let’s do this.

Robots are People, Too

I’ve talked with a bunch of friends recently about consciousness.  I’ve been reading Ray Kurzweil’s book, The Age of Spiritual Machines, and I found a quote to be very interesting:


Are computers thinking, or are they just calculating?  Conversely, are human beings thinking, or are they just calculating?  The human brain presumably follows the laws of physics, so it must be a machine, albeit a very complex one.  Is there an inherent difference between human thinking and machine thinking?  To pose the question another way, once computers are as complex as the human brain, and can match the human brain in subtlety and complexity of thought, are we to consider them conscious? (Kurzweil 5-6)


Every person I asked had a similar first reaction:


“No.  Of course they’re not conscious.  They’re a computer.”


Granted, this was my first reaction, too.  A computer’s a giant calculator, and I’m a human.  However, after a few beers and an hour’s conversation or so, my friends weren’t so sure.  What really was the difference between a human and a computer with the cognitive complexity of a human?


I was the first to speak up in favor of computers being conscious.


“I mean, look at Vivi,”  I said.  “He’s got passions;  he questions his existence;  he makes friends; he has feelings, at least of a sort.  How is he not conscious?”


Unfortunately, my FFIX fandom betrayed me.  It was easy to see that my emotional connection with Vivi due to my love for the character was clouding my judgement concerning his consciousness.  (Sorry, Vivi.  Did my best.)


First, we had to decide what “conscious” meant, for the purposes of our discussion.


“I think that consciousness is the ability to tap into the consciousness of the collective – to perceive, to have an ‘antenna’ that connects you to the rest of the universe,”  my roommate, Patrick, proposed.  This sparked a discussion on which beings or things would have this “antenna”, and which would not.  Are we, as humans, the only thing with this “antenna”?  If so, why?  Was it something that was given to us specifically?  If so, since we presumably follow the laws of physics, why is it that we are the only beings with this “antenna”?  Is it beyond science?  Eventually, we came to the conclusion that while people do sometimes have an odd feeling of purpose that could approach a feeling of divinity, there was no evidence to support such claims.


I’m sure I’ll write more about this discussion at some point, because I found it fascinating.  What do you guys think?  What is consciousness?  Is Vivi “conscious”?  What do you think of Kurzweil’s quote?


For now, I’ll leave y’all with Arthur C. Clarke’s three laws of technology, as well as a great quote from Gregory Vlastos.


The Three Laws of Technology:


–  When a scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right.  When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.


–  The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.


–  Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

“A machine is as distinctively and brilliantly and expressively human as a violin sonata or a theorem in Euclid”  – Gregory Vlastos

Soda? Shaq? What’s Not to Love?

This post doesn’t have anything to do with Final Fantasy IX.  Hell, it doesn’t even have anything to do with video games.  I just saw on the internet that a new soda had come out with Shaq’s face on it, and I knew that I had to have it.

Since I live in Vermont, Soda Shaq isn’t going to come up here for a while (to give you a sense of what northern Vermont is like, I have one Taco Bell and zero 7-11’s in a 2-hour radius.  Oh, and the Taco Bell closes at 8:00 pm most nights).  So, I hit up Arizona, and they said that if I make a review for Soda Shaq, then they would send me some to sample.  Naturally, this sounded like the best idea ever.  So I did it.  Here we go!


Soda Shaq #1:  Blueberry Cream Soda

Basically, I drank the sodas in the reverse order with regards to how much I was looking forward to drinking them – the Blueberry Cream Soda was the one that seemed the least appetizing to me, so I thought I’d drink it to get a baseline for the quality of the soda.

It.  Was.  AWESOME.

I loved it!  I’m not a fan of blueberries, really, and definitely not a fan of blueberry-flavored things.  This, however, was awesome.  It was sweet, but not overpowering;  it was mellow and creamy and delicious.  This blew by my expectations, and I was very happy about that.

Soda Shaq #2:  Strawberry Cream Soda

After the strong showing by the Blueberry Cream Soda, I was really excited when it came to the Strawberry.

Unfortunately, this didn’t match up quite as well.

It was good, don’t get me wrong – however, the sweetness kind of took over any semblance of flavor, in my opinion.  I mean, it’s Soda Shaq, so you gotta assume it’s gonna be sweet, but I think this one went a little bit overboard.  Where the Blueberry kinda kept a blueberry-y flavor, this one tasted more like strawberry syrup than strawberries.  It was still fairly legit, though.  Not a bad soda.  It could have done better with more carbonation, I think.

Orange Cream Soda

I’m going to say right now that this was far and away the best Soda Shaq, in my opinion.  I had heard from people online that it tasted like a Creamsicle.  What they neglected to tell me was that this was a Creamsicle in a can.  It was super duper.  Highly, highly recommended.

Vanilla Cream Soda

Again, to me, this was a little bit disappointing – I think it could have gone for some more carbonation, and that it was a little too syrupy-sweet (although Soda Shaq is not made with High Fructose Corn Syrup;  just plain old sugar).  This was definitely better than the strawberry, I think, but it’s in a dead heat for second place with Blueberry.  Still definitely a good soda.

Overall, I don’t think you can go wrong with this soda.  It’s got a great angle (with different Shaq faces on all the cans) and is flavorful and quite good.  Do yourself a favor and go with the orange – it’s amaaaaaazing.

(I’ve done a bit more recording for the LP, by the way.  And I’ve been reading a lot of verrrrry interesting things relating to the philosophy of a certain black mage we all know and love :D)