A long time ago, back before I’d settled on this award-winning format for my blog, I’d briefly considered taking a more novel approach, revisiting old saves in games that I’d long since abandoned in a quest to figure out what Past-Damien (a well-publicized idiot) was likely trying to do at the time. If I’m ever able to expand into video content, I think the idea has some legs, but I couldn’t imagine doing it on a regular basis. I imagine I’d get tired of trying to delve into the mind of my past self rather quickly, because he is, as stated previously, a moron.
Loading up my PS3 save of Final Fantasy VIII after all this time was pretty jarring. I’d beaten the game before, so my first order of business was trying to figure out why I only had a mid-game save to show for it. Also, all of my characters were level 10 for some reason… oh god. Yup. They’re all there. Every last one of them. All of my goddamn Triple Triad cards.
Past-Damien was trying to break the game by spending hours and hours on Triple Triad, turning every enemy into cards so he wouldn’t gain any experience.
For those that don’t understand, Final Fantasy VIII was an odd departure that made it, depending upon who you ask, one of the most hated entries in the series, featuring poorly explained subsystems stacked within menus and enemies that leveled with your characters, making progression more dependent upon “junctioning” and various loadouts than straight leveling. It’s kind of a mess, but it meant that you could actually breeze through the game with overpowered characters if you spent enough time playing a card game with NPCs. Granted, the amount of time you would have to devote to playing this mini-game with random passersby could also be used to just progress through the game normally, but if you’re an absolutely insane person (read: me), then you can have a party of demi-gods by the middle of disc 2.
Aside from drawing the obvious conclusion that I really needed a more productive hobby at the time I decided to do this, I still enjoyed my brief reunion with Squall, Zell, and Rinoa, as I’ve always had a soft spot for the game. Sure, the story was nonsense and a lot of the characters were unlikable, but… that’s most Final Fantasy games if we’re being honest. It seems like it’s impossible to even bring up the series these days without sparking some debate on what the best or worst installment is, FFVIII often coming up in that conversation. Maybe it’s my old age talking, but I’m long past the point of caring, the Final Fantasy series as a whole never really connecting with me the same way other JRPGs did. The stories are never what kept me around. It was the way they always presented you with a world-threatening evil that needed to be stopped… you know, after you guys are done showing of your sweet GF cards. Oh, you wanted to go snowboarding? No rush, Emerald Weapon will just hang out over there. How’s the Blitzball team doing, by the way? Oh, sorry, I’ll wait for you to finish dodging that lightning.
As it turns out, I really didn’t care if I played Final Fantasy. I stuck around to ruin things; to item dupe and sequence break and be a general menace to these lands abundant with magic and belt buckles. Sure, the world needs saving, but I almost have every level 7 card. Now, if only there was a mobile version of Triple Triad so I could cut out the middle man.
Wait, there is a mobile version?
Uh… I gotta go. Something just came up.