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Final Fantasy XIII is not a game

TheWiseMisterOwlTheWiseMisterOwl Registered User new member
edited September 2010 in Games and Technology
This article was not made to condemn or condone. I merely intended to share my feelings on the experience. Criticism is appreciated but please have the respect to at least try and read some of this before posting your thoughts.

Final Fantasy XIII is not a game. It is commentary on the inescapable linearity ever present in our own lives. I know now how powerless I am and how powerless everyone has and always will be.

The game is a parallel to the journey of one man's life. The party itself is a metaphor for the man. Each party member, seemingly one dimensional pop culture caricatures, are projections of parts of his psyche. Lightning: Frustration. Snow: Ignorance. Sahz: Compassion and love. Hope: Jealousy, hatred and cruelty. Vanille: Sex drive. Fang: Also sex drive. The last two are opposite sides of the same coin. The former submissiveness and naivete the latter conquest and femininity.

The game itself is metaphor for the path this man takes through life. All we as humans ever do is move forward on a winding path predestined. We move forward and closer to our own demise, all progress a catch twenty two. Our very existence is cursed like the heroes, every gift a burden, every solution forward a Paradox. You can never go back. There's no point and the area immediately becomes blocked off as soon as you begin to move forward again. There are no winners. You just get to the end. Linearity is the destiny of humanity.

The game begins. The we are born. The beginning stage is our childhood. Death does not exist for a child nor does death exist for the player. The inherent combat system is such that there is no punishment for failure. Combat itself is the daily mundane tasks one must perform. The tasks, thoughtless and habitual, are rewarded with flashing numbers which harbor no meaning but which seem to give some untouchable, ethereal satisfaction just by appearing there. It is reward for “a hard days work” one might say. We begin to move forward, having yet to realize the constrictive and monotonous form of the universe. The two characters controlled are Lightning and Snow. Man's childhood is marked ignorance. He is blissful because of that he has yet to know and is frustrated because of that he has yet to understand. Sahz's presence is felt throughout the game. He is the only character we are allowed affection for and serves as metaphor for paternal love.

The childhood phase quickly ends and we start early adolescence. This is marked with the introduction of jealousy and hatred. Death does still not exist in the child's mind so Hope's introduction represents is jealously. He does not have what others do and harbors contempt for them for reasons he does not understand (again Snow representing ignorance). Vanille, and sex, is introduced. An adolescent does not understand sex and in turn we do not understand why she is ever there to begin with. However, we do find her often and inexplicable inclusion to be a source of constant annoyance. We approach and confront an unknown being. We apply all of our mundane knowledge to its conquest yet it is unaffected. We are introduced to mortality and its name is Fal'Cie. The experience is so traumatic that seemingly alien words are included in every other line of the game's dialogue, a constant reminder that we too will die.

We approach a crossroads. The child is frustrated with his own ignorance and wishes to quickly become an adult. Snow is swiftly abandoned by the party. We much later realize that he, like the forced linear construction of the world around us, is inescapable.

We are beginning later adolescence. With puberty we are introduced to Fang. She is the desire for conquest and raw illogical emotion. Our projections split paths and begin to blur together. Jealousy and frustration (Lightning and Hope) become the outward projection of teenage angst. Ignorance and sex drive (Snow and Fang) blur together. We realize changes in the bodies of those around us that we do not understand this but we desire them more than anything. We confuse love with sexuality (Sahz and Vanille). These bring about awkward confusing encounters. We encounter a monstrous bulbous creature, a phallic pair of long necked hairy beasts, and are constantly harassed by variants of disgusting ooze-like excretions. These obvious metaphors of human anatomy we find frightening. Villains appear only to annoy us. They do not seem at all menacing but we still fight them. They are our parents and our struggle is metaphor for alienation and teenage rebellion. All this happens while the player yearns for the promised freedom of open ended gameplay, a metaphor for adulthood. We push forward impatiently waiting for the twenty hour tutorial to end. But life is a never ending tutorial.

We enter adulthood. The game opens up and for a moment seems different but is still exactly the same. We are given nothing but the illusion of freedom. it is but a reference, like the references to some of the very deities the game's most famous Espers take their names from, of the deity Maya pulling the wool over our eyes. We are given the choice to embark on quests. Quests that mean nothing, that achieve nothing, and that were seemingly placed there for no reason but to give us the choice to do them. Still we scatter back and forth: a whole lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

We move into old age leaving behind our crushed hopes for freedom. Once again we are painfully aware that we have only one path forward. Once again we are confronted by mortality (the Fal'Cie). Still we move forward, our only comfort that the tiresome journey soon come to an end. Now even our projections become aware of the world's crushing linearity and move as swiftly as possible to fulfill the villainous Fal'Cie plot. We embrace death as an inevitability and as such they act now as if they too are stuck in a tunnel with only one path forward. We yearn for sweet release but the reaper works on his own timetable. We live on, bedridden and weak as the heroes and villains engage in a contest to out-sabotage themselves.

The ending is open. Is it fatalism or is it hope? The projections agree to help the Fal'Cie, the reaper, and they destroy the life support system “Orphan.” They do this with a sort of grim optimism. Finally absolution has come. All the projections fade leaving only Fang. She bursts raw emotion becoming a personification of the monstrous feminine. It is a last effort in our minds to leave an impression on the world. Evidence that we were actually there. Then death. What follows is what we see on the border between worlds. Our personifications reappear and Cocoon, our body, is caught by an unexplained divine beast. We and our personifications move on to the next plane of existence. Sex (Fang and Vanille) are left behind. It does not exist on this new level of consciousness.

TheWiseMisterOwl on


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    SmokeStacksSmokeStacks Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    I think you're reading way too far into a sub-par JRPG.

    If FFXIII is a deeper metaphor for anything, it's style over substance.

    The thought that humans simply move forth on a predestined linear existence is super lame-o. If there is anything that defines the human experience it is choice.

    SmokeStacks on
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    AvicusAvicus Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Yea you're looking so deep and hard for something that isn't there you are creating things.

    Avicus on
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    KashiKashi Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    It's pretty and you press buttons and a lot of people thought it was kinda boring.
    Even S-E wouldn't try to retroactively fit this sort of thinking into how they made the game. They make games that are pretty and are of varying quality in terms of how much the player actually enjoys it. Their habit of making the battle system different each time also has a hand in people's varied reaction to them.

    They make games. There's a story in the game. The story is invariably "stop the evil/bad thing" to some degree. When they stray from this too far it seems like most players like it less.

    This sounds like a summary someone might write after having thought too long on what the hell the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey was supposed to mean.

    In the event your (PS3 version of) Final Fantasy XIII is not a registered game, can I steal your code so I can get a thing in FFXIV? :P

    Kashi on
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    IgortIgort Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Personally, I find it insulting, the idea that just because FFXIII has a deeper meaning, it's "not a game". Are you saying that games aren't allowed to have deep messages?

    Also, the idea that the game is a metaphor for the want/need for an afterlife, and a personification of the fear of death are both incredibly obvious.

    Igort on
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    Transdimensional WhaleTransdimensional Whale Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    I'm not gonna lie and say I read it all, but what I skimmed made me think it was a joke and not a serious thing. Maybe that's just me, though.

    Transdimensional Whale on
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    GaruGaru Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    You have a future in academia.

    Garu on
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    JaspaJonesJaspaJones Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    You are the reason i dont look for metaphors in movies.

    JaspaJones on
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    Just_Bri_ThanksJust_Bri_Thanks Seething with rage from a handbasket.Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited September 2010
    I am reminded I need to find that play-through I was watching on youtube and finish watching it.

    Just_Bri_Thanks on
    ...and when you are done with that; take a folding
    chair to Creation and then suplex the Void.
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    SigtyrSigtyr Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Google the first sentence.

    Sigtyr on
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    UnbreakableVowUnbreakableVow Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    The thought that humans simply move forth on a predestined linear existence is super lame-o. If there is anything that defines the human experience it is choice.

    Or is it?

    I'm a pretty firm believer that your choices have already been made.

    UnbreakableVow on
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    TheOrangeTheOrange Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    I don't know guys, I did chuckle at "sex is dead"

    TheOrange on
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    LCDXXLCDXX A flask of wood and glass Terre Haute, INRegistered User, ClubPA regular
    edited September 2010
    Sigtyr wrote: »
    Google the first sentence.



    LCDXX on
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    A duck!A duck! Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited September 2010
    Take it to the Final Fantasy thread. Or, better yet, don't.

    A duck! on
This discussion has been closed.