#MaybeInMarch – Final Fantasy VII

For the month of March I have set out to complete some of the games that have been sitting in my backlog for quite some time. I still have a few Sega Genesis games that I’ve owned since childhood that I never finished(Dynamite Headdy, X-Men). To kick off my #MaybeInMarch goal, I recently finished Final Fantasy VII, a game considered by many as a timeless classic and among the greatest of epic RPGs for any console.

Final Fantasy VII is one of the games that have been aging in my backlog of games for 10+ years. I remember being aware of the game before its release in 1997. I was only 11 at the time, but even then I was aware that this next Final Fantasy game had some massive hype around it. I was even given a promotional VHS tape from SquareSoft showcasing FFVII and a few other upcoming games by a neighbor when I was given the option of getting either a Playstation or Nintendo 64 for my birthday(11 year-old me chose Mario 64 and Banjo-Kazooie over Crash Bandicoot and Final Fantasy).

I first purchased Final Fantasy VII around 2001 after it had been out for a few years and had been cemented in place as the pinnacle of modern RPGs after much critical and commercial success. I had since attempted to play through it a few different times and never even made it past Midgar. I would usually get stuck somewhere partially due to having a hard time discerning pathways or objects that are able to be interacted with in contrast to the rest of the pre-rendered backgrounds and feeling overwhelmed by what seemed like constant random enemy encounters. Combined with not completely grasping gameplay mechanics like Active Time Battles or Limit meters and the sheer amount of items and equipment to manage(Materia, airships and chocobos too!), FFVII felt a little overwhelming at times. This past December, with renewed determination I set out to finish this game I’d been playing here and there for 20 years. I defeated Sephiroth and finally reached the end of my journey Saturday night. This lined up perfectly for the start of the #MaybeInMarch hashtag so I figured I would share a few thoughts about the game after playing through myself.

The story and characters were by far my favorite part of the game. I had always been aware of how iconic of a character in gaming Cloud is (he got added to Smash Bros. right?), but simply being aware of something and understanding why can be different. There’s something resonant in Cloud’s youthful feelings of wanting to leave his small town to make a name for himself. I found myself when starting out the game viewing Cloud as just another protagonist, which can be found throughout video game history, but you begin to form an attachment as the characters are given time to development over the course of the game. This also goes for the other party members like the badass-with-a-heart Barrett, steadfast girl next door Tifa, or sailor-mouthed pilot Cid. I also enjoyed FFVII’s storyline, which features some not-so-subtle themes of corporatism and environmentalism. It’s impressive how a story revolving around a planet being sapped of its resources and life force by giant corporations with little to no regard to its ramifications and their conflict between a group of eco-terrorists was told during a time when video games were still considered an inferior art form, if considered one at all. The game’s storyline is also interesting in comparison to 2020 where the mere mention of climate change is considered by far too many as “SJW propaganda”.

Having finished Final Fantasy VII, I can greater understand longtime fans fondness and devotion to the game. My biggest issues with FFVII were mostly feelings of “I may enjoy this game as a whole, more than I enjoy playing it”. I have long used games like Goldeneye, Ocarina of Time, and even FFVII as games that deserved every bit of the praise and adoration they receive even from a mere mention of the game, but have at the same time aged relatively poor in areas. For how impressive the pre-rendered backgrounds and FMV cutscenes look, some of the game mechanics and controls feel a bit antiquated and clunky. There were numerous times where navigating through the background areas was made more difficult due to the fixed camera angles, similarly to numerous Capcom games in the late 90’s. The character models have also suffered the effects of time as the jagged polygons that once looked impressive are now almost comical as you gaze upon Cloud’s square hands and bulbous hips and shoulders.

Final Fantasy VII was still an experience in spite of a few wrinkles here and there. I have made no secret in past posts one of my greatest weaknesses is completing games, particularly RPGs which typically demand both time and attention and not just the former. The game was once an intimidating task to play through, but one I’m glad I was able to accomplish. In the same way I finally completed Link’s Awakening this time last year, I was able to finish Final Fantasy VII in preparation for the remake(which looks AMAZING).

What are your some games in your backlog that you’ve set out to complete? What do you think of the upcoming FFVII remake? Let me know in the comments. There’s still a few more in the backlog I’d like to finish for #MaybeInMarch. Thanks for reading!

Love Your Backlog Week – 2020

Today’s post is my meager contribution to the 2020 edition of Love Your Backlog Week. Kim at Later Levels has done a great job in promoting a week of sharing your love of gaming and showing that having a backlog full of video games isn’t something that one should be ashamed of. Far too often, the thought of buying a game we are interested in is rationalized away by self-shaming as we tell ourselves, similarly to our parents growing up, “You don’t need a new game, you haven’t even finished the last one you bought!”. As with lovers of music and film, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with the astounding range of choices and financial considerations aside, there’s nothing wrong with having a backlog full of games. In the past, I struggled with a sort of anxiety in knowing that I have all these games that I have hanging over my head that I need to finish, if nothing else, to justify purchasing them in the first place. As I’ve gotten older leveled up, I realize that there will ALWAYS be games that I haven’t played and realistically won’t be able to relentlessly devour games, as much as I’d like to anyways. I shouldn’t feel some sort of disappointment in not finishing a game, as if I’d get some sort of existential crisis in thinking I’ve accomplished nothing in life.

My backlog of games wasn’t actually as massive as I was initially thinking. I took a quick(well, kinda) inventory of games that I have never finished or have yet to begin. A decent amount of my backlog are RPGs, which typically range upwards of 40+ hours. It was about this point last year that I had just finished up Assassin’s Creed: Origins and was deciding between three different games: Final Fantasy XV, The Witcher 3, and Personal 5. So, not surprisingly, I started playing Persona 5 and after about 14 hours in felt like playing The Witcher 3. I then played The Witcher 3 for about 4 hours and haven’t gotten much farther on any of them since. I thoroughly enjoy playing RPGs, but due to a hamster-like attention span get intimidated by something like Persona 5, which takes an average of 90+ hours to complete. I’m currently chipping away at Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, which due to its epic scale and enormous list of things to do and places to explore, may take me a considerable amount of time.

Where was I ? that’s right…my final backlog count shows 274 games either unfinished or not started.

A game you’re eager to play, but have yet to start

There’s a few of them, I’ve been wrapping up some of my PS4 games I bought back on Black Friday. I’m interested to try out Days Gone; I always enjoy zombie games, as well as open-world games so I’m reasonably confident I’ll enjoy the game. I’ve heard others describe it as essentially “an Ubisoft open-world game, but with zombies”.

Speaking of open-world Ubisoft games, I also intend to set sail in Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag after I complete my journey through Ancient Greece in AC: Odyssey.

A game you’ve started several times, but haven’t finished

The first game that comes to mind is Final Fantasy VII. I think my first attempt at beating the game was 2000-01 and I got past the beginning level with Cloud and Barrett but got stuck shortly after meeting Aerith. This combined with the annoyance of random enemy encounters made it difficult to progress further at a younger age. I remember some of the hype around its release in 1997, but was never able to complete it. In my New Year’s Resolutions post a month ago, I shared how I had downloaded FFVII on my Switch and had begun yet another attempt to FINALLY see this through. As I stated above, my backlog of games isn’t as intimidating in number, but rather the number of hours required to complete all of the RPGs contained within.

The most recent addition to your library

I believe that would be the HD Remaster of Final Fantasy X/X-2, another game that I’ve started a couple times and never finished. Unless pre-orders count, then it would be DOOM: Eternal…my god, the game looks glorious!

The game that’s spent the longest time in your backlog

This would have to be Dynamite Headdy, an old Sega Genesis game I’ve had since I was a kid. I’ve played the game countless times, but could never beat it. Anyone familiar with any of Treasure’s other games knows exactly the level of challenge typically found in their games(Sin and Punishment, Gunstar Heroes, Ikaruga). Another would have to be X-Men, also for the Sega Genesis. I was somehow able to get to the final level as a kid, but was never able to beat this frustrating game.

The person most responsible for adding entries to your backlog

Ultimately, I can’t “blame” anyone other than myself for adding more games to the backlog pile. I learn of all sorts of new and interesting games between gaming publications online, as well as platforms like Youtube and Twitch for games that I may have heard of, but knew little about. Another place I’ll hold responsible for my game hoarding would be right here on WordPress, where I get to read some really wonderful reviews on upcoming games or simply read someone’s unique approach to a game. As with movies and music, my interests can be varied enough that it almost reaches the point of overwhelming when I have so many different things that I love, but a finite number of time to enjoy it.


My backlog challenge for #MaybeinMarch will be, along with making my way through Final Fantasy VII, I want to blast my way through DOOM 64 – which I picked up this past summer but have only played a couple levels. In addition to these games, I am going to finally play through Chrono Trigger. I wrote a list of some games that I regrettably had never played and Chrono Trigger was at the top of the list. I purchased a copy of the Nintendo DS version and plan to document my first time through the game to coincide with the 25th anniversary of its release on March 11, a perfect time to play through what is considered one of the greatest games of all-time. Complete Final Fantasy VII, DOOM 64, and begin Chrono Trigger for #MaybeinMarch – sounds simple enough right? Thanks for reading!