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Banon is Missing, Final Fantasy VI Does Not Gain Credentials

by Michael Harnest

The great debate, the war over which is the greater video game between Final Fantasy VI and Final Fantasy VII, has generated responses ranging from logical argument and plausible protest, to misguided speech and blasphemy toward language and humankind altogether. Mark Gross' editorial, The Existance of Old and New RPGers, is somewhere in the middle, frightfully tipping to the right. In it, the argument is presented that at the root of the debate is the difference in approach to the games from the gamers playing them. This argument is used to promote Final Fantasy VI as the greater of the two games due to its allowing the gamer to add additional story elements in areas the plot seems to be lacking. The very concept that Final Fantasy VI is the greater video game over Final Fantasy VII due its allowing the gamer to fill in portions of its story is near ludicrous.

It is highly doubted that SQUARE's intention was for there to be holes in Final Fantasy VI's story; and, for that matter, that the gamers were to complete the tale for themselves. To argue that Final Fantasy VI is superiour over any other video game because fans are able to write their own versions of what happened in instances such as the fate of Banon after the catastrophe of the floating continent falling, and the resulting transition between The World of Balance to the World of Ruin, is preposterous. The un-mentioning of Banon does nothing of any value to the game as a whole; it is a fallout, an overlooking, and an error. The creation of the stories filling in this gap do not support Final Fantasy VI as a game. The intriguing literature produced as explanation of this mishap awards merit to the minds and imaginations of the fan-fiction writers who gave their personal interpretation of the events, not the game which had forgotten to include them.

The great irony of Gross' essay is that he indirectly supports the rather extreme theories justifying the love for Final Fantasy VI by its fans as being rooted in nostalgia. Gross' focus is on the events happening after the game had been completed: He predominantly argues not the enjoyment of the actual game, but the enjoyment of the discussing of it afterward. Many Final Fantasy VI fans (myself included) flocked to the internet in the mid 1990s and occasionally came into contact with each other. There was a certain amount of enjoyment in fleshing out the gaps in Final Fantasy VI's plot, and sometimes extrapolating on more less-likely scenarios. The written stories explaining how Gogo was Daryll were some of the greater parts of any RPGamer's internet life, but they cannot become some of the greater events of Final Fantasy VI, nor can they come to support the game as a great game, because the scenes are non-existent in the game itself. The discussions were undoubtedly lengthy, detailed, meticulous and fun; this, however, does not support a superiourity in Final Fantasy VI. In fact, it promotes the very idea that people's passion toward the game is not solely for the game itself, but is exaggerated heavily for nostalgic reasoning.

All of this is not to say that Final Fantasy VI is a negative gaming experience on its own, or that it is brimmed with mishaps; the game serves as a true classic and is, backed by a better argument than Mark Gross', one of the greater video games to date. The greatest problem in the debate over Final Fantasy VI's and Final Fantasy VII's transcendency over the other, an unfixable one, is the emotions attached to each game stemmed from activities outside of playing it; the enjoyment, or distaste, we found in the conversations resulting from the games that we have to let go of in order to look at a video game honestly and judge it correctly.

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