Shawn Vermette’s favorite: Final Fantasy VI

September 30, 2012

In the My Favorite Game series, get to know us better as staff writers share the game they love most and why.

If you know anything about my gaming habits and tastes, you know that I love great stories and characters. I’ll play games that are sub-par in many other ways, as long as the people and world are worthwhile to me. I wasn’t always like that though. Flash back to 1997, and you’d find I had an entirely different idea of what I wanted from games and what I played.

Honorable Mention: Chrono Trigger: Chrono Trigger was the second RPG I was able to experience, and for that reason is almost as important to me. It introduced me to the concept of multiple endings to a story, opening my eyes to the idea that games could, sometimes, actually surpass books in their narrative power.

I was 14 years old, and despite being around games most of my life, had no idea that anything existed in video games that could in any way replicate the storytelling process that I loved about books. Until a friend loaned me Final Fantasy VI, that is. I will always remember my first time playing it because of the wonder I experienced. Many consider this game to be one of the best ever made, but really, this would probably make the top of my list anyway just because of the joy and wonderment at knowing that games could provide the type of narrative experience I craved.

Honorable Mention: Civilization II: My other favorite genre is strategy, and Civ II was the biggest influence in that. I loved the idea of molding history as I saw fit and the challenge in making it happen as I wanted instead of the way my enemies wanted it to happen.

Meeting Locke and Terra, escaping the Empire, exploring the world and hating Kefka were all momentous events of my childhood. I will never forget the wonder I felt as I helped the rebels escape down the river from the Empire and running into Ultros. Nor will I forget the horror and anger I felt when Kefka poisoned the water supply of Doma and killed the entire city. The shock I experienced when I realized that the Emperor was not the one I needed to fear. And yes, the shame I felt when I found out I had left Shadow behind to die.

An impactful story and characters are, as I’ve said before, what I crave in games. Really, I crave them in any form of media. I love the feelings and thoughts they cause. I love the memories they give me. I’ve experienced a plenty of games that have had games with similarly impactful stories, even some with better ones. However, nothing ever means as much as the first time you experience something.