I doubled majored in Art and Philosophy in college. When I graduated, I sat around thinking about unemployment. Elucidating the philosophical ramifications of majoring in philosophy is not fun. Luckily, I had Final Fantasy!
Back then, I loved reading dense works. Some of it I understood. Others, not so much. The technical aspects alluded me at the time, but I always would understand it once I gave it a second read. Meanwhile, Final Fantasy increasingly became my new interest. If only there was a way to combine the dualism between Final Fantasy and Philosophy. That’s when I perchance happened upon this book.
What did I think of it? Well, I like the idea of Final Fantasy & Philosophy: The Ultimate Walkthrough. It combined my favorite things: Final Fantasy and Philosophy. Perhaps I obsess over my hobbies a bit too much, but I love reading into them. It’s fun to think about them in different, deep ways. And of course, I wanted to make sense of the questions I had about them. Yet, Final Fantasy & Philosophy: The Ultimate Walkthrough didn’t impress me.
As a novelty item, it works. It’s Final Fantasy and Philosophy. Just having it on my shelf is cool. I appreciate that they made this. But I really wasn’t expecting what I read. I thought they were going to explore the concepts of Final Fantasy game’s lore. I would have loved for them to expand, even make sense, on the lore in a philosophical way. I would have loved to geek out on this.
They do none of this. They talk about philosophical concepts, briefly. They use Final Fantasy characters to illustrate them…occasionally. That’s it.
I think it would have been more interesting, and useful for the readers, to pick one philosopher per chapter, provide a brief overview of their philosophy. From here, pick a Final Fantasy game that explores it. Of course, that would have required much more planning. These philosophers are academic, and probably have to spend their time elsewhere. Still, it would have been more systematic than the collection of essays written in the book.
It’s light, in a sense that makes the book pretty shallow. Sure, it’s not too introspective, which most fans might appreciate. But say the book sufficiently piques your interest. You’re going to want to learn more about philosophy, right? You’re going to want to go deeper. But the book never really moves beyond the surface. No introduction, no wider conception of history or what the philosophers themselves were trying to accomplish.
Maybe that’s the best thing for some. Where would FinalFantasyDiscussion be without the void Final Fantasy & Philosophy: The Ultimate Walkthrough created? This book knows how to inspire others to turn to their own theories. This is there way, where’s yours?
Still, Squall isn’t in Final Fantasy VII. Making this mistake, as the book did, is an unforgivable sin.
But that’s what kind of book Final Fantasy & Philosophy: The Ultimate Walkthrough is. It’s just a book that’s for everyone and no one at all.