Ah school. I didn’t care for it. I’ve had a dream about Final Fantasy VIII sometime before going back to school:
Squall, Seifer, probably Zell and I run around in a lunchroom, bumping into people in the line. We wildly run down the stairs. But when Squall sits are the table with Quistis, Selphie, Irvine and me, Squall’s strangely quiet. He’s extremely standoffish and cringeworthily silent. He prefers to just eat his food in his own little world. Squall meets with someone who supposedly can help him trainfurther and level up. He forgets a GF, which happens to be an elongated fish with a “Q” name. The fish is orange with some thin light ice blue streaks and yelloww fins swimming in a shallow stream.
It had nothing to do with the game, but maybe more about me?
One year I found my first girlfriend. She was a Japanese foreign exchange student. She was also a few years older than me. All of this seems would have seemed like a miracle at the time. In school, I was somewhat of a shy loner. I rarely talked to anyone, people rarely talked to me. Thankfully, no one picked on me but I didn’t have friends. I was in my own shell, where everyone was content to leave me. I don’t know what she saw in me. Her name was…let’s just say “K”. But her name meant “long time, beauty”. She was attractive, and kind of weird in that quirky Japanese way. She wore her school uniform to class one day, and I thought she was cosplaying as Sailor Moon. I had no idea that was a traditional school uniform in Japan. I still don’t know why it is.
We started dating three weeks before a school dance. Nothing classy, even though we all had to dress up. It was her idea to go. She wore a cream-colored dress with a matching suit. I just wore a suit. Seeing a bunch of kids gyrate on the dance floor is the most awkward thing anyone can watch. It felt awkward, so I loved the slow songs. I could just sway back and forth on the dance floor, holding K close. She liked that, I think? I hope?
Of course, we didn’t last. Aside from cultural differences, she had to return to Japan.
I felt down knowing she had to leave. Now imagine Christmas, where that year I received Final Fantasy VIII. I have two weeks before I have to return to school. Naturally, I had a mad dash to play as much of the game as I could. In my limited knowledge of Final Fantasy, I thought Final Fantasy VIII was a sequel to VII. Of course, I wondered where all of the original characters were. Maybe they all died in the flash at the end, and Final Fantasy VIII showed how far humanity had come. At least, that’s what I thought about the time.
The FMV was cool. Two dudes sword fighting with blades that functioned as guns was an awesome idea. But what’s this? The main character’s in school? Really? One of your teachers was a student your age, and she gave the longest tutorials. I still didn’t understand any of it. Oh, I could take a test? Why would I want to take a test during my Christmas break? Oh, to raise my salary? What…
Their assignments were to infiltrate cities. My assignments kept me from playing video games. I didn’t understand the junction system just like I didn’t understand Materia. In Final Fantasy VII, I just attacked. In Final Fantasy VIII, I knew a bit more about magic but didn’t understand how to junction properly. I auto-junctioned a lot. But besides the new, well-proportioned character, music, setting and battle system, it all felt the same as Final Fantasy VII. Even the main character was similar to Cloud, only more of a jerk. He was unlikeable, but I don’t think I never really got to know him as a person.
Still, the FMVs were pretty cool. One notable scene captured my attention. The ballroom scene reminded me of what I wished school was: better, brighter and fun. But nearly at the same time as Squall, I saw Rinoa. Who was that girl in the creme-colored dress? Why is she walking towards him? Why is she talking to him?
He sucks. No one wants to talk to him. Don’t talk to him, let him stand alone by himself. But she kept persisting, even when he tried to blow her off. She dragged him onto the dance floor. No one gyrated on the dancefloor, but Squall was still awkward. However, in the course of five minutes, he was able to waltz like a pro. All with the help of Rinoa, who only wanted to get to know her. But later in the dance, she would disappear. Suddenly, Squall was all alone. And I felt alone. But I don’t know why I felt closer to the game…
I think I’ll keep playing. Maybe I’ll see Rinoa again?
I never saw K agan after returning to school. I remember buying a jean jacket. If only it had the feathers around the collar.