Whatever feelings you have of Final Fantasy VIII, I don’t think you can deny the game had depth. Sure, some spots where weren’t as well-written as others, and Final Fantasy VIII had a lot of questionable narratives techniques. But overall, it was ambitious enough to challenge how we look at Final Fantasy. Even so, Final Fantasy VIII’s themes, while not as blatant or profound as Final Fantasy VII or IX, are consistently
Besides love and memory, one of Final Fantasy VIII’s high level themes is interconnectivity:
Interconnectivity refers to the state or quality of being connected together, or to the potential to connect in an easy and effective way. The concept is widely used in various fields such as biology, network theory, and ecology. It can be further elaborated as all parts of a system, which interact with one another and cannot be analyzed if considered alone. Despite subtle differences in meaning, interconnectivity is often related to the ideas of interconnectedness and interdependence.
This might seem ironic since the main character is introverted, cold and taciturn. But Final Fantasy VIII dedicates the story to defrosting Squall’s cold exterior. In many ways, it’s also his coming-of-age story. Final Fantasy VIII could tell us everything we need to know about Squall through the narrative, but video games don’t have to limit themselves in this way. Kitase and the others very well figured out a way to have the game itself tell the
First, the controversial junctioning system didn’t make too many fans for Final Fantasy VIII. While Squall may excel at it, we the players might not at first. The system is complicated and tedious; for all the tutorials Quistis gives us, it’s still hard to get to know.
Just like Squall.
Squall doesn’t open up or become less complicated. However, like Junctioning, he does become predictable if you know what to do. Like Quistis can predict Squall…
Quistis: “Squall. Is there something on your mind?”
Squall: “Not really.”
Quistis: “Not really. Hahaha!”
Squall: “What’s so funny?”
Quistis: “Funny? No, no, it’s not that! I’m just happy. I feel like I’m finally beginning to understand my student a little. That’s all.”
Squall: “I’m more complex than you think.”
Quistis: “Then tell me. Tell me more about yourself.”
Squall: “It’s none of your…”
We can predict Junction, so long as we observe what to do.
Drawing is another point. In order for Junction to successfully work, we must gather magic. But the draw points aren’t always visible. Sometimes, we have to search and prod to draw magic out, much like we do with Squall to get a response. Like a new Guardian Force ability, more avenues open up as you search. Drawing magic from monsters can be tedious, but we have many other opportunities: we can convert items or play cards.
Triple Triad is a hot game in Final Fantasy VIII. Everyone plays it, from the students of Balamb to…high ranking officials. Like in Fisherman’s Horizon. Mayor Dobe, Flo, and Martine play it. Martine plays it, hoping to take his mind off of his depression. Why does everyone play Triple Triad in Final Fantasy VIII? Isn’t it the equivalent of a kids game, like Magic?
First, no matter how old you are, you can play anything you want. Good for you for not playing by the recommended age limit. Maybe this is like Final Fantasy itself. Many of us who grew up with the series. Why should we care about the recommended age limit to play something we enjoy? Did you grow up playing the original Final Fantasy on NES? Then I hope you enjoy Final Fantasy XXX, whenever it comes out.
Second, Triple Triad is a minigame; scattering NPCs who can play Triple Triad gives the players more time to play with everyone.
But third, and most importantly, this goes along with Squall’s narrative. Squall is a cold loner. Most of the story is about his need to open up and rely on others. But people don’t just become extroverted overnight. They need to ease into the world.
What better way to help Squall than with cards? Triple Triad seems to be his hobby. I’m sure we’ve all witnessed the quiet kid with their interest. Maybe we were that kid. While some games are solitary, may include multiple players. It’s more fun that way. It increases the challenge. This is essentially Triple Triad. We come together to engage in a civil battle of wits among potential friends. Here, Squall can communicate with anyone and everyone. He’s reminded that he has options.
Triple Triad goes along with the theme of Final Fantasy VIII, the importance of interconnection between individuals. This is why everyone plays it. From a narrative standpoint, everyone gives Squall the opportunity to open up. He can rely on and trust them to play by the rules. In doing so, the world becomes less chaotic for him. But Final Fantasy VIII is also about Squall’s need to open up.