Have you ever thought about the lore behind why SeeD exams are in the game?
For us the players, it’s just a
fun mini game to test our memory of the game mechanics, bestiary and other assorted trivia of Final Fantasy VIII. And I know it mimic Japanese high schools’ standardized testing system.
To enter, students must take an entrance examination in Japanese, mathematics, science, social studies, and English, whether it is standardized for all public high schools in the prefecture or a test created by a private high school for that school alone. All upper-secondary schools, public and private, are informally ranked based on their success in placing graduates in freshman classes of internationally ranked and Imperial Universities. Success or failure on an entrance examination can influence a student’s entire future, since the prospect of finding a good job depends on the school attended. Thus, students experience the pressure of this examination system at a relatively early age. Because of the importance of these exams in entering high school — even more than the scholastic record and performance evaluations from lower-secondary school — students are closely counselled in lower-secondary school so that they will be relatively assured of a place in the schools to which they apply.
For our characters, however, the tests prove to Headmaster Cid his mercenaries are still mentally functioning.
Of course, all professions expect proficiency in their field. SeeD should be no different. But there’s more to it.
For years, Cid indoctrinated these children into learning everything they needed to know about Junctioning. That alone would give them brain damage. They shouldn’t forget it, they should know by now through rout memory. They reason they wouldn’t remember is if their memories were wiped clean by the GFs…
It is stated in-game that long-term junctioning causes memory loss (as seen with Selphie and the unnamed GF she junctioned when she was a child), because the Guardian Force draws power from the same section of the mind that stores memories. This, however, is only a plot point; junctioning has no negative effects on the characters during gameplay. Memory loss is stated to be the reason the use of Guardian Forces is widely criticized, and within Garden, Balamb Garden is the only school where their use has been approved.
We can see brain damaging in Selphie and Zell. I know this sounds like I’m being facetious, but really…normal people don’t act like this. Zell and Selphie aren’t normal. Especially Selphie, who’s been “experimenting” with junctioning since she was a child.
But SeeD candidates have to junction GFs to use magic and other abilities. So Cid has to constantly monitor his students to make sure they’re still lucid. And one of the ways to do so, in this fake high school created to house super soldiers? Standardize testing.
Somehow, Zell and Selphie are functioning fighting machines, despite being a little bit loopy. And that’s good enough for Headmaster Cid.