For me, 2018 hasn’t started off easily, with ratcheting tension and unsettling news getting more unavoidable by the day. Video games aren’t the balm they sometimes are, either. Pure escapism is all well and good, but right now, I’m craving something that’s willing to offer hope.
Over the holiday weekend, Kotaku proposed a solution: Final Fantasy VI. The Final Fantasy series often deals with either the end of the world or what comes next, but FF6 did both, and showed that even when things are at their absolute darkest, there’s still work to be done.
Celes’ arc mirrors the player’s. Like her, we’d lost hope, having no idea what to expect. With every companion who rejoins, a small glimmer of hope breaks through. It’s compelling that the game uses the second part of the journey to give new and deeper insight into how each of the characters reacts to the destruction while vanquishing their own personal demons.
For me, defeating Kefka wasn’t as important as coming together with your companions and uniting in a common cause. They have their own flaws and weaknesses, and each comes from diverse backgrounds with very different abilities. But struggling together, their story become intertwined into something more than just a simple fantasy. It’s an inspiration, a call to resist, a struggle against an unimaginable force of destruction.
I never did get a copy of Final Fantasy VI for my SNES, but it’s on Steam and mobile now. It might just be time to take a trip back to 1994 to find some inspiration for the future.