Final Fantasy 6 launched on the iOS recently and with it, coincidentally, my twitter decided to become very annoyed with one picture and post it a lot, providing a variety of claims about how awful it was. It was stylised! It had a helper moogle! That was more or less the sum of the complaints against it that I saw.
Now, I don’t want to devalue any individual person’s emotional reaction to or opinion of those screenshots. That is entirely reasonable, and even if it wasn’t, you can’t help it. I would like to suggest that we try and guide the words we use to express those ideas. I’m not inclined to call anyone out specifically, but I’ve seen multiple people compare these screenshots to raping their childhood, which you know, I… I’m really fed up with that turn of phrase. Ignoring for a moment greater social justice concerns, it’s a huge cliche and it has made that phrase mean almost nothing. Still, even setting aside the fringe reactions, I’m seeing people who are reacting to only one screenshot as if it contains some Rosetta Stone of failure.
My two competing thoughts on this are first, that Final Fantasy 6 came out in 1994. It could vote, in this country. Hell, it could be almost finished a University degree, in this country. Twenty years ago, the gaming landscape and technology were totally different things. There is a lot of stuff in Final Fantasy 6 that works the way it does because there was no better way to represent it, or because other, preferred things, couldn’t be done. The translation that’s broadly regarded as a classic has numerous places where dialogue had to be outirght changed, distorted, shortened or sometimes excised entirely to fit the entire game in under the ROM limits. The notion that a game that came out in 1994 could not be improved strikes me as odd.
Second, it’s easy to assume that Squaresoft are evil and stupid, or stupidly evil, or some permutation thereof. I don’t think that’s the case. For a start, you’ll probably see a more interesting world in general if you assume people are well-intentiond and mistaken rather than stupid and malicious most of the time. Squaresoft are trying to release onto a mobile and tablet market a game that’s regarded as a classic by a small population of a small population of their market, which is fine, but it’s also a minority opinion. It seems to me to be a fair move to try and bring some elements of the game forwards, to try and keep what works and set aside what doesn’t. I’m going to guess they tested this stuff, that they actually tried to work out what would work well, targeting markets that just happen to be Not You.
I’m not saying don’t judge it. I’m saying don’t judge it as if your opinion is an objective truth. I mean, from what I can tell, people are acting like this thing is objectively awful based on a single screenshot.
And… like… don’t call a game release rape?
I mean, come on.