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  1. Viewing Profile: Topics: Dave

Dave

Member Since 19 Jan 2012
Offline Last Active Today, 12:36 PM

Topics I've Started

What Technology Are You Grateful For?

18 March 2017 - 10:54 PM

What technology are you grateful for?

 

This is a tough one. Trite though it might seem, I think I'm particularly grateful for video games for the sole reason that most of the closest friends I have, I met and bonded with over games.

 

If not that, then toasters. Because I love my toast. 


It's Not My Fault, and I Don't Care Anyway

14 March 2017 - 05:24 PM

 

This is the first feature film I was a crew member on, and I don't feel too ashamed in trying to promote it. It's now available on iTunes for rent or purchase, and I believe it is coming out on other distributors as well, though I don't know the specifics off hand.


What Smell Are You Grateful For?

14 March 2017 - 04:09 PM

I found this list while browsing the internet, and it gave you 30 things and subjects to think about what you're grateful for, and I thought I would try and make some topics about it. Mostly as a way to count our blessings, simple and trite though they might be.

 

The first one: What smell are you grateful for?

 

I actually really like the smell of fresh coffee. Actual effects of caffeine aside, I find the aroma is a good way to start the morning with. There's something oddly comforting about it, an ironic soothing considering the whole point of consuming it is to become less soothed. 


What is Art?

11 February 2017 - 02:53 PM

Fun thought exercise for the day: what is art, to you? What defines art? What is the spectrum between high art and low art? Is it enough to stimulate the senses and emotions of the beholder, or do you need to engage people on an intellectual level at the same time? Does the intention of the artist matter as much as what the consumer takes away from it?

 

No right or wrong answers. Discuss away.


Ranking the Final Fantasy Villains

18 December 2016 - 01:45 PM

Inspired by Team Four Star's countdown of villains, and with the series thirtieth anniversary coming up next year, I thought I would try and make a list of my own, ranking the Final Fantasy villains of the main titles. I really can't emphasize how much these rankings are founded on my own opinions and thoughts, and are not to be taken as universal fact. That being said, I usually keep my decisions based on factors of how interesting the character is, how effective they are as an antagonist, what their relation is to the heroes, and any extra things they give you to think about that give them and their games lasting value (Also, full disclosure: if you can't guess who I have at number one, you have not been paying attention to my avatar for nearly five years). 

 

Also, it's worth pointing out that this is far from a complete list. I haven't played XI or XIV, and though I've tried to do some research and homework on The Shadow Lord and Gauis, I really don't feel like I have a grasp on them, if only because I'm not familiar with how they effect the games as they play out. Not to mention that I've got a feeling that, given the focus on XI and XIV on being about your own characters and their adventure, you would get more out of how they are interacting with the villains based on your own experience and personal adventure, and without having that kind of experience, I don't think I can do them justice. I might do a quick write up on them later (especially as the Shadow Lord does interest me, especially his back story), but for right now, they are going to be sitting on the side lines. So this winds up being a list of thirteen, rather than fifteen. On that note, I have also not played II or XV (respectively, because I can't find a copy, and don't own a PS4), but because the plots are more structured around traditional storytelling, it was easier to watch cut scenes and playthroughs to get a solid grasp on the story and characters.

 

With that out of the way, let's get to the list. And remember, feel free to discuss and disagree as we go on. (also, spoilers abound, so tread with caution).

 

Number XIII: Zemus (Final Fantasy IV)

 

The reveal of a mastermind working behind the curtains, pulling the strings of other characters to make them do their bidding, is something of a staple in RPGs in general, and Final Fantasy seems to love it more than most. The idea of something being in control of a plot so vast, able to manipulate a plethora of strong willed and able bodied cast can serve to make the villain appear more threatening, serving to emphasize their own power or charisma. The problem arises, however, when the man behind the curtain not only lacks any kind of visible or noteworthy strength, personality, or nuances to make the reveal of their role as main antagonist satisfying in any way, but winds up being upstaged by the people he is supposed to be in control of.

 

The biggest sin that Zemus commits is that there’s really not a ton that makes him particularly interesting or memorable, mostly because he only makes an appearance at the very last second. The fact that he is on the moon more or less hinders his ability to make direct confrontation, but while it is his will that is responsible for the death and destruction Cecil and friends fight against, Zemus is so distant from our heroes (both geographically and emotionally) that you never really feel like it’s him that you’re fighting. Keeping Zemus’s involvement in the overall plot a secret for so long in the game does serve to make the twist and reveal more shocking, but at the cost of not being established long enough in the plot to really have him make an impact on the player. Now, the argument to be made for him is, if it’s his will that is causing all of the trouble in the world, from the destruction of Rydia’s village to the death of Tellah, the possession of Kain to the abduction of Rosa, isn’t he still functioning as a good antagonist, given how much he gets involved in Cecil’s personal quest and affects him on an emotional and physical level? The answer is yes, but the other villains on this list can also claim the same effect on the heroes in their story while still making more of an impression.

 

Not only does Zemus’s late coming into the plot hurt his chances of becoming memorable, it doesn’t help his case that he is upstaged by the person you spend most of the game fighting, Golbez. You spend so much time interacting with Golbez, making him the target of your ire and the hurdle you feel you need to overcome, that when it’s revealed that he is not the villain at all, and is in fact not morally responsible for anything that he has done, that it doesn’t feel like a twist so much as it feels like a let down. Golbez is the fight that you want, the one that you’re prepared for emotionally, but you then are treated to a final boss that you have not interacted with on any meaningful level, and who, in spite of being the one technically responsible for your troubles, feels like a watered down climax to the one you were anticipating. Even Rubicante, with his sense of fair play compelling him to heal you before you fight, makes more of a lasting impact with his short screen time than Zemus, whose time spent with Cecil consists of making generic comments about destroying the world and makes no effort to distinguish himself.

 

The motivation of wanting to reclaim a planet for his people, and not having the patience to wait until mankind is capable of being on their level, is interesting and has potential, but the problem is that we are told that this is what Zemus wants, rather than ever getting to see him personally express how he feels about the situation, or reveal his own thoughts and complexities on the topic of committing what is essentially a mass genocide in order to save a different race of people. Unleashing the Giant of Babil is an iconic part of the series, but there other villains who have done the same level of destruction while having more personality, developing a stronger relationship to the heroes, and making more of a mark on the plot. Even something as simple as a brief monologue might have given us some valuable insight into how he ticks, but as it stands, there’s a lot of telling rather than showing of what Zemus is all about. What Zemus really needs more than anything is time to be a character, rather than just a plot point; he gets the ball rolling, but if you replaced him with any other Lunarian, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.

 

All together, Zemus feels like the odd man out of the villains, whose master plan and manipulating actually wind up making him have less of an impact, rather than making him seem powerful and intriguing.