A few days ago, I saw the heavy boots story on digg and shared it with Dan. To quickly sum up, in case the web page dissapears into the great bit bucket in the sky, a physics major was told by his philosophy TA that the astronauts on the moon didn’t float away because they had heavy boots on. That prompted Dan to share this post with me again. After leaving a Dr Horrible reference, I started thinking about this. And I came to see Final Fantasy as one of the largest exercises in suspension of disbelief. The most egregious aspect is with the weapons. Because of what is often a very tedious menu screen, I usually do not sell back all of the old, useless weapons back to the shop when I buy new ones. So, technically, my characters are running around a HUGE world map trying to save the world, while at the same time lugging around hundreds of pounds of useless weapons. Quite ridiculous, no? On top of this they may have as many as 99 tents, 99 sleeping bags, and pretty much 99 of any item. Think back to the smallest you could ever fold a sleeping bag. Now, imagine going hiking through the woods with 99 of them split up over, at most, four of you. So, it’s 25 each for three of you and 24 for some lucky bastard – probably the girl in the short skirt with the large breasts who’s always complaining of back problems. This is where gameplay mechanics start to mess with your mind too much if you dn’t suspend your disbelief. Because sleeping bags are not prophelactics, you can use them over and over. But the game makes you discard one each time you use it. Of course, within the game thsi makes sense because you’d otherwise be able to heal up to full every time you were in the map screen. I never questioned it as a kid. I was just glad to have a tent or sleeping bag to heal my characters. But when you think about it, it doesn’t make very much sense. This, of course, naturally leads to the other problem with SquareEnix jRPGs – passage of time. For obvious reasons (mostly related to grinding), time doesn’t pass in these games unless you’re at a milestone moment. So while there’s a meteorite coming towards earth or some jerk has decided to use earth magic or magical-people magic to destroy the world tomorrow, you can sleep in an inn over and over. And while the game never explicitly states you stayed in the inn overnight (except when it’s part of advancing the story – clever, clever they were in those old SNES RPGs) it does often imply it, with transition effects that seem to suggest you were there overnight.
So thanks, Dan, for destroying Final Fantasy for me! It’s been relegated to the status of some Mystery Science Theatre-like experience. Nah! I bet the next time I play, I’ll get immersed into it again and forget about the fact that even though no one is wearing a backpack in the cut scenes, surely that hot girl has all the items safely in her….pockets?