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That First RPG Experience

Remember when demo disks were a thing? Remember that excitement when the magazine subscription you – or your dad paid for in my case – came with that sweet demo disk that included a bunch of the newest games for you to try out? If Dinosaurs 3D was the kindle to my passion, then this demo disk was the flame that set everything ablaze.

What are we talking about might you ask? Final Fantasy 7. The demo disk included the entire introduction scene all the way to the reactors explosion (I believe anyway, it’s been so many years…). This singular demo launched me into what I would call – passion. I was probably 10 or 11 at the time, the PS1 was the hottest new thing. I still vaguely remember begging my dad for a copy of Resident Evil 2, and the craziest thing about this was that I was so determined to get my hands on it, I road a taxi, by myself mind you at the age of 12, all the way up to Walmart – and I remember somehow getting my hands on it. A kid. Back then I guess they weren’t as stringent about age requirements.

Back to the point, let’s talk Final Fantasy 7 and the magic of what it really was to me at the age of 10. Here was a game, steeped in story, and at that age a text heavy RPG was a monumental task for a kid, but I remember getting through the story and the bewilderment I felt that there was this villain, set to destroy the world, and I was this no name guy, going on to be the hero.

Sephiroth and Cloud – the character development, the twists and turns, the roller-coaster of heavy story there was, still to this day holds up against some of the bests games in our current generation. As I grew older I replayed FF7 a lot, and found out very quickly that little 10 year old me didn’t quite understand the whole story, so it was pretty awesome to get to experience that kind of development.

I had countless late nights staying up late breeding chocobos. I still remember my final push into breeding my golden chocobo, it was my very first all-nighter as a gamer – I remember the sun starting to come out, and the anxiety I felt that my Dad was going to question what the hell I was doing.

How about that final boss battle when you finally defeat Sephiroth, the game is winding down, and then it hit you – “I beat the game.. Wow I feel kind of empty.. It’s over? I want to keep going..”

This was the first time I’ve ever felt really disappointed about something – not on a level of “I didn’t get any candy at the candy store.” I felt sort of a void, a connection was severed. It was at this point I was invested. I knew what I loved to do. My medium. THis catapulted me into all kinds of adventures and genres. Text adventure games. Telnet? I’ll touch base on all those things eventually.


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