Working on it
It’s just a game…
My mother would always say this to me, whenever I got too into my video games or sports watching. My competitive nature was deemed unhealthy by her, and she wanted to remind me that I shouldn’t take things to heart so much. Of course, now that we’re both adults, she’s the one who screams at the top of her lungs while watching her favorite sports. My, how the tables have turned.
She would also say that when I would stay up until the wee hours of the night sitting in front of the TV, holding the Playstation remote. I was 16 years old when I played my first RPG. Lucky for me, I started off with the greatest one ever made, Final Fantasy 7.
Earlier in the game, you meet a talking wolf, named Red XIII. All of you are imprisoned, but after you break free, Red XIII requests that you take him back home to Cosmo Canyon. The canyon is a spiritual haven where people come to find peace of mind. However, the canyon didn’t always know peace. The citizens of the canyon once got into a war with the neighboring Gi tribe.
Red XIII harbors a hatred for his father, Seto, because of that war. He was told that his father fled the canyon as the Gi invaded, leaving his wife and his son. Red XIII’s mother died in the attack. She made Red XIII’s grandfather, Bugenhagen, promise to seal the canyon to prevent another attack. Red XIII believes his father to be a coward.
When Cloud and the gang bring Red XIII back to the canyon, Bugenhagen asks that they accompany him through the canyon so that Red XIII can learn the truth about the war with the Gi. After an arduous trek through the cave fighting through the ghosts of the Gi tribe, they arrive at the canyon. Red XIII hops around as Bugenhagen reveals the truth that was hidden away so long ago.
The warrior who fought against the Gi…
He kept them from even taking one step into Cosmo Canyon.
But he was never able to return to town…
Look at your father, at the warrior, Seto.
The view pans up to the top of the canyon and…oh my god…
There he is, Red XIII’s father. He never ran away. He couldn’t. Sticking out from his body are the poison tipped arrows that turned Seto to stone, trapping him there forever.
Sixteen years old and in complete non-control of my emotions, I set down the controller and cried. I had no idea a video game could do this to me. It’s just a game! I was only playing it so I could beat up the bad guys. I didn’t want to get all emotional.
Red XIII realizes that it was his father who saved the town…that it was his father who singlehandedly fought off the Gi…that it was his father who never ran away, but towards the fight. Red XIII looks up once more on his father, but something comes down towards him.
Now it’s Bugenhagen’s turn to get emotional as the petrified tears of Seto rain down on them. He’s still alive, forever trapped at the top of the canyon. Seto is still protecting the town, a statue at the gates to ward off the enemy.
My teenage self once again put down the controller, and once again wiped watery tears away. Twenty years later, and I still think about this moment in the game.