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Is it my turn yet? – Impatiently waiting to play Final Fantasy XIII

By Pauline Lim

I am sure many of you have been in this situation before - there is only one copy of the game and one console but two people who want to play it first. Well, that recently happened to my husband and I. As soon as my husband pre-ordered Final Fantasy XIII in February, the two of us engaged in a very civilized and adult-like discussion over who gets to play it first. All right, it was actually a loud and lengthy conversation in the car on the way home from work. In the end, I lost and am currently waiting for him to finish the game while relegated to the role of a supportive spectator. And yes, we are one of the few couples who have such dorky argum...err, discussions. And, no, I am not resentful. Not at all, I can assure you.

While waiting, I am trying very hard not to form any biases or prejudices against the game or any of the characters before I play it, but it is difficult to not overhear or oversee bits and pieces of the game while my husband plays the game. Vanille does sound so annoying sometimes. And what’s with the Australian accent? Are the people living on Pulse Australians?! Anyways, waiting is super difficult since I already waited so long. I have read every single magazine article and pored through all the pictures and videos of the game before its release.  There was so much hype over it that I am actually secretly afraid that FFXIII will be a major disappointment. That is why I have read only one or two favorable reviews of FFXIII after its release. I refuse to read anything negative about the game as I want to maintain a sunny, optimistic feeling about FFXIII. In the meantime, for those who have already played it, please do not spoil the story for me or send me any links to articles discussing the plot at length. Ignorance is bliss.


On the other hand, watching my husband play has given me great insight into the battle system. For those of you who are like me and have to wait for your turn, you must be familiar with that feeling of one of utter smugness and superiority. Have you ever found yourself mentally plotting the fastest way to beat a boss or a more efficient way of clearing a dungeon all the while thinking, "What is he/she doing?! That's so silly!" As the Spectator, it is our right to revel in that wonderful feeling of knowing-it-all until we put in our place. This smugness is a coping mechanism for surviving the long wait time. However, for me, all feeling of smugness tend to evaporate when it is my turn in the hot seat. Personally, I am shocked at the fast pace of FFXIII's gameplay. It requires a lot of on-your-feet, fast-as-lightning strategizing. The previous fast paced RPG I played was Rogue Galaxy. I did not make it very far in the game before I had to put it back on the shelf, defeated and ashamed. I wonder how many battles will it take for FFXIII to humble me? One hundred? Ten? In the meantime, before reality hits, I will continue to be a smart-ass and think highly of my own RPG skills. 

Some friends of ours wonder why doesn't one of us just play while the other advises? For the sake of maintaining a loving and harmonious marriage, my husband and I both agreed that that was a bad idea. My husband is a methodical player. He is thorough and meticulous. He never misses a single chest ever. Here's how he plays: the official guidebook is on his lap, a sheet full of tips printed off the internet in between the guidebook pages, and a laptop next to the sofa tuned in to gamefaq.com. Yes, that is my husband. It doesn't matter if it's an RPG or an FPS, a game is something to be savored and completed and thoroughly played to every inch of its pixelated life. It must not be rushed by anyone or anything. The last time four people gave him well meaning advice at the same time while he fights a boss in FFX lead to a lot of frustration. My husband was unable to enjoy that part of the game at all. I can empathize with him. 

My gaming philosophy is very different: loot as much as one can and do not over think it! In short, I like to charge first, die next, and strategize later. Some can even say that I most resemble Leeroy Jenkins
, except that NPCs can’t complain and curse at me. I only fight for the treasure chest if it is within reasonable reach. If I have to fight through an entire dungeon, jump over an ocean of fire, and engage in some tricky platforming, then I might pass, unless, unless, it is super easy and does not take more than 3 tries. If not, I will learn to live without it. What if it is an ultimate weapon? Well, I still apply the same philosophy. I don't mind dodging lightning 200 times since that's a mission within my capabilities, but chocobo racing and grabbing enough "points" to reduce the time to 0:00? Hell no! I couldn't do it. Who needs Tidus's ultimate weapon to kick ass? I got Lulu, the Onion Knight, and Ultima. But my husband? Let's just say he spent two nights mastering that dastardly mini-game just for the weapon. 

With such different playing styles, it is hard for either one of us to be the game advisor and NOT get on each other's nerves after some time. Inevitably, the game advisor becomes the backseat gamer, which leads to mutual resentment and frustration. So in the end, we decided it is best that we play RPGs alone, the way it was meant to be. So for the next few months, as my husband combs through every inch of Cocoon in search of treasures with Lightning and her crew, I will sit next to him on the sofa, book in hand, and keep my comments to myself. 

Waiting is a pain, but inevitably, it is part of a person’s gaming life. Unless you are lucky or rich and can afford two consoles and two copies of the game, I know that there are many other who are like me. Although I might be late to the party, but at least, I will get to the party. I just have to wait for my turn first. Thankfully, FFXIII looks like it is worth the wait.

Tags:
Final Fantasy XIII   rogue galaxy   chocobo   waiting   guideboo  

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