My “bitter emotional baggage” with Final Fantasy VII

How a game can symbolize so much in one’s life. Without haven’t even played it.

Ok, you done gasping about the fact that I haven’t played FFVII? Are you still here?

Good. Let me tell you a story.

Back in the day

I was bullied as a kid and as a teen. You know, the horribly toxic but terribly common trope. Up until becoming a young adult. Being laughed at, criticized and even hated for both the things that you liked and the ones that you didn’t (but you were “supposed to!”).

This left such a mark in me that mostly all personal posts I make in my blog will begin like this.

When I began attending the university, I was broken as fuck. I’d dress with dull plain colors so no one would notice me. I wouldn’t say what things I liked, nor what things I didn’t. I had a Metroid Fusion wallpaper on my laptop which I struggled hiding when someone was around! (WTF was wrong with me, really, that’s how f’ed up I was)

Metroid Fusion | Wikitroid | Fandom

This started to change when I met a group of friends which were the total oposite: proud, loud “nerds” and “otakus” that waved their tastes like a flag. All-the-time.

And they helped me get out of the hole I was stuck in. I started dying my hair colors and trusting people again. I started to forget the pain of being “left out”.

Also, because my family was poor, they could never afford a PlayStation or PlayStation 2, so when I was 20 years old I had never played anything on a Sony console! But these new friends were Sony fanboys. They lent me their consoles and their games and I quickly caught on with Final Fantasy VIII, X, Metal Gear Solid (1 and 3), Devil May Cry, Shadow of The Colossus, etc…

This meant a lot, because I was (and still am) naturally hurt when I feel “left out” because of all the bullying I lived through (yes, even with something as “silly” as not having played certain videogames)

Fã recria Metal Gear Solid em Dreams no PS4 - O PS5

Then, as it’d turn out in a very well written Netflix-one-season-short-series towards the end: this “happy proud nerdy friends group” turned into a toxic sort of “cult”.

We were all different and “broken” by society, but we had to stay broken and different. We couldn’t deviate from being weird, loud and emotionally hurt. We had to be always together, always liking and disliking the same things. And whoever deviated from this would be, you guessed it: bullied! Gossiping, insults, calling names and general hurtful drama became the norm.

And I participated on it too, bullying my own friends when they “deviated” from the group’s way of being. I became cruel and horrible. A bullied bully. It was all pretty sick and toxic, a psychologist would make a fortune selling a book about us.

So you know: a group of people “save you” from being left numb by years of people judging you and ostracizing you, then they start doing the same so that they can feel strong together.

Do you know what kind of mark does that leave on you?

Did I mention that that group of people had very strong opinions towards Final Fantasy VII? (to the point they became annoying about it so I never played it and the game kind of became a symbol for those people and this is were this whole post is kind of going to).

Anyhow, all this toxicity eventually made me break up with them and in the process I broke myself too, in a good way! As I finally learnt to let go my fears, I stopped pursuing acceptance in a well-defined social group. And I just started being my own damn mix of things, with total freedom to completely changed whenever I wanted to. Free to explore things that I had disliked before (or pretended to dislike)

This all happened 10 years go.

Fast forward to 2015.

Final Fantasy VII Remake | Final Fantasy Wiki | Fandom

As I watch that year’s E3 presentation and they announce “FINAL FANTASY VII: REMAKE”, the most violent guttural reaction of post-trauma came onto me and I immediately turned to Facebook and posted a ridiculous rant about how that game was a piece of shit and how all of its fans were ignorant and obsessed.

(I’m sorry.)

All kinds of stimulus can trigger emotions. But videogames have an almost mystical power of vividly linking themselves with moments in our lives. And I discovered this happens with happy, beautiful memories… but also the bad ones.

And you’d say: “wait, are you a 34 year old man doing a blog post about an emotional outburst you had when you were 31 about a videogame you didn’t play when you were 20?

Hell yes.

I endured deep emotional pain during more than a decade because bullying, which repeated itself years later and coming from a close group of friends, which sadly also taught me how to be a cruel bully asshole myself. This left a mark on me. I’m still learning how not feel hurt when feeling “left out”, even if it’s something as silly as not having tried the new brunch restaurant that opened up in Barcelona that everyone is talking about (ok I went too far on that example). And I’m still trying to learn how not to be an asshole when I feel scared and hurt.

And out of all things, FINAL freaking FANTASY VII became the center of all this.

Fast forward to 2020, today.

I saw the live action commercial that is currently airing in Japan for the FFVII Remake. Boom.

It’s always funny feeling like life is talking to you specifically, even though it’s absolutely not a thing, but I’m gonna let it slide this time: really!? the main character in the commercial is a guy who HASN’T played FINAL FANTASY VII and he’s annoyed by everyone talking about it?

Life has funny ways of going full circle. Today I want to let go the anger and fear that a very unfortunate and painful period of time left on me.

And tomorrow (hopefully, if my package arrives on time), I’ll take on the role of Cloud for the first time.


Thanks for reading.

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Adox J. Roig Oviedo
Adox J. Roig Oviedo
An intense creative who cannot stop doing what he loves.

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