[x-posted from Livejournal this time] Every year or two, there is a surprise game - a game I get or play not expecting anything great, but just fishing for greatness. One year it was Ace Combat 4. This year it was....Final Fantasy VIII. Now, one would think that a game I'd already played 1 and 3/4 times wouldn't exactly be a big surprise. But I played in back in 99/2000. I was different then. After playing FFX and various other console-style RPGs on the Playstation, I came to the conclusion that I had grown out of the genre, and couldn't take the derivative filler repetition anymore. I was wrong. Sorta. Because I decided to replay FF VIII, and I love it. So much, that I was logging 10 hours a day, a couple times playing till 2:30 at night. For the record, I don't think I've EVER played a game that late before. It's fantastic. I've written a lot about all the flaws of the game - and there are a lot - but while playing it they just don't seem to matter. It's more than the sum of its parts, and what's more important, it's FRESH - more fresh than it was when it came out, because at that point the genre was still exploring what it could do with 3D. Now, its been stuck in a rut for the better part of a decade, and going back to a game that did everything different makes me realize there IS hope for the genre. I could write about why I like FF8, but I'm not gonna. Everyone reading this A. Has played the game, and already has formed opinions on it B. Hasn't played the game, and doesn't give a damn C. Hasn't played the game but might be interested in my ramblings anyway. Unfortunately, said ramblings might involve spoilers (when I get to the plot), and for gameplay mechanisms, well, there are plenty of other analysis (analyses? Analysises? How do you say that in plural?) out there. Mine would be different...but eh, I feel like debating FF8 is like debating the Iraq war - at this point, people are very unlikely to change their minds and there isn't a lot of point. Anyway, played that at Whidbey. Came home. Got Front Mission 4 in the mail. Got Paranoia Agent Disc 2, and the first few episodes of Deadwood to watch. Just met with a friend. Have bowling and movie nights to schedule. Gotta finish my book. And on Monday, I can call Blue Highway Games and *hopefully* get a job or at least some volunteer work there. Hooray!