About Final Fantasy Titles…
I learned an amusing fact about the many different Final Fantasy logos a while back. My wanderings on YouTube follow many different trails. The majority of them from a YouTuber that posts videos on the “Halo” universe, including mythos and new releases.1 Others post videos on things like the psychology of music, mildy interesting videos on somewhat random topics, comedic videos nitpicking Cinematic films, and a few other, more inappropriate, channels that serve comedic value. Very rarely, I’ll see in my “suggested videos” list a video that reviews details on the Final Fantasy series.
The series was named “Final Fantasy” both because they wanted a name that matched the abbreviation “F-F” and because they had presumed that Square, the company that produced and published the game, was about to encounter bankruptcy. Series creator, Hironobu Sakaguchi, said in an interview with Famitsu magazine that anything that started with an “F” would have worked but I’d suppose they decided on “Final” for more than just the “F”. Square wasn’t doing so well in the financial department and Sakaguchi was actually going to leave the company to return to college. With the assumption that Sakaguchi was going to leave when the company went under, the designers really saw this title as their last. Much to their pleasant surprise, the game was astonishingly succesful with more than six-hundred-thousand copies sold for the Famicom in Japan and another seven-hundred-thousand for the Nintendo Entertainment System in North America.
The second game in the series, Final Fantasy II, introduced new characters and a different storyline as do most of the series’ titles. A number of titles in the series will actually have prequels or sequels but any games that do this will usually share the same numbered title. For example, Final Fantasy VII had a cinematic sequel, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, in 2005 and a video game prequel, Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, in 2008 for the PlayStation Portable. To the best of my knowledge, Square [Enix] has not revealed any two numbered titles to be part of the same universe. Although there has been speculation, Final Fantasy VII has not been officially announced to share its timeline with Final Fantasy X or Final Fantasy XIII. In short, all numbered titles in the series have different storylines.2
First being introduced to Square Enix through their Kingdom Hearts series, I wasn’t interested in their Final Fantasy series until Final Fantasy XIII in 2010, I think. I recall playing this game on my friend’s Xbox 360 at the birthday party before My Second Chance. Not that I was extremely interested but in May 2011, I got my once-best-friend Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children as a (Birthday?) gift. Shortly after receiving the gift, we both sat down to watch the movie. Advent Children is not a terribly great film in hindsight but was, to my childlike mind at the time, a very enticing film. Soon thereafter, my Amazon purchase history shows I bought Dissidia Final Fantasy for the PlayStation Portable and my interest in the Final Fantasy series began.
Final Fantasy XV, previously Final Fantasy Versus XIII, was released in 2016 and around that time a video “casually” explaining the Final Fantasy logos popped up in my “suggested videos” list. Through the years, I’d finished the original Final Fantasy VII in 2014 and tried multiple times to complete Final Fantasy X (which, to this day, I’ve never done). I can’t remember if this was a personal realization or the suggested video brought it to my attention but all the numbered titles, including some of the sequels/prequels/spinoffs, have different logos. The video only reviews the logos for the numbered titles but exposes how they have gradually become more spoiler-friendly in recent titles. Starting with the 2000 WonderSwan update of the original Final Fantasy [I], Square, soon-to-be Square Enix, started designing cover art unique to most releases, primarily their numbered titles. As time went on, these artpeices ranged from the main character in Final Fantasy [I] to the climactic “meteor” in Final Fantasy VII to a major spoiler for Final Fantasy XIII.3 Not that Final-Fantasy-logo-spoilers have anything to do with this blogpost; it’s just a fun fact I wanted to share to break the ice since Final Fantasy XV is the featured image of this post.
An Eventful Year
Warning: Somewhat detailed information about who I used to be revealed ahead.
I will not accept responsibility for the obliteration of your “sensitivity” meter: You have been warned.
It seems to me that each other year switches between either a positive or a negative overall attitude. Starting from Spring 2015, I was contemplating my attendance at Shasta Bible College but ultimately ended up going and was happy to be there. The end of Spring 2016 was horrid because I had to leave college and the first group of people that I actually learned to love to be moved to a bad roommate situation in Winter 2016. Skipping to Spring 2017, my bad roommate situation ended with a delightful invitation to live with an elderly landlady and started a tremendous friendship with a woman who’s friendship I would hold dear for years to come. In Spring 2018, I was discontent with my living situation and the childish grunt that I was. I’ll admit, it was an interesting twist in Summer of 2018 when I did a quick about-face and turned my life around only for feelings of doubt to resurface in Fall and a complete rebellion just before Winter.
With that, let’s look back at 2019 to see if it followed the pattern.
At the end of 2018, I was really wondering if God was listening to me at all. He blessed me with a new job, new home and new lifestyle in Summer but I only wanted those in preparation for what I really wanted. In “Am I Really Me?“, there was a section where I detailed my easy-going lifestyle while I still worked at Jack in the Box. What I would like to emphasize is the reason I wanted to change. It wasn’t because I wanted to exemplify God’s glory in my life but because I wanted to be seen as “respectable” in the eyes of a woman. The post4 was actually meant to end by paraphrasing “Now, I can be ready for the woman that’s really meant for me.” However, I expected her to be here by the end of 2018 and because she wasn’t, I convinced myself that God stopped listening.
In fact, on January 7th, I was so discontented with her absence that I sent a very strongly worded email to my once-best-friend, Max. The “strongly-worded” language was not oriented toward him but it definitely struck a nerve, I guess. Whether it be because of the email or teemed with my absent attendance at his wedding, in which I was there but not really, my email definitely played a part in his dismissal of me. Was I hurt by his absence? Of course! Especially when Zeus left. Nevertheless, the email that ended my friendship of nine years had some significant points that I’d like to point out.
When I wrote the email, I was extremely upset about the dream I had in early December so most of it focused on that. The dream exposed my suppressed romantic feelings at the time which taught that I wasn’t going to waste my time “worshipping God” while I wait for this imaginary woman to show up. At the time, I had a friend that I sought romantically that did not reflect those feelings. My frustration with the “friendship” between the two of us was the main theme throughout the email. Near the end of the email, I announced that I was done waiting for her, for God, for anyone. I was done with my romantic feelings; now is the time for action.5 With my patience running thin, I was ready to stop my efforts to be what God wanted me to be and start serving myself and do what I wanted to do. I wrote in the email to Max, “2019 is going to be MY YEAR. Not God’s.”
In hindsight, the past was, in fact, “my year” [caps], just not in the way that I originally intended. When I wrote the email to Max, I was telling him about how I presumed that God created me, not with the purposes of romance a human naturally has, but with the desire to lust. Late last year, I was offered to join a few of my friends to a local brothel where I could purchase the experience I desired. My goal was to become exactly what the Lord didn’t want me to be because I had convinced myself that He was no longer listening or paying attention to me. Although I had done many things that the Lord didn’t want me to do, this delusion died out around late April or early May. See, the larger portion of 2019 has been “my year” because I finally stopped hiding myself or running away from God and understood what my relationship with Him should look like.
By May 6th, at the very latest, I had a collaborative dinner with my two Christian roommates. The actual purpose for this dinner was to discuss our living situation because Kyle was getting married and moving out. With that reality, Kyle wanted to ensure that Barrett and I were prepared for his departure by getting bills switched to our names and other financial responsibilities. First, however, we would act as normal beings do with a small game of small talk in which I would firmly confess my spite against the Lord. My rage was fully developed and I was ready to let the world know why.
I know that the person to give that incentive [to abstain from sin] is supposed to be the Lord but He’s not. …and if the Lord wants me to successfully walk the Walk, He’s gonna have to deal with it. So, apparently, He doesn’t!
– email to Max, “Congratulations on Getting Married, by the Way”; January 7, 2019
However, I was just getting to the end of “The Cake is a Lie” and to finish, I studied John 3:16. I know I’m just spanning over covered ground with fine pavement so I’ll try to speed this up. Going to the original Greek taught me that when it says “whosoever believeth in Him” (emphasis added), it’s really focusing on the trust instead of the love. Whereas I had planned for this dinner to be the place where I argued my case and finally won my argument, I actually discussed my confusion at this (what seemed to be) very simple teaching. Finally, I understood: I had been fighting the “good fight” assuming that love would develop out of obedience when, in reality, my love should develop from the trust I have in God.
With everything I understand about God, it would only be foolish to think that he is unworthy of my trust. I no longer needed the reason to fight that I wanted because, if I did, I understood that my trust was placed would have been placed in her. My trust should be placed in the One that rescued me from the audaciously repulsive lifestyle I led prior to May 1st, 2010 to the life I lead now. Looking back at my past testimonies, I understand the many reasons that God evidenced that He loves me and how He has protected and led me to prosperity by offering the life I wanted as opposed to what I needed. Even the misfortune, or seemingly unfavorable moments in my life, have led me to be the responsible, Christian adult that I am today. This has been my year to recognize all that God has done for the sake of preservation and prosperity so that I can submit my trust to Him completely.
Shortly thereafter, I happened upon a sermon led by Pastor Dan Wilvers of Sierra Community Church. Although severely wounded by the cognizance of love in late April, my “end goal” hadn’t really changed as much as it’d just been set off to the side. Even though my focus had temporarily been turned to building my trust in my Heavenly Father, I never let go of my desire to be with someone romantically. After all, the “disagreement” that had transpired in December 2018 wasn’t about Him, it was about me. This quote was a slogan I used constantly to justify my behavior against the Lord and not just in this context alone:
My “disagreement” with the Lord is not about what He does or doesn’t want me to do, it’s about me and what I want to do.
R. Christopher Melton II; “About Food…“
In the email I wrote to Max just one month before this blogpost, I expressed my frustration that God was unfairly treating me as the odd one out in not allowing me to have a significant relationship. It seemed that everyone else around me had a gift that I was not given the permission to enjoy and that infuriated me! “‘I’ve waited twenty-two years, God! The time is now.’” I went on to tell Max, in that same email, about the fun adventures I’ve excavated throughout December, and a few I hadn’t but intended to accomplish at that time, intentionally without my Heavenly Father. Though the desire for incentive was gone, I still lacked what He had not given me.
Finally, the sermon I heard on June 16th by Dan Wilvers taught that I did not need what He had not given me. The sermon teaches exactly what it sounds like: the things in Heaven will be so much greater than the things here on Earth, including marriage and relationships. Wilvers teaches near the end of his sermon that if I’m chasing some earthly treasure as a main source of accomplishment, I’m not anticipating the extraordinary life that will be had in Heaven! I’d read in Randy Alcorn’s book on Heaven that our focus should be on Heaven anyway as a means of “seeing the shore”7 but it was Dan’s sermon that actually gave me a reason to do that. My “end goal” should not be indulging in my romantic feelings or fulfilling my romantic desires but instead building my relationship with Christ so He can make me the person both He and I want me to be.
The End of Part One
Afterward, the next three to four months were spent showing God who I really am instead of only who I want Him to think I am. That became the standard for everything, really, because I didn’t really care about what anyone else thought of me. My relationship is with God and He will love me for who I am; who He made me to be. A good example of this is, if I like a feminine song by Taylor Swift or Ariana Grande, I want God to know that I like that song. If something as simple as this, or even something as tremendous as how much time I spend or what I do on the computer, needs to change, I trust He’ll help me get there. Even my romantic feelings could not match this because they always made me want to be who someone else would want to be with and now, I can finally just be me; I can be happy.
…Unfortunately though, not everyone was okay with this but:
“That’ll have to wait ’til next time.”
– Kevin Flynn; Tron: Legacy
1 If you’ll recall, I spoke about this YouTuber in my favorite post to date; username: “HiddenXperia“
2 Source: Final Fantasy – The Complete History (1987-2016)
3 Source: Final Fantasy logos CASUALLY explained (released before Final Fantasy XV)
4 …and the last episode of Within the President’s Office; Although the episode has been written, it will likely never be published.
5 Not to suggest that I was going to do anything illegal.
6 Everything from here forward will really just be stuff I’ve already talked about; I’ve tried to summarize it best I can while attempting to elicit the same emotion; the rest of the year following July 2019 will be continued near the end of January 2020.
7 In the introductory section of the book, Alcorn reflects on a 1952 olympic swimmer that, after unsuccessfully swimming from Hawaii to California on a somewhat foggy day, she would’ve been able to accomplish had she been able to “see the shore”.