Gaming and Me: A Brief History 2 – History Scared Stupid

I posted something awhile back where I shared certain points in my life that were affected by gaming in some way.  I wrote about a TON of stuff, but I didn’t get to everything I wanted to talk about.  I’d like to pick up where I left off, but I’m going to keep it much more brief, as the title of this post insinuates. I’m also not going to present events chronologically.  Instead, I’d like to share events that have some similarities.  So, I’ll be hopping back and forth on my timeline from post to post.  Today, I’d like to talk about a couple of events that involve Final Fantasy.

~Learning Finance with PlayStation

When I was in 7th grade, the unthinkable happened:  Squaresoft left Nintendo for a new console called the PlayStation.  This was bad news for me because I loved Final Fantasy games, and I was like 12 years old, which meant I was at my parents’ mercy when it came to buying anything.  And, as it went for all poor kids back in the day, asking for a new console was always a waste of time.  The reasoning from your parents was always the same: “You already have a Nintendo!” Even if you had a Genesis.  Because everything to parents was a Nintendo.  Needless to say, I didn’t get a PlayStation or the new Final Fantasy game for Christmas that year.

The best of DJ Jazzy Jeff?  You shouldn’t have.

Oh, but every other kid at school did!  I remember listening enviously to other kids talk about how awesome Final Fantasy VII was; I wanted to punch them all in their stupid, pimply faces!  Of course, they eventually asked why I didn’t have a PlayStation yet.  “Because I’m poor” is an honest response, but it’s never the answer poor kids want to give.  Instead, I did what any poor kid from any gaming generation would have done: I got butt hurt and unleashed my inner fanboy!  “Because PlayStation is gay!  Nintendo is soooooo much better!”  The fight was on!

We’d exchange blows regularly throughout the school day, PlayStation fans and I.  PlayStation has this!  Nintendo has that!  It was stupid and pointless.  They obviously had the upper hand because I wanted a PlayStation, and it wasn’t until I saw this ad that I truly got pissed off:

Phallic enough for you, Nintendo!?

You sons of bitches!  PlayStation knew I wanted their console and couldn’t afford it!  Now they’re rubbing it in my face!?  Damn it, I thought.  Now I have to get one.  So a friend and I made a plan.

We actually sat down with pen and paper and created a financial plan so that we could buy a PlayStation.  Basically, we would go without lunch for the rest of our middle school careers.  It went like this:

We both got $3 a day for lunch.  That makes $6 a day, $30 a week.  One month would yield a profit of $120.  In two months, we’d have $240.  In 1998, a PlayStation was going for $149.99, roughly $160 with tax.  That would leave us with $80 to buy games.  That was enough for two new games back then, which was great because we knew exactly which games we wanted: Final Fantasy VII and Resident Evil.  We had a plan!  All we had to do was go two measly months without food and hide all this money from our parents.

Better than eating!

And we did it!  As 12-year-old 7th graders, my friend and I showed enough discipline to go through two months of starvation while at school!  Not only that, but we were able to trick my dad into taking us to the store to buy it, no questions asked.  It’s an old child-of-divorced-parents trick: Mom and Step dad gave me the money to buy it if you’ll take me.  Don’t think that’s plausible?  Fine.  Talk to Mom and Step dad.  They’re usually making out in the kitchen right about now.

Now drive us to the store, pussy!

Surprisingly, everything worked out for us.  Everyone we knew who knew we were sharing a PlayStation thought it’d cause some rift between us because of some ownership or sharing issue.  But, since we were almost always together anyway, there was no reason to fight.  We just left the Playstation at his place and told his mom it was mine, and I was letting him borrow it.  We were smart, manipulative little shits.

However, there was one major oversight: we didn’t budget for a memory card.  So we actually stayed up all night and played a 24-hour stretch of Final Fantasy VII, knowing we were going to lose our data once we hit that power button (we made it to a part where we were sailing on a ship.  It’s been forever since I played the game).  It wouldn’t be for another couple weeks before we got a memory card.  That meant the PlayStation mockingly sat on our table as we were forced to listen to the fanboys at school.  It was a long, hungry two weeks.

~ Kids are Stupid

I used to teach 7th Grade Language Arts.  I also used to run an after-school program simply called the Anime Club.  I’ve said in a recent post that I used to watch anime as a kid but stopped watching it after high school.  Anyway, a group of kids came up to me and asked if I’d supervise the club because if I didn’t they couldn’t have it.  I considered not doing it until they told me they wanted to do fighting game tournaments.  Once they said that, I was in!

You’re all so fucking dead!

It was ridiculous, too.  I killed them at whatever they brought in: Street Fighter 4, Dragon Ball Z: Tenkaichi 2 or 3 (?), Naruto something-or-other.  I’d never even played the last two.  I figured out how to dodge and then counterattack.  That’s really all you need against a bunch of 12-year-olds.  And I’d just murder them; it was so great.  One of the kids actually thought they could beat me at Super Smash Bros.  He picked Meta Knight (because everyone picks Meta Knight), and I went with my boy Ganondorf.  What these jabronis didn’t know is that I seriously had trophies at home for taking first place at Smash Bros tournaments.  I could wreck some serious ass with Ganondorf, and he was a Tier G at the time (that’s really, really bad).  Of course I proceeded to destroy this kid who was less than half my age.  I did it and laughed in his oily, cross-eyed face!

Nobody ever sees the grab coming.

All in all, the club was fun for me.  The only fighting game they brought in that I had no interest in playing was Final Fantasy Dissidia.  They’d gather together and play it on their PSPs, so I’d just watch.  I did eventually make the mistake of talking to them as they played.  One of the guys was playing as Tifa, and I thought I’d remark by saying, “Man, I always liked Tifa when I was your age.”  They all seriously stopped playing and looked at me like I had just blew my nose in a bible.  At first, I thought, “Great.  Now they all think I’m a pervert.”  Finally, one of the kids piped up and said, “It’s pronounced ‘Tea-Fah.'”  I stood there dumbfounded.  They eventually started playing again, allowing me time to regain my composure.

I decided to look at the character-select screen and quiz them on pronunciation.  It wasn’t pretty.

“Who’s Aerith?” I asked.

“The chick from FFVII who dies,” they replied.

“Oh!  You mean Aeris!”

“No, Aerith.”

I thought for a moment that maybe the kid had a lisp, but it said right there in huge letters “Aerith.”  What in the hell!?  Did they really just up and change her name?  And when did Tifa become Tea-Fah?  When I was their age, we all said Tifa like “T-if-a.”  Moreover, even if they did canonically change names or give definitive pronunciations to their characters (we had no voice acting when these games were new.  We read the text and pronounced it how we wanted), what right did these little punks have to correct me?  It seriously pissed me off.

I pointed at another character.  “Zidane (Zuh-Dane)?”


I’m done, I thought.  That’s bullshit.  I actually created a mini-lesson when I got home and utilized it the next time the club met.  I made them sit down and listen to my rant on why they sucked.  I gave them Aerith and Tea-Fah, but I wasn’t going to give them “Zuh-Dan.”  They argued that that’s how Japanese people would say it.  I explained to them that the Japanese pronounce syllables differently than English speakers, and there are no short and long vowels; therefore, in English it’d be “Zuh-Dane” and in Japanese it’d be “Zuh-Dah-Nay.”  There’s absolutely no language I can think of that would pronounce it “Zuh-Dan.”

I’ll take your questions when you say “Cho-cah-bow” instead of “Choc-a-bow.”

It was all for naught; they continued to say it wrong and sound stupid.  But I did get them to stop correcting me.  So, I marked it as a victory and continued kicking their asses at everything they brought it.  I’m pretty sure I made one of the female students cry by killing her so mercilessly.  Another victory.


4 thoughts on “Gaming and Me: A Brief History 2 – History Scared Stupid

  1. How have I not found your blog before? It’s incredible! That story about working with your friend to get a Playstation is one of the best early gaming stories I’ve heard. You could turn that into a movie.

    • Thanks! I’m glad there’s someone who appreciates a good story!

      You haven’t heard of me because I don’t advertise. Not that I’m trying to stay underground or whatever. I’m just lazy 🙂

  2. I LOVE your stories! I read this one out loud to my boyfriend who has serious nostalgia for FF7. Zuh-Dan is the silliest thing I have ever heard. Ever. Damn whipper snappers.

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