Final Fantasy 7 was a different kind of blockbuster

Up front: I have never played Final Fantasy 7. I’m one of those unbearable hipsters who has only played 12, and won’t shut up about it. But with the new game out, I’ve discovered that I have fond memories of FF7, this massive game that I have never played. Also: although I didn’t play it, there was a period, around its release, when I was super into the idea of it. And I watched it a lot once it was out. And these memories and how odd they are have made me realise that games have changed a lot over the years, and FF7 marks one of the really big changes.

I played computer games as a kid and video games quite a bit as a teen, but I checked out somewhere in the 16-bit era because there were other things going on. This meant when I went to university in 1996, I was flung together with games again: people in halls had battered SNESs, and a few had PlayStations. I didn’t get back into games, but as someone interested in film at the time, I found these early 3D games completely fascinating just as artefacts that I watched unfold themselves as other people played.

Listen: this is all distant history to me now, and I’m not going to go back to untangle the chronology, so apologies if I have games and their releases in the wrong order. What follows is how I remember it, and the first PlayStation game I remember making a big impact on me – again, I didn’t play it at the time – was Tomb Raider.

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