Today's tale is about obsession.
Are we sitting comfortably?
Then I'll begin.
About three years ago, Japanese gaming giant Square-Enix announced Final Fantasy 13, the latest installment of their most successful Role Playing Game (RPG) franchise.
As soon as I saw it, I wanted it. I wanted it real bad.
RPG games are not everyone's cup of tea. In fact, non-RPG-ers tend not to be indifferent; they hate 'em. Too much wandering about. Too much exploring. Too many battles to grind out experience points to level-up characters. Too many CGI cut-scenes to advance the plot. Too many unnecessary-but-necessary sidequests that delay reaching the end of the game.
To which fans say, hell yeah!
I've played all of these games since the ground-breaking Final Fantasy 7 on the Playstation, an epic tale of corruption, environmentalism, and global chaos. A small band of heroes gather, and set their sights on stopping an evil corporation from destroying the future of their world.
Social comment? Yep. A bit like Avatar? Yep, and pre-dating it by twelve years.
But forgetting all that, it was a superb game. It pushed the boundary of what was possible on the humble Playstation, and totally redefined the traditional two-dimensional RPG genre.
I sunk 120-odd hours into beating FF7 and destroying a couple of extra-curricular baddies. To do this, I had to breed golden chocobos (huge riding birds) to reach the highest mountains, train endlessly to gain maximum fighting abilities, and also complete half a dozen other side quests.
I loved it, every minute. I lost myself in it.
And when FF8 came out, I did the same.
And FF9, and FF10 and... well, you get the picture.
It takes a special kind of obsessive mindset to play these games to their fullest. A huge commitment of time, an über-anal zeal for exporing everywhere, a thirst to uncover and do everything.
So when FF13 was announced - the first of the franchise on the ultra-high-spec Playstation3 - it was a hugely exciting prospect.
Of course, Square-Enix then tormented us for two years with screenshots, character sketches, details of the battle engine, and finally a succession of teaser trailers to cover their delay in completing production of the game.
It's been agony waiting through a year of delays to reach the final European release date to play this game.
But today, the wait is over. I stand poised.
I have Final Fantasy 13.
It's in my PS3 right now. All I have to do is start it up.
It's been agony writing this post. I want to play, to lose myself in a new obsession for six months and emerge on the other side breathless, sleepless, paler, slimmer. And happier.
I'm going to press the button now.
Shout if I go quiet.
This blog entry is protected by copyright © Indigo Roth, 2010