How often do you act to impress others? When we self-sacrifice for the sake of others, are we doing it to impress them? Or is it an inconsequentiality of actions we would have done regardless? In this part of FF7, we can decide whether or not to raid a nest for some items that were useless for me. When I can, I do prefer seeing all dialogue options, otherwise, I might role-play from certain perspectives.
I was all of about eleven when I first remembered seeing a demo of the game. I’ll never forget the store I saw FF7 – located between a brightly-lit KB Toys and a grungy 90s arcade in a food court that has since been demolished, expanding on this mall’s high-end section of clothing stores – because the inside of that videogame store in 1997 looked just like Midgar. Was it intentional? Or did my memory light that store darker? I remember a kiosk specifically designed to play FF7, and maybe even a standee. Did that suck all the light out of that store, or was it my memories of that event? I remember seeing the opening scenes there, along with some older, cooler, teens that were full of statements like “woah,” or “wooooooah,” but not quite, “woah, dude” and other favorable impressions.
I don’t remember how much I remember of Tifa consciously.
Subconsciously, I liked Tifa’s design more than Aerith’s design, and I suppose that might have led me in certain subconscious or conscious directions. When I first started replaying FF7 last year, I didn’t think much of whether I would favor Tifa or Aeris, and probably would have let the Golden Saucer date unfold as a natural progression of my dialogue choices. Whether them, Barret, or even Yuffie, I suppose before I could actually decide my party, I went with a sort of casual approach. As I realized that I should play the game while practice catching what storytelling elements I appreciate in narratives, I realized that I should have Tifa in my party because she is the childhood sweetheart of Cloud, similar to how Trishna might technically be the childhood sweetheart to John in “The Story.”
I suppose I also don’t really care for the spoiler aspect of the game’s narrative.
So, for me, I guess I enjoy the scenes with Tifa more than Aerith. When I consider that I am no longer a horny preteen or teenager, would I still prefer Tifa? Well, costumes aside, I like all of the characters in FF7, and replaying this game for the first time since the late 90s has shown me different perspectives. I see Tifa’s silence or reactions clearer than I ever could have without much, if any, life experience. I like Aeris’s character as well. I guess I would rather just keep my cast of three – Cloud, Tifa, and “Nanaki” – rather than shuffle around other characters into the mix, even if Barret physically represents John more than Cloud, and even if toward the beginning of “The Story,” Trishna might be better represented by Yuffie.
These are the sorts of decisions we consciously or subconsciously make.
I preferred Tifa over Aerith in now because I preferred Tifa over Aeris then. Given unlimited playthroughs, I might swap out various characters for various reasons, but since this is likely my only complete playthrough for the next ten years, I should play it as close to how I might actually act as possible if I were guiding these characters along. Unless I can replay certain instances from multiple perspectives without consequence, or, unless like in this scenario, I was more interested in leaving the bird’s nest alone compared to adding ten more Phoenix Downs to the pile I hadn’t used since early into Midgar, if even at all.
Making Tifa think I was admirable for this was just a pleasant side effect.
Does that mean I’m guaranteed a date with Tifa? I don’t recall if I had sabotaged my actions earlier on in the game, but it’s likely, given my recent in-game actions. These micro-moments are interesting to think about in hindsight. I would have easily disturbed the nest for a great item, probably even a decent one, but for items that I’d only sell later on? This, I suppose, is where my general morality sits – if we want to extrapolate specific psychology from general gameplay.
Were it in real life, how differently would I have acted?
I wouldn’t quite fess to criminal activities here, so let’s not pretend this is an admission of guilt, but I think it would be fair to say that I generally wouldn’t mess with hypothetical bird’s nests for hypothetical redundant items. Whether that would impress a hypothetical Tifa or not would, almost, be secondary. Would it be still secondary if I were still worried about going on the date with hypothetical Tifa more than, say, acquiring some rare item? These are the sorts of morality questions we can ask ourselves inconsequentially while playing videogames, especially if we’re playing to match our own psychologies, rather than the psychologies of certain videogame narratives or playstyles.
Some of these questions might even later heighten our self-confidence.
I know my general morality, so it’s easier for me to make decisions when there is anything questionable, whether it’s pre-emptively knowing when I’d steal hypothetically great items from hypothetical birds’s nests, knowing when I’d rather impress a hypothetical Tifa, or how I’d act in multitudinous hypotheticals I face daily. These questions aren’t particularly important to have lined up, except when our anxieties can run rampant over our consciousnesses. If you find yourself in situations analyzing the multitudinous hypotheticals of situations like this, then perhaps it might be easier to meditate on them in hypothetical environments where you can reset the game, consult walkthroughs, or even just accept the inconsequentiality of most of our actions.
All that said, I am happy enough with that morality path that I didn’t reset.
|Sources: My personal experiences.|
|Inspirations: Just writing thoughts after each major playthrough session.|
|Related: Other Media Meandry essays.|
|Screenshot: How cute.|
|Written On: 2020 June 08 [10:101010pm to 11:59pm]|
|Last Edited: 2020 June 08 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|