The Storytelling Issues of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children


I’ve watched Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (and its director’s cut version, Advent Children Complete) more times than I can really remember, and probably more than I care to admit. I’ve been trying to put my finger on what the issues with that film in particular are. Everything in my previous post still applies, it’s clear that while the film has excellent visual flair it still has problems using that to tell a coherent story.

But I think it’s hard to really comprehend this on a simple viewing. You have to really break it down in order to figure out where the film stumbles in terms of storytelling. To that end, I’ve broken the film down into scene beats, bold indicates a scene added or altered in the Advent Children release.

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The Difference Between a Cutscene and Film


There’s something that I’ve been thinking about for many, many, months. I wanted to do a post on why, for whatever reason, Final Fantasy VII Advent Children doesn’t quite feel like a movie. It was a similar feeling to Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV, of which I discovered the root cause when I went to its IMDB page. Literally, all the team had experience with was cutscene work.

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children possesses the technical properties of a movie, and is technically proficient in its construction. It’s the most watchable of all the Final Fantasy movie, not as anemic as Final Fantasy: Spirits Within or as fundamentally broken as Final Fantasy XV: Kingsglaive.

However, in order for me to really get at the heart of what the issue is, I have to answer a question that no one that I’ve ever seen has really given an answer for or even really addressed: I have to delineate the difference between a cutscene and a film.

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The Apathy of Mighty No. 9

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As with many game releases, I often hold back for a while in order to get a more accurate and less charged point of view. I had heard of the infamous “Mighty No. 9”, helmed by Keiji Inafune. While he was not the creator of the Mega Man franchise as is often believed, he certainly was a major part of it.

There is a certain element of modern folklore to Mighty No. 9’s development history. Indeed, many can easily recount Mighty No. 9’s rise and fall.

As I mentioned in a previous post, Capcom virtually demolished the Mega Man franchise after Keiji Inafune’s severance, relegating the property to cameo appearances (which varied from extremely unflattering to being fairly well-received) and an abysmal mobile game with gameplay so stripped down that it was easily replicated within 24 hours, minus the card game aspect.

So fans were eager to back Inafune’s Kickstarter, the spiritual successor to Mega Man known as Mighty No. 9. But how was that going to play out?

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Capcom And Konami’s Ongoing PR Nightmare



Photo by Alvimann at

I find the game industry to be an unusual specimen of sorts. The interplay between fans and media creators is a tangled mess that will largely be explored in “Fear and Loathing on the Internet”, but I do want to call attention to a certain pattern of corporate behavior.

Today we’re going to talk about two large game publishers, Capcom and Konami. For the uninitiated, Capcom and Konami cut their teeth early on in gaming history. Capcom became well-known for franchises such as Mega Man, Street Fighter, and Resident Evil. Konami became well-known for franchises such as Metal Gear, Castlevania, and Silent Hill.

But, take a quick glance at internet forums and you’ll find the discussions regarding Capcom and Konami to be largely very denigrating. What on Earth happened?

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Day of the DLC



Photo by OfDoom at

I am not a man of nostalgia. My impression of video games, as a whole, has improved over time. My childhood may be have been filled with moments of legitimate joy, but it was also filled with many more times of trial and error. Gameplay conventions that I appreciate about the modern state of gaming were absent. I recall trying to play the original System Shock and being shocked that it required the player to use a slider on one of its many intimidating user interfaces just to look up. It was an era before mouselook, an era in which I was uncomfortable travelling.

But just as it would be inaccurate to view my personal childhood through rose-colored glasses, so too would it be inaccurate to view the present state of gaming through the same lens.

My largest gripe is the surge in DLC or downloadable content. DLC is pretty self-explanatory in concept. Previously, additions to a game could only be released for PC games as expansions. Consoles for the most were absent from this process, though the lock-on cartridge for Sonic 3 and Knuckles could be argued as its own form of an expansion pack (though it would be more accurate to describe it as a standalone expansion). As the Dreamcast introduced online connectivity, and the original Xbox introduced hard drive storage, it was now possible for a game to receive patches and updates from the internet.

But, the widespread adoption of DLC came quickly, and without structure. People were still trying to figure out what to do with it. Arguably, they still are. But what was happening as a result?

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No Man’s Sky and The Death of Hype Culture


I’m certain that I’m late to the party on this subject, but I do want to throw in my two cents on the broader pattern of the presence of “hype culture”. The recent release of “No Man’s Sky” helps to highlight a key problem with how consumers and media creators interact.

Hype culture is the result of the process of elevating the consumer’s expectations through tantalizing press releases, trailers, demos, or other forms of marketing and promotion that are meant to produce “buzz”. After the product is promoted, consumers begin to jump on the bandwagon in anticipation for release.

But does this expectation always match with reality? To that, we turn to the case study of No Man’s Sky. What happened with No Man’s Sky, and why did it turn out the way that it did?

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Gamers Gather For A Smashing Good Time at CCBC

Everyone was crammed into the dimly lit room. Around them were several projectors, each of them playing a game. Game consoles varied from old classics like the Sega Dreamcast to the latest generation such as the Wii U.

One crowd of gamers were playing Marvel Vs. Capcom 2. Another were playing Dead or Alive 5. Others were playing Killer Instinct. Two projectors were playing Super Smash Brothers.

No doubt, everyone was having a good time. Club president Chris Mason Hale noted in particular the popularity of Super Smash Brothers, “We try to change it up, but…it’s what [people] come for.” Vice President Linda Brainerd added, “We have such a high volume of club participation, Smash Brothers seems to be the best choice because you have the capability of playing [with] up to eight people at one time. Nevertheless, they also voiced their enthusiasm for other games such as Super Street Fighter and Pokken Tournament.

Brainerd went on to describe her favorite parts of video game club. “It is the aspect of bringing people together that are like-minded and see them make friends.” Hale agreed, “A lot of people who come to club, I don’t think would be in the same groups without the club. I think we introduce a lot of people who normally wouldn’t cross paths…”

Secretary Quentin Stefano said “My favorite aspect is the community itself. We are a very big organization on the campus, one of the biggest. We are also one of the friendliest. We welcome anyone and everyone to our club.”

The star of the show was definitely Super Smash Brothers. The colorful, quirky fighter was the biggest draw by far, and many were lined up to play it. Whether it was competitive or casual play, Smash Brothers was at the top of the list.

Super Smash Brothers was first introduced on the Nintendo 64. Designed as a budget game, it quickly became popular with gamers around the world. While the first game was not well-known for its competitive scene, it did find an audience.

Unlike most fighting games, which rely on depleting your opponent’s health through attacks, the main goal of Super Smash Brothers is to knock your opponents out of the ring. As a character takes damage, they are launched further and further away from the attack. This act of “launching” a character offscreen is the main way that players deplete a set stock of lives. Once the stock is depleted, the player is considered defeated.

The competitive scene really came into its own upon the release of the game’s sequel, Super Smash Brothers Melee. Improved game mechanics, new characters, and a tournament-friendly style of play made it a go-to favorite for tournament players. Even to this day, Super Smash Brothers Melee is being played competitively.

Melee’s popularity with the community has resulted in tournament communities cropping up around the world. At anime conventions, Melee is often one of the top games played competitively. People line up with their old Nintendo Gamecube controllers just to play the fabled game.

Upon the release of the Nintendo Wii, fans were greeted with teases for a new game. The game, Super Smash Brothers Brawl, was the third and most controversial edition of the game. Support within the tournament community was not as strong as it is for Melee.

There are several reasons for this. The addition of a “tripping” mechanic in Brawl felt that power was being taken away from the players. Additionally, the physics were changed to a “floatier” style, making people fight more defensively. The addition of “Meta Knight” has been widely scorned by the community and most tournaments explicitly ban the character from use.

However, when the Wii U came out, another Super Smash Brothers looked quite promising. Super Smash Brothers for Wii U, colloquially called “Smash 4” was well-received by critics and fans alike. This version also came out with a companion version for the Nintendo 3DS. Several of the fans’ biggest gripes were officially dealt with in Smash 4. The tripping mechanic was removed and several characters were altered or “nerfed”.

This edition of Smash Brothers also had downloadable content or “DLC”, characters and stages that were added into the game after launch. One example is the popular Cloud Strife from the video game Final Fantasy VII, as well as the sultry Bayonetta who has graced the console with Bayonetta 2.

Regardless of whether it was Smash, Marvel Vs. Capcom 2, or any of the other games at the club – it was clear that everyone was having fun and getting to know each other. With such an enjoyable pastime, it’s clear that the club has a bright future ahead of it.