Unhappy anniversary

Today marks the 10th anniversary of Final Fantasy VII’s U.S. release, approximately. I say “approximately” because the game was supposed to arrive on 9/7/97 but everyone more or less jumped the collective gun and released it early. Some areas started selling on the 3rd, while my local Babbage’s waited until the 4th to ensure that I was a day behind everyone else on the Internet and could have all the important twists spoiled for me well in advance of my actually getting there.

Me, I already wrote a loving tribute to the game some time ago and have little else to add. But Square Enix has upped the ante in fine style, marking the occasion by desecrating the few good things still associated with FFVII. I mean, my article wasn’t especially nice, but SE’s being downright vicious. Apparently Dirge of Cerberus and Advent Children weren’t enough, because now Tobal No. 1 — the underappreciated 3D fighter that played the “Zone of the Enders” role for the FFVII demo — is getting a punch right in the babymaker.

See, Tobal is coming back — great news for fans of the company’s bygone days of risk-taking and innovation. Oh, but it’s coming to… mobile phones. As “Tobal M.” This comes just a few months after the debut of Parasite Eve 3, a long-hoped-for sequel to the shallow-but-innovative “cinematic RPG” about killing a mutant woman covered in melty breasts. Two PS1 gems revived, and you will never be able to play them, you stupid American with your stupid underpowered phone. Besides, even if you could, you’d hate the experience, because even Japanese cell phones lack a game-friendly interface. Really, it’s a lose-lose situation for everyone… except Square Enix, who can chalk up another victory for antipathy toward gamers.

You can rest assured that sooner or later Square’s going to unveil Dew Prism Mobile, Einhänder 2 and — why not? — ActRaiser 3. All for cell phones. And on that day, we will all rise up and crush them with our collective nerd rage. (Or post persnickety comments on forums, which is almost as dangerous. Almost.)

18 thoughts on “Unhappy anniversary

  1. What irritates me more than Square Enix churning out this garbage? The fact that it’s apparently profitable, which means enough people are actually buying it!

  2. I’m feeling a little zen at the moment, so allow me to play devil’s advocate:

    Gamers are mad because SE is releasing a game on a platform they can’t use. Cell phones are pretty popular in Japan, right? I would guess that there are many, many more cell phones in Japan than DS Lite’s or Wii’s. This is just SE getting their toes wet in what is a very large pool. We will be able to play these games someday, and they will be waiting for us. With digital distrubition you never have to re-release anything, because you never have to stop selling it. Wait, what is SE thinking? How can they survive without re-releases!?

  3. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind the platform so much if it weren’t so universally terrible for games. Playing anything that’s not Phoenix Wright or an RPG on a cell phone is excruciating.

  4. I still fail to see the correlation between “babymaker” and “face.” I don’t think I’m grown-up enough to find it.

    As far as cellphone gaming goes, anything more complicated than Qix or QuadraPop is lost on me. Even Solitaire is unwieldy because of the difficulty in scrolling from card to card. I appreciate the level of innovation that Squex aimed for with Crisis Core –that is, episodic downloads, using the camera to generate Materia– but is the profit earned from a million cheap cell games really enough to offset what they would earn from half a million console games, which they could sell at ten times the price? Is it a matter of development costs?

  5. Dude… don’t taunt the cell phone gods or we could end up seeing Mega Man Legends 3 as a mobile exclusive.

  6. Oh my, if only they made a sequel for Einheinder for XBOX360, using 2D graphics but taking advantage of the new hardware. It would be absolutely fantastic, if done right. Let’s say, Odinsphere graphics meet shot em’ ups but much better than that. Also, the new movie called Shoot Em’ Up with that british guy from Sin City looks pretty awesome. Kinda also makes me think it would be fantastic if turned into a 2D shooter/beat em’ up hybrid.

  7. You know, I still kick out old Tobal No. 1 from time to time. Shame it looks like ass on PS3 because of all the combing… Anybody have any of the PS1 games you can download from the PS store? Do they look better than the games look running from a disc? I mean, are they true progressive scan? Because if so, I’ve got a crisp $5 bill for you, SE, if you’ll release Tobal via download.

  8. I would argue that the town-management parts of Actraiser (read: the good parts) would work very well as a mobile phone game!

  9. For some reason I’m not convinced that would make a mobile Actraiser 3 a good game though. The sim parts are great interstitially but to focus the game on them sounds rather less fun.

    Also, I personally think “The 3rd Birthday” is, all things aside, one of the greatest game titles ever.

  10. But…but…there’s always Crisis Core. Which looks more promising than all of the other FFVII tripe combined, although that’s kind of damning it with faint praise.

  11. Tobal 2, Bushido Blade… those were some fan-fucking-tastic games back in the day. When I first heard this announcement I honestly felt let down. Bringing Tobal to cell phones is just about the most insulting move Square could have made for this old fan of their past classics.


    Square is hardly anything more than a shell of the once visionary company it used to be…

  12. “Square is hardly anything more than a shell of the once visionary company it used to be.” Enix pounced on Square and sucked the marrow from its bones.

  13. My Nokia N95 has a TV output. I can play this shit on my TV and pretend it’s been released on a proper console! I can also pretend it has a useable control system!

  14. Yeah, now that Crossway mentions it, I think I’d rather have a Bushido Blade 3 for next-gen consoles. That game was not only fun, but *different* enough in its mechanics to be worth purchasing alongside something like Tekken or SC that my wife will be buying anyway.

    As for cell phones… I wonder if the iPhone design takes off and we see more phones with nice big touch-screens, if that would make gaming more viable. I suppose it’d be great for sims and maybe RTS’s, but I fear it would still suck ass for any kind of action game.

    (Apparently someone got an NES emulator working on iPhone complete with a NES control pad on the touch screen, which is awesome in theory, but using it is problematic at best.)

  15. My heart would die forever if Square Enix announced Dew Prism Mobile, and thanks to you, Mr. Parish, I will now forever live with the fear that they’ll do so.

    I hope you’re happy.

  16. Very happy.

    Re: babymakers, if you’ll note the character in orange is clutching his/her groinal area. Clearly Square Enix went for the low blow as a distraction to allow a clean head shot.

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