Final Fantasy 8 is the best, area man claims

The most effective new web site of 2024 is likely to be, towards all odds, a Final Fantasy 8 fan website.

Yeah, that’s proper: Screw your fancy new PS5 Final Fantasies — religious Final Fantasy 8 fan Phil Salvador determined to launch a website dedicated to what he views is the best Final Fantasy, one stuffed with very humorous articles and impassioned arguments.

In his day job, Salvador works as library director of the Video Game History Foundation, which suggests he is regularly discovering and cataloging previous video games publications and unusually conscious of how video games like Final Fantasy 8 have been obtained, mentioned, and promoted. That, coupled along with his deep and abiding love for the recreation and a penchant for bizarre URLs (like https://ff8isthe.best), meant that Salvador had greater than sufficient gasoline in the tank to gasoline a complete web site in his free time.

Just lately, I met with Salvador over video chat to speak about his new website, which he nonetheless can not imagine has taken off to the level that he’s being interviewed about it.

This interview has been edited for readability and size.

Polygon: It’s wild this took off, proper? You simply confirmed up with a website and a publish that claims “Final Fantasy 8 fucking rules, eat my ass.”

Phil Salvador: Yeah, that publish appeared to resonate with individuals. The rationale I began it was simply that I’ve been amused by all the varied novelty domains which have been sprouting up in the final couple of years now that there’s extra endings you should utilize for URLs. I had developed form of a repute amongst mates and colleagues for being an aggressive defender of Final Fantasy 8 and thought it could be enjoyable to make a spot the place I can dump my ideas on it with out it seeping into my different work.

I believe what has actually clicked with me about it and possibly the cause it’s clicking with different individuals is that there’s probably not any level to it. I like the concept of getting a web site that’s not monetized and never feeding into some bigger model or social media accounts. It’s only a place the place I write some silly issues now and again and typically it’s sensible and typically it’s not. And I miss that.

There’s a really early web spirit to it, when individuals have been on the market simply making web sites. They’d no dream of being discovered by people who didn’t already find out about it. I undoubtedly assume persons are responding to that.

Yeah, the response I’ve seen is that lots of people wish to additionally make one thing comparable. Folks miss the interval in your life when you may simply be artistic and make issues for the hell of it. I believe that’s one thing all of us have as kids and that sort of goes away as we become old and must take care of duties and paychecks.

Picture: Sq. Enix

I really like this weblog as a result of it’s a spot the place I can simply write a publish that claims “eat my ass” and no one can cease me. If individuals reply to that, that’s their downside. I hope there’s a important reappraisal of Final Fantasy 8 in the close to future, however I don’t count on that. This isn’t going to be the web site to do it. It doesn’t must be.

One among my favourite posts on the website, subsequent to the incredible magazine gag you unearthed, is your essay on how we’re stuck in 2007, the 12 months you argue an early YouTuber ranted about the recreation and helped push public consensus of FF8 from “universally beloved” to “divisive.”

One thing we are saying at the Video Sport Historical past Basis is that if you wish to examine a online game, having the recreation isn’t sufficient. We predict it is advisable perceive the way it was performed and understood. So with that article specifically, I assumed it was actually attention-grabbing going again by all the magazines any time one would come by that was in the vary of when Final Fantasy 8 was getting reviewed. I might all the time flip by and see what the assessment mentioned, and other people have been ecstatic about it!

I believe loads of these items we take without any consideration. We simply attribute it to what was in the air at the time however when you take a look at what was occurring somewhere else of gaming tradition, you may see how that shift occurs. You’ll be able to see how concepts get established early on, and that’s what we’re making an attempt to construct. Our assortment is round issues that can assist individuals perceive what function video video games have in tradition and the way it’s modified over time.

Yeah, your weblog crystallized that shift for me in a method I hadn’t absolutely registered!

Yeah, I believe particularly in the print days when there have been fewer individuals publishing opinions or views, it was simpler to reshape how individuals considered stuff. One among the examples I really like is that E.T. for the Atari 2600 obtained OK critiques when it got here out. It wasn’t beloved nevertheless it was a recreation that obtained two stars in the identical subject that one thing else obtained one star. What occurred, although, is as individuals started to put in writing the historical past of video video games and interview former Atari staff, of us at Atari and round that area used E.T. and Pac-Man as scapegoats for what was occurring inside the business.

It’s develop into pillaried and this form of little one of Omelas that we simply heap our abuse on with a purpose to clarify the historical past of video video games. I believe it’s value going again and understanding how individuals checked out it at completely different occasions as a result of it’s by no means that reduce and dry. We wish a straightforward narrative and recreation historical past is by no means that simple.

Squall and Rinoa approach each other against a sunset for an embrace in this screenshot from Final Fantasy 8 Remastered

Picture: Sq. Enix

One among the core messages I’m gonna be writing about in the weblog is the concept that I believe certainly one of the causes there’s been such a backlash to Final Fantasy 8 over the years is that it is a recreation that is about love and feelings and vulnerability. Early web tradition responded to the proven fact that Final Fantasy 8 is predominantly a love story by writing it off or saying it’s silly. […] Now that we’ve got such nice range in who is expressing their opinions about these things, we’ve got people who find themselves extra keen to embrace that.

Squall’s arc in that recreation is sort of mirroring the viewers’s standoffish posture to an emotional love story at the time, proper?

It’s about his character turning into susceptible. Squall and Rinoa are each coping with loads of tragedy and loneliness of their life — Rinoa by no means actually belonged to her household and has been sort of preventing towards that and pushing individuals away from her, and Squall refuses to open himself as much as individuals — and so they discover themselves and each mature by the finish of the story. I don’t wish to spoil the area scene with them, however individuals will know this scene; it is a lovely expression of individuals actually discovering one another.

You have got a call to action sort of hidden away on the website for individuals to simply do their very own model of any such website. Are you able to inform me a bit extra about that?

I really like seeing individuals be weirdly artistic on-line. I really like uncommon Twitch streams. I really like individuals doing experimental issues with YouTube. I really like daring animation. I really like anybody who’s making an attempt to simply do one thing as a result of they will and I really feel like the web as a medium has fallen away as a venue for that. Clearly I got here of age in the early 2000s and there have been loads of novelty web sites. Folks making bizarre single-serving websites or locations the place they’d put bizarre issues. I believe we’ve gotten used to the concept that the internet is only a place you search to search out details about one thing and never a venue for expression in the identical method that an experimental Twitch stream is likely to be.

I don’t assume we have to revert again to our relationship with the internet because it was in the ’90s, however I believe that we will carve out an area for one thing like this. This website has been a enjoyable experiment as a result of I had completely no expectations for it. I used to be gonna write issues on it for enjoyable and ship them to mates and bizarrely it’s caught on virtually totally by phrase of mouth. And that’s magical to me. I’ve tried Googling the website and possibly it’s as a result of it’s new, nevertheless it doesn’t actually present up in search and I don’t actually care. The positioning exists. Eat my ass.

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