As of today, February 26th, we are officially one month away from the release of Bioshock Infinite. I don’t know about you, but I feel like a kid at Christmas, if all that kid had heard for the last six months was uncle Ken hinting about how great her present was gonna be.
Today also marks the week-and-a-half anniversary of my roommate beating Bioshock, and I had tons of fun watching her play with immense, childlike enthusiasm while trying not to blow the big tweest.
Somewhere between chuckling about Eve’s Garden and finding out that Hephesteus was aptly named, I started thinking about religion in the context of Bioshock. Despite the boldly antitheist nature of Rapture, the city in which Bioshock takes place, the player is confronted with many elements that relate to religion in some fashion. From locations boasting the names of Greek or Roman gods, to the ADAM and EVE pumping through the main character’s veins, religious symbols dot the player’s stomach-turning advance through the destroyed Randian nightmare that is Rapture. With so many religious references, one might begin to wonder how to connect those dots.
Archetype I: The Perky Refugee Archetype II: The Jaded Beauty Archetype III: The Sad Clown Archetype IV: The Failed Hero Archetype V: The Pipsqueak Archetype VI: ???
I am going to kick this series off with perhaps one of the most easily recognized archetypes in Final Fantasy—one that is often brought up with no reference to archetypes whatsoever, and regarded, as often as not, with a certain amount of ire: the Cute Girl. A perky and somewhat obnoxious teenager, she maintains a cheery disposition despite any trials she and the party face. She is always there with a smile and a silly phrase, singing about trains, skipping through a desolate ruin, or writing cutesy love letters to the male lead. She is something of an emotional compass for the player—more than any other character, if something dampens her mood, it’s meant to be nothing short of a tragedy. Famous and infamous examples of this archetype include Yuffie Kisaragi (FFVII), Selphie Tilmitt (FFVIII), Eiko Carol (FFIX), Rikku (FFX), Penelo (FFXII), and Oerba dia Vanille (FFXIII). This archetype is also one of the longest running, and can be found as far back as FFIV with Rydia, and FFVI with Relm.
However, it seems disingenuous to suggest that the Cute Girl’s titular cuteness is the limit of her impact, or the extent of the commonalities between these characters. There are additional common threads that bring these girls together, specifically similarities of foreignness and large-scale oppression. That in mind, I believe a better moniker for this archetype would be the Perky Refugee.
I’d like to start this blog off by dating myself: as of this year, it has been a decade since I played a Final Fantasy game for the first time. I was amazed with its wonderful story, bowled-over by its beautiful graphics, awed into ignorance of its terrible voice-acting. After a video game hiatus brought on by console evolution and limited funds, Final Fantasy grabbed hold of my heart and pulled me right back into the gaming world. Though things have changed since then, and FPS and adventure games have appropriated the majority of my game shelf, Final Fantasy has embedded itself into my very soul like an emotion-producing parasite. Despite any disappointments I may have with the direction of the series, or any flinching I do at scenes that still haven’t given up the cheese after ten years, it is a series that will stick with me always.
As such, it’s about as surprising as finding bingo hall in Florida that that I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about these games. Their various plots and story lines, the ways in which the characters interact and, yes, the paths that the series has carved by treading the same ground over and over again. Over time, I began to ponder something that stuck in my mind for a while, so nerdy and odd that even I worried it was too much. But I am nothing if not really nerdy, so eventually, I decided it was time to undertake the project that I had become so interested in: Final Fantasy Archetypes.
My name is Ash, and I like video games. That seems like a good place to start.
I have been playing since the tender age of six, when I started on an old brick of a Gameboy with the plastic screen missing. I graduated to the N64 at eight, and Playstation 2 in high school—I now have a modest collection of XBox and Playstation games, a nice set of “vintage” cartridges, and a XBox Live gold card. I am also trained—and relish—in the art of literary analysis, and am utterly unable (read: unwilling) to keep that peanut butter out of my video game chocolate.
So that’s what this blog is: a nice place to organize my involved and somewhat inane thoughts (which I so enjoy) about video games (which I so love).
If you’re on this nerd-train with me, welcome to Oracle Turret. There’s no sleeper car, but hopefully the posts are good enough that you won’t be needing it. And there’s plenty of video game chocolate.