Jan. 10th, 2017

pocketseizure: (Celes Chere)
Starting in two weeks, I will be teaching a class about Final Fantasy X at a DC area university. A lot of my students are going to be baby game devs, and I'm assuming that the rest are high-level Japan dorks. I'm excited and very, very nervous.

When I was asked to put together a course on video games in a Japanese context, I saw two options for how to structure the class. The first was that I would assign a number of games to emphasize breadth, and the second was that I would assign one game to emphasize depth.

My main concern is accessibility. A lot of people who love (and develop) games genuinely suck at playing them, and I didn't want to assign any texts that my students can't "read." I also don't want to try to force my students into a major commitment of time or money, which will only result in them not doing the assignments. For practical reasons, it made much more sense for me to only assign one game.

I decided that the game would be FFX because of its accessibility. It's not a difficult game, it doesn't require a great deal of grinding, and it can be played from start to finish in about forty to sixty hours. There are two official English-language strategy guides floating around in PDF form, and there are numerous fanmade walkthroughs as well. Even if I somehow get a student who has never played a video game before, I'm pretty sure they can handle FFX.

The game also exists in multiple versions, which include the original PS2 game, the PS3 HD release as a disc and as a digital download, a digital version augmented for the PS4, a Steam version of the PS3 HD remaster, and a quality ROM for the PCSX2 emulator. What this means is that I won't have to try to swim upstream to get the university library to make a copy of the game available for students who wouldn't otherwise have access to it (which is convenient, because I gave up on that battle in early December).

What I also appreciate about FFX is that it's a good game. It's not my favorite Final Fantasy, and I haven't adopted any of its characters as my children, but there's certainly a semester's worth of material there.

More on this later as I iron out the awkward folds in the syllabus.

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