With developers remaking “Final Fantasy VII” in 2020, a Literary Hub contributor revisits one of his favorite games through a writer’s eyes. What else does this storytelling medium of our time have to teach literary artists?
Writing for Literary Hub, Jamil Jan Kochai recounts the the experience of playing Final Fantasy VII at twelve years old. “Refusing to remain static or single dimensional with its storytelling,” Kochai writes, “the game repeatedly breaks out of its own narrative form, all for the sake of the ever-widening story itself.” Kochai even goes so far as to describe a level devoted not to advancing the external plot, but internally exploring the main character’s psyche.
As a child, I preferred Sonic the Hedgehog over Super Mario, perhaps because I was drawn to the storytelling and character development in the Sega games (however “primitive” it may have been). As a matter of fact, my first piece of writing was “Sonic” fan fiction. I wonder how many other young writers can say the relatively new medium of gaming first inspired them to craft imaginative literature.
Luke Halyk’s Pokémon: Call to Adventure (2019) is a passion project the Saskatchewan-based filmmaker co-produced with cinematographer Joel Kereluke, who he met while the two were studying at the University of Regina, according to CBC. Shot over three days with a local cast and crew, the YouTube video stars sixteen-year-old Abby Clifford as Sophia, an aspiring Pokémon trainer, and the animated material was outsourced to Giuseppe Morabito in Italy. Halyk says the prototypical hero’s journey found in the video game series, about a protagonist from humble origins overcoming obstacles to go on an adventure, is what grants Pokémon its universal appeal.
Amidst backlash, Paramount pledged in May to overhaul the character design behind the titular video game hero of Jeff Fowler’s Sonic the Hedgehog (2020), and with the new trailer released yesterday morning, the response on Twitter has been positive, according to The Guardian. With his human teeth removed, his eyes enlarged, and the color of his fur brightened, the Sega mascot now more closely takes after character designer Naoto Ohshima’s original vision, a lovechild between Japanese kawaii as well as American “cool.” The preview for the Jim Carrey vehicle also features more aesthetical takeaways from the games, both scenically and auditorily.