I just finnished Final Fantasy 10 and boy do I have a lot to say about that game.
Themes: Hope vs Hopelessness/Oppression, Tradisionalism & Oppression, Japan and Robotics and Time(my personal relation).
Theme 1, Hope:
The main theme in the game that I really valued was the theme of hope or defeating the oppression of hopelessless. The character you play as named Tidus is a smybol of this theme. He is the team leader and star of the Zanarkand Abes a fictional sports team and he is an optimist.
He is transported to a world were people don’t have real hope. They have a sort of contentment that is bred from hopelessness. This is first shown when he meets the leader of another team who tells him that team has never one a game in ten years and that it’s ok cause their goal is to do their best. Tidus joins the team and says now they have a new goal. To win. Everyone liked that better.
Soon after we learn that actually the whole world he was transported to the mentality where they are’nt even really trying to win, they are’nt trying to improve their situation and they actually don’t even believe that it’s possible.
Acually it’s even in their religion’s teachings. It says that the monster that periodically attacks them is doing so because they wanted too much. The moster is their until they atton for their sin of wanted too much. That they can’t do anything about the monster except have summoners volunteer to go on suiside missions to “defeat” it, only for it to come back after a few years.
That is the only hope they believe in which is sub par. I mean there is always better, but their religion is telling them that there is’nt and that even if there was, if they were to strive for it, they would be punished. They have learned to accept their fate. Well Tidus has’nt and neither has Auron and so they come and change things.
To me that is oppression. A state of mind of hopelessness. I believe that oppression, although it can be facilitated by others, in the end comes from the mind of the oppressed. The oppressed believe that their poor situation is out of their control and/or that they are supposed to be that way, that is what oppresses them. Hopelessness is what oppresses a person, and hopelessness comes from the mind not from someone else. Ofcourse that is’nt to say that someone who became hopeless could have just not. It’s not that simple, cause if they knew better than to be hopeless they would’nt have become that way. They just did’nt know and what happened, happened. Tidus comes along though and shows/reminds them of hope and then they choose hope cause it’s just better. Once they choose hope they can see ways of getting what they want and then work towards hopeful goals. In the end when you have hope, there is no failing, only winning, and attepts that give feedback that lead to more educated attempts and winning. I think it’s important to cultivate a winning attitude.
Theme 2, Traditionalism:
I feel like the theme of the dead coming back as something bad that is seen a lot in this game is a reference to traditionalism.
Most of the bad guys you fight in the game are fiends which are monsters that are made out of the essence of the “unsent”, dead people that never left the human plain.
Also, even though it’s a rule in the religious teachings that you are supposed to send the “unsent”, some of the people at the top of the ladder were “unsent” so there was that internal corruption that seems to come with traditionalism.
Maybe the idea of Tidus and Jecht being from the past ties in there too some how.
Also when you kill/”defeat” sin he is simply reborn.
Also in the religion that they are’nt deviating from even though it sucks it says you can’t use machines, but they use them anyways, only for certain things, as well as the higher ups using them and not saying anything. So it’s like the only thing that should be brought back to life because well it is’nt really alive anyways, is being controlled heavily and the “Al bed” the group of scavangers that still dig up ancient machines, are basically oulaws. I think it’s important for people to think for themselves and live based on what is real and what makes sense instead of on what someone just said. Critical Thinking. Terry Goodkind talks about the same thing in his “sword of truth” series.
Theme 3, Japan and Robotics:
Sin is said to have come as punishment for people’s vanity. The vanity, or only element of it they really mention is using machines. Japan is basically the Zanarkand of the real world right now and they know this. Their population is decreasing and they are relying on machines more and more because they can.
I have a feeling the idea in ffx of machines being seen as a problem is a reference to Japan, or maybe the whole developed world which is using machines and robotics more and more.
Theme 4, Time:
The theme of time. Tidus travels to the future. His dad travels to the future. Auron travels back to the past and then to the future(his present) again.
Tidus uses time magic. He is one of the fastest characters.
The theme of time actually related to me in a completely different but equally strong way. I, and a lot of people, spend a lot of time thinking about the past or the future instead of experiencing the present. This may not be the most healthy way to live. It makes sence that it is a survival mechanism but we have to decide at what point are we over doing the precaution and the fear and actually hindering our survival not to mention our happiness.
The reason we get scared and hurt and plan goals ect could be said to be instinctive survival tactics. The thing we are trying to protect the most, the reason we want to survive, is the experience of life. The experience of life is in the present for the most part. That feeling of awe at what life really is, is truely felt in the present moment. If we deny ourselves that then we deny ourselves that true gratitude for life it’s self that comes from realizing you are actually alive right now. That true gratitude is the difference between true happiness and situational happiness.
This is’nt to say that to be gratful just to be alive means you wont care about anything else. It’s just to say that you will be happy and striving to be situationally happier instead of sad striving to be situationally happy. It is obvious which one is more fun. It’s just about knowing the first choice is possible.
Ofcourse the past and the future cna be fun too and they are important especially having hope. However I think that to experience really just being alive in the moment is the biggest gift there is. It’s a gift because we did’nt give birth to ourselves. Hah. So I think it’s important to practise mindfulness routinely as a form of enjoyment. Finding a practise that is enjoyable, not just going and being a monk and hating life.
Anyways, when I first got this game like 4 years ago I was in a pretty bad place mentally thinking about the future. I got to the last boss and could’nt beat him, got sick of it, and stopped playing. I started playing the game again in February and this time was different because I guess was at a point where I could see how everything in the game related to my life. I have been studying positive psycology, mindfulness(not really a theme),thinking more critically, and Japan is awsome. I was ready see and I saw what the game could show me. Last night I beat the game. The last boss took around 4 hours off and on once I decided I would beat the game that night. It was worth it. That game was worth it.