We’re pairing 8-bit music thematically, rather than based entirely on series. You can find this track and more Tater-Tot Tunes on YouTube! Stop by and jam to some great tunes.
Normal Happenings is proud to present The Characters That Define Us, a year long collaboration of 52+ incredible bloggers!
Out of nowhere comes a voice — well, a text — in my Twitter DM. The great J.R., from Kith and Kin Gaming Podcast offers to compose a piece for the collab in record time, and of course I couldn’t say no. What we got was honestly amazing.
You should most definitely check out the Kith and Kin Gaming Podcast! J.R., thank you for being a part of this.
Done With War
I am what you would call a “mid-life gamer,” one who has grown up playing video games for as long as I can remember and yet still desire to do so. In the 80s and 90s, I cut my teeth on both Mario and Sonic, not caring much for a console war. After all, I grew up on military bases with my father hardly ever being home because he had to go overseas due to “orders,” so I had no time for wars.
I suppose, in retrospect, I can honestly say that I hated the military life. Sure, I had great respect for what my father was doing and the sacrifice that he was making, but I didn’t like that the Air Force would send him away. During the Gulf War, my father was gone for over a year. That made no sense for an 11-year-old boy who didn’t understand why a so-called “100 Hour War” would take my dad away for so long. It was only after the fact that I found out that my father, who was an Air Force Firefighter, helped in the efforts to contain the oil field fires started by Sudam Hassan’s regime. He was a hero to the people, and certainly a hero to me.
The military defined my life for the longest time, but I didn’t like fighting, in fact, there was nothing more that I wanted than peace. I saw all the television clips of violence within the battle and I wanted nothing to do with it. To be honest, living the military life was actually quite lonely because I could never keep friends for very long. It was for that reason why I got sucked into books and video games, more specifically Role-Playing Games.
The Rebel King
If there was one game that captured a large portion of my childhood in its wonderful grasp, it was the American Final Fantasy III (a.k.a Final Fantasy VI). The Super Nintendo was my console of choice, and as such I dove into whatever I could pick up form the local Blockbuster. Final Fantasy VI was one of those games that started off as a rental, but two days was simply not enough time to dive into the content to the extent that I wanted to. Every character had a beautifully crafted story and personality to fit their tales. It was a band of nearly 14 separate warriors that came together to save the world they loved, only to fail and rise again from the ashes. All of them meant so much to me, but there was only one that I resonated with, and that was Edgar.
In the story, Edgar Roni Figaro is the king of the independent providence of Figaro. The evil Gestahlian Empire had subjected nearly every nation in the world, but Figaro remained neutral feigning allegiance to the Empire. Under Edgar’s leadership, Figaro secretly worked with a group of resistance fighters known as the Returners. Edger, being a talented engineer, crafted machines that would make it possible for Figaro to remain safe from the Empire, assuming they ever discovered the ruse.
That is, of course, what happens in the story. The half-esper Terra shows up and the Empire discovers her in Figaro castle. Edgar drops the facade and aids Terra and the rest of the Returners in their escape, only to put the rest of Figaro in grave danger. The rest of the game is spent with Edgar attempting to right wrongs of the Empire, even though he wanted nothing to do with the war in the first place.
A Lover Not a Fighter
Due to the story development of Final Fantasy VI being so rich, Edgar has a strong personality that shows within this game. One of his most defining features, which I also happen to share, is that he is kind of a flirt. I grew up as the oldest of two boys (we’ll get to that in a minute), and as such the ladies were always a beautiful mystery to me. Even as a young boy I had no problem with trying to charm the ladies with some smooth words. Of course, for a 12-year-old it was all harmless fun, and it rarely ever worked.
Edgar’s charms were a reflection of his heart. The man cared for all life and did not want to see what would happen if the Empire took over. His love for the ladies was a microcosm of a larger love for his nation and freedom. I myself have a big heart for the downtrodden, and Edgar showed me that there are some wars worth fighting.
Another detail about Edgar that resonates with me is that he has a younger brother who is completely different than him. That is Sabin, and ten years prior to events in the story he lost a coin toss with his brother over who would secure the throne. Interestingly enough, Sabin really wasn’t interested in becoming a king anyway, he was doing his own training to better himself as a fighter. Of course, Edgar had little interest in fighting and wanted to secure peace with the rising Empire, and the two went their separate ways for quite some time.
Interestingly enough, I have a very athletic younger brother who has spent years building up his strength to be a fantastic fighter and wrestler. He has trained in both Greco-Roman Wrestling and MMA, so one could say that he is the Sabin of the family. While he was doing this, I spent my time in college and grad school, studying theology, philosophy, and psychology, strengthening my mind, and not necessarily my body. Though we do get along, the way we deal with problems differs greatly. Brad (my brother) goes in head first, not really thinking things through. I, on the other hand, chose diplomacy first and only raise a fist if absolutely necessary. The similarities between our sets of siblings are almost uncanny.
I’m not much of a people person. It’s not that I don’t like working with people, but I prefer to be alone and work with things that are more predictable. That is one of the reasons why I studied psychology, as well as taken up the hobby of tinkering. Since people are so difficult to figure out, why not work on something that works the same way every time. Whether it is fixing up my riding lawnmower or piecing together an old computer, I love to see how 1+1=2, and how creating something can actually encourage a person.
Edgar’s Final Fantasy “Job” is that of an Engineer. In combat, he uses a wide array of tools ranging from a drill to a chainsaw, each causing a different effect on the opponent. I always felt drawn to his character because I always knew that his tools were reliable in battle. They rarely missed (save for the chainsaw, which can inflict instant death), and they were always available. Early in the game, those tools become necessary for victory.
A Changed Man
Probably the best feature in Edgar’s story is how he personally changes over the course of the game. Without revealing too much of the plot to save from spoilers, Edgar really steps up after the world is devastated by Kefka. Prior to that event, he was cocky and arrogant, but when everything he loved was laid to waste in an instant, he became the man he needed to be. Despite the destruction of his country, he did what he could to save what was left of Figaro, even to the point of joining up with thieves to break into the castle and fix its broken components.
Much like Edgar, half of my life was being spent for myself. Though I loved my family, I always thought of myself as being the best part of it. All of that changed when my world expanded after I got married and had three beautiful children. Much like Edgar’s world, mine changed as well, but not for the worse. This facilitated a change in me, one that is still going on to this day.
Yes, Edgar is truly the character that defines me; a man with hatred towards war, but a love for a world in ruin. Through study and knowledge, I strengthen my mind to help others deal with their problems, just like Edgar’s machines helped others with theirs. Along with my little brother, I work to make this world a better place, one solution at a time.
Adventure Map! *FINISHING UP!*