In Saturday, 23rd June, I beat Final Fantasy VII for the second time. This time, without cheating. The remarkable bit about this game in general was that the end was, of course, very damn complex and strategyful and most notably weird - so I did what seemed like the most logical thing at the time: I recorded the whole end battle on video.

This was very advantageous because of various reasons. First of all, I could show the same thing to my friend, who hadn't played the thing in ages. Secondly, I tried to show the end battle to my sister but I wasn't as fortunate, so I could show the end video to cover what I couldn't in the real battle. I could also look at the video and form some kind of strategy and get conclusions. (This is what killed me when I tried to show the battle to my sister: As soon as I formed strategy, the end battle went to hell. There's a difference between "strategy" and "tactics".) And, of course, it was just one of those things that I could kind of show off.

I had beaten the thing. I had a record of that.

My next Final Fantasy project is Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls. While it's possible to record the game again through Game Boy Player, I don't think I will, because the game has some really cool alternative that works just as well: The "Bestiary" thing.

I had one of those profoundly enlightening experiences one time when I browsed the bestiary. Imagine it: I select a monster from the list, its battle music starts playing, and it's picture and statistics are shown. I can pick Garland or Lich from the list, and I'm as if I'd be browsing old photographs: "Oh yeah, that guy really wanted to knock me silly." "Right, was this guy tough or what". I fought the thing and now, as a display of my victory, here it is, in its small crystallized form, a record of my victory. Not as gripping as a direct recording of the battle, but rather, just as effective as any photograph. And sometimes, photographs and news clippings tell a lot more of the past than video: Not as direct, but twice as thought-provoking.

The bestiary isn't just any photograph: The small "Defeated: 1" says a lot about uniqueness. "Defeated: 96" says I'm familiar with the thing.

I've got to admire it--it's simple, yet it's so effective and even, I might say, thought-provoking.

I love these recordings in all forms. I think the first "recording" game I saw was Nethack. The first game that actually recorded gameplay that I saw was Myth III. Since then, I've grown addicted to this recording feature--and one of the reasons I like console games is that my PC's processor needs not to run these difficult games and it can be dedicated to crunching videos in realtime or something similar.

My memory of how I beat a game first time on any system (I think: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Commodore 64) is still there, but it's only in my head, and kind of fading. Wish I had photographs or something. Let me record my fortunes and triumphs. I need that, like I need my photos.