One thing I have always said is that video games are as androgynous as the people who play them. Man or woman, you have an equal chance of turning a game on. Games respond to you in different ways. Some like it when you affectionately wiggle their joysticks; others prefer it when you slot a peripheral inside of them. But one iOS game, Final Fantasy: All the Bravest, is a big fan of foreplay. It likes it when you take things slow and gently caress, rub and stroke it. It gets especially excited when you pet it really fast. But don’t pet it so fast that your hand begins to ache, because if you do you’ll inevitably need to recover and, like a scorned lover, failure to satisfy All the Bravest's insatiable desire to be petted results in a one-way ticket to the 'Game Over' screen. Tough love.
Turn the game on again and try once more. You get a bit further this time. It lets you advance to the next stage. You’re hitting second base. You pet faster and faster. The thieves come out to play. You continue petting. Sadly, you white mage all over the screen prematurely and come to a sudden halt. Your limp hand falls flaccid; the game rejects you. You roll over and fall asleep, hating yourself for being unable to please the object of your affection.
It wasn’t always like this. You used to turn Final Fantasy on just fine. You were both big fans of grinding, and you were always rewarded for your efforts in satisfying its gameplay. But now whenever you look at Final Fantasy it just wants your money, and when you attempt to tell it how much it means to you it spits Gilgamesh in your face. You try and remember your fond battles with Gilgamesh from many years before, but All The Bravest doesn’t care - this is a new lover, and it’s far too selfish to concern itself with your needs.
But like a lost dog you continue to sniff around it because it shows you the slightest bit of affection. You remember those SNES graphics with gleeful nostalgia. You used to spend entire days lazing around in your pants together, adventuring and grinding. But things just aren’t the same now. Your lover is getting bad press in the media. You tell them that they need to change, but they don’t have any intention of doing so. People say things like, “Bastardisation” and, “You’re ruining the good name of Final Fantasy”, but All the Bravest doesn’t care. It looks up at you with a mixture of scorn and loathing, wondering why you don’t touch it any more.
So you get worried that All the Bravest is going to leave you and you start doing as it asks: you touch it. You run your soft, nimble fingers all over its smooth body. You flick, you pinch, you caress and you nurture. And then you pet. You pet, and you don’t stop petting. Things start happening on the screen. Lights are bursting all over the place. More and more classic memories materialize, only to fade away because you’re incapable of petting All the Bravest fast enough. You try not to let your inferiority complex get to you, but it’s no good: you tell yourself that it isn’t the game, it’s you. You can’t stroke it well enough. It just doesn’t respond properly to your touch any more. Tears stream down your face, coating the game. It doesn’t appreciate your simpering. It hates you.
You kill yourself. No more misery. No more sadness.
No more, Square Enix.