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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Christmas Wish Come True #2 - The Great Final Fantasy Switcheroo

According to the calendar, today is the first day of winter - and the shortest day of the year.  But don't worry.  I've got a great story to tell you for Day #21 of the POP CULTURE ADDICT'S ADVENT CALENDAR.  This is all about Christmas wishes and how one of my wishes came true.  But there's a little bit of a twist to how this story played out. 

The year was 1994, and one of the hottest games to be released on the Super Nintendo that year was "Final Fantasy VI". 

Only, it wasn't called Final Fantasy VI here in North America.  It was Final Fantasy III.  You see, in North America, only three of the six games at that time were released - I, IV, and VI.  And Nintendo relabeled IV as II and VI as III.  It's quite confusing and that's a lot of Roman numerals for all of you to decipher, but needless to say, Final Fantasy III or Final Fantasy VI was the big game that year.

And I wanted it.  I wanted it so badly.

I mean, it was a difficult enough game to even try and rent from the video store (and for that matter, remember when you COULD rent video games from a video store?).  At the time, Blockbuster hadn't arrived yet, all the copies at Video Visions were rented out, and there was actually a waiting list over at another video store in town!  Apparently it was such a popular game that I couldn't even rent it for one day - which was definitely not enough time to play it in!

Looking back on it, I can see why it was such a popular video game.  You got to fight in mechanical Magitek suits, the way you learned magic spells was ingenious and fun, and it's the only game in the series where some madman destroys the world and you have to fight in an apocalyptic wasteland to try and restore the balance.  It's also a very long game to play for the Super Nintendo.  It took me about 35 hours for me to find every possible secret within the game by the time I got the chance to play it.

By that December, I had managed to get the chance to rent the game once and only once - and I didn't even make it off the Veldt the first time around.  And I was salivating for more Final Fantasy VI action.  I mean, yes, I already had Final Fantasy IV (which in North America was Final Fantasy II, but you already know this story), but I had played that game over and over again.  I wanted the chance to play the newest game.

Finally, two days before Christmas Eve, a copy became available to rent.  And because the video store I rented it from was closed on Christmas Day, I had to have it returned before midnight on December 24th.  I figured that there was no way that I was going to get the game for Christmas because it was a lot of money at that time, so if I could at least rent it before Christmas, that would have been good enough.

So, Christmas Eve came and went, and while I was out getting some last minute things with the siblings, my mom returned Final Fantasy III to the store before the deadline was up so we could avoid the late fees.  And I was already trying to find a way to rent the game again after the holidays were over.

You can just imagine my shock when I opened up a gift that Christmas and I had my very own copy of Final Fantasy III in my hands!  My family also was pretty much guaranteed that I would be spending the rest of my Christmas holidays playing this game, but they were glad that I got the game.

Now, here's where things get really funny.  I immediately disappear to my room to play the game - but what was strange was that I already had the game in my Super Nintendo.  How was it that I had two copies of the same game?

It was there that I quickly discovered what had happened.  When my mom took back the video game...she accidentally grabbed the wrong one!!!  She ended up returning my copy of Final Fantasy II!  I mean, it was an honest mistake.  My mom knows very little about video games.  She saw the words Final Fantasy and just went with it.

So, on Boxing Day, we called the video store to report the mistake, and apologized profusely for it and we wanted to make the switch so I could get my old game back.  What we didn't count on was that the game was already rented out to another person!!!  Oh, I can just imagine the disappointment in that person's eyes when they thought they were getting Final Fantasy III, but instead got the wrong game. 

But I guess they weren't too disappointed in the long run because when I FINALLY got back my copy of Final Fantasy II - two of my save files had been erased and replaced with their own save files!  Which meant that I had to play that game all over again! 

Of course - that waited until I finished playing Final Fantasy VI.  My own copy this time.

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