Final Fantasy 8 is the best, area man claims

The best new website of 2024 might, against all odds, be one Final fantasy 8 fansite.

Yep, that’s right: ruin your fancy new PS5 final fantasies – piously Final fantasy 8 fan Phil Salvador decided to launch a website dedicated to what he believes is the best Final Fantasyone full of very funny articles and passionate arguments.

In his day job, Salvador works as the library director of the Video Game History Foundationmeaning he is constantly searching and cataloging old gaming publications and is extremely aware of what games look like Final fantasy 8 were received, discussed and promoted. That, coupled with his deep and abiding love for the game and a penchant for weird URLs (like, meant that Salvador had more than enough gas in the tank to fuel an entire website in his spare time.

I recently met up with Salvador over video chat to talk about his new site, which he still can’t believe has taken off so much that he’s being interviewed about it.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Polygon: It’s wild that this has taken off, right? You just showed up with a site and a message that said “Final fantasy 8 damn rules, eat my ass.”

Phil Salvador: Yes, that message seemed to resonate with people. The reason I started it was simply that I was amused by all the different new domain names that have popped up in recent years now that there are more endings you can use for URLs. I had developed something of a reputation among friends and colleagues for being an aggressive defender of Final fantasy 8 and I thought it would be nice to make a place where I can put my thoughts on it, without it seeping into my other work.

I think what really clicked with me, and maybe the reason it clicks with other people, is that there’s really no point to it. I like the idea of ​​having a website that is not monetized and not used for a larger brand or social media accounts. It’s just a place where I write some stupid stuff every now and then and sometimes it’s smart and sometimes it’s not. And I miss that.

There’s a very early internet spirit to it, when people just made websites. They didn’t dream of being found by people who didn’t know about it yet. I definitely think people are responding to that.

Yes, the answer I have seen is that many people also want to make something similar. People miss the period in your life when you could just be creative and make fun of things. I think this is something we all have as children, and it goes away as we get older and deal with responsibilities and paychecks.

Image: Square Enix

I love this blog because it’s a place where I can just write a post that says “eat my ass” and no one can stop me. If people respond to that, that’s their problem. I hope there will be a critical reappraisal of it Final fantasy 8 in the near future, but I don’t expect that. This is not the website to do this. It doesn’t have to be that way.

One of my favorite posts on the site, next to the incredible magazine joke you dug upis your essay about how we’re stuck in 2007, the year you argued, an early YouTuber raged about the game and helped build public consensus FF8 from ‘universally loved’ to ‘divisive’.

Something we say at the Video Game History Foundation is that if you want to study a video game, having the game isn’t enough. We think you should understand how it was played and understood. So with that article in particular, I found it very interesting to go through all the magazines every time you got through, which was during the period when Final fantasy 8 was assessed. I used to skim through it and see what the review said, and people were ecstatic about it!

I think we take a lot of these things for granted. We just chalk it up to what was in the air at the time, but if you look at what was happening in different places in gaming culture, you can see how that shift is happening. You can see how ideas come together early on, and that’s what we’re trying to build. Our collection is all about things that will help people understand the role video games play in culture and how it has changed over time.

Yes, your blog has made that shift clear to me in a way I hadn’t fully registered yet!

Yeah, I think, especially in the print days, when there were fewer people publishing opinions or perspectives, it was easier to reshape the way people thought about things. One of the examples I love is that AND for the Atari 2600 OK reviews when it came out. It wasn’t loved, but it was a game that got two stars in the same issue while something else got one star. What happened, however, is that when people started writing the history of video games and interviewing former Atari employees, people at Atari and the surrounding area AND And Pac Man as scapegoats for what was happening within the industry.

It has become a kind of child of Omelas that we pile our abuse on to explain the history of video games. I think it’s worth going back and understanding how people viewed it at different times, because it’s never that cut and dry. We want a simple story and gaming history has never been so simple.

Squall and Rinoa approach each other against a sunset for a hug in this screenshot from Final Fantasy 8 Remastered

Image: Square Enix

One of the key messages I’ll be writing about in the blog is the idea that I think is one of the reasons there has been such a response to the Final fantasy 8 over the years is that it is a game about love and emotions and vulnerability. Early internet culture responded to this Final fantasy 8 is mainly a love story by writing it off or saying it’s stupid. (…) Now that we have such diversity in who expresses their opinions on these kinds of things, we have people who are more willing to embrace that.

Squall’s arc in that game kind of reflects the audience’s detached attitude toward an emotional love story at the time, right?

It’s about making his character vulnerable. Squall and Rinoa are both dealing with a lot of tragedy and loneliness in their lives – Rinoa has never really belonged to her family and has kind of fought against that and pushed people away from her, and Squall refuses to open up to people – and they find that at the end of the story they are both adults. I don’t want to spoil the space scene, but people will know this scene; it is a beautiful expression of people who literally find each other.

You have a call to action kind of hidden on the site so people can just make their own version of this kind of site. Can you tell me more about that?

I like seeing how people are creative in strange ways online. I like unusual Twitch streams. I love it when people do experimental things with YouTube. I like bold animations. I love anyone who just tries to do something because they can, and I feel like the internet as a medium for that has disappeared. Obviously, I came of age in the early 2000s and there were a lot of new websites. People who create or post weird single serve sites where they post weird stuff. I think we’ve gotten used to the idea that the internet is just a place where you search to find information about something, and not a place where you can express yourself like an experimental Twitch stream might be.

I don’t think we should return to our relationship with the Internet as it was in the 1990s, but I think we can create space for something like this. This site was a fun experiment because I had absolutely no expectations for it. I wanted to write things on them for fun and send them to friends, but bizarrely it was noticed almost entirely by word of mouth. And that to me is magical. I tried googling the site and maybe it’s because it’s new, but it doesn’t really show up in the search results and I don’t really care. The site exists. Eat my ass.