There is a stillness, a staleness, in the air the morning after a Bad Big Life event. A death in the family, a car accident, a breakup, vomiting the night away. Light shines into the room as defying the feeling that the sun would never rise again. A dream - a nightmare - has just ended. A nightmare that is real.
I have been lucky to feel this moment few times in my life. However, it is still a distinct feeling that I am all too familiar with. Icicle Lodge in Final Fantasy 7 manages to pull me into this feeling. The stuttering music, the snowy atmosphere, the dulled sensation from having switched disks. The journey that must go on. All of these parts come together on top of the fact that a prominent party member was murdered. And is now gone.
Aerith’s death is one of the Well Known Video Game Spoilers. I am sure there are people who know about it now before playing the game just like there are kids who know Vader is Luke’s father before even laying eyes upon a Netflix description for a Star Trek movie[ref]Pause for…[/ref].
I remember the exact moment when I first saw the cutscene[ref]Then I lost to the boss and had to watch it again. Cruel.[/ref]. I was shocked that a game was doing this to me. I had seen characters die in video games before, but I had not seen this coming. Emotions got the best of me. I cried.
The last time I had cried prior to that was two summers earlier when I was viewing my friend’s body in his casket. A car ran into him while riding his dirt bike. The driver of the car dashed off and was never found. His parents had their child stolen from them. We all had lost a friend.
The fact that FF7 was able to bring back that feeling felt weird and almost wrong. My friend was a real human being this was a video game character. Yet it was not the loss of this character that made me sad. It was empathy.
I still become silent and reflective after that scene. It reminds me of times where people are taken from us when we least expect it. It helps me to remember.