Just did another GameSharked speed run through Final Fantasy 6, it's doable in about 12 hours if you crank up the stats, start off with the good weapons and armor, and just blast on through everything that gets in your way. Still have some of that great Nobuo Uematsu music playing in my head.

I feel that I’ve earned it, played thorough twice before with no cheats. I was a gamer purist once. I despised the typical dilettante rpg gamers especially, over-leveled munchkin powergamer dweebs who couldn't find their way across a room without a walkthrough. My game was always getting as far as I could with my characters on the lowest level possible. So it was a challenge, minmaxing on the edge, where you just barely squeak by on the boss fights. The way I played ff6 was especially time-consuming, verging on the autistic. It involved arranging my party in descending order of how far away they were from leveling up, and then swapping Espers around to get that small +1 to +3 stat boost on the levelup.

The other day, had lunch with Tinx and one of her friends, an older woman who didn’t understand what we get from games. It’s about rehearsal of competence, It’s about being in a world that makes sense, is just and fair, there are rules and punishments and rewards from working with the rules. If it’s a good game, there’s room for clever hacks. It’s about the psychologically rewarding, addicting feedback flow, like when you get the machinegun that helps you mow down even more zombies.

I never liked the analogy that “life is a playground.” For me, the truest analogy that cuts to the heart of things is that life is a game. Real life is the big, messy game with no power gauges, played with imperfect information, and it’s competitive and cooperative and zero-sum, all at the same time.

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