The Anatomy of Final Fantasy VI: Episode I

Finally, at long last, I’ve kicked off the promised video companion series to Anatomy of Games. This is a complement to the text pieces, not a replacement. Please enjoy, or at the very least don’t be too nasty if you hate it. It’s not a coincidence that I’m launching this on Thanksgiving. When I think […]

The Anatomy of Final Fantasy VI | 7 | M-m-m-m-magic

The party’s escape from Kefka’s assault on Figaro involves yet another fixed, mandatory fight. All appearances to the contrary, these are not the norm for Final Fantasy VI. They seem to be heavily front-loaded, or at least attached to major plot events… which are heavily front-loaded. This time around, you the player are on the […]

The Anatomy of Final Fantasy VI | 6 | The meretrix of Figaro

Once you leave Narshe, the overworld is basically walled off to give you a small amount of territory to explore, but not so much that you’ll get lost. Between Narshe, the Chocobo Stables, the blocked cave, and a castle standing in the desert to the south, you can only travel to four destinations. Everything but […]

The Anatomy of Final Fantasy VI | 5 | The didact

Everything until this point of Final Fantasy VI — approximately 45 minutes of play time — has been a sort of prologue that doubles as a subtle tutorial. But now that you’ve made your way into Narshe and back out again, you have the opportunity to experience a genuine, overt, no-bones-about-it tutorial section. These training houses appeared first […]

The Anatomy of Final Fantasy VI | 4 | Moogle rush

Annoying admin note: Hi everyone! If you’re enjoying The Anatomy of FFVI, please consider supporting this site on Patreon. The campaign is less than $45/mo. away from the point at which I’ll turn the FFVI series (and future series as well) into videos, which would be pretty rad… please, help out if you can. Almost all the post-tax money from […]

The Anatomy of Final Fantasy VI | 3 | Terra battle

Not only is the game not over once the mystery creature locked in ice explodes ??????’s Magitek device, we’re not even done with the prologue. The girl awakens in a cozy bed with a guy described in the dialogue as “old man” watching over her. He doesn’t look that old, but I realize that most JRPG […]

The Anatomy of Final Fantasy VI | 1 | Slave 4 U

Twenty years ago this week I drove across town to the nearest Target one afternoon as soon as my classes were out. My goal: The Super NES game case, where a brand new release was on sale. I’d seen it advertised in late-night MTV commercials, of all things, and the gushing EGM review from a couple […]

The Anatomy of Super Metroid | 19 | The secrets of Super Metroid

Like any good game, Super Metroid contains plenty of secrets. Some intentional, some less so. The sheer number of working parts in the game that collide as you put the programming code through permutations the developers couldn’t have predicted or accounted for inevitably make for some surprising interactions. Some of the details are simply there […]

The Anatomy of Super Metroid | 18 | Zebessinia, Henry

The defeat of Mother Brain doesn’t mean it’s game over, of course. It wouldn’t be Metroid if you didn’t have to run desperately to the exit before the enemy base explodes. You have three minutes to reach your gunship before Mother Brain’s lair detonates. While the notion of an escape sequence should feel like old […]

The Anatomy of Super Metroid | 17 | Family reunion

The game uncharacteristically wrests control aways from the player as the super metroid chows down on the sidehopper, and as soon as it’s completed its snack you regain power over Samus again. There’s just a split-second before it swoops down and latches onto Samus and begins depleting her health many times faster than any other […]

The Anatomy of Super Metroid | 16 | Reprise

With Ridley down, there’s just one place left to explore. Unless you’ve not explored all the other places you couldn’t get to before you acquired all your cool gear, in which case there are many places left to explore. Go on, explore them. I’ll wait. No, really, take your time. OK, done? Great. So now […]