Oh my gosh, cats. Come look at this. Just look at it.
Earlier today, the All Games Beta Twitter pointed out that Square Enix Europe’s original Final Fantasy 8 promotional website is somehow still live.
My candy cigar fell unheeded from my lips as I rushed to confirm. There it was, exactly as I remembered it – down to the (very) pre-HD resolution. Look at it drowning in my modest browser window.
When you get into the main body of the site, it doesn’t tell you what’s available. You have to mouse over the character portraits to reveal links to various sections. This is how web pages used to be; you had to work to find content, because we lived in the future and were damn well going to find ways to make interactivity more interactive.
I can’t believe this site still works. I can’t believe you can still download screensavers – for PC and Mac! I think I was 15 or 16 when I first saw this website, madly anticipating the PlayStation event of the year. I remember talking it over in art class with my pal Nghia, who enthused over its “Resident Evil graphics” and the fact that it came on four discs. Four discs. These are the kinds of features gamers cared about in 1999.
My computer at home couldn’t handle the enhanced version, but the art department’s PhotoShop-ready beasts were fully equipped not to fall down crying whenever Flash modules appeared. Plus my school’s Internet connection was slightly better than out 56K at home, and could load the front page in an amount of time smaller than that required for civilisations to rise and fall.
There are multiple sections marked “coming soon”. Someone really thought they’d go back and add content to this. The site – and maybe some fans? – have been waiting 16 years for this update!
Nostalgia overwhelms me. I had about six GeoCities websites around this time, including one I made over to host my FF8 fan fiction (Squall died and came back as a zombie, Rinoa went to an asylum and was rescued by Irvine, who was a janitor, Quistis ran off with Xu and became queen of the whole world). It was part of a web ring. Dang.
Turn your speakers on, even if only for the cursor sound when you select your language. The tinny, highly compressed music is amazing until you realise it autoplays and can’t be switched off.
There’s an amazing uncredited Q&A with some anonymous Square Enix individual – or more likely, department. Gamers must know: how many minutes of FMV does the game contain?? We never change, do we, only now we only care about frame rates.
This is what the Internet was like. It was awful. We loved it. You can check this relic out yourself here. You should do so before Square Enix remembers it exists and pulls it – assuming it still has the password.
Alright, let’s talk about our Final Fantasy feelings for a bit. I’m gonna fish out my Griever necklace especially.