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Getting to Know Our Members Vivi-gamer

Feb 13, 2014 at 8:50:27 AM
Tim81DE (3)
(Tim ) < Chrono Crosser >
Posts: 1237 - Joined: 05/11/2012
Q:Where are you from?


Norwich, to the east of England. Norwich which is mostly known for two things, Mustard (A condiment I personally find repulsive...) and the TV show Alan Partridge. The people in Norfolk are often stereotyped as farm folk with really bad farmer accents, but in the City of Norwich I never see that personally.

One place I like is The Forum, a huge library built for the Millennium. I often visit there for some ‘me’ time and draw or work plans for media projects.

It also has a wide range of shops many independent sales stores which I visit to pick up deals on games 

Q:How long have you been collecting?


Hmmm, that’s tough to answer, I have been fond of games all my life. The first console I really got into being the Sega Megadrive (Sega Genesis to the US folk). Where I’d played games like Sonic, Street Fighter 2, Mickey Mouse & Donald Ducks World of Illusion – Many good times.

But The first console I really got into was the Playstation 1. I remember fondly of birthday and Christmas gifts, Final Fantasy VIII or Tekken 3, so I would say that was the first console I started gathering games for myself.

I think it has only been within the last 2 years I have gathered a more heavy collector’s mentality. Where before I would mostly focus on getting games of the current gen, now I am trying to acquire physical copies of older games more. I don’t think I will ever be as avid as many collectors on here, I am not the sort of person who will buy a game for the sake of it. If I buy a game and do not enjoy it, I will not hesitate to sell it. I’m a gamer first and I feel the value of my collection is not on the base of what is rare it is on the enjoyment I get out of the products.

Q: It's very evident that Final Fantasy is your favourite series. Do you have a particular moment from any of the game that stands out as the best?


This is such a difficult question to answer. I was thinking of this only recently as I am currently replaying Final Fantasy XIII. The series just has so many moments that it is really challenging to narrow it down to just one. Part of me wants to suggest The Nibelheim back story in Final Fantasy VII or the battle of the Gardens in VIII. So many amazing moments and fond memories but I just have to choose this.

Final Fantasy IX – The Black Waltz confrontation:

There are just so many things happening within this event. Vivi coming to terms with this creation, watching his species being disposed of like they are worth nothing and the first time we see the little guy stand up for himself and retaliate. Then we have Zidane rush to aid him as the scene turns into an epic chase. I feel that clip just captures everything wonderful about the game and JRPG’s in general.

Also, we have a place in the forum where many of us are talking about Final Fantasy, so if there are any of you who have yet to post in it please do  

Q: Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII will end the Lightning saga. Do you feel this is good or bad for the franchise?


A very interesting question. Firstly I think it is important to look at the games prior to Lightning Returns to see where it has come from.

Final Fantasy XIII was a phenomenal game, I bought it on release and played the story for a solid week at 55 hours. The game was just a joy from start to finish - I did eventually Platinum the games at 110 hours. Having played Final Fantasy XII and been sorely disappointed on the lack of character development and story ( The story was more focused on the politics, but lacked heart.) it was such a thrill to play through a Final Fantasy that had the spirit of an adventure again. I loved the characters of this game. Each character had their own motive and struggle to compete against while all working together on understanding their focus as a team.

Unlike many I loved the battle system to the game. The focus being on the characters classes in battle (Called Paradigms) rather than the initial attacks. Many people were discouraged that at the icon on the menu ‘Auto-Battle’ – Which essentially auto assigns your attacks. But I often found myself assigned the attacks manually and found I got a much better advantage as I was making the most of my line of attacks per turn. But the focus of the combat is switching paradigms for the right moment. So say if an enemy is about to unleash an almighty attack, you quickly switch your characters to a defensive paradigm set. Another important part of the combat is the stagger bar, which you can build up through a series of attacks and when you reach the peak of the bar, the enemy becomes vulnerable for you to really lay into them – This was the heart of the battle system and something I found ever so engaging. More so than a lot of previous FF’s if I am honest.

The game is not without its faults though, there are a few problems. For instance, in the battle system having the lead character die means it is game over – Even if your party members have revive. It was a stupid mechanic removed from XIII-2. Another big problem is that a lot of the games depth and back story to the world and its creators is hidden in datalog memo’s in the menu. It meant the gods of the world which were important to the story were left quite ambiguous if you did not read them. The game also lacked a sense of exploration, this never bothered me as much as most as the story was always active, I never found the areas tedious, but I do miss the joy of travelling around the world and visiting towns. The game does open up around 25 hours in to a vast wilderness land, but that is around ¾’s into the game.

Now with all of that, Final Fantasy XIII was still a brilliant game and worked well as a self contained story. The conclusion is satisfying and from that moment you can sort of imagine the world’s at peace. Well then a sequel appeared. This is part of the problem... it just didn’t need to exist.

Now that is not to say Final Fantasy XIII-2 is a bad game. There are many positive things about the game. The game is more open than the previous game, allowing the player to transport to other areas and explore. The combat system has some refinements and an all new monster system, where you can collect monsters to assist you in battle – which worked really well.

But the games story... just went from a bit ambiguous to totally convoluted. I admit I cannot even remember the full story and I am soon to replay it before Lightning Returns but I remember it being average. The main problem was Serah, you play as Lightning’s sister and she simply isn’t lead character material and other than searching for Lightning there isn’t much too her. Luckily we are treated to a new character Noel, who was actually quite decent. One good thing to come out of the sequel was a brilliant villain in Caius. XIII-1 lacked a decent villain, there was no personal investment in Dysley, he was just a politician and against the will of the party. But Caius had a much bigger and personal motive for his actions, which was very well explored throughout the game.

I genuinely enjoyed XIII-2 but it was no way up to the Final Fantasy standard. Also what annoyed me was the integration of DLC. I have still not seen the epilogue to XIII-2 as I never had access to the DLC when playing it. I have actually bought it now as it was on sale ages ago, so next time I play the game I will get the full story which should lead on to Lightning Returns.

So now we have Lightning Returns and I have already played a demo so I have a decent idea of what to expect. But it seems to have gone from one state of convolution to another. Lightning from XIII-2 is portrayed as this god-like figure, which is why we did not play as her in XIII-2 to build that sense of awe in Search’s perspective. The world’s time has been halted for around 500 years and Lightning is now a Goddess who can manage time and suck souls into her chest... I really do not know what is happening with this game. I will play it still of course, I want to see the conclusion of this series but I am very, VERY hesitant.

The gameplay is very different from before. We only control Lightning now and in battle she can change from a set of classes, which are represented in costumes (Much like Final Fantasy X-2). From what I played of the demo, I found myself just button mashing a certain amount of attacks in one class before the ability points ran out and had to recharge, where I would jump into the next class and continue. It is clear that the battle system lacks diversity as to heal Lightning you have to pause the game and select an item rather than dedicate it to a class, because your 3 classes only has 12 commands, which you’ll have to dedicate to offensive attacks.

Then there is the open world gameplay, it seems that Lightning Returns is focusing on a more open world experience. Letting Lightning explore 4 different but much vaster regions.  Which I am all for, if the 4 regions are full of life and exciting. One thing that bothered me in the demo is the ‘social’ integration, uploading your status to Facebook or receiving items of other players who are presented as NPC’s... I just don’t want any of that in my game – it breaks the immersion.

Also, there trying to make Lighting Returns appeal to the action genre. In doing so they have added a few ladder sand poles to the environments.. but the problem is to make the player notice the object they have placed the same object in each area without changing the aesthetic design. I was playing the demo and noticed a candy-cane designed pole to slide down but it did not suit the dark palace I was in at all. The thing is, if they’re making Lightning Returns like and action game, I have to compare it to other action games and when you compare the same pole and ladder to climbing up every wall in Assassins Creed it does fall short of expectations. Had this been a spin-off like Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core for the PSP the change would be fine. However, this is meant to be the conclusion of the Final Fantasy XIII saga and it simply does not feel it can live up to the name of Final Fantasy XIII-3.

... Yes this is what happens when I talk about Final Fantasy haha... but in short, yes I am very interested to see how Lightning  Returns: Final Fantasy XIII turns out. I have my pre-order set for the game and guide and intend to be playing it all this weekend and beyond.

Q: Getting back to collecting, what is your favorite game, or piece, in your collection?


Well I am tempted to say my non-platinum version of Final Fantasy VII, VIII & IX, but I will mention  something more interesting. One of the reasons I adore games is the inspiration through the artistic design. I went on to study Art due to the imaginative artwork produced for these games. So I do occasionally seek artbooks, if I can get them for a game I really care for.

My favourite artbook I own is ‘The Art of Final Fantasy IX’. What is wonderful about this book is how it doesn’t just show the usually Final Fantasy promotional art or Amano artwork (Which is superb and I recommend getting the book dedicated to his work called Final Fantasy: The Sky). What is wonderful about this book is that it shows all the production sketches from the whole art team. From every details, to the characters, main and even NCP’s, creatures, weapons, towns it all there and gives such a deep insight into the design process put into the game.

Q: With the next-generation launching, we're down to the final years of the PS3's life cycle. What were some of your favorite games on PS3?


I always like to look back upon a generation of gaming and see what the generation has brought me, so I will offer a personal top 5 for you:

5. Fallout 3:

When I think of games that define the new traits of a generation, Fallout 3 easily comes to mind. I’m a console gamer, I usually just do not get along with PC games and most of my favourites are on console being a JRPG lover. But Fallout 3 brought the pinnacle of PC gaming to the Playstation 3 an it worked very well. The setting of the wasteland was just so well realised and it was great to just explore this vast land and search every little shack for salvageable materials. It was just a great experience and one I will remember the Playstation 3 for.

4. Heavy Rain:

I was hyped for this day one of  the announcement. Having played Fahrenheit/Project Indigo for the Playstation 2. I knew that Quantic Dream had the talent to pull off the sense of a dark thriller and oh was it worth it. The story of Heavy Rain is just so engaging and the concept of an interactive drama with serious outcomes from your actions was just such an exciting experience. I played through the game honestly, had I made a mistake in the story I would continue as I wanted to see the outcomes and the game delivered this concept far better than games like Fable before it. But it’s not just the structure of the game, the story was very well written and i’m willing to admit made me weep a few times. It was just such a breakthrough for storytelling in the gaming industry.

3. Metal Gear Solid 4: The Sons of the Patriots:

The conclusion to the Metal Gear Solid franchise... which I believe whole heartedly is the best video game franchise to have a non going story. So it doesn’t get much more epic than this. The game did deliver, while I don’t regard it as my favourite of the series it was a thrill to play. I think my main problem is that the gameplay sections are broken up a little too much, you would go from one location to another each chapter while in previous Metal Gear games you were in the same place the entire game which is what made places like Shadow Moses or the Plant stand out so much. MGS4 doesn’t give enough time for the environments to really resonate. Also, I wasn’t too fond of the Beauty and the beast corp’ – They just appeared and then you got their back story after defeating them which felt like it was a bit too late to care for them. But the game itself has so many moments and some of the most refined gameplay in the series, Octocamo was a miracle after the camo nonsense of MGS3.

Also, I have to add that I loved Metal Gear Online! It just had so much to offer, while most games have the standard deathmatch, capture the flag and you just followed the goal MGO offered so much in gameplay. You could ram people with boxes, play hide and seek, throw people of buildings or hypnotise enemies with a saucy dance. I just had endless hours of fun and if MGS5 has an online mode, I will be there.

2. Final Fantasy XIII:

I---- think I have said enough about this already. J


Catherine! The real surprise of this generation for me. I I remember first seeing the game and thinking it was just a tacky erotica game. But as I heard more and more about it it just grew into this huge experience.

I had never heard of Atlus before this and I do not usually like anime styled games. But the anime visuals really complimented the surreal nature of this game. The story was simple but portrayed in an excellent way. Basically you play as Vincent who is about to enter man-hood and is fearful of settling down in a marriage. He has a partner who is Katherine and she is very persistant in marriage kids and all these things Vincent is still unsure of. Then you have ‘C’atherine, who is saucy girl who appears in Vincent’s lap one evening, so we follow Vincent through the conflict of the positives and negatives of both girls.

Now  the game is split into two separate categories of gameplay. The first being, a social-sim in a bar, where you can talk to  the locals, hang out at the bar and see the story progress. You can also communicate with both the conflicting ladies through the phone, every action you make causing an outcome towards the end. Then you have the core gameplay with the puzzle stages. In these stages you will have to overcome the trails of these towers which are presented by blocks, you have to move them around to progress to the top. What is great is that the stages act for a visual metaphor for the story and I won’t spoil anything but it just works so well.

Q: Can you recommend a few hidden gems to PS3 owners and why they should try them out?


One game I really like which seems to be tucked away is ‘Nier’, it was so close to being on my top 5 but I had to mention Fallout 3.

It’s an action RPG which controls as you would expect, with normal blade attacks and special abilities. But the story, is just so good! It’s a game you HAVE to play multiple times to really benefit the full experience, which some might not be willing to do, but I can certainly say it is worth it.
The story focuses on a Father looking for a way to cure his daughter from a plague which  has supernatural features. I don’t want to go into too much detail, the story does go beyond that but you’re have to explore that yourself. The game has a terrific set of voice acting which really adds a layer of depth not seen in other games and the soundtrack is by far one of the best this generation.

What’s interesting is how diverse the game is, these are occasions where the camera will move  to overhead view and you’ll have to fire beams with your abilities and the game feels more like a top-down shooter or change to feel like an old dungeon crawler, these moments are rare enough to feel like treats rather than anything intrusive.

The game certainly has a JRPG feel to it more than other action-RPG’s. There is a region to explore with many towns and places to explore And some of the boss battles are some of the most epic I have played this gen. If you like action RPG’s that play like Fable I would recommend giving it a shot.

Q: What are your favorite 10 games of all-time?


Oh this I will have to be very selective about... I am going to try not fill them with Final Fantasy, to the best of my ability...


The reason I still own a Dreamcast, even if this was the doom of Sega, I still appreciate the astonishing detail of this game. The basic premise being you are on the hunt for your father’s murderer and you explore the town and go through an leads possible to get further in the investigation.

The detail of this game is staggering, the town is just full of life and you cannot help just exploring it. The game even has a mini arcade and a combat system based off of Virtua Fighter. The game is also renown for introducing the QTE system we see in the majority of action games today.  I just wish they would get back on track an make a Shenmue III, I would except it even if it was a download game and built in the same engine as the first two games.

9. Mickey Mouse & Donald Duck’s World of Illusion:

Platforming at it finest. The game is released for the Sega Megadrive/Genesis at a time where Disney games where really at the height of quality. The game features Mickey and Donald can be played single player or in co-op – each mode having a different experience in level design.

I have fond memories of playing this co-op as a kid, the art direction of this game is just stunning , so vibrant and imaginative. It is also really fun to play in offer a various about of puzzles and platforming stages. Everyone seems to remember Castle of Illusion more, but for me, this game was far superior in every way.

8. Xenoblade: Chronicles:

A lot of people have been claiming the JRPG genre is dead, with Final Fantasy having an identity crisis and other JRPG’s being sparse, I was beginning to agree. Then this, THIS comes along for the Wii of all things. I admit I haven’t played Xenogears or Xenosaga (Something I hope to correct soon) But this is a standalone series so it was fine. This brought absolutely everything I love about the JRPG back to this generation. A new exciting world to explore, an engaging story, characters I care for, an action RPG combat system that works. It was just so perfect and better than any experience I have had on the PS3. I have a Wii-U already in hope for the sequel this year. Just never before have I seen a world that is so big and vast, it was such a pleasure to play this game and will stay with me for a long time.

7. Silent Hill 2:

Now onto something not so pleasurable. Silent Hill 2 is the bench mark for all horror games. It is a game that doesn’t rely on cheap scare to shock you. This is a game that will really get under your skin, from the symbolism the monsters represent to the atmosphere of the sterile environments. I actually had to stop playing the game once as it was just so upsetting. It’s really that powerful. It has one of the greatest narratives in gaming and a lead character who is really unsettling to play as. When it comes to iconic imagery the Pyramid head is about as iconic as it gets, but all the monsters in Silent Hill 2 have humanistic qualities which makes it all the more uneasy. I hold this game in such high regard.

6. Tekken 3:

Tekken was once an amazing series and I feel Tekken 3 is where it reached its peak. The characters, the move sets, the pacing of the animation is just all so fluid and perfect. The newer games hold so much baggage now, the characters are all on steroids and the focus on the combat is on juggling, which I cannot stand. But I can always go back to Tekken 3 with ease, Survival Mode being my favourite mode to go back to my best record being 103 wins J

5. Shadow of Memories/Shadow of Destiny:

The first game in which I really felt my actions had consequence. Such a powerful feeling for a gamer. The game plays like a point and click adventure but it doesn’t have the set back of the mechanics – You control the character with the d-pad.

The premise for this game is amazing. You are murdered one day and arrive in a limbo state, where you meet a mysterious being who gives you the ability to travel back in time and evade your own death. Such a great concept and of course as you evade you’re death once, more problems arrive.

The gameplay takes a back seat in this one, it is mostly about the story. But what makes it so involving is that you can do so much to change the story. Most chapters have multiple ways to evade your death and each time you progress, you go down a different branch of the story depending on your choice. It’s a really fascinating concept and projected really well in this format.

4. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty:

It was tough to choose out of the series but I had to choose this game. This game was amazing upon release. With the upgrade to the Playstation 2, it allowed the development team to open up to so much more. From first person shooting, to hanging, to hiding guards bodies, shooting their radio to avoid backup – It was just such a leap forward and is still the game I go back to most out of the franchise.

There is Raiden, which many people were put off by but I didn’t mind him, even if he was too effeminate. I love the theme of Meme’s and how Kojima explored it through the story and I still think this game has had the best cliff-hanger in any video game. It stumped everyone who had played it with such an amazing twist.

Oh Final Fantasy... i just cannot pick out of the 3 PS1 games... so they’re all no.1

1. Final Fantasy VII:

The game that put the JRPG on the map. The problem is that this game was so big now you get many people disregarding it due to its success. Well, I still stand by saying this is a game that deserved the praise.

I won’t go into as much detail as I did with Final Fantasy XIII as this will be very long. But what I like about VII is just how accessible it is. The material system is genius in its simplicity and a lot of fun to experiment with. Like with all FF’s of that gen, it offered a huge scale, Midgar felt like the huge landmark it is presented with and when you finally leave... the sense of foreboding adventure is just so exciting. 

1. Final Fantasy VIII:

This is the game they brought in realistic proportioned characters I remember seeing the introduction FMV to Final Fantasy VIII, my jaw open the whole time. The detail of the FMV was just amazing mixed with the brilliant score. What I love about VIII is how they dared to focus more on the lead character then the diversity, normally I would be against that but the character development of Squall is just one of the best handled in the industry. The other key feature I love is the art direction, from towns to monsters the game is my favourite world to explore. I love how distinctive the regions are and the design of Odin is my favourite Final Fantasy summon.

1. Final Fantasy IX:

So many positive things I can say, but most of all what makes this game so memorable to me is the sense of adventure. I love the way the party looks out for one another with such genuine affection. Vivi, who is my favourite character in gaming, goes through such torture but the team of friends are always there to support and guide him – I just haven’t ever seen the value of companionship expressed in a better way than in this game.

Q: Do you have a youtube channel, or any items for sale?


No, I am not too fond of Youtube myself.
As for items for sale, nothing as of yet, but I do have a few things which I may sell soon, i’ll keep you posted on that when I get around to it.

I'd just like to thank Tim for the oppritunity for this Q&A and I look forward to speaking to many of you in future posts 


Edited: 08/02/2017 at 03:12 AM by PlayStationAge Moderator

Feb 13, 2014 at 9:01:22 AM
Tim81DE (3)
(Tim ) < Chrono Crosser >
Posts: 1237 - Joined: 05/11/2012
Thanks for doing the interview Vivi!

That's an impressive top 10. For all the moaning I here about having to play Raiden in MGS2, a good portion of people love it, including myself. The opening scene with Snake leaping over the bridge and landing on the cargo ship is just awesome.


Feb 13, 2014 at 4:35:24 PM
Paul F (10)
(PlayStation 2 ) < Tron Bonne >
Posts: 1880 - Joined: 10/12/2013
"The reason I still own a Dreamcast" - I remember a local game shop selling off dreamcasts for £35, I bought one with Shenume and Sonic Adventure for £50! I had yet to experiance any of that generation, when I started playing Shenume I couldn't believe how amazing the graphics were, I even took it round my parents house to show them, I was like "look at this, it's almost real, you can walk to an arcade and play Space Harrier! Or go grab something to eat". That sense of freedom in a videogame was something I had never felt and I still have my dreamcast with both the shenmues as well.

Great interview, ha knew there would be loads of photos lol! Shenmue, Tekken 3, FF7 and 8 would be in my top ten too.


Come visit -  your Nintendo Age username and password will let you in

Edited: 02/13/2014 at 04:52 PM by Paul F

Feb 14, 2014 at 4:34:21 AM
Vivi-gamer (5)
< Fox Hunter >
Posts: 3661 - Joined: 01/02/2012
United Kingdom
Ahhh so you put it up, thanks once again Tim

Yes I had a similar experience with the Dreamcast, It was just when the Dreamcast had been discontinued, it plummeted down in price and I picked up the console with Shenmue, Sonic Adventure 2 and Soul Calibur - I was young at the time so it must have been quite cheap But yes playing Shenmue for the first time, it was just unlike anything I had ever played. While the Yakuza games continue it in spirit, I think it is to combat focused and not so much on the exploration and feel of the town.

Haha yes, I do like to show photos for reference point. Another reason is because my friend has a reading disability one of our big talking points is gaming and I often show him some of the posts and things I talk about on here. So he can look at that top 10 list without just having to ask all the time

I'd just like to point out my new collecting thread which has already been updated quite a few times:

Also my favourite thread based on Final Fantasy Collecting, if you have anything be sure to post and join the conversation:


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