* AlternativeCharacterInterpretation: Squall is not only depressed, but also a DeathSeeker. He does some ''idiotically'' dangerous things throughout the game, which most view as a result of his sheer determination and [[TheHero instinct towards heroism]], but in Disc 3, he basically says he never intended to be a [=SeeD=] and he doesn't really like it. There's a very likely chance that in his subconscious he's more than willing to do things like jump down multiple stories to save friends and carry a girl on his back across a body of water the size of the Atlantic ocean because those actions will very likely result in his death.
** As well, the romance between him and Rinoa could be seen not as love but as simple emotional needs the other fulfills -- Rinoa is a rebellious teenager who hates her father and Squall is a cold, distant, strong authority figure, while Squall is in more emotional turmoil than ever come Disc 3 but has nothing to focus on to avoid dealing with it as he's used to doing, so he turns to helping Rinoa as an escape.
*** When they first meet at the [=SeeD=] graduation ball, Rinoa behaves a bit weird, trying fake hypnotism and dragging him to the dance floor... but [[FridgeBrilliance if you think about it]], her behavior could be due to her trying to cheer up the gloomy kid standing aside after a very rough day.
** Thanks to some translation changes and story retcons between ''Dissidia'' and ''Dissidia 012'' - does Ultimecia wish to compress time to return to her happy childhood after a miserable life, to become a goddess over an idealized world who will be worshipped and revered because she wants to be loved, to become a goddess over ''her'' idealized world to lord over humanity, or is she a pure OmnicidalManiac seeking to cause a TimeCrash?
* AmericansHateTingle: Rinoa is beloved in Japan, but in the American fanbase she is something of a BaseBreaker.
** Which is at least partly due to the translation. A lot of Rinoa's dialog that was intended to be cute and childlike (highlighting her innocence compared to the military-trained [=SeeDs=]) tended to get replaced with lines that just made her sound like a spoiled rotten brat.
* AngstDissonance: Squall became an introvert as a result of the fact that he grew up as an orphan, the only person he ever connected with left him at a young age, he was never adopted, spent most of his childhood raised in a mercenary academy, and had his memories suppressed by Guardian Forces so he never got to the point where he could come to terms with the trauma of it all. A non-insignificant portion of the fandom however decries him as an emo whiner and hate his JerkassFacade tendencies.
** Again...at least part of this is the translation. There are several points in the English script where his dialog is much harsher or sometimes where entire lines are replaced with "Whatever," making him come off ''far'' colder than he was really supposed to.
* ContestedSequel: This game had a lot to live up to given the success of its predecessor. While commercially it matched VII, critically it scored lower and is easily one of the more fought over entries in the entire series in the franchise's fandom. In spite of that, it's also one of the most easily recognizable members of the series.
* CrowningMusicOfAwesome: It's ''Final Fantasy'', so it will naturally have [[AwesomeMusic/FinalFantasy awesome music]].
* DamselScrappy: Rinoa, at least before she achieves her GameBreaker status.
* DieForOurShip: Rinoa, as by being one half of the OfficialCouple, she causes some obvious complications with shipping Squall with anyone else in the cast.
* DracoInLeatherPants: Seifer. The guy's a {{Jerkass}} for most of the game, but the fangirls love him anyway.
* EarWorm: Shuffle and Boogie, the Triple Triad theme.
** Also, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOXgRlaADzE Movin']]. (Song has an unusually long intro - the real EarWorm starts at about 2:00)
* EnsembleDarkhorse:
** [[HeroOfAnotherStory Laguna, Ward and Kiros]]. The interplay between Laguna, Ward and Kiros (which WordOfGod states was based in the real-life interactions of the Square staff) is particularly endearing (not to mention their normal, adult behaviour is totally in contrast with the main party). Many a gamer has let out shouts of delight when the main party passed out, since it meant that they were going to be treated to Crowning Moments of Awesome ''and'' Funny. Not to mention kick-ass battle music.
** Raijin and Fujin as well.
* EpilepticTrees: Ultimecia's power ''may'' have descended from Rinoa which could have happened as soon as one generation after Rinoa's death depending on how far into the future her timeline is. And that's before you even touch the "Rinoa is Ultimecia" theories.
* EvilIsSexy: Ultimecia, [[FanDisservice at least until she transforms]]. Also, Edea, [[spoiler:while possessed by Ultimecia]].
* FanHater[=/=]HateDumb : The game gained some extra haters a few years down the line because TheSpoonyOne released a series of videos trashing the hell out of it.
** Squall has a special Hate Dumb of people who decry him as an {{emo}} whiner. Nevermind that Squall actually keeps most of his angst to himself, which is part of his entire character arc, and he has perfectly understandable reasons for his viewpoints that he overcomes as the game progresses.
* FanNickname: "[[CubanMissileCrisis Galbadia Missile Crisis]]" for a certain disc 2 event.
** "Esthar Death Corps" for the black-and-green Esthar soldiers, so named because you have a chance of rolling soldiers that do nothing but cast Death on your party one by one.
** [[spoiler:"Grievermecia" for the [[FusionDance Ultimecia-junctioned-to-Griever]] creature in the FinalBattle; and "Finalmecia" for the one that comes ''after that one.'' Also "Edeamecia" for Edea during the periods in which she's possessed by Ultimecia, and, along similar lines, "Rinoamecia" or "Rinultimecia" for the ({{Jossed}}) EpilepticTrees theory that Rinoa will become Ultimecia in the future.]]
** "Armageddon Fist" for a popular AwesomeYetPractical strategy regarding Zell's LimitBreak.
* {{Fanon}}: That people in this game use Hyne's name as a blasphemy. Apart from Hyne only being mentioned if you talk to a kid in the library (and not in a way that suggests anyone would worship him), multiple people in the game use "God." Squall even screams it at the top of his lungs at one point, and "godspeed" is also said. Nevertheless, any perusal of fanfiction will probably have at least one instance of "Hynedammit!"
* FoeYay: Numerous doujinshi, fanfics and fanarts are devoted to Seifer having this trope with either Squall or Zell. It should be noted though that the Foe part is heavily downplayed a lot in the doujinshi making it more a case of HoYay.
* FunnyAneurysmMoment: In-universe in disc 2: Selphie and Quistis "volunteering" Zell to stay behind and operate the others' only means of escape is PlayedForLaughs, but quickly becomes less funny when he winds up kneedeep in it later.
* GameBreaker: Tons of them.
** Junctioning the right spells to your characters' stats can double or triple their values. This, combined with the DynamicDifficulty, means the majority of the game's enemies will never really threaten you, especially if the player opts to [[LowLevelRun keep their own levels low]].
** Spamming your SummonMagic will see you through almost any random battle, particularly in the earlier stages of the game. A common SelfImposedChallenge is to avoid using [=GFs=] in battles where FridgeLogic dictates that they'd cause too much collateral damage. The careful will also note that [=GFs=] aren't always the greatest solution for bosses, either, especially during the final boss, though you can get away with it in the first phase of it.\\
By the way, spamming [=GFs=] makes your [=SeeD=] ranking go down, which lowers your income... Not that it matters much, since you can make infinite money by buying Tents and refining them into Mega-Potions, which cover the cost of the former along with a profit (and you later get an ability with lets you buy things for less AND sell them for more, driving up this income even further).
** {{Limit Break}}s, rather than using a charging meter, go back to their roots as {{Desperation Attack}}s by being more likely to become available when a character has low HP. This means you can ''deliberately'' keep your characters in the red; heck, the game even ''rewards'' you for playing this way by promoting you to higher [=SeeD=] rankings. Finally, the late-game "Aura" spell buffs a character with a close-to-100% Limit Break probability no matter ''what'' their HP.
** Some of the {{Limit Break}}s themselves fall into this. Zell has his infamous "Duel->Armageddon Fist" strategy[[note]]Zell's best Duel move is to simply chain together the two starter moves as fast as he can, trading flashy animations and complicated button entries for more hits and thus more overall damage[[/note]], Quistis' Degenerator is a guaranteed instant kill on ''any'' non-boss opponent and is available relatively early, and Selphie's "The End" ''can'' kill anything, including bosses, provided they aren't undead (although it has a non-trivial miss chance). With the Slots cheat, if the disc cover is open while you're choosing what spell to use, the enemy can't attack you, so you can cycle until you hit the spell you want and close the cover, making it even more broken. However, if you don't use the Slots cheat, it becomes AwesomeButImpractical as the odds of it appearing are very low.
** It is possible to get items that either makes one character or the whole team temporarily invincible. Through the use of the "Chocobo World" MiniGame (requires either the PC port or the [[NoExportForYou PocketStation accessory]]) or an investment of time into Triple Triad, it is possible for the player to obtain 100 each of these items.
** With enough determination, some luck with random drops, and a lot of card games, you can acquire the InfinityPlusOneSword on Disc 1, which also gives Squall his ultimate FinishingMove. And did we mention that combining that with the junctioning stats above ''and'' the ease of activating Limit Breaks means you now have a main character that can smack a single enemy up to ''fifteen times'' (and that's just for the finisher) in one turn for 9999 damage each? Goodbye difficulty!
** The item refinement system is the biggest of all to the truly patient, since it's possible to make a huge profit off refining tents into mega-potions and then buy the ingredients for stat+ items, allowing a player with a high resistance to boredom or macros to easily end up with perfect stats and tons of room for the neat junction abilities like auto-haste. It does take an eternity though, although it's not a concern with macros.
*** Combining the Junction system, refining, and limit breaks can allow Irvine to do 9999 damage per hit of his limit break, hitting 4-6 times per turn. On disc 2, the second you get him. (AP ammo (which ignores target defense) is refinable from Chef's knives, which are easily obtained from fairly common Tonberry cards, and STR boosting spells are easy to refine from common card items, so it's pretty easy to send Irvine's STR into the Stratosphere.)
** Holy War. Refine ten of them off of one card. Go kill [[BonusBoss Omega]].
** Eden. Get a foe in Vitality 0 status via Meltdown or Doomtrain, then boost up the Eden Summon to Max. You can potentially do around 50,000 HP worth of damage in one shot.
** Laguna's card. Refines into ''100'' Hero potions, which makes your party members invincible. Combine with the Aura spell and Squall's Lionheart LimitBreak and most bosses become pushovers.
* GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff: While perhaps "love" is a bit strong, this game seemed to be ''much'' better received in Europe, where it was only the second Final Fantasy game released (and the first one played by many gamers) and where it wasn't so much encumbered by the reputation of ''[[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII VII]]'' or even the series at large.
* HarsherInHindsight: With a dash of {{Squick}}, Julia and Laguna. The two were ''this'' close to hooking up, concept art depicting "Julia ''Loire's''" tombstone implies they might have been planned to during development, and the game's main theme and love song for Squall and Rinoa was written by Julia for Laguna. We know Julia is Rinoa's mother, and it's heavily implied [[spoiler:Laguna is Squall's father]]...think about that for a moment. [[spoiler:You're playing a game where the main couple's parents, both in-universe and in the real world, might have gotten together themselves if things had gone differently]].
** Irvine's freakout at the end of Disc 1 appears at the time to be him having oversold his abilities and cracked under real job pressure, making him appear a loser and phony. [[spoiler: Later in the game he is ''the only one'' in the group that knows the identity of his target is also the closest thing he and the rest of the [=SeeDs=] had to a mother. He's actually cracking because he can't bring himself to shoot her and won't admit why.]]
* HilariousInHindsight: Selphie's "Booyaka!" intro in almost every one of her online blog entries would later become the CatchPhrase of ReyMysterioJr.
** [[PresidentEvil Vinzer Deling]] looks [[CelebrityResemblance suspiciously like]] GeorgeWBush.
* HoYay: Arguably, Zell clinging to Squall in gratitude after Squall rescues him at the D-District prison.
** Also, Kiros with Laguna. There's even one instance when he said that his life lacks excitement without him.
* ItWasHisSled: Thanks particularly to ''Dissidia'', now everyone knows Ultimecia is TheManBehindTheMan. It ''used'' to be a late-game spoiler.
* MostWonderfulSound: Every time the skill Devour is successfully used.
* PortingDisaster: The PC version was buggy as hell. Additionally, the game seemed unable to read more than a few button presses per second, meaning that the ButtonMashing Boost skill was next to worthless. However, the PC version also included "Chocobo World", a minigame which allowed players to build their own DiscOneNuke (with enough grinding, anyway). The Playstation version only allowed this with the use of an obscure peripheral [[NoExportForYou that never made it to the US]]. Additionally, it was, at least to some, infinitely better than the port of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII''.
* RewatchBonus: Everything Edea does in the first two discs, and a good bit of what Cid and Irvine do during the same period, takes on considerably different meaning on a second pass through the same.
** The reason for Irvine's seeming tendancy to crack under pressure in Disc 1 takes a different turn [[spoiler: when you realize he was lying and was actually cracking under the stress of being asked to shoot the closest thing he had to a mother. And he is the ''only one'' that can remember this.]]
* ScrappyMechanic:
** The Junction System has the steepest learning curve of any equipment system in a ''Final Fantasy'' title. The drab visual design of the menus does not help.
** The Draw System is [[GameBreaker easily exploitable]], and grinding for spells is slow and painful.
** Triple Triad has a few rules which are disliked for various reasons. Since rules change and spread depending on where in the world you play, many players find themselves pulling their hair out dealing with scrappy rules catching on, or else [[SaveScumming going to great lengths]] to stop rules from spreading at all.
*** There's the Random rule, which automatically selects 5 random cards for your hand, instead of allowing you to select cards manually. The problem can be mitigated considerably by Card Modding or throwing away any weak cards that come into your hand, but it's still irritating, especially if you're trying to complete the Queen of Cards sidequest (which requires you to lose specific unique cards to her).
*** The Same and Plus rules increase the complexity of the game greatly, and can allow either player to turn their opponent's overwhelming advantage into a crushing defeat at the last second. Then again, there are people who love these rules for those exact reasons.
** The FinalBoss selects your party for you at random. Not even Squall is immune from this.
* SidetrackedByTheGoldSaucer: Triple Triad. Also, obtaining all the extra [=GFs=].
* StrangledByTheRedString: Squall's attachment to Rinoa is a subject of debate among fans, as, depending on which party members the player selects during certain plot events and/or sidequests, the CharacterDevelopment that builds up their relationship may or may not be witnessed during a given playthrough.
* TheyChangedItNowItSucks: The traditional magic system was replaced with the Draw System, equipment was eschewed in favor of Junctioning spells directly to a character's statistics, and [[DynamicDifficulty enemies leveled up]] [[EmptyLevels with the party]]. Meanwhile, the characters were more realistically proportioned, and the world took on a more sci-fi feel.
* ThatOneAttack:
** Ultima Weapon, as well as Edea in the second fight against her, both have a Level 5 Death Spell that can take out the party [[OneHitKill in one shot]]. Mobile Type 8 in the Lunatic Pandora has an attack called "Corona" which reduces the entire party to one hit point apiece.
** [[BonusBoss Omega Weapon]] has Those ''Two'' Attacks, one which deals exactly 9998 damage (which means a character must have the highest possible [=HP=] to survive - and then they're left with 1 [=HP=]) and another, which ''will'' kill everyone unless they have invincibility or the "Defend" command.
* TheyWastedAPerfectlyGoodPlot: The game leaves a lot of the motivations of its villains implied at best rather than exploring them in depth; Seifer's "romantic dream" of being the knight to a sorceress, though mentioned on several occasions and presented as the main means by which [[spoiler: Ultimecia]] manipulates him, isn't described in detail, and [[spoiler: Ultimecia's reasons for wanting to compress time]] are left almost entirely up to the player's interpretation of a few lines delivered at the end of the final boss fight.
* ToyShip: [[spoiler: Young Irvine and young Selphie]] during the [[spoiler: orphanage flashback]].
* TrueArtIsAngsty: Some people hate the positive ending.
* ViewerGenderConfusion: Surprisingly for a ''FinalFantasy'' game, the androgyny is kept to a minimum, but there is still some.
** Adel the ''sorceress'' has the body of a ''male'' underwear model.
** Rinoa's dog, Angelo, is female.
* VindicatedByHistory: With the HypeBacklash of ''FinalFantasyVII'' and ''FinalFantasyXIII'', and Squall having [[KingdomHearts other]] [[DissidiaFinalFantasy appearances]], ''VIII'' has started to receive a warmed reception from the fanbase.
* {{Wangst}}: While Squall is guilty of it, unlike most examples of this, he doesn't burden others with his problems or invite anyone to a pity party. Rather, his wangst is internal, and like his other feelings, he CannotSpitItOut.
* TheWoobie:
** Ellone. Just ask [[spoiler:Laguna]].
** During disc two, it's revealed that [[spoiler:with the exception of Rinoa, the ''entire party'' ([[MyFriendsAndZoidberg And Seifer]]) were not only orphans, but grew up in the same orphanage. And none of them, bar Irvine, remember this because using the GF causes the user to gradually lose their memories. Whilst the idea of forgetting your childhood friends is upsetting, the three who get it the worst are Squall, Seifer & Irvine.]]
*** [[spoiler:Squall & Seifer were never adopted, and were simply enlisted at Balamb Garden instead of getting to grow up with a loving family; on top of that, Squall is forcibly separated from Ellone & becomes the self-reliant recluse we first meet at the start of the game because he didn't want to lose anyone close to him again.]]
*** Quistis just can't win. Despite the fact she's actually a child prodigy, her emotional state is actually very fragile. [[spoiler: You learn later it's at least partially because she was torn away from Squall and the other orphans she tried to care for and because of it never got along with her new adopted family. She came to [=SeeD=] to start over, rose through the ranks, and then thanks to GF induced memory loss, forgot Squall but still felt so attached to him she ended up sabotaging her own career.]]
*** [[spoiler: When Irvine joins the party, he ''recognizes'' his old childhood friends, but quickly realizes none of them remember any of their time at the orphanage, and can only watch as he seems them plotting to assassinate the woman who ran the orphanage.]]