* AllThereIsToKnowAboutTheCryingGame: It is quite impossible to not know that [[spoiler:Rinoa is a sorceress]] due to the sheer amount of references available ''everywhere''. On a similar note, Edea being Ultimecia due to LateArrivalSpoiler is another outcome, but this has notably shown how omnipresent Ultimecia really is throughout the game.
* AlternateCharacterInterpretation: [[AlternativeCharacterInterpretation/FinalFantasy Here.]]
* AmericansHateTingle: Rinoa is beloved in Japan, but in the American fanbase she is something of a BaseBreakingCharacter. This 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 an immature, spoiled 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. At least part of this is the translation; there are several points in the English script where his dialog is much harsher than in the Japanese version or sometimes where entire lines are replaced with "Whatever," making him come off ''far'' colder than he was really supposed to.
* AnnoyingVideoGameHelper: Odin can be like this, sometimes. Since there's no way to wave him off, if he appears when you're trying to farm rare items or magic from enemies, he sometimes winds up killing your prey before you can steal/draw what you came for. Players farming Marlboro tentacles may wind up wishing they'd held off on getting Odin until after they got what they needed, for example.
* SugarWiki/AwesomeMusic: It's ''Final Fantasy'', so it will naturally have [[AwesomeMusic/FinalFantasy awesome music]].
* BaseBreakingCharacter: Squall is either one of Square's coolest characters (even Nojima found him too cool in an interview) or one of the most annoying antisocial characters ever (see AngstDissonance above).
* BreatherBoss: Abadon, the boss you fight right before Esthar, mainly because he's an undead. [[ReviveKillsZombie Just hit him with healing spells]] and he will be down in a few turns. Squall even tells you the strategy to defeat it.
* BrokenBase:
** There is no denying that the game caused a quite bit of a stir with the ''Final Fantasy'' fanbase when it first was released; the story and especially the changes to gameplay were, and still remain, somewhat controversial. Everything related to the spell drawing mechanic tends to create debate between players over whether it was an interesting innovation or just really annoying busywork.
** The 2013 re-release for Steam includes a "Magic Booster," which gives every character in the party 100 of most low- to mid-level spells. The fanbase is divided between those who see it as a great way to avoid having to repeatedly draw spells, those who [[StopHavingFunGuys don't like how it takes away from the challenge]], and those who think that the apparent need for a feature like this reflects badly on the game.
* 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, and to this day is often identified as ''the'' moment when Square [[{{Sequelitis}} first began having trouble]] with script quality and balancing engaging story and gameplay versus graphical presentation. In spite of that, it's also one of the most easily recognizable members of the series, and its popularity has grown and grown over the years after the post-''VII'' backlash subsided.
* DamselScrappy: Rinoa, at least before she achieves her GameBreaker status. She consistently makes ''incredibly'' stupid and impulsive decisions, leading to her remaining this throughout a good chunk of the game.
* 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. There is some element of JerkassWoobie there, once his backstory is revealed, but some of his nastier aspects tend to get downplayed.
* EarWorm:
** Shuffle and Boogie, the Triple Triad theme.
** Also, [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOXgRlaADzE "Movin'"]]. This one has a rather long intro but around two minutes in, it becomes a full Ear Worm.
* 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 are AffablyEvil and generally hilarious PunchClockVillains, and they stick with Seifer through thick and thin simply because they're his friends. Fujin even tries to talk Seifer out of his villainy with a heartwarming and tear-jerking speech.
* EpilepticTrees:
** The "Rinoa is Ultimecia" theory, which speculates that Ultimecia ''is'' Rinoa, driven mad with power and grief after the (likely all-natural) death of Squall and her other friends and wanting to use Time Compression to see them again and render time-related death meaningless to them. This one was so popular that it eventually had to be shot down by WordOfGod in the Ultimania guides. And even ''then'', some continue to theorize that it was true at some point during production, but ultimately Nojima, Kitase and the others involved in the scenario writing quietly decided against it being explicitly true (ala the cut love triangle between Squall, Rinoa and Seifer which the Ultimanias ''do'' mention) and, much like that example, enough ''elements'' of the old plot remained in the game that went to print for the theory to come across as entirely plausible.
** The "Squall is Dead" theory, which posits that when Edea used Ice Strike to impale Squall at the end of Disc 1, he ''died'', and the rest of the game is a fantasy playing out in Squall's dying mind as he succumbs to the wound. While this is a common theory in a lot of media (not helped by ''Series/StElsewhere'' making it broadly plausible in most media), there's enough odd imagery and various plot niggles in the later discs to make people suspicious, along with the awkwardness with which the jump cut and dismissal of the injury at the start of Disc 2 to raise eyebrows. However, this theory was {{Jossed}} as well by [[WordOfGod Yasunori Kitase]] in [[http://kotaku.com/is-squall-really-dead-final-fantasy-producer-addresses-1800007113 an interview]].
* EvilIsSexy: Ultimecia, [[FanDisservice at least until she transforms]]. Also, Edea, [[spoiler:while possessed by Ultimecia]].
* FairForItsDay: The English translation doesn't hold up ''particularly'' well in the modern era of high-quality JP-EN video game translation (Squall, in particular, actually suffers from some characterization problems which makes him seem even colder than intended and is part of why he's so divisive in the Anglosphere), but at the time, compared to the BlindIdiotTranslation that ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'' received, it was a huge step in the right direction. It at least showed that the Woolsey era wasn't a fluke and that good, readable JP-EN translation could be a standard.
* 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 SimpleYetAwesome strategy regarding Zell's LimitBreak.
** "Meteor Wing" for the Angel Wing/Meteor trick you can have Rinoa use. Basically it involves removing all offensive magic (Scan included) from her inventory and putting her into Angel Wing status. She will cast Meteor every time. When combined with high Speed and Magic stats she can defeat most bosses in a few turns, even Ultimecia.
* {{Fanon}}:
** Fans tend to imagine Irvine speaking with a Texan accent due to his cowboy hat. Most English fandubs give him that accent. [[spoiler:Given how everyone grew up together, though, it's a bit contentious since it's not clear if he'd actually get that kind of accent.]]
** Due to Adel's masculine appearance, it's assumed by fans that [[EvilMakesYouUgly using her power for evil turned her into what she is]]. It's not uncommon for Adel's younger self to be imagined as [[IWasQuiteALooker beautiful]].
** Some fans think of Zell as being gay - as he's the only one of the main characters to not be paired up with someone. Quistis isn't either, but she specifically mentions thinking she was in love with Squall. This does however ignore Zell's little bit of ShipTease with the pigtailed girl from the library (which consists of optional scenes).
* 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 knee-deep in it later.
* GameBreaker: [[GameBreaker/FinalFantasy Here]].
* 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:
** Irvine's freak-out 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: In this 1999 game, Selphie runs an online blog chronicling Laguna's articles, with at least one picture she took of herself in it, and also has an online Diary and gets the other members of the team to write an entry themselves. Fast forward to recent times and social media is all the rage. Also, what do you call a photo you took of yourself? A ''selfie''.
* 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. Furthermore, the re-release of the game on PSN explicitly refers to Ultimecia in the plot summary on its store page.
* SugarWiki/MostWonderfulSound: Every time the skill Devour is successfully used.
* NarmCharm: The main vocal theme, ''Eyes on Me''. Several lines are incredibly narmy (‘Shall I be the one for you, who pinches you softly, but sure? If frown is shown then, I will know that you are no dreamer...’), but the whole thing becomes incredibly heartwarming when you know the background. Julia based all the lyrics on her interactions with Laguna, with the narm explained by it being her first attempt at songwriting. The song is played during Squall and Rinoa’s romantic scene on board the airship, which signifies Julia and Laguna’s failed romance being played out with their respective children.
* 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. On top of that, due to PC specs at the time of the original release, it replaced the game's soundtrack with low-quality [=MIDIs=]. This problem carried into the Steam version upon its re-release and still hasn't been fixed by Square. 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:
** The plot of the game is fairly simple. To wit, [[spoiler:Ultimecia knows a "legendary [=SeeD=]" is destined to kill her and tries to cast Time Compression, destroying everyone in the world but herself, to stop [=SeeD=]. However, as Squall undergoes Time Compression, he wanders back into the past and inadvertently founds [=SeeD=] to stop Ultimecia, starting the StableTimeLoop over again]]. Good luck trying to follow that on your first playthrough, though, because the way it's presented is anything but straightforward. It gradually takes over an entirely different narrative about a pseudo-World War II, very important plot points like the "legendary [=SeeD=]" or the mechanics of Time Compression are mentioned briefly in passing, the inciting incident happens during the laser-light show of a finale, the older characters' motivations are presented to the player in non-linear order, and the main plot leans on Ellone's seemingly-unrelated subplot like a crutch for crucial emotional and thematic context. The game is practically made for RewatchBonus, as each time through the cryptic hints and brief mentions start to build connections that solidify the fragmented narrative into a whole.
** The reason for Irvine's seeming tendency 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.]]
** Irvine's LimitBreak is the only one that isn't magic-based. As in you need ammo bought in shops to power it. This makes perfect sense since he hasn't junctioned to a GF [[spoiler:and lost his memories of growing up in the orphanage]].
** On the second disc, if you take Rinoa on a tour of Balamb Garden, when you meet Dr. Kadowaki in the infirmary you have the option to say that Rinoa is your girlfriend. Rinoa is left shocked, before Squall says he's joking. A very early sign of him opening up to her and defrosting slightly.
* 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. There's a Magic Booster system in the 2013 PC release that gives you 100 of most low and mid level spells, but while many fans either like it or think it takes away from the challenge, others believe that its addition proves that the Draw System was poorly designed to begin with.
** 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. And given how easy it is to swap Junctions from character to character, you probably don't have six characters' worth of spells stocked up, much less proper GF coverage. It's possible to change your layout by killing your own members and waiting until they're "absorbed into time" and replaced with someone you want to use, but if that happens to your favorite party members, they're gone forever.
* SidetrackedByTheGoldSaucer: Triple Triad. Also, obtaining all the extra [=GFs=].
* StrangledByTheRedString: Squall's attachment to Rinoa is a subject of debate among fans. To start with, 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. Even worse, said development may not be enough for the player. For example, the intricacies of Japanese courtship either flew over American players' heads or [[ValuesDissonance seem silly from American perspective]]. Squall and Rinoa don't hold hands, kiss or say "I love you," which makes sense in a country where public displays of affection are a ''huge no-no'', but leaves Americans scratching their heads wondering if these people are really supposed to be in love.
* 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.
* 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.
* TheyWastedAPerfectlyGoodCharacter: Adel was a ruthless tyrant back in her day, and was so evil that she had to be outsmarted and sealed away in space. Outside of her boss battle, she only has three lines in the game and appears minimally - functioning as an offscreen SealedEvilInACan. Much more could have been done with her character - or at least showing more of the resistance against her (which is glossed over by Laguna's narration).
* 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.
** Also, [[spoiler:Ultimecia's BadFuture, in which she has devastated most of the world is sadly left almost entirely to the player's imagination, since the party immediately arrives at Ultimecia's doorstep to fight her. The game could have easily made a parallel with ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI'' by allowing the player to fully explore the BadFuture as a sort of DarkWorld, being able to visit all the locations they've previously seen throughout the game ravaged and twisted by Ultimecia's influence]].
* ToyShip: [[spoiler:Young Irvine and young Selphie]] during the [[spoiler:orphanage flashback]].
* TrueArtIsAngsty: Some people hate the positive ending.
* ValuesDissonance: As noted under StrangledByTheRedString, Rinoa and Squall's courtship seems rather unromantic to American gamers. The characters do not say "I love you" or do anything remotely couple-y (although they do kiss in the final scene) - which is in keeping with Japanese attitudes to public displays of affection.
* ViewerGenderConfusion: Surprisingly for a ''Franchise/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 (which is confusing as "Angelo" is a ''male'' Italian name).
* VindicatedByHistory: With the HypeBacklash of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'' and ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII'', and Squall having [[Franchise/KingdomHearts other]] [[VideoGame/DissidiaFinalFantasy appearances]], ''VIII'' has started to receive a warmer reception from the fanbase. The game itself has largely been looked upon more positively, in particular its Junction system and characters. Many see a lot of criticism unfairly levied at it solely for ''not'' being ''FFVII''.
* TheWoobie:
** Ellone. Just ask [[spoiler:Laguna]].
** During Disc 2, 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, and Irvine.]]
** [[spoiler:Squall and Seifer were never adopted, and were simply enlisted at Balamb Garden instead of getting to grow up with a loving family. And on top of that, Squall is forcibly separated from Ellone and 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 a child prodigy, her emotional state is actually very fragile. [[spoiler: You learn later that it's at least partially because she was torn away from Squall and the other orphans she tried to care for and because of this, she 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 sees them plotting to assassinate the woman who ran the orphanage.]]
** General Caraway if you think about it. It's said that he became Julia's SecondLove after she thought Laguna died. They were married for a while and had a daughter, but then Julia suddenly died in a car crash. Relations between him and his daughter have been strained ever since.
* {{Woolseyism}}:
** This was the first video game that was translated to non-English European languages internally by Square Enix, motivated by the localization debacle that was ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII''. The results were spectacular, specially in languages like Spanish, where they included all sorts of different accents for the characters that made the game even more memorable.
** The "hot dogs" Zell lusts after were originally filled breads, which is why that pile of hot dogs at the end have no visible wieners. As that's a food more exclusive to Japan, hot dogs make a more logical cultural translation.