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  • Adorkable: Laguna may be a good soldier, but his attitude is so endearingly goofy regardless of the situation.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Here.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: The Gunblade. Many people thought it was made up for the game but versions of this weapon actually did exist in real life. The functionality of the game's gunblade is described as a form of Vibro Weapon and it has no ranged capability. This is unlike the real-world attempts at gun/sword hybrids meant to combine the range of a firearm with the melee utility of a bladed weapon.
  • Americans Hate Tingle: Rinoa is beloved in Japan. However, in the North American fanbase, she is often disliked for reasons varying from her personality, her Damsel Scrappy moments through the game, or she's subjected to Die for Our Ship. The translation also has its share of blame in this: a lot of Rinoa's dialog that was intended to be cute and child-like, highlighting her innocence compared to the military-trained SeeDs, often got replaced with lines that make her sound like she's an immature, spoiled brat.
  • Angst Dissonance: 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 Jerkass 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.
  • Animation Age Ghetto: This was the first game in the series with graphics and an art style that could pass as realistic (at least for the time), and being released in a time when gamers were pushing for games to be taken seriously as an art form. Though the game does have a mature and serious storyline to go along with the more realistic graphics, to some it comes off as more of a teen drama in spite of the more realistic graphics. Not helping with this perception that the game is for younger teenage audiences is the emphasis on more slapstick humor.
  • Annoying Video Game Helper: 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.
  • Anti-Climax Boss:
    • The Fake President Deling on the train can be killed in one turn by using a Phoenix Down on him, as Revive Kills Zombie.
    • The battles against Seifer and Edea at the end of Disc 1. The Duel Boss battle against Seifer can be won in one hit if Squall STR stat is high enough; Edea relies on magic spells, so spamming Carbuncle's Reflect will force her to use Dispel every turn instead of attacking.
  • Awesome Music: It's Final Fantasy, so it will naturally have awesome music.
  • Breather Boss:
    • Abadon, like the Fake Deling, is an undead, so just hit him with healing spells and he will be down in a few turns. Hell, use a Phoenix Down, and he's down in one turn. Squall even tells you the strategy to defeat it.
    • Sphinxaur, the first boss of Ultimecia Castle, is essentially a giant punching bag with weak attacks and low HP, but it's justified by the party's abilities being sealed and starting with only access to the Attack command. However, it is a Skippable Boss, and experienced players can take advantage of Elem Def-J to instead turn Tri-Point or the otherwise powerful Tiamat into one of these even with only the option to Attack.
  • Broken Base:
    • The story is either a disjointed mess that tries too many things at once and gets needlessly weird and downright alienating after Disc 2, or an interesting and experimental journey where said weirdness makes the story unique and memorable.
    • The junction system. Some view it as tedious and punitive, since players are potentially penalized for magic use, with spells that are stored in a quantified inventory (and if said spell is equipped to any given stat value, then using just one can reduce your stats). Others think it's an unusual but fun and easily breakable system since you can spam Limit Break's via Loophole Abuse or simply keeping your characters at low HP, and use summons multiple times per battle (at the cost of having to watch the Overly Long Fighting Animation every time).
    • 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 spell-grinding, those who don't like how it takes away from the challenge, and those who simply like to point out the lampshade on the game's unusual design choices.
  • Contested Sequel: This game had a lot to live up to given the success of its predecessor. While it matched VII commercially, its critical score was slightly lower and it now tends to be one of the more debated entries in the series. To this day, it's seen by some as the moment when Square first began having trouble with their script quality and their ability to balance engaging stories and gameplay with graphical presentation. In spite of that, it's also one of the most easily recognizable titles of the series, and its popularity has grown over the years after the post-VII backlash subsided.
  • Damsel Scrappy: One of the main reasons Rinoa is so polarizing is because she has to be rescued four times during the game. While only the first time was a case of Distress Ball, trouble seems to always find her one way or another. The second time is particularly bad, as unlike the other situations where the party benefits from it in some way,note  it doesn't add anything to the plot and it makes everyone but Squall look useless.
  • Delusion Conclusion: The infamous "Squall is Dead" theory. At the end of Disc 1, Squall gets impaled by an icicle fired by the Sorceress Edea; Disc 2 starts with him waking up with his seemingly-fatal wounds completely healed, and the plot starts veering into Mind Screw territory from there on. Some fans interpret this as the rest of the game being a Dying Dream. However, the theory was Jossed by Yoshinori Kitase during an interview.
  • Die for Our Ship: Both Squall and Rinoa get hit by this, since they are the Official Couple of the game. The most common shipping for each of them is with either Quistis or Seifer.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Seifer. The guy's a Jerkass for most of the game, but the fangirls love him anyway. There is some element of Jerkass Woobie there, once his backstory is revealed, but some of his nastier aspects tend to get downplayed.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Raijin and Fujin are Affably Evil and generally hilarious Punch-Clock Villains, 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.
    • Diabolos is an optional Guardian Force that you fight if you use the Genie's Lamp, but his menacing design and gravity powers made him one of the most popular summons in the game. He ended up appearing in future games as the de facto Darkness summon due to his popularity.
  • Epileptic Trees:
    • The "Rinoa is Ultimecia" theory, which speculates that Ultimecia is Rinoa, immortal due to her sorceress power and driven mad with power and grief after the (likely all-natural) death of Squall and her other friends, 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 Word of God in the Ultimania guides. And even then, some continue to theorize that it was intended at some point during production, but was cut (à la the cut love triangle between Squall, Rinoa and Seifer which the Ultimanias do mention).
    • 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. Supporters of this theory point out that Squall's injury is treated seriously in the Disc 1 ending FMV, but Squall wakes up just fine and without explanation of his survival on Disc 2. Further, Disc 2 is the point when the plot begins to get confusing and disjointed, and when things get really trippy in the climax, this is Squall finally dying, and the ending FMV where he's happy and celebrating with his classmates is his afterlife. This theory was Jossed as well by Yoshinori Kitase in an interview.
  • Escapist Character: Squall. He successfully becomes a Seed, becomes their leader, is handsome and popular within the girls, is highly skilled at fighting,etc.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Ultimecia, at least until she transforms. Also, Edea, while possessed by Ultimecia.
  • Fanon:
    • Fans tend to imagine Irvine speaking with a Texan accent due to his cowboy hat. Most English fandubs give him that accent. 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 using her power for evil turned her into what she is. It's not uncommon for Adel's younger self to be imagined as 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 Ship Tease with the pigtailed girl from the library, which consists of optional scenes.
    • Fans believe that Ifrit and Shiva are/were in a romantic relationship due to the former's reaction to the latter being summoned during his boss battle.
  • Foe Yay Shipping: Numerous doujinshi, fanfics and fan art are devoted to Seifer having this 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 Ho Yay.
  • Franchise Original Sin: One of the criticisms of the much-maligned Final Fantasy XIII is how much of the plot details and explanations are hidden in datalogs, exploration and menus. Final Fantasy VIII has the exact same problem, if to a lesser degree; while details like the Origin Story of sorceress powers, via the Great Hyne, or the exact fate of Julia, are not truly germane to the story, they sure as heck aren't explained either. And significant character moments, like Selphie's heart-wrenching visit to the Trabia Garden graveyard or Squall's quote on the main page, are Permanently Missable Content, which can result in the characters coming off as shallow and one-dimensional.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: This game was better received in Europe than in North America, as 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 VII or even the series at large.
  • Goddamned Boss: The Spider Tank boss from the Dollet communications tower isn't very hard, but is annoying. The battle goes like this: hit the boss until it shuts down, run away, a few seconds later the boss repairs itself and catches up with you, hit it until it shuts down, etc, etc. This carries on all the way down the hill and through the town until you reach the beach, where Quistis will shoot it for you. For extra fun, this is a Timed Mission. If you're particularly skilled and have a lot of electrical magic stocked, it is possible to actually kill the boss, or if you just don't want to deal with it in the last few areas you can duck into a building and let it continue on, where Quistis will destroy it for you.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • 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. 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.
    • Selphie and Quistis "volunteering" Zell to stay behind and operate the others' only means of escape is Played for Laughs, but quickly becomes less funny when he winds up knee-deep in it later.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In this game, which was released in 1999, 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 today and social media is all the rage. Also, what do you call a photo you took of yourself? A selfie.
    • Ultimecia's final form actually wouldn't be too far out of place in a Kingdom Hearts game. Sure, they were designed by the same person, but the resemblance between Ultimecia and a Heartless is uncanny to say the least.
    • Selphie tries to make the phrase "Booyaka!" popular but ultimately failing. Jump to The World Ends with You, also made by Square Enix, and Beat is one of the few characters who says "Booyaka!", although not as an expression of joy, but rather as a battle cry.
    • The highly advanced nation of Esthar has a space station in the Moon's orbit called the Lunar Base, made for the purpose of observing lunar activity and as a prison for Sorceress Adel. In real life, NASA has proposed a similar concept for the former scenario called the Lunar Gateway for their Artemis program.
    • This game, which involves lots of Time Travel and characters fighting against fate, is the next game in the series after VII. Final Fantasy VII Remake would ultimately turn out to be a Stealth Sequel to the original VII that also involves time travel and the characters trying to Screw Destiny.
    • Sorceress Adel shares her name with a singer who became world famous years after the game's release, a fact exploited by Final Fantasy In A Nutshell.
  • Ho Yay:
    • Zell clinging to Squall in gratitude after Squall rescues him at the D-District prison.
    • Kiros with Laguna. There's even one instance when he said that his life lacks excitement without him.
  • It Was His Sled: Thanks particularly to Dissidia, now everyone knows Ultimecia is The Man Behind the Man. It used to be a late-game spoiler. Furthermore, the re-release of the game on the PlayStation Network explicitly refers to Ultimecia in the plot summary on its store page.
  • Low-Level Run: Not only there's a Low-Level Advantage, but the game allows to keep your level low easily. Early on, you have access to the GF abilities Card (which transforms any non-boss, non-human enemy into a card, which prevents you from gaining experience, but not from gaining items or Tech Points), Enc-Half and Enc-None (which half and outright remove the Random Encounters). Combined, you can reduce the encounters that give you experience to a minimum.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Squall's reactions to certain situations are popular and oft-quoted such as him saying "Whatever".
    • You can rename GFs in this game, and are always given an option whenever a GF is obtained. Ifrit is the first boss you encounter and is the only one who mentions a fellow GF's name (Shiva) when used against him, uttering "They have Shiva?" One of the most common tales is renaming Shiva to something and making Ifrit utter something else. And it's fine to do so because you can rename summons indefinitely due to an item.
    Ifrit: They have Bacon?
    • You can rename Angelo, prompting some absolutely hilarious (or Narmy) lines. Especially with Rinoa's Limit Breaks including "Angelo Rush", "Angelo Search", and "Angelo Cannon", which will all use whatever name you input instead of Angelo.
    • Images clip of Rinoa saying to Squall at the party "You're the best looking guy here," accompanied by a graphic showing Squall's heavily pixelated face. Well-known enough that Square Enix used it in highlighting the graphics of Final Fantasy VIII Remastered by showing that he really is the best looking guy there.
    • "Water and Water and Water Water." Explanation 
  • Misblamed: For decades, VIII has had a huge Fandom Rivalry with Xenogears and Chrono Cross due to persistent rumors that Executive Meddling poached resources from the latter two to develop VIII, resulting in their infamous Troubled Production and high amounts of cut content. Interviews since then have revealed that while executive meddling was indeed to blame, the issues were largely internal,note  VIII had nothing to do with it.
  • Most Wonderful Sound:
    • "The End", Selphie's rarest ability to obtain on her limit break. It's an instant "I Win" button that literally bypasses Contractual Boss Immunity.
    • Every time the skill Devour is successfully used.
  • Narm:
    • The opening of the game is fondly remembered, but it becomes unintentionally funny when it is revealed the duel between Squall and Seifer that the opening cutscene is so focused on, is a training duel gone wrong. So the big epic fight that the cutscene focuses on, gets reduced to just two guys getting getting overly heated while training, which can make the serious and dramatic nature of it funny instead of mysterious.
    • Despite being elite teenage mercenaries, the cast act like grade-schoolers at times and often use bizarre playground level insults, such as Seifer calling Zell a "chicken-wuss", Zell calling Seifer a "stupid idiot" for betraying the Garden, or Rinoa calling Squall a "meanie" for expressing indifference over the possible deaths of his comrades.
    • The Big Bad's tendency to pronounce C sounds as a K is rather hard to take seriously, coming off as reminiscent of the Kremlings in Donkey Kong Country.
  • Narm Charm: 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.
  • Never Live It Down:
    • Squall is typically dismissed by detractors as being "Emo" and a "Whiner". In fact, Squall spends most of the game not expressing any emotion he might feel (although we perceive this differently, since we can read what he is thinking) and telling everyone else to deal with their own problems instead of sharing them with him. Although Squall does have emotional trauma due to abandonment at an early age, he typically keeps a lid on it, and only freely expresses such things to Rinoa (who's too comatose to hear most of Squall's confessions to her, anyway).
    • Irvine gets hit with significant flak, even years after the game's release, by people who judge his failure to assassinate Edea as his defining moment. While he develops beyond this moment of hesitation and the plot later reveals that he likely recognized Edea from his time at the orphanage and had good reason to not shoot, to some people he's forever a coward with fake confidence and an inability to follow orders or make hard decisions in general.
    • Rinoa for the amount of times she gets kidnapped or ends up as a Distressed Damsel. She already was in a tough situation, as the only non-military trained member of the main cast, but her various spots of bother tend to get overblown and her moments of competency are sometimes ignored - the others only escaped the Desert Prison because Rinoa refused to go back to her father and ordered Irvine to help her, and it's her who is able to facilitate the trip to Ultimecia's castle. Other members of the party end up in distress as well - Zell gets cornered by guards in the prison and has to be rescued, while Quistis gets herself, Zell and Selphie locked in a room because she wanted to apologise. It's just that Rinoa's moments tend to be larger and more memorable (with one on each disc too).
    • The moment in Deling City where Quistis leaves her post because she feels guilty for being rude to Rinoa - and gets herself, Zell and Selphie locked in Caraway's mansion. She didn't know the room was rigged to lock Rinoa in and, as you control her, she is the one who quickly finds a way out and gets the party to their post in time for the mission - and her detractors miss that the point of that sequence is again that a teenager is too young to be put in charge of such a dangerous mission (which is why she was dismissed as an instructor too).

    P-Z 
  • Polished Port: Final Fantasy VIII Remastered adds in quality of life features from the Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy IX re-releases, while also reworking the game's models and backgrounds to make them more visually-appealing. And unlike the first two PC ports, the original soundtrack is used instead of MIDIs.
  • Porting Disaster:
    • The original PC version in 2000 was buggy as hell. Additionally, the game seemed unable to read more than a few button presses per second, meaning that the Button Mashing 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. However, the PC version also included Chocobo World, a minigame which allowed players to build their own Disc-One Nuke with enough grinding. The PlayStation version only allowed this with the use of the PocketStation, which was never released outside of Japan. Additionally, it was, at least to some, infinitely better than the port of Final Fantasy VII.
    • The Steam port of the game in 2013 isn't actually that much better than the original PC release. It still has low-quality MIDIs instead of the proper soundtrack, and it also lacks controller support. This is in sharp contrast to other Final Fantasy ports to Steam; while they tend to be mobile ports with their own assortment of possible problems, Final Fantasy IX has native controller support and rebinding. On the bright side, the Steam port also has a native fast forward feature (not to mention the rest of the cheats) like Final Fantasy XII does, greatly reducing Draw grinding time.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: Has its own page.
  • Sidetracked by the Gold Saucer: Triple Triad. Also, obtaining all the extra GFs.
  • Sophomore Slump: Though the game has fans, the fact it came after the monolithic Final Fantasy VII, and was followed-up by the widely beloved Final Fantasy IX, leaves the game in the middle of two of the most popular games in the series. Due to this, the game is considered by some to be the weakest of the PlayStation titles, since it lacks many things that VII and IX have that resulted in their popularity.
  • Stoic Woobie: Squall. A great deal of the tension between him and his teammates throughout the game is that he refuses to open up to them about and problems he may be suffering. It does lead to a Heartwarming Moment when he finally does open up to Rinoa; of course, she was unconscious at time.
  • Strangled by the Red String: Squall's attachment to Rinoa is a subject of debate among fans, with some feeling that the game forces the two together. To start with, depending on which party members the player selects during certain plot events and/or sidequests, the Character Development 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 North American players' heads or seem silly from an North 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 North Americans scratching their heads wondering if these people are really supposed to be in love. The end of the game cements them as together though, which made some feel like it wasn't given enough development.
  • That One Achievement: Contrived Finishnote  is fairly easily done simply by knocking him out whenever possible, with only one fight requiring him to use Break on the enemy to avoid getting experience. Card Collector note  is nearly impossible without a guide, but straightforward with one. Maximum Gilnote  takes at least three hours using the fastest gil-farming method, or you can clear it with a single button press by using F5 to activate the Booster, then reloading your save file. Then there's 10,000 Kills, in a game where everything else can be completed in well under 700 kills. Hope you like grinding.
  • That One Attack:
    • 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 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.
    • Omega Weapon has two, 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.
  • That One Sidequest: The Queen of Cards quest/collecting all Triple Triad cards. To get all the rare cards in the game, you have to deliberately lose specific rare cards to the Queen of Cards in order to get new rare cards to appear. It sounds simple, but she moves to a new location every time you lose a rare card to her or win a rare card from her and she will only accept the cards for the quest when she's in Dollet. On top of that, when the new cards appear, you're given no hints about who you will have to play against to get them, and most of the people holding them are just random NPCs. Then there's the different card game rules, like Random which forces you to choose random cards from your deck, a real hassle if you're going for every card in the game. They can be spread or abolished in different regions, but even if you have a guide handy, it's a time-consuming process that will likely require multiple resets. Oh, but you can also get all the cards, even the ones from the Queen of Cards quest, from a NPC in Disc 4, but doing that requires that you completed two other easily missable sidequests before disc 4 and that you even know her location is accessible at all. Getting the complete Triple Triad collection achievement if you're playing on Steam is just a perfect storm of Guide Dang It! factors.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: 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 enemies leveled up with the party. Meanwhile, the characters were more realistically proportioned, and the world took on a more sci-fi feel.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: 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 Sealed Evil in a Can. 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).
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • 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 Ultimecia manipulates him, isn't described in detail, and 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.
    • Ultimecia's Bad Future, 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 Final Fantasy VI by allowing the player to fully explore the Bad Future as a sort of Dark World, being able to visit all the locations they've previously seen throughout the game ravaged and twisted by Ultimecia's influence.
    • The reveal that, outside of Rinoa, all the party members used to be from the same orphanage as children, and all but Irvine forgot about it because of the side effects of using G Fs, is mentioned periodically afterward but isn't discussed in great detail or given much follow-up afterward, instead seemingly serving more of a justification for the party to all be together over having any real impact. More emphasis is placed on Squall's relationship with Ellone and Edea, leaving the rest of the orphanage plotline dangling and unresolved. For example: Zell learning that his parents aren't his biological parents is basically talked about for one scene, and then is never given any further follow-up despite him initially being surprised by it.
  • Tough Act to Follow: The game is not without its fans, and it was popular enough for Squall to show up in Kingdom Hearts, but the game is sometimes viewed as a let-down after the nerve-twistingly popular VII. With several factors, such as the Junction system, Squall being seen as the poster child '90s Anti-Hero of the series (at least, also until Kingdom Hearts II where Cloud took that spot), and the sheer bad luck that came with following such an influential previous entry that the game is sometimes dismissed in favor of the the games around it when it comes to "Best PS1-era Final Fantasy games."
  • Toy Ship: Young Irvine and young Selphie during the orphanage flashback.
  • True Art Is Angsty: Some fans hate the positive ending. Look no further than the widespread prominence of the "Ultimecia is Rinoa" and "Squall is Dead" theories, even after both were officially Jossed, for a prime illustration of this trope in action.
  • Values Dissonance: As aforementioned, Rinoa and Squall's courtship seems rather unromantic to North American gamers. The characters do not say "I love you" or do anything remotely couple-y (although they do kiss in the final scene, when they're alone on Balamb Garden's balcony) - which is in keeping with Japanese attitudes to public displays of affection.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: Surprisingly for a Final Fantasy game, the androgyny is kept to a minimum, but there is still some:
    • Adel the sorceress has the body of a male underwear model. Despite other characters referring to her with female pronouns, you will get fans debating that she might really be a male.
    • Rinoa's dog, Angelo, is female (which is confusing as "Angelo" is a male Italian name). Ultimania explains that her name was derived from the Castel Sant'Angelo di Roma (a.k.a. the Mausoleum of Hadrian).
  • Vindicated by History: While it used to be one of the more disliked Final Fantasy games, VIII has over the years become a lot more popular due to nostalgia and the release of Remastered. Freed from the context of coming after the genre-defining VII and before the fan beloved IX, it can be looked at on its actual merits, and how it experimented with the genre. It's still divisive, but nowhere near as bad as it used to be, and its positives - such as Triple Triad, the sheer amount of customization offered by the Junction system, and its music - are much more likely to be recognized today even by the game's detractors.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: Even when played on original PlayStation hardware, this is one of the most beautiful looking games on the PlayStation. While the FMVs look highly dated, the in-game graphics have aged pretty well. And even the quality of the FMVs is very much a matter of opinion as the sheer quality of the direction means they're still absolutely spectacular (most especially the opening cutscene, the Galbadia Parade scene, the Garden War and the camcorder footage over the credits).
  • The Woobie:
    • Ellone. Just ask Laguna. To start with, she's an orphan with a power she can't control, and she's spent her whole life fleeing evil sorceresses that want to recruit her for their cause. She's also running on survivor's guilt - as while Laguna was trying to rescue her, Raine died in childbirth. Her whole motivation is trying to change time to make sure that Laguna is with Raine when she dies. Thankfully she has a happy ending; through seeing the past, she realizes just how much she was loved that no less than four people devoted their lives to her as a child.
    • During Disc 2, it's revealed that with the exception of Rinoa, the entire party (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.
    • 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. 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 inadvertently sabotaging her own career. It isn't until after the orphanage revelation that she realizes her romantic affection for Squall was actually the love of an older sister.
    • 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 whom all of them once saw as their mother. He's then asked to be the trigger-man.
    • General Caraway if you think about it. It's said that he became Julia's Second Love 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.
    • Rinoa could already count when the game begins - she lost her mother at a young age and has a difficult relationship to her father - but she's definitely one by the time it's over. She sees her ex-boyfriend brainwashed and turned into a slave of a mad sorceress who Mind Rapes her and tries to kill her. She experiences the dark side of war, admitting that she's terrified she'll one day lose the friends she's made. Then she becomes a sorceress - and prepares herself for a lifetime of being feared and/or treated like a walking time bomb. She's ready to seal herself away forever as soon as she wakes from her coma, which is a sort of suicide attempt. And she endures a horrible near-death experience in space.
  • Woolseyism:
    • This was the first video game that was translated to non-English European languages internally by Square, motivated by the localization debacle that was VII. 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.
    • In the English version, Zell is obsessed with obtaining hot dogs from Balamb Garden's cafeteria. In the original Japanese script, it was 'pan' i.e. sweet bread. It is considered an exotic treat in Japan (introduced when they began trading with Portugal in the 16th century) and comes in flavors such as apple, curry, and melon. It was changed to hot dogs in the English version simply because the pan shown in the ending FMV vaguely resembles hot dog buns, though without wieners. Additionally, Pan isn't well known outside of Japan even in 2019, let alone 1999.
    • A notorious example comes in the form of Squall's infamous "Whatever" catchphrase. While he had a catchphrase in the original Japanese script, warukatta na, literally meaning "my bad", it's clearly said in a defensively sarcastic tone that's more like "well, excuse me". Yes, as in the same tone as Well, Excuse Me, Princess!. The result is that he's less dismissive and apathetic as in the English version, and more defensive and bratty, better showing that Squall is not mature stoic soldier he attempts to be. Moreover, it's not as commonly said as "Whatever" is, and in those other cases, he's actually saying other varied expressions of exasperation and defensive snide comments that further highlight the cracks in his supposed maturity. See here for a list of some cases of these retranslated moments.
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